Letters to the editor
Refer to the editorial ‘Over to the CMs now’ (April 28); there appears to be a trust deficit between the Centre and states as only a few CMs attended the virtual meet of the PM with regard to the lifting of the lockdown and for evolving strategies to revive the economy of the country. The Centre must give funds to the states on equitable and need basis, otherwise, there will be political turmoil. The Punjab Chief Minister has repeatedly asked for previously pending GST share for the state, but nothing has come of it. Punjab is also effectively implementing the lockdown, despite the fact that wheat procurement operations are also to be kept in place.
Brij Bhushan Goyal, Ludhiana
Dual policy on charity
The Centre should not have a dual policy for charitable organisations in this hour of their need. The FCI has been ordered to supply wheat to the NGOs and charitable organisations at the open market rate of Rs 2,135 per quintal, but to the SGPC and the DSGMC at the PDS rate, i.e., Rs 200. On the one hand, the government wants that the NGOs should come forward to help the poor, and on the other, it discourages them by charging the market rate, that too when its godowns are overladen by 27% and the new wheat crop has already arrived. It should also publish the names of those providing grains, as well as the quantity of food stocks, at PDS rate, so that the poor are made aware that the food supplied to them is not alms, but a part of their money as contributors of society. During any disaster, the poor should not be made to feel that they are being given alms and their photographs should not be allowed on social or print media.
Kumud Ghai, Ludhiana
Use temple donations
All the big temples and shrines in the country have accumulated billions in cash and gold donated by the worshippers. It is not being used for any benefit for the general public that has donated it. The government must take over these enormous funds and use them for the welfare of the general public in the prevailing economic crisis. The best would be for the managements and trustees of these shrines to voluntarily surrender the funds immediately to the government. The country demands it and needs it.
Ashok Jain, Ambala City
The freezing of the DA of government employees to mitigate the economic strain is not appreciated. All employees and retirees are not handsomely paid. Class IV employees are bound to run their families with limited resources. After all, there are so many super rich people, political leaders, businessmen and religious organisations; they should be encouraged to contribute wholeheartedly in these challenging times.
Sukhdev Singh Minhas, by mail
Not fair to pensioners
The Haryana State Pensioners Samaj, affiliated to the All-India State Pensioners Federation, strongly condemns the decision of the Haryana government to freeze the DA of pensioners who are senior citizens and have no other source of income except pension. The government should have rewarded the corona warriors for their excellent duties instead of freezing the DA.
KL Nijhawan, by mail
Lapses in grain storage
Apropos the editorial ‘Food security in peril’ and crop losses due to rain (April 28), it is unfortunate that in both cases, we are responsible only due to our mismanagement and misdeeds. On the one hand, there are bumper crop yields every year, but lack of timely action regarding marketing, storage and proper distribution causes damage. Crops produced by farmers after putting in hard labour and efforts are wasted as they rot, or are eaten by rats, damaged in rains, or pilfered. Availability of grains in India is in abundance and certainly much more than needed, but only earnest efforts are missing, which is leading to hunger and starvation.
JS Jassal, Patiala
What use arms stockpile?
Looking at the sorry state of handling of the Covid crisis by the US administration, one feels pity for the plight of its citizens. Though every country has been affected by the pandemic, America’s picture is more dismal. We have grown up
listening to the stories of a country which is powerful in every sense, be it economy or military. Such a country should have a robust public health structure that could save lives should a virus like this present itself. It should have invested huge funds in medical research to develop vaccines to save people, instead of stockpiling arms and ammunitions, which at this juncture, are a piece of junk — unable to save a single American life.
Amit Kumar, by mail
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: Letters@tribunemail.com
Refer to ‘Crop loss due to rain’ (April 28); untimely rain during April-May not only damages standing crops but also a few thousand tonnes of grains lying in mandis every year. Still, neither the government nor mandi boards have taken any plausible steps to check this avoidable loss. The wet grain decays in the godowns and is declared unfit for consumption. The state governments must learn from the Army storage system in open areas, where cement platforms are constructed with steel hooks on all four sides to hold the tarpaulin as a safety measure against heavy rain and storm. The government desists from creating permanent structures like sheds and silos for want of funds, and wherever sheds are constructed, the base is not raised, allowing water to enter the sheds. To check this loss, adequate number of platforms must be constructed.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), Patiala
Not language of war
The pandemic should be talked about, without spreading fear and stigma in society. The metaphor used for coronavirus is ‘war’, which is inappropriate. It leads to expectations from ‘corona fighters’ to behave like soldiers and heroes. It is also expected from doctors and nurses to not complain of their problems, which is incorrect. The virus should be humanised. Patients are being dealt with as criminals, leading to increased cases of verbal violence. There should be transparency in communication without creating panic. The virus has become a matter of fights between nations, which breaks down global solidarity. ‘Social distancing’ is itself a terrible notion. It reflects that we are all now an island; alone. This pandemic should be treated as a journey which includes planning, coordination and obstacles as well.
Reference to ‘Scourge of neoliberalism in times of Covid’ (April 28); while millions stand agape at the Facebook-Jio deal involving billions of dollars, the scene of water and food distribution among quarantined people in Agra is disgraceful, bringing to the fore the hell of poverty, hunger, filth and disease engulfing the poor. While a handful of industrialists, politicians and bureaucrats have amassed unimaginably aplenty, employees and pensioners see their DA instalments freeze. Poverty has been an amalgamated untouchability apparatus besides caste, religious and gender toxicity. Corona times have deepened the abyss and widened the gyre of the pandemic of economic inequality, blighting our democracy even in post-colonial times.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Liquor sale can wait
As the coronavirus is eating into the revenues of the Centre and state governments, there has been a continual demand to allow the sale of liquor. No doubt, the governments need money to tackle this unprecedented crisis, but the social implications of allowing liquor sale will be more harmful. Liquor addicts will rush to buy it with the negligible cash available at home. Families will be starving and drunken men having nowhere else to go, will create a ruckus at home. Domestic violence will increase and become a headache for the already burdened police.
Arun Bala, Bathinda
The education sector is going online to maintain the flow of education. Virtual classes are being held structurally following a proper timetable. The HRD Minister has advised the heads of all academic institutions in the country to make use of the digital platform for keeping students up to date with the academic calendar. While online learning is playing an important role, there are some hurdles like lack of infrastructure, resources and poor Net speed in remote areas.
Harpreet Singh, Nabha Cantt
Smacks of colonial era
Refer to ‘Making MLAs, MPs accountable’ (The Sunday Tribune, April 26); with a heavy heart, we have to accept that we are still leaving in superficial freedom in our country, where our bureaucrats follow the colonial system, in liaison with politicians, for their personal benefits and twist our legal system to make the common man suffer more. Moreover, the clerical system in these bureaucratic offices encourages sycophancy and red tape.
Kiran Rai Kalra, by mail
During the lockdown, I have been reading The Tribune, especially ‘On this day...100 years ago’. The English written at that time seemed to be tough and the sentences were also long. The spellings of some words are different from what we are using now. The names of some towns and cities were also spelled differently. But it is very interesting to follow, read and understand the news of that time.
Prem Harchand, by mail
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: Letters@tribunemail.com
In the midst of a pandemic, when the economy of the whole nation is paralysed and the administration is in the doldrums, the Union Ministry of Power issued a public notice on April 17, detailing drastic changes in the Electricity Act, proposing huge concessions to private sector players at the cost of state power utilities and discoms that are already facing an unprecedented financial crisis. The Centre is trying to usurp the states’ powers, apart from creating problems, especially payment of subsidies to various categories of consumers and powers of states to appoint the regulatory commission chairman and privatisation of distribution. The PM must intervene and put on hold the ill-timed amendment to the statute proposed to be enacted in Parliament.
VK Gupta, Kurukshetra
Still going hungry
It is good that 4 million tonnes of foodgrain have been lifted by the states under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana in the course of this month. Yet, it is true that scores of urban migrant workers, many of them desperate to return to their villages, are going hungry, despite rice and wheat stocks of 77 million tonnes lying in the godowns. Stocks are not reaching the hunger hotspots quickly enough, even as food has been moved, largely by rail to all states. The immediate need now is to reach out to the millions of migrants who do not have a ration card and are outside the NFSA ambit. States and NGOs have set up community kitchen and other forms of emergency food distribution system, but their efforts are not enough.
SC Dhall, Zirakpur
Why free return service?
The Punjab government has sent 80 AC Volvo buses to Nanded to ferry about 2,000 Sikh pilgrims stranded at Hazur Sahib, along with masks, sanitisers, eatables etc. The cost is being borne by the Punjab Government out of the state exchequer. The pilgrims had gone to Hazur Sahib on their own. Hence, they should be brought back at their own expense. Punjab has declared salary cuts, stopped the payment of DA etc. It has also requested the public to donate generously to the CM Relief Fund. The SAD had also offered to bring back the pilgrims at their own expense. The SGPC president had written to the Home Minister to ensure their return. Harsimrat Kaur Badal has claimed mileage by thanking Uddhav Thackeray, Amit Shah and Sharad Pawar for making it happen. Nobody is thinking about the millions of poor labourers stranded across the country, who have no food, no place to live in, no money and no work. These politicians are simply indulging in vote-bank politics.
Sudhir Kumar Narang, Chandigarh
Politics for another time
Even in these tough times, it is nauseating to see third-rung politicians making a beeline for any photo opportunity that comes their way, be it ration or mask distribution, or any activity that keeps them in the limelight. By doing so, not only are they putting the general public in danger, but also their near and dear ones. Let the government do its job and let politics be kept aside for a more appropriate time.
Charit Vohra, Patiala
Will hit MF industry
Reference to the editorial ‘Debt debacle’ (April 27); the closure of six debt schemes by Franklin Templeton MF, followed by another six fund schemes, highlights that foreign financial companies are here only for making money due to the favourable dollar-rupee exchange rates. This event will snowball into a crisis for the entire MF industry, which was the favourite investment market, after fixed deposits, for the middle class. The government needs to urgently intervene to mitigate the risks, as Rs 27,000 crore is involved in the 12 schemes. This contagion has already taken the stock exchanges in its ambit. SEBI and the RBI should also intervene.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
More unity than ever
It is true that all colours agree in the dark. At the time of a crisis, we all sink our differences. Barring a few exceptions, the entire world is united in the endeavour to overcome this pandemic. Even within the country, there is an apparent solidarity among the people and parties to collectively fight this crisis. There is no reason to doubt that this spirit is akin to a silver lining.
SL Singhal, Noida
Capitalism & Covid
The pandemic has exposed a sense of insecurity among the masses that are a part of the capitalist apparatus. The crisis has exposed the lack of genuine public serving healthcare infrastructure and is a perfect opportunity for large pharmaceutical companies to make dividends. It is time when their power must finally be broken as capitalist globalisation seems unsustainable, and social ownership must take over. The transmission of the pandemic itself has followed the path of global capitalism — business travel, tourism and trade. A global crisis can be a global turning point.
Shravil Budkulia, Amritsar
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: Letters@tribunemail.com
Apropos of ‘Due process ignored in FIRs for flouting lockdown’ (April 24), the observations need review. Section 188 of the IPC is a cognisable offence as per Schedule 1 of the CrPC. The police are duty bound to register an FIR and investigate a cognisable offence as per Sections 154 and 156 of the CrPC. Taking cognisance of an offence by the police and by the court are two different concepts. Section 195 of the CrPC imposes a bar on the magistrate for taking cognisance of an offence under Section 188 on a police report. It does not prescribe a bar on the police taking cognisance of a cognisable case. The complaint signed by the public authority is submitted to the magistrate for taking cognisance, and not the police report as required under Section 173 (2), CrPC. The Haryana government has already empowered all SHOs to file a complaint to the magistrate under the provision of Section 60, Disaster Management Act, 2005, as well.
