Thursday, February 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Methods to eliminate parthenium

THIS is with reference to the report “Allergic reactions of parthenium” (February 14). The writers have rightly made the people aware of the ill-effects of this dangerous weed. It is very much harmful for human beings as well as animals.

According to agricultural scientists, this weed is responsible for various skin and respiratory problems. In Punjab, it has been growing on vacant land for the last 15-20 years. But few people are aware of it. Nothing has been done and nothing is being done to eliminate it.

I would like give some suggestions to control its growth:

Create awareness among people: For this purpose, television and radio networks, newspapers, magazines and leaflets are the best sources.

  Role of social organisations: These organisations, with the help of village panchayats and municipal committees, can play a very important role in eradicating this weed by organising special campaigns.

Training camps: Training camps regarding its elimination must be organised to train the public, as its removal needs a lot of care and precautionary measures. One should uproot it only when one’s hands and legs are covered with gloves. While uprooting no part of the body should touch the weed as this may lead to irritation and rashes. According to scientists, it can also be controlled with weedicides but this is possible only when the plant is in its early stage. To control its growth with rust is a new research.


Manpower development

One of the major objectives of human resource development is to increase the employability of young boys and girls passing out of educational institutions. In India, we have done very little towards the professionalisation of education. Most of the plans have either remained on paper or have just been converted into popular slogans. In the present environment of privatisation, liberalisation and globalisation, a shift or reorientation of education at the school level can go a long way in improving the employability of the youth.

The necessary requirements for this purpose in the prevailing market conditions are two basic tools: communication skill in the English language and computer literacy.

Chauvinism should not prevent Indians from acquiring an indispensable tool for their growth in the 21st century, which is the English language. Also it is the language of the Internet. With all-round computerisation, it will be impossible for any young person to find a job without being computer literate. It should, therefore, be an endeavour, nay, top priority for all the state governments to equip our youth, passing out of schools (+2 level) with these two essential tools.

Once our youth are thus empowered, the excess manpower can also find useful and decent employment in other countries where the rate of population growth is rather low and even the replacement of the present work-force cannot be met internally. Recently there has been a spate of news in various magazines and newspapers regarding the shortfall of manpower in developed countries because of the falling rate of population growth. Even China may face such a situation after about 20 years because of the one-child norm. India, by virtue of its comparatively higher rate of population growth and a large number of unemployed young men and women, can fill this gap in manpower requirement all over the world.


No support for APHC

This refers to the news-item "Pak, UAE 'financing' militancy in J&K" (February 22). The Minister of State for Industry and Commerce, Mr Omar Abdullah, has unnecessarily named the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for financing the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC). Even if the statement of the Minister is for public consumption, it is undesirable and impolite to involve a friendly country with which the Republic of India has age-old relations, which are continuously growing.

We must stress that Saudi Arabia does not involve itself in any country's internal affairs. We categorically reject any such claim from any quarter that Saudi Arabia is involved in any manner whatsoever in supporting or financing the APHC or any other organisation in Kashmir or in any other part of India.

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
New Delhi


Licence for licentious activity

This refers to the edit “Cupid is not stupid”, dated February 15. The hype and hoopla generated about Valentine’s Day across the country, in the recent past show that Indian morality has virtually fallen to its rock-bottom level.

Those bitten by the Valentine bug have invented different ways and means to mark the occasion. It was a boom time for the print and electronic media, which took the lead in disseminating the message of Saint Valentine across the country. The florists and greeting card dealers, too, did a brisk business. Bharat Petroleum announced a bonanza of exciting gifts to its customers at its various outlets.

A Chandigarh photographer went a step ahead. He offered to click, free of charge, pictures of those visiting him at his Sector 17 shop, which evoked overwhelming response. This is not all. Those bitten by the love bug had gone to the extent of having a typical heart-shaped hair-cut on that day to depict their intense feelings for someone close to their hearts, and so on.

Truly speaking, until recently few people knew about Saint Valentine. A majority of the crazy Valentine buffs, going gaga over the sham display of love for someone “unknown” to them, under the garb of Valentine Day, do not even know the guiding concept behind the extravaganza. What exactly are we trying to resurrect?

This only reflects the growing influence of Western culture on our youth, who exchange greetings and gifts, indulging in dancing, dining and wining in the dimly-lit discotheques. It is nothing but a vainglorious ritual on the part of our wayward youth to resurrect the cupid, thereby corroding the lofty ideals and great moral values India has assiduously cherished over the years. And, then, what exactly does the celebration of Valentine’s Day, exchanging greetings and gifts between “unknown” guys and gals signify? A licence to licentious activity!

The senseless display of such an abnoxious and amorous public dalliance under the protective cover of fun-and-frolic-cum-Valentine’s Day needs to be ruthlessly discouraged. Reports of the “innocent” girls being manhandled and molested at the hands of the tipsy clan of cupids will continue pouring in if something serious is not done at this stage to stall this growing phenomenon.



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