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US and Iran should find middle ground

Iran, one of the biggest oil producers and suppliers, has reasons to feel threatened by the latest developments. Top Iranian military leaders have warned that if the West implements new sanctions, Teheran retains the option of closing down the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf through which much of the oil from the region flows to the international market. The Straits of Hormuz is just a 6.4 km wide channel between Iran and Oman, located at the mouth of the Gulf. One-third of the world’s tanker-borne oil traffic passes through the narrow straits. Nearly all the liquefied gas from Qatar passes through the Straits of Hormuz. 

Iran’s economy has already been shattered after years of sanctions imposed by the West. President Barack Obama signed a new legislation on December 31 that would penalise companies doing business with the Iranian Central Bank.  This law is aimed at countries like India which import oil from Iran.  India imports about 12 per cent crude oil out of its total requirements from Iran. The EU consisting of  27 nations only imports around 18 per cent of Iran’s oil. Though many oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya declared to make up for any oil shortfall owing to Iran embargo, yet countries like India will have to face serious consequences.

Escalating tensions have already pushed up Brent crude prices by about $8 a barrel since December.  Apart from it, crude prices may be as high as $150 a barrel in the near future because of the European Union’s ban on imports of Iranian crude. India’s economy will certainly be hit hard in the coming days which would have a cascading effect on the people already facing skyrocketing prices of essential commodities. India needs to play a crucial role and Iran and the West should be urged to find a middle ground. 

SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Faulty voter list

The editorial ‘Elections in Punjab 2012’ enumerated the steps and measures adopted by the Election Commission in holding, conducting and regulating the demeanour of candidates is not only laudable, but also praiseworthy. Despite good groundwork by EC, one major and glaring shortcoming witnessed in the elections was preparation of electoral rolls and change of wards which generated a lot of confusion and chaos.

Names of thousands of voters were found missing from the rolls. Some mischievous elements get the names of supporters of opposing party deleted from voter lists. I and my family were deprived of the right to vote even after showing our voter card, even after exercising our right to vote for the last three decades. Hundreds of voters returned disappointed on being denied their right to vote on this ground. Electoral lists showed some of voters twice.

Is this fair? If one has to ensure that his name is entered in the list by standing in long queues and by being at the whims and fancy of beauraucrats and frequenting election office, then, what is the duty of the Election Commission?

A genuine voter holding his voter I-card must  be allowed to cast his vote after registering his particulars in records, even if his name is not mentioned in the voter list.

AJAY K. JINDAL, Advocate, Ludhiana


The Election Commission officials should be lauded for prompt action on the complaints regarding poll violation and model code of conduct. It is quite appreciable that canvassing all over Punjab was peaceful and there was no major violence. There was a check on the corrupt practices or undue influence by way of coercion or intimidation of voters.

With EC getting central govt officials to keep a check on the Punjab state authorities was another appropriate step initiated by the Election Commission.

The instant action initiated by the Chief Election Commissioner on poll violation complaints by transferring certain public servants was praise worthy.

HARPREET SANDHU, Advocate, Ludhiana

Pampered lot

Reasons for complete whitewash of India’s cricket team in Australia are not far to seek. Cricket team as a whole and seniors, in particular, are too pampered to correct their mistakes. Their comfort level is too high to instill a sense of commitment in them. Half of the team is too old for the game. They are too selfish to make way for the younger and talented players. It is high time selectors are guided by the present performance of the players, their fitness form and not their old laurels. Sharad Pawar's idea of retiring the old ones to make way for younger lot should be put into practice.

Col VINOD K SARAF (retd), Chandigarh


Performance of the Indian cricket team has been dismal in the last six months. Cricket fans are totally disappointed. The team must seriously and critically analyse its weakness and rectify mistakes. The weak points must be turned into strength. Forgetting the past, team must rejuvenate itself and put in their best in the coming tri-series. The team must play hard and win this series to regain the confidence of their fans. On its part, the BCCI must also introspect.


Aadhaar extension

All's well that ends well. Finally, the Aadhaar scheme will continue. This refers to the editorial ‘Thumbs up for Aadhaar’ (January 30). The government’s decision that both the UIDAI and the National Population Register (NPR) will collect biometric data for providing ‘Aadhaar’ numbers and smart cards, is a welcome move. The ongoing controversy between the home ministry and the Planning Commission has been timely put to rest. For reaching at this amicable solution, the government, along with its two wings- the Planning Commission and home ministry- deserve a pat on their back for taking a ‘right turn’ in the larger interest of the country.


Fear leads to atrocities

In my teens, I had read an essay in which the writer conveyed a realistic idea that fear is responsible for atrocities. The writer had quoted an incident of a running dog having been stoned to death under the fear that it might be a mad dog and may bite passers-by. Now, I do commit without reservation that the writer’s understanding was correct.

Supplementing it, I may narrate the grouse of a subordinate who pleased his boss by meeting all his demands and remaining in his good books. The boss while leaving the station on transfer spoiled the subordinate’s ACR to coin an explanation for fear of being exposed on his transfer. The persons in power must peep into themselves to find out the extent of correctness of this idea in real life.




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