KP Singh, Panchkula
Meter readings a must
Due to the ensuing pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the power corporation has suspended the activity of meter readings for domestic and commercial consumers. The bill for the lockdown period will be generated on an average basis for consumption during the same months last year. The decision of the PSPCL has been objected to by the consumers. Power consumption during the lockdown will obviously be lower. Moreover, commercial organisations are closed and their power consumption is almost nil. The PSPCL should, therefore, withdraw this order.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Refer to ‘Facebook buys 10% stake in Jio’ and subsequent editorial ‘Digital synergy’ (April 23); the announcement by Facebook to buy a 9.99% stake in Jio, the telecom platform of Reliance, will establish huge dimensions of friendship among e-commerce giants of social media to transact business in a competitive environment globally. Both will offer online retail outlets. Jio, which holds the record for creating and retaining customers in the telecom sector, will provide high-tech modern services as well as pave the way for buying and selling products online through WhatsApp chat. But the two should ensure that users’ data is not encrypted by cyber criminals. In the grocery store business, they must secure a foolproof cyber platform.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, faridabad
The Haryana government is trying to help government school students through Edusat, which has been found deficient in service before. It would be better to first assess the infrastructure of government schools. Some agencies, especially the corporate bodies, may come to assist under CSR. Teachers should also be equipped with techniques of well-planned presentations followed by discussion groups. It will amount to rendering great service to the cause of education in Haryana if under the Vision Document 2030, digital learning is used in government schools, not only for learning outcomes but for other activities too.
S Kumar, Panchkula
Review Covid measures
Amid this pandemic that has brought the whole world to a standstill, the Punjab government needs to review some of the steps it has taken. It only seems to be evaluating the losses and demanding immediate relief packages from the MHA only because of its negligence and faults due to lavish spendings earlier on nugatory things. The police are being attacked, farmers are facing losses, children in rural areas are facing hurdles in academic pursuit and the labourers are struggling. Besides, there will be deductions from the salaries of government employees and pensions, all major challenges. The state should follow the Kerala model to combat Covid.
Mehul Monga, Amritsar
Apropos of the article ‘Rebuilding economy’ (April 24), there is no denying that the pandemic has dealt a shattering blow to our economy. Our GDP growth is being projected at an abysmally low rate of 1.9%. The only redeeming feature is the revival of farming operations. A bumper rabi and kharif crop can mitigate the economic woes to some extent. Equal weightage should be given to the containment of virus and preserving economy. Achieving one at the cost of the other will be a pyrrhic victory.
Munish Goel, by mail
Immediate action is required to meet the special financial and administrative situations. President’s rule should be imposed in all states and UTs, all political appointments, commissions and tribunals should be disbanded, Central ministers except for those manning the essential ministries should be removed, and news channels barred, barring Doordarshan. We will save millions.
Capt K Ghuman (retd), Mohali
Refer to ‘Covid untouchability’(Nous Indica, April 24); to defeat Covid-19, we must indeed ‘build subtleties of respectful coexistence’. We need to respect the identities of one another in order to create good will and mutual trust in these crisis-ridden times. Feudalism as a socio-political and economic system died long ago, but our feudal mentality has survived and damaged the prospects of the broader unity of the common people. Our strength lies in national unity. We can win over coronavirus only through solid and sensible bonds of fraternal ties with our fellow citizens.
Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad
‘Covid untouchability’ (Nous Indica, April 24) dwells upon grave long-term economic, social, religious and political implications in the country, post lockdown. The ongoing pandemic has the potential to more or less redefine our civilisational sensibilities and value system. There are apprehensions that the widening gap between the upper and lower strata of society and the demonisation of the Muslim community due to the Markaz event will disrupt our social harmony and goodwill. This mutual distrust will help canny politicians to polarise votes for electoral gains. We should think beyond our differences.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Not the time to lose it
Apropos of the editorial ‘Uncivil television’ (April 24), we are becoming less tolerant day by day, whereas in these testing times of Covid, all anchors, politicians and experts should be calm and composed while putting forward their viewpoints. Neither the media nor worthy members of the political class and officers should be biased. They must not forward or assert or take any action without proper scrutiny. Nobody should be indicted unless called for. In these circumstances, we should strive to be caring even towards those with whom we disagree.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Incidents of intimidation, social media trolling, imposition of draconian laws against journalists and media outfits is becoming the new normal (‘Uncivil television’, April 24). Prime-time shows of most TV channels have become Islamophobic and xenophobic, and are unable to question the government. Some news channels have become hate-spreaders, which is more deadly than coronavirus itself. But nothing can justify the use of force and violence against journalists. If journalistic ethics could get voice, they would cry, ‘Katal mera is tarah tukdo mein hua, kabhi khanjar, kabhi katil badal gaya’.
Naman Ghanghas, by mail
FIRs make no sense
In the cases of lockdown violations, the machinery of criminal justice for offence punishable under Section 188, IPC, has been set in motion by filing FIRs in different states, and over 1 lakh FIRs have been registered under this Section itself. It seems the police are in a competition to file FIRs under this section. The apex court, in various judgments, has clearly stated that an FIR under Section 188 cannot be filed by the police. When the courts are already flooded with cases, will the police be able to file chargesheets? Will the courts be able to hear these cases, and will the civil officers be able to appear in each of these cases?
Khushdeep Goyal, Patiala
In service of mankind
Refer to the middle ‘Salute the ethos of sewa, simran’ (April 24); service has been in the genes of the Sikh community, that too without any self-interest, and with high levels of self-motivation, which is rarely seen in the present world. They deserve a big applause.
Pakistan & pandemic
Reference to the April 23 editorial ‘Pruned terror watchlist’; Pakistan is making use of the coronavirus for keeping its terror infrastructure intact and, at the same time, escaping FATF’s review of steps taken so far in curbing terror financing. India will have to redesign its strategy to deal with trained terrorists, so that Pakistan has to pay an increased price for using terrorism as its State policy.
PS Kaur, by mail
Cap on quota
Refer to the editorial ‘Skewed quota’ (April 24); the SC decision in Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao and others vs State of Andhra Pradesh and others, quashing 100% reservation for STs reflects the working of the judiciary in keeping a check on the arbitrariness of governments. The 50% cap for quota should be maintained and the decisions in MR Balaji vs State of Mysore and ‘Indra Sawhney and others vs Union of India’ should work as a precedent that in no case reservation should exceed the cap.
Gurasish Singh Chawla, Patiala
Covid-19 has paralysed the Indian economy, with the GDP falling to unimaginable low figures. Those working in the unorganised sector have lost their jobs while those in other sectors are in danger of losing theirs. The sector-wise packages could help in the revival of the economy. Programmes such as ‘Make in India’ and skill development should get a boost. In this prime time, India should make use of its demographic dividend with proper measures of social distancing. MSMEs and self-help groups can be of help in fighting unemployment and making the revival of the economy possible.
Sandeep Singh, by mail
The unorganised sector is in a critical condition with meagre resources. There will be losses in various areas like manufacturing, aviation, construction activities and numerous microenterprises in the villages post corona. These vulnerable sectors have greater threat from Covid due to the cramped spaces. The government must support the marginalised sectors with austere and integrated plans for job creation. This would give a push and mitigate our deficit economy to provide 0for buoyancy.
Chander Bose, Kurukshetra
Apropos ‘Agriculture offers lifeline amid pandemic’ (April 22), the government should focus on the betterment of the agriculture sector and the rural economy. Farmers can be encouraged to set up small-scale food processing and agro-based units in the rural areas to generate employment for youngsters and landless labour. It will help to contain rural-urban migration as well as migration to other countries. But this can only be achieved by following a sustainable model of development, to maintain a balance between rural and urban development.
Karnalji Singh, Gurdaspur
Apropos ‘Promote diversification, agriculture officials told’ (April 23), easy availability of certified seeds of cotton, maize and other water-saving crops, coupled with government assurance for procurement, may drive more farmers to opt for alternative crops. But due to the nationwide lockdown, labour shortage may occur for paddy transplantation. The Agriculture Ministry must tap this opportunity to increase the cover under less water-intensive crops. The recent decision of the RBI to provide Rs 25,000 crore to NABARD for refinancing regional rural banks and cooperatives has ample scope to eliminate any possibility of liquidity crunch for agriculture credit. All the departments concerned need to work in tandem to make farming a profitable and environment-friendly business.
Amrinder Singh Mann, Sangrur
Unfair to doctors
The editorial ‘Grave insult’ (April 22) is highly appreciable, for it reveals the true picture of happenings and mishappenings with doctors, and the double standards of our politicians and bureaucrats. Doctors are coming to the rescue of patients, putting their own lives at stake, and what treatment they are being meted out in return for their services is obvious from the recent assaults on them. The new Ordinance is a must for their safety, so that they can perform their duties fearlessly.
RC Garg, Kot Kapura
Security for health staff
Refer to the ‘Jail for assault on frontline warriors’ (April 23); even a single incident of violence against healthcare professionals could create a sense of insecurity in the healthcare community. The government should ensure that adequate security is provided to frontline professionals and action is taken against miscreants.
SANJAY CHOPRA, Mohali
Cover police, too
The new Ordinance to provide legal as well as financial shield to doctors, paramedics and other healthcare professionals in the backdrop of rising incidents of attacks on them is a welcome move. But the ambit of the Ordinance needs to be extended to the police department, which is also at the forefront. Our police personnel are equally vulnerable to getting affected with Covid as well as being attacked by contagion-wary citizens and unruly mobs. Coping with such an unprecedented crisis with lack of needful training is a daunting task. Laborious working hours, lack of the availability of PPEs and substandard working gears are issues of concern, adding to their woes.
UPANT SHARMA, PANCHKULA
The article ‘Bounty hunt for Tablighis smacks of bias’ (April 23) rightly underscores the point that since the top leadership had announced on April 14 that all foreign visitors were being screened, how did the Tablighi
Jamaat enter India without screening? How come a congregation of over 2,000 delegates in the heart of the Capital go unnoticed? Was it deliberately ignored under some agenda or was it intelligence failure?
RM Ramaul, Paonta Sahib
Refer to the news item ‘Plywood exporters seek govt backing to take on China’ (April 20); the lockdown due to Covid would be a blessing in disguise for India if we can boost our manufacturing industry. Goods manufactured in India are considered better than China’s in the international market. This is the time to strike at the iron as the international community is looking for an alternative source. India can grasp the opportunity as it has a big labour force and best brains in the world. Government backing is the need of the hour.
Mohinder Singh, Patiala
We had clapped for them
It is a matter of great pity that members of the medical fraternity, who have been risking their lives to contain the spread of the pandemic, have been subjected to all kinds of threats, assault and harassment by landlords and neighbours. These very persons were cheered and applauded by the Indians on the call given by PM Modi. The entire health team has put their lives at risk to fight the coronavirus. It is shocking and unacceptable that the body of a doctor was not allowed the dignity even in death in Tamil Nadu.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Our country is going through tough times and in this situation of rapidly spreading Covid-19, our government, doctors, medical staff and police officers are trying hard to cope with the pandemic. Still, they are being attacked by some notorious elements. This is a shameful and disrespectful act against public servants. Over 280 people have been booked and nearly 150 arrested in Haryana. Such violence is a huge slap on humanity.
