Letters to the editor
Government intervention is a must to curb the shooting prices of raw materials of drugs at this sensitive time, when there is a surge of Covid cases. It is a matter of serious concern. People are running from pillar to post for a bed and the best treatment as per one’s means. Not everyone can afford treatment at a private hospital and costly medicines. The government should curb the hike in prices, so that these are within the reach of the common man and more and more lives can be saved.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
It is unfortunate that even during this pandemic, when people are struggling to survive, our political class has not changed its attitude. It is a fact that our governments are more interested in spending recklessly on the distribution of freebies for vote-bank politics, thereby ignoring the more crucial issues of health development, higher education, skill development, transportation and community development. People are also responsible for the present crisis. For us, religious congregations, holy dips and celebrations of festivals are more important than healthcare. Political rallies and meetings worsened the already precarious situation.
Deepak, by mail
A waste of funds
Refer to ‘Central Vista can wait’; we should avoid draining revenue resources on mandirs, masjids, statues, welcome arches, stadiums, etc., simply for votes, name and fame. Nehru’s statement that dams, steel plants, etc., were present-time mandirs, had come in for huge criticism, but it improved the lives of millions of our countrymen. The song ‘Zyada ki nahin lallach humko thode mein guzara hota hai’ is apt. Central Vista and other wasteful expenditure can wait in the face of the grave national Covid crisis.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
Prolonged poll process
Refer to ‘ECI in the dock’ (April 28); Covid or no Covid, a long-drawn poll schedule is unwieldy and uncalled for. It gives rise to more problems than it solves. Logistics issues cited by the ECI are mostly imaginary. By and large, Indians are a peace-loving people. Chances of poll violence are very little. An overstretched poll gives space and time to bad elements to foment trouble and derail the election process. It has often come under criticism for lengthy schedules but it has chosen to ignore it. It is time the commission pays heed to what people want.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
’Time for leadership’ is relevant both for brinkmanship and leadership in Punjab. How the failures and inadequacies of the ruling dispensation are responded to by the Opposition in the light of the raging Covid-19 should go a long way in improving their image as the next custodian of the boat of the state, which, at present, is caught in a tsunami. Who helps the boat of the state with two crore-plus people on it qualifies to be a leader, notwithstanding the fact whether he be a part of the crew or the people.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
A costly mistake
We, who boasted to the world that we conquered the coronavirus, are at the mercy of the countries whom we helped in the past with costly surgeries. What can be the reason? We took things for granted and went into hibernation. When we woke up, the assault is complete and our bite is gone, leaving us to meekly surrender. Let us stop the blame game and wake up to the reality.
Nitesh Mandwariya, Chandigarh
Castigating the EC
The Madras and Calcutta High Courts have rightly castigated the Election Commission for lax enforcement of its own Covid norms in Tamil Nadu and Bengal elections. With the courts slamming Covid safety guideline violations, the Election Commission of India must devise a new normal for holding elections. Stung badly, it has now banned victory rallies on the poll result day. It had harped on successful social distancing by creating more polling booths, but unrestricted campaigning and too many polling phases have dented its credibility. Alarming Covid surges in Bengal, TN and Kerala are a testimony to the damage caused. Just as ordinary people have learnt to work from home and refashion social interactions, the EC and political parties must reinvent electioneering. The Constitution has granted EC functional autonomy for precisely this reason, it has to rise to protect its independence.
EL SINGH, 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 ‘Second wave has shaken nation, says PM’; when epidemiologists and doctors had started ringing alarm bells about the inevitability of a second wave, they were ignored by the government with an arrogance that it continues to exhibit. Those responsible for this criminal mismanagement should be sacked. It was their strategy to fight the pandemic in a Centrally planned way. Now, they blame state governments for the grim shortage of oxygen supplies. Their strategy was flawed. India now has more daily cases than any other country and the death toll is rising. As a first step for the PM to win against the second wave is to sack the officials whose negligence has put India in the ICU without oxygen.
PS Hanspaul, by mail
Not the time to fight
It is shocking that Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu are fighting vigorously when the government is struggling to contain the spread of the pandemic in the state. Instead of coming together in these days of crisis, they are challenging each other and spoiling the political fabric of the state by their accusations. Sidhu wants to surpass the supremacy of Captain through his utterances through the media and become a leader of his own calibre. When he was in the BJP, he used these tactics to remain in the limelight. The Congress high command needs to take strict disciplinary action against him.
RL Bansal, Kurukshetra
Dilemma of students
The government must clarify on what basis will class XII students get admissions to colleges. Students must know for which entrance exams they must start preparing. The government must also clarify whether the exams for class XII will be conducted or not. Students are in a state of dilemma, whether they should prepare for board exams or for the future entrance tests.
Parwinder Kaur, Ludhiana
We elected them
The media is full of reports on the filthy display of power and position by our elected representatives by defying the Covid norms (‘Mayor's spouse held for violating norms’). The ball ultimately lands in the public court. We elect representatives who are not concerned about our safety. Such persons need to be debarred and removed from their posts.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Mobilise all resources
As the country is battling the massive second wave of Covid-19 and all medical resources, including the Army’s, have been mobilised, all retired, able-bodied doctors and other medical staff (including those in private practice at home) should come together. Also, for the smooth production and fair distribution of medical oxygen, respective state governments should take control of oxygen plants in the country as a short-time measure. Last but not the least, violations of Covid discipline should be dealt with sternly.
Lt Col HS Dullat (Retd), Patiala
Fever in rural areas
With regard to ‘Plug gaps in rural health care before it is too late', a strange type of fever is spreading in some villages of Haryana. The victim suffers from extreme weakness after the fever subsides. There are unending lines before ‘jhola chhap’ doctors. Nobody goes to city hospitals because they know that these are already over-occupied with Covid cases. The government must spare a few teams to visit some villages and investigate the type, nature, pathogenicity and transmission chain of this fever.
RN Malik, Gurugram
Stop blame game
Many countries are coming forward to help India which is facing its worst Covid crisis. There is no reason to blame any other nation or any party. Pakistan, which we call a terrorist nation, is extending a helping hand, and on the other hand, our political parties are accusing one another and pointing fingers. Time is very crucial. The Centre and states need a comprehensive plan of action to cope with the current situation otherwise it will be too late to do so.
Jaskirat Singh Batra, Muktsar
EC bias evident
The Election Commission has been in the news for the wrong reasons. Its actions have invited public criticism of being biased, especially in favour of a party in power. The appointment of a former Commissioner as the Lieutenant Governor of Goa gives rise to further speculation. During Bengal and Assam elections political parties were not advised to follow strict Covid protocols. When on April 6, the EC could conduct elections for 475 constituencies, why did it not think of completing polls in 420 constituencies in Bengal and Assam in one phase?
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
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
The thought, ‘Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses’, is apt in the prevailing chaos in the country. No political or administrative leader is ready to accept the failure and responsibility for the inadequate medical provisions, when the second corona wave was imminent. We lacked a focused approach. People are suffering and dying due to the lack of vision of our leaders. They do not hesitate to accuse the critics of the collapse of the system as anti-Bharat forces ‘creating an atmosphere of negativity’. They need to rise above petty politics and help the nation wholeheartedly to cope with the pandemic and own responsibility for the scarcity of medical facilities. Both the Centre and the state governments should work as a team to mitigate the suffering of the citizens rather than blame each other.
GS MANN, NAYA NANGAL
Over to voters now
Politicians get elected not to serve the country but their vested interests (‘Death by apathy’). Why should a candidate incur whopping expenditure during electioneering? After becoming lawmakers, they get busy recouping the expenses. To expect that they shall discharge their duties scrupulously, let alone any act of altruism, is foolhardy. The recent extortion racket in Maharashtra is a case in point. Hopefully the ravaging pandemic might bring a paradigm shift in voters' psyche to punish politicians for criminal negligence of duties. Voters shall be taken for a ride if they do not hold them accountable.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
EC in the wrong
Reference to ‘EC singularly to blame for 2nd Covid surge: Madras HC’; it’s shocking to observe the way the Election Commission acted in a partisan manner and faltered in its duties by allowing rallies of lakhs of people without any adherence to Covid norms. The day Modi called off his personal rallies, the EC banned political gatherings of more than 500 people. This is enough to reveal the harsh reality that even this institution is a ‘caged parrot’ of the ruling party. However, it’s too late even for the court to lash out at the EC as the damage has already been done. Timely intervention might have saved the situation from going bad to worse.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, UK
Farmers must suspend stir
The head of the Juna Akhada curtailed the Kumbh Mela after PM Modi requested him to keep it symbolic. Also, all political parties have scaled back their campaigns for the ongoing West Bengal elections. Farmers should also realise that their massive agitation has the potential to fuel the virus. As responsible citizens, they must protect themselves and others by ending, or at least suspending their agitation until the virus is brought under control. This is not the time for any agitation which leads to large gatherings.
AK Agarwal, Chandigarh
Vote for health
Refer to ‘No one cares for healthcare’ (The Sunday Tribune); it should be called ‘prepaid’ healthcare because all of us have paid for it through our taxes. It is the duty of the government to provide basic healthcare against the tax collected. But we forget that when we go to the polling booth. If a family member falls victim to a serious ailment, it is enough to deplete all family savings. The worst hit are the poor and the lower middle class families who can’t afford quality private healthcare. Pathology labs are also out to fleece patients and pay heavy commissions to doctors for recommending unnecessary tests. Even as the pandemic was raging, our leaders’ focus was on the Bengal elections. Voters should vote for those who promise free and quality healthcare as priority in their manifesto.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Vaccine not luxury item
The government has fixed three different rates for Covid vaccine as if it is a luxury item. High prices shall be a deterrent. How will we achieve 100% inoculation? It should be provided free to everyone from taxpayers’ money, whether at government or private hospitals. Private hospitals should work to help government programmes, and not to earn profits. Israel, the UK and the US lowered Covid infections through massive inoculation.
