L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Cleaning the rivers

The Yamuna is highly polluted and stinks in Delhi. At the old Yamunanagar bridge in Haryana on the Ambala cantonment-Saharanpur highway, the river bed is often found dry. The Yamuna has been diverted into canals at the upstream of Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh, north-west of Dehradun. It means that in Delhi, only sewage flows into the Yamuna via Agra to join the Chambal and merge with the Ganga in Allahabad. Without treating this sewage flow in the Yamuna, one will be hard-pressed to clean the Ganga. It needs to be found at what point — before or after Agra — the Yamuna can be efficiently treated and cleaned. Huge treatment plants will be required for the purpose. The tanneries and sewage of the cities along the Ganga banks pollute the sacred river. At least, the tanneries should be relocated from the Ganga banks.

Subhash Baru, Jammu Tawi

Clean the drains

Galvanised iron (GI) water supply pipes laid by the HP Public Health Department in the semi-urban Mehre-Barsar run through dirty waste water roadside drains. The GI pipes are quite old and rusty and they leak at several points. There is no arrangement to periodically clean the roadside waste water drains. The dirty drain water is, thus, getting mixed with the fresh water. This may lead to serious health hazards.

It is, therefore, highly desirable that the department raises the level of the pipes above the dirty water drains before any epidemic breaks out.

K L Noatay, Shimla

FYUP rollback good

Delhi University has taken a wise decision by rolling back the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) (June 28). The course created an anomaly as the other universities were not prepared for this change-over and the future of lakhs of the students studying in DU-affiliated colleges was at stake as they could not take admission elsewhere unless the particular course/degree was granted recognition by the UGC. The UGC has the sole prerogative to recognise or derecognise any course of any degree and no university can force it to grant recognition to any course arbitrarily started by any university or any other institution. The controversy must end here. The bogey of autonomy cannot be raised to justify some irregular act that creates confusion in the academic world.

Dr HS Sinha, Kurukshetra

PMO functioning

It may be pre-mature to assess Narendra Modi’s government. The initiative to invite SAARC leaders at the swearing-in of the BJP government deserves applause. The Prime Ministers' move to rein in ministers as also encouraging the bureaucracy to pro-actively advise in decision-making are the affirmatives. However, centralisation of authority in the PMO warrants a debate.

Disinclination to grant a Leader of Opposition from the Congress, the appointment of Nirpendra Mishra as principal secretary to the Prime Minister through ordinance, the directive to government departments to use Hindi as the official language, stirring the issue of Article 370 on J&K and the endeavour to block Gopal Subramanium's elevation as judge of the Supreme Court are some matters that reflect the government's biased attitude.

If Modi is impatient to unveil development programmes, it is because the UPA government consolidated the progress and left as legacy a resurgent India on the threshhold of rapid economic progress.

Lt-Col Bachittar Singh (Retd), Mohali

Disadvantage Himachalis

There are around 10 good engineering colleges in Himachal Pradesh where post-graduate engineers can apply for teaching posts. Of these, the maximum number of colleges is in Solan district which, being near the Punjab and Haryana border, attracts faculty from these states, putting the Himachal residents to disadvantage.

The average time required to reach Baddi from lower HP is eight hours as compared to one hour from Panchkula or Chandigarh. The same situation prevails in the industrial sector. Job preference must be given to the locals at least in Himachal Pradesh.

Navdeep Thakur, Hamirpur

Pattern of rains

There is anxiety about the late monsoon. If the total rainfall comes to around 95 per cent of normal rainfall, then there is not much to worry about. But this year, it is predicted to be much lesser. It has been observed that in a cycle of five years, India gets two years of heavy rainfall, two years of below-normal rainfall and a year of normal rainfall.

The government must plan on the basis of this pattern. Further, in the recent years, the entire cycle of seasons has advanced by 15 days to one month. Hence, the monsoon’s one-month delay is not unusual.

Mahesh Kumar, via email

Tax on tobacco

In the news item “Vardhan for higher tax on tobacco products” (July 6), the Union Health Minister has pointed out that the consumption of tobacco products causes a number of diseases resulting in millions of deaths/slow deaths. He has said that the rise in taxes leads to a reduction in the consumption of the products. The tax should be enhanced extensively so that the consumption becomes negligible. A warning on the tobacco products carries no weight for the addicts. Earning revenue by selling poison that causes many deaths is no bargain for a good government of a welfare state. It would be in the interest of the health of the nation if the cultivation of this crop is banned. The farmers cultivating tobacco crop may be persuaded by the agriculture department to switch over to other crops that may bring them more income.


Happy flying

There is good news for the Punjabis. There used to be thrice-a-week SpiceJet flights from Amritsar to Mumbai and Srinagar. But due to immense popularity of these flights, the frequency has been increased to daily. This will benefit Bangalore too. It will also pave the way for I T industry to take roots in the Greater Amritsar Region.

Harjap Singh Aujla, New Jersey (USA)

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