Armed Forces Act needed to check insurgency

Apropos of Amulya Ganguli's article "Forces of insecurity: Harsh laws need built-in safeguards" (Aug 24), the writer has rightly pointed out that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act will soon join the infamous list of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), the Terrorism and Disruptive Areas Act (TADA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).

I do feel that the Army needs the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to combat insurgency more effectively. In general, this Act empowers the armed forces to carry out an operation without informing the Executive Magistrate or the police of the area concerned. Such powers are used only in the areas declared as "disturbed" by the government.

The problem is that if information about the operation is supplied to the civil officials, there is every possibility of it being leaked out, leading to the failure of the operation.


Bad news for patients

The Supreme Court's observation that "doctors are not criminals" will help the doctors. The court has taken cognisance of the cases where patients have borne the brunt of callous doctors. Dishonest diagnosis followed by a series of unnecessary expensive clinical tests and prolonged period of medication is a common ploy adopted by doctors to mint money. Of course, there may be exceptions.

Doctors are known to have indulged in criminal practices like female foeticide, illegal abortions and trade in human organs. Like other professionals, can't the doctors be criminals. Granting them immunity from criminal liability for causing death of the patients even "by way of accident or error of judgement" amounts to giving them a free hand to play with the patients' lives. Will any conscientious NGO or individual challenge this controversial judgement and seek a review of the ruling by a larger bench of the Supreme Court?

HOSHIAR SINGH, Former Principal, Pathankot



Decontrol sugar industry

To transform India into a developed nation, industrial growth is of prime importance. Current trends suggest that the emphasis should be on the manufacturing sector. Industrial growth will play a crucial role in the all round development of the country, especially in providing employment to the masses.

Sugar industry, after textiles, is one such area that requires national attention. Disturbingly, 144 out of 564 sugar mills in the country are closed as of today, the largest being in Maharashtra alone, where 49 out of 185 mills are closed. This has affected production and resulted in the loss of employment opportunities. Haryana and Uttaranchal are the only two states where all the mills are working.

It is time the government decontrolled the sugar industry. These mills should be revived and modernised to make them efficient and cost-effective. This measure will provide employment to 40 million unemployed youths in the country as also give a fillip to exports.

Dr B.L. TEKRIWAL, Mumbai

Candlelight vigil

I fully agree with the editorial "Candles of peace" (Aug 17). This is the need of the hour to strengthen this movement for promoting peace and prosperity in the subcontinent. However, have we achieved any concrete results ever since this ritual was started in the Wagah Border every August 14 midnight?

Irrespective of the publicity and media hype, I am afraid, we have achieved little on the ground. Moreover, in the past eight years, we have been unable to convey the purpose of the candlelight vigil.


Check beggary

In Punjab, besides the influx of migrants, there is a flood of beggars. One finds them at traffic signals, outside restaurants, shops, bus stands, religious places, etc. Surprisingly, they come from far off places in an organised manner.

The beggars tend to commit crimes of all kinds in coordination with mafia gangs which monitor their activities. Child lifting for sale is their common crime. The government should curb this menace firmly. People too should discourage them.

S.K. HANS, Jalandhar

Punjab buses: Emulate Haryana

It is heartening to know that the Punjab Transport Department has decided to add 400 new buses to the fleet of Punjab Roadways (Aug 4). These are proposed to be procured from Punbus, a government undertaking.

In all, 534 yellow buses were reportedly added to the fleet in 1997-98 and 1998-99 during the Akali-BJP regime. These buses were of poor quality and uncomfortable with little ankle space. People boarded them only when no other option was available which is true even now. Now while purchasing new buses, the authorities should ensure that these are of excellent quality, stoutly built, comfortable with ample leg space.

The Punjab government should take a cue from Haryana. The Haryana Roadways buses are of decent quality, strong, cozy and of pleasing design, colour and shape.

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh


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