Give primary education its due

The editorial Primary fault (Nov 10) rightly observed that the Centre is ignoring poor children’s education. For proper treatment to primary education, the right to education should have been included in the chapter on Fundamental Rights and not on Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution.

Under Article 45 (Directive Principle), the state would endeavour (not ensure) to provide free, compulsory, universal primary education to all children between 6 and 14 years, within a period of 10 years from the date of the commencement of the Constitution. The state endeavoured only half-heartedly and consequently even after 56 years of the adoption of the Constitution, half of Indian women and one-fourth of men have remained illiterate and hence ignorant, unemployed and poor.

The UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report 2007 gives a very bad report card to India. With nearly 4 to 5 million out of school children, India ranks a poor 90 on a scale of 125 on the Global Development Index.

The Right to Education Act 2005 was duly examined by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) and returned to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development for getting Parliament’s nod with respect to implementation of the guidelines before sending it to different states for further action.

Apparently, the HRD Ministry is not keen on implementing the Act. It is more occupied with Bills connected with reservations for this OBCs and other minorities. May I request the HRD Ministry to help ensure early implementation of the Act?

Dr T.R. SHARMA, Patiala


Develop Subathu

To ease pressure on Shimla, Solan and other towns, the Himachal Pradesh government proposed the Waknaghat project for setting up an alternative satellite town. However, it is still hanging in air. The belt between Subathu and Kunihar along the Gambher river is idle. It is best suited for developing a new town or building the housing board’s dwelling units to ease congestion on the two stations.

Direct foreign investment can be sought for developing this area which has water, land and fine infrastructure. It will help in the balanced development of the region. Subathu remained neglected after Independence due to the Cantonment rules and indifferent attitude of successive governments. This area can be developed with IT industries, tourism and amusement park.

Subathu is 15 km away from Dharampur and Kalka-Shimla NH, 65 km from Chandigarh, 20 km from Shimla airport, 24 km from Solan and 30 km from Baddi.

It also provides alternative route to Solan and Shimla during roadblocks. A three-star hotel on Dharampur-Subathu road is ready to attract investors. Shashi Kapoor has inaugurated a film city.


Cheaper petrol

The fuel prices were increased soon after their increase in the international market to $71 a barrel. Now that the prices have come down to $ 56 a barrel, the Centre was perfectly justified in reducing the prices. Surely, the benefit has been directly passed to the consumers.

H.S. GHAI, Advocate, Khanna

Barnala district

Barnala’s original name is Anahadgarh; it was changed to Barnala when Ala Singh, founder of Patiala regime, established his rule here.

The correct name of the Nizamat or administrative district was Anahadgarh consisting of four towns, namely, Govindgarh, Bahadur, Barnala or Anahadgarh, and Hadiaya (or Handhiaya) together with 454 villages. The Nizamat was divided into three tehsils, namely, Anahadgarh, Govindgarh and Bhikhri. (See Imperial Gazetteer, 1908).



Save the Sukhna

The water and silt management of Chandigarh’s Sukhna lake is suffering because of neglect. Of the 7,300 acre feet of rain water available to the lake in 1978, only 1870 acre feet were left for it in 1999, the rest having been diverted to forestation and soil conservation schemes.

Several such schemes are still in the pipeline. It is expected that by 2015, the lake shall get a trickle for its present water capacity of 4100 acre feet. This could have been avoided by reserving some water for the lake.

Equally disappointing is silt management. It is not realised that with lesser water, the input of silt into the lake shall also go down. Otherwise, the government would not have started a Rs 50 crore mega scheme for the deepening of the lake and increasing its capacity to about 6,000 acre feet. Such a scheme should not have been sanctioned and executed.

For prolonging the Sukhna’s life beyond 2015, a three-point formula is the best remedy. One, stop the construction of the new forestation schemes and reverse the old ones to guarantee sufficient water for the lake. Two, stop the deepening of the lake and save Rs 50 crore. And finally, to remove the root of the lake’s silt problem, provide a silt excluder at its mouth at a cost of less than Rs 1 crore by the next monsoon.

S.P. MALHOTRA, Former Engineer-in-Chief, (Irrigation, Haryana), Panchkula




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