Time to save vultures from extinction

In her article “Experts differ on the cause of vultures’ death” (Feb 20), Ruchika M. Khanna has drawn the attention of the world towards the alarming decline in the population of vultures who are the natural scavengers. Sadly, very few slender-built vultures are left in Assam today.

It is heartening to note that noted ornithologists and scientists have suggested captive breeding of vultures and prevention of the use of Diclofenac injection in veterinary applications.

Both these suggestions are workable if the authorities seek the cooperation of the people and the organisations actively involved in the conservation of nature. Captive breeding is not free from problems. So, one has to follow all the precautions carefully. Captive centres should be provided with suitable infrastructure where these birds can live naturally and breed. Bir Shikargah forests near Pinjore may be quite helpful for the success of this project.

The scientists should necessarily play an important role in this regard. They should explore the possibility of some alternative to the Diclofenac injection which may be free from any fatal effect on these birds.





There is a worldwide demand for saving the life of vultures. In “Nature” (January, 2004), a US-based scientist working in Pakistan has blamed the large-scale use of the painkiller injection, Dicolfenac, as the major cause of the depleting vulture population. According to him, Dicolfenac injection had a direct effect on the population of vultures.

Many societies worldwide have joined together in saving vultures from extinction since they are extremely useful as the natural scavangers. They function as scavangers in areas where man cannot reach. Still some people kill them.

S.R. MITTAL, Ludhiana


Vultures are indeed the friends of humankind. They play an important role in maintaining the ecological balance by feeding on the carcasses of animals. Dicolfenac is blamed for the rapid extinction of the species, but some scientists say that the viral infection is equally responsible for the loss. This point cannot be overlooked as Dicolfenac is normally used to treat the livestock.

The use of pesticides in green fodder is equally responsible for the decline of vultures who are highly sensitive to the smell of pesticides. It is not true that all animals are treated with Dicolfenac. For, in remote areas, clinical facilities are not available.

In any case, there is a need for more intensive research into the actual cause of the death of vultures so that the remaining birds can be saved from extinction.


DA instalment

The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister has announced the merger of 50 per cent of DA with the basic pay of its employees from April 1, 2004. However, the instalment of DA @ 4 per cent due from July 1, 2003, (which is already being drawn by Punjab and Haryana government employees and pensioners) has not yet been released by the Himachal government.

I don’t know why the Chief Minister has not announced the release of DA instalment @ 4 per cent from July 1, 2003, to its employees and pensioners. Now that the Election Commission’s code of conduct has come into force, he is barred from making any announcement. Ultimately, we have become the losers.

T.R. SHARMA, HP pensioner, Ludhiana

Of brain mapping

It is amazing the way the electronic media is packing prime time with exaggerated and outlandish accounts about the forensic value of brain mapping, polygraph and nacro-analysis in the case of Telgi.

It seems his EEG brain mapping could tell how many crores he gave to whom, when and where and what for. This is streching things far beyond the known scientific position.

It is also amazing to what extent some so-called scientists would exaggerate just in order to see their faces on TV. TV channels are commercial ventures, but what about government scientists? The way almost everybody is carried away is comical, if it were not a serious matter.

Dr A.K. KALA, Consultant Psychiatrist, Ludhiana

Insurance scheme

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s social security scheme is indeed a revolutionary step towards uplifting the morale of India’s labour force. Today’s poor man can become tomorrow’s rich man and today’s labourer can become tomorrow’s factory owner.

It is the sense of security more than pride that motivates you to do things that you have not done or tried before, things that come naturally to you. The insurance scheme will give a big boost to the labour class.


A bigger deterrent

Nowadays, a hefty fee is charged by management institutions. The application fee is even a bigger deterrent for the young MBA aspirants hailing from the economically “not so privileged” sections of society.

On an average, a candidate has to fill in at least 10-15 application forms to boost his/her chances of getting into a B-school.

In the process, he/she ends up shelling out a huge sum as each application form costs at least Rs 1,000 even when he has no guarantee of securing a seat!

Moreover, no funding agency or bank would ever give a loan for such an activity. It is only those selected for the IIMs who get loans on a platter.

Thus, the government should look into this aspect to ensure that management education is accessible to all and does not become the exclusive preserve of the elite.



An allegorical spoof

Kudos to Jaspal Bhatti for having launched his “Feel Good Party" (FGP). Undoubtedly, it is an allegorical spoof to mock at the political parties going to contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. In line with the loud promises, fair or false, made by the national parties, the FGP has also offered a few good-for-all promises to be liked and laughed by everyone.

Jaspal Bhatti can make one more offer to one and all — that only new faces will be eligible for getting his party ticket as one chance is sufficient to become a trillionaire after winning a Lok Sabha seat. Let there be elections every year to make the winners rich enough and thus fulfil the slogan of ‘Gharibi Hatao’.

Prof J.S. JOGI, Amritsar


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