Tuesday, May 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Cruelty in labs: the guidelines

April 24 was observed the world over as “Laboratory Animal Day”, dedicated to the millions of animals that are tortured, maimed, mutilated, bled and often killed in research laboratories. The extensive use of animals in medical experimentation is unethical. Millions of animals are tortured to death in laboratories every year but the usefulness of these experiments remains debatable. The use of alternatives to animals in research should be encouraged and experimental animals used sparingly. Benefits liable to be accrued from research on animals should be weighed properly.

Teachers of science in schools and colleges should keep in touch with the latest alternatives to vivisection. It is heartening that techniques such as acupuncture, naturopathy, Ayurvedic, Unani medicines and homoeopathy do not entail animal experimentation and their adoption to a reasonable extent in the health services can help lessen the pressure on animals.

A Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) has been formed by the Government of India to ensure the well-being and welfare of animals kept for experiments or breeding etc. This committee has laid down guidelines for housing, handling and experimental procedure for research. These guidelines should be followed strictly.



A failed nation

We have proved that we are a failed nation, unable to maintain its dignity. We are weak politically, socially and diplomatically, and our so-called friends show lip sympathy for our miserable condition. Our internal as well as external safety has reached the stage of collapse. Our small neighbours are threatening us, killing, rather butchering our Jawans as and when they wish. On such occasions we are content with just lodging a protest.

We blame the ISI for everything without taking measures to combat such forces in a befitting manner. Even small countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan have opened their doors to terrorist organisations to disturb our peace. And we sit helplessly, only to show to the world that we are a peaceful nation, always ready to suffer heavy losses in men and material.



Forgotten promise

As the next elections are drawing closer, the Chief Minister of Punjab and his army of ministers are coming out with new promises, forgetting the old ones.

One example of a forgotten promise is the decision taken by the Akali-BJP Cabinet in February, 1999, to implement the pension scheme (originally planned by the Congress government) for the teaching and non-teaching staff of government aided non-government colleges from April 1, 1992. The decisions has been gathering dust like most of the other decisions taken by the government.

Then, Minister Mohan Lal made a statement on New Year’s Day to change the cut-off date.

Recently, the Minister made another statement that the issue of pension had been referred to the Chief Minister. The Minister for Higher Education perhaps forgot that the Cabinet decision of February, 1999, was tabled by the Chief Minister himself in the Assembly on March 30, 1999. Later , the Governor also gave his assent.

It is high time the government implemented its own decision without any further delay.

K.K. KHOSLA, Ludhiana

Mamoon blaze

The fire in the Mamoon ammunition depot is a serious matter but it is not the first incident of its kind. In 1988, a similar incident took place at Jabalpur, followed by Pulgaon in 1989. Then there was the Bharatpur blaze exactly one year before the Mamoon fire, in which ten thousand tonnes of ammunition was destroyed and eight lives were lost.

The Mamoon fire has again destroyed ammunition worth crores of rupees and forced the people living in its vicinity to leave their homes. The army authorities have ordered a court of inquiry but you cannot expect much to come out of it.

But there are factors that need to be heeded. Most of these dumps were set up before independence. There is an urgent need to modernise them so that urgently needed ammunition is stored in a scientific manner. The authorities concerned have to give priority to this task to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

AKASH GHAI, Chandigarh

Cantt. sans sanitation

Free flow of filth in narrow and neglected open drains in an area of Ferozepore Cantonment is likely to create unsanitary conditions. This area is ignored on the plea of its being a private Ahata with freehold rights. Even the sweepers do not clean this mohalla. The street, already narrowed by encroachments, has become a permanent nuisance. The orders of the Station Commander for the removal of unauthorised alterations has been gathering dust in the Cantonment Office, because of the whims of some persons in authority.

JAI DEV SUMAN, Ferozepore CanttTop



Simple solutions

The state of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a special status under Article 370 of the Constitution besides a colossal aid from the Centre. In return, come bullets, militancy and criticism. All efforts of different governments have not yielded any results so far. Rather the position has worsened.

The problem of J&K should be treated as a law and order problem. Only some misguided youths are creating chaotic conditions and are posing a danger to the peace and harmony of the state. Persons found engaged in terrorist activities should be dealt with severely and stringent punishment should be awarded to them. The Army should be given adequate powers to deal with the hooligans and restore law and order in the state.

Kashmir is trouble-prone because it is populated by one community. If the state is opened to all citizens of India like any other part of the country, it will create an equilibrium which will eliminate the problem. A good administrator who is well acquainted with the problems of J&K should be appointed to head the state government. A combination of a strong hand and a benevolent mind can effectively deal with the problems of the state.

Sealing the border with Pakistan is of vital importance. A properly sealed border will check the inflow of terrorists. Ex-servicemen, equipped and armed, should be settled along the border in the state. It will boost the morale of the locals.

The so-called human rightists with their biased approach are doing no good to the people of the state. Such organisations should not be allowed to play havoc with the peace-loving people of the state. These organisations come to the help only of the oppressors (and not the oppressed).

For the survival of democracy, self-discipline is the first requirement. To enforce discipline, sometimes punishment becomes necessary and it will do no harm to anyone if discipline and harmony is achieved with the fear of punishment.

MANJU, New Delhi

Warrant of precedence

Ever since Independence, there has been a systematic erosion of the position of defence officers vis-a-vis their counterparts in the civil services in the warrant of precedence (WOP).

This might have been prompted partly by some misplaced fear of a military coup in the minds of certain politicians, but it comes more from the self-interest and bias of civil servants.

Some time back, General VP Malik (retd), former Chief of the Army Staff, while speaking informally on the occasion of the release of a book, reportedly remarked that while in Pakistan the generals ruled the country, in India the generals were the servants of civil servants. The General might have said that in a lighter vein but it does convey a message.

Tehelka aberrations notwithstanding, the armed forces are held in high esteem by the people. The Government should not put their sense of discipline to test and restore to them the place in the WOP which they enjoyed at the time of Independence. Its consistent erosion is adversely affecting their morale.

Wg Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

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