Dipankar chawla, Yamunanagar
Help them reach home
Refer to the editorial ‘Longing for home’ (April 20); it is distressing to note that a large number of migrant workers are facing innumerable hardships due to the ongoing pandemic. They have virtually been left to the mercy of God. The government should have made arrangements for their safe return to their homes. If the UP government can bring back its students studying in Kota in buses, why not the poor workers?
Ravinder kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Spit ban must continue
The ban on spitting in public is a much-needed move. It is now a crime under the Disaster Management Act. Even after the virus is contained, it is desirable to make spitting a crime which will help curtail the spread of infectious diseases like TB and make India healthier. It is also in consonance with the Swachh Bharat Mission. Paan stains in public areas don't paint a bright picture of Incredible India either. The only loss here would be to the tobacco industry. It will also be the right step in accordance with WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, of which India is a part.
Dimpy Bhatia, New Delhi
The Punjab CM has given a call to contribute 10%, 20% and 30% from the pension and salary of employees of grades C, B and A, respectively, to overcome the expenditure in the fight against Covid over the next three months. The call is welcome as the state is going through a hard time. The present critical financial condition is the outcome of the lavish spending on free power to rich farmers. It is also due to the unjustified tax exemption to MLAs. The third factor is the attempt being made by the state to provide free smartphones to the youth, which is a cheap publicity stunt. An injudicious promise made in the election manifesto need not be implemented by sacrificing public interest. The state Cabinet must take an immediate decision to stop the above wasteful expenditure and implement it along with the contribution from employees and pensioners.
OP Garg, Patiala
Tricks memory plays
Apropos the middle ‘Forget at your own peril’ (April 7), a prodigious memory is a God-given gift. While Julius Caesar knew the names of thousands of his soldiers, despite being illiterate, Maharaja Ranjit Singh could recall from memory the names, position and history of 12,000 villages in his empire. Poet Ghalib never read any book twice. He composed verses in a state of drunken exhilaration. At night, after fashioning a couplet, he would tie a knot in the draw-string of his pyjamas, and in the morning, he would recall to his mind the couplets equal to the number of knots. Thomas Edison had a very poor memory. Once, he forgot his own name when his turn to pay the tax at the courthouse came. Sir Walter Scott did not have retentive memory. Once, he eulogised for his own poem thinking it to be that of Byron. I can, at the age of 88, rattle off the verses read or heard about 75 years ago, but forget to take my medicines.
Bhagwan Singh, Qadian
Refer to the editorial ‘Business as usual’ (April 20); currently, the policy preference of each country is to suppress the spread of Covid-19 and revive its economy through the reopening of lockdown. Few countries have opened construction, manufacturing, retail stores or have started agricultural procurement operations. However, the whole world is interconnected and all these policy measures must be governed by scientific protocols laid down by the WHO. Policymakers in every country must be cautious, as any decision taken for political gains could lead to further spread, and hence disastrous consequences for the whole world.
Harvinder Singh Chugh, by mail
Unfair to Jamaatis
The Tablighi Jamaat has been a pious, peaceful, apolitical and law-abiding human reform movement. Blaming it for the corona spike in India is uncalled for. People are senselessly forwarding fake messages and old unrelated videos. Many authorities, both administrative as well as medical, have repeatedly denied any misdeeds by the Jamaat members, many rather praised their humble manners and cooperative attitude. Corona pandemic is a global issue and the fight against it is universal. Instead of developing a scientific temperament and doing our bit to save precious human lives, we are complicating a serious issue through bigotry and politics.
Parveen Malik, Chandigarh
Smacks of bias
Apropos of the article ‘Keeping count of the lives lost to lockdown’, I was shocked to read the biased views of the writer against the timely lockdown decision. I wish he had taken into account possible deaths if the decision had been delayed in our thickly populated country with abysmally low level of health infrastructure. He is talking about migrant mishaps and hunger, domestic distress and fear-related deaths and suicides. He is bemoaning suffering from alcohol withdrawal, police action to enforce lockdown and equalising the situation with demonetisation-related deaths. Yes, economic devastation post lockdown is worrisome, but will developed countries, who delayed the lockdown, face no financial crisis? Some international monitoring agencies have predicted that India will stand taller globally after the corona crisis in comparison to countries which have lost tens of thousands of their citizens.
Arun Bala, Bathinda
Reference to the wedding of Kumaraswamy’s son during lockdown; action should be taken against the family. Where law abiding citizens are postponing the weddings of their loved ones, our so-called leaders are celebrating the occasion on a grand scale. In this crucial war against Covid, our leaders should be at the forefront. He must be censured for this shameful act. Common people in their homes may also consider breaking rules, ironically set by our leaders. We should see the current situation in developed countries before taking any step that may create more problems in our society.
Parveen Kumar, Patiala
Hit the hardest
Apropos of ‘Longing for home’ (April 20), the poor have had to bear the brunt of disasters like floods and outbreaks of deadly diseases. The current Covid crisis has also put many poor labourers in a tight spot, as they are finding it hard to make ends meet due to prolonged lockdown. According to the ILO, about 400 million Indians working in the informal economy risk falling into deeper poverty during the crisis. The government needs to formulate a comprehensive plan to look after and rehabilitate the hapless workers to enable them to live a normal life.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
Help informal sector
Unwavering and holistic approach needs to be taken against cumulative unemployment with the transition of labour policy. The government must support the unorganised and marginalised sectors. Due to the dearth of workers, harvesting and sowing of crops is at a standstill. Workers are needed to commence construction activities, goods transportation and to restart factories. Labour laws need to be reinforced hastily.
Neeraj Saini, Kurukshetra
Weak on ethics
Apropos ‘Media at crossroads’ (April 20), working ethics requiring journalists to be neither mindless nor unfairly eulogising conform to the three-decade-old observations of the Second Press Commission and Press Council of India rules for journalists working for the print media only. Electronic media anchors are flouting the norms openly. Suitable legislation is necessary to supervise conformity with regard to healthy journalism.
KL Noatay, UK
The whole world spends billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on intelligence departments. Their inputs keep governments aware about future threats and prepare them to take steps in advance to safeguard their countries. Intelligence units are considered to be the backbone of any country. But Covid-19 has exposed their failure all over the world. No country could stop the entry of the deadly virus in its territory, despite getting reports of virus outbreak in Wuhan. Either intelligence departments couldn’t give the right report or governments took these reports lightly. In future, the governments will have to keep their ears to the ground and be proactive.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Rich nations with world-class medical facilities have been brought to their knees. China did not inform the world in time about the coronavirus. Due to its tight media policy, it is also still not giving real information regarding the deaths due to this pandemic. Even in this grim situation it is shamelessly buying shares in financially weaker companies of rich countries. By doing so, it is trying to challenge the US economically and strategically. Moreover, it is making profit by selling medical goods whose quality is under question to affected countries. It deserves collective punitive action. It must not be allowed to take undue advantage of this serious situation.
Anshumali Shukla, Patiala
Ensure their safety
The attacks on officials on duty by curfew violators are shameful. These people on duty are deprived of meeting their own family members while we stay home safe with our loved ones. The government should take a serious view of such insensitive and disrespectful acts. Security and safety of police and medical staff working on the frontline must be ensured. Strict punishment for curfew violators, issuing passes to only those who really need them and provision of essential infrastructure to deal with the lockdown are the best ways to tackle this problem.
Satyam Sharma, Pathankot
Attack on doctors
Let us hang our hands in shame that doctors and paramedics are being attacked when they visit the houses of corona suspects (‘Fear assault, not virus: AIIMS docs’; April 19). Doctors are risking their own safety to treat Covid patients. Many doctors and paramedic staff have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Jamaatis and their cohorts are proving more lethal than the virus itself.
Karnail Singh, Kharar
Refer to the April 18 editorial ‘RBI’s stimulus package’; the second stimulus measures announced by the RBI can benefit the states, banks, micro, small and medium enterprises and the agricultural sector. But some more measures will be required to overcome banks’ risk aversion. The onus is now on the government to deliver by unveiling a larger stimulus package that can help both individuals and businesses cope with the Covid crisis.
Lajwant Singh, by mail
In awe of Modi
Apropos of the April 19 article in The Sunday Tribune, it is regrettable that a respected and decorated police officer like Julio Ribeiro is so enamoured of PM Modi that he doesn’t find any faults with his blundering decisions. From unplanned demonetisation, botched GST implementation to this lockdown and curfew, all have caused much hardship and agony to the general public, but more so migrant labourers. It has also hit the economy and our GDP. Except for his oratory, Modi has nothing to show for his achievements. Lakhs of labourers from Bihar, Odisha and UP are stranded in various states with no money and staggered food supply.
JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala
More power to media
Refer to ‘Media at crossroads: It’s time to appoint Third Press Commission’ (April 20); the Press Council of India should remodel itself to also include electronic and social media. Media landscape has taken numerous turns from the times the PCI was formed. It should also be given certain judicial powers, to ensure enforcement of the laws for the media, as violent attacks and legal actions are increasing. The World Press Freedom Index ranks India at 140 in 180 countries. It is hoped that the Modi regime will learn from history and not repeat the black days of the Emergency.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
While procuring crops, the government should create awareness among farmers regarding stubble burning, which will again pollute the environment and affect the air quality. For this, the government should arrange for banners and subsidies. Everyone knows that the air quality is now better because of lockdown. This way the purity of the atmosphere will remain.
Palwinder Singh, by mail
It is shocking to read that Kumaraswamy’s son married amid lockdown ( April 18). If there is rule of law in India, the Kumaraswamy family must be arrested immediately and prosecuted as per law. The marriage should be declared null and void. This is the only way to ensure general compliance with the norms of national lockdown, which is indispensable in the crucial war against coronavirus. Our leaders must stay at the forefront. Any deviation deserves zero tolerance.
Jagdish Chander, Jalandhar
Focus on health sector
Our politicians, bureaucracy and policy makers will have to give a serious thought to make our health system fully standardised by increasing budgetary allocations and investments. The corona crisis has forced all VIPs and the rich to get themselves or their family members treated within the country. Prior to the crisis, these people used to go abroad, at the taxpayer’s cost. Top priority must be accorded to the health sector.
Surinder Singla, Sangrur
Keep eye on funds
Some good steps have been taken by the RBI to maintain adequate liquidity in the system, facilitate bank credit flow and ease financial stress, but they need severe vigilance to ensure that the funds go to the right people. Politicians should not misuse funds for their own purpose. Genuine people should not be deprived of funds. The RBI should keep a proper check on utilisation.
Rahul Baghel, Ludhiana
The RBI push
Reference to the RBI cutting the reverse repo rate and injecting liquidity (April 17); Shaktikanta Das announced a refinancing facility worth Rs 50,000 crore to boost the housing finance sector, Nabard (Rs 25,000 crore) and SIDBI (Rs 15,000 crore) which would be a great help to farmers, small businesses, MSMEs and the poor. This will also ameliorate the credit supply, introduce liquidity and benefit the Make in India programme.
Riya Sharma, Kapurthala
Allow them to go home
Apropos of the editorial ‘Bandra furore’, priority needs to be given to migrant workers, either by providing work/job or they should be moved to their hometowns. It is better to run specific trains, with all precautions, to specific towns, rather than forcing them to assemble at few places, ignoring social distancing norms and risking life. The administration should understand their frustration.
TS Khurana, Chandigarh
Go for another lockdown
Despite a whopping population of 1.3 billion, India has done well to control the spread of Covid-19. The double number of spread from three days to 6.3 days is a positive development. However, lockdown 3 should be done to contain it further.
