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Plastics: A real threat to environment

I fully endorse the views expressed in the editorial ‘Garbage forever’ (April 5). There was a time when we all used to carry household items/groceries in paper, jute or cloth bags, but gradually the polythene became a much convenient option for both shopkeepers and customers.

It is true that plastic bags have certain advantages over paper and jute bags. Polybags are strong, flexible, waterproof, light and cheaper. However, these bags are non-biodegradable making them a huge risk for the environment.

Today, the plastic menace has spread from cities to small towns and villages. Polybags have choked our sewerage and drainage systems. The stray cattle are often seen feeding on heaps of garbage dumped in these polybags. The menace has reached an alarming proportion due to absence of effective waste management and disposal system.

Since the use of polythene bags has become so rampant in our day-to-day life, it is impossible to go back to non-plastic era, a point aptly highlighted in the editorial. There is thus an urgent need to take a pragmatic view of the situation and the best course of action would be to minimise the use of plastic. This should be voluntary and not by coercion. Many states, including Jammu & Kashmir, have banned plastic bags. Heavy fines are levied on defaulters. However, the menace continues.

Also, the system of door to- door collection of garbage is not properly functional in our cities. This system greatly helps in segregation of bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable waste materials at the collection point itself and ensures safe disposal later. Finally, there is an urgent need to educate people on environmental and health risks posed by plastic bags.


Whopping fee

This is reference to news item ‘HC sets up panels to regulate school fee’ (April 10). In this era of commercialisation of education, private institutions are charging exorbitant and unreasonable fee from students.

In such a scenario, the setting up of three committees by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to regulate school fee is a right step.

The high court panel will look into factors like infrastructure and available facilities, salaries paid to teachers and staff, future plans for expansion and/or betterment of institution subject to two restrictions: non-profiteering and non-charging of capitation fee.

The education must not just become a money making business. Quality education should be within reach of all.

KK SOOD, Nangal

Clearing backlog

There is a backlog of whopping 2.70 crore cases in various courts countrywide.

Regarding vacancies in the high courts, without waiting for substitution of the present system of appointment of HC judges by another mode, what can be done immediately is to raise the retirement age of HC judges from 62 to 65 years.

The Union Government, it seems, is also keen on it and even the Opposition is not averse to the idea. The earlier it is done, the better it would be.

There is an urgent need to fill the vacancies too. Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who is an eminent lawyer himself and understands the gravity of the situation, should be able to get things moving by bringing all concerned on board. The constitutional amendment can soon follow. Needless to say, the retirement age of Supreme Court judges would also be raised.

GS ANAND, Panchkula

Poor need care

The news report published in The Tribune a few days ago along with the shocking picture of a woman delivering her baby in the parking area outside a civil hospital in Fatehabad was enough to send a chill down one's spine. How could the doctors at the hospital be so callous in not attending to a pregnant lady who needed urgent medical attention and care?

The incident really calls for stringent punishment for the guilty at the hospital. Also, strict instructions should be issued to all hospitals to give up such apathetic attitude and provide free medical care to the poor who need urgent attention and have nowhere else to go. The government has announced that every hospital has to immediately attend to a rape victim and provide her free medical treatment. The rule should be extended to poor patients and mothers-to-be.


Right verdict

Santosh Mane, a driver with Maharashtra’s Transport Department — who hijacked a bus from Swargate depot and went on a rampage, mowing down nine persons — has been rightly given death penalty. Mane was neither maniac nor drunk. His seniors had not changed his night duty so he was angry. He was completely in his senses and he knew what he was doing. He carefully hijacked a bus and then went on ramming it recklessly into other vehicles without bothering for precious lives.  His action is unforgivable and the court’s verdict, given in a record time of 14 months, is a big relief to the bereaved families who were looking for a speedy justice. To avoid recurrence of such untoward incidences, the state transport officials should not overburden their drivers with more than 8 hours of driving duty per day.


Strange advice

Last month, while addressing the winners of gallantry awards in Chandigarh, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh gave a strange advice to the ex-servicemen to remain apolitical. “Dabbling in politics would lead to their stature and ethos losing sheen”, he said. We have before us some shining examples of retired defence officers doing well in politics. So I don’t understand how it lowers their stature. Aren’t the ex-servicemen free to do what they want even after they have retired? Why impose restrictions on them? With their rich experience, they can do anything and that too in an efficient manner.


Blot on khaki

There have been several instances where police organisations have played a crucial role in preventing riots and other untoward incidents.

The brutal attack, however, on a young girl on a busy highway at Tarn Taran by Punjab policemen is highly deplorable. The Supreme Court has rightly taken notice of it and reprimanded the state police. These acts of police atrocities are not confined to Punjab. Some weeks ago, protesting teachers were brutally thrashed by the police.

A truck driver was allegedly beaten to death for refusing to pay a bribe of Rs 5,000 demanded by a constable.

In a country where system of governance is dysfunctional, poor police performance is inevitable. Political pressures, corruption, less salaries are some factors which take a toll on the functioning of the police. There is an immediate need to roll out police reforms.

SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh



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