SS Bhathal, Ludhiana
The Punjab Government has decided to have a new SIT to probe the Kotkapura police firing case. What has happened leaves a clear message. The desecrators of the Guru’s scriptures cannot be brought to book. When justice is denied, or wilfully delayed, and when it can be miscarried in full public view, it should be left to the people to punish them at the hustings. And people do not need SIT reports to know who are behind this act.
JERNAIL S ANAND, ZIRAKPUR
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
Like government employees who are paid from the government exchequer, from a peon to Chief Secretary, are not allowed to directly take part in elections or canvass for any political party or an individual during elections, the ministers, MPs, MLAs, etc., also should not be allowed to do it. They are the representatives of whole areas and people, and not merely members of a party. They are supposed to watch the interest of the people of his/her area. Had these conditions been enforced, the prevailing alarming Covid situation in the country would have been somewhat lighter. Canvassing should be the job of a political party through members of the party and not elected persons.
Sukhdev Singh, Patiala
Need national plan
Refer to ‘SC wants national plan to tackle Covid crisis’; the court has stated that a national plan is sine qua non to control the deadly disease. Because of the disease, not only human lives are lost, but also medical bills scale up massively. I was astonished to see huge gatherings of people without masks in West Bengal election rallies. Also, why during this crisis period, people were still visiting religious places? If I am healthy, my family will be healthy, society will be healthy.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
We Indians are gullible and trust easily. We sent vaccines to other countries, as it is in our culture to help others. Last year we sent medicines to America. But now when we need vaccines, it is dithering on sending us raw material. The US calls India a friend, only to use us against China. History shows that the US sees its own interest first.
Narender K Sharma, Joginder Nagar
Lockdown in parts
A national lockdown can’t be ruled out. However, the Centre, once bitten, has left any decision on lockdowns to the states. It is not a political buck that is to be passed around; it could serve as a smart instrument in combating the crisis.
The challenge is in managing the pandemic with the least required disruption in economic activity. A better design for restrictions is essential. Lockdowns can give the government the breathing space to prepare. Ramping up of the health infrastructure must be taken up on a war footing. The Centre must join hands with the states and the Opposition to frame a phased scheme of restrictions that take into account specific requirements of various places, and sectors of the economy.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
States are responsible for the steep rise in Covid cases and claim that it is the duty of the Centre to preserve the health of all citizens. Smaller countries are shocked to see the scarcity of medical oxygen in India. This had to happen. Our preparedness is sketchy. We are densely populated and lack scientific temperament. Religion always wins over science. How can we think of becoming a superpower?
Jasvinder S Humsafar, Maloudh
Congress party at resort
Refer to ‘Resort sealed after Congress bash in Bathinda’; when the mighty violate the law it is always the person who is forced to violate the law for the mighty who suffers. A politician arranged a party at a resort, violating Covid norms, and the authorities arrest the resort owner and seal the resort. Why no action against the party? Congress members violating Covid norms should have been arrested, too.
PS Bhatti, Chandigarh
Not the time for stir
Refer to ‘Khattar's advice on Sec 144 puts question mark on stir’; banning the assembly of more than four persons is a better option than curfew and lockdown to tame the Covid monster. Rakesh Tikait and others of his ilk must shed defiance of logic and law in the guise of farmers’ agitation (since hijacked by political interests). There is no room for agitations in the current national corona emergency.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Apropos of ‘Man of the hour’, Chennai Super Kings’ talismanic captain MS Dhoni knows how to pull out the best from his players. And why not, he has been doing this job for more than a decade. Jadeja’s excellence in the match against the Royal Challengers is an epitome of this. After a thundering performance with the bat, the left-arm all-rounder gave a jolt to the opponent with the ball, too. But it was Dhoni who kept guiding him from behind the stumps. After a pathetic season last year in the UAE, the Chennai Super Kings seems to have been back in form with four consecutive wins. It is imperative for the three-time IPL champions to regain their lost glory.
Tushar Anand, Patna
This refers to ‘Test, trace, vaccinate’ (Nous Indica). Universal testing is an ideal solution sans viability. People get the RT-PCR test results only after a couple of days. Do we have adequate staff and testing kits for the entire population? Does everyone in India possess a smartphone to download the relevant apps? Have our rulers the will to do it? The best alternative is to distribute quality masks to all venturing out and to ensure that there are no large gatherings. Vaccination drive has to be at the greatest possible pace. The present alarming Covid wave is the making of the deadly mix of politics and religion that we are exposed to in today’s India. Unless we rid ourselves of such politics, we will continue to fall prey to such calamities, natural or man-made.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Time for quick action
Weekly testing and isolating the infected 20-30 per cent, allowing the rest to carry on with their livelihoods, is easier said than done (‘Test, trace, vaccinate’; Nous Indica). The meltdown reflects the failure of the executive, prompting judicial activism. The situation warrants synergetic emergency action and control. Vested interests must not be allowed to fish in troubled waters. It is not moot that universal vaccination is the ultimate way out. Till then, all congregations — indoor or outdoor — should be banned.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
All must cooperate
Refer to ‘Over 200 Sikh pilgrims test +ve on return from Pak’; some of them confronted the testing team and tore the test reports. Pilgrims were advised home quarantine, but if they do not adhere to it, they may spread the virus among others. Protesting farmers at the Delhi border have refused to get tested. They are seen without masks and flouting Covid protocols. They keep travelling to and fro Punjab (‘Virus ravaging Punjab’). Those affected among the farmers could spread the virus. They should cooperate and get tested. It will be better under the prevailing situation to call off the stir. It will create a congenial environment for a fruitful dialogue. The five-month stir has not succeeded, but its suspension may.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
The US, as expected from a capitalist country, has again corroborated its selfish intent by stopping the supply of raw materials which go into the making of vaccines in India. The newly elected government in the US has repeatedly exhibited the inhuman approach by not sharing resources and hence proved that they are ‘friends of good times’ when the business is meaningful for them. Russia, on the other hand, has proposed to offer us whatever it could, and hence reinforced the ties of the socialist era.
Akshey Sharma, by mail
Politics and Bengal
Refer to ’Stooping to conquer’; a state where an innocuous football match between two nations evokes maudlin response has a gory political history as well. Bengal was the hotbed of ‘Lal Salaam’ in the 1970s, and quelling of the uprising by Siddhartha Shankar Ray, erstwhile CM, resulted in pushing the Congress to the margins for the next 20 years. Similarly, Didi's supplantation of Jyoti Basu’s regime was not peaceful either. Ergo, grim news of violence emanating from the eastern state indicates political churning in the offing.
Abhinav Sharma, Ludhiana
Mamata no better
Julio Ribeiro’s age forbids him to be an active player in mass events, otherwise he would have been an expert campaigner in Bengal elections. But his pen, honed by his long experience as a cop-cum-bureaucrat, is remarkably incisive that defies his age. He has chosen to side with Mamata Banerjee (‘Stooping to conquer’). He alleges that the BJP was forced to open its ‘war chest’, but so did Mamata. Her rallies were equally lavish and pompous. Her profile is that of a rabble rouser. She had thrown a sheaf of papers at Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in 2005, drawing flak from members. She ditched ex-PM Manmohan Singh over the Teesta-Feni water accord with Bangladesh, forcing him to abandon the accord. I do not approve of Modi’s ‘Didi-oh-Didi’ drawl, but Didi’s invectives against Modi crossed all limits of civility. Ribeiro’s radar does not catch the things that go against Didi.
LR Sharma, Sundernagar
Reference to ‘Signs of Congress regrouping amid Covid crisis’; when Indira Gandhi became PM for the first time, some said she was ‘gungi gudiya’, but she proved her mettle. Rahul’s February warning of Covid-19 impending wave was not taken seriously. Timely action could have saved thousands of lives. There are many like P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor who can fit into the role of PM, but the problem is that at the grassroots, the masses do not even know their names.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
Reference to ‘Free vax for 18-plus in govt hospitals’; it is a good gesture on the part of the government, but this cannot be the panacea, as in spite of the best efforts of the government, there is hesitation to get oneself vaccinated. There are many apprehensions and orthodox feelings in the minds of people. Vaccination has a number of advantages. The earlier one gets the vaccine, the better it is. The government must ensure that vaccines are available in abundance at hospitals.
Jatinder bir Singh, Ludhiana
Follow ‘SMS’ rule
Free vaccination in government hospitals for all above 18 years is a welcome step. I got the second dose of Covishield at Guru Nanak Dev Government Hospital, Amritsar. I must appreciate the fine arrangement for vaccination at government hospitals. There is nothing to fear from the vaccination, as almost everyone, including senior citizens, who got it, are fine after the jab. For more than a year now, people are living under the shadow of constant threat of corona. The only solution in the long run is to have 100% vaccination for everyone, as the new variant is affecting even young persons in large numbers. However, we must continue to follow the three rules of ‘SMS’ — sanitisation, mask and social distancing. Let us motivate all to get vaccination at the earliest. It is the duty of the state governments to chalk out the detailed vaccination programme as soon as possible.
BD Sharma, Amritsar
Amid severe oxygen shortage at several hospitals, we need to understand that it is a supply issue, as our total current production is 7,800 MT (metric tonnes)/day, whereas our demand is 5,500 MT/day. If only our surplus states and those facing the crisis could coordinate in a better way, things can improve in no time. Health being a state subject has always been under stress, and the onus of failure must not be passed on to the Centre.
Vir Partap Singh, HOSHIARPUR
Let courts govern country
It is unfortunate that the state governments don’t act on the control of Covid pandemic unless the respective high courts order them to ensure adequate availability of vaccines, oxygen and medicines; increase beds in hospitals; increase testing and report correct data; enforce Covid safety norms during elections; impose curfew or lockdown; stop exodus of migrant labour, etc. Now, the Supreme Court wants to deal with all Covid matters pending with high courts. If the elected representatives fail to act in time to safeguard the health of the people who voted them to power, let the courts govern the country.
O Prasada Rao, by mail
Prop up health system
The second wave of Covid-19 has hit the nation hard. Historical data and experts suggested very vividly a resurgence this year. We had seen the tremendous pressure pandemic puts on our health systems and understood the vital role essential drugs and oxygen play in saving lives, yet the government did not care to put in place a detailed pandemic management plan. Instead, political leaders are busy in election rallies, roadshows, throwing dirt on one another, and vote-bank politics, while our health systems are choking under the rising pressure of caseload. This displays not only a lack of imagination at the top, but also the carelessness of the government. Thankfully, the Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the situation and pulled up the government. The government should focus on making life-saving oxygen and essential drug logistics seamless and speed up ‘vaccination for all’ to save our country from further loss of thousands of precious lives and livelihoods.
Harsimran Cheema, Mohali
Hitting below the belt
Reference to ‘Stooping to conquer’; the writer’s reminiscences of an age gone by is not significant any longer in our current political scenario. In a welcome departure recently, the Delhi HC commented on the importance of civility in public discourse. The concept of civility has become scarce in the political discourse in both electronic and social media. Be it Parliament or election campaign, it is sad to see a declining trend in propriety, courtesy and decorum. For a society to function, people must be willing to accept those guardrails. Debates and disagreements are natural. We have major political parties that are vying to win voters. We need to establish a climate for a healthy public discourse, as befits the office one holds. We must not forget that civility in political debates and discussions is vital for democracy.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
‘PM’s speech offered no credible assurance’ is a scathing attack on BJP’s model of governance. Instead of improving the crumbling healthcare system, the ruling dispensation was busy in its single-minded pursuit of winning the Bengal elections. The prime-ministerial address was a cosmetic exercise to bolster the morale of the people; it did not allay their immediate fears. Modi assured them of averting another economic calamity and ramping up healthcare facilities, but without mentioning any specific measures to counter Covid-19. Shifting the onus of dealing with the public health crisis to the states, NGOs and social organisations and individuals is Nero-like abdication of responsibility. Only coordinated efforts by the Central and state governments and the public at large will help tide over the worst-ever humanitarian crisis.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Follow own advice
PM Modi will address three election rallies on April 23 for the rest of the seats in Bengal. Thousands of people may attend his rallies. Though he has been advising people not to go into the crowds in view of the rising cases of Covid, he himself should desist from addressing election rallies; otherwise it amounts to the popular saying, ‘Auron ko nasihat, khud mian fazihat’.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
Workers more responsible
Reference to ‘To prevent exodus…’ and ‘NHRC study recommends…’; in both photos, the migrant labourers struggling to reach their parent state are wearing masks. On the contrary, in the photo of Malwa farmers heading for the Tikri border, the protesters are without masks. See the difference. Who is more responsible towards humanity in this hour of pandemic?
Ashok kumar, by mail
Govt has lost credibility
When the Covid cases are touching the figure of over 3 lakh daily, the PM wants the states to persuade migrant labourers to not leave their workplace. Despite an assurance from the CMs of Haryana and Delhi that they will be looked after, herds of fleeing labourers can be seen everywhere. Perhaps the credibility of our leaders is diminishing. Despite the warnings by the WHO regarding the second wave, our government found this time suitable to conduct the elections and hold road shows and rallies. The show still goes on.
Jaswant singh, Chandigarh
Come May 1, India’s vaccination drive will undergo a drastic change. It is advisable to have some guidelines for the pricing and allocation of vaccines. The supply will have to be maintained all through. Having sought freedom to run their own vaccination programmes their way, it is puzzling that the states are demanding that the Centre fix the price, and given their poor state of finance, provide the requisite funds. The heads-I-win-tails-you-lose stance of the states militates against common sense.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
The right choice
The Punjab Government must be applauded for appointing IISER physicist Prof Arvind as Punjabi University VC, which is an action unprecedented for its sagacity and farsight. One seldom expects such socially beneficial decisions from politicians and bureaucrats. From my personal knowledge of his professional status and sensibility, I can vouch that Prof Arvind will do everything in his power to realise the vision that he has succinctly sketched: ‘My vision is to restore the glory of the institution and build on those areas. I plan to bring in new disciplines.’ Scientists by the intrinsic compulsions of their discipline do not talk. They perform and demonstrate for everyone to see. As the youngest VC, he has everything to uplift the institution.
SS Bhatti, Chandigarh
Road supply lines
Our jawans are manning snow-capped high mountains to guard the Ladakh borders in extreme cold winds against an aggressive China (‘Delayed by snow, 2 lifelines to Ladakh reopen’). To keep them in position, road supply lines are crucial in all-weather conditions. Manali-Leh-Srinagar roads must be kept open to facilitate round-the-clock patrol, inspection and maintenance with reliable men and machines on a war footing. In foreign countries, many cities and capitals remain open in more low temperatures. Timely clearing of snow is easier than clearing blocked roads later, at high costs.
Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula
US police reforms
Going by the volume and intensity of demonstrations against the police atrocity against George Floyd, an African-American, it looks like the incident has evoked universal disdain. The guilty officer, Derek Chauvin, has been convicted of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. The Republicans in the Senate should support Biden’s ambitious police reform Bill that bans chokeholds, and creates national standards for policing towards greater accountability.
SS Paul, Nadia
India’s biggest failure in the fight against Covid-19 has been its politicisation. Even when the country is reeling under the second wave of the pandemic, the political parties are playing a blame game over the number of cases, ICU beds and the supply of vaccines. Due to petty politics, the common man has to suffer. All the parties should come together and help India win the war against Covid-19. Instead of telling people that the government can't control this virus, the parties need to sensitise people about Covid-appropriate behaviour. We can control this virus only if we rise above such divisive politics.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Charge for vaccine
Covid vaccination is in progress all across the country, free of cost in government hospitals and on payment of Rs 250 per dose in private hospitals. From May 1, the vaccination drive will also cover people aged 18 and above. But it should not be free for all. People working in the public sector and private enterprises, as well as pensioners, should be asked to pay for it. Those who can afford should voluntarily come forward to pay for the vaccination. This will help the government in generating revenue that can be mobilised to strengthen healthcare infrastructure facing deficiencies and a resource crunch.
Ravi bhushan, Kurukshetra
Vaccine for all adults
The decision to allow vaccine for all above 18 years is a right step. The current wave of coronavirus has infected the young population more. But the problem is the availability of vaccines. All states have been demanding vaccines. The available stocks have almost been exhausted. The government must take urgent steps to increase the production and import of vaccines. People are going to line up for vaccine after May 1, along with those requiring the second dose during the same period. All stakeholders, including the Central government, state governments and the pharma companies producing the vaccines must work in close coordination for the success of the drive. Decentralisation and import of vaccine may help in achieving the goal. Wastage and hoarding of vaccines should also be checked.
Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali
Farmers must rethink
Reference to ‘Phir Delhi chalo’; when the nation is reeling under a crisis due to the re-emergence of a much more vicious strain of the coronavirus, irresponsible farmer leaders are committing the crime of adding fuel to a raging fire by planning yet another march towards Delhi. The re-emergence of Covid is a man-made disaster. Ignoring all warnings by the government and experts, people made a mockery of safeguards. All political, religious and social activities were observed without any regard for the guidelines. No wonder that the system crumbled across the nation because no system can sustain man-made disasters.
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
Being a VIP in India
To survive in India, you have to be a VIP, and then you will get a hospital bed in Delhi, like Manmohan Singh and Anand Sharma, who immediately got it when they tested Covid-positive. On the other hand, my middle-aged daughter had to rush at night from one hospital in Delhi to another without any success. Finally, she managed to get a hospital bed in Gurugram. The same goes for our justice system, where one reads about the common man languishing for decades, whereas the likes of criminal and corrupt ‘netas’ and actors get listed and heard for the asking. It is not difficult to become a VIP. You have to be born in a dynastic family, become a corrupt criminal politician or a person with contacts in the higher echelons of the government. Can we end the VIP culture in Bharat and make it a true democracy, with the same laws and rules for all citizens?
Harish Malhotra, by mail
Refer to ‘Eye on elections, HP seeks early hearing in SC against NGT order’; it is surprising to notice the alacrity with which the government intends to reward the law-breakers. Even more surprising is the fact that the latest regularisation policy was mooted by the erstwhile Congress regime and is being taken up by the incumbent government with equal zest. Successive regularisation of illegal structures has reduced Shimla to a veritable slum, with little scope for improvement. The result is poor infrastructure which includes lack of circulation and inadequate parking. In fact, it reduces the scope of executing mega infrastructure projects, and thus virtually puts Shimla in a shambles. The only hope for the town rests with the apex court to ameliorate the lot of law-abiding, though hapless residents of the city. The elected governments have failed us.
Gurjyot Singh, Shimla
Even as the situation is turning grave with the escalating Covid death rate, the attitude of the governments across the country is shameful. People, too, are reluctant to follow the safety protocols. Union ministers, including the PM, are themselves holding huge election rallies. How can the public be expected to follow the protocols? A lot of money is being spent on campaigns rather than extending help to hospitals running out of vaccines, ventilators, oxygen, beds. In our country, failed governance is responsible for the rising cases and also the deaths, more than Covid itself.
Himani Jain, Mukerian
People still socialising
Reference to ‘Chandigarh announces weekend lockdown’; since the cases are rising at such an alarming rate, it is scary for all, but many of us are still socialising. The new symptoms of Covid-19 have affected people. The government has announced that the people cannot go out on weekends unless it is very necessary. Mass gatherings for religious and social purposes should be stopped too. Since the new Covid-19 variant is even more dangerous and explosive, the mortality rate is rising exponentially. The elderly and those with existing chronic diseases must be vaccinated quickly.
Divita Jain, by mail
The second wave of Covid is spreading fast, but the public is still not adhering to government guidelines. Markets are crowded, political rallies are well attended and Kumbh mela and the Navratras also have attracted a rush of devotees. While the government is lagging behind in the supply of vaccines, oxygen and remedial medicine for the treatment of corona patients, the health department is playing a commendable role in looking after patients and carrying out tests and vaccination by organising camps at a number of places. We must cooperate and appreciate their sincere efforts.
