Check exposure to harmful chemicals

Recently, disturbing reports have been appearing in the newspapers about the extensive use of banned hormones and unprotected and unwarranted use of pesticides in Punjab. These are entering into the food chain of this region. The incidence of cancer in some districts has been attributed to the indiscriminate use of pesticides.

The people should be made aware of the genetic consequences of such exposure. The people who spray pesticides without protection are at a greater risk of cancer or mutagenic effects, but all of us who consume food in any form will also be affected. The damage (in the form of cancer, abortion, reduced fertility, deformed children etc.) will not be limited to us but to our next generation.

Recent researches in epigenetics show that even if the DNA escapes direct damage, the changes can be carried through small chemicals that may get attached to the DNA, and modify its activity to adversely affect the next generation. Experimentally, such changes have been reported to exist even up to four generations after a single exposure, implying that the toxic chemicals to which we get exposed today could even affect our great grandchildren.



It is time to educate the masses about the genetic consequences of the current irrational exposure of Punjab’s population to harmful chemicals and to strictly control it.

Dr JAI RUP SINGH, Professor of Human Genetics, GND University, Amritsar

Welcome news on roads

The people of Punjab are pleased to see the numerous press releases and large advertisements regarding the long pending repair of the state roads. We are told that Rs 1,100 crore are being spent on repair and re-carpeting of the existing roads in the state.

Going by the present condition of these roads, one can easily understand the large-scale bungling when the roads were last repaired. The poor quality of the materials used at that time has taken its toll with the common man suffering all these years.

I strongly fee that the state government should introduce committees of eminent persons of the respective areas and assign them the task to examine the current repair works in their areas and report any irregularities to the highest officer. It is necessary to ensure that funds do not go down the drain again.



Advani’s predicament

I feel sad for Mr L.K. Advani on two counts. One, his timely and goodwill visit to Pakistan in early June was spoiled following his observations on Jinnah’s secular credentials. Secondly, the context in which Mr Advani eulogised Jinnah was obscure.

The media too, is to be partly blamed for focusing on contents rather than context. The VHP, waiting for an excuse to settle old scores, lost no time to castigate Mr Advani. The BJP’s studied silence and failure to respond in time to the VHP’s outcry pushed Mr Advani into isolation.

The Congress and the RSS faulted in appreciating Mr Advani’s diplomatic propriety, especially in the backdrop of the Indo-Pak peace build-up. His remarks at Jinnah’s mausoleum were neither a lapse nor a part of any strategy. The selective quotes of Sarojini Naidu’s description about Jinnah matched well with the occasion. Advani bashing was thus unjust.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali


Everyone knows Jinnah’s contribution in the freedom struggle. He was a staunch Congressman and supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity. Then why did he part ways with the Congress, his political mentor, at a time when Independence to India was at an arm’s length?

Both Nehru and Jinnah were overambitious. They wanted to occupy the highest seat of power after Independence. Jinnah was embittered by Nehru’s rise in the Congress. He feared that Nehru would thwart his own ambition in united India. So he was convinced that without taking a communal line, there was no hope for him and his party. Thus, secular Jinnah turned communal.

Nehru knew that in partitioned India, his desire to occupy the highest seat of power would be secure. So both would not give up this historic opportunity. Neither Nehru nor Jinnah was secular. Partition for both was “tryst with destiny”.


Neglected highway

The 20-km road from Anandpur Sahib to Nangal is in bad shape. This is an important link, up to Mehatpur, the entry point for Una in Himachal. The latter stretch of 5 km has also been neglected by the Punjab government.

It is learnt that the Centre has sanctioned an express highway from Chandigarh to Kiratpur. Why cannot this be extended up to Nangal or Mehatpur? The Centre and the Punjab Government should explore ways to extend the projected express highway up to Mehatpur instead of terminating the same at Kiratpur.

D.P. SHARMA, Dharamsala (HP)

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |