Take care of jawans’ elan and pride

This has reference to the article “Operation Parakram” by Maj-Gen Ashok Mehta (retd) (Aug 13). The real winner may have been the US. But the real loser was the Indian soldier.

It is not easy for the soldiers to remain deployed for nearly one year on the borders, ready to strike. It is not easy for the Commanders to keep them motivated for the task which is not forthcoming. It is also not easy to keep the civilians on your side for such a long period when you have overstayed their hospitality. Subsequently, after one year of practising war cries, if you have to withdraw to the barracks with a wimp, it is most disheartening.

Thus, the biggest lesson of Operation Parakram is that do not mobilise at such a large scale unless you mean business. Second, diplomacy should not be practised at the cost of the soldiers. And thirdly, Indian Army is one of the best in the world. As our jawans are our pride, let’s keep up their elan and pride.

ANUSHA SINGH, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, New Delhi


Water balance-sheet

There is a need to publish water balance-sheets of the rivers flowing through Punjab. These should cover their annual flow and distribution among the different states and command areas of the canal systems.

A water balance-sheet would serve many useful purposes. First, it will meet the citizen’s right to information. Secondly, it will illustrate how fair is our water distribution to the different states and regions. Excessive wet or totally dry patches, if any, would get removed. And finally, data on the water balance-sheets is readily available in the Annual Administration Reports of the government.

Dr G.S. DHILLON, Chandigarh

Feeding babies

Dr B.R. Thapa’s article on diarrhoea, the major killer of children, is timely (Aug 3). I would, however, like to present the recent and universal view. The writer recommends exclusive breast feeding from four to six months, and starting complementary feeding at four months.

However, now it is universally recommended by WHO, UNICEF, and the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India to provide exclusive breast feeding to the baby, right up to six months of age, and not vaguely for 4-6 months.

Similarly, complementary feeding is recommended at six months and not four months as suggested by the writer. The Tenth Five-Year Plan has included exclusive breastfeeding up to six months; the present rate of 40 per cent is to be raised to 80 per cent.

Dr V.K. AHUJA, President, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, Sangrur

Boosting milk yield

Stray cattle, though sound, create problems for the farmers in the villages. The NDRI at Karnal maintains that if these cows are injected hormones and given related treatment, these will start yielding milk. The success of this treatment is more than 80 per cent.

About Rs 1,000 is required to bring each one of them to re-milking stage. If the state government provides some subsidiary incentive, many below poverty line (BPL) families would go in for this option.


Sanskrit neglected

Sanskrit is not being given its due place in Punjab’s new private B.Ed. colleges. Sanskrit is not taught in 100 such colleges in the state. It should be given some parity with other teaching subjects like Punjabi, Hindi and English.

The Centre and the universities concerned can play a vital role in this regard while granting recognition and affiliation to such institutions. In this context, it is noteworthy that the Maharshi Dayanand College of Education, Moga, has introduced Sanskrit from the current session.

Prof PARVEEN RANA, Hoshiarpur

Medicinal plants

The article “HP promotes medicinal plant cultivation” (July 25) was timely. Punjab is also a progressive state and can do wonders if the government promotes medicinal plants. In Himachal Pradesh, educational institutions have been established on nature cure.

Punjab is lagging behind in this field though it has many rivers and canals connected with roads, sufficient greenery and a pollution-free environment by the side of the canals. It can promote herbal and medicinal plant cultivation and nature cure centres as part of tourism development. Unfortunately, the Punjab Medicinal Plant Board has remained on paper since the government extended little support.

S.R. MITTAL, Ludhiana

A soothing balm

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has really rendered a soothing balm by apologising to the Sikhs for the ’84 riots. He has proved his statesmanship and sincerity. He must be given time to catch the culprits. It is time former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee apologised to the nation for the Gujarat massacre of 2001.

SOURABH BAMBA, Ferozepore City

Fee hike unfair

The hike in the fee for various courses by the Punjab Technical University from Rs 54,000 to Rs 72,000 is unfair. This is a heavy burden on the parents and students. The middle class people will be especially hit.

Sometimes the students have to give Rs 2 lakh and above at the time of counselling. Some money has to be adjusted in the second semester. Yet for the third semester, the authorities demand much more. This is unfair and should be stopped forthwith.

SONIA DOGRA, Jalandhar


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