Saturday, February 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Plague: delay in diagnosis avoidable

Going by newspaper reports, it seems the scene is the same — plague in Surat, dengue in Delhi and now plague in Rohru. There is scare all round. The media has exploited the situation.

The area now affected is the same as was in 1982 and so are the symptoms of the patients. Hence there was hardly any scope for misdiagnosis of the cases reported for the first time to the hospital. Having been actively involved in tackling the earlier disease in 1982, it is my feeling that the present outbreak could be easily attributed to plague and the containment measures initiated immediately. Necessary facilities in the Shimla Medical College for ascertaining the possible causative agent, drugs/insecticides being readily available, no delay should have been made. There was no need to send SOS to the N.I.C.D in New Delhi and wait for its verdict.

Unfortunately our general tendency is to ignore the impending crisis but to manage it when the crisis actually strikes. No doubt, this happened at Rohru too and a valuable opportunity was lost to interrupt the transmission of infection through mass administration of antibiotics and other relevant measures. Thus a heavy price had to be paid for the lapse. Some valuable lives were lost.

Although now the worst appears to be over, the state government will have to build up a sound and ongoing disease surveillance system at the state/district levels to foresee such epidemics and investigate promptly for launching containment measures in time. The present “hit-and-run” approach in dealing with disease outbreaks will not do.

Dr S. S. SOOCH, Jalandhar


Akalis and corruption

“After the elections in Punjab, one thing has emerged clear that the Congress is going to have an edge over the Akali Dal. It has become possible due to corruption by the Akali government, demoralising of Akali workers and backing of corrupt officers. The system of the government became so corrupt and the officers wayward that it will not be an easy task for the new Chief Minister to tame the tiger of corruption.

During the five-year Akali Dal rule, with the exception of a few, officers at the district level hardly visited their offices. People were often seen waiting to meet officers. Whosoever becomes the new Chief Minister must be given a free hand by his party to sideline the corrupt officers. Honest officers must be given important posts. If all this is not done on a war-footing, nothing is going to change for the better.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Kapurthala

Postal service

This refers to the article “Posts and telegraph service, now and then” by Mr R.S. Dutta. No doubt, the level of performance has gone down over the years but if we compare the performance with other departments, the decline is minimal. As on date, this department is free from corruption. The behaviour of the staff (field as well as office) is by and large good. No excuse for avoiding work. No wide open eyes for additional bucks. Divali and Baisakhi in Punjab and Holi and Divali in UP are the two occasions when I give Rs 5 (earlier Rs 2, now planning Rs 10 from coming Baisakhi) to my postman purely on my own wishes.

The postal network is very wide and in normal circumstances, a letter from small village in Kashmir reaches the deep interiors of North-east or South in four-five days at a meagre price of Rs 4. I have hardly seen any registered letter being misplaced. If it happens, rigorous action is taken. A 25 paise postcard is a big service to the poor citizens of the country.

The department also introduces innovative ways from time to time to improve its performance. A few years ago, “Metro connection” was introduced when ordinary mail used to be delivered the next day. My daily report used to reach Bombay the next day from Mathura under this scheme. “Green letter -box” for local mails is another such step to ensure fast delivery.

With the spread of education and with globalisation, the workload of the department has increased manifold. A post office performs many functions like the collection of telephone bills, registered letters, parcels, sale of stamps/postal orders, N.S.Cs, depositing and withdrawal of money etc. The performance of all these functions by a small staff of two-three persons in a sub-post office deserves applause.

So while I agree with the writer on the decline standards, I appeal to him to say a few encouraging words for the good show as well.

I do not have any specific dealing or relations with the department. These comments show my inner approach i.e. “Build on strengths and not on weaknesses”.


Dry tailpieces

The tailpieces written by Mr K.J.S. Ahluwalia are neither thought-provoking nor humorous. It appears The Tribune is aiding him to get his name entered in the Guinness Book of World Records. Mr Ahluwalia's piece (Feb 6) calling the SAD (B) as the Sukhbir Adesh Dynasty and terming the rule of Mr Badal as that by SSPs (mischievously fabricated for Surinder, Sukhbir and Parkash) is nothing but a direct insult to an elderly and constitutionally elected CM of the calibre of Mr Badal.

Further his disparaging remark (Feb 8) that the “Indian borders are easier to cross than its roads” has lowered the prestige of our military and para-military forces who are defending the Indian borders against all odds and at a great risk to their lives in the face of inhospitable surroundings.

What public purpose has been served by his tailpiece on “closed-door conversation between President Bush and President Pervez” (Feb 18)!. Mr Ahluwalia needs to be reprimanded for writing such unethical tailpieces which neither make any “tail” nor “head”. I would suggest that the space wasted for publishing such tailpieces be used for highlighting problems faced by the common man due to corruption, unemployment etc.

H. S. SARWARA, Panchkula

Free power

Small-time farming involves very hard labour and is generally unremunerative. The present generation is shying away from this profession.

It is sad to note that the gang-up against the farmer completely ignores that he is “the primary producer” of wealth for the nation.

The power supply is not more than 10 hours daily and is also not entirely free. A faulty transformer is neither replaced promptly nor till the consumers concerned produce to/fro transport and 3,000-odd rupees.

Lt Col AJIT SINGH (retd), Malri (Jalandhar)Top

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