Media’s role in elections crucial

THERE has been a decline in the quality of the people elected to Parliament. The downhill trend continues unabated. The only concern of the selection committees of various political parties is to give tickets to those who have the capacity to get elected by means foul and fair.

In the ensuing elections, many actors, musicians and magicians in addition to those with criminal antecedents are contesting. Some of them will, no doubt, get elected. But what constructive role they can play when issues of great importance are discussed and Acts passed affecting the life of crores of people? What experience these people have to examine critical issues objectively? Look at the children of political leaders contesting this time. Their only plus point is their ability to cash in on their dynastic background.

Who is to bell the cat? NGOs, common man, social worker or the media? The media — print or electronic — is extremely effective in moulding the public opinion about the elections. They should not hesitate, in the national interest, to checkmate the dangerous practice of shortsighted political leaders.

Air Marshal P.K. JAIN (retd), Chandigarh



Why blame doctors?

This has reference to the report “Tohra’s son-in-law blames doctors” (April 4). It has become a fashion to blame doctors for every death. This is totally wrong. We, as medical professionals, deal with the most precious gift of Mother Nature i.e. life and we do whatever is possible to save the lives of everyone without any bias or prejudice. But life and death are in the hands of God and it is unfair to blame medical professional for every death.

Charges like this will demoralise the medical fraternity and, if this trend continues, a majority of the medical professionals will start doing defensive practice. Efforts should be made to build mutual trust between the medical profession and the community.

The media and professional bodies like the Indian Medical Association have a special role to play in this regard. They should educate the masses to the effect that life and death are in the hands of God and that doctors do whatever possible to save life.

Dr D.S. JASPAL, State Patron, Indian Medical Association, Chandigarh

Kashmir again

Apropos of T.V. Parasuram’s report “Mansingh warns Pak against harping on Kashmir”, Mr Lali Mansingh is an astute and seasoned Ambassador to the US. He has rightly warned Pakistan not to flog the Kashmir issue to the detriment of the current Indo-Pak peace initiative. He has also cautioned Washington against double standards on the international war against terrorism.

General Musharraf’s rigid stand on Kashmir remains unaltered. His bargaining power has received a boost with Pakistan’s conferment of a major non-NATO ally of the US. With unrestricted US military aid now flowing in and with enhanced political backing from the super power, General Musharraf has acquired a new lease of life to keep the Kashmir issue on the front burner.

His soldierly brash knows no limit. If the ongoing peace process ( laced with “cricket diplomacy”) is grounded, Bush would equally share the blame with Musharraf for this fiasco, the political compulsion of the former and the survival of the latter in the face of threats from hostile fundamentalists at home notwithstanding.

India’s stand on Kashmir has always been realistic and consistent. Dialogue and not confrontation is the only way to resolve this unduly politicised issue. American diplomacy would fail miserably if this issue is allowed to revert to eye ball-to-eye ball confrontation which, in turn, may lead to fresh hostilities with adverse consequences to the entire region.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL (retd.), Malanger (HP)

Wine shop near school!

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has given permission to a wine shop-cum-restaurant near the gate of Government High School, Bhoj Anji, Barog Railway Station. This wine shop has been opened in gross violation of the rule that no wine shops can be opened in the vicinity of an educational institution and residential areas.

The Solan district administration and the HP government seem to have overlooked this rule and their responsibility towards the school and the students.



Lawyers & engineers

During a visit to India, a delegation of lawyers from Pakistan were surprised to know about the huge backlog of cases pending in Indian courts. Clearly, administrative tribunals and consumer grievances redressal fora at the district level have lost much of their utility by allowing lawyers into the system and adopting the procedures of the regular courts. These alternative dispute redressal agencies are treated as additional courts and not as institutions created to deliver speedy justice to the parties concerned.

One would be surprised to find that even small potholes on the roads take months and even years to repair! The condition of NH-1 near PAP and Guru Nanakpura-Ladowali road at Jallandhar and NH-22 near Dharampur are some classic examples. Potholes on National Highways where vehicles travel at 60 km ph do not invite suspension of the engineers concerned for substandard roads but the prosecution of the victims of the accidents.

L.R. SHARMA, Jallandhar City

No compensation

Apropos of the report “Blast victims await compensation” (April 3), the blast in the Amritsar court complex on February 19, 2004 was entirely the result of negligence of the authorities. The paltry compensation of Rs 2,000 announced by the Deputy Commissioner has not been paid to any of the injured persons.

There is another aspect which the report seems to have overlooked. It was expected that shopkeepers whose goods and shops got damaged, would be compensated if not fully, to some extent at least. This damage in each case was noted and lists were prepared by the officials concerned. Apparently, the matter is “under consideration” of the government. I urge the government to take a decision expeditiously and do justice to the victims of the blasts.

SATYA PAL DANG, Chheharta, (Amritsar)

Worthy of emulation

I always observe my neighbour in Shimla carrying a polythene bag containing soil or sand, whenever he takes his dog in the morning, to put it on the shit of his dog. A similar practice is also followed in foreign countries, where people lift the shit in a carry bag and throw it in the dustbin. It is in sharp contrast with Indians, who never care to do this. As a result, it becomes a nauseating experience for morning joggers. The pet lovers should take a note of this idea.

V.K. SHARMA, Shimla

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