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

High time to protect RTI activists

The editorial “Murder most foul” (Jan 18) highlighted the plight of RTI activists who are fighting to secure justice for the common people. The negligence on the part of the police to save Satish Shetty, who exposed the land grabbing cases by the influential, is a clear-cut message to aam aadmi that they are fighting a lost battle and the political clout is backing the mafia. Corruption is the root cause of this problem.

Taking a note of the matter the court has suo motu initiated proceedings which is a good start, but justice will be done only when those involved in connection with the mafia are exposed. The court should set an example by speeding up the process and making the police accountable for not protecting the public.


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed in double space, should not exceed the 150-word limit. These can be sent by post to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030. Letters can also be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

— Editor-in-Chief

Is Bt brinjal safe?

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) gave affirmation to the commercialisation of Bt Brinjal in October last year and since then there has been controversy (editorial, “Bt + Brinjal”, Jan 23). The recent warning by eminent molecular biologist, Dr Pushpa M. Bhargava, has fuelled the debate and apprehensions about the cultivation of Bt Brinjal. According to distinguished scientists and molecular biologists across the country, the safety tests done by GEAC are not up to the mark and there is not enough data on the long-term side effects of Bt toxin on human health and environment.

However, what one needs to consider is why there is so much discrepancy in views? Are we playing into the hands of the US biotechnology firms? With this kind of hullabaloo and wariness about the safety of Bt Brinjal, will the technology actually reach the farmers? The PMO must clarify the issue.



Many of us suffer from various health problems due to chemical contamination of our food and loss of food diversity. We cannot afford to make one more mistake. Our farmers and various experts have found safe ways of producing food. So why should we experiment with this unsafe and costly technology in our land?

Please keep writing and informing the public about the pitfalls of this technology. Public should not be misled by the wrong claims of the industry.

USHA WARRIER, Trivandrum

Tall leader

In the death of the CPM leader Jyoti Basu the nation has lost a titan. In West Bengal, he virtually strode like a colossus for many years. A man of few words, he meant what he said, seldom mincing words.

He had the courage of conviction and commanded respect not only among his own party members but also politicians at large. In times of political crisis he was much sought after for his sagacious advice. No doubt, his demise has created a void that cannot be filled.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Austerity measures 

The economy of Punjab is in shambles (editorials, “Heavy tax dose in Punjab: Justify it with better governance”, “Change of guard”: May be Patil will make a difference”, Jan 25). There is an urgent need to adopt ways to cut costs and save petrol.

The former Chief Minister of Punjab, the late Pratap Singh Kairon, a great freedom fighter, an able administrator and a visionary, did not have even a single OSD (officer on special duty). He did not attend public functions with a large number of vehicles escorting him. Now Mr Parkash Singh Badal has many officers on special duty causing a heavy burden on the state exchequer. The new Governor Shivraj Patil and Mr Badal should adopt austerity measures. Ministers and bureaucrats will follow suit.


Keep India clean

As India has celebrated another Republic Day, it is time to launch a new mission — Keep India clean. Filth pervades India as urban roads overflow with garbage. Garbage collection is inefficient, irregular and incomplete. We use archaic modes like brooms and shovels to collect trash from streets. We transport it in stinking lorries, which are neither clean nor disinfected.

Residential buildings neglect garbage collection and disposal. The attitude is: keep your home clean, so what if the homes of others and roads become recipients of our filth? But no family is an island by itself. One home’s hygiene cannot be another home’s sickness. We need to have dustbins at every 100 meters on streets and should mechanise the collection and disposal of garbage in cities. In smaller Indian towns, the hygiene is even poorer. Towns are growing rapidly, but the drainage systems are inadequate. Absence of adequate toilet facilities too is a matter of concern.

Indian villages yet retain a modicum of cleanliness due to the initiatives of the villagers themselves. The village panchayats are cogent bodies and subject to greater accountability by local villagers. Many panchayats take a keen interest in their civic responsibilities.

Mission India clean has to become a national passion. Ordinary citizens and NGOs must lead the campaign for hygiene and cleanliness in homes, villages, neighbourhoods and towns. India aspires to become a global power and an economic powerhouse. To achieve these goals, we need to clean the sludge and slush from our streets.




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