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Give preference to girls ineducation & jobs

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s advice to the states that they must foot the marriage bill of girls to prevent female foeticide may seem a noble and innovative one (States must foot marriage bill of girls to check female foeticide: Azad, September 29). But how feasible it may turn out to be is the real question. States may think of funding marriages, but that is not the only issue. Dowry system is still prevalent in this country. What can the states do about it? They have to invoke appropriate laws to discourage people from giving and taking dowry.

While the minister’s intention is laudable, the suggestion even if implemented fully may not do much to prevent female foeticide. This has to do with our society’s mindset. If females are looked down upon and regarded as vulnerable and dependent on support and security provided by males in the society, there can be no real success in stopping people from committing crimes as heinous as female foeticide.

Schoolchildren, especially girls from urban areas should be encouraged to participate in adult education programmes in villages. These girls should be suitably rewarded in terms of providing them scholarships for higher education and appropriate employment. This will gradually help in changing the mindset of rural population towards females. Preference for females in education and employment will empower them. And such a generation of females will help in removing evils like dowry and female foeticide. Men will also learn to accept the fact that females are not inferior to them, and that they must accept this fact and share responsibilities of life with them.


Domestic power load

The UT Electricity Department has advised all its consumers to revise the load of their premises as per the new guidelines circulated vide its letter dated 15th Jun 2011. This advice has been made to enable them to upgrade the electricity distribution system. The above guidelines on close scrutiny would reveal that these are not logical and also technically untenable due to the following reasons:

1.Consumption of various electrical appliances like airconditioner, refrigerator, geyser, fans etc needs to be added to arrive at the new load figure, whereas all these items will never be switched on at the same time.

2. Use of high-consumption appliances, like airconditioner and geyser, is mutually exclusive. So, while working out, only one of them needs to be taken into account and not both, as advised. Perhaps only higher consumption equipment like airconditioner needs to be taken into account and not both.

3. Adding 2000 W for microwave oven is not reasonable, as this is used only for a few minutes and it would be taken care of by the short-term overload rating of distribution system. Thus, it need not be taken into account while upgrading the electrical distribution system.

4. The existing method for working out load on the basis of number of power and light plugs seems more rational.

5. The shortfall experienced in power contracted, if any, could be due to other reasons, like thefts and illegal connections and not due to the application of the existing method of working out the load.

It is certain that the UT Electricity Department is not going to requisition power on the basis of the sum total of connected loads of its various consumers. Perhaps they would apply a utilization factor of 60-70% on this connected load. If this is so, why penalize all consumers by asking them to pay for load without application of utilization factor. Also, it is likely that the electricity distribution system would be designed after application of 60-70% of utilization factor. This would then correspond to the load worked out as per the guidelines in vogue and not the ones now being proposed.

K J S SOHANPAL, Air-Cmde (Retd), Chandigarh

Pension hike

As per the present policy for the retired industrial workers, covered under the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) during their service tenure and who opt for pension through the EPF, the pension payable per month ranges from Rs 1000 to 1,100 per month with no medical facilities after their retirement. Through your esteemed newspaper, I wish to draw the attention of the Centre and the ministries concerned to realize the difficulties being faced by these retired employees, mostly senior citizens, as they find it very difficult to fulfil their needs with just Rs 1,100 per month without any medical aid.

I sincerely request the Prime Minister and the ministries concerned to look into the matter and enhance the monthly pension of industrial workers to a respectable amount. They should also be provided medical facilities through ESI hospitals.

MS MARWAHA, Chandigarh

Keats’ genius

Simrita Dhir’s “The timeless ode” (September 23) was a cogitative, contemplative and philosophic middle, which beautifully brought out the timelessness of John Keats’ masterpiece “Ode to a nightingale”.

Many poets have written about nightingale, a kind of thrush known for its beautiful song. William Wordsworth compares the song of the nightingale with the song of the solitary reaper in his poem, “The solitary reaper”. Vikram Seth in his poem, “the frog and the nightingale”, brings out the exploitation of the talented nightingale by the cunning frog.

But “Ode to a nightingale” by John Keats is known for its sheer lyricism and loveliness for which the poem remains unsurpassed in the English language. No wonder it remained writer Simrita’s obsession inherited from her mother.

The song of the nightingale sets Keats’ imagination aglow. Though it is a romantic ode, it doesn’t deny anything of human experience as it unfolds the sorrows of life and unearths the fact that even the bitterest experiences of humans can be transmuted into beauty. The poet craves to get lost into the blithe spirit of the bird and leave the human world unseen to fade into oblivion. He regards the nightingale as immortal in the sense that it can’t conceive of its separation from the world it expresses. The line, “Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!” makes the poem a timeless ode, being taken up generation after generation, to read, recite, study and appreciate.




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