L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Guard border areas with alacrity

The recovery of huge quantities of AK rifles, machinegun and other pistols, material for IEDs and heroin, etc, by the State Special Operation Cell from smugglers active on the sensitive Indo-Pak border is alarming (news report, 
Pak using smugglers to arm ultras” by P K Jaiswar, Jan 4).

It appears that the anti-national elements have successfully exploited some gaps in the border security apparatus. During the season of fog, visibility reduces but there should be no let up in security, especially when advanced technology is available.

Stricter checks should be exercised along Attari rail and bus routes between India and Pakistan. The nefarious designs of terrorists must be foiled to prevent any terror attack.  There is a need for closer coordination and cooperation between various agencies responsible for guarding the sensitive border area.

 S C VAID, Greater Noida

Uniform admission criterion

I want to draw attention to various non-conformities in admissions for children in private schools in Chandigarh which are causing harassment to parents who have to spend their time running around schools to know different criteria imposed by different schools.

Regarding the RTE Act being implemented and the subject of age criteria for admission of toddlers to various schools I feel that something needs to be done on the issue. I have looked up websites of almost all private schools in Chandigarh and also spoken to the staff at some of the schools and found merit in the assessment that private schools in Chandigarh are being run as personal fiefdoms rather than as institutions of learning where our nation’s future is being cradled.

There is no uniformity in simple things like the minimum age of the child for getting admission into a school. These change every year as if some fresh enlightenment has dawned upon managements regarding the age of the child at entry stage in school. Some schools have cut-off date as March 31, others have September 30 and others even May 31 of a particular year. On top of that every other school has preparatory classes which are known by different names. Parents have to be careful to see to it that their child doesn’t lag behind others by going to a particular school.

Since the admission process is yet to start for the next academic session I would like the education authorities to examine this matter in depth and give appropriate instructions to schools so that parents are spared the hassle of different age criteria. I think the purpose will be served if a common ground is prepared for admissions to different schools like a common cut off date/common progression chart, etc. This would go a long way in remedying a situation and creating an environment where parents are more focused on the quality of education being imparted at a particular school rather than just some number crunching to make their child move ahead in life.

Maj-Gen J S KAPOOR (retd), Chandigarh

Human trafficking

Stringent punishment should be given to those involved in human trafficking and for this a separate law is required. Unauthorised travel agents, particularly in Punjab, have been found cheating a large number of youth who want to go abroad using illegal means. The agents choose dangerous means of transport and arduous routes for the journey abroad.

Today, countries like the UK and the US have an effective law to combat human trafficking. So, why can’t India have the same? Only effective legal remedies and stringent punishment can curb the illegal, fraudulent activities and malpractices of travel agents.


Paucity of doctors

To the editorial “Doctors’ shortage” (Jan 5), I would like to add that the shortage of doctors in India is a matter of concern and is assuming alarming proportions. About 60,000 doctors of Indian origin are working in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. To meet the requirement of doctors in India, they should be given better incentives so that they do not think of migrating abroad.

To meet the challenge of shortage of doctors, besides the upgradation of existing medical institutions, the editorial has rightly suggested that to boost medical tourism, the corporate sector can play a role in setting up of medical colleges.


Healthy living

The World Bank report that poor sanitation has cost India $54 billion or 6.4 per cent of the GDP in 2006 is alarming. According to the study, 3.5 lakh children, aged below five, die of diarrhoea alone in India every year. All this because they have no access to clean drinking water. Their parents could not afford treatment, and sometimes did not make an effort due to lack of awareness and time.

Poverty itself is a disease, which cripples access to and success in school/college. Ill health comes in the way of working harder and longer, and reduces productivity and income. The poor are mostly the victims of diarrhoea, malaria and TB, diseases which are actually preventable. Moreover, country’s rural areas are lacking basic amenities for want of funds, official accountability and political will while the urban areas fail to cope with an increasing pressure on limited civic amenities due to the rising population and migration from villages.

NGOs can play a significant role in the removal of filth and spread of education and awareness.

SUMAN KUKAL, Chandigarh

Article 370

Sometime ago the BJP advocated that the Article 370 should be scrapped at Jammu enclave of the party (news report, Dec 24). Frankly speaking. when the BJP-led NDA ruled at the Centre for seven years headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, why did they not scrap the said article which gives special status to the Valley. The Congress has ruled the country for 50 years and the UPA has been in power since seven years. They don’t want to touch the Article 370, for they want to keep the vote bank intact. Kashmir’s special status should have been withdrawn many years back, so that other Indian citizens could be settled there.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

Seats for girl child

To the editorial “Girl child quota” (Dec 25) I would like to add that the proposal of Himachal Pradesh University to reserve seats in colleges for the lone girl child in a family in colleges is commendable and must be adopted by other states as well. There is a need to look at changing laws across states to ensure equality of life, education and healthcare.

SAHIL GARG, Bathinda



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