Tackle poverty to check child labour

This refers to the editorial, “Lost childhood” (Oct 11). Banning child labour is, no doubt, a very commendable step taken by the government. But this is not enough. The ban should be followed by some concrete measures like extending help to the poor children so that they are able to feed their families. Rehabilitation of the poor people should form an essential component of the government’s policy to root out child labour in the country.

Children do not willingly go out for work. Neither are they forced by someone to work for them. In fact, they are forced by their poverty to go for it. So, I feel that banning child labour and not providing any kind of help to these children amounts to taking away jobs from them. This, I am afraid, may even goad them to resort to crime too.




How effective the ban on child labour would be known only after some time. Mostly, the poor children do odd jobs to make both ends meet. These children, through hard work, help parents to fill in their empty stomachs. The governments — at the Centre and in the states — would do well to rehabilitate them first. It must ensure that those ‘workers’ are not subjected to still tighter conditions under the new ban.

To make the Act successful, the government should give these children the right to education, which is being privatised, and made costly and out of reach for them, thus denying them this right too.

N.L. JINDAL, Mansa

Should Afzal hang?

Death sentence for Mohammad Afzal Guru has became a controversial issue. There is no doubt that he has committed the most heinous crime against the humanity in plotting to attack the national citadel of democracy and sovereignty.  He has committed sedition and treason against the nation and deserves the severest punishment.

But we are the inheritors of great Buddha, Guru Nanak Dev and Mahatma Gandhi who have always preached against retaliation, which is barbaric. The good sense of forgiveness must prevail. There is merit in the argument for commutation of Afzal’s death sentence to life imprisonment.



I am against death penalty. Our political and judicial systems have become defective. The rantings of the right wing forces for an eye for an eye is against our civilisation built over centuries. Is it advisable to even put a question mark on the President’s discretion, that too, when a mercy petition has been filed?

It is correct that certain executives have been selective in mercy pleas and remissions but the judiciary also cannot absolve of this particular defect. Let the President do his job.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana


Do the vociferous protagonists of clemency for Afzal Guru honestly believe that if the President grants clemency and lets him off, terrorism against India will disappear? Do they think that no plane of Air India will be hijacked and no demand made for releasing arrested terrorists in return for hostages or no innocent persons will be killed or no state institution will be attacked? If the answer is yes, let him go.

R.J. KHURANA, Bhopal

Loot by PCOs

There are only two PCOs at Rajasansi International Airport, Amritsar. On October 14, I made a call from one of the PCOs (adjacent to the coffee stall) to London for 93 seconds. I was charged a hefty Rs 45.20!

When I asked the reason for the excess bill, the owner told me that he had to pay a rent of Rs 20,000 a month to the Airport Authority of India. This is nothing but daylight robbery by the PCOs. The Union Communications Ministry should intervene and stop this loot.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

No direct train

Recently, when I was standing in the queue for Senior Citizens/ Foreigners at Chandigarh’s ISBT Railway reservation counter, a French tourist, who wanted to book a ticket for Amritsar, was surprised to know that there was no direct train from Chandigarh to Amritsar.

When told by the clerk that there was no direct train, he asked me: “Is not Amritsar in Indian Punjab? Why is, then, no direct train between Punjab’s two important cities?” I just smiled and muttered, “It is like that”. It is now for the Railway Minister to answer the French tourist’s question.

SATNAM SINGH, Chandigarh

VAT payment

The Punjab government’s recent notification on VAT payment in two separate challans — 90 per cent to be paid in Form II and 10 per cent in Form 2A — has increased the workload of the staff. It has also created problems for the traders, tax advisers, banks and the department without any increase in the state revenue.

I suggest the government to make one entry of 10 per cent of VAT collected at the end of each quarter towards the Municipal fund account. This will give relief to all sections without any loss of state revenue.

H.S. GHAI, Advocate, Khanna

Assam’s landscape

It was a pleasure reading Parminder’s middle, “In the lap of nature” (Oct 10). She recaptures Assam’s landscape and the pristine beauty of its tiny hamlets strewn about in the rainforests. Her piece was like an etching done with sure stokes.

RAM VARMA, Panchkula

Falling standards in schools

The report “Education in North in shambles: Schools in all states perform below national average” (Oct 7) is a grim reminder of the rot that has set in our education system. This is surprising because government school teachers are best paid. There is also the Sarv Shikshya Abhiyan to improve facilities in the schools.

To improve the standards in government schools, the annual increment of teachers should be linked with their performance. If the Board examination results are below 50 per cent, the annual increment should be withheld.

There should be a system of reward and punishment for teachers. While those responsible for good results (above 80 per cent) must be suitably rewarded, those found wanting (below 50 per cent results for three consecutive years) should be compulsorily retired. The DEO, BEO should also be punished for poor results. 

Most teachers travel from urban to rural areas to reach schools and thus waste lot of time in commuting. The teachers should compulsorily stay at the places of their posting. All the schools should be equipped with modern classrooms, clean toilets, safe drinking water, electricity, computers, sports and health check-up facilities.

PURAN SINGH, Project Economist  (Haryana), Chandigarh



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 |