OP GARG, PATIALA
Mask must stay on
People are shedding initial hesitancy and the vaccine has gained acceptance. It will go a long way in curbing the pandemic. It should not be forgotten that the vaccinated person may still catch the virus. He may have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic, and spread it. By getting vaccinated, we have discharged our national and social responsibility in the fight against this disease. However, we have to be more responsible in continuing to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to stop its spread.
RAVINDER MITTAL, Ludhiana
Govt found wanting
‘As flies to wanton boys…’ (The Sunday Tribune) highlights the ground realities of how the pandemic surged during the second wave. It is the failure on the part of the government, both the state and the Central, which could not visualise that the next wave would be so destructive. The government didn't learn any lesson from the initial wave and concentrated on winning the elections. Had new hospitals and infrastructure come up in advance on an emergency basis, we would have been better placed to meet the challenge of the second wave. Now after seeing the situation going out of control, the government has awakened from its deep slumber and gone into the action mode. It should have been well prepared to face the severity of the pandemic, but its priority was holding elections and religious gatherings.
Shadi LAL, by mail
A real hero
Refer to ‘Rly official rescues kid…’; I salute Mayur Shelke who risked his own life to save a child from being run over by a speeding train in Thane. We had seen such scenes in movies only, but what Shelke did was absolutely real and inspiring. The viral video gives goosebumps. He should be given a bravery award for his courageous and selfless act. We should have more people like him who keep our faith alive in humanity.
Harkawal Jeet Kaur, Mohali
The forgotten project
People have forgotten the dream project of City Centre, Ludhiana. After spending crores of rupees, it has not taken a turn for the good. The court case has taken years and nobody knows how many more years it will take to deliver the judgment. The project extends to acres and was to link the railway station. Its infrastructural plans should be changed so as to finish with lesser floors. Otherwise, not only will the money spent so far go waste but also the space dug out accumulates water to make it a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The new project should meet the needs of both parties, the government and private partners.
Gursharan Singh Narula, Ludhiana
The unexpected surge in corona cases has put a question mark on the government’s ability to tackle this pandemic. The health system has collapsed. There is a shortage of oxygen, beds in hospitals, ventilators, etc. The sufferer is left to die. When the alarm bells are ringing all over the world, our politicians are engaged in elections. For them, winning over Didi is more important than the coronavirus. The PM, along with his team, is busy in well-planned rallies, whereas oxygen plants are being set up only now. They were not proactive. The severity of the second wave was well known in advance, but the elections diverted the attention of the government machinery.
Jaswant singh, Chandigarh
Alarming Covid caseload
Reference to ‘Shortages all around’; there is an urgent need to strike a balance between pandemic mitigation efforts and public activities. While restrictions on movement and businesses are already in place across cities in the country, a return to last year’s lockdown would be disastrous for the economy. At the same time, Covid cases can’t be allowed to grow at the current pace. Healthcare infrastructure is again stretched in several states. In such a scenario, the minimum that the authorities must do is to prevent potential super-spreader events at all costs. It’s welcome that though a bit late, PM Modi has called for observing the Kumbh symbolically. The long-drawn Bengal election is proving to be another unsafe event, with political parties holding large rallies.
EL SINGH, by mail
Ban election rallies
It is very painful and unfortunate that the political parties are holding large public rallies and road shows in West Bengal despite the huge surge in Covid cases. The health system across the country is on the verge of collapse. It is surprising that our political leaders are not concerned about the health and wellbeing of the public. When they are not following Covid protocols, how can they expect the public to do so? The Election Commission must ban all public rallies and road shows in the ongoing Assembly elections in public interest.
SACHIN GARG, KAITHAL
Himachal Pradesh deserves accolades for zero wastage of the Covid vaccine against the permitted wastage of 5 per cent. Obviously, it was possible because the state health department used the vaccine doses to be administered in a well-planned manner. However, in Maharashtra alone, 5 lakh doses of vaccines were wasted due to mismanagement and casual approach. The same is true of other states except Kerala. This apathy on the part of Maharashtra and other states, where the vaccines were wasted more than the permissible limit, amounts to criminal negligence, especially at a time when people are running the risk of losing their life due to vaccine shortage.
Maheshwer Sharma, by mail
Apropos of the article ‘For growth, revive the spirit of entrepreneurship’, when Jawaharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister, he had to revive the agricultural sector through Five Year Plans to address the questions of poverty and rural starvation. Every PM has contributed positively in one way or the other in nation-building and the only difference was in their ‘choice of priorities’. Indira Gandhi strengthened us militarily by inflicting defeat on Pakistan, Manmohan Singh opened our economy to the outside world and Narendra Modi has boosted infrastructure development. In the present times, big businessmen, traders and corporate houses have gained immensely in wealth during the lockdown period, but the farmers, daily wagers and small traders have been facing hardships.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Communism in India
The article ‘Why communism has not done better in India?’ (The Sunday Tribune) analyses an intriguing phenomenon. India has experienced subjugation, first under the Muslims and then under the British. No other nation of India’s stature has seen such a long spell of foreign subjugation. When finally the yoke of foreign rule was thrown away, there was no question of accepting any ideology of foreign origin. The Indian Marxists owe their allegiance to Russia and China. Why did this kind of thinking not develop in West Bengal? This state has produced tall nationalists, leaders, saints, scholars and artists. The writer has not provided any answers for this.
Kiran Sharma, Sundernagar
A disgraced cop in cahoots with a politician is reinstated to amass wealth by unscrupulous means, implants explosives close to a billionaire’s residence for some larger conspiracy, but the plot gets murkier with the murder of close aide, and then things go awry (‘A chance to do it right’). This is not a screenplay of some Martin Scorsese flick, but the macabre underbelly of our Tinsel Town, Mumbai.
Abhinav Sharma, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘For growth, revive the spirit of entrepreneurship’, socialism-bashing is in vogue these days. Amritsar, Batala, Jalandhar and Ludhiana showed marked growth after Independence. These cities flourished due to small entrepreneurs and these were also ruled by the same government with socialistic leanings. We have to admit that no economic or political system is perfect. The trouble at present is the fear psychosis which has taken both the majority community and minorities in its grip, thanks to the manoeuvring skills of the politicians of all hues. All-pervasive uncertainty is a big disincentive for new investment initiatives. When we are making all efforts to create giants in Indian industry, small entrepreneurs are scared. The spirit of social cohesiveness, coupled with supporting economic policies, is what we need to revive entrepreneurship.
Nirmal Singh, Patiala
Reference to the news report ‘CBSE Class X exams cancelled’, all of us understand that this was important but everybody is also aware of the fact that their year-long uphill battle will be for nothing. 2020 was a strenuous year for them as they had to rely more on self-study and we acknowledge the difficulties they had to face during online classes. Needless to say, average or below average students will be bracketed with exemplary students. Instead of cancellation, the exams should have been deferred.
Anuvanshjeet Kaur, Bathinda
Lapses will cost us dear
For return to normalcy, what should be avoided are super-spreader events like Kumbh Mela, election rallies, Mata darshan, etc. The government may justify these on social, economic, religious and political grounds. However, it makes little sense when crowding in public places is allowed, but curbs are imposed on individual freedom with curfews or weekend lockdowns. The message to the public is that the onus of controlling this pandemic is now on individuals, and not the government. It is inappropriate to blame individual community members, when there is no effective communication which explains the rationale behind the decisions taken. A much stronger community engagement with a robust communication strategy and lesser emphasis on ‘criminalising’ inappropriate behaviour is required. There is an urgent need to deal with the kisan andolan on priority, failing which things may worsen.
DS Hooda, Rohtak
Poll result celebrations
Prevention is better than cure, but in the case of Covid-19, there is no cure: prevention is the only way out. The EC should ban all rallies and road shows in the ongoing Assembly elections. Further, the EC should put strict restrictions on the celebrations of the election results next month. Distribution of sweets and beating of drums should be banned.
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Due to tardy procurement, farmers are facing several problems. The weather has further added to their misery. Grain markets are overflowing these days, and wheat is lying out in the open. The government is not willing to purchase the wheat at this time because it fears that it would be soaked because of rain. Moreover, arhtiyas are also not too supportive. The authorities concerned should understand the urgency of the matter and take appropriate action to resolve the issue at the earliest.
Gagandeep Singh, by mail
Time for a woman CJI
In reference to ‘Time for 1st woman CJI not far off: SC judge’, the country has been waiting for a long time for such a revolution. We all acknowledge the fact that even though women have been doing their utmost in every field, the firm believers of patriarchy and dominant masculinity obstruct women's working and their development in a systematic way. If this does come true, it will pave the way for women who aspire for big dreams and will be a befitting answer to toxic masculinity.
Anuvanshjeet kaur, by mail
In reference to ‘Darbar move to Srinagar deferred amid Covid surge’, the L-G should now prioritise putting all governmental office records online, fixing a time-bound target. Teething troubles and business/political interests must not come in the way of undoing the historic unproductive blunder of biannual packing and shifting of records (and its security), along with thousands of employees and their families, at huge costs to the exchequer. The cost of vacancy and maintenance of office and residential buildings that remain closed for six months at either station, too, can be avoided. One-state, one-capital norm should be followed lest the contagion should spread to neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and elsewhere.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Covid-19 cases have been on an upward spiral and the time has come to take a strong step to curb the rapid outbreak. Weekend lockdown is the minimum that can be done to break the chain of transmission and to bring the situation under control. If necessary, traders should themselves come forward for closing shops and taking a detailed view on all aspects related to possible lockdown.
Vir Partap Singh, HOSHIARPUR
This refers to ‘New restrictions on gatherings in Haryana’; while the government’s latest order aims at limiting gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus, the accompanying photo of people waiting for their turn for Covid testing at the Kalpana Chawla Hospital in Karnal reveals a worrisome story. What explains their blatant violation of Covid protocols? Should the hospital authorities, along with all these violators, not be held accountable for such gross negligence on their part? The government must keep a close watch on all such potential hotspots.
