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

Time to introspect for Congress

This refers to the editorial 'Another Akali victory' and the news report 'Thumping win for SAD-BJP in ZP, Panchayat Samiti polls' (May 23). The crushing defeat of the Congress party in the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls of Punjab is not a big surprise. The victory is the result of the SAD-BJP's political unity. It is a clear message to the Congress as suggested by the editorial that “improve your functioning, improve your attitude, show political honesty and ethics or perish”. Moreover, the Congress failed to decipher voters' mood and act in a right direction.

Voters return only those politicians and political parties to power which work for society's development and benefits. Bad governance, political dishonesty, corruption and ignoring the people's perceptions and benefits led to the Congress’ defeat. Rather than checking corruption and taking action against its tainted ministers, the Congress kept on ignoring their crimes. Painting rosy pictures in the media and the public by it also failed to cut ice with voters.

Moreover, rural voters have been disillusioned by bad and corrupt governance of the Congress. It is time for the Congress to introspect.


China’s interests

Most of our political parties are in high spirits after the Chinese premier's visit. The diplomatic lobby is also hopeful of a permanent resolution of the long-standing border dispute. But it was sheer luck that the Chinese troops went backwards or may be due to some other ulterior motives. One feels that nothing can be achieved from these bilateral talks. And the Indian side must apply a different strategy to deal with China.

Trade is the lifeblood of China and any harm to this segment can create unrest in that country. India must quash all trade ties with it till the time border dispute is resolved. Or, if it is not possible, a 3-digit import duty and VAT must be charged from China on its products. This may affect that country's business prospects and profits. Also, it may deter China from intruding into Indian territory.


Quality education

Apropos the editorial (May 22), I agree with you that an ad-hoc and makeshift approach to teaching and education has been the bane of the quality of education in the country. The Supreme Court has rightly slammed the education authorities for resorting to stopgap arrangements in the appointment of teachers, which does not justify the proclaimed objective of dispensing quality education in the country's educational institutions, including higher education set-up.

In the university system in Punjab, over 70 per cent of the sanctioned teaching posts are lying vacant. Sadly, the interim arrangement of imparting education is being carried out through ad-hoc, temporary and contractual appointments of teachers.

Even the non-teaching/administrative posts in most universities are being temporarily manned by regular faculty, who due to over-stretched teaching and research commitments find it impossible to justify both positions simultaneously. In the process, the quality of teaching and education is affected.


Saving water

No doubt, water is priceless (editorial, Water carries a cost, May 25). The Punjab Government's assurance to the high court to install water meters on all tubewells to measure the amount of water drawn is okay. About a month ago, the Central government had warned the Punjab chief minister to adopt a crop diversification policy and get rid of paddy, which is a water-guzzler crop. But, the state government has failed to reach the Centre's suggestion to most of the farmers.

On the other hand, farmers know that to avoid paddy cultivation is very difficult for them because there is no difficulty in its marketing as well as it brings good returns. To make the crop diversification policy successful, the government will have to provide good marketing facilities to other crops. Also, it has to ensure a healthy profit like they earn on paddy to them. Only then can it get their support in checking the falling water table in Punjab.


Job scenario

The job scenario in Punjab is grim. Sadly, the state government has failed to tackle this serious issue. Alas, those who studied and spent a fortune to become engineers, doctors, professors, etc are running from pillar to post for the post of clerk. Given the fact that most of the government departments - be it hospitals, colleges, universities, police stations, and so on — are reeling under acute shortage of staff, why aren't these highly educated youth given employment? The government must do precious little in this regard.

KHAZAN SINGH, Kapurthala

Social security in old age 

The middle 'Keeping up with friends' (May 25) makes for impressive reading. It mirrors the harsh reality of social insecurity in old age and drifting away of friends. Generally, one gets so lost in making and saving money for leading a dignified life that he fails to make some social investment. Savings give much-needed support in old age. To retire pensionless and sans an adequate bank balance is like exposing one's rickety ship of life to a stormy sea. A sound financial support gives a sense of social security in old age.

However, friendship is a social investment. It results from regular watering of human relations. True, friends are inexhaustible assets. But the middle gives a feeling that the writer has been dealing with fair-weather friends. All his post-retirement efforts to reach out to old friends seem to have yielded little results.




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