Ensure success of mid-day meals scheme

Apropos of the editorial “Meals at mid-day” (Sept 18), in view of the benefits of the mid-day meals scheme, the Centre must release funds to the states early for effective implementation. If there is political will, all stumbling blocks can be removed. Of course, the willing co-operation of voluntary organisations is also required for its success.

We have the tradition of community kitchen in religious institutions. In Gurdwaras and temples, devoted volunteers not only donate provisions but also cook the meals and serve it to hundreds of people with a smile. We have well-equipped Gurdwaras and temples in villages and towns. Under the aegis of these religious institutions, the local administration can work out modalities to serve freshly cooked meals to primary school students. It is our religious duty to nurture children, the future of our nation.

S. PURI, Chandigarh



Greening of Punjab

It is good that the Punjab government has decided to plant trees on the roadsides of 2,500 villages and cities of the state to usher in a new green revolution (The Tribune, Oct 18). Trees to be planted must possess medicinal and food value. The importance of ornamental trees is limited. Hence, priority must be given to medicinal, herbal and fruit plants.

Centuries ago, King Ashok and many others opted for fruit bearing and herbal trees on the roadsides. Such trees add to national wealth and serve the needs of the people. Kabir said, Bara hua to kya hua jese per khazoor, pakshi ko chaya nahi, phal lagen ati door.

During the British rule, the government planted trees with zero-food value. Why should we follow this policy even after 57 years of Independence? We should plant saplings of high medicinal and food value. They consume less water but would help in soil conservation, oxygen release etc. More important, both people and animals will relish fruits of such trees.

S.R. MITTAL, Ludhiana


Discipline in PGI

The repatriation of the Deputy Director-Administration (DDA), Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, is timely. There have been many cases for some years showing the system’s pathological incapacity to deal firmly and promptly with indiscipline. If the DDA had not gone to the extent she went, she could have persisted with her willful behaviour with impunity. A Director saddled with a DDA who does not respect him would have suffered an erosion of authority and, worse still, created a parallel centre of authority.

Her appointment itself shows the dysfunctionality of the system. She obviously came for her personal convenience and not because she was committed to serving the PGI. This raises a disturbing question. How are these postings made? Apparently, the appraisals in her past postings either did not give an accurate assessment of her traits or if they did suggest anything negative, the Union Health Ministry and even the PGI Governing Body overlooked it. When systems start functioning for the benefit of individuals, public interest is the first casualty.

There is another aspect to such cases. Transfers are taken as a substitute for action. While vindictive assertion of authority is not what is recommended, to ignore transgressions of conduct rules only enfeebles the system. It would not be surprising if this matter is forgotten with the DDA’s transfer.

P.H. VAISHNAV, Former Chief Secretary (Punjab), Chandigarh

For pension parity

The Punjab government sanctions old age allowance with basic pension at 5 and 10 per cent at the age of 65 and 75 years respectively. It has also sanctioned a fixed monthly medical allowance of Rs 250. These benefits are extended to employees who joined service before Nov 1, 1966, and retired later. The expenditure is shared between Punjab and Haryana government @ 60 and 40 per cent respectively.

The Haryana government has so far not sanctioned this benefit to pensioners who retired from the Haryana area. It should give the same benefit to Haryana pensioners/family pensioners and claim 60 per cent share due from the Punjab government.

MOTI RAM SINGLA, President, Haryana Civil Pensioners’ Welfare Assn, Karnal

Falling standards

I read with concern the news-item “Need to fill gaps in BA-I English". I fully agree with Prof K.B.S. Sodhi that the book “Slice of Life” prescribed for BA-I students is not sufficient to raise the standards. Of course, the book contains 15 short poems, five stories and five essays, out of which students have already learnt two poems, one short story and one essay at Plus 2 level.

As for the inclusion of the chapter “A Mother’s letter to her son”, I found this letter very inspiring and thoughtful. I appreciate inclusion of the thought-provoking essay “A President Speaks” by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in this anthology.

DARSHAN SINGLA, S.D. College for Women, Moga

DA merger benefit

The teaching and non-teaching staff working in government-aided colleges and schools in Punjab are yet to get the benefit of 50 per cent DA merger with their basic pay from April 1, 2004. The non-issuance of notification in this regard has led to widespread resentment among them.

Punjab government employees and staff working with various boards, corporations and universities in the state have already got the benefit. The Punjab Chief Minister should look into the matter personally and announce the relief as a Divali gift.


Female foeticide

Bringing up of a daughter is one small part of her life. Torture by her in-laws is also a major factor for the evil of female foeticide. Dowry death cases are reported as suicide cases. Who would like to end one’s life without unbearable circumstances? As long as the punishment for dowry death cases is not made exemplary and time-bound, people would not stop the practice of female foeticide. Only special courts can curb the evils of dowry and female foeticide.

HARPAL SINGH, Sohana (Ropar)

Root of all problems

This refers to Simrat Kaur’s letter “Keep your environs clean”. Population growth is the root of all the problems. If the balance between environmental welfare and economic development is lost sight of, the life of a few may become prosperous, but the life of many would be in trouble.

ISHA GOYAL, Guruharsahai (Ferozepore)

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