SK Gupta, Panchkula
Reference to the Haryana CM’s appeal to farmers to suspend their protest till the corona conditions improve, I would request Manohar Lal Khattar to impress upon the Modi government instead to repeal these three laws till the corona conditions improve. Where is the need to rush these laws at such a time when the country is struggling to fight Covid-19?
HS Chitkara, Ludhiana
Hard to end nexus
The article ‘A chance to do it right’ embraces in itself a scenario of the unholy nexus of politicians, the police and criminals which has become an integral part of Indian society. The nexus is so strong and powerful that no power can break the formidable chain. Only if, which is next to impossible, our politicians contest the elections to serve the nation, and not for the sake of power, this profane nexus can meet its end.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Political parties should desist from indulging in cheap political gimmicks in the quest to garner Dalit votes. Offering the post of CM/Deputy CM to a Dalit is not the right way to pay tribute to BR Ambedkar on his birth anniversary. He was all for a classless society and equality to every citizen. Promises with an eye on the vote bank is not only dangerous, but also illegal as per the Preamble to the Constitution. How can these leaders ensure the implementation of the spirit of the Constitution while resorting to class politics?
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Dalit Deputy CM
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal has made the right pitch for the appointment of a Dalit Deputy CM, but only time will tell whether the promise is delivered or not. Even if a Mazhabi is appointed Deputy CM, it must not be a token appointment. It remains to be seen what powers and responsibilities will be given to him. It is part of affirmative action for the empowerment of Mazhabis who make up 35 per cent of Punjab’s population. Their representation at the top echelons is a must and this announcement is in tune with Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution.
Satjit Singh Saini, by mail
Role of police
Refer to IG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh’s resignation upon the quashing of his investigation by the high court; the decision of the court should be put in the public domain. Experts should come forward with their constitutional views. Do police officers have the courage to deliver justice? Does the political setup give them the space to deliver? Should the police only be a tool for high-handedness and registering false cases? The Punjab Chief Minister should form an inquiry commission to probe high-handedness and false cases.
Satnam Singh Nockwal, by mail
Reference to ‘Dalit to be Deputy CM, if voted to power: Sukhbir’; the promises made by parties in their manifestos are with the intention of influencing people or openly bribing them. We expect equal opportunities for all, but not by caste or any other kind of discrimination. If leaders are not comfortable with the background of people, how will their followers accept one another in society? Equality means ‘state of being equal’, giving equal rights and opportunities to all people around us, whether the person lives on the street or in his own house. Politicians should not make statements that hurt any section of society.
Sakshi Sharma, Amritsar
Dual vax pricing
The government has taken a commendable step by allowing foreign vaccinations. It will further enhance its image by allowing vaccination companies to vaccinate eligible persons above 18 years of age. The pharma companies are here to make profit whereas the government’s sole aim is to ward off Covid-19. A balance has to be struck on pricing. The ‘haves’ can pay the full cost of vaccination in the open market. The maximum subsidy should go to the poor. Why give money as subsidy to the rich, when they can afford it? The dual pricing policy for vaccination will help India achieve its target. We have successfully implemented dual pricing for LPG.
Brig Devender Cheba (retd), Panchkula
Don’t neglect villages
Refer to ‘Poor access to healthcare makes village vulnerable, shows data’; the government must pay attention to places where it needs to be more active. Its focus is on the West Bengal elections. This is a crucial time and the citizens need the government to be responsible and shift focus to urgent matters. People elect a government for governance.
Simran Ahuja, Yamunanagar
Unfair to students
Reference to ‘CBSE Class X exam cancelled’; the initiative at this stage is good, but the government must also take care of their studies because one year is already wasted for them. Moreover, if the results of the candidates will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion, the undeserving students will compete with the meritorious ones. The government should make necessary arrangements for the exams to be held. The students have prepared very hard for their exams. So postponing the exams is fine, but to cancel them is unfair.
KONICA, RAMPURA PHUL
A new direction
We can only hope the syndrome of religion will exit from Pakistan sooner than later to weave afresh friendly economic and social relations with India (‘The “Naya Pakistan” rhetoric’). Cordial ties, bereft of the slightest elements of the belligerent repulsion and unrealistic animosities, will give rise to an era of the best utilisation of opportunities that should take multiple advantages of trade, commerce, people-to-people contact and prosperity of the public on either side of the border.
ROHTASH GUPTA, Kurukshetra
There’s more to it
‘Ambedkar put equality at the core of democracy’ makes sweeping generalisations about Ambedkar, Nehru and the Left parties. How can any great man be understood holistically without referring to his seminal works? Ambedkar’s first main contribution was his research on societal discrimination and ethnic and tribal conflicts. He waged a fight against injustices and exclusion of the untouchables. We got reservation in government jobs because of him. Nehru cannot be described merely as a liberal, he was a democrat with a strong belief in socialism. Left parties criticise capitalism as a system but they admire the great role played by Indian Parliament, an independent judiciary and our glorious Constitution.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Young aspirants hope to pursue a lucrative career matching the modern times and their needs, like software developers (‘Access to higher edu is not govt largesse: SC’). In our time, the youth had limited choices, but with the passage of time, the costly higher and professional courses that have cropped up leave us oldies wonderstruck, besides the percentage students are now getting and the cut-throat competition. Privatisation in the education sector has multiplied the costs. Deserving students from ordinary families have been left at the mercy of private players. Though loans can be availed, in the long run these are meant for lenders. The government must share the burden of those who are meritorious, but have limited means to pursue higher education.
Manjeet S Rurkikhas, Garhshankar
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 ‘Vaccine optimism’, evidently after the waning of the first wave, the Centre went into hibernation. Now, with the second wave raging, the government has come out of slumber and is fast-tracking approval of vaccines from foreign countries. Hopefully the government has checked with the approved companies about their stock readiness. The Centre is claiming to have supplied vaccines to over 80 countries. Was this magnanimity required at a juncture when its own citizens are deprived of a jab? The government is trying to bite more that it can chew. It should involve private players from sourcing to administering vaccines in a time-bound manner. Its misplaced strategy of ‘wait and watch’ ought to be shunned.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Prices only to go up
Refer to ‘Decision on excise duty cut on petrol, diesel when time comes: CBIC chairman’; the idea that the prices of petrol and diesel will be cut is a fantasy and has no connection with international oil price. It is unlikely to be reduced as both the Central and state governments need the revenues and the modest reduction by a few paise is, at best, cosmetic. With the increase in LPG prices, the revenues are likely to be even higher. Fuel prices are the government's ATM. Currently, they have not gone up, simply due to the elections. The one way to keep the fuel and LPG prices under check is not ‘one nation, one election’, as the PM often reiterates, but many elections, many times.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
Apropos of ‘Bengal bloodshed’, it is a sad commentary on the dirty politics being played out in the state. Although the Election Commission has condemned and warned Mamata Banerjee against using objectionable statements during the model code of conduct, she had the audacity to remark that the EC stood for ‘Extremely Compromised’. With all the violence, politics in Bengal has reached a new low.
Maheshwer Sharma, by mail
Mamata’s political stunts
Refer to ‘24-hour campaign ban on Mamata Banerjee’; from the start of the election season, Mamata has been pulling such political stunts, like her being attacked, campaigning on a wheelchair, and now this dharna in protest against the decision of the poll panel. TMC leaders have always doubted the EC’s impartiality, but after BJP chief Dilip Ghosh was asked to explain his stand, and the ban imposed on BJP leader Rahul Sinha, the Election Commission has shown that it doesn't pick sides. In the name of cheap politics, political parties shouldn’t defame the Election Commission of India, and instead of blaming it, they should mind their language.
Kavreen Kaur, Ludhiana
Knowing true Ambedkar
Apropos of ‘Ambedkar put equality at the core of democracy’, the writer has rightly pointed out our tendency to belittle our icons. For a common man, Babasaheb is known only for being a messiah of the downtrodden and the architect of our Constitution. The definition of true democracy, as given by him, is forgotten in the contemporary times by the masses as well as by the people running the machine of the government. Our true tributes to this great son of our land should be to spread his philosophy over and above being a crusader of protecting the rights of the Dalits only.
Pardeep Kumar Joshi, Ropar
Dignity of labour
Apropos of ‘Son of farmer, DC wields sickle’, there’s a big lesson to be learnt from this. It’s indeed very humble of him to perform this task. He should be a role model for many. We look for happiness in elaborate and expensive things and pastimes, not realising that simpler things can make us happy, like doing our chores, the fruits of which are rewarding.
Manjit Ghuman, Ludhiana
The conditions of dialysis patients during the pandemic is miserable. I had a horrible experience as my wife was found positive and was ditched by a well-known charitable hospital at Sohana, where she had been undergoing dialysis for the past two years under the ESI. When I approached the ESI, Mohali, for guidance, I was asked to go to the GMCH, Chandigarh. There we were told to go to the PGI, as it had a 24-hour dialysis facility for those positive. We rushed to the PGI, where we experienced rude behaviour at the emergency. We were told to get it done at Ropar only. After three hours of harassment, I decided to return. Thanks to a good Samaritan, I was able to get her dialysis done after two days. Will the health department of Punjab order hospitals at the district level and private hospitals to attend to Covid positive patients, too, for dialysis, which is a serious issue?
Aman Preet Singh, Ropar
Refer to ‘TMC-BJP slugfest over Cooch Behar violence’; one wonders whether it is an election or a war being fought in Bengal. Democracy has been torn into smithereens. People’s verdict is no longer being respected. Rather power-hungry politicians are thrusting their will upon hapless voters. Obviously, the democratic system is not working well and needs to be reformed drastically. The security forces should have acted with utmost restraint. When populist political appeals stir the passions of the masses, government institutions appear less capable of accommodating conflicts in a society mobilised along competing ethnic and religious lines. The present political scenario in Bengal particularly, and in the country generally is alarming.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Night curfew eyewash
Reference to ‘Concern over poor contact tracing’; is there a shortage of manpower that is making surveillance difficult or is it the lack of will? The government is disappointing people by not coming up with stronger strategic plans and efforts to curb Covid. Night curfew is just eyewash to make people believe that it is doing something to save people from the virus. It is more dangerous during daytime when people are at crowded places, like railway and metro stations and market places. What is the point of night curfew when most people stay at home and don't go outside unless it’s an emergency?
