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Fire easy to light, hard to fight

The AMRI Hospital fire should be an eye-opener for the Fire Department to make up for the deficiency of men and material to update fire services. None of the fire stations in Punjab and Haryana, except at Gurgaon and Chandigarh, have aerial/turn-table ladders to rescue trapped persons and extinguish fire in high-rises and multi-storeyed buildings. The Kolkata Fire Service saved more than 60 lives with turn-table ladders fitted with floaters. None of the educational institutions, hospitals, commercial complexes and other establishments fulfil fire safety norms prescribed in the NBC, or other relevant Acts/Rules.

In the event of any devastating fire in any multi-storeyed building the death toll would be beyond imagination. Governments announce compensations; can it bring back the bread-earner of any family? Everyone should go by this one-liner –‘Fire easy to light, hard to fight’.

TL VERMA, Ambala


This refers to the editoral A nightmare in Kolkata (December 10) which reminds us of the urgent need for specialists in public health and family medicine in each hospital. In India there is none in private hospitals whereas there are about 20,000 in the US.

The public health response to man-made disaster is the primary mode of prevention of a disaster. Much can be done by the public health department not only to prevent the consequences but also to stop the occurrence of fires, explosions, crashes and sudden chemical and radiation exposures.

How will we fight ‘bioterrorism’ if we are faced with it one fine day? October 13 is designated as World Disaster Reduction Day. Did anyone observe it?


Stop desilting

The mismanagement of the recently-constructed 190 check dams in the catchment area of the 60-year old Sukhna Lake has deprived it of its share of water. These were conceived and constructed with the objective of retaining the huge quantity of silt going towards the lake. In actual practice, these are also retaining the water. As many as 190 mini-lakes have come into existence at the cost of water in the main lake. The quantity of water being held in there is not known as it has never been measured. This mistake can be corrected within six months at practically no cost.

The tragedy of this lake has been further compounded by the mistaken belief that the present silt on its bed is injurious for its functioning and hence needs to be removed at any cost. Desilting of the main lake was done in the year 2010 to increase its water-holding capacity even when it was fully known that desilting would not generate the much-needed water. In reply to a question under the RTI Act, it has been confirmed that the lake was not full to its full capacity for more than three years in the last 21 years since 1990. Its desilting should be banned for all times to come. As a matter of fact, the step should have been taken long ago. No money is required for this overdue and wise action.

S P MALHOTRA, Panchkula

UID cards

I think UID cards should be issued to each and every Indian citizen. The cards of those who are not Indian citizens and are staying illegally due to some reason should be different from those of the citizens. By doing so the government will come to know the number of illegal residents staying in the country. The Canadian government uses a similar mode to differentiate residents (citizens and immigrants accepted as residents) and those whose status has not yet been settled.

Although the cards are the same, the number allotted to the latter categories starts with number 9. Persons with cards starting with 9 can only get employment at specific places with specific approval from the authorities.


People need to change

No one denies that corruption has become endemic but tackling it is no mean job. Simplistic solutions sound good but making them work is where the problem arises.

We have agencies like the CBI, the Income Tax Department and the Vigilance Department to check corruption, yet it is showing no signs of ebbing. The question is: why? In my opinion, it persists because we the people bribe the corrupt. This is what Anna and his well-meaning volunteers need to concentrate on. They need to bring about social change and develop a mindset among the masses not to become a part of the corruption chain. I feel disappointed that the task of bringing about of this change is not getting the attention it deserves. Will I pass the rest of my years with this regret or will society change for the better? I believe it will, though the pace is slow.

RS MATHODA, Chandigarh



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