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Private schools too need mid-day meals

Though the Himachal Pradesh government has launched many attractive schemes like free uniform to each child twice a year, free transport facilities, distribution of free textbooks up to high classes and scholarships for students belonging to the BPL and minority categories, private schools are being preferred by parents for their wards' elementary education.

The number of privately managed elementary schools is 2,900 in the state, catering to the educational needs of more than three lakh students, whereas there are 11,000 government schools where only about seven lakh students are enrolled. These three lakh students are deprived of the mid-day meal, free uniform, free textbooks and other benefits since these are meant for only students of government schools. Owing to the non-specific provisions of the RTE Act, 2009, and defunct educational regulatory boards, private school students are not being provided with mid-day meals and other benefits under the National Plan of Nutritional Support. The government should also provide the same facilities to the students of private schools.


Force to reckon with

A large number of pilgrims and visitors who survived the Uttarakhand calamity must be thankful to the armed forces, especially the Army, without the support of which they would not have been alive. On the other hand, pilgrims lambasted the state administration, including the police, which failed to help them out. One also witnessed petty politics of our insensitive politicians who were there just to score brownie points.

The Army has once again proved that it is all-rounder. Be it floods, tsunami, earthquakes, terrorism, communal riots or even a child stuck in a borewell, it is the force to depend on. But it is also a fact that they are always forgotten by the government and the public once the crisis is over. The umpteen glaring anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission must be removed by the government.


Mohali railway station

The exit of Pawan Kumar Bansal from the Railway Ministry has impacted the pace of many railway projects envisaged for this region. His removal is understandable. But now it seems that the Tricity will be deprived of many other facilities assured by Pawan Kuman Bansal. One of these is the plying of new trains on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana section.

Moreover, Mohali railway station cries for certain amenities like round-the-clock paid parking for four/two-wheelers. In the absence of this, many passengers have to face problems. The station does not have any refreshment stall, though it witnesses a huge rush during the arrival of the Amritsar-Chandigarh Superfast Express and Jan Shatabdi.

MP SINGH, Mohali

A welcome step

The recent decision of GMADA to hike the reserve fee for transfer of plots in Sectors 81, 88 and 89, Aerocity (SAS Nagar), and Eco City, Mullanpur, from Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 is a welcome step. GMADA should also take steps to give possession of plots in Aero City to successful applicants as more than three years have already passed since the draw of lots for these plots.


Wild animals

Please refer to the news published in The Tribune dated June 17, 2013, regarding Farmers lose sleep over wild animals. Blue bulls are not found only in Patiala district. They are also found in Sangrur, Ludhiana, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Ferozpur, Bhatinda and Mansa districts. All wild animals play an important role in the food chain. Man wants to kill or destroy everything without assessing any profit and loss of our environment. Punjab is very poor in wildlife and forests as compared to other states. We should not strengthen the hands of poachers.


Politics over tragedy

This refers to the news regarding the one-day delay caused in handing over the mortal remains of the IAF jawans killed in rescue operations in Uttarakhand to their family members only because Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde could not reach Dehradun for saluting them on Thursday. Was such a formal tribute by a political leader more important at a time when their anxious and aggrieved family members were waiting for them?

TV visuals showed ugly pictures of a fight between TDP and Congress leaders from Andhra Pradesh for taking credit for providing help to survivors from the state. There are also reports that a mess of security forces had to be evacuated for the visit of the Congress vice-president to the tragedy-hit state.

Earlier, the Gujarat Chief Minister allegedly took credit for rescuing 15,000 pilgrims from his state. It is indeed shameful and unfortunate that in a bid to take political advantage, the handover of the mortal remains of the brave soldiers was delayed to their family members by one day. It is like baking political bread over a big human tragedy where our politicians leave no opportunity for gaining political publicity. Political leaders of this country should realise that in the absence of the provision of the 'None-To-Vote' option on the electronic voting machines as repeatedly recommended by the Election Commission, they in no way represent aspirations of people.




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