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Padma: Shoddy selection

The Padma awards have been announced for this year. I believe that these awards are an anomaly and ill befit our republican Constitution. That is why I refused when offered one years ago.

But the insensitivity shown by the selectors has caused great concern. I find that former Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma has been posthumously given the Padma Bhushan. He eminently deserved the award, but the least should have been the Padma Vibhushan. Justice Verma was universally respected both in the judiciary and the public. His contribution to the judiciary and work in the post-retirement period was immense. I know personally his pain at the horrible happenings of 2002 in Gujarat and his bold and persistent intervention as chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission. To calm down the situation, the union government had turned to him to do a speed job in reforming the rape law. He was active till his last.

How could the selection panel do such a shoddy job in his case? The bureaucracy has, of course, bungled. But can the political authorities excuse themselves for this lack of sensitivity?

Rajindar Sachar, Chief Justice (retd), Delhi High Court, via email

Disease-resistant wheat

This has reference to your editorial (January 20) on the above subject. Farming is not a paying and viable preposition these days. The farmer is a harassed and worried lot. So much so, that at times he is driven to suicide. The onslaught and attack of yellow rust is sure to break the backbone of the farming community.

There is need to develop such varities of wheat that can combat and withstand this disease. I can say from my personal experience that in 2011-12, there was a widespread loss of wheat crop in the lower parts of Himachal Pradesh and all efforts to cope with the problem went futile. The disease hit the crop grown from seed procured from government agencies, which was presumably bought from outside Himachal Pradesh, more than the other crop.

The fall in the food production shall have serious repercussions in the days to come if the problem of yellow rust is not tackled.

Santosh Kumar Jamwal, Hamirpur

Give jobs, end woes

The main problem today is the growing unemployment, which is the basic cause of the rise in evils like thefts, suicides, looting, corruption, rape and drugs. It is eating away the youth. The BJP prime ministerial candidate dwelt on the model of 5 Ts: talent, tourism, tradition, trade and technical education. For all these, we require a buoyant investment sector. Unfortunately, it is uncertain in India. The FDI is also dwindling. The employment sector must be expanded, otherwise the volcano of the frustrated educated sector will erupt.

PROF Y.L. CHOPRA, Bathinda

Pay HMT staff

I was flabbergasted to read the letter “HMT staff await pay” (January 23). Being an ex-employee of HMT, Pinjore, I have seen the company’s profits soaring to crores of rupees for years even after I left it 15 years back. Who is responsible for its wreckage? Today, the position is so bad that the hapless employees have not been paid salaries for eight months. Is it not a matter of shame?

The management must pay the salaries forthwith and find a way out of the trouble.

O.P. Walia, Panchkula

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com

High & low of VAT

The Punjab government has reduced VAT on tobacco products by 50%, saying that the inflow of tobacco from other states to Punjab was hampering business as well as revenue. With this, the government is promoting smoking which is dangerous to health.

On the other hand, the people of Punjab are reeling under inflation with high rates of electricity and petrol and the octroi. In its election manifesto, the SAD had promised to withdraw octroi, but has not done so yet. The VAT on petrol in Punjab, at 32%, is probably the highest as compared to the neighbouring states.

K.l. Goswami, Amritsar



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