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An honest critic is an asset to a political party

This refers to the editorial ‘Sidhu speaks out’ (September 9). An honest and sincere critic is an asset to a political party aspiring to increase its acceptability and clientele. Pointing out weaknesses of the party about false promises and hollow claims cannot be termed as indiscipline. Saint Kabir has rightly sermonised: “Nindik nearay rakhiye aangan kuti chhivaye, Bin paani sabun bina nirmal kare subhaye” (Keep your critics in the compound of your house so that you may improve your personality). Describing him as a parachute candidate is downsizing his august personality. He has three successive terms in Parliament to his credit which is no mean achievement. The nation is beholden to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who identified him and brought him to Amritsar. Moreover, he is known for his oratorical skills, his sense of repartee, and honesty in disbursing MPLAD funds, which make him a successful candidate.


BJP cadres ignored

The appointment of Tikshan Sud as a political adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with a Cabinet rank and of Prof Rajinder Bhandari as the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Board with a Cabinet rank have really upset the BJP cadres. These decisions were taken by the BJP high command. Both the candidates were losers in the Assembly elections held in 2012 from Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana, respectively. The BJP cadres fail to understand the party high command's shocking decision. It would have been better if they were accommodated in the party organisation and their constituencies strengthened. There are a few other winning BJP MLAs who are yet to be accommodated in key government posts like that of Chairman or Vice-Chairman. Why were the winning BJP candidates ignored? Is the Punjab BJP president trying to promote groupism by favouring a particular section?


Missing labour

The much-touted schemes of the government, MNREGA and now the Food Security Act, may be “game-changers” for politicians with an eye on vote banks, but for the agricultural states of Punjab and Haryana they do not appear to have helped anyone except the labour. There has been an acute shortage of field hands ever since MNREGA came into being. I personally suffered a substantial loss because my wheat crop could not be harvested because of the unavailability of labour. Very few migrant workers are coming to Punjab or Haryana from Bihar or UP as was the case earlier. Indeed, why should they when they get wages of over Rs 200 a day under MNREGA in their home states? Now, I shudder to think what the FSA will do. With food ensured for them, migrant workers will totally disappear while in-house labour is just a trickle. This trickle may also dry up when our local youth also learn to sit back and enjoy the fruits of MNREGA and the FSA! A bad omen. The governments of Punjab and Haryana must sit up and think before farmers' woes increase further.

M. S. Vohra, Panchkula

Tribune Adalat

The Tribune used to carry a weekly column, Tribune Adalat, on Mondays, which highlighted readers' grievances and helped solve them. I am a senior citizen retired as a Senior Section Engineer from the Kalka workshop of Northern Railway. The medical expenses incurred by me in October 2011 have not been reimbursed to me yet. I wish this column is restarted so that the aggrieved readers’ problems can be highlighted.


Ceasefire violations

Notwithstanding the recent ceasefire violations on the LoC by the Pakistan army, I believe that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is sincere in his oft-repeated pleas for good relations with India.

The fact is that over the years the Pakistan army has confiscated all the powers and privileges. However, common people in Pakistan are raising their voice for better ties with India and the establishment of a truly representative civilian authority in this country. But the Pakistan army considers it as a grave threat and challenge to the immense powers and privileges it is enjoying at this time.

Hence, I am in favour of a hearty response to the Pakistan Prime Minister's brave and laudable initiative for lasting peace with India, and firm resolve on our part to stand by him through thick and thin.


Snake bites on the rise

Apropos the news item ‘Rise in snake bite cases in Kangra and Bilaspur’ (September 2), day in and day out cases of snake bite mostly in Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh) are reported in newspapers. The snake-bite patient is usually rushed to Primary Health Centres or Community Health Centres or Regional District Hospital, where anti-venom injections are not available. These centres must be provided with anti-venom injections and trained staff to handle snake bite cases.

The medical fraternity suggests the fitting of wire mesh to doors, windows and use of phenol in rooms at the vulnerable entry points. I also suggest the rearing of mongoose in the surroundings of the houses as this species prevents snakes from multiplying.


What a waste!

Several decades ago I read a school teacher's letter in a newspaper bemoaning a printing error in a textbook of mathematics that he was teaching. He wrote that one day he solved a problem in the class whose answer did not tally with the one given in the book. Though he was slightly upset, he solved the sum again. This time, too, his answer was the same as the earlier one. The fact was that the answer given in the book was wrong. The teacher observed that five minutes of class time were wasted in his redoing the question. As the class comprised 30 students, it meant a loss of 165 minutes. What a colossal waste of national time because of a misprint! He pleaded for the correction of the misprint.

I was reminded of that letter when I read in The Tribune (August 5) that over 10 lakh students of Classes III to VIII in government schools in Haryana were without textbooks and of the120-day teaching session, 90 days were over and the first semester exams are to begin in a month. I shudder to think of the valuable time that students and teachers have lost because of the negligence of the authorities concerned. Who will compensate the students for the loss of studies?

A L KOHLI, Panchkula 



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