WTO: No free trade or fair competition

Apropos of the news-item "Cola companies 'missionaries' of MNCs" (Aug 22), the unequal position of developing countries vis-a-vis developed ones in the WTO is sad. Where is the scope for free trade and fair competition if the rules are framed in favour of the rich countries or they are flaunted with impunity and arrogance if they don't suit them?

For instance, the WTO permits only 15 per cent import duty whereas Canada imposes 340 per cent import duty on butter, EU 250 per cent on beef, Japan 170 per cent on sugar and the US 120 per cent on groundnut to safeguard the interests of their farmers. Where do out products stand in the face of the US' $ 40-billion annual subsidy to abet its exports to developing countries?

India is the biggest producer of milk. However, can it compete with France which gives $ 2.5 subsidy a cow everyday? Considering the double standards of rich countries towards the poor, I wonder whether India should continue with the WTO.

S. PURI, Chandigarh



Bank strike

Whenever wage revision of nationalised bank employees is due, the Indian Banks Association adopts dilly-dallying technique. Ordinarily, the IBA should draw outlines for wage structure for bank managements 5-6 months ahead to help employees get their due salary increase in time.

If 10 lakh employees go on strike for a day, the authorities deduct their pay for the day. In the bargain, they save crores of rupees and the employees are blamed for causing inconvenience to customers. This practice had been going on for years. Are bank authorities and the IBA not answerable to the public for this unholy practice and causing loss to business and trade worth thousands of crores of rupees?

S.C. UMMAT, Chandigarh

Serials with no idea

Ekta Kapoor's serials have no new idea or concept. The same theme is repeated in almost every serial. Having occupied the prime time of most channels, her serials are continued for a long time and poor viewers have no choice. It would be difficult for one to see a stable relationship between husband and wife in any of her serials. Consequently, this will have a deleterious effect on society.

Generally, viewers watch serials to feel relaxed and not to get disturbed, emotionally or otherwise. They want something new, based on true stories. Producers have no right to play with the sentiments of the viewers. Now it has become very difficult to tolerate any more of these serials.


Counselling centres

Harish Kumar Singal's views on career counselling (Jobs and Careers Supplement, The Tribune, Aug 17) are timely. Career counselling is presently done by the Departments of Employment and Education and no NGO or private agency is involved in this exercise. As a result, the services are inadequate.

Though more educational institutions and youth are in need of counselling, the officers and the staff managing the guidance centres in the districts are able to cover only a small fraction of the requirement.

There is a need to open up more career counselling centres, manned by professionally trained staff with latest knowledge. These centres should be equipped with current literature on career counselling. NGOs and senior citizens should also be involved in the work. The counsellors should have comprehensive knowledge on the new courses and new job avenues available for students.



Lift the ban

The Board of School Education, Haryana, has recently allowed students to appear privately in Plus Two examination. But the ban in case of Matric examination still remains.

In a country with highest number of illiterates in the world, a ban on students who do not have resources to pursue their studies in schools and open schools is not justifiable by any standards. Nor does it stand moral, social or academic scrutiny. When Punjab, Himachal and Rajasthan have no such ban in force, why should Haryana do it?

The neighbouring states provide students maximum facilities and opportunities to the students, but not Haryana. The Board of School Education would do well to lift the ban as early as possible.

P.M. MUDGAL, Hisar

Road repair must

The road from Taran Taran to Goindwal Sahib is in a bad condition. The stretch from Fathebad to Goindwal Sahib in particular is worst. It needs immediate repairs. The famous annual mela of Goindwal Sahib falls on September 16, 2004. I appeal to the authorities concerned to get the road repaired before the fair.

GURBACHAN SINGH VIRDI, Goindwal Sahib (Amritsar)

Colony in bad shape

The Diesel Component Works, Patiala, is one of the production units of the Ministry of Railways. However, the colony is in a bad shape. The condition of the approach road from the railway station to the colony is worst. Driving on this road, especially during rains, can be fatal. The slip roads are full of potholes. Stray cattle roam freely in the colony and bull fight is a common scene, posing a threat to the residents.

Though the colony is about 10 years old, the condition of some houses is deplorable. They are not being maintained properly. There is also noise pollution because of the heavy volume of traffic. Officers seem to be least bothered to inspect the colony and improve the condition of the colony.

Lt-Col V.K. RATHORE (retd), Jalandhar

Unusable road

The road connecting Balachaur with Bhaddi needs immediate repairs. Accidents involving four wheelers are common due to the slippery, muddy road. Scooterists and cyclists find it difficult to use the muddy road.

Students of B.P.S. School, Navjot Public School and M R Citi Public School are also facing hardship. I appeal to the authorities concerned to do the needful.

NAGESH KUMAR, Teacher, M.R. Citi School, Balachaur

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