Sagar Saraf, Rampura Phul
Teachers warriors, too
In this time of adversity due to Covid-19, teachers are emerging as unsung heroes. Many teachers are working for more hours and days than stipulated in their contracts. Schools are transitioning to remote learning. To make teaching and learning more convenient, teachers are available at every moment. We should acclaim their efforts, too.
Venika Seth, Chandigarh
Most educational activities are being conducted online now. However, overload on computers/laptops often creates problems in hardware like battery, charger, mouse etc. Electronics shops in every city should be allowed to provide home service to the students.
Basant Singh Brar, Bathinda
Attacks on Covid warriors
Our doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, police, and sanitary staff are working tirelessly at great personal risk to fight the spread of Covid. It is a matter of great worry that at some places, they have been attacked and seriously injured. It becomes the duty of our political, social as well as religious leaders to make people understand that corona warriors should be allowed to perform their duty properly. After the pandemic is over, there would be enough time to solve our political as well as other problems.
Prem Parkash Punj, Amritsar
While we sit peacefully at home and curse the situation, some people are working continuously to make things better. Most Indians are showing solidarity by following the rules of the lockdown and cooperating while at some places, doctors are being beaten up and the police are being attacked. We must understand the significant role of healthcare workers, police, media, grocers etc, in this crisis. Instead of harassing them, we should be grateful for their altruistic service.
Himakshi Modi, Ambala
The article ‘Arjan Singh, the man who was our Marshal’ (April 15) was a flashback into the life and career of the first five-star officer of the Indian Air Force. The iconic officer would remain a source of inspiration to many in the IAF and the two sisterly services. Remembrance on his 100th birth anniversary enlivens a generation that was a witness to both the pre- and post-Independent India and its dynamics of political change that went a long way in influencing their worldview and the urge for professional excellence. The first Marshal of the IAF epitomises the profile of the service and the changes it is undergoing in response to the contemporary world scenario.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Salute Karnal doctors
Reference to the news ‘Karnal docs: Will serve without double salary’ (April 16); the doctors have shown a real nationalistic spirit. In times, when people are in a rush to go to foreign lands for money, and several agitations are held to get salaries increased, these doctors having realised the gravity of the situation, have refused to accept the offer. They want this money to be used to fight the pandemic. The gesture should be commended.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Humanity gives hope
Reference to the editorial ‘Covid heroes’; it is said that doctors are living gods. One is a witness to it, especially at this time of pandemic. Healthcare professionals across the world are serving people without any discrimination. In fact, it is notable that the Cuban doctors, who were expelled from several Latin American countries, have now returned to save the people. The only positivity and hope at this terrible time is the humaneness displayed by the people which is otherwise hard to see.
Vidhya B Ragunath, Thanjavur
Don’t desert them
The government is yet to announce measures for the movement of stranded workers across India. It seems that the livelihood of poor migrants is not among the priorities of the government. They have been left to fend for themselves. The government should be vigilant against signs of unrest, as has happened in many parts like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Surat and Jaisalmer. The PM’s announcement has failed to alleviate their sufferings. The government can’t be insensitive to the poor. It will be a big challenge in the days to come.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Even as the poor are struggling and facing their destiny — joblessness, lockout, curfew, fear, disease and hunger — some petty-minded people are trying to carry forward their own agenda of self-projection, image building and cheap publicity to highlight their philanthropic acts. One can positively contribute to come out of this pandemic by following the instructions and creating the necessary awareness.
Arun Jandial, Jammu
All hands on deck
The Punjab Government needs to pull up its medical resources in the wake of recording the highest percentage of corona deaths as compared to the other states and the national figure. Punjab has a large number of positive cases even though it has a fairly good number of multi-specialty hospitals supported by medical colleges. Mohali, with several hospitals and laboratories, is topping the list. Its dismal recovery rate compared to the national average should be a wake-up call to optimise both private and government facilities.
Col KS Grewal (retd), Patiala
Support the needy
Apropos of the news ‘Lockdown extended till May 3, migrants throng railway station’ (April 15), increasing the lockdown period is a compulsion of the government as it is necessary to save the lives of the people. No government can leave its citizens open to death. The migrant labourers were hoping that the lockdown would end and trains would resume service. The government should ensure that there is no shortage of essential items.
Narayan Hari, Chandigarh
Slow Net speed
Refer to ‘Net speed puts brakes on online classes in Punjab’ (April 14); provision has been made by the educational institutions to take online classes for students. This is a good decision that will help them recover any lost time. But the tools used for the purpose should be completely workable and not cause any difficulties of access. Students in rural areas are facing problems like slow Net speed. Some of them do not possess smartphones or computers. This is a matter of concern. The state should ensure some facility.
Aarzoo Arora, Jalandhar
As corona is spreading, some states and districts in India have controlled it nicely. It was Kerala where corona planted its roots first, but it now stands almost removed. The state used three ways, a model to shunt it out. First was a complete lockdown, second, the screening of all those who had come from abroad and quarantined them at their places. Finally, the drone inspection and a phone app ensured that the suspects did not go outside. Bhilwara did the same. The Rajasthan government completely shut it down. Now, the situation is under control. Every local government should use this model. Lockdown means complete lockdown, no relaxation at all. A stitch in time saves nine.
SAROJ BANYAL, HAMIRPUR
Follow their lead
The Kerala model, Bhilwara district in Rajasthan and Pathlawa village of Punjab show us how to contain the deadly virus. The recovery percentage in India is 11.4% but 52% in Kerala, which is commendable. If these places can defeat the pandemic, why not the whole of the country? The Kerala government, especially its Health Minister, deserves appreciation.
Ramanjot Kaur, Jalandhar
Their agni pareeksha
In his address to the nation on April 14, the PM talked of tapasya and tyaag by the citizens of the country. True, tapasya and tyaag is the lot of the lower strata of society, which is undergoing agni pareeksha. The rich have been confined to the comforts of their homes, with means of entertainment and essential supplies. They can talk of social distancing and appreciate the colours of rejuvenated nature because their kitchens are stocked. It is the poor who are bearing the brunt. They are away from their families with no money and means, and are at the mercy of the government and NGOs for every meal. Imagine if you or your child had to sleep on an empty stomach with no hope for a better tomorrow. Their hardships should be mitigated by the state.
NEENA SANGHA, by mail
Same rule for all
Refer to the treatment meted out to the labourers in Maharashtra; why did the Mumbai Police not use the danda against the Wadhawans who broke the law and went on a holiday? Is it because they are billionaires? Migrant labour can be used to harvest crops by making comfortable arrangements for their stay and food.
Madan Lal Gupta by mail
At risk of mental illness
In these difficult times, mental health has been overlooked. Staying at home has resulted in an increase in cases of emotional distress. People are consuming news about the coronavirus from every possible source and this has become a contributing factor. Recently, there was a case of suicide by a person in quarantine. As per a WHO report, by 2020, India will see a 20% increase in cases of mental illness.
Sukriti Sharma, Una
Don’t stop WHO funding
Apropos ‘US halts WHO funds over Covid coverup’ (April 16), the virus is threatening the very existence of humanity. It is highly desirable that world leaders remain pragmatic. The US should restore funding to the WHO, maybe on the condition that Antonio Guterres vacate the august UN body post in the interest of cooperation. Confrontation will not help.
KL Noatay, by mail
Employ Wuhan strategy
Wuhan had a population of 11 million and announced strict lockdown to contain Covid. Initially, people were allowed to step out of their homes, but restrictions were soon tightened. Later, the policy became more aggressive, with officials going door to door to check the infected persons. India should follow the same strategy to make the lockdown effective and segregate the Covid patients. This will yield success in the endeavour.
MANRAJ SINGH, Gurdaspur
We need them
Doctors, police and health staff are working day and night without thinking about their loved ones and their lives. We should be grateful to them, rather than blaming and attacking them. If they stop working, it would be arduous to bring India back from the brink.
Kudos to media
I appreciate The Tribune for providing updated information on current affairs, including health and politics. I have been impressed with the cogent views of the distinguished regular readers. Kudos to these contributors. Expression of unbiased ideas is the hallmark of the freedom of the press, which allows for the sanctity of media.
Mahender Singh, Sonepat
Notwithstanding the rumours which triggered the assemblage of thousands of homesick labourers from UP and Bihar at Mumbai and thereby tearing social distancing to shreds, the need of the hour is to realise the gravity and genuineness of their problem and facilitate them to reach home (‘Allow migration says Maha’, April 15). No doubt, the government and a number of NGOs are rendering yeoman service by feeding these hapless workers, but many of them are not on their radar. The increase in the lockdown period is increasing their restlessness. Fending on their meagre resources, most of them have been reduced to beggary. The task of making them reach their homes is undoubtedly arduous for the government, but is imperative and within the ambit of their democratic and human rights. Sanitised trains are the best mode of conveyance to dissipate restlessly surging crowds which pose potent threat to curb corona.
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
The pharma industry has come under essential commodities and is allowed to operate during the lockdown. The practical difficulty faced under the current scenario is that there is an acute shortage of APIs for the products in most demand. APIs like azithromycin, hydroxichloroquine, chloroquine phosphate and cefexime are either not available or available at a phenomenal price. Most of these products being under the DPCO, the manufacturing cost will come to be much higher than the MRP. Similarly, low cost ethyl alcohol is not available to the sanitiser industry. The government must step in immediately otherwise there is going to be an acute shortage of essential drugs. Merely allowing the industry to operate without providing necessary armoury is not going to lead us anywhere.
Yash Khetarpal, Panchkula
Refer to ‘That sinking feeling’ (Nous Indica, April 11) and ‘Plight of labourers’; the invisible workers like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, cobblers and bhelpuri sellers are undergoing economic hardships, but there is no way expect to follow restrictions because health services and testing are not up to the level of the West. Revival is possible provided government functionaries show sensitivity. Labour is an important component of capital formation and its active cooperation is essential for the economy to move forward. The government has no alternative than to follow strict economic and administrative system, effective and efficient management of scarce resources, delivery methods and also persuade the people to adhere to prescribed norms in sensitive areas. The spread of the disease can be contained and the economy can be put on the right track, provided the people also play an active and positive role.
NIRMAL KUMAR, PANCHKULA
Threats not a good idea
The Punjab Government’s directions to all private practitioners (PPs) to continue providing health services is a welcome step, but the way in which these directions are being conveyed, like threats to cancel licence, is not desirable at this crucial time. Most PPs are already rendering services in different ways — on phone, video-conferencing, etc. Keeping this in view, the government must adopt a positive attitude and issue guidelines to them keeping in view certain important facts and advisories by experts in the field. The government must clarify certain facts: what about rendering services by doctors having a single-room clinic as it is impossible to maintain social distancing and other mandatory norms? What about doctors above 60 years and those suffering from medical complications like diabetes, heart ailments and respiratory diseases? According to experts, such doctors should avoid practice in these circumstances. The government must also clarify who will provide personal protection equipment, masks etc, to private doctors rendering their services.
SURINDER SINGLA, SANGRUR
Refer to ‘Road map for revival’ (April 13); the Punjab Government should immediately earmark areas depending upon the severity of the spread of Covid and must learn from Kerala, where the spread of the disease is coming under control. Like the farm sector, other priority sectors like business organisations should be opened so that social tension can be reduced. Prepare an exit strategy by calling immediately an emergency session of the Vidhan Sabha and rework this year’s budgetary allocations from entertainment, sports and tourism to health and social security sector.
