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Post-attack: Hunt on for scapegoats

It is not surprising that political bosses always look for a scapegoat after a mishappening. And it is little wonder that when Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's decision to suspend Bastar Superintendent of Police (SP) Mayank Shrivastava for a major security lapse as  he did not issue detailed orders marking duties of the police and central forces in securing the Congress Parivartan Rally in his jurisdiction. Though the district police had been informed of the Congress rally well in advance, it failed to ensure adequate security for Congress leaders as the convoy with Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma and state party chief Nand Kumar Patel was slated to pass through the area, without any change in the route. Instead, Mr Shrivastava deployed nearly 700-800 police and para-military personnel in his district, assigning duties at the police station level and earmarking personnel for road opening. So, the role of the SP’s office must be brought under CBI scanner as in Naxalite areas there is murmur that in all Maoist-infested areas some IPS officers obey orders from the Maoist high command.

The Congress leaders should not have embarked on a journey into Naxal-infested areas without adequate numbers of PSGs assigned to them? During his nine-year rule, Chief Minister Raman Singh has failed to protect the lives of its citizens from the Maoist menace, and it was foolish to arrange a rally in strife-torn areas.


Jethmalani’s expulsion

Ram Jethmalani, who has been expelled from the BJP for six years on charges of indiscipline, has had frequent run-ins with the party bosses. He has always been surrounded by controversies. Earlier, he even contested election as an independent candidate against Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004 from the Lucknow constituency. Consequently, he was expelled from the party and later rejoined it.

He opposed a second term for Gadkari as president of the party on Purti Group reports. He criticised Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley for opposing Ranjit Sinha as the CBI chief. He stormed into a BJP MPs’ meeting and accused the party bosses of being "too mild" and thereby earned the wrath of the party and paid for it with his expulsion for six years. Ram Jethmalani is a person who speaks his mind. He cannot be gagged into silence by the party discipline. He called China an enemy of both Pakistan and India in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador at a reception party hosted by the Pakistan High Commissioner for the visiting Foreign Minister of Pakistan.


Remove BCCI chief

The most disgusting part of the match-fixing saga is the involvement of BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and Srinivasan’s refusal to step down as BCCI chief. It was his moral responsibility to resign. Moreover, the BCCI’s reactions to the scandal and its subsequent attempts to cover itself up reek of nothing but hypocrisy. If the BCCI tries to escape the Sports Bill only to play with the fundamental rights of the Constitution, nothing should stop the government from clamping down on the body. Amusingly, Srinivasan holds on to the post as desperately as any runaway thief holds on to a bag of cash. Even Jyotiraditya Scindia, the sports ministry and others senior Congress leaders have asked him to step down, but he seems to be unwilling. How sad!

AVTANSH BEHAL, Chandigarh 

Saving vultures

The editorial ‘Vulture restaurants’ (May 29) was an apt observation of environmental degradation. It has rightly mentioned that the decline in the population of vultures is due to the consumption of poisonous carcasses of Diclofenac injection-administered animals. This may partially be true, as dogs, too, eat the same carcasses and do not die. On the other hand, a vulture (weighing 10-12 kg) after consuming 2-3 kg flesh of an animal fails to find suitable shelter/treetops for rest and build a nest to lay eggs even within a radius of 2-3 km of carcasses as bigger trees on which they can rest have vanished.

Besides, rapid urbanisation of the countryside has left no space for house sparrows. Similarly, the bricking up of canals to save water has created a scarcity of bigger trees alongside canals. So, the government must impose a ban on the poisonous Diclofenac injection and establish bird sanctuaries within a radius of four to five km of woods to facilitate birds/ vultures to build nests to lay eggs to raise its family and maintain nature’s balance.

KS SEKHON, Patiala

Pine trees

Apropos the news item ‘Ambuja Cements to use pine needles as fuel’ (May 29), the HP Forest Department is reported to have ''played a proactive role'' in convincing the cement giant to make use of pine needles as fuel in its cement plant. But there is nothing for the Forest Department to pat its back on this score. There exists a technology to make fuel briquettes from pine needles like cow-dung cakes and this is very much in the knowledge of the department for long. It would have been far more appropriate if the department had promoted this technology among the villages contiguous to pine forests. The villagers would have welcomed this technology and happily used such briquettes like cow-dung cakes which they have been using since times immemorial.

There is another solution to get rid of pine needle problem. This is to gradually replace the pines with other more useful trees with foliage and fodder, whose leaves neither catch fire nor hinder the growth of flora beneath them. Kachnar ( bauhinia variegata) is one such tree. Its foliage is a very good fodder. Its flowers support honey bees as they contain a good amount of nectar. The flower buds are used to make a delicious dish. The kachnar flower buds are also sold in the market as a vegetable. There are multiple benefits of a kachnar tree. So, kachnar trees should have been substituted in place of pine trees long ago.

LR SHARMA, Sundernagar



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