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

Just blind faith

With reference to the report “High court bans animal sacrifice in temples” (September 2), no religion teaches or advocates hatred among human beings or against any other creature. So, the ritual of sacrificing animals to appease a deity cannot be correct. It is simply blind faith. The court has observed: “The sacrifice causes immense pain and suffering to innocent animals. They cannot be permitted to be sacrificed to appease a god/deity in a barbaric manner. Compassion is a basic tenet in all religions. The practice of animal sacrifice is a social evil and requires to be curbed.” This holds good. It should stir the conscience of people for the sake of animals. It would also help save environment and maintain ecological balance.

KK sood, Nangal (Ropar)

Animal sacrifice

The high court has done great service by banning animal sacrifice in temples. But certain people argue that animal sacrifice has religious sanction. They are wrong. Our scriptures, especially the Vedas, have been misinterpreted. The Vedas, according to Maharshi Arvind, do not sanction the killing of animals. What is referred to in them is a symbolic offer to the deity and not the killing of the animal. But the meat-eaters have misinterpreted it.

The administration should ensure compliance of the court directions.

Mastan Singh Rana, Chandigarh

Managing grains

Punjab has incurred huge losses during the storage of foodgrains and transportation in the last four years. Only 1 per cent loss is permissible as per the norms during the storage and transportation and any loss beyond this is borne by the state procurement agencies. According to a new study, 21 million tonnes of wheat go waste every year. In wasting food, we are also wasting natural resources and human labour that go with it.

Efforts to raise the storage capacity have suffered a setback (“Efforts to raise storage capacity suffer setback”, September 2). While the PM is talking about the need of a second Green Revolution, raising the storage capacity does not seem to be the priority. There is a need for a study on the financial feasibility of constructing stores in such a way that one could repay the building loan as well as earn.

About two years back, the Supreme Court had asked the government to distribute foodgrains to the poor instead of letting them rot in warehouses. Having been associated with a foodgrain agency for 40 years, I think there is need to revise the storage charges by keeping in view the heavy losses which ultimately have to be borne by procuring agencies or the government. More people should be encouraged to construct scientific stores. At the same time, the FCI should ensure the timely movement of foodgrains to deficit states.


Self-help groups

Self-help groups (SHGs) are functioning under an old scheme implemented through DRDAs in all districts funded by the Government of India. NABARD and CDPOs are also encouraging the SHGs. But no SHG is, perhaps, producing any product which can be marketed. Most of the products are outdated as compared to the items available.

The requirement of the scheme is that SHGs work as a group. But they are working on individual levels. For example, if there is a dairy farming SHG, all its members keep separate buffaloes in their homes and sell milk themselves and repay bank loans independently. This defeats the purpose of an SHG, especially for rural women belonging to weaker sections. Unless the scheme is revised, the funds will go waste and the staff will have no work to attend to.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Bus travel concession

Senior citizens eligible for concessional travel facility are being humiliated by Haryana Roadways staff in the name of identity cards. At times, the Aadhaar card is not recognised. The cards admissible as proof should be displayed in buses to avoid this problem. The registration number of the bus and mobile number of the officer who can be contacted in case of need should also be displayed.

DV Sobti, via email

Old age homes needed

In India, there are more than 11 crore persons above the age of 60. Since the joint family system has almost broken down, the senior citizens are left to either fend for themselves or remain at the mercy of their families. With advancing age, despite having created huge assets for the family, they are treated casually. Sick of the ill-treatment and poor economic condition, many of them take shelter in old age homes where the living conditions are pitiable.

However, a number of old people are very well off and can afford to live comfortably at their own expense. But where are such homes that can be taken on payment?

Instead of looking to the government, the corporate sector under its social responsibility programme should take up the job of setting up suitable old age homes which can be well run on a no profit, no loss basis. Some old persons might also contribute towards the construction cost. The government’s contribution in this should be to persuade the corporate sector to set up the homes.

BS Thaur, Panchkula

Awaiting since 1996

Senior citizens in Himachal Pradesh, particularly pensioners, have been approaching the state government for allowing them benefits on the Punjab pattern as per the Punjab Re-organisation Act. Occasionally, press reports reflect their voice. The then Chief Minister’s on Teachers’ Day in 1996, promised free bus passes, supply of government publications etc to retired state award winning teachers. However, nothing of the sort has seen light of the day. The teachers have been patiently waiting for the benefits, even as their number has been decreasing with the exit of old retired teachers every year. While the scheme will not be a great burden on the state exchequer, it will certainly provide great relief to the senior citizens.

AN Sharma, Dharamsala

ODI captain

Mahender Singh Dhoni has become India’s most successful ODI captain as his team recently won a bilateral series in England after 1990. With 91 ODI wins, Dhoni has now edged past Mohammad Azharuddin.


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