Harvinder Singh Chugh, Jalandhar
The nationwide lockdown has brought to the fore the hardships being faced by the people suffering from other health problems, especially poor patients, who, in the absence of public transport, are unable to reach their destination for treatment. Recently, the suspension of the ‘Cancer train’ has left several patients from Punjab’s Malwa region high and dry. Though medical facilities in Punjab have increased over the years, still the government needs to provide better health infrastructure and cheap services, so that the patients are not forced to rush to the other states for treatment.
HARGUNPREET SINGH, Patiala
Refer to the editorial ‘Criminal and anti-social’ (April 14); the police and health staff are doing great work for the safety of the people. It is not easy to expose oneself to the risk of Covid. If the police had not acted swiftly, the ASI would have lost his hand. The ASI should be awarded and stricter laws implemented to deal with such culprits. The President of Indonesia has ordered that anyone violating the lockdown should be shot. The people of our country should be thankful that they are living in a democracry. In Himachal Pradesh, people are cooperating with the government. It is a matter of few weeks. Once the deadly infection is uprooted, we can resume our daily activities.
SUBER SINGH PARIHAR, HP
Doing their duty
Attacking frontline Covid warriors is a crime. The police had to face a fierce attack by the Nihangs when asked for curfew passes. Prior to this, doctors, nurses and other health staff have been threatened and attacked by the people. This is not the way towards triumph over the deadly virus. We must stand in gratitude for these warriors rather than cause them harm. They are working relentlessly to save us. We must cooperate with the government, the police and health staff because it is the only way to win this battle.
Why carry swords?
Apropos ‘Nihangs chop off ASI’s hand in Sanaur’, the police are on duty for our safety and to contain the Covid pandemic. The Nihangs should be condemned for their heinous crime. Why were they carrying swords? This is ignominy for the community. Carrying swords as a community symbol is repugnant.
Amanpreet Kaur, Jalandhar
Assault on police
The police are doing their duty in these difficult times for us, to protect us, and we as citizens are attacking them! People are not comprehending the seriousness of Covid. They will put the whole country at risk. Strict action should be taken against them.
Ekta Sharma, Jalandhar
End atrocities on Dalits
Refer to Ambedkar Jayanti; Dalits are still not socially recognised. From Kilvenmani massacre in Tamil Nadu to Jagmail murder case in Punjab, we have a long chain of cruelties inflicted upon Dalits. They should be protected through proper implementation of laws. This will be the greatest tribute to the architect of our Constitution.
Gurwinder Singh, Sangrur
Ambedkar Jayanti is celebrated every year by both the Centre as well as the state governments. But while every state has notified this day, both as a gazetted and a public holiday for the past many years, the Centre issues annually, just days ahead of Ambedkar Jayanti, a statutory notification under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, declaring it a ‘closed holiday’. This time, the notification was issued on April 8 by the DoPT. The concept of a closed holiday is not defined in any law or statute.
HEMANT KUMAR, CHANDIGARH
Not too late to learn
Apropos of ‘The wasteland of our making’ (April 11), it is true that ‘darkening clouds of fear, anxiety, deprivation and despair; are hovering over the world, as man, in his ruthless pursuit to gratify his greed, has destroyed the beauty and bounty of Nature — a source of sustenance for the whole creation. If man still does not realise his folly, a deluge will very soon be at his doorstep. Already Covid-19 has sounded the death knell of his arrogance.
OP Sharma, Ambala
The middle ‘Negotiating the Twitter curve’ (April 14) is a realistic account by a bureaucrat. It conveys a crisp message regarding restraints and pressure under which bureaucrats discharge their duty. A firm grip on the prevailing circumstances, mood of the people and, above all, a bit of diplomacy determines the final conclusion. Generally, the public thinks that the life of a bureaucrat is a bed of roses, but in reality, it is a challenge.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
In this time of national crisis, the police are risking their lives to protect us from Covid, but are unfortunately at the receiving end at some places (‘Asked to show pass, Nihangs chop off ASI’s hand in Sanaur’; April 13). The video that went viral shows how brutally the Nihangs attacked the cops. We should be grateful to the police that they are out on the streets, so we may stay safe, and indoors. The Nihangs should be severely punished for this brutality otherwise people will have no fear in committing such crimes.
Rohan Kakkar, Faridabad
Use symbolic kirpan
Refers to the news report ‘Asked to show pass, Nihangs chop off ASI’s hand in Sanaur’ (April 13); this is a shocking and brutal act. The cop was only performing his duty. Kirpan is given to Nihangs to defend people and not commit heinous crimes. This butcher’s act needs to be condemned by one and all in the harshest possible way. In this day and age, the Nihangs should sport only symbolic kirpan instead of real ones to prevent the recurrence of any such incident of brutality.
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
Shifting world order
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will seriously impact the socio-political and economic world order, balance of power and neoliberal globalisation (‘Covid-hit US has lost status as global leader’, April 13). The US and the EU have become more self-seeking and protectionist in the current dismal scenario. Regional and international institutions have failed to maintain the traditional equation of social contract between nations. But China, a growing economic and military power, has come out unscathed as it has resumed all economic activities after the lockdown. Keeping its geopolitical and strategic interests in mind, it is not only giving medical aid to others, including adversaries like Japan, but also making liberal investments globally. This will strengthen its international clout and pose potential challenge to US supremacy.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
The poor hit hardest
Apropos of ‘We let the rich infect the poor’ (April 13), it can be said passport killed the ration card. The poor always suffer in all circumstances. The need of the hour is to check the exponential spread of the pandemic and safeguard the security of medical and sanitary staff. Everybody should heed to the guidelines.
GIAN P KANSAL, AMBALA
Apropos of the editorial ‘Road map for revival’, the biggest challenge is to find a balanced approach in such difficult conditions. Whatever be the action, it is bound to draw criticism. A number of experts are giving opinions ranging from one extreme to another. Economic activity can be partially restored by allowing younger people, say, aged less than 35-40 years, to go to work by following strict social distancing norms. The health system will also not be overstretched this way.
Rakesh Gupta, Patiala
In service of public
Apropos of ‘Salaries of MLAs, ministers cut 30% (April 13), people are yet to see a significant number of their elected representatives who would only accept a token salary. Elected representatives should not accept any salary, and pension too, as they get ample perks and facilities while in active service of the public. People should now only elect a representative with a sense of devotion for the public, and one who would not accept any salary and pension thereafter.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
As we observe Ambedkar Jayanti, let us take some time to reflect on why this day is so important to our country. Most widely recognised as the architect of our Constitution, he crusaded to abolish untouchability and introduced the reservation system. Trained as an economist and a lawyer, Babasaheb had mastery over several other subjects such as political science, philosophy, history, sociology and education. Above all, he was a great humanist. he was the inspiration behind setting up of many pioneering initiatives of our country, including the RBI, Finance Commission, Employment Exchange, National Power Grid System, Navigation Commission, Damodar Valley Corporation and Hirakund Project. He introduced labour reforms, the concept of minimum wages, equal pay for equal work, and medical leave, to name a few. With thousands of books in his library, he was a lifelong seeker of knowledge. He contributed significantly to knowledge creation by authoring numerous books and articles on a wide range of topics. His contributions profoundly impact all sections of our society. Ambedkar continues to inspire us with his legacy and words — ‘Life should be great rather than long.’
Varun Chaudhry (MLA), Mullana
Refer to ‘That sinking feeling’ (Nous Indica), April 11, it is relevant and appropriate to ask how long can we afford the curfew and lockdown with agriculture, industrial and other business activities completely paralysed while fighting the deadly coronovirus when no effective treatment is available except for social distancing and effective lockdown to control this pandemic. It is also pertinent to mention how long will the invisible people depend upon their daily earning? The time has now come to mark the hotspots, clusters and other vulnerable spots and concentrate on them.
Deepak via mail
Amid a national lockdown, India is faced with a terrible existential dilemma (‘That sinking feeling’, Nous Indica, April 11). The rising number of Covid patients is making people panicky and a fragile economy that is further dipping low will lead to food scarcity, inflation and price rise. The government should give equal priority to saving human lives and livelihoods, as in China, South Korea and Singapore, ramping up measures to contain the virus, and chalking out a roadmap for economic revival.
Tajpreet S Kang, Muggowal
Solitude can be testing
Elderly persons, that include octogenarians like me too, have been the worst hit due to the compulsive stay within the four walls of homes, facing the two-pronged attack of Covid-19 lockdown and the resultant knock-down. In normal times, sans the deadly invisible virus, we had enough time out for various activities. In such confined spaces, it is not surprising that domestic peace can get tested. It should be borne with the equanimity of a philosopher for the situation will change. Years back, I used to listen to the morning talk in Punjabi from Lahore Radio station, invariably starting with, Usde hukam de bagair, patta vi nahee hilda. As nature reasserts itself in the absence of all human activity, one can't help marveling at this in spite of all the hardships.
BM Singh, Amritsar
In letter and spirit
With the entire nation showing unprecedented solidarity by observing the lockdown in both letter and spirit, one wonders as to how come the VIPs are flouting the social distancing norms? The defaulters in the Yes Bank case, DHFL promoters Kapil Wadhwan and Dheeraj Wadhwan, accompanied by over 20 family members, secretly travelled to Mahabaleshwar, allegedly using their connections. Karnataka BJP MLA Masala Jayaram, also rode roughshod over the lockdown and threw a grand birthday bash, inviting more than a hundred people, when assembling of more than five people is strictly prohibited. The government must stir into action, and impose heavy penalties on such brazen violators without differentiating between a common man and a VIP.
Upant Sharma, Panchkula
Refer to the news report ‘Banker detained for failing to enforce distancing norms’ (April 11); the incident is deplorable. Most bank branches are understaffed and lack of preventive equipment such as masks, gloves and PPE is a cause for concern. Instead of issuing diktats without paying heed to the genuine concerns of bank employees, the administration must ensure the presence of police personnel in the branches during public dealing to maintain social distancing. The roster system for opening of branches needs to be followed. Bank employees are neither at less risk nor are their service less important. Their concerns must be taken into consideration.
Amrinder Singh Mann, Sangrur
Bearing the brunt
The editorial, ‘Salaried class affected’ (April 11), highlights the pitiable financial condition of Punjab and the apprehension of the axe falling on the salaried class if prudent measure are not taken. There is no rationale to penalise the salaried class as in their prime, they rendered impeccable service. The salaried class should not be made a scapegoat for the faults of the administrators who make decisions that impact the lives of so many without at times taking into consideration all pros and cons.
Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali
Easter is meant to forgive
Easter is not just a time of giving, but also forgiveness, tolerance, maintaining honour in relationships and setting a good example towards our children. This is a gentle reminder to our brothers and sisters. It epitomises the teachings and the ideals of Jesus Christ that speak of being benign towards all mankind. May the risen Lord bless abundantly and bring lots of happiness to all. Happy Easter!
Jubel D’Cruz, via mail
Health services and state administrations are doing a great service. It is shocking that some people are misbehaving with doctors and paramedical staff even as they are working under risk and without protective gear. In Ludhiana and Amritsar, the deceased Covid patients were cremated by patwaris and other officials as their kin refused to perform the last rites. The public must cooperate with the government and comply with instructions issued in their own benefit.
OP Garg, Patiala
We can do it, too
Apropos ‘Docs fear Haryana ill-prepared for Covid challenge’ (April 9), the present system and its escalating costs is not sustainable due to its inefficiency and a lack of aligned incentives for improving performance. A country that has leapfrogged from rotary phones to a ubiquitous presence of mobile phones must make a similar change in healthcare. It will not be easy and it will not be inexpensive. But it has been done before and can be done here too.
