Need to scrap caste-based reservations

The editorial “Why quota for Muslims” (June 21) was timely. In the wake of Independence, the Congress introduced the policy of quota, licence-permit Raj and caste-based reservations to create vote banks, little realising that it was opening the floodgates for fragmentation and compartmentalisation of society.

Reservations must be scrapped forthwith if we are to achieve higher horizons. Such sops invariably inculcate the spirit of non-competition. Such myopic policies simply raise the persons to higher positions without merit and will to work, affecting the work culture.

When Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, being a statesman, he made policy for their progress, without resort to race-based reservations, with a birth base. However, our leaders, even after 57 years of Independence, have not grown wise and mature.



On the eve of the last elections, Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s Congress floated the sop of reservations in the private sector and now the Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh Government has given 5 per cent reservation for Muslims. All such regressive measures sadly are cutting into national unity; at stake is the national character and future of the country.

V.I.K. SHARMA, IAS (retd), Jalandhar City


Mahatma Gandhi, lodged in Yeravada Jail, went on a fast-unto-death when he learned of Ramsay MacDonald’s communal award. He must have turned in his grave on learning about the Andhra Pradesh government’s 5 per cent reservation for the Muslims. The shortsighted politicians are unable to foresee similar demands from the Sikhs, the Buddhists, the Jains and the Christians. And how long shall the Hindus lag behind?

These vote-seekers thrive on communal divide. President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the BJP and the Left parties should all ensure that the potentially dangerous move in Andhra Pradesh does not materialise. The State Assembly in question should be dissolved for violating the oath to protect the secular Constitution.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Solan

Right focus

The editorial entitled, “Agriculture needs urgent attention” (June 29) rightly observes that our agriculture needs urgent attention, if we have to meet the Prime Minister’s target to double our foodgrains production during the next decade. In this, the print media can play a vital role in serving as a useful link between the farmers and the research laboratories.

Dr G.S. DHILLON, Chandigarh

Greatness of Haribhai

I was shocked to hear the news of H.D. Shourie’s demise. Haribhai had acquired a reputation of being a “crusader for the common man”. The country knows about the multifarious public causes he had espoused and supported through Common Cause.

His contribution to the cause of safe blood is immense. Shocking evidence of malpractices emerged when I and Dr Manmohan Kaur collected data from members of the Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaemotology from all over India. Commercial blood banks were selling blood obtained from drug addicts and unhealthy blood sellers. Haribhai studied the data carefully and took a year to file a petition in the Supreme Court.

The outcome was the court’s landmark directive banning professional blood sellers and ordering all states to switch over to voluntary donation within two years. Through Haribhai’s personal contribution, Chandigarh’s Blood Bank Society had achieved its objective of voluntary blood service in India.

A grand old man whose mission in life was to work for the common man’s welfare is no more. But he leaves behind a shining example of what we should aspire to achieve. Haribhai personified greatness, selflessness, dedication, commitment and complete lack of ego.


Poor credibility

Investment in education, both in schools and universities, is the index of progress of a nation. Though there has been an exponential growth of schools and colleges, the credibility of middle, high and senior secondary examinations is at its lowest ebb. The result: the emergence of CET, CAT and MAT examinations for professional education.

Sadly, the credibility of these examinations too suffered after the leakage of question papers year after year. Things must improve. Otherwise, there will be chaos.


Merger of DA

The Himachal Pradesh Government has finally ordered the merger of 50 per cent DA with the basic pay, but the promised merger with the basic pension has again been withheld. The reason is clear: the serving employees have been able to pressurise the government better.

The government should appreciate that the pensioners need swifter sanctions because tomorrow many of them may not be there to receive the benefit.

The pensioners’ associations also need to learn a lesson. There are as many as three associations — all fighting among themselves.

L.R. SHARMA, Solan

Road accidents

This has reference to the editorial “Punjab’s killer roads” (June 18). It may be true that road accidents claim 2,500 lives every year in Punjab, but the point that compared to 80,000 annual road deaths in India, only 4,000 such deaths occur in the US is incorrect.

According to the figures of the US Transport Department and WHO, there were 42,643 road accident deaths in the US in 2003. While this figure in China was 99,217 for 2004, 40,000 deaths occur in Europe.

It has become a habit for us to criticise our country’s infrastructure while comparing it with the one in the West. For instance, the average length of surfaced roads per sq km in the US is 0.44 km. In India, it is 0.49 km. In Punjab, it is 1.05 km! Still, we complain of small infrastructure growth.

Similarly, the Indian railways has the lowest accident rate of 0.6 per million km of track. In the US, 331 and 369 deaths occurred at unmanned railway level crossings in 2003 and 2004 respectively. This is more than the total number of rail accident deaths in India during this period.



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