PM’s concern on education timely

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rightly voiced concern over education, especially in urban government schools. Falling standards, especially in most schools of the northern states, are an offshoot of unplanned expansion of schools without considering the funds required to run them qualitatively. Primary schools were set up to overcome illiteracy and curb unemployment. But the Planning Commission couldn’t anticipate the budgetary implications.

The primary schools could not solve the real motive of imparting basic education. The World Bank reports that 36 per cent teachers are absentees and only 50 per cent among those present in the schools teach. Actually, only lady teachers are honest and sincere.

The public education system can be improved only if primary schools are managed properly. They need proper infrastructure, good teachers and teaching aids. Indian children have a right to quality education.



MiG crashes

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement in Parliament on air crashes is perfunctory. Neither the old technology nor the pilots are responsible for the crashes. These are clear cases of sabotage.

MiGs have become the targets of our enemy. First, these crashes reduce our air superiority. Secondly, they harm our relations with Russia, our best friend in need. An inquiry commission observed that the petrol jet of the craft was defective. Another discovered that the seal of the wheel was loose, leading to the crash. These defects are perhaps the handiwork of the enemy and could be repeated.

MiG crashes generally occur a few minutes after take off. The ground staff that gives fit-to-fly clearance should be screened thoroughly. We have lost 157 brave pilots in these crashes. The enemy is too clever. Don’t blame the machines, find out the real culprits.

A.S. ISSAR, Dera Bassi

Bathinda refinery

The editorial “Refinery revival” (Aug 13) rightly observes that projects of such a huge magnitude should not be made hostage to petty political rivalry. The Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal should think of Punjab’s overall interest and the refinery’s economic implications instead of fighting for the credit.

People of this area feel that this project would not face hurdles if there is a change of government in Punjab. Some also think that it should not end up being another election stunt of the Amarinder Singh government.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda

Bhakra’s failure

The report “Bhakra has failed to deliver” (July 18) is correct. There will be huge water logging in its command areas of Punjab. The planners have not thought about it. Its catchment area will be reduced due to the huge deposition of silt in the days to come.

It will also affect the ecological balance due to soil erosion in the catchment area. Owing to the availability of irrigation, intensive agriculture has taken place. The use of dangerous fertilisers and insecticides has increased manifold. Consider the vast agricultural machinery contributing to pollution. Clearly, it is unwise to play with natural phenomena.


Anti-hijack policy

This refers to the news-item “Govt toughens anti-hijack policy” (Aug 15). According to the new policy, a hijacked plane can be shot down. The new policy statement seems to be more to spotlight what happened during the NDA regime in 1999 when the hijacked plane was allowed to fly to Kandahar in Afghanistan and militants in prison had to be released to set free the passengers.

There could have been tactical errors in dealing with the hijacking, but setting rules on what to do in such circumstances is not wise. No one has the right to endanger the lives of innocent passengers. It would be against human rights. Will the government dare to shoot down the plane if a VVIP is on board the hijacked aircraft?

N. KUNJU, New Delhi

Defend doctor, but…

The editorial “Trust your doctor” (Aug 8) defends the doctors. In Christchurch (New Zealand), a British-born doctor cut the nerve of a patient by mistake and the patient died. The New Zealand Herald commented, “No offending doctor should go scot-free in such cases”.

In Australia, no doctor would give you a prescription until he has the results of the test before him. While awaiting the test result, he will only suggest basic and common drugs like aspirin. You can’t buy medicines in New Zealand without a doctor’s prescription.

In India, drug dealers make huge profits by selling poisonous drugs to innocent people without a doctor’s prescription. My sister died of poisonous medicine. What about the doctors responsible for the kidney scandal in Amritsar? Admittedly, such people should not be spared.

AMARJIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith NSW (Australia)

Energy source

This has reference to the report “Now a petro-cold war” (Aug 8). The US and its western partners would like to reduce their dependence on the Gulf energy supplies because of the Muslims’ growing opposition to American domination. But Central Asians are also Muslims and revivalist groups are not inactive there. The shift of emphasis from the Gulf to the Central Asian region, therefore, is not a viable solution.

The real solution is that of the West, including the US, changing its policy towards the Muslim world. The relationship has to be based on justice and equity, which will ensure viable working relationship between the West and the Muslims the world over.

K.N. PANDITA, New Delhi

Voice of martyrs

Do we ever sit back and ponder upon whether we are serving our nation effectively? Do we ever remember the grand sacrifices made by our great countrymen? Do we at all pay true homage to our martyrs? Often, the answer is an emphatic ‘no’.

In the quest of moving ahead, we have actually forgotten the people who sacrificed their whole life for the cause of our nation. They (freedom fighters) loved their country and had worked with immense passion for achieving their sole goal of achieving independence. But it seems that their successors are not preserving their legacy.

Corruption, poverty and illiteracy are major threats to growth. There is need to apply necessary course corrections to build a modern India. People should realise their responsibility and work hard with national and international goals in mind so that India becomes a developed country. Only then, the sacrifices of our martyrs will carry some meaning.



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