Mansi Bhardwaj, Ambala
Setting wrong example
The Tablighis preach simple living but this seems ridiculous by the account of the lifestyle led by the sect leaders (Faith groups as super-spreader of pandemic; April 8). The shunning of social distancing and lack of testing resulted in Covid cases being detected. At the same time, addressing the needs of healthcare, sectarian behaviour should be shunned.
OP Sharma, Ambala city
Covid and religion
This refers to ‘Faith groups as super-spreader of pandemics’ (April 8), religious beliefs do need a relook in the times of Covid. In South Korea, a mass congregation in a church was a source of coronavirus spread in that country to quite an extent. Any irresponsible act must be condemned. Ignoring it can lead to harmful consequences.
Prakash Hanspaul by mail
Some good steps Refer to the news of PPE and
security for medics and free testing in private labs; this will help in ensuring the wellbeing of health staff who are risking their lives to battle this dangerous disease. Free testing will help in combating the spread of the Covid pandemic as now, even the poor will come forward to get themselves checked without the fear of charges.
Hardik Gupta, Solan
Reference to ‘Ensure free testing of corona in pvt labs: SC’ (April 9); the biggest challenge for the administration will be to implement this order because private diagnostic centres can take advantage of these difficult times and demand money from people. Free testing availability will go a long way in fighting Covid. But it is important to prevent the exploitation of people.
Narayan Hari, Chandigarh
Think about them
The efforts to cover all regions and highlight the burning Covid-related issues which have mostly been neglected (‘40 crore Indians to sink into poverty’ and ‘Spectre of poverty’; April 9) needs to be appreciated. While the media is full of pictures of PM Modi, hailing the efforts, the focus is not on citizens who would fall back economically owing to the lockdown.
Navpreet Sandhu, by mail
Incentive for medics
The Haryana government deserves kudos for doubling the salaries of medical, paramedical and other staff engaged in crushing the menace of Covid-19 epidemic. These Covid warriors are rendering selfless and priceless service despite all odds to keep the nation stay healthy. When the people are holed up in their houses to escape the virus, the medical fraternity is working tirelessly in the fight against the epidemic. This incentive will keep their morale high.
BJ Singh, Hisar
India, basically an agrarian state, has handled the Covid-19 outbreak efficiently and effectively. Though we are comparably less disciplined as a nation, yet the people have shown better response to the government’s precautionary, protective and curative measures voluntarily. Effective containment plans should be made for effectively tackling the virus. Life is the first and foremost priority.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Blame on WHO
With the coronavirus pandemic causing a number of casualties in the US, President Donald Trump has raised questions over the working of the World Health Organisation (WHO), blaming it for the China surge. Conditions show the US will cross Italy in terms of casualties. India should seek informed opinion instead of just relying on the WHO.
Vihaan Gupta, Ujjain
Refer to ‘Virus victims’ kin shun last rites’ (April 8); it is pathetic to read that many families are refusing to cremate or bury Covid-19 victims out of fear of contracting infection. However, ICMR guidelines clearly state that cremation poses no risk to the family if proper protocol is followed. Only the infected lungs of a deceased, at the time of autopsy, may cause infection. So, disrespect towards those infected, be they alive or dead, should not be allowed in society.
Devender Kumar, Sirsa
It is shocking that even sons and daughters are refusing to perform the last rites of their parents who were Covid victims. But Guru Tegh Bahadur had predicted it centuries ago, when he said: Sang sakha sab taj gaye, koi ne nibhiyo saath/ Kahe Nanak is bipat mein, tek ek Raghunath (All companions and friends have abandoned you. In the difficult times, only God is your refuge). God came in the garb of government officials to light their pyre.
Lt Col Harbinder Singh (Retd), Patiala
Apropos ‘As Trump hints at retaliation, govt allows chloroquine’ (April 8), it is shocking that the government decided to lift the ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine following a veiled threat by President Trump. Though the efficacy of the drug is not proven, it is the only preventive medication presently available. With the numbers surging in India, and the API ingredients for manufacturing the drug in shortage, this move is imprudent. It may weaken India’s hand in fighting the disease.
Vidhya B Ragunath, Thanjavur
Reference to ‘SAD: Cut salary of ministers, MLAs by 30% (April 8); taking a cue from the PM, the SAD president has asked the Punjab CM to follow suit for contributing to the Covid relief fund. A noble gesture no doubt. Now, it is for the CM to act favourably and get it implemented with general consensus. It would also be worthwhile for the SAD chief to take the lead and shun multiple pensions, as there seems to be no legitimate justification to draw pension for each Assembly term.
SS Arora, Mohali
Revise Budget spending
The Centre must sit with CMs of all states and come up with a revised expenditure plan for 2020-21. Projects such as Lutyens’ Vista, bullet train and defence modernisation can wait. Funds should be diverted for the elevation of health standards to cope with Covid. Neglecting healthcare infrastructure and exhausting public money on extravagant publicity campaigns has resulted in the ongoing mismanagement.
Decision on school fee
All schools are closed and most private schools have started uploading homework on school apps and other such modes. Some are conducting online/virtual classes. Is the government considering a fee waiver for the lockdown period? In addition to the tuition fee, there are other components like transport and sports facility charges. If the school fee is not waived, is there any deliberation to reduce or waive other such charges for the time being? Further, the state government has notified that the cap for incrementing the tuition fee is 8% per annum, but these institutes still charge more, which may not be in the form of only tuition fee. There is considerable hike in transport fee or other ancillary fee that add up to more than 8%.
Amanvir Singh Tiwana, Patiala
Explore world within
Unlock yourselves in this lockdown. Disconnect yourself from the external environment for some time and explore what is inside you. We all should take this situation positively; maybe, we have more capabilities inside us of which we were unaware of. In our routine life, we might have lost ourselves in the rat race and forgotten to spend time with ourselves. Presently, we have ample time. Let’s identify what gives us more power and joy — it may enhance the rest of our life.
Raghav Singla, Phagwara
Looking in wrong place
This is regarding a strange thing that happened in my city. Some people are circulating ‘information’ that putting a handful of rice and a small amount of turmeric in a ‘kundi’, made the ‘sotta’ automatically stand in it. It is being claimed that this is a symbol of the ‘presence’ and blessings of Lord Shiva. I just want to say that God is everywhere, but we still try to see Him in kundi-sotta. Our ancient religious scriptures say that He lives in everyone’s heart. Instead of looking in our own heart, we are looking for Him in empty vessels. How easier it is to trick the masses in the name of religion.
Anshumali Shukla, Patiala
Reference to the editorial ‘The exit plan’ (April 8); the PM has done well to consult leaders, including those from the Opposition, economists, business tycoons and other stakeholders. The challenges are multifold and the media not only echoes vox populi but is also a storehouse of analytical wisdom. The PM should also interact with the editors of print as well as electronic media, and of vernaculars too. The exit plan is gigantic, and abiding by government restrictions ought to be the social/religious duty of one and all.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Apropos of ‘Phased lifting of lockdown’, the Covid crisis has made it difficult for people from a modest income background. But the lockdown is important since in a highly populated country like India, the spread of the virus, once out of hands, will be uncontrollable. The government must ensure that citizens do not go
hungry. There should be timely harvesting of the wheat crop. There can be some relaxation for particular professions catering to the supply of daily essentials.
Satyam Sharma, Pathankot
Judicious use of ad fund
Reference to the advertisement by the Punjab Government on the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nabha Dass ji (April 8); with deep respect to all Gurus and saints of all communities and religions, may I take the liberty of pointing out that such an advertisement would have surely cost a lot of money. Was it really necessary, particularly during these difficult times, to eat into the already strained funds? The Guru’s true followers would also have preferred that such funds should have been better utilised for feeding thousands or distributing free masks to the needy. On the other hand, another advertisement — A Vaisakhi for Future Vaisakhis— with a catchy line, ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’, is far more impactful with the expected desired effect.
SPS NARANG, NEW DELHI
The decision of the Government of India to lift the ban on export of hydroxychloroquine drug should not be construed as bowing down to the warning of US President Trump. The harsh words used must be attributed to the frustration of the President as the pandemic is spreading unabated in the US, multiplying the death toll. India has clarified that there is ample stock of the medicine and its supply to the US will not see any scarcity in India. At such a crucial time, when the entire world is in the tight grip of this fatal virus, the supply of the drug to the needy would be a philanthropic gesture.
BALJEET SINGH, HISAR
Why no statement?
Apropos of ‘Who gave permission for Jamaat event, asks Pawar’ (April 7), ever since the Jamaat incident came to be known, no politician of the ruling party at the Centre or state or even the Opposition issued any statement on this matter. What were the Delhi Police doing? Where were the intelligence units? And what about our Home Minister? He should have given a statement.
Ashwani Kumar, Yamunanagar
The Earth has fallen ill because of our exploitative ways. Pictures are circulating all over the world, depicting how our planet is improving in terms of carbon emissions, cleaner rivers, the ozone layer healing itself over the Antarctica. I believe we all have understood that we need to take things slowly and carefully from now on. We can come up with ways and means of doing business in a more eco-friendly manner and give equal importance to Mother Nature.
Amarpreet Kaur Bhandohal, Nabha
Preserve this bliss
During Covid days, we are compelled to observe certain precautions, and as a result, the sky has acquired its original blue colour, as we used to observe some decades ago. Birds have re-emerged on trees and our rooftops, entertaining us with their chirping. But alas, we will become lax once the easy days come. Why can’t we think of ways to maintain this bliss? Should we not learn a lesson from the pandemic and contribute in reforming the system? Should we not develop the courage to challenge the wrong-doers, from politicians in high public offices to common offenders in the streets?
MPS Chadha, Mohali
Intermediaries create rift
Maulvis act as intermediaries and impart knowledge about Islam according to their own perception (‘Faith groups as super-spreader of pandemic’, April 8). Only such people are creating differences in society. No religion is against any other religion. No religion claims it is superior, only intermediaries sow that seed. As mature audience, we can sift the right from wrong based on credible evidence.
Nikita Bhati, Rajasthan
It has been reported that all districts in Punjab are facing a shortage of ventilators. In this connection, it is laudable that the local unit of the IMA has offered ventilators and services of doctors from eight private hospitals to meet any emergency related to Covid. Deputy commissioners of each district should prevail upon their respective IMA units to come forward to help with ventilators and the services of private doctors. It will go a long way in easing the situation at government hospitals, or alternatively, the IMA units should come forward on their own to offer their services.
KK Mittal, Bathinda
Take up pending cases
Reference to ‘Judiciary needs to use lockdown period for hearing old cases’ (April 6); in the wake of the pendency of cases, it is indeed a thoughtful idea to utilise the competence of judges as an opportunity to lower the heaps of case files on matters which can be readily and swiftly jettisoned. Certain matters can be disposed of on the basis of the settled law, especially when many of the petitioners are no more to pursue their grievances. The judges can use the easy availability of information and communication technology to lessen pendency.
Charupreet K Lamba, Chandigarh
Cut tax to boost spending
Apropos the outlook by the Asian Development Bank for India’s economy for FY20 (April 5), the GDP is expected to decrease to 4% from 5.1% (as expected earlier). This year is all set to pinch the pockets of the people. Corona pandemic has occurred at a time when our trade and commerce sector was already struggling. In order to bring the GDP back on track, the government should cut the tax rate and other impediments to trade, so that everyone can contribute their best towards the economy.
