Combating spurious drug racket

The editorial “Hanging as deterrent” (Dec 20) warning the merchants of spurious drugs rightly compliments the bold initiative of the Union Cabinet in recommending death penalty for spurious drug manufacturers and traders. Imagine a situation when a patient is unmindfully struggling for life banking upon the so-called life saving drugs.

The moot question is who will catch the cat and bell it? In a country where lawmakers have become law breakers, the common people don’t have any mechanism to ensure that they are delivered the right and pure drugs and not the spurious or the adulterated ones. Why this racket has been going on for long? Surely, the people in the Health Department who are to enact the control have connived with those who have scant regard for humanity and play with the lives of the innocent.

The editorial rightly suggests setting up fast track courts to curb the menace quickly and effectively. Otherwise, even this provision of death penalty for offenders will die its own death. Let each chemist prominently display a card or board depicting “No spurious drugs here” in his/her shop. Let the district health administrator be made accountable for any laxity shown in drug delivery vigilance in his area.

B.B. GOYAL, Ludhiana

Quality of education

My concern is about a problem which is affecting the quality of education in Himachal Pradesh. Article 220 of the Himachal Pradesh School Education Code lays down that only those senior secondary students are eligible to appear in the board examination who have attended 75 per cent of classes up to 15 days before the commencement of examination and have also secured at least 20 per cent marks in individual subjects and 25 per cent marks in the aggregate in the terminal examination. If a student fails to fulfil either of these conditions, he will lose the right to be sent up for the examination.


However, these two conditions are not strictly followed by the heads of institutions. As a result, students with inadequate attendance and percentage of marks are allowed to sit in the examination. In order to improve the existing standards of education in the state, it is imperative that these requirements are implemented in letter and spirit. Otherwise, these students will only add to the already growing number of the so-called qualified but unemployable and irresponsible citizens.

MOHAN SINGH THAKUR, Sandhole (Mandi)

C’wealth standards

Apropos of the editorial “Outside the gate” (Dec 8), I agree that Pakistan is hoist with its own petard regarding its expulsion from the Commonwealth. I have no grouse against the Commonwealth for expelling Pakistan and Zimbabwe as they did not meet the high standards set by the Commonwealth for the growth, existence and practice of democracy. But is it fair that if Pakistan and Zimbabwe come under close scrutiny for democratic practices by the Commonwealth, India, with an equally bad record, should escape scrutiny?

The Indian Constitution, for instance, allows for an emergency when all democratic norms and constitutional rights including the freedom of the Press an be bulldozed. In the states, the Centre can promulgate President’s rule when an Assembly can be suspended or dissolved. Is this not a practice for which the Commonwealth has expelled Pakistan and Zimbabwe?

True, the Union government enjoys such extraordinary powers to save a state from external and internal danger. But I have examined all important federal and democratic constitutions of the world, especially the USA, Canada, Australia and Germany, but nowhere have I found such draconian powers with the Union governments to dissolve or suspend their respective federating units.

The Commonwealth should examine these draconian, undemocratic and arbitrary powers with the Union government to overthrow democratically elected governments in the states and even declare an emergency. High standards of democracy are a must for the Commonwealth’s entire 54-nation grouping.


Pension for the aged

Senior citizens of the country were upbeat over the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana of the LIC which promised monthly instalment of pension at the rate of 9 per cent interest per annum on the sum invested with the LIC. But their spirits were soon dampened by the obnoxious mode of disbursement of the pension.

The LIC issues postdated cheques payable on a par at all branches of the UTI Bank Ltd. only. This bank has branches only at a few places where this facility of encashment of cheques on a par can be availed of. The major chunk of investors spread over the country shall be deprived of this facility and will have to pay a minimum of Rs 70 as collection charges to the local banks where the pension cheques are deposited. For example, a person investing Rs 70,000 with the LIC will have to part with 13.33 per cent of his monthly pension in the form of collection charges which, indeed looks quite intriguing and unjustified.

The LIC should reconsider the matter so that the monthly pension is disbursed without any collection charges by the banks.

K.K. SHARMA, Udhamgarh (Yamunanagar)


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