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Subís loss to hit Navyís preparedness

Apropos the editorial 'A terrible tragedy' (August 17), August 14 will be remembered as the blackest day in the history of the Indian Navy for the submarine tragedy. More painful is that it happened almost on the occasion of Independence Day. It also dented the celebrations of the recently launched indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. It is for the first time that the Navy has lost a submarine and that too in the peace time, docked at the port in Mumbai.

The loss of the submarine is bound to impact the operational preparedness of the Indian Navy as we had only 14 submarines against our requirement of 20. Our modernisation programme will also get a jolt. The Navy has lost not only its face, but also 18 precious lives. Hence, we have to get to the root of the problem leading to the explosion on it and try to prevent such losses in future. Moreover, the Navy has to refine its standard operating procedures (SOPs) in dealing with arms and ammunition. It also needs to practise its mobilisation schemes realistically, and sharpen its crisis management drills.

COL R D SINGH (RETD), Ambala Cantt

Dalits neglected

Dalits in are being neglected in Punjab. Senior BSP MP Narinder Kashyap, who held a meeting with party workers in Jalandhar recently, rightly accused the Akali-BJP government of being non-serious and non-committal about Dalits' problems.

He has pointed out gross irregularities in the Shagun Scheme, Old Age Pension and other schemes. But he forgot to highlight the plight of meritorious SC candidates who were not considered, despite a quota for them, for the recent appointment of Agriculture Development Officers in Punjab. They approached the authorities in this regard but in vain.


Rock Garden

The proposal for extending the Rock Garden is not a welcome move. Instead, the authorities should concentrate on its proper maintenance. There are many works that have been approved but not yet implemented like providing CCTV cameras, dustbins, artistic walls, raising of compound walls, finishing work of the art gallery, furnishing of the hall, glazing in the verandah and extension of the office room of the Director of the garden. Visitors often complain about the lack of cleanliness and the foul smell from the washrooms. As it is one of the most famous tourist spots in the city, it should not be made to suffer due to lack of maintenance.


PM's rhetoric

It is strange that a lot of hullabaloo has been raised on why Narendra Modi chose to do a post-mortem of the PM's address on Independence Day. Nobody can deny him the freedom of speech.

As far as the address of Manmohan Singh is concerned, it does not qualify to be called an address to the nation. In fact, in his address, he did not touch issues like corruption, price rise, policy paralysis, tottering economy, burgeoning current account deficit, depreciating rupee, internal and external security. Though he has tried his best to reaffirm his loyalty to the UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi evaded questions about whether he is still her prime ministerial candidate.


Birth certificate

The Ministry of External Affairs has necessitated the attachment of a birth certificate for all those born after January 26, 1989, for any passport application, denying the consideration of school certificates carrying the date of birth of a candidate.

The office of the Municipal Corporation, Ambala Cantt, which houses the Registrar's office (Birth and Death), is rejecting all requests for a birth certificate of the year 1989 and prior to this. The premise that is allegedly given by them is that the records of that year were burnt during the anti-reservation agitation. The applicants, told to produce it during their scheduled appointment at Passport Seva Kendra after applying online, are facing inconvenience for no fault of theirs.

Given the genuine problem of candidates, the authorities must relax this rule for those born at Ambala Cantt during that year.


Taming onion prices

Nowadays the public is shedding onion tears due to a steep hike in prices. Sadly, the Union government has failed to bring down the prices by curtailing the exports and putting hoarders behind bars. It is high time the government stopped the export of onion to other countries immediately.


Conservation of wildlife

This refers to the editorial 'Animal on prowl' (August 17). The stress laid in the editorial to minimise conflicts between man and wildlife is apt. The mismanagement and lack of security in the wildlife habitats, which are increasingly being encroached upon by man, are some of the reasons for rendering wild animals vulnerable. The creation of eco-sensitive zones required to protect the sanctuaries and national parks has always taken a back seat. What is shocking is that the Punjab government has decided to reduce its limit from 10 km to 100 metres, making wild animals more vulnerable.

The encroachment of forest land in recent decades has reduced the carrying capacity of animals living in the wild, thereby forcing them to stray in villages and towns earning the wrath of the people who mercilessly beat them to death. The editorial has rightly said that leopards are being lost to poaching and conflicts with man. More roads, human habitats and industry in the vicinity of wildlife habitats will tend to increase man-wildlife conflicts and endanger the wildlife population. The problems like lack of security in sanctuaries and parks, mismanaged habitats and crippled enforcement staff should be addressed on priority by the wildlife committee. It is our moral duty to preserve natural surroundings which nature has allotted to wild animals.




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