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India at war with itself

I agree with H. K. Dua’s view in his front-page editorial, “India cannot be at war with itself” (Aug 8) that how can India continue to be at war with itself, if it is to attain the pinnacle of progress, provide social justice to millions of poor and the downtrodden sections of society and to occupy a respectable place in the comity of nations?

When the new incumbent Governor of Jammu and Kashmir was being appointed, there were reports that his predecessor was unhappy over the development. The reason: he wanted to be in office till the holy festival of Chhari Mubarak is not over, but the powers that be could not oblige him.

Against this background, Mr Dua appears to be right in regretting that the former governor allowed his personal beliefs to be given precedence over sound political judgement required of a Governor.


Sadly, the spirit of “public conscience” has been getting deteriorated year by year among us Indians. First, though our Constitution is an explicit document, having enshrined lofty ideals for a free, equal and democratic futuristic society, it has rarely been extolled and accepted as an ethical document.

The other successful democratic countries have markedly done that. Secondly, there have been such political forces which do not believe in its wisdom and are bent on abrogating it the moment these get a chance to do so.

G. S. BAL, Jalandhar


The fragile peace of Jammu and Kashmir has been shattered. If memory does not fail to me, never has the Amarnath Yatra been suspended under the most trying conditions. It is the people of the valley who ferry the pilgrims on their backs in dundees and on pony back.

My husband was posted in the valley in 1952-53. There was perfect peace. We ate at ADOS, picnicked all over and went for shikara rides at night as ordinary people. It was paradise! The people were so good. There is a saying, sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Pay heed, politicians!




In bilingual format, please

The Jalandhar Municipal Corporation has recently started issuing computerised birth and death registration certificates in a bilingual format. At present in all the municipal corporations of Punjab, certificates are being issued in Punjabi only. As a result, a large number of people who wanted to go abroad, have to face difficulties as they needed an English version of the same for visa applications and for seeking admission to foreign universities.

If one Municipal Corporation of Punjab can start this facility, why can’t others follow suit? Let these certificates be issued in bilingual format only. All the municipal corporations should post on their websites the dates of birth and death registered with them since 1954 and keep these updated so that these could be accessed and verified from anywhere in the world.

VIKRAM GUPTA, Advocate, Patiala

Herbal campaign

In response to the article, “Himachal Pradesh’s unrealistic herbal dreams” (Oped Page, August 20), I want to clarify that it is misleading and not based on facts. The “Jan Jan Sanjivini Van Abhiyan” that was launched on August 3, 2008, had tried to involve every household across the state in the campaign. It is neither “run-of-the-mill” publicity campaign nor a political gimmick. It is the country’s first micro-level initiative to combat climate change after involving almost every household in planting over 15 lakh saplings on a single day.

This was an initiative by our Forest Department for enhancing the herbal potential of the state with the active involvement of the local people who are the ultimate beneficiaries. Saplings of 57 indigenous species like neem, banyan, jamun and peepal were planted during the Abhiyan. Identifying all the households of the state and encouraging them to plant at least one sapling in their gardens or farms on a particular day was a Herculean task.

When the department initiated this campaign, our basic purpose was to ensure community participation and to create a livelihood option based upon the medicinal plant material that is possible to grow in almost all regions of the state. The organised exploitation of this extensive renewable resource in a scientific manner will not only ensure sustained financial returns for the rural communities but also project the hill state as an “herbal state”.

During the Aug 3 plantation campaign, the maximum demand from the people was for saplings of the medicinal plant amla. In all, 388,629 amla saplings were distributed. Wild pomegranate (136,470 saplings), bhera (89,350), ritha (56,386) and harad (30,601) followed amla in popularity in the villages. In the towns, aloe vera was the most popular with 26,328 saplings distributed. The Forest Department now aims to supply 50 lakh saplings next year. This is just a small beginning.

JAGAT PRAKASH NADDA, Forest and Environment Minister, HP, Shimla


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