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Cong covering up Anderson’s escape

After the Bhopal gas verdict the foremost aim of the Congress seems to be not to ensure justice and provide due compensation to the victims or an early extradition of Warren Anderson but to ensure that the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name is not besmirched (editorial, Anderson burden: Congress neck is hurting”, June 14). For this the party has applied a multi-pronged strategy.

One section is attempting to make the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Arjun Singh a willing scapegoat for the hasty decision of allowing Anderson to escape. Law Minister Veerappa Moily unnecessarily criticised a former Chief Justice for a judgment passed more than a decade ago. Still some members of the Congress led by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee have started the campaign of justifying the decision of sending Anderson to the US as “the people’s anger was running high and there was a threat of some serious law and order problems.”

If just to hide and suppress an administrative flaw the Congress can go to such extremes, had it seriously tried to bring justice to the aggrieved masses at that time, it surely would have saved them the trauma and agony they have been passing through all these 26 years. But it seems like all other instances of a callous administration, the Bhopal gas tragedy too would be soon consigned to oblivion.



The editorial “Deterring Bhopal-like disasters” (June 9) and other related news reports filled one with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. The whole gamut of events amply brings out wide chinks in the legal system and vindicates the apathetic and perfunctory attitude of the law enforcers. The Bhopal gas tragedy engulfed more than 15,000 human lives and left lakhs of people maimed.

The situation reinforces a need for evolving a consensus among the nations for a stronger and unambiguous international law on extradition. Sentence of two years awarded to the guilty persons is too meagre to meet the ends of justice. There is an urgent need for legislation in such matters that would ensure stringent punishment to the culprits and just compensation to the victims.


Key role of migrant labour

Due to the manual method of paddy plantation and the fact that plantation has to be completed within a limited timeframe, the demand for labour becomes acute (editorial, Paddy blues in Punjab, June 14). Often the need for the migrant labour becomes so alarming that the farmers have to scramble at railway stations to catch the migrant labour the moment they step down from the train and offer them attractive remuneration.

Though this is a recurring problem, the government has not found a lasting solution by providing quality paddy transplantation machines to the farmers. The migrant labour from UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, etc, does not come to Punjab out of choice but to find livelihood which is not available in their home states. The unprecedented price rise has made them wiser and they demand exorbitant wages, which farmers cannot pay. The farmers of Punjab have become lethargic and totally dependent on the migrant labour.


Job-oriented education

For years we have wasted money and efforts on humanities (Shelley Walia’s article “Crisis in liberal arts”, June 15). The inevitable result has been widespread unemployment, frustration and social unrest. Even today we have scores of colleges producing unemployable graduates. Greater stress should be laid on professional and vocational education. If the state cannot provide employment, then people must be trained to start their own enterprise.

If one is interested in liberal arts, then there are enough libraries to pursue them. But why study them formally in colleges and universities with little prospect of money and jobs? One of the primary purposes of education is to be able to earn one’s livelihood.


Retired, not tired

The middle “Retirement, be not proud” (June 15) by Harbans Singh Virdi came as a soothing balm for the retirees, especially those like me who have just retired and are still grappling to come to terms with it. The writer has rightly said that retirement, like death, is a certainty. His twist to metaphysical poet John Donne’s poem “Death be Not Proud” is interesting. Anecdotes spice up the middle, which is replete with humour and satire. His reminder to retirees that ‘r’ in the word retirement reads relief (from work), not relieved (from life) is worth pondering over.

The retiree should reinvent himself/herself so that the hidden or hitherto unused talents are utilised after retirement. Many retirees who have chosen to work in different fields after their retirement have proved to be a great success. Actually, one should retire, not tire.



To think that life after death is the same as life after retirement is not right. A person whose family is well-settled, for him retirement provides a refreshing reprieve. Of course, a retiree whose family responsibilities are not over is likely to view retirement in a different light.

ANKITA SHARMA, Mukerian, Hoshiarpur



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