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

Ifs and buts of nuclear reactor safety

Inder Malhotra in his article ‘Don’t neglect nuclear plans’ (December 23) is right in deciphering that the problem is beyond Kudankulam.  It takes 10-15 years to install a reactor but its life is just about 50 years. Thereafter, a decommissioned nuclear plant remains hazardous for about 25,000 years. The cost of long-term safety measures poses serious financial and engineering problems.

The foreign suppliers of high-tech reactors do not accept liability for any accident or technical default in the system they sell to India.  Moreover, we do not have the know-how or trained engineers to handle advanced nuclear reactors.

However, if the Kudankulam reactors are absolutely ‘safe’ and Rs 1,400 crore has already been spent on them, the government should endorse an open policy without going into further negotiations. The Ministry of Atomic Energy handled by the Prime Minister himself should assure the Parliament that in nuclear deals no commission has been paid to any entity at home or abroad. Secondly, the PM must disclose details of the discussion he had with Russian leaders on his 3-day flying visit to Moscow.

If the advanced reactors are actually 100% safe, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) should  a) form a nuclear disaster force equipped with updated equipment and  rescue services to handle emergency b)  DAE should issue life-saving insurance policy of Rs 10 lakh each to citizens living around 40 km radius of Kudankulam nuclear power station.


Is quota necessary?

It is shocking to note that the Lokpal Bill has a provision for reservation for SC/ST, OBC and other religious minorities. Whereas it is the prerogative of parliamentarians to legislate, but the efficacy and efficiency of the institution will be greatly compromised by such provisions as a quota, which is mainly designed to appeal to certain section of leaders who fear punishment because of their misdeeds. Members of the Civil Society should have immediately harped on the issue and derided it.

The Lokpal would be an institution of the stature of the apex court and as such it should have been kept out of the ambit of reservations. By providing for reservations in Lokpal, the basic structure of the Constitution is sought to be changed.

The views of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru, the legendary first Prime Minister of India, on the effect of reservation on institutions are being ignored by his own partymen. The MPs ought to read the contents of his letter addressed to all CMs in 1960. 

S C CHABBA, Panchkula

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: Letters@tribuneindia.com

— Editor-in-Chief


The politicians will try to misuse the services of the Lokpal to oust the ruling government, which will do the same when in Opposition. Or, they may raise weak cases with weak evidence so that there is no conviction. They would play friendly matches in the august Parliament and we would remain mute spectators as we are now, when we see chairs being thrown at each other in the parliament. We should not expect more than this from the Lokpal Bill.

To think that the politicians would pass a Bill which would ultimately punish the guilty, would be a folly. Would the politicians judge their own actions?


Leadership qualities

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari went to Dubai for a health check-up because he feared threat to his life if he got himself admitted in a hospital in Pakistan. By this decision, has he not sent a message to his country men that he is a weak president?

During the initial period of World War II, when Germany launched a blitzkrieg by bombarding London to demoralise the British, the cabinet colleagues of Prime Minister Winston Churchill suggested him to shift his office-cum-residence from 10, Downing Street to some unknown place. Churchill turned down their suggestion. His argument was that he would prefer to be killed than send a signal to his countrymen that their Prime Minister was a coward.

These two different instances amply show the difference between a pseudo leader and a real leader.

Dr BALDEV SINGH, Faridabad

Dial-up is archaic

The ‘Dial-up’ internet connection should be abandoned throughout India or in the metropolitan and other big cities. In today’s world of 3G communication, the dial-up has no practical utility. It is a sheer wastage of time.

Because of high cost of internet for a mix of Indian urban and rural population, a very low percentage of Indian population uses the Internet. Even in slightly bigger urban agglomerations, there is very low penetration because people cannot afford Internet connection rentals. Therefore, public sector enterprises such as MTNL and BSNL must provide Internet connections at nominal charges and at highest download speed. Only lower prices will make broadband more accessible to all. For all schemes especially of MTNL and BSNL minimum speed should be 2Mbps.



This is with reference to the news item ‘Ghost regiment that humbled Pak defence in B’desh’ (December 17). The article erroneously mentioned that the 63 Cavalry was the only tank regiment that entered East Pakistan and even reached Dhaka at the time of the surrender. The 45 Cavalry, the 69 Armoured regiment and one independent Armoured squadron attached with the 7 Cavalry also went into East Pakistan alongwith the 63 Cavalry. However, an independent squadron of 63 Cavalry was the first and the only one to reach Dhaka. The error is regretted.


Passing precious time 

Waiting for Godot’ highlights Ravi Dayal’s deep insight into publishing, reading habits and books, besides his satire but correct observation that ‘the success of magazines was partly connected with the Indians having to wait all the time’ (a telling commentary on how Indians kill time).

In fact, reading is living meaningfully. Those who read are those who lead. ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body’ said Addison. Bacon said famously,’ Reading maketh a full man’. Reading is not penance; it is a pleasure, a mode of entertainment, an instruction, a profit in the long run.

Worshipping of scriptures apart, other books are also considered sacred. As children, we used to bow our heads to a book on which we had tiptoed accidentally. ‘Books rule the world’ (Voltaire). Carlyle bestows blessings upon ‘whoever it was that invented books’.

But Bacon’s advice for judicious book-reading is still relevant, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested”.




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