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Electrocution: Govt needs to address issue

Deaths due to electric shocks are common in our country. No attention is paid to minimise such accidents, which shows how insensitive we are to human life. The safety norms are not adhered to for lack of funds. People indulge in pilfering electricity without fear of legal action. The politicians promise free electricity to farmers and the poor. Such steps cause more suffering to the common man and prove regressive (editorial ‘Excess of power’, February 23). The politicians should help maintain balance in availability and supply of this essential requirement in our daily lives. Electricity should be paid for by everyone to ensure sufficient funds for ample power generation, for good maintenance and to observe strict safety standards. Life is precious and no one should suffer on account of avoidable reasons and gross mismanagement.

SC VAID, Greater Noida


Electricity is one of the essential needs of mankind. If not handled with care and safety, it can become a curse. Projected as the ‘Manchester of India’, the densely populated Ludhiana city has high-voltage wires criss-crossing it. Many transformers have open wires putting the public to great risk.

In case of death due to negligence on the part of the government authorities, a genuine compensation should be granted. The public also needs to be serious towards adopting safety norms.


Sapping energy

Pharmaceutical industry has become a powerful industry, driven only by profit. The MNCs conduct clinical trials of new drugs, on the people who are economically weak and underprivileged. It was shocking to learn that mentally-ill patients were subjected to clinical trials (Trial Travails, Feb 9). International guidelines for research in the form of clinical trials requires obtaining consent (preferably written) from the volunteer after explaining him/her about the status of the drug being under investigation. Obviously, the mentally challenged are not in a position to comprehend its ill-effects. These clinical trials give the MNCs the proof of effects of their drugs under study. If a volunteer develops complication, he is asked to prove that the alleged complication was a result of the drug under question. The poor, who has become a trial subject in lieu of a meager amount of money, can’t expect to have the capacity to do so. They are abandoned and search starts for ‘volunteers’ for next clinical trial with a new drug.

In our country, guidelines do exist for enrolment of volunteers for clinical trials, which include obtaining consent, clearance of trial from an institutional ethics committee, due care of the volunteers, during and after the trial, if any physical injury occurs to the volunteer. ICMR director has said that these guidelines do exist but they have a weak legal sanction.

Laws against such damaging clinical trials should be made stringent and heavy penalties should be imposed on the violators.

Dr VK BAJAJ, Patiala

Deprived parents

The news item ‘Sikh man sues his hotelier son for throwing him out’ (Feb 24) is a reflection of the deteriorating and fast-eroding value system. For media and many others it makes news as a millionaire family is involved, but for millions of old people in India, it is a common phenomenon.

Sometimes, people forcefully take over property from old parents and subject them to a life of seclusion. The old are not very vocal about the way they are abused by their wards, but blame themselves for not inculcating the right values in their children. They are also afraid of retaliation by family members and are unsure of help from any quarter. Physical weakness due to old age is another reason for the acceptance of abuse.

Lack of 'value' system in the once close-knit traditional family system and negative attitude of the younger generation is the most obvious cause of ill- treatment of the older lot. There is a need is to have a strong support system to restore and recognise their dignity and to eliminate all forms of neglect, abuse and violence. The younger generation must instill a caring attitude towards their elders and grandparents in themselves.

Prof GURDEV SINGH, Chandigarh

Red Cross defunct

Earlier training camps used to be held in Punjab every year by the government in liaison with the Red Cross Society. Training for life-saving techniques is only imparted by the Red Cross. Now, camps are not being held in schools, colleges, factories, police stations and offices of other para-military forces. The Punjab government gives special grant of Rs one crore every year to the Red Cross. The grant is not being used for spreading awareness but for paying salary bills and for other office services.

The Red Cross Society in Punjab must reassess its duties towards the public, otherwise the name of Red Cross will be forgotten. The Punjab Governor is the president of the Punjab Red Cross Society and he should look into its deteriorating condition.

KR VERMA, Patiala

Death corridors

Unmanned level crossings should be provided with track circuiting, audio frequency coded devices and flickering coloured signals. Unmanned level crossings should be manned by physically fit elders on an honorarium .They should be provided with walkie-talkies or mobiles to alert about approaching trains. States and panchayats should undertake social awareness campaigns regularly. Drivers of all types of transport must have the copies of safety rules while driving. Level crossings should be better maintained in respect of its surface, approach roads and gradients, speed breakers, warning signals, and adequate clear visibility towards tracks.

BM SINGH, Amritsar

Be a good ‘player’

Very few can understand problems, still few participate in providing solutions but its only one or two of them who take a decision (Players and Spares, Feb 24). Spares (common people) are only spectators. The decision for Partition taken by Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah was totally political. The players played their game but we the spares are still bearing the consequences. The spares are helpless, but the ‘players’ should play their game carefully. Their decision affects millions of people. So, be a good player.


Tapa ( Barnala )



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