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

Tax on hospitals deplorable

I am pained to read that in the Union Budget 2011-12, services in air-conditioned hospitals are covered under service tax (March 1). Many times air-condition is essential for patients and certain operations. It is no more a luxury, especially for a patient. Health is an important sector. What guaranteed services this government provides to any citizen especially after it collects heavy taxes from the people? If some comforts are provided by some hospitals for medical treatment, especially in private hospitals and private doctors, what is wrong with them?

The government can help promote the health of every citizen by not levying any tax or duty on medicines and health services.

M. KUMAR, New Delhi

Toll tax

On the pattern of concessions given to senior citizens by the Railways, banks and the Income-Tax Department, the National Highways Authority of India, too, should grant them 50 per cent concession in toll tax while undertaking journey in the vehicles registered in their names.

S. S. UTREJA, Ludhiana

Indo-Pak ties

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rightly stressed the need for a continuous dialogue between India and Pakistan for peace and development in the subcontinent (Editorial, PM pitches for dialogue, March 7). Today India has become one of the world’s biggest markets and is poised to become a major economic and knowledge power around the globe.

This is reason enough for the Prime Minister to emphasise on good bilateral relations between the two countries. His suggestion that “we need to resolve the issues between two nations” will help boost economic growth of both countries.


Break the nexus

I read the news-item, Disease stalks villages around cement plants (March 7). The reported hazardous air pollution having dangerous pollutants much above the permissible limits of the Indian standards in Himachal Pradesh is entirely due to the state government’s nexus with the pollutant emitting cement plants. This nexus is posing a big threat to the health of the citizens, causing respiratory and cardiovascular problems, lung disease, asthma attacks and other acute health problems. The cement plants and the stone crushers hardly use air pollution mitigation equipment to save power. They prefer to emit poisonous contents into the air at the cost of the local residents’ health. The political clout and self-interest of business houses can never be a license to do anything that would endanger the health of the residents.Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh should take cognisance of the health hazard created by the cement factories in Himachal Pradesh and save the people from its devastating impact.

R.M.RAMAUL, Paonta Sahib

Not on a platter

The two articles by Navjot Singh Sidhu (March 8) contain more of rhetoric than rationality. He is harping on only one tune i.e. replacing Piyush Chawla with Ashwin as if this replacement will solve all the problems and the Indian team will win the World Cup on a platter. Our team is beset with many serious problems. First, Munaf Patel is not as lethal a bowler as Zaheer is. Secondly, all the big teams have three fast bowlers while Indian team contains only two. Thirdly, unlike other Captains, M.S. Dhoni never gives any advice or directions to his bowlers at the crucial moments to bowl particular deliveries. For example, he should have asked Munaf to bowl Yorkers in the last two overs against England after placing six fielders on the leg-side.

Fourthly, the fielding is very sloppy. Fifthly, Indian batting is very vulnerable to fast and rising deliveries on the middle stump. Even Tendulkar could not negotiate such deliveries against Steyn and Morkel. The trend this time is to bowl more maidens in the first 15 overs than purchasing wickets. Indian bowlers have not adopted this style. Being a wicket-keeper, Dhoni has his limitations to become a thinking Captain like Kapil Dev. Also he badly lacks the inspiring body language of Kapil Dev.

Thus, Dhoni is not a good General as Sidhu thinks him to be. Fortunately for India all the top eight teams have serious batting problems this time and the World Cup is open to all of them.


Keeping India clean

I read Manuj Malhotra’s letter, “Clean India” (Feb 15). To keep India clean, though individuals and authorities should jointly make efforts, the government’s role is more important than the public. For instance, the garbage disposal system in many cities is either non-existent or not functioning properly.

I have been impressed by the garbage disposal system and civic sense among the people in Sacramento (California). The local bodies have provided three bins of different colours to each household to throw recyclable waste material, kitchen waste and garden waste. Every Monday morning, cranes empty the bins which are pushed to the roadside outside the houses by the residents on Sunday night. It is a foolproof system and the garbage is not taken away if instructions regarding segregation of waste are not followed.

Every public place has toilets, running water and toilet paper. There are separate parks for dogs and pet owners carry polythene bags with them to clear immediately if the dogs defecate in the open. Nearer home, Amritsar has also improved lately in matter of cleanliness because of the authorities’ efforts in providing a proper garbage collection system from the houses. To create awareness among the Indian masses, the use of internet is not feasible as it is only a fraction of the total population which has access to it. And this small section is highly educated and understands the value of cleanliness. However, schools, Nukkad Nataks and fines or punishment for the ‘litterers’ can play an important role in creating awareness among the masses to make India clean.

ASWANT KAUR GILL,Jalandhar Cantonment



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