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First step in fight against cancer

It is disturbing to know that 33, 318 people have died of cancer in Punjab alone in the last five years (news report ‘18 die of cancer in Punjab everyday’ January 29). Moreover, in the Malwa belt of Punjab there are on an average 136 cancer patients per lakh population as compared to national average of 80 people per lakh population.

It is a welcome move of the state government to have done a statewide survey in this regard, but this is just the beginning of the fight against cancer. The Punjab government must establish a charitable cancer hospital as established in Bikaner, Rajasthan. Moreover, Punjab needs speciality cancer hospitals in each district and a post of an oncologist in each civil hospital to treat and to spread awareness among the people for an early diagnosis.

But as data reveals that about 50 percent of the cancer grant in Bathinda district remained unutilised. So, the need of the hour is to utilise the cancer grants effectively, otherwise all these steps will go waste and many more precious lives of our near and dear ones would be lost.

Ignorance, illiteracy, lack of awareness, excessive use of pesticides and polluted groundwater are the key factors responsible for the spread of the disease. Low inputs from agriculture specialists have failed to supply proper information to farmers or guide them on the necessary dose of pesticides.


IT reprieve for senior citizens

In the last budget, the income tax exemption limit for general category persons was raised to Rs 2 lakh from the existing Rs 1.80 lakh. It was a meagre relief compared to the high cost of living in the wake of rising prices. The senior citizens who look forward to the government for relief were completely ignored and the exemption limit for them remained static at Rs 2.50 lakh.

This placed them at a disadvantageous position vis-a-vis the non-senior citizens. The irony is that a person of the general category avails an exemption upto Rs 3.20 lakh ( Rs 2 lakh general exemption + Rs one lakh under section 80-C of the Income Tax Act + Rs 20,000 for investment in the special bonds), whereas a senior citizen is stuck up at Rs 2.50 lakh.

Taking a rational view, the Finance Minister should raise the exemption limit for senior citizens to at least Rs 3 lakh in the coming budget. Further, the age limit for not filing returns in case of income not exceeding Rs 5 lakh be also reduced to 75 years from the present 80 years of age . It will save a number of elderly persons from the ordeal of filing tax returns.


Early exposure

Teenagers in hordes, who are supposed to be in schools and colleges are seen loitering in streets, working in ‘dhabas’ or moving on two wheelers in suspicious conditions. With the passage of time and under the tutelage of bigger criminals, they graduate into smalltime kingpins or become part of gangs.

The society, the government, the political parties are to be blamed for having not invested in the future generation of the state. The consequences thereof are apparent.

Due to instant exposure to media, cinema, mobile phones, social networking, neglect by parents and various other social and personal pressures, young minds easily fall prey to evil forces in the society.

The age of juvenile accused needs to be reduced in view of the early maturity in today’s youth.

JS BHATTI, Patiala

Tiger without teeth

The editorial ‘Lokpal again’ (January 30) rightly questions the government’s sincerity and ability to bring in a good Lokpal Bill. The public knows that its new avatar would be exactly like so many other Lokpal Bills introduced in Parliament in the last 50 years and gathering dust.

Because the Parliament’s select committee , which have been entrusted with the task of framing the structure and spirit of the Bill, is chosen from amongst parliamentarians and not from the public, it is but obvious that the Lokpal Bill would be a tiger without teeth.

To put CBI and Lokayukatas under the Lokpal is still a critical question. The political leaders are laundering the taxpayer’s money in scams wherever possible --- telecom, games, housing, coal and even coffins for the dead.




The Punjab Lokpal’s suggestions to make the office of the state Lokpal a workable institution is not only necessary but urgent as well. The Punjab Lokpal has not been able to discharge its duties for which it came into existence. It has come to mean an ornamental post and has nothing to boast of as the guardian of public funds and morality. The charges against public servants have never seen the final deliverance of justice. The main reason is that the Lokpal can't take any decision on his own to proceed against a public servant. As such it is incumbent upon the government to provide the Lokpal the powers that would enable the institution to take suo motu notice of corruption charges against public servants.

Prof MK SHARMA, Amritsar


It is time the UPA sincerely gets the Lokpal Bill passed in the coming budget session after incorporating genuine changes as demanded by Anna for containing rampant corruption (editorial ‘Lokpal again’, January 30). The UPA should not place party interests above those of the general public with regard to Lokpal Bill as doing so would send a wrong message.

The passage of Lokpal Bill during forthcoming Budget session is likely to augur well for the UPA in achieving a better mandate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, or else its credibility would again be at stake if it adopts diversionary tactics now.


Sensitising judiciary

Besides the police, the judiciary also needs to be suitably sensitised with regard to heinous crimes like rape (TV Rajeswar’s article ‘Atrocities against women’, January 18). The rate of conviction admittedly is very low in the country which can be a contributory factor in the rise of rape graph. The accused are acquitted on flimsy and speculative reasoning even at the level of the High Court. Needless to say that such unjustified acquittals do not bring any credit to the judiciary but only encourage the culprits.




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