Need to probe Pakistan’s nuclear deals

The Report “Pak General offered nuclear help to Nigeria” (March 5) has given a new twist to the proliferation of nuclear technology from Pakistan. Despite the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s denial, the proverb “there is no smoke without fire” amply justifies the Nigerian claim. Such offers are made casually. As they do not form part of official parleys and are not documented, they can be refuted without any qualm.

Having been in Nigeria twice, first as the Head of the Indian Army’s Training Team at the Nigerian Defence Academy (1970-73) and later as the CEO of a multinational group for eight years, I know how the Nigerian government works. Close on the heels of a major scandal involving the sale of nuclear technology for profit to North Korea, Iran and Libya, it is hard to swallow Pakistan’s refutation of the Nigerian claim.

External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha has rightly called for a debate on Pakistan’s shady deals in the sale of its nuclear knowhow. When Iran and Libya can be investigated on nuclear proliferation, why not Pakistan for a more serious offence involving the sale of nuclear secrets? It is time the US stopped its partiality towards Pakistan. Iraq was punished for supposedly possessing weapons of mass destruction but Pakistan is going scot-free when the sale of nuclear secrets from this country has been irrefutably established.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Malangar (Una)



NH project: Wrong priority

I do not know why the Kalka-Shimla National Highway No. 22 is being widened into a four-lane highway. Why is the government not taking up the widening of the Pinjore- Parwanoo road which is so congested with long traffic jams.

Bypasses are needed to avoid the widening of the existing roads so that those residing on both sides of the roads in towns, villages, cities and other areas are not dislocated. The government can also save some money towards the payment of compensation to those likely to be affected by the NH project.

Apparently, the government has overlooked the need to widen the Pinjore-Parwanoo road. Under the new project, those living in the thickly populated areas of Parwanoo, Jably, Dharampur, Anji, Nasal, Rabon, Solan, Kandaghat, Shogi, Taradevi and even Shimla will be dislocated. The government should get a survey done for the four-lane road from the less populated areas — Nalagarh and Ramshahr to Shimla — so that these are also developed. In particular, those living near the Kalka-Shimla road should not be evicted. Otherwise, thousands of families will be deprived of their living.



Heritage buildings

The report on the demolition of a heritage building in Amritsar (March 2) is shocking. It underscores the need to preserve and protect these buildings. Unfortunately, INTACH is not playing its role properly. It should have intervened and stopped the demolition.

There is a need to constitute an autonomous committee of experts which should identify all the heritage buildings in Punjab which can be saved and restored. Amritsar district is rich in art. It is reputed for its frescos and murals. Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib and Dera Baba Bir Singh and Dera Baba Khuda Singh at Tarn Taran are great examples. In 1999, I and Dr Sheharyar had highlighted the problem of decay, but little has been done to save the art. Let us wake up at least now before it is too late.

BRIJ BEDI, Amritsar

Principal Triloki Nath

It was sad to know that Principal Triloki Nath is no more. He was wedded to the principles of humility, simplicity and Gandhian philosophy. As one of his students, I would like to recall two incidents which reflect his personality.

It was a cold January morning in 1978. A new teacher was about to take a special class in history in our college. When we were standing outside Arts Block, Principal Triloki Nath came. His was a fresh and serene face. The diminutive frame was exuding alertness and experience of the bygone years. He wanted a bench to be taken into the classroom. As I prepared to lift it, the Principal asked the new young teacher to help me. But he was reluctant and said, “Sir, I am from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, and I have just joined”. The Principal said, “Yes, yes, I know it, you help this boy”. But when the teacher did not move, anger took over Triloki Nath’s face. He himself lifted the bench and both of us put it in the classroom. After that, he told the teacher, “Young man, why do you feel shy of doing small things?”

Another instance. Our class was over at 2 pm during peak summer. As I came out of the classroom, Principal Triloki Nath entered it, switched off the fans and lights and muttered to himself, “Hamare desh mein pehle se hi bijli aur pani ki kami hai”. I wonder if there are any teachers and principals of his stature.

R.K. SONDH, Secretary, Commission of Inquiry, Northern Railway, Chandigarh

Nanak and space

The scientists engaged in space research are advised to read a few pages of Guru Nanak Dev’s life history. They will get an insight into the journey in space up to the pole star and beyond, the story before and after Sach Khand.

The researchers would know about a few places in his journey and the distance of the moon, the sun and the pole star from the earth. They will also know about the four Vedas and so on.

Lt-Col P.S. SARANG (retd), Chandigarh

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