Sakshi Sharma, Amritsar
Lead by example
I was watching the PM’s rally being telecast live from Vardhman, West Bengal. It was shocking that the massive rally was defying Covid protocol completely. What do we conclude? The Prime Minister recommends ‘Teeka Divas’ on the one hand, and on the other hand, he is encouraging rallies. This is a blatant defiance of policies to check the spread of the virus in the country. He should be leading by example. Even the Election Commission seems to have ignored all this. Should we stop making a hue and cry about the virus and leave everything to God?
ANITA KATARIA, PATIALA
Maximum transmission of the virus happens during the daytime as there are very few people on the road at night. Night curfew will not help much. Companies that can opt for ‘work from home’ should close their offices. It will help to reduce the cases. If a single employee is positive, there is a chance of the whole staff getting infected. Many people are not wearing masks, which is again a major factor in the surge of cases.
Anubhav Singh, Chandigarh
Contributing to surge
It is a fact that people are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour and that's why the pandemic has again taken a dangerous turn. Markets, restaurants and malls are overcrowded. The government, too, doesn't seem to be serious otherwise lakhs of devotees wouldn’t have been allowed to assemble at Hardwar for Kumbh. At Narwana, hundreds of women carrying ‘kalash’ on their head covered 3 km on foot in procession, passing through crowded streets and bazaars, ignoring all Covid protocols. At this rate, we will lose all gains we have made so far and the situation may go out of control.
RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA
Apropos of ‘Prescribe time frame for appointing judges’, even after over 70 years, justice is still a dream for citizens of the country. They feel cheated by the successive governments on most counts, such as justice, taxation, encroachments, political high-handedness, social welfare, discrimination, infrastructure, corruption. There are not enough judges and 3.72 crore cases are pending. Taxation, administration, justice, rules and regulations have been made extremely complex, so that the common public remains in the dark and wanting. All this is responsible for keeping the country underdeveloped.
Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula
Apropos of ‘CT scan machine at Tanda hospital out of order for 4 months’, why is the administration of Tanda Medical College not able to get the CT scan machine fixed? One wonders if the health minister is aware of the situation. This reflects the condition of the healthcare infrastructure in Himachal Pradesh. The government should get into action mode because the economically weaker sections cannot afford medical tests at private centres.
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
Inspiration for farmers
Apropos of ‘Son of farmer, DC harvests wheat’, people can take inspiration from the Sangrur DC, who, despite having all resources at his command, is harvesting wheat himself. He can be a role model for the farmer community that is heavily dependent on outside labour. If a DC can do manual labour, why not farmers? No work is small.
VK Syal, Sangrur
Apropos of ‘Unprecedented job crisis’, there is no calendar available for the conduct of recruitment exams in Punjab. The unemployment rate is very high, leading to youth migrating to developed countries in search of livelihood. And yet, there is no consistent and sustainable recruitment policy in the government sector. The Punjab Public Service Commission is charging the highest amount of fee in the country. Different advertisements are being issued to fill similar posts in various departments, just to fill coffers from the already exploited youth. The state government is not regularly conducting the eligibility test which is mandatory to become a schoolteacher. Low salary, inconsistent recruitment policy, lack of professionalism and political interference are the prime reasons for the exodus of Punjabi youth. No one wants to leave his/her motherland, but circumstances are such that it’s better to settle abroad instead of searching for a job here.
Amrinder Singh Mann, Sangrur
Choice of religion
The SC verdict on granting adults the freedom to choose a religion is a welcome step. However, forceful conversions during marriages need to be stopped. One should not change his/her religion to marry. Two persons can live together and practice their own religion. Let’s hope this verdict brings about a change in the mindset of people.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘Matter of faith’, the right to freedom of religion is inviolable. However, this right to follow, practise and promote any religion by an adult should also include the right to have no religion and reject any hereditary religious branding forced upon him.
Balvinder, by mail
Refer to ‘5 states flag vax shortage’; the issue needs to be addressed soon because without inclusiveness in the vaccination drive, we can't expect to curb the spread of infection. Vaccination developed by other countries with high efficacy must be allowed and approved in India along with indigenous vaccines, so that the demand and supply issue can be addressed at the earliest.
ROHIT KUMAR GUPTA, SHIMLA
God belongs to all
Refer to ‘The Pontiff & the Ayatollah' (The Sunday Tribune); the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is of immense significance to spread the message of peace among all religions. Religious leaders should profess harmonious life for all humans and not merely for their own followers. After all, each religion is supposed to impart spiritual guidance on the way to realise the truth of the Supreme. There should be no hate towards other faiths. God is responsible for the entire universe and not for any one particular community on earth.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Violence in Bengal
Refer to ‘Five dead, political storm over Cooch Behar violence’; violence is not abating even during polling days. Bengal has a history of political violence which peaks around election time, and speaks of the abject failure of law and order institutions. The core reason is the use of muscle power as a standard political instrument. By allowing violence, parties limit institutional functioning and keep intact their unofficial channels of patronage. The Election Commission must find a way out. After the poll dates are announced, the state concerned should be put under Governor's rule. During parliamentary elections, an independent commission under the President can be given control of the administration.
PS KAUR, Amritsar
Ban all gatherings
To control the raging pandemic, the Punjab CM has banned all political gatherings till April 30. The step is in the right direction. But why political gatherings only? Any gathering — political, social or religious — may cause a rise in Covid cases. The chief ministers of Uttarakhand, UP and Delhi should ban all large gatherings, especially Mahakumbh at Hardwar and the farmers’ stir at Delhi borders, which have the potential to become virus super-spreaders.
AK Agarwal, Chandigarh
Preventive measures to control the spread of the pandemic suggested by the writer (‘Covid-apt practices, not lockdown, the way ahead’) are already known to the public. The problem is enforcement. Look at how election rallies with lakhs of people are being organised by political parties and participated even by the PM and CMs. Mercifully, the infection has not reached the villages. Awareness programmes are a must to request people to visit cities and towns only when absolutely necessary. Strict measures need to be enforced in urban areas. Half-baked measures like partial lockdowns will not do. The deficiency of vaccines must be overcome.
RN Malik, Gurugram
Refer to ‘Don’t lock us down’ (Nous Indica); even partial lockdowns aggravate the struggle for survival of the poor in terms of healthcare and availability of food, pushing the daily wage-earners and industrial workers into misery and deprivation. Not having leveraged resources (like in the US) for an oversized population, India’s situation is becoming far more vulnerable. Life is terrible if one is unsure of whether, or from where, one will get the next meal. Shunning the ongoing power politics and hypocrisy, the situation now calls for a well-coordinated strategy of inoculation for all age-groups, involving the Centre, state governments, health authorities and the private sector, besides public participation, to avert not only health emergencies, but also another economic recession.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
We desperately need to vaccinate the frontline workers, including factory workers and office-goers, who are potential super-spreaders, to keep the wheels of the economy moving (‘Don’t lock us down’). Also, we need to get children back in classrooms as they have already lost a precious year of their academic calendar. College-going students must be vaccinated immediately. The distinction between ‘need’ and ‘want’ lacks merit.
Manish Sinha, Chandigarh
Curfew doesn’t help
Apropos of ‘Curfew no solution’, this time the current wave of Covid is more virulent and could send more people to hospital. Looking at the gravity of the situation, state after state is imposing night lockdown which is undesirable as it may create alarming unemployment, jeopardise the economy, besides hurting the migrant labour. The only option is to go back to ‘test, trace and treat’ and the stress should be on administering the vaccine to maximum beneficiaries, creating awareness about the vaccine and ensuring compliance with Covid safety measures. Greater citizen responsibility, aided by the administration’s stern action and vaccination, is the only way out.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
What a paradox
On April 8, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh tweeted ‘no gatherings till 30th April’. It was presumed that it would include Baisakhi gatherings at various gurdwaras, but no, the preparations of Baisakhi at Damdama Sahib are continuing. Lakhs of people come every year to seek blessings on ‘sajna diwas’. There will be a surge in Covid cases. The SGPC just wants to fill its treasury. The same thing is happening in Uttarakhand, which is preparing for the Mahakumbh mela in Hardwar. Why in India, it’s always religion that controls everything, at the cost of the safety of people? At the same time, the Punjab CM has decided not to open educational institutions till April 30.
Rashpinder Singh Sidhu, by mail
Caught napping again
Nero fiddled while Rome burned. This precisely depicts the prevailing situation in our country. Besides the swelling cases of Covid, medical infrastructure is proving to be insufficient to cater to critical patients increasing on a daily basis. When the vaccines were launched, the authorities failed to address vaccine hesitancy for months. Despite knowing that immunity would develop after the second dose only, first jab numbers are being released to the media. We are self-congratulating ourselves. Vaccine is in short supply at some centres, even as there is wastage of vaccine in some states. Despite last year’s experience, and knowing in advance that medical and science fraternity had predicted a more severe second wave in coming months, the political establishment and bureaucracy failed to pull up their socks. Instead of taking corrective measures in advance, they have been busy in fighting elections. Only symbolic restrictions are being imposed. We have gone in the medieval times, where kings and ministers sat comfortably in their palaces while the public and the army fought against enemies and natural calamities on their own.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Apropos of ‘Vardhan: No bias in vaccine allocation’, such allegations in the time of the pandemic prove that scams will always exist. The government should show transparency in the utilisation of vaccines. The vaccination process should be under strict government surveillance to ensure that people are getting the right vaccines and that there is no shortage, or fraud.
Sakshi Sharma, Amritsar
Free to choose, believe
Reference to ‘An adult is free to choose his religion: SC’; in his bestselling book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins was right when he wrote that religion has killed more people than all other wars put together. ‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature,’ Marx declared, ‘the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.’ Let citizens choose how they wish to pursue their faith and beliefs.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
Covid-19 cases are increasing at an alarming rate. Three culprits are responsible for it. First are we, the people, for being irresponsible regarding the Covid protocol. The second are shopkeepers who have thrown the protocol to the winds and left the customers to fend for themselves. Unlike last year, there is no temperature check at the entrance, no restriction on the number of customers inside a shop, and no sanitisation. The third is the administration which loosened its control. People must not forget the hardships faced by them and the losses suffered during the previous lockdown. The administration needs to implement the Covid norms with an iron hand and people must cooperate.
