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

EC’s valid reply to SAD complaint

This refers to front page news-item “To Badal’s complaint, CEC retorts: We know our limits” published on January 4 in The Tribune. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi has given a very valid reply to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on his complaint questioning the Election Commission’s (EC) working. The CEC has rightly stated that the EC is supposed to ensure that the highest standard of morality and purity are maintained, which in turn will lead to free and fair Assembly elections in Punjab. Even the CEC has this way mentioned that the EC has to check and enquire the poll violation complaints, that too from any political party.

It has been a wrong move on the part of the CM to communicate with the EC through the media. By giving an appropriate reply to the SAD chief, the CEC has made it clear that neither EC officials will come under any pressure from the ruling party in Punjab and nor any sort of interference in the work of the EC will be tolerated by any political party. Moreover, surprise checkings regarding the movement of cash and arms all over Punjab is also an appropriate step.

If democracy is to flourish, the Assembly elections must be fair and free. The EC has to keep a check on corrupt practices or undue influence by way of coercion or intimidation of voters in the state for ensuring peace and law and order during the election period.

Harpreet Sandhu, Ludhiana

Sacked BSP ministers

It is sad that the BJP has inducted sacked BSP ministers facing corruption charges. This proves that no political party is clean and wishes to remain clean! Any person involved in a scandal should not be allowed to hold an important post. Some political parties put the blame on the “system”. But they should not forget that it is the duty of all political parties to improve the system and get rid of all tainted ministers. The Constitution must also be amended to ensure that any person involved in a scandal is not allowed to hold public office.

Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi

Age row

General VK Singh, Chief of Army Staff, has been in the news on the issue of his date of birth (DOB). He claims that his correct date of birth is May 30, 1951, and not May 30, 1950. If the 1951 date is accepted he will be the Chief of Army Staff for a year more.

The other day Defence Minister AK Antony after consulting various ministries ruled that the correct DOB was May 30, 1950. Aggrieved by the government’s ruling, General Singh is said to be planning to approach the Supreme Court for justice.

Without going into the merits or demerits of the case, how one wishes that the controversy had not arisen at all. The office of the Chief of Army Staff is too exalted to be dragged into a controversy, especially on the issue of DOB. In any case, after the Defence Minister had spoken, the controversy should have rested there and not allowed to become as messy as it is now.

What is surprising is that the issue was not sorted out during the last 44 years the officer was in service. If it was raised and officials concerned slept over it for whatever reasons, they should be brought to book and it should be ensured that there is never a repeat. If the issue was never raised all these years, there is no reason why it should be brought up now.

RJ Khurana, Bhopal

Punish the guilty

This is in reference to editorial “Innocent lives lost” (January 4). The accident that occurred near Ambala in which 13 schoolchildren have been killed has shocked the entire nation. The innocent schoolchildren were killed due to no fault of theirs. Although the weather conditions were adverse, the carelessness of the driver and the school authorities in maintaining the safety standards of the vehicle carrying children should not be ignored.

The school authorities should be penalised monetarily  for not maintaining the safety standards according to the guidelines of the Supreme Court. Moreover, from the next session the school should be penalised by closing it indefinitely, if it does not adheres to the safety standards within a period of two months. Last but not the least, in order to prevent such horrible accidents in future, all schools of North India should be forced to declare holidays for a few days in January.

Sanjay Chawla, Amritsar

Numerology myth

Vandana Shukla’s middle, “What’s there in a number?” is not only interesting but superstitious also. Good luck is not associated with any particular number. There is no limit to superstitions. Getting lucky or unlucky with numbers is nothing more than a myth.

The writer seems to have been inspired and empowered by the numerical power of the number 786. She changed the spellings of some plants by adding extra ‘ees’ and ‘aas’ for the gain of extra power. But it was of no use as all these plants remained insensitive to numerology and offered the same blossom at the same time.

Thus, it may be considered as a coincidence that the miracle happened with the particular number. Sometimes, a few things are correlated with the miracle of numerology. But on the whole, to be optimistic in any circumstance is more essential.

Anju D. Anand, Solan

Pedestrian friendly

Pedestrian safety has always been a frequently talked about issue in busy cities where swift-moving vehicles occupy central roads and pedestrians are relegated to the sides. A lot needs to be done to make the cities pedestrian friendly. Data on pedestrian volumes, safety-related information, the facilities available and its features like the width of the footpath, street lighting quality, etc, should be compiled. The needs of women, children and elderly people should be dealt with separately.

Curbs and ramp walks must be constructed on sidewalks to make walking convenient. Short pedestrian crossings and wider sidewalks will also prove beneficial. Construction of foot overbridges will prove to be a boon for commuters. It will definitely reduce the number of pedestrian deaths that take place due to walking on busy roads.

Dr. Shruti K. Chawla, Chandigarh

Saving tigers

With reference to news item “Commandos to protect tigers in Karnataka” (January 5), I would further say that the decline in the tiger population is a cause for concern. The future of tigers remains uncertain and it will take just a decade for tigers to vanish from the wild. Tigers are important biologically to maintain the overall health of an ecosystem.

The initiative taken by the Karnataka Government to deploy a commando unit – the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) – to protect its big cat population from poachers is appreciable.

Poachers are not the only threat to wildlife; the number of animal deaths in road accidents is higher than deaths by poaching. There is a need for issuing directions for controlling vehicular traffic by the National Wildlife Action Plan.

Harish K. Monga, Ferozepur



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