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Tech & losing reality

Communication technology has made so many jobs easier, including mine which is of crime investigation and prevention. Today, people are more connected with one another than ever. We communicate with people whom we would not have communicated with had they not posted their photo of assisted paragliding or scuba-diving in which the guide is cleverly cropped out. As the joke goes, people are neither as beautiful as they appear in their Facebook profile photos nor as ugly as they appear on voter ID cards. The presentation of self has replaced the phenomenon of self-presentation. It has become easier to become ‘cool’ by photoshopping oneself holding the reign of a horse whose stirrup one has never stirred.

This has made human emotions more fragile. If my girlfriend is sitting in the same room as me, I’ll not expect her to respond immediately to each and everything I say. But when I text her on Whatsapp, I expect her to sidestep everything and respond to my jabberwocky. Technology has changed the way mothers take care of their children. During my training at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad, my mother used to know more about the menu than the cook because she would call me frequently about what I had eaten. Faster communication has brought people in virtual touch but we tend to lose touch with the reality around us which is far simpler and sorted out.

Sandeep Chaudhary, Chandigarh

Toll tax yes, road no

The NHAI toll plaza near the Sutlej, short of Phillaur towards Ludhiana, has become a pain. The toll rates have been increasing on the plaza over the years very often and have become exorbitant now. For a four-wheeler, one has to pay Rs 110 one way or Rs 165 for a return journey. The department concerned is collecting lakhs of rupees everyday. But are the funds so collected utilised for public work? It seems not. For example, work on half a dozen flyovers on NH-1, around Ludhiana alone, has been hanging fire for three years. Even NH-1 should be improved. Why this state of affairs?

Does our government want a Maharashtra-type situation when people got together and broke the toll plazas?

Work on all these flyovers should be completed by giving a target date to the contractors. The toll rates should be cut down to about Rs 30.

Partap Singh, Ludhiana

Exam woes

The Himachal Pradesh BOSE (Board of School Education) was earlier in the news for various examination scams wherein students were awarded fake certificates and diplomas. Now, there is a charge of leakage of some 10+1 question papers before the commencement of the examinations. The papers of IP, physics, maths and chemistry have been cancelled and rescheduled till April 16, putting parents and students to great inconvenience and trouble. The spot evaluation work has been paralysed due to the strike by examiners demanding a hike in the remuneration. The government should ensure that the students’ time and money is saved.


Nightmarish odyssey

The bus mishap that took place near Timbi in Paonta Sahib district is another grim reminder to the state government to take a call on the issue (“18 dead, 47 injured in Sirmaur bus mishap”, April 8) . It feels that its duty ends with ordering a probe into a mishap and announcing ex gratia payment of Rs 20,000 (price of a human life!) to the next of kin of those dead. Does the government check the road-worthiness of the fleet of buses? Has it ever punished those guilty of driving under the influence of liquor or sacked an offender for dereliction of duty? Has it checked the pitiable condition of roads in the state where driving is a nightmarish odyssey? No!

RAMESH K. DHIMAN, Chandigarh

Suicidal rides

April is the month of fairs, festivals and yatras in HP. All kinds of vehicles carrying passengers, especially private buses, compete like racing buffs to overtake one another, merely for the mirth of it, resulting in serious accidents. A bus rolled down the valley near Lumbloo in Hamirpur district recently and another bus skidded into near Timbi in Sirmaur, resulting in many casualties.

The disgusting aspect is the movement of hundreds of load carriers from Punjab to Baba Balak Nath and back carrying passengers unauthorizedly. These carriers are planked to make temporary double deckers. Normal 165-inch wheel base two-axel trucks carry around 100 passengers. Many such modified trucks roll down the slope. Will someone put a stop to this suicidal mode of travel?

K.L. Noatay, Shimla

RSBY scheme misused

Our hospital has been empanelled for the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) scheme. I would like to share some pros and cons of scheme. It is praiseworthy that the government has invited private health providers to help serve the BPL section. The scheme is very good for the economically weak. But, it has not been implemented as planned due to favouritism, discrimination and corruption. Also, it has not been advertised in the media.

Cards of rich influential people who do not fall in the BPL category are being made. This traps the subsidy meant for the poor. Leprosy patients (of Koharhi Ashram) are denied cards due lack of fingerprints because of their disease.

Private hospitals are given only around one-third of the market rate. The service provider is under stress because it has to run a hospital with no help from anywhere. The most depressing factor is the delay in payment by insurance companies. The payment should be timely, quick and hassle-free.

Dr Satpal and Dr Usha Devi, Ropar

It’s a leopard cat

Apropos the report “Rescued leopard cub under observation in Chamba” (April 8), the efforts of the persons concerned are praiseworthy, but the animal has been wrongly identified. In fact, it is a leopard cat (Pantherafelis) which is a feral purring cat, not Panther pardus which is a roaring cat. This cat is widely distributed in the Himalayan region and is being hunted because of some resemblance with the leopard and very frequently gets hit by speeding vehicles. The features are typical of a cat -- small conical head, elongated body and thin limbs -- but the rosette pattern on the skin is entirely different.

Dr R.S. Kishtwaria, Palampur



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