Friday, July 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


What can do wonders for the BJP

Apropos of Mr S. Nihal Singh's article “Governing a plural society” (June 11), his views are flawed. It is the “Gujarat magic” i.e. commitment to cultural nationalism and patriotism sans appeasement of any vote bank that is the lifeline of the BJP. Many supporters of the nationalist party, however, have been disappointed though not antagonised, by its policy of privatisation. The party's failure to eradicate graft too has dismayed its sympathisers. Still all of them feel that the BJP is the only true patriotic party.

The BJP would have gained greater strength if it had boldly taken on the fissiparous features of the polity such as Article 370, reservations and the absence of a uniform civil code. The party can still be victorious at the hustings if there are signs that it will scrap the obnoxious Article 370 and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's vision is not that of an individual but of the Sangh Parivar. Naturally he has to articulate the same. If the BJP adopts socialism and strives to put an end to corruption, it can rule the country for a longer time.





We are one nation. We cannot convert this country into a Hindu state. So secularism is the only way out. We must continue with this policy and maintain the spirit of the Constitution.

Political parties may evolve various strategies to win elections. But once a government is formed, it must be commit itself to secularism. Political parties are too many and we need to reduce their number. Till such time, regional and religious political parties shall be polluting the political fabric of the country.

We should look into the possibility of banning all small political parties. Only those parties or groups/ alliances should be allowed to participate in the elections who can put up at least one candidate for each constituency in the country. This will either lead to their exit from the political arena or seek merger with recognised national parties/ groups which function under a common agenda.


Chaotic traffic in Amritsar

I think an ordinary, especially young, person is more likely to get killed on the Indian roads than from illness or AIDS, war or an act of terrorism”, observed an NRI, Mr Jasbir Singh, who left the country 16 years back. It is shocking but true. How many of us observe the traffic rules?

In Amritsar, few wait for the green signal unless there is a cop around. There is heavy traffic at the bus terminal, the roundabout outside the Hall Bazaar and on the GT Road. That is because truck drivers as well as rickshaw-pullers are ignorant of the traffic norms. Young riders are another menace on the roads. You never know when they will just hit your vehicle.

Another reason for the unruly traffic in Amritsar is lack of infrastructure. Flyovers, subways and wider roads are urgently required to cope with the ever-growing population and the number of vehicles.

Temporary encroachments and unnecessary police barriers further crease burdles. For instance, the police barricades on the Lawrence Road serve no purpose except causing traffic bottlenecks. Parking has become a perpetual problem in the city. Commercial areas like Lawrence Road, Hall Bazaar and Katra Jaimal Singh often face long traffic jams due to the absence of proper parking lots.


School education

This refers to Mr Nirmal Sandhu’s article “Schooling: the burdened child” (June 20). I share his anguish over students being deprived of simple joy of childhood only due to the marks mania and rising expectations of the parents who cannot evade responsibility as craze for the highest score has become the order of the day.

In fact, we find many top scores' failure in life. Now small children have lost their freedom as they are overburdened with heavy bags and tiresome endless homework. That is why, we find these kids with glasses, pale faces and sunken eyes. Unnecessary pressure and tensions are adversely affecting the physical and mental growth of the students.

Look at the huge expenses on school education in big towns where parents aspire to get their wards admitted to English-medium public schools. The convent schools are fleecing the parents, the students and the teachers.

Why this mess? Those who lack knowledge and talent are controlling the destiny of the Education Department which has been politicised and bureaucratised. There is an urgent need to halt the declining trend. Talented academic persons with foresight should be associated with the policy-making process in education. The style of teaching and syllabi should be reconstructed and simplified. The present complicated, burdensome syllabi has resulted in mushrooming of academies in towns which have made education a commercial enterprise.

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


The blunder committed by the Punjab School Education Board in the Class XII examination results in respect of the topper is unpardonable. Glaring errors in the results, much to the discomfiture of the affected students, have become a regular feature of almost all boards and universities, but the extent of carelessness and indifference shown by the Punjab Board is disgusting.

In the given case, to save the situation, both the talented girls, Sheenu Bansal and Tulsa, could perhaps have been declared joint toppers by the Board and the defaulting officials put on the mat, if not shown the door.

I agree with Mr Nirmal Sandhu that the system of judging a student's worth on the basis of marks is not really right. But then, what other yardstick is available for admission to the general degree courses? Will it be desirable to introduce yet another set of entrance tests for these courses too?

It, however, cannot be denied that in the present flawed education system, the students of ill-equipped rural schools are at a disadvantage as compared to their urban counterparts. One can always find a gem that will shine and flourish even under unfavourable conditions.

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

Abuse of pesticides

According to a report, the magnitude of pesticide abuse in India is alarming inasmuch as 97,000 tonnes of pesticides every year are playing havoc with public life. The increasing use of pesticides and other toxics without any maximum residue limit (MRL) is a serious danger to public life.

Very recently, these pesticides were found in mineral water bottles. Likewise, residual pesticides have been found in fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, grains, wheatflour, oils, meat, fish, poultry, bovine milk, eggs, milk powder, cheese etc. The abuse of pesticides should be checked by laying down guidelines like MRL and average daily intake (ADI) levels.

There is also a need to ban those pesticides which have long been banned in developed world. Pesticides banned in one country should be banned everywhere.

Dr B.L. TEKRIWAL, Mumbai


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