Rajkirat Singh, Muktsar
Strive to be self-reliant
The article ‘Arrogant China, defiant Pak’ (April 6) exhorts the world to reduce manufacturing dependence on China. Currently, Covid-19 challenge, originating from Wuhan, is looming large over health and economy across the world, and if a lesson can’t be learnt now, it can never be! Strangely, despite having enough capacity in commerce and industry, India, too, has been for long outsourcing even petty goods to cut costs. Coronavirus pandemic has awakened all to reorient strategies while addressing their basic needs. To be strong and self-reliant, India will have to boost indigenous industry through fiscal reforms, technology upgrade and by streamlining labour policy.
Nirmaljit Singh, Kapurthala
China can help us
Apropos ‘Arrogant China, defiant Pak’ (April 6), China’s ability to provide the much-needed medical aid stood out in contrast to the lack of help from western nations struggling with the virus themselves. European and US solidarity does not exist. It was a fairytale on paper. In this crisis, the only country that can help us is China. s
Harmohit Singh Saini, Gurdaspur
Missing daily papers
I have been unable to lay my hands on a newspaper for many days now. Reading papers daily is not just a habit, but an addiction. It is wrong to disrupt the circulation of print media. During such times, gossip and propaganda become the gospel truth. The lockdown seems to be showing results. Hope we are able to get out of the woods soon. Though the sagging economy will be a big challenge, let us keep our fingers crossed for decent recovery from the bottom of the pit.
Devinder Garg, Chandigarh
In response to the editorial ‘Nature redeems, rejuvenates’ (April 6), Covid-19 has again proved the importance of nature in human life. Our interference towards the flora and fauna has resulted in natural and man-made disasters. Man is solely to be blamed. Once this crisis ends, we will again go back to the old ways and forget Mother Earth. Let us redeem our pledge to nurture and rejuvenate our surroundings so that the bounty remains replenished.
Jasvinder S Humsafar, Maloudh
Apropos ‘Will ensure there’s no academic loss: Pokhriyal’ (April 6), the statement given by the minister revealing that the Centre would take a call on the reopening of educational institutions if the lockdown is lifted shows the government’s concern for students currently facing an academic predicament. It’s appreciable that the government is trying to come up with plans keeping in mind the severity of the pandemic. It is a tedious, yet necessary task to strategise and come up with scholastic plans to avoid any academic loss in case the lockdown extends beyond April 14.
Maitri bhardwaj, Patiala
Refer to ‘Punjab Govt may use private health infrastructure to combat pandemic’ (April 5); private healthcare is more equipped with the latest technology and infrastructure. In times of need, when the whole country is on the verge of a disaster-like situation, it is a good decision to bring in the private sector to play its role. This will help in utilising the best of what is available and ensure that the country does not lack in healthcare facilities. Covid-19 can be fought with support from all sectors while maintaining social distancing.
Kudos to police
Our police force is undoubtedly playing a magnificent role. Amid severe conditions, the cops are consistently at work, issuing advisories to people, distributing food and medicines, while themselves being away from their loved ones. They have to take punitive action against lockdown violators, but their compassionate nature can’t be ignored. We must stand together in gratitude for these Covid warriors.
What’s to celebrate?
Apropos ‘India lights up with hope’ (April 6), the entire nation, and people of every religion, participated in the lighting of diyas and candles to express solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus. It was a good initiative by PM Modi. But the only thing that was disappointing was how some people started bursting crackers, as if it was a time to celebrate.
Rohan kakkar, by mail
A good gesture by the Civil Hospital staff from Nawanshahr to give an elderly patient who defeated Covid a warm send-off, and greet his two-year-old grandson with a toy car, teddy bear and a card. This will give a very positive message to the nation and other Covid patients that the coronavirus can be defeated. All we have to do is be patient and have trust in our healthcare facilities.
Satyam Sharma, Pathankot
Not a govt fund
In advertisements on TV channels comes the request to contribute to the ‘PM Cares Fund’. The members of this trust are Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and other BJP members. The impression is being given that it is a government trust. But they are not representing it in their official capacity. The fund is not going to the Consolidated Fund of India, which is a government trust whose auditing is done by the CAG. Why should this fund not be given to the Chief Ministers’ fund of all states, if it is a government fund? There is every possibility that this fund may be for the BJP’s own use rather than being used to handle the present crisis.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
Private school salaries
Reference to ‘Action against Punjab schools for seeking fee amid lockdown’ (April 6); the government has ordered schools to give a 30-day window to parents to pay fee, but it appears that the interests of teachers in private schools have not been taken into consideration while passing this order. Private schools will be in a position to pay monthly salaries only after the timely collection of fee. At present, no one knows when the lockdown will really end. Teachers will be left high and dry. The government should take a humane and realistic view of the matter and exempt private schools from this order. Or alternatively, the government should undertake to pay salaries for this period.
Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali
Rein in China
The article ‘Arrogant China, defiant Pak’ (April 6) underlines some malevolent traits of China and Pakistan. While no country takes Pakistan seriously except India and Afghanistan, China arouses concern in the comity of nations. Its tentacles have spread in every nook and corner of the world, especially in cheap electronics and pharmaceutical goods supplies. Moreover, its territorial hegemony on land and sea has irked many Asian countries, including India. Ironically, China walks away with audacity because it is a permanent member of the UNSC and enjoys strategic leverage vis-à-vis Russia and the US. But it should be reined in because of its covert shenanigans pertaining to the dreaded Covid-19 that has brought the world to its knees. In this matter, the European nations can take the lead. Many Asian countries would be willing to offer their support in this endeavour.
LR Sharma, Sundernagar
The number of positive cases has doubled subsequent to the Tablighi Jamaat incident. However, the focus should be on fighting Covid instead of blaming a certain community. The media is also adding fuel to the fire. A Jamaati in Una had to commit suicide as a result of humiliation by the villagers, although he had tested negative.
H/Capt Jagdish Verma (retd), Narola
One fails to understand how coronavirus can be defeated by lighting candle or diya in the dark, by switching off the lights, which itself is a symbol of victory over darkness. Are we being dragged to a dark age and being presented with a meagre solace of having a ray of hope in self created darkness? People should think twice before accepting such illogical suggestions otherwise it will mean what the poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi said: Mathe da diva naan baliya, tel taan paia per per pallian.
Aman Preet Singh, Roopnagar
Guidelines for last rites
It was shocking the way Padma Shri Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa's last rites were disrupted. The World Health Organisation and Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have issued certain measures on body management and no such case has come to the fore where a person is known to have contracted the disease following exposure to bodies of COVID-19 victims. The Centre and state governments, in consultation with doctors, must take immediate steps to issue special guidelines for cremation, ensuring respect for the deceased and safety of people around.
Hargunpreet Singh, Patiala
Need for succour
Apropos the editorial 'The Invisible People' (April 4), the setting up of a Contingency Fund will be an apt tribute to the tenacity, tolerance and resilience of the people at the lowest level of our society who have suffered the most during the present lockdown. Nobody came to their rescue due to their voiceless entity. Their helplessness due to poverty, insecure jobs and lack of societal empathy made them further vulnerable in a contingency of this nature. With lives and livelihood in doldrums, their claim to succour and relief now needs top priority before it is too late.
Gp Capt JS Boparai (retd), Una
With continuous rise in the cases of people affected by Covid-19, it is becoming an issue for every level of government. IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva has accepted that the world's economy has come to a standstill and further consequences of this pandemic would be devastating. The fear in the minds of the respective governments and citizens has definitely risen. This situation is worse than the recession of 2008. Analyse the conditions state-wise and clear the dues, so that each can do its best.
Vihaan Gupta, via email
Apropos the article 'Corona crisis offers eco-friendly lifeline' (April 3), jittery since realising the enormity of the crisis, many developed nations are finding themselves on the receiving end, despite putting in herculean effort to vanquish the lethal virus. Perhaps the ruthless virus is an admonition to the mighty nations to shun violence and become empathetic. Moreover, the adage that every cloud has a silver lining becomes relevant as the lockdown has resulted in a significant reduction in pollution levels. Jalandhar residents received a pleasant surprise when they had a spectacular view of the snow-clad mountain range located over 200 km from the city.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
Though everyone is blaming China for the outbreak of Covid-19, very few have noticed the pollution level decreasing and the air becoming cleaner. I see it as natural cleansing and not as a natural calamity. The earth is cleaning itself as humans were not sentient to the ecosystems destroyed. Every evening, I go to the roof to refresh myself and have noticed that the number of birds has increased. That the foothills of the Himalayas have been visible from jalandhar is an eloquent testimony to the fact.
Nishant Rihan, Ferozepur City
Business community hit
The business community has been among those affected the most. Businessmen have been asked to run their enterprises provided they give food, shelter and healthcare to their workers within the industrial unit, but then there is no transportation of raw material in the factory and no transportation of finished goods in the market. Then how can anybody expect any business? Tenants have been told not to pay rent but what will someone, whose daily bread comes from it, do? If people in service get salaries, then why can't they pay rent?
This refers to the news ‘26% jump; President cites Jamaat, exodus’ (April,4); the Tablighi Jamaat congregation has created adverse conditions in the country. It has also created the possibility of community transmission of coronavirus in most states. A blame game has started to evade responsibility. A collaborative approach between the Centre and the states is required to tackle this situation.
Samuel O’ Derek, Jind
The whole world has seen that India has been unable to control the march of the migrant workers and the action against particular sects creates doubts. PM Modi’s order for switching off lights at 9 pm on April 5 and lighting a candle or diya for nine minutes is all propaganda. Why should people take to such vague acts in this life and death situation. The Prime Minister should think about the welfare of such people and releasing the funds to the states. Enough is enough now, forget the baseless speeches.
Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh
About non-essential lights
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all Indians to switch off lights on Sunday evening and light a candle or diya in their doorways or balconies to mark the fight against coronavirus and show solidarity. Significantly, the event Earth Hour, a worldwide movement organised by the WWF, is held annually to encourage individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights, for an hour, on a specific day towards the end of March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet. The Earth Hour this year was scheduled for March 28.
SS Paul, Chakdaha, Nadia
Show of collective will
The PM, in his statement, urged people across the country to light candles, lamps or the mobile flashlights to raise the power of 130 crore Indians, and to drive home the message that during the Covid-19 lockdown, no one is alone. He has also urged everyone not to gather on roads to maintain social distancing. There is no harm in giving it a try as an expression of our collective will in this fight.
Stop foodgrain wastage
The editorial, ‘Food security at stake’ (April 3) brings to the fore the criminal gaps in the management of food stocks. The conditions point out clearly the indifference to the real costs in the production of foodgrains in Punjab. Any leadership that values each grain of cereals would not have allowed the huge wastage in Punjab as pointed out by the CAG. Politicians are not highlighting issues which involve an essential commodity like food and its wastage for a non-sustainable reason like lack of storage capacity. The PDS system has to be revamped to make it foolproof. Accountability for wastage has to be strictly fixed.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Communal turn for corona
It is saddening to know that coronavirus is acquiring a communal tinge. It’s always about being right and wrong and being an Indian. If someone does something wrong, it's right to punish them no matter what religion, caste or region they belong to. It's time to fight against Covid-19 together. Spitting on doctors and others was wrong but they should not be left alone or seen as victims. One should understand the right and wrong about the situation instead of starting a blame game.
