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Clean govt schools

The campaign launched by the HRD Minister underlining "Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya" would surely transform the government schools in the Halwara region of Ludhiana that are ruled by uncleanliness, poor infrastructure, garbage heaps along the boundary wall of the school and impure drinking water. The huge playground for students is usually covered with three-foot growth of grass. This is the state of schools despite huge government funds for maintaining schools.

ANKAHI, Ludhiana

Harvest rainwater

In recent years, groundwater is has been drawn at a higher rate than it is recharged, mainly by rainwater. But with the development of the drainage system, rainwater mostly flows into rivers and ultimately reaches the oceans. Also, the flooring of courtyards of most residential buildings has been converted from kutcha to pucca. So, the absorption of rainwater into the ground has been reduced. Also, the flow of unabsorbed rainwater increases the discharge of rivers during the rainy season, which ultimately causes floods in downstream areas and a fall in the water table. In Punjab, there is an average fall of one foot each year. To improve the watertable, rainwater harvesting should be adopted. In this, rainwater from terraces and yards is collected and transferred underground through a pit constructed around the bore. This water is almost pollution-free, so it can be recharged directly into the ground after filtration. It has been enforced as mandatory in many cities of India by state and central governments. It will help improve the groundwater table. This is the only solution for low-lying areas if the water is not polluted and fit for recharging.

These projects should be installed at public places and buildings such as municipality offices and school buildings, bus stand etc to motivate the public to save water and adopt such measures.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Food Inflation

The poor performance of the BJP in the recently concluded Assembly bypolls was due to the failure of the government to control food inflation. No serious effort has been made to rein in the soaring vegetable prices. The CFPI (Consumer Food Price Inflation) was as high as 9.36% in July and 9.4% in August. The government has shown no inclination to clamp down on the hoarders. Instead of encouraging cheap imports, it has played into the hands of the powerful sugar lobby by increasing the import duty, thus jacking up the prices from approximately ~32 per kg to about ~40.

VM Tandon, Panchkula

No perks for elderly

Even as October 1 is celebrated as Senior Citizens’ Day, the Punjab Government is providing a mere Rs 250 monthly pension to senior citizens having income less than ~1,000 pm for decades while the living cost has risen manifold. The pension should be enhanced on the pattern of Haryana that pays 
~1,000 pm.

The central government departments have some concessions like 50% concession in train and air travel, enhancement in income tax slabs and 0.5% increase in interest on FDR in banks and post offices. Haryana gives 50% concession to the elderly in state-run buses. But no such facilities are provided in Punjab.

The Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, lays better medical facilities, protection of life and property and old age homes in every district. But it is hardly implemented and only empty promises are made by the government. The senior citizens continue to live in hardship.

Separate queues for the elderly are needed at all public places, including banks, post offices and utility bill collecting centres. Concessions in state-run transport, hospitals, hotels, exhibitions, museums, theatre, zoos and tourist spots should be introduced like in the USA and UK.

Since these days children live away from parents and are not able to look after them, old age homes have become necessary to ensure a comfortable old age.

OP Garg, Patiala

Accepting age gracefully

The space given to the article “The science and art of ageing” (September 11) and a number of letters on the subject has elicited admiration from readers, senior citizens in particular. It is often said that young readers go through newspapers for fresh news and views while senior citizens muse on views.

In this context, I am reminded of an Urdu couplet: “Zaeefi zindgi main waqt ki be-jaa ravaani hai, Agar zindadili hai to budhapa bhi javaani hai” (Old age is an unwelcome spell in life. If one is buoyant and cheerful then old age is identical to youth). The verse in laconic style hints at the way of leading the evening of one’s life.

Once a cardiologist enquired from me about my health during a periodic check-up. I quipped with a smile: “I have celebrated my 86th birthday, fourteen runs more and I shall be hitting a century.” “I salute your attitude towards life,” the doctor replied.

I am visually challenged for the last 10 years, but I have gracefully resigned myself to the will of God.

Shyam Sunder Airi, Kapurthala

VIP culture

The cavalcade of motors of VIPs causes unbearable embarrassment to the public because of their unscheduled movements. The pace at which the VIP culture is spreading, it is feared that even tunnels will fall short if built exclusively for them as these will also get chocked with VIP traffic. Unfortunately, no amount of public outcry on the issue melts them.

Brij B Goyal, Ludhiana

Justice at last

The trial of Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was protracted, inordinately long and arduous. But the outcome of the case — her conviction, a four-year jail term and ~100 crore fine — has ultimately brought the ends of justice to meet. Powerful persons like Lalu Prasad have been brought to book and sent to jail and now Jaya is being taught not to play ducks and drakes with public money. It is certainly a new page in our law book which assures us of light at the end of the tunnel.

Major Baldev Singh, Ambala Cantt



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