Spare heritage trees from the bulldozer

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s statement that his government will not allow hydro-electric and industrial projects to come up at the cost of environment is heartening. Clearly, the protection of environment will depend upon his commitment to keep his word. Consider what is happening in Shimla. Hundreds of stately deodars will be razed to the ground go if the aerial ropeway to Jakhu temple is taken up. The shrine is already connected with a good road. The construction of aerial ropeway should, therefore, be stopped.

Then comes the widening of district roads for state and national highways. Hundreds of mango, jamun, arjun and shisham trees stand marked for removal for widening. The Una-Azhar-Mandi Highway is a case in point. Though axing these icons of heritage will be easy, nursing and raising new plantation to such graceful dimensions will be a Herculean task. The remedy lies in widening the driveway only up to the old trees.

K.L. NOATAY, Hamirpur



We are a society of slogan-shouters and publicity-hunters. On World Environment Day, we did these exercises instead of showing actual concern for the environment at the street or mohalla level. Consider what the local municipal administration had done at our mohalla. A roadside dustbin kept for the collection of domestic garbage of our mohalla was suddenly removed to please a private institution. It has not provided an alternative solution.

The housewives of this mohalla now find it hard to dispose of their domestic garbage. Persistent requests to the officials yielded no results. A fall out of this is that people have started throwing garbage in the roadside drain which chokes and overflows when it rains.

KIRAN SHARMA, Sundernagar


Neena Sharma deserves to be complimented for her thoughtful letter “Protect environment” (June 9). No doubt, looking at the state’s rich tourism potential, the government should encourage only those industries which are environment-friendly. Industries like cement plants etc which recklessly pollute the environment would spell disaster in the long run. The powers that be should know this.

NEENU THAKUR, Ambota (Una)


Friend of peacocks

The declining peacock population should awaken authorities from their slumber before the endangered bird becomes extinct. Surprisingly, the Centre and the states have not yet undertaken census of the peacocks. In 1991, World Wildlife Fund India did stock-taking of the peacocks, according to which India is left with only 50 per cent of the total peacock population that existed in 1947.

Nowadays, peacocks are mercilessly hunted down due to great demand for their feathers and flesh. If we do not take care of this beautiful bird, we will not be able to witness peacocks dancing in the rain anymore. I appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and NGOs to rise to the occasion and do something to save the peacock, our national bird.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Consumers’ plight

Sarbjit Dhaliwal’s piece, “Industry profiteering hurts consumers, creates social unrest” (June 6) is timely. It is only after the Congress’ defeat in Punjab, Delhi and Uttarakhand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested Ten Commandments on the corporate sector’s social responsibility and the checking of vulgar display of wealth.

Price rise has hit the poor masses hard. After the budget, cement magnets raised the prices and the government remained a mute spectator. Earlier, pharmaceutical companies did not heed the Union Chemical Minister’s advice. Now cartelisation of steel manufacturers is responsible for the rapid increase in steel prices.

The Centre’s 9 per cent plus growth story seems to be losing its lustre. The so-called success story is about the billionaires whose number has grown and who continue to evade taxes. For example, we are losing no less than Rs 1 lakh crore due to indiscriminate exemptions being given to the SEZs at the cost of the middle class.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Strategic blunder

I differ with Inder Malhotra’s views in his article, “Six Day War, Forty years on” (June 1). The ceasefire in Kashmir, ordered by Jawaharlal Nehru on Jan 1, 1948 was, in fact, a great political, military and strategic blunder giving Pakistan a big prize for committing aggression in Kashmir. It encouraged Pakistan to demand more and more of Jammu and Kashmir now and then.

The Isreali-Palestine-Arab problems cannot be equated with that of Kashmir. Nehru, in fact, was under the influence of the Mountbattens.

If we had cleared the whole of Kashmir, we would have been in a dominant position now in all aspects of Kashmir. It does not matter if it would have taken more time. English military officers were, after all, under their political bosses. They could not have undermined military discipline. Gen K.M. Carriappa was the C-in-C of the Indian Army at that time.

R.K. BHAT, Shimla



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