Tuesday, November 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Kashmir at what price?

Can anyone tell me what price we have to pay to keep Kashmir intact with India? How many civilians and men in uniform have we to sacrifice each year? Financially, how much we have to spend on our forces deployed at hard-to-reach Siachen glacier, Kargil etc. to maintain vigil at our borders. Perhaps it runs into crores of rupees per day. How many lives are lost in so-called cross-border terrorism? How many wars are we to fight with Pakistan over Kashmir? Leave aside benefits the Indian government provides to Kashmir at the cost of the rest of India.

In exchange of all this, what are we getting? Just resentment against the central government in the hearts of Kashmiris? Is it not proving a white elephant for India? Keeping Kashmir intact just helps satisfy the inflated ego of the ruling government and different political parties. By repeating "We will solve the Kashmir problem on our own. We won't tolerate interference by other countries," those in power are, in fact, making a fool of the tax-payer.

No political party dares to raise the issue that there should be a plebiscite and a decision should be taken accordingly. Kashmir should be made independent or given to Pakistan, if they so want. If they decide to stay with India only, then this problem (of cross boarder terrorism etc) should be tackled with an iron hand.

Perhaps this is the Indian politician's vote-bank policy because of which they are worried more of their own and their party's position instead of India as a whole.

Dr ARUN GOYAL, Patiala


A good show

Kudos to the Punjab Health System Corporation for organising a “health mela” at Phuglana (Hoshiarpur) on Oct 30. The mela was a fine blend of entertainment and health awareness. Artistic endeavour through songs, anecdotes, magic shows and the highly applauded play on AIDS was made to educate the rural masses about the essential science of life. One wonders if science can ever be used to teach arts. Is that what we call the triumph of arts over science?

A large number of school students from surrounding villages who would get easily bored by tedious lectures, seemed to be blissfully oblivious of the afternoon heat in their zest for learning serious issues like AIDS and drug-addiction in such an interesting and creative manner. Medical check-ups and treatment were also made freely available.

Also, there were stalls put up by the practitioners of para-medical sciences. Pity that most of them wore a deserted look. As they say, there is always room for improvement, the mela was no exception. The greatest drawback was that despite the mela being all about health, hygiene was most obviously absent in the preparation of “langar”. Moreover, the presence of a golgappa rehri in the vicinity presented a striking contrast to the motive of the whole affair.

Another factor that stood in the way of its success was the pathetic female participation. Women should have been encouraged to attend the mela since the health of the family members rests in their hands to a large extent. Among others, there should’ve been at least one stall dealing with home science where women could get knowledge about cheap sources of nutrition, healthy cooking, importance of drinking purified water, tapping solar energy, personal hygiene etc.

Such melas should be organised more frequently nationwide as they fill the gaps left by the audio-visual aids and help to concretise the vision of a healthier India.


Engineering degrees

This refers to news items "UGC disapproves of institutes" and "Bridge the gap between industry and varsities: VC". The Punjabi University authorities should make it clear whether the engineering degrees to be given by Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology will be private degrees of the university without the recognition of the AICTE.

The stand of the university that it does not require the recognition of the AICTE/UGC has clearly been negated by the All India University Secretory, Dr K.S. Powar’s remark that "the universities have been brought within the purview of AICTE in the light of judgement of Sept 24".

I request the VC of Punjabi University and the other authorities to clear the dust and inform the students about the exact status of the degree courses, their validity for admission in postgraduate courses and for government jobs in the state and at the central level. They should publicise the facts through the media.


Apartment Act

Why is the Government of Haryana delaying the enactment of an Apartment Act, particularly in Panchkula, on the Chandigarh pattern. This will mitigate the problem of housing.

N. K. SHARMA, Panchkula

Avoid envelopes

One method of reducing the burden on the minds of workers of the postal department is to write postcards and inland letters rather than envelopes.

V. C. NANDA, ChandigarhTop

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