Neetika Singh, Chandigarh
Welcome paradigm shift
This is with reference to the article ‘Awaiting a paradigm shift’ (April 3). I agree that life will experience a change post coronavirus period. It will not revert to the previous routine. Habits which have been taken for granted would have changed fully or partially. People will walk on foot to fetch items of need without using vehicles. Herbs like basil and ginger may acquire permanency in their morning cup of tea. The month-long lockdown has taught everybody to be frugal and there will be negligible wastage of food items. Frequent handwashing will now be the norm even with the children. Breathing exercises have also become a way of life. Children will consume less junk food. These changes are all welcome.
Kiran Sharma, SunderNagar
Show doctors regard
What happened with doctors in Indore and the anganwadi workers in Bengaluru is shameful and disgusting. Both incidents are disturbing and have evoked widespread anger. Far from expressing gratitude, the doctors and Anganwadi workers were attacked. This group should know that they are doing great disservice to society in times of crisis. At this juncture, the doctors are risking their lives for the sake of their people. They deserve respect and honour and these incidents tar the country’s reputation.
Khyati Kataria, Panchkula
Safety kit for workers
Many people are doing their duty well during this epidemic. But there are some who are doing their job well but their safety is not being taken care of. Vegetable sellers and sanitation workers are offering their services, house to house. These people come in contact with others but do not have safety kits. Keeping their safety in mind, the administration should provide masks and gloves to them and ensure their protection from infection.
Bhupender S Ranga, Panipat
Refer to the editorial ‘Covid hotspot’ (April 2); let us not gloss over a deliberate criminal-intent activity under the garb of religion or community. No denying the fact that ‘blaming Muslims for the spread of coronavirus across the country reeks of mischief and malice’, but, at the same time, the glaring fact that the organisers did have ulterior motives cannot be ignored. Whatever action is now taken will not lessen the risk to which the entire country has been exposed, in spite of the best efforts by the public at large and the administrative setup. The responsibility of religious leaders, in such critical times, is more than that of the secular sections of society.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Why Amarinder’s photo?
A bag containing 10 kg atta, 2 kg dal and 2 kg sugar is being distributed by the Government of Punjab among the needy. The photograph of CM Amarinder Singh has been printed on these bags. During the Akali rule, an image of the then CM Parkash Singh Badal was carried on cycles distributed among schoolgirls. People know that the taxpayer’s money is being used, so the CM or his ministers cannot legitimately claim any personal credit. Is it helping the poor or simply a political campaign?
NK Gosain, BATHINDA
Not fair to them
The irony is that a pandemic has been brought into India by people who can afford plane tickets, but the brunt has to be borne by those who can’t even buy a bus ticket to reach their homes. Total lockdown was possibly implementable only for the rich and the middle class with assured incomes during the period, homes with space for distancing, health insurance and running water supply. How can we justify the choice of a strategy which throws the dispossessed, lacking all of the above, to both hunger and infection?
ANISOON KAINAUR, MOHALI
Impose curbs on China
Apropos ‘China’s astonishing self-pat’ (April 2), China has already made enviable presence in capturing the world market. And now, intentionally or unintentionally, it has spread the coronavirus the world over. The manner in which the virus sprouted in Wuhan, and was controlled, with comparable less loss of life, indicates that China knew about its complete chemistry and handling/controlling technology. It was China’s moral duty to share the technology of controlling the menace with the rest of the world. The world knows how China treats its own subjects in the most inhumane manner. All nations, including the UN, should condemn China and slap trade sanctions, etc, on it.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
Book guilty cops
Refer to ‘Cops can’t treat citizens as criminals amid lockdown’ (April 2); police brutality on hapless citizens coming out of homes for buying essential commodities is highly condemnable. Who gave the police such harsh orders? The guilty policemen should be brought to book.
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
Kohinoor of Sikh Panth
Tears welled up in my eyes when I read the news of the untimely demise of Padma Shri awardee Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, the former hazoori ragi of the Golden Temple. Coronavirus has taken away the Kohinoor of Sikh Panth. His death will cause a void in the realm of hymn singing. His melodious, high-pitched, resonating voice reverberated in the entire surroundings, wherever he performed Gurbani kirtan. He had command, both over music and words with religious idioms. I had the golden opportunity of enjoying his blissful company many times. Artists like him bless this earth after centuries.
Iqbal aptly said, ‘Hazaron saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai/Badi mushkil se hota hai chaman mei deedawar paida.’
Jaswant Singh Gandam, Phagwara
Apropos the editorial ‘Harvest of hope’ (April 2), exodus of migrant labour from cities is an enormous human crisis, and an impending economic one. For Punjab and Haryana, the lockdown has also meant that harvesting machines are stuck in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, where harvesting happens earlier. This could potentially cause disruptions in the supply of essential goods down the line. Nearly half of India depends upon agriculture for its livelihood. The Centre must offer support to the state governments to ensure that farmers receive a fair price from their produce, especially perishables, by giving certain relaxations to enable them to take their produce to the market.
SS Paul, Nadia
SO far, our government is doing all that is needed for social distancing and the public is largely cooperating, and it must. But we lack basic health facilities. Even doctors and paramedical staff are struggling to get PPE and N-95 masks. Can our frontline heroes give their best in such conditions? In 1948, our football players played barefoot in their Olympics debut against France. Haven’t we changed economically in seven decades? If we have, where is our vision and welfare state? We must introspect and look beyond Covid-19. We need to make our public health system more competent to cope with such crises. Only then can India shine in real terms.
Kuldip Singh, Mansa
A serious lapse
Around 2,000 people participated in the Tablighi Jamaat event held at Markaz Nizamuddin in New Delhi, from March 13 onwards, flouting the government’s directions on social distancing, thus showing great indifference. The important question that arises is: during the imposition of curfew, and during complete lockdown in the country, how did this congregation go undetected for such a long period of time? Were the police — at an arm’s length from the site — or the authorities concerned, unaware of the event, in spite of the fact that there are intelligence agencies for the purpose? It shows lack of diligence on the part of the police and intelligence agencies.
Shadi Lal, by mail
Reference to the Nizamuddin event, the Health Ministry spokesman has rightly said it is not the time to find faults. We should remain united in our fight against Covid, as it does not discriminate between religious and geographical boundaries. We should act like responsible citizens, not only for ourselves, but also for the entire humanity. To err is human.
Ashok Kumar, Jalandhar
Not enough safety gear
Refer to ‘Haryana’s frontline soldiers battle Covid sans protective gear’ (March 30); it is alarming that the government has not provided the saviours of our society, the medical staff, with enough protective equipment. They are facing maximum risk and exposure to infection. Only if they are safe will they be able to save others. Gestures like clapping, saying ‘thank you’ and thali bajana are not enough. Not only by words, the government must stand with them in all possible ways and make their security a priority.
Aarzoo Arora, Jalandhar
Watch over the needy
The PM has given a call for mobilising funds to fight Covid-19. Unfortunately, we all know how government spending goes. A lot of money will be pocketed by the mediators. So, I request the rich and middle class people to be sympathetic to the poor around us. Together, we can fight any disease today, and in future also. Let us keep brotherhood alive and do whatever possible for the needy in this crisis.
Rajeev bansal, by mail
Apropos the spraying of disinfectant on migrant labourers, before this, they were forced to walk for days without food and water. We did not do this to those citizens who flew in from infected parts of the world? We airlifted them and treated them like humans, and not like animals or pests. Every citizen is equal in this country. Or are they really?
Arunjit Butalia, Ferozepur Cantt
Poor paying the price
Well-off people coming from abroad were not sprayed with disinfectant, but migrant labourers had to go through it. The poor of the country are bearing the cost of the rich coming by airplane.
Nikita Sharma, by mail
Flower crop losses
Amid the ongoing corona challenge, farmers — specially those who ventured into crop diversification by adopting vegetable and floriculture — are among the sufferers, but they are not being talked of in any forum. Hundreds of acres of gladiolus, rose, marigold and chrysanthemum had to be uprooted since weddings and religious celebrations have been put off. Flowers cannot be stored for a long period. The average losses are to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh per acre. Considered as pioneers of crop diversification, these farmers need to be compensated. The government must conduct a special girdawari to assess the loss.
SS Saacha, by mail
Misuse of passes
Curfew passes have been given to those in desperate circumstances. However, passes are being demanded, and are being given to influential citizens to maintain their lifestyle, with gardeners and chauffeurs. As a law-abiding citizen, I am ashamed to learn of such selfish behaviour.
Roma Uppal, by mail
Apropos of ‘Get down to business’ (March 31), it is imperative to accelerate economic activity which has come to a standstill. Undoubtedly, it has caused untold misery among the workers, especially in the unorganised sector. The IMF has forecast a recession in the world economy of the scale of the Great Depression of the 1930s in the US. The good old remedy, as suggested by British economist John Maynard Keynes, is the only solution to pull the economy out of recession. The government can put more money in the hands of the people through pump- priming policy and through autonomous investment to stimulate productive activity and boost private investment. The government has already taken preemptive steps in coordination with the RBI.
Harjinder Singh Thandi, Mohali
Punjab can show the way
Refer to the editorial ‘Get down to business’ (March 31); we can’t ignore economic and business activities as these are as imperative as a full-fledged fight against the corona pandemic. We have to confront the challenge on both fronts simultaneously. The Punjab Government has taken some initiatives for the restoration of business activities with a few conditions that are impractical for small industrial units. Some relaxations are required for the implementation. Fortunately, only some districts in Punjab have reported positive cases. Isolating these districts, while resuming activities in the rest of the state, can be allowed with proper guidelines. Local manufacturing units can be allowed to operate with liberal help to mitigate the adversities faced by the agrarian sector and the general public. If successful, other states can follow this model.
Deepak, by mail
A rising China
Apropos of the article ‘Training guns at China’ (March 31), there is a narrative in some quarters of the world that China created the virus and intentionally spread it the world over. This narrative can’t be ruled out in its entirety. We know of China’s aspirations to become a global player and a superpower. It has all the credentials like the fastest growing and large economy, largest military might and a technology giant, except democracy, to become a superpower — which is again a challenge to the US. International politics is inherently a game of power. The more power you have, the more you are in a position to dictate terms to the world.
Arun goyal, Dirba
Right time to fix potholes
In today’s circumstances, the roads are sans any traffic. The PWD should seize the opportunity and start repairing potholes and the eroded tarmac. It would be easier and faster now. With minimal trained staff, equipped with proper gear, this job can be accomplished. The personnel of public health and water supply department are already doing their job, unnoticed by the public.
LR Sharma, Sundernagar
Data gives hope
Reference to ‘1K cases in 12 days, lockdown working: Govt’ (March 31); not just lockdown, but all our countrymen are working for the welfare of humanity and society in this crucial time. The data of Covid-19 cases in India is more heartening than that of other countries, and this is because of our alertness and undoubtedly the services of our health staff. Malerkotla’s gurdwara committee serving langar at a madrasa is commendable. It is rightly said, ‘No man can be a patriot on an empty stomach’. We should do what our nation requires today, because this is our moral duty towards our people.
MOHIT MOR, JIND
Penalise for laxity
Reference to the news in Chandigarh about an NRI couple testing positive, it is surprising that the couple did not follow the mandatory protocol. It is a sorry state of affairs how some people behave so lax under such circumstances and do not follow the instructions given by the Government of India. Such people are a risk to the health of their fellow citizens and should be fined the maximum penalty. Foreign countries do it, India should, too.
Amit Kumar, by mail
Stick to advisory
Prevention is, indeed, better than cure. Instead of panic, it is time to protect ourselves wisely. The advisory issued by the government must be followed. We can fight against it only by confining ourselves to our homes and by avoiding people and public places. One wise step can save the life of many. Through a positive, humane approach, we can bring ourselves out of the woods.
Ranjeev kumar, Muktsar