Resolve Lankan crisis through negotiations

I have carefully read H.K. Dua’s article Not by quick-fix: Sri Lanka needs healing touch (March 6). The headline is self-explanatory. However, if President Mahinda Rajapaksa is determined to tackle the crisis by military action, he is only living in a fool’s paradise. He should not overlook how the USSR disintegrated years ago.

Even in our country, the Kashmir problem has been there since 1947. It can be solved only by giving Kashmiris full or partial autonomy. Same is the case with Sri Lanka where the LTTE is a force to reckon with. The Tigers will not retreat at this juncture unless they are given their due. As Prabhakaran is the sole representative of the Tamil people, he can only help resolve the Lankan crisis.

Anyhow, Sri Lanka needs peace without which it cannot remain a united and harmonious nation. As military action cannot resolve the explosive situation, negotiations across the table between the government and Prabhakaran is the only way to resolve the crisis.

SUNDER SINGH GIANI, Dialpura (Mohali)



The article is timely and might set some fronts in the Sri Lankan government to try for a political settlement of the issue. Of course, I agree with Mr Dua that there is no quick-fix solution of this prolonged ethnic strife.

In his exhaustive interview, the writer has touched various important and urgent issues of the problem the Lankan government is facing. These include dynamics of a peaceful solution, ceasefire, military action, refugees and inflation. Military action is no solution as it would lead to more problems. India will also face the problem of more refugees.

The best thing for President Rajapaksa, as suggested by Mr Dua, is to involve Karuna, now away from Prabhakaran, leaders like Douglas Devananda and V. Anandasangaree for durable political settlement. He can struck deal with the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation, a former militant group and now a political outfit, to bring Prabhakaran to the negotiating table for peaceful resolution of the crisis.

R.S. HAMDARD, Hamirpur (HP)


The writer has made a candid assessment of the Sri Lankan situation in his article. President Rajapaksa is sadly mistaken if he thinks that “only a military victory will create conditions for a political settlement.”

He should learn a lesson from US President George Bush’s experience in Iraq. Strong-arm methods may yield the desired results immediately but these are short-lived. An effective and ever-lasting solution to the Sri Lankan problem can be found only by evolving “a democratic polity with values sacred to a plural society.”

Peace can return to the ethnic strife-ridden island only if President Rajapaksa gives up the military option and strives for a wider consensus amongst the warring groups on the one hand and the government on the other aimed at a durable political settlement.



I fully agree with the writer’s opinion that Sri Lanka needs peace without which it cannot remain a united and harmonious nation. I am happy that President Rajapaksa is trying hard to bring the nation on rails. But Prabhakaran, the LTTE leader, is a great hitch in the process.

As Prabhakaran is interested only in the political settlement for the LTTE’s growth, the President feels that with the defection of Karuna from Prabhakaran’s company, Sri Lanka’s Army would be able to tame the LTTE. If this happens, it will lead to a civil war which must be avoided.


Pleasant interaction

The most pleasant incident in the last two months has been the interaction between President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and reputed columnist Khushwant Singh. The President was generous enough to call on Khushwant. Though the President is the head of the state, Khushwant’s admirers are very much delighted at Kalam’s gesture towards the old writer.

BHARAT KUMAR GUPTA, Kandaghat (Solan)

Kalam’s gesture

I very much appreciate President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam calling on the ailing Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw in the hospital. It was indeed a rare gesture.

As an ex-servicemen, I may add that those of us, officers and jawans, were equally instrumental in Sam’s achievements. The Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces should, therefore, try to resolve the problems of ex-servicemen.

Capt O. MATHAI (retd), Thiruvananthapuram

Fruits of Narmada

The Narmada is the lifeline of millions in MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Its total basin area is 97410 sq km, which receives mean rainfall of 112 cm. Hardly 10 per cent of this was utilised earlier and the rest used to flow into the sea unused.

Now, it will irrigate 18 lakh hectares of parched lands of Gujarat, Rajasthan (Badhmer and Jalore districts) and Maharashtra and will quench the thirst of millions in Ran of Katch and Badhmer in Rajasthan where fresh water is a dream. It will provide flood protection to four lakh people in Gujarat’s Bharuch district and will generate electricity.

The benefits will accrue in the form of increased agriculture production, increasing employment opportunities and income of the people and poverty reduction. Now all the state governments concerned should ensure adequate rehabilitation measures to the displaced. Water should be declared a national resource and it should be in the Union List to tackle inter-state river water disputes.

PURAN SINGH, Chandigarh


Upgrade railway hospital

Ludhiana’s Railway Hospital is in dire straits. It seems to exist only for issuing sickness and fitness certificates to the staff rather than providing basic health care to all the stakeholders. The proposal for its upgradation has been hanging fire for over 15 years. As a result, the employees, the pensioners and their families have been deprived of suitable health care facilities.

The hospital cannot boast of any facility like the TMT, echocardiography and ultrasound lipid tests for helping the 30,000-strong railway population including 6,600 employees, 900 pensioners and their families. It has only three MBBS doctors and no specialist. Despite repeated appeals, no specialist has been posted.

Consequently, most people are forced to go to private doctors and nursing homes at huge cost. The railways do not reimburse the bills. At the most, the doctors refer patients to the divisional hospital or Central hospital in New Delhi.

There is need to upgrade the hospital with a 50-bed strength and highly qualified specialists. The Railway Minister, the Railway Board Chairman, and the Northern Railway General Manager should intervene and do justice expeditiously.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana


Bylaw violators

Building bylaw violators are increasing by the day. The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation seems unable to check the distorted developmental activity in the city which has marred the landscape.

Even other facilities like clean environment, good roads and clean drinking water are not available. People violate the bylaws with impunity and no body cares for complaints. Violations thus ignored generate a new crop of offenders who also enjoy immunity from penal action. When these violators’ tribe is on the rise, the government comes with a formula to save them with a one-time reprieve.

Demolishing a structure, which violates the approved construction plan, is an exception whereas this should have been the rule since long. It is time to initiate corrective measures. It would be nice to dismantle the construction as soon as it is noticed with a stern warning to the culprits. Still, if violation is repeated, the structure must be demolished immediately together with a heavy penalty to act as a deterrent.

Dr I.S. KALRA, Ludhiana



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