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Mission sanitation

A UNICEF survey says that 60% of the people in India still defecate in the open. And for women, this is not just an assault on their dignity but also their security. Secondly, the report by the RTI Forum shows lack of sanitation in 40% of schools in India. They have no separate toilets for girls, which is the prime reason for them dropping out of school, especially when they start menstruating. Sensing its importance, Prime Minister Modi has started a mission on sanitation, asking parliamentarians and corporates to help achieve the mission.


Defecation in open

The ground reality in relation to ‘no-open defecation’ is quite discouraging. Last week, while travelling from New Delhi to Ambala Cantt by train, I witnessed a pathetic scene in and around Delhi. In areas of Sabzi Mandi, Adarsh Nagar and Azad Nagar, people could be seen defecating along the railway track. Human fecal waste was scattered around, depicting poor sanitation-preparedness. If this is the case in the Capital, what would be the fate of small towns and cities?


Washrooms for girls

With reference to the editorial “Mission sanitation” (August 28), the Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech is a welcome note to the girls who drop out of schools due to poor sanitation in schools.

It is shameful that 40% of schools in India still lack separate toilets for girls and 23% of girls drop out of schools for this reason when they start menstruating.

The Prime Minister has asked parliamentarians and corporates to join hands in the drive to build separate toilets for girls by the next Independence Day. The Bharti Foundation and TCS have decided to spend Rs 100 crore each on constructing toilets in their respective regions.

BR Kaundal, Mand

Maintain toilets, too

Following the PM's Independence Day call, corporates such as TCS, HUL, Bharti, Adanis, ITC and L&T have announced that they would build toilets under the corporate social responsibility programme. Undoubtedly, it is a welcome move. However, the fact remains that spending crores of rupees on building toilets is easier than maintaining them. A majority of the toilets already built by municipal and private bodies are found to be abandoned as people cannot use them due to their poor maintenance. Such social responsibility can be sincerely fulfilled only if the corporates simultaneously undertake the responsibility of their regular upkeep and cleanliness so that people are actually able to use the toilets.

ASHOK K. ASHU, Patiala

Safai sevaks’ strike

With the strike by safai sevaks crossing 30 days, the sanitary conditions have reached an alarming stage in Punjab. The waste of homes is lying scattered everywhere in all cities of the state and the foul smell is making life difficult for the residents. The government is mum on the strike and taking no steps to resolve the issue. There is a fear of some disease breaking out if the situation does not improve. In contrast, the surroundings of homes of senior public servants, MPs and MLAs are neat and clean. So, they are not bothered about the others. The Chief Minister should look into the matter.

Rajiv Barnala, Barnala

Unplanned scrapping

I endorse the views of SS Gill in his article “Unplanned way to scrap
planning panel
” (August 29) regarding the abrupt dismantling of the Planning Commission by the government.

It is a fact that the Planning Commission has not been performing its duties efficiently. It prepares the Five-Year-Plan (FYP) documents in a stereo-typed manner. But scrapping it without creating an alternative functional institution is a disastrous step. All members of the commission resigned the day the new Modi government was formed. The PM could have appointed talented people whose philosophy about the economic model is the same as that of his government.

RN Malik, Gurgaon

Revamp plan panel

Publishing two articles expressing opposite views on the controversy about the relevance of the Planning Commission is praiseworthy (August 28) . While Dr Sucha Singh Gill’s piece appears to be in favour of continuing with the Planning Commission, Karan A Singh’s write-up argues for winding it up. But the truth lies inbetween. The Planning Commission is the legacy of the Nehru era, when the public sector had a decisive role to play. The commission has served some useful purposes, such as achieving self-sufficiency in foodgrain production.

However, over the years, the Planning Commission has inadvertently encroached on the states' jurisdiction, including agriculture, social security, education, public health, etc. Some central schemes have unwittingly induced the states to divert their meagre resources in order to avail themselves of central assistance.

The Sarkaria Commission Report (1987) favours the non-statutory status of the Planning Commission as the constitutional existence deprives it of the flexibility required in the developmental approach. Further, let this central body coordinate state development programmes and the spared resources from the commission be transferred to states that may design their own need-based development plans.

Dr Janak Raj Gupta, Patiala

Was it worth it?

Was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction worth changing the schedule of schools, making it compulsory for every school to make special arrangements, putting funds under pressure and causing inconvenience to teachers, so that students can listen to his talk? Most of the points, like having toilets for girls and giving priority to girls' education are common and have been already raised by the PM in his earlier speeches. The large part of the interaction was about his personal life. It seems as if Narendra Modi has become the prime teacher of India. Dr S Radhakrishnan dedicated his birthday to teachers and Narendra Modi dedicated teachers' day to himself.

Anshul Mittal, Mansa

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: [email protected]



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