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Pakistan should give India MFN status

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has impressed upon the country's Foreign Affairs Ministry the need for holding an evocative dialogue with India. The gesture seems pleasant and will be a good step towards initiating a comprehensive dialogue with India.

But Pakistan has not yet fulfilled its commitment to grant most favoured nation (MFN) status to India. Any evocative dialogue can best be started in right earnest with the grant of MFN status to India and also by allowing New Delhi transit access to Afghanistan.

V. R. SETHI, Shimla

Retirement age

The Punjab government is considering to raise the retirement age of its employees to 60. The move, aimed at giving temporary relief to the precarious fiscal health of the state by the postponement of the payment of superannuation benefits, is devoid of prudence.

It may be welcomed by the employees concerned, but will surely upset and demoralise a number of other employees awaiting promotions in the near future. It will also add to the miseries of the unemployed youth of Punjab. The government must not overlook this fact.

H L SHARMA, Amritsar

Tree plantation

Trees bring rain. This was taught or we get to study it in our schools. The reason behind the rising incidents of cloudburst in the Himalayan ranges could be attributed, to some extent, to unchecked felling of trees or deforestation. The so-called development across the country has wiped out trees and forests from our country. Consequently, the monsoon clouds have little option but to disperse all the water at one place instead of evenly distributing rain waters over a large area. Hence natural calamities like cloudbursts. We still are unable to realise the importance and value of planting trees.


Vote-bank politics

The policy of appeasement to strengthen vote-banks by various populist measures by the political parties will not only destroy the unity and integrity of the country, but also drag it into a financial crisis. And the first step to check this trend is to discontinue all reservations/ quotas in every government sector.

The Constitution guarantees equal opportunities to all citizens irrespective of their caste, colour, creed and gender. To curb this vote-bank policy, the Supreme Court and the Election Commission should come forward and the word "minorities" should be dispensed with. The policy of raising the retirement age of government employees must be checked. Our politician should also have certain age of superannuation.

A B KOHLI, New Delhi

Meals in trains

Taking cues from the recent midday meals tragedy in Bihar, the government, particularly the Railways, should now become more vigilant about the quality of food served to passengers in trains. Already, there are lots of complaints regarding railway food which should be addressed by the authorities concerned.

At present, food is compulsory in some trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express. And the cost of food is also included in tickets. This should be made optional keeping in view the plight of senior citizens and sick passengers and left to the choice of passengers for streamlining the existing system.

R K PANT, Chandigarh

Language binds

The middle 'Learning Punjabi in Delhi' by Roopinder Singh (July 20) underlines the significance of the Punjabi language. I agree with the writer that the language is part of one's DNA. He rues the efforts of Delhi University to dilute the significance of Punjabi but confidently predicts that it cannot be taken out of Delhi as it is part of its DNA. That the writer, as a student in Delhi, clicked instantly with a senior owing to the Punjabi language reminded me of my own experience. I was standing along the bank of the Vltava river in Prague, the capital of what was then Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). Suddenly, someone hugged me and immediately started chatting in chaste Punjabi. He happened to be a Pakistani businessman. He told me that he was dying to speak Punjabi and was looking for someone with whom he could talk in his mother tongue. A language goes beyond boundaries. It binds us. Sadly, in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Delhi, Punjabi is being neglected. Sharaf lamented rightly, "Puchhi jinhan ne kadi na baat meri, mein boli han uhnan Punjabian di."


Protect Nangal sanctuary 

This refers to the news item 'Motorboats, towers for watching birds on anvil at Nangal wetland' (July 8). The Government of India's guidelines for protecting eco-tourism in and around the Nangal wetland and wildlife sanctuary must be followed by local people as well as visitors.

People living around it have been booked for indulging in encroachments, illegal fishing and even poisoning migratory birds. Both the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Board (PHTB) and the Forest Department have failed to hold any public sensitisation programmes in the villages, schools and colleges falling in the area in this regard.

Merely spending a huge amount, as has rightly been said by the PHTB Executive Director, to provide motorboats, watch towers, exotic plants, lawns and the old interpretation centre will be a wasteful activity. Rather, the ADB loan amount must be used purposefully according to the guidelines of eco-tourism issued by the government.




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