L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Fire tragedies can be avoided

I fully endorse the views expressed in the editorial “When saviours die” (Oct 20). It was appalling to know that six firemen asphyxiated in a Mumbai suburb. The unfortunate men trapped in the lift died after inhaling the toxic fumes. Such fire tragedies are frequent during the festive season and prove that even today the nation is ill-prepared to fight fires.

The crying need of the hour is to spread comprehensive awareness among the general masses. Adequate protective equipment must be provided to firemen. Moreover, they deserve high allowances along with an adequate insurance cover.


Clean water

The Punjab government’s move to cover the cancer-affected villages of Malwa region with a scheme to make clean drinking water available is welcome. It will be free of all toxic material such as uranium, residue of pesticides spray, other heavy metals.

It must be borne in mind that the RO system in use is not capable of removing these toxic elements from water being supplied after treatment. More efforts are needed to ensure clean drinking water to the cancer-affected villages.

Dr G S DHILLON, Chandigarh

Maoist menace

S Nihal Singh’s article “Fighting the Maoists” (Oct 20) was analytical and enlightening. But the big question remains: Why do deprived and helpless people fall for the Maoist ideology?

Unless we strengthen the democratic processes the Maoist influence is bound to grow and the oppressed will be driven into the Naxal fold.


Gene revolution

From the Green Revolution to the gene revolution, Indian agriculture has come a long way. Although the introduction of GM food has been clouded by controversies, its benefits are tangible and will lead to the reduction of pesticides, conservation of water and soil and a better harvest.

Environmentalists argue that GM crops are capable of increasing allergens, antibiotic resistance and deposition of toxins. Even the World Health Organisation agrees on the need to standardise methods of assessing the safety and nutritional aspects of GM food.

GM brinjal has been tested across the country to determine its performance under varied conditions. Millions of North Americans have been living in the pink of health after eating GM papaya, soyabean and corn for years now.

So perhaps there is not enough reason to raise an alarm as yet, especially since genetic engineering is based on precise calculations aimed at desired results, not random tinkering with genes. However, the government should continue its surveillance of the quality of GM crops.

J S ACHARYA, Hyderabad

Save daughters

The launch of nation’s first public health helpline can go a long way in fighting the menace of female foeticide (editorial, “Welcome initiative: Helpline a step against female foeticide”, Oct 12). But it is a small step. To eliminate this evil, a comprehensive strategy is required.

Strict implementation of the PNDT law is the need of the hour. Besides, there is need to change the patriarchal mindset. Stringent implementation of the Dowry Prohibition Act and women-oriented welfare schemes can also help curb female foeticide.

VISHAVJOT, Kurukshetra

Nuclear power

The decision of the Punjab government (news report, “Punjab bats for nuclear power plant” by Naveen S Garewal, Oct 22) is laudable. Indeed, nuclear power is safe and has numerous benefits. Nangal is best suited for nuclear power plant. Far from borders, it has vast acres of vacant land and plenty of water


Education hub

Certainly, India has (article, “India can be education hub” by Vijay Sanghvi, Oct 24) the potential to become an education hub. This calls for autonomy. Universities and other institutions of higher education must be freed from political and bureaucratic stranglehold.

There is also a case against frequent experiments in higher education by the decision makers without taking academicians in confidence. Besides, only academicians should be made vice-chancellors.

Dr M M GOEL, Kurukshetra

Mobiles in jails! 

DGP Anil Kaushik’s assertion (news report, “Law silent on use of mobiles by jail inmates” by Saurabh Malik, Oct 23) that mobile phones were at times being used for planning crimes and other dubious activities is shocking. How did jail inmates manage to get mobile phones? Corruption is the impediment, not the law.

Mobile phones, drugs, intoxicants and currency cannot reach prisons without the connivance of the jail staff. Rampant corruption among jail officials and guards is the sole reason behind this problem. Neither radio frequency jammers nor transfer officials will solve the problem. What is needed are men of integrity. Only by purging the system of corrupt officials can we set things in order.

Capt S K DATTA, Abohar



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