Centre should heed SC advice on education

While defending the Union Government’s case for enacting a law for ensuring 27 per cent reservation in higher educational institutions for the OBCs, when Solicitor-General G.E.Vahanvati said that the government proposed to spend Rs 36, 000 crore for upgrading infrastructure in institutes of higher learning, the Supreme Court remarked: “if it had so much funds why should the Centre not spend first on elementary education which was its constitutional responsibility?” Should the government go back in its obligation to the fundamental right to education?

The court has raised a very pertinent question which neither the Centre nor the states are addressing. According to the HRD Ministry survey (2007), elementary education in India is in a shambles. Lakhs of schools have neither the needed infrastructure nor teachers. Alarmingly, 53 per cent children drop out of the system of education without reaching class VIII because 36 per cent teachers absent themselves from schools everyday. About 49 per cent never go to the school at all.

Dr T.R. SHARMA, Patiala

Farmers’ woes

I read the editorial “Water woes” (Sept 13). According to Mr G.S. Kalkat, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, the ground water is a source of irrigation for about 75 per cent of the cropped area for profitable farming. Another report of Dr Nawab Ali, Deputy Director-General of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research states that ground water is becoming saline due to seepage from the polluted rivers. Domestic sewage, industrial effluents and heavy metals etc and saline water make the soil saline and thus unfit for agriculture and drinking.

In Punjab, the water table is going down at an alarming rate due to over-exploitation and salinity. Therefore, the Agriculture Department is advising the farmers to install 300-feet-deep tube wells with a 15 HP motor. Is this possible for the small and marginal farmers?

R.S. BAIDWAN, Bakarpur (Mohali)

Stem the rot in police

The editorial, “Purging the police” (Sept 13) aptly highlighted the rampant corruption, lack of credibility, accountability and professional ethics in the police force. The scenario is really disturbing. All this can be attributed to the politicisation of the police at various levels. Our political system is prone to the vicissitudes of personal aggrandisement, favouritism, sycophancy and vendetta.

Police officers are the backbone of the country. They enforce law, investigate and prevent crime in all its manifestations and herald social change. In fact, they are harbingers of peace, order and harmony.

The fault lies with the different ruling dispensations who use, exploit, reward, punish and pamper the police force to further their narrow, selfish and nefarious ends to retain and perpetuate power. Victimisation of the senior officers for the sake of victimisation does not augur well for the nation.

We should show the door to henchmen and sycophants who can go to any length to appease their political mentors if the image of the police force is to be refurbished.



ST tag must

I read the news-item “8 Punjab Tribes found eligible for ST status” (Sept 24). However, one more caste -- Gujjar -- has been left during the survey conducted by the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have already declared Gujjars as “Schedule Tribe”. Gujjars also have the same profession (like Gadaria, Banjara etc) to feed the cattle (buffalo) and sell the milk. They also wander from one place to the other. This is also a very strong element that strengthens their characteristics as tribals due to their nomadic and semi-nomadic nature. Therefore, Gujjars may also be included in the list for reservation accordingly.


Stop quackery

Unregistered medical practitioners posing as ayurvedic doctors and khandani vaids are playing havoc with the people in Punjab. These fake doctors mix allopathic medicines with other substances and sell them. I request Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, to look into the matter and take suitable action immediately.


Spice offer

The Spice had started lifetime validity offer for its mobile phone connections in January 2006. But now the company wants to get rid of those customers who had taken benefit of this facility. Unnecessary calls and messages are being sent to these customers, even during night time, which disturb peace.

When one gets his connection recharged, Rs 40 to Rs 50 is deducted from his total balance. In this connection, the Customer Care section has not provided any satisfactory answer. I don’t understand whether this is a facility or loot?

SARTAJ SINGH BENIPAL, Ghungrali Rajputan (Ludhiana)


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