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Man-made Himalayan tsunami

This refers to the news report ‘1,000 dead; rescuers focus on Badrinath’ (June 23). The devastating “Himalayan tsunami” was a self-inflicted tragedy, which could have been minimised, had the state government taken the required preventive measures. We have been tinkering with nature since time immemorial and have encroached rivers, hills, etc just for commercial activities and good revenues. The forest cover is receding and hills are being converted into the plains so that housing societies could be raised there. The hydro power projects are eroding the hill slopes. The river banks are being encroached for making houses and hotels. These activities have disturbed the fragile eco-system, triggering global warming, which is the main reason for the untimely rains and melting of the glaciers.

The state government knew that there was going to be a big rush of the pilgrims during this season and that the monsoon was to hit the area before its scheduled date. Why the state government did not make proper arrangements to deal with a big crowd?

Rather than creating a big disaster management force, the government must take preventive measures to deal with such disasters: all routes to these pilgrimage sites must be made strong and safe; there must be alternative routes; there should be no construction on the river beds; tourist shelters must be made away from the river banks and beds. There must be minimum construction activities in these areas.


Birender’s exclusion

Apropos of the news report ‘Hooda engineered Birender’s exclusion from Union Cabinet’ (June 18), it is shocking to note that Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda plotted the denial of a Cabinet berth to MP Birender Singh at the eleventh hour in the recent Cabinet expansion. The elevation of Birender Singh would have definitely benefited the state.

The Chief Minister should not have carried his jealousy that far notwithstanding the fact that the two are closely related and belong to the same party. Birender Singh is a very senior Congress leader and did not deserve this shabby treatment. In fact, no Congress leader has been subjected to such humiliation in the past. This episode also shows that the Prime Minister has no role in the selection of his ministerial team. Khushwant Singh was right when he quoted Bakshi “India can do without a Prime Minister”.


Pension scheme

Owing to the non-implementation of the one rank, one pension scheme, most of the disabled soldiers are facing difficulties. If the spiralling inflation is making it difficult for the common man to make ends meet, they are no exception. The authorities concerned must implement the scheme at the earliest and save them undue harassment.


Hospital in bad shape

The government hospital at Gagret in Una district of Himachal Pradesh is in bad shape these days. Beside woefully inadequate infrastructure, the hospital has been reeling under an acute shortage of doctors and medicine stocks for a long time. The hapless patients are forced to purchase the prescribed medicines from the local chemists at exorbitant rates.

Pertinently, the hospital caters to the needs of about 50,000 people of the area. Since it is strategically located on the busy Jalandhar-Chintpurni highway, victims of numerous road accidents also receive emergency treatment here. Would it be too much to appeal to the state government to spare a thought for the “ailing” hospital and restore its “health”?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Power woes

The electricity supply in Punjab is not adequate. And one faces long-duration unscheduled power cuts almost daily. On the other hand, the Punjab government never tires of claiming that there will be no power cuts from the next year, but one faces the same situation again. Curiously, the Punjab government is mulling providing the power supply to Pakistan. This step when your own state people are reeling under power cuts will be illogical.


Children’s torture

The news item ‘Palestinian children tortured and used as shield by Israel’ (June 21) makes painful reading. Such acts of torturing children are intolerable in Indian society, which always treats children as the most beautiful gifts of God. Whatever be the reason behind it, children held by the Israel must be given a fair treatment. At least they are not born to face torture and to be used as a shield in aggression by any country. All countries should criticise this inhuman treatment of children and make efforts to restore them to their countries.

PN GUPTA, Sangrur

Qut’b and Mushtari

In the middle ‘Kings, queens & concubines’ (June 10) by Rajbir Deswal, the writer has referred to the love of a Qut’b Shahi king for a nautch girl. This ruler of Golkonda was Mohammad Quli Qut’b Shah. He was a distinguished prolific poet impressed by Hindu culture. During the princehood, he frequented Bhagmati, a beautiful dancing girl. Once he plunged the horse he was riding into a river in full spate. His father got a bridge built over the river.

After ascending the throne on the death of his father, he brought Bhagmati in his seraglio (a large harem), conferred the title of Mushtari (Jupiter) on her, built a city and christened it Bhagnagar. After some time, he conferred another title “Haider Mahal” on Bhagmati. After her death, Bhagnagar was renamed Haiderabad (Hyderabad). At the behest of Mohammad Quli Qut’b Shah, his poet-laureate Vajhi wrote 2000-couplet Masnavi (narrative poem) “Qut’b Mushtari” about the story of his love for Bhagmati. Even after more than 400 years, it is read with zeal and gusto.




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