English: Punjab must follow Haryana

The Haryana government’s decision to make English and Mathematics compulsory in Middle and higher secondary level is welcome, belated though. As these subjects were optional for many years, the students and the state suffered a lot.

English is not a foreign language. It is an international language and one can ignore it only at his/her peril. Punjab must follow suit immediately. Sadly, most matriculates passed out from Punjab’s schools cannot read or write correct English. The fate of open schools is still worse. Without English, Mathematics and Science, the matriculation certificate has no credibility.

Countries like China have realised the importance of learning English. Learning of English will never hinder the growth and enrichment of Punjabi or Hindi.

Dr P.P. SINGHAL, Chural Kalan (Sangrur)



This refers to the editorial “Blow for English” (Nov 16). The Chinese Prime Minister, during a recent visit to India, said in Bangalore that his country could not come at par with India in the field of IT only because of English.

Teachers should help students learn both written and spoken English. The attitude of both teachers and parents towards English should be one of cooperation. Teachers should encourage students to interact in English in the schools and colleges.

Students may speak English along with vernacular ones at home and in educational institutions. There should be frequent English contests at the school level. English binds us to our customs, festivals, traditions and culture.

SURINDER KAUR, Balwanda (Gurdaspur)

Give cotton growers their due

This has reference to the editorial “No longer white gold: Cotton goes begging” (Nov 9). Punjab’s farmers do not get a fair deal in marketing of cotton. The government is mainly responsible for this.

First, owing to lack of research, the farmers are growing inferior varieties of cotton, which fetch low price, have limited market and are in no position to face international competition. Secondly, the government is in no position to arrange cheaper inputs to the farmers to restrict the cost of production.

Thirdly, the Punjab government has fixed the market fee unnecessarily high which further burdens the already overburdened farmer. This has to be scaled down to 0.5-1 per cent. If collected fairly, even this small percentage can generate adequate revenue for development.

And finally, the export gains are limited to the textile millers only; they are not transferred to the farmers though they deserve a fair share of the value addition.

PURAN SINGH, Project Economist (Dist. Rural Development Agency), Rewari

ATM Centre

The State Bank of India is going to install ATM in a remote area on Circular Road. This will affect senior citizens, old women and the like. Why cannot it be installed in the SBI building itself? The authorities should consider this suggestion favourably.

SURINDER SINGH, Ferozepur City

Unjust ruling

The Supreme Court ruling on marriage registration and clubbing the Sikh community with the Hindus is unjust. One has to consider the Sikhs’ historic role and their role in the country’s freedom movement. They suffered a lot due to Partition.

The circumstances under which the Sikhs were brought under the Hindu Code along with the Jains have remained questionable since the dawn of independence and the framing of the Constitution. Surprisingly, though the Christian Marriage Act 1873 and the Muslim Personal Law 1937 are in force, the distinct religious and cultural custom of Anand Karaj right from 1525 and duly ratified by the British Imperial Council is being ignored.

It is time legal infirmities and considerations which undermine the religious, cultural and distinct identity of Sikhs were removed in the national interest.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana

Naxalite menace

Over 150 districts of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa are in the grip of Naxalite activities. It is spreading to other states too. Its epicentre is in Nepal. China offers solution to this alarming situation at the cost of Nepal.

Dr SHIV DARSHANLAL SHARMA, Balwanda (Gurdaspur)

Core banking

People are facing hardship due to the new technology adopted by the State Bank of India’s Core Banking Solution. Australian banks have discarded this system. Why is the RBI allowing this system? People are unnecessarily harassed. One can see long queues in Moga, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Chandigarh.


Oil deal with Nigeria

The reported $6 billion oil deal that Nigeria has signed with India is particularly welcome because often a barter arrangement — oil for developmental investments in Nigeria — was discussed at various levels but never materialised.

As the CEO of a multi-national group of companies in Nigeria, I am aware of the tremendous scope for Indo-Nigerian collaboration. I often used to wonder of our indifference to engage in commercial deals with Nigeria, perhaps of the military rule there. This factor did not deter other countries like China from going the whole hog to invest in that country.

Oil is Nigeria’s gold. Its oil reserves are unqualified. With our insatiable demand for oil and Nigeria’s pressing need for infrastructural development akin to Indian conditions, the two countries should establish a long term, mutually beneficial, commercial partnership.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Una

Giving up smoking

Shah Rukh Khan had announced his intention to stop smoking. However, it would be too early to judge his ability to stop smoking after being a chain smoker. I writer this on the basis of my own experience.

I had been a heavy smoker for the past 40 years. Before giving up smoking completely in July 1998, I had tried twice to get rid of this habit, but I could not. It is, therefore, advisable for Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramdoss to think again whether Shah Rukh Khan is suitable for the assignment given to him.

V.M. SETH, Sonepat


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