Saturday, November 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Air crashes: some posers

A few months ago an Air Force fighter plane crashed into a residential area at Jalandhar and now another fighter aircraft crashes into houses at Ambala resulting in a loss of life and property of innocent civilians.

Some people have demanded a ban on air operations over the cities. The airfields, like the Army ammunition dumps, when built, were far away from the populated areas but lately many residential colonies have come up in their close proximity, resulting in such disastrous incidents. One wonders whether it is still possible for the IAF to avoid flying over the built-up area by rescheduling their operations?

After the air crash at Jalandhar an agitated resident had confronted me asking as to why an FIR should not be lodged against the pilot and the IAF for causing death due to negligence? He opined that such an action was called for, especially when a crash occurred due to human error. Will such a provision be desirable?

No motor vehicle is permitted to come on the road without a third-party insurance so as to ensure the safety of other road users. Shouldn’t the trains and aeroplanes also be similarly insured before they are allowed to operate?

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

Outdated planes?: Another Indian Air Force fighter plane went down on Nov 5, taking the tally for the year to 23. The question that comes up on everybody’s mind is: are the planes outdated or is there something wrong in our training?

The Indian Air Force really has to pull up its socks on safety of its expensive planes and on the pilots on whom it is spending crores of rupees. It is high time to shift to some other safer options such as cyber training which is safe and less expensive too.



Mockery of law

Health care rendered by a private doctor and/or group of doctors and paramedical staff have come under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (CPA) whereas services rendered at hospitals/dispensaries run by the government have not. If Mr “X” meets with a road accident and suffers multiple injuries or otherwise falls ill and is taken to a private nursing home where he is attended to by medical and paramedical staff at midnight, but unfortunately the patient succumbs to his injuries in the morning. His family has the right to approach the Consumer Redressal Forum for compensation on the pretext that the patient died because of negligence or deficiency in service on the part of the doctor and/or paramedical staff.

If a poor person with limited resources takes Mr “X’ to a government-run hospital at midnight where he remains unattended or inadequately treated and dies in the morning, his family can’t approach the Consumer Redressal Forum for compensation. What a mockery of the law in our country?



Please refer to the news item “Vedanti opposes politics in religion”. I am shocked to read that Mr Vedanti and others honoured the assassins of Indira Gandhi. Whatever the reasons, it was a murder most foul. Beant Singh and others were duty bound to protect the PM. It’s clear case of “fence devouring the crop”.

By honouring the murderers, what kind of message is Mr Vedanti giving to the Sikhs? The Sikh religion, as I know, preaches the protection of women and the unarmed. Indira was both. Mr Vedanti as a Sikh scholar has insulted “Sikhism”.

ASHOK MALIK, Mission College, Santa Clara, California

Social disorder

The lynching to death of five Indians for the sin of skinning a dead cow in Jhajjar has been ghoulish and clearly brings out the distortions of our caste system. What right do we really have to resist conversions when some unfortunate people are placed lower than even the dead animals in our social order.

The religious, community and political leadership must introspect beyond mere legislating to ensure human dignity to all sections of society. Suggestions are (a) The caste system be dismantled slowly-say by not suffixing castes after names, encouraging inter-caste marriages (b) Ban caste-based elections (c) Do not allow special reservations or quotas for any caste (d) Last but not the least, the law of the land must be allowed to prevail and the guilty now camouflaging behind mob fig leaves be exposed.

Air Cmde RAGHUBIR SINGH (retd), Pune

“I am to blame”

A news item “British Education Secretary quits on moral grounds” (Oct 25) is likely either to be ignored or raise a couple of collective, political eyebrows considering the fact that in our political, administrative and social context, the statement is so refreshingly rare that it might have been translated from Latin: “mea culpa” (I am to blame).

Ms Morris quit after admitting that she felt that she had not done well enough in the job. (Imagine one of our ministers telling the same thing to the Prime Minister: enough to make him fall on his synthetic knees). The list of reasons why we are not to be blamed for doing anything not well today is as long as the Chinese wall: bad bringing up and poor education, depression of modern life leading to drugs, marital discords and disobedient children, political vacuum and bankruptcy of moral social values.

As Rod Usher said, blame, though it hurts like a kick in the belly, should be acceptable. It is comparable to income taxes: legal to avoid; an offence to evade. As far as Indian politicians are concerned, for too long, we have heard of a “foreign hand” for everything that went wrong in the country. We would now like to see some indigenous brain.

R.P. JINDAL, Amritsar

CM needs support

I am amazed at the views expressed in R.P. Singh Walia’s letter. In fact, corruption is the biggest impediment in development work in Punjab. Capt Amarinder Singh has caught the bull of corruption by its horn. Even corrupt Congressmen are not happy with him, what to talk of the Akalis.

I think every common man has a responsibility to support him in his fight against corruption. It is for the first time Punjab has got such a determined CM. He has no magic wand but his good intentions are revealed through his appointments of Chairman, PPSC, and two VCs of universities. He deserves the support of people in villages and streets of cities.


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