SS Bhathal, Ludhiana
Apropos of ‘Vardhan rules out vax for all, slams Maha, Pb, Delhi’, he has said so long as the vaccine supply was limited, there was no option but to prioritise its use. If the supply was limited, what was the immediate need to export/donate millions of doses to other countries? Compare this with the US, where the Biden government has vaccinated 150 million people in just 75 days and has set the target of vaccinating everyone 18 years or above by April 19. We must follow such an approach instead of resorting to curfews and lockdowns, because such measures, in the long run, produce frustration and ennui. The scope of vaccination should be extended to cover all places where people congregate — government/private offices, factories, and schools and colleges if exams are to be held offline — otherwise the economic consequences would be devastating.
AK Sharma, CHANDIGARH
Sharad Pawar’s role
Reference to 'Games politicians play'; if it is true that Sharad Pawar had met Amit Shah only to strike a bargain to remain in power, the former would fall from the high pedestal, where we, the people, have placed him. Pawar has enjoyed the reputation, with understandable far and few hiccups, of being a statesman. But if he joins the bandwagon to topple the present Maharashtra Government, he would overnight turn from a statesman to a power-hungry politician. That will certainly be a sad day for the country.
SPS NARANG, NEW DELHI
Jobs for locals
The slogan ‘vocal for local’ could be a remedy for the spectre of high unemployment levels in the state, but not through regressive reservation, but by protecting and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit at the local level. A well-meaning leadership does not take ‘virtual action’, but ensures the desired results through real action and right policy measures to take the state forward on the fundamental parameter of development: employment and employability. Haryana has to learn to wrestle with the unemployment spectre, as it has creditably done in the sport of wrestling. Regressive policy needs to be curtailed to provide a new orientation to the recruitment policy to ensure better outcomes. Extending the policy to the private sector is unimaginative and unfair, but it does underscore high unemployment which enjoins upon the policy makers to find solutions.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Not enough jobs
Reference to the news item ‘In Pb 2.33 lakh applied for 1,152 posts of patwari’; it is evident from the news that the wages are not attractive in the context of the present situation. Even then, many highly qualified persons have applied, as government jobs are limited. In view of this, all state governments must generate more employment for the youth, otherwise there may be economic issues in the near future leading to law and order crisis.
SHANKAR CHATTERJEE, HYDERABAD
‘Job quota for locals’ rightly argues about intensive negativity hidden in the law regarding reservation of jobs for locals. The sole aim behind the government move is 'vote-bank politics'. It will be detrimental to the interest of the state and will discourage the entry of new startups, coupled with the exit of already established units. Compromising with talent in any establishment is bound to adversely affect efficiency as well as revenue. The Haryana Government must rethink about the pros and cons of the new law.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Stigma of middlemen
Middlemen are not as bad as they have been made out to be. Government departments work in such close loop that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to unravel why a particular thing/work is not done despite completing ‘all the prescribed formalities’? The government itself appointed ‘facilitating agents’ for the smooth supply of fabrics from the NTC (government) mills to defence and civil government departments way back in the 1970s. Let us face the truth that the middleman is real and accept him.
Vinay Kumar Gupta, Ambala Cantt
The phoenix of corruption rises again in a defence deal. Middlemen exist in every system in our society, and they are hard to eliminate. You may lower the percentage of kickbacks, but you can’t completely do away with them. Be it defence deals, getting work done at a clerical level, darshan at temples, or arhtiyas, the government may try to regulate the middlemen, but it is impossible to weed them out. It is imperative to bring the corrupt in the open so that the nation knows who received the money, not like the Bofors scam, where the investigation itself cost many times the bribe, and remained inconclusive!
Sandeep Chaudhri, Karnal
Poll rallies as usual
Refer to ‘Curfew no solution’; when the pandemic began, the lockdown and curfew proved very effective. Now, in spite of grave danger to life, people are totally disregarding Covid norms. Can challaning people for not wearing masks help? When the PM and Home Minister are attending election rallies without wearing masks, how can they urge people to wear masks and avoid crowds? Are election rallies immune to Covid? We are making a mockery of our democracy and showing the world that ministers can violate any rule and code of conduct. Only an ordinary citizen is challaned Rs 2,000 for not wearing a mask. Politicians must show self-discipline.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
DBT for farmers
Apropos of ‘DBT ensures transparency’, by implementing this system, the government aims to assess the income of farmers so that at a later date it could be brought under the income tax regime. In the past, too, a few voices advocated to bring agriculture under the ambit of industrial laws. The Punjab Government has been resisting direct payment, even though this system was launched by the Congress-led government at the Centre in 2013. The NDA has only expanded its scope. But of late, the Punjab Government seems to be dithering on this in the wake of the obstinate stand of the Centre. To allay the fears of farmers, the government must convince them that agriculture would not be brought under income tax laws as agriculture nowhere in the world can sustain without financial assistance.
Col Kuldip S Grewal (Retd), Patiala
Middlemen in agriculture
There is no reason to oppose the move by the Central government to make payments directly to farmers for their produce, eliminating middlemen. The government should, however, also take care of the arhtiyas and the survival of mandis and their infrastructure. The arhtiyas also play a vital role in the procurement process. Service charges after deduction from payments of farmers may directly be given to the middlemen. The lack of mutual trust between the agrarian class and the present government jeopardises the process of reforms in the agriculture sector.
Deepak, by mail
Interest on small savings
Apropos of ‘Flip-flop on rate cut’, the reversal of the decision to reduce interest on small savings schemes, within a day, highlights the flaws of the current approach to setting interest rates. Small savings schemes have been of great benefit to the Centre and states. Their popularity shows how important they are as a risk-free long-term savings option for people. Interest rates on these schemes need to be linked to the monetary policy, but the current formula is suboptimal. We are in the midst of a spell of financial repression to boost growth and help government borrowings. But if savers are taken for granted, there will be a higher risk of financial instability. The formula needs to be reworked to cushion savers from the fallout of financial repression. That will be better than the seeming arbitrariness in the resetting of interest rates.
EL Singh, by mail
Develop Naxal areas
Left-wing extremism has been a serious threat to our internal security for decades. The recent ambush in Chhattisgarh should once again make our politicians introspect on the policies meant to deal with the Naxal movement. Maoist-infested areas are the most backward districts of our country with a low literacy rate. Social and economical inequalities sow the seeds of dissent. Development with emphasis on building schools, colleges, hospitals and roads in these low socio-economic areas is the only way to eradicate the ideology of Naxalism from the minds of the oppressed people and bring them into the mainstream.
Amandeep Bains, Kurukshetra
Refer to ‘Middleman, again’, we seem to be oversensitive to the presence of middlemen in defence deals. Are there no middlemen in other sectors? In the sale or purchase of property, there are property dealers. Manufacturers of consumer items or electric appliances pay commission for the promotion of their sales. We have insurance agents that serve as the link between insurance companies and clients. Farm produce is sold through arhtiyas or commission agents. Even during match-making, we take the help of a ‘vichola’, who is generally a relative or a friend. In the Rafale deal worth Rs 59,000 crore for 36 fighter jets, commission worth Rs 8 crore was reportedly paid, which is peanuts as compared to the total amount of the deal. It works out to barely Rs 22 lakh per aircraft against the cast of Rs 16,000 crore for each plane. What is the fuss about? Let us accept the phenomenon of middlemen as a normal feature, as prevalent elsewhere.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Same old story
Apropos of ‘Middleman, again’, public reality tells a different story. Opposition parties like the Congress are beating the drums about how they made the right noises when the deal was struck. The government reaction came in the form of a statement by Cabinet minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, dismissing it all as ‘baseless’. The irony lies in the surfacing of the very name of one who is on bail for money laundering in the case of Agusta choppers. Now, the taxpayer’s money shall grease the wheels of this controversy ad nauseam!
Lalit Mohan Sharma, DHARAMSALA
Reopening of schools
Private schools are being opened for the new academic session in Ambala district, as per earlier instructions of the Haryana Government. Covid cases are peaking again, and the size of the classrooms is small. Sitting arrangements are not adequate, as two students sit on a single bench, and social distancing is not possible. Masks are being used and hand sanitisation is being done, but it's not enough. Fresh guidelines need to be issued for the schools in Haryana. Online classes option must be given to students with weak immunity. The other possibility may be even-odd roll number on alternate days.
Ravneet Singh, Ambala
Kerala voter turnout
Kerala, with 96.2 per cent literacy (highest in the country), recorded only 73.58 per cent polling. What does that imply? That the educated lot is fed up with all political parties and they no longer believe in voting? Such low voting could have been expected from a state like Bihar, where the literacy rate is lower. It is surprisingly the same state in which Wayanad constituency falls, from where Rahul Gandhi won the Lok Sabha elections. After being defeated by Smriti Irani from Amethi, it was asserted by some Congress leaders that the voters of Wayanad were more literate.
Rashpinder Singh, by mail
Court working days
Apropos of ‘Justice NV Ramana appointed next CJI’, the huge pendency of cases is routinely highlighted. However, the truth is that high courts and the SC officially work for about 190 days a year. Now, deduct strikes, stoppage of work, Bharat bandh, etc. It seems Indian courts do not work for over five months. The system of long vacations for courts — a British-era practice — continues. As per the calendar, the number of non-sitting days, including Saturday and Sunday, come to 176 days for the apex court. It translates into an average sitting of 16 days per month. When there are nearly 60,000 cases pending in the SC, it has five vacations in its annual calendar, including a summer break of 45 days, one-week Holi vacation, and winter break of 15 days. It also closes for 10 day for Dasehra and Diwali. The government should increase the court working days as well as the posts of judges to help revive the justice delivery mechanism.
Ramit Bagga, Panchkula
Politics triumphs at PU
Apropos of ‘PU okays Senate election schedule’, all hopes of Panjab University, Chandigarh, to reincarnate itself as a Central university to cure its perennial ills are dashed to the ground for good; governance reforms envisaged in the National Education Policy-2020 notwithstanding. The moral of the story: Politics triumphed over academics. Posterity will bear consequences.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
The government is saying that people are reluctant to get vaccinated against Covid. But some real issues like, whether people with some drug allergy should get vaccinated or not, are not being addressed by hospitals or vaccination centres. I contacted Cowin helpline on this issue, but got vague replies. So, though being eager to get vaccinated, people like me are in a fix.
IPS Anand, Gurugram
The loss of lives of our security personnel is a matter of concern for the country and highlights the need to re-examine the preparedness and execution of various counter-terror operations. What happened at Chhattisgarh with 22 personnel killed and one missing should have been the other way around, which points towards the lack of reliable intelligence inputs.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Why drones not used?
We, the war veterans, have a right to know why drones are not deployed to search likely ambush sites. Will officers responsible for negligent performance of duty be held responsible for this grave attack that caused the killings of so many constables? To start with, the Home Minister may resign on the grounds of failure to anticipate danger.
Brig HS Ghuman (Retd), Mohali
Apropos of ‘Chhattisgarh attack’, the deadly attack shows that the Maoist threat remains effective. There should be a thorough evaluation of the intelligence inputs that led to the launch of the security operation in the first place. Also, large operations need to be reviewed as they attract too much attention. Structural issues must be addressed as well. Security operations have to go hand in hand with development initiatives that keep tribals at the centre. This is needed to undermine local support for Maoists. Plus, political unity is vital to tackle this menace.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Pray from home
Millions of people are expected to congregate this month on the banks of the Ganga in Hardwar to celebrate Kumbh Mela. Although experts are fearing an upsurge in Covid cases due to such large gatherings, politicians are busy exploiting the religious sentiments of gullible people. The Uttarakhand CM has downplayed the gravity of the situation, saying that ‘faith is stronger than fear’. Politicians should not make such irresponsible statements. If people can work from home, why can’t they ‘pray from home’?
Balbir Singh Kakkar, UK
Leave the powerful alone
Apropos of ‘The celebration of power’, it is indeed very important that we stop paying so much importance to what the people in power are doing in their day-to-day lives. It gets sickening to see the videos of the lavish lifestyles of these families pop up on all social media platforms. It’s only the powerless who make them powerful. We seem to have forgotten real life. Let’s all get back to it and create a better world full of kindness, instead of competition in the name of progress.
Manjit Ghuman, Ludhiana
The surge in cases is directly attributed to the severe decline in compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour, pandemic fatigue and the lack of effective implementation of containment measures. An aggressive vaccination drive, testing and tracing techniques will help us combat the second phase. We can't afford another lockdown. People are aware of the guidelines. Stringent measures for their implementation is required. Otherwise, the more contagious wave may create havoc.
Ramesh Dogra, Panchkula
Fourth officer was Muslim
Reference to ‘Witnessing birth of a nation and trip to Dhaka 50 years ago’ (The Sunday Tribune); in addition to a Parsi, a Jew and a Sikh, there was also a Muslim officer — Air Vice Marshal Idris Latif, who was serving in the eastern sector and was in charge of air operations when the Pakistani Instrument of Surrender was signed.
Jyotica Sikand, by mail
Google has announced that Google maps will start directing routes which are less prone to carbon emissions based on traffic and other factors. It will be useful for those wanting to enjoy green routes with minimal or no changes in distance travel. From June, it will also start to give warnings to travel through low emission zones where diesel or other pollutant vehicles are prohibited. The world is feeling the heat of climate change. The initiative will help drivers to adopt routes with no or less carbon footprints so that it may reduce pressure on established routes.
Jaskirat Singh Batra, Muktsar
Ace golfer Lahiri
Apropos of ‘High five for Lahiri’, he should be praised for playing superbly at the Valero Texas Open and signing off fifth in the tournament. It’s his best finish in three years. This brilliant performance has also lifted his position in the FedEx Cup's latest standings, from 125th to 94th, which has enhanced his hopes of qualifying for the Playoffs in August. One hopes the 33-year-old golfer would continue showing the same excellent performance and make our country proud.
SOURISH MISRA, KOLKATA
It is shocking and sad to see the loss of 22 security personnel in an anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh. Insurgency has assumed dangerous proportions. In the past, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh had suffered from this menace. It is a big challenge to internal peace and order. There must be an integrated operational plan from the PMO to deal with it and root it out, once and for all.
Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra
Killings to what end?
The news ‘7 CoBRA men among 22 dead' has sent shockwaves and confirms the murderous fallout of the Naxal movement, which once carried overtones of clashes between poor peasants and exploitative landlords. The killings serve no purpose of any ideology. Violence is never justifiable. The mainstream Naxalbari movement is derailed and must end now.
SYLVIA MALIK, JIND
Keep dignity of office
Refer to ‘Bengal's battle for ballot’; it is a matter of disgust that neither the BJP nor the TMC wants to remain behind in this mud-slinging campaign against each other. It is more than unusual to listen to the PM addressing a rival from the stage, in the manner he did. Modi is the PM of the whole country. Winning or losing an election is one thing, to keep it dignified is another.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Tigress of Bengal
The battle of Bengal is as interesting as it is closely contested. With a number of handicaps, BJP-engineered defections and all Central agencies at the beck and call of the Centre, Mamata Banerjee, rightly called the ‘Tigress of Bengal’, is single-handedly putting up a valiant fight against the formidable Modi-Shah election machine. For Mamata, it is an existential battle. For the BJP, Bengal is a prize that it has long-eyed for both ideological and electoral reasons. A TMC win would bust the myth of Modi-Shah invincibility and project Mamata as a leader at the national level. A BJP win would be another step towards a one-party government in India, with all its harmful consequences.
Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali
The Bengal’s ballot battle is an open war of words between the TMC and the BJP, spearheaded by Mamata and Modi-Shah, respectively. Her plea to Opposition leaders to form a united front to defeat the BJP is unusual. It could be read as an admission of her weakness, or a description of the emerging format of political competition in which an aggressive BJP is forcing the redrawing of battle lines. But earlier attempts at a joint opposition had failed because they were initiated as responses to electoral defeats and remained coalitions of convenience. Among these BJP-opposing party leaders, the dream of becoming PM by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and BSP’s Mayawati have negated all attempts for the idea of such a front.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
It was intriguing to observe that the Railways is set to run 71 unreserved mail/express passenger trains from April 5. Was it prudent to do so at this crucial juncture, even as Covid is fast assuming alarming proportions across the country? All these trains happen to be ‘unreserved’ and the strict onboard observance of Covid-related guidelines can hardly be ensured. Why needlessly expose passengers to the virus, and in the process score a self-goal, too?
SK Gupta, New Delhi
Vulnerable to Covid
The pandemic has again taken a frightening turn. The Haryana Government has imposed some curbs on gatherings, which on the ground carry no meaning. At Narwana, on the Baddowal toll plaza, where hundreds of farmers have been agitating for over three months, politicians of all parties find in the farmers a ready gathering, and come and address them, ignoring all Covid protocols, and in the presence of heavy police presence. The government must end this agitation to check the spread of Covid.
RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA
Apropos of the ongoing tensions with Saudi Arabia over oil production cuts, there is a need to look for oil outside the WANA region. Hitherto OPEC region has been the mainstay supplier of crude oil, but terms have often been loaded against the clientele. India imports 85% of its oil needs, and being the third largest consumer, it needs an alternative that is imperative to reduce dependence.
Balsimran Singh, AMRITSAR
Actor Shashikala had an amazing screen presence. Her intimidating depiction of a blackmailer in Gumrah sent shivers down one’s spine. Her role in Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaye dominated the film. She will not easily fade away from the hearts of her admirers. Her characters were not easy to execute, but she played them with elan.
Deepak Taak, Panchkula
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for farmers should be implemented immediately. This will prove to be a major farm reform in the real sense as it has the potential to break the backbone of a corrupt nexus comprising unscrupulous elements operating in the grain markets and who have nothing to do with farming. They are middlemen. They don't grow a single crop themselves, but earn crores by using the flaws in the system. This lobby is very rich and politically influential. They have been making things happen as per their will. Implement DBT to check the malpractices.
Manjit Singh, Batala
Can’t take Pak seriously
Pakistan’s recent overtures to mend fences with India, particularly on resumption of trade, was perceived as a welcome development in normalising the strained relations between the two countries. However, political compulsions of Imran Khan's party have ensured that the move was scuttled. It does not come as a surprise. Reeling under an unfavourable economic climate, Pakistan saw reason in importing cotton and sugar, among other things, whose prices had skyrocketed in recent days. But far from providing relief to its beleaguered people, Pakistan's insistence on resolution of the Kashmir tangle and restoration of Article 370 have, unfortunately, emerged as priorities in its scheme of things. While the Kashmir issue is non-negotiable and withdrawal of Article 370 is India’s internal matter, it is hoped that good counsel shall prevail, leading to restoration of friendly ties.
Bhaskar Roy, New Delhi
Shielding a criminal
Reference to ‘Papers of ambulance carrying Ansari fake’, why such efforts to save a criminal? Why should it become a political issue? Why Punjab and UP should fight a legal battle over the custody of a gangster-turned-MLA? The SC has already passed the order to shift his custody from Ropar jail to Banda jail in UP. If in a democratic country a criminal is being forgiven after such a big crime, there will be no fear of law in people and more murders and rapes will continue to happen. This is how politicians use their power to save criminals! What about justice for the family who lost their loved one?
Ekta Sharma, Gurugram
Apropos of ‘HC for PU Senate poll’, it’s good to see the court intervening in the long-pending issue of restoring the Senate system. The Senate has not outlived its utility in academic institutions, only the role assigned and privileges accorded to Senators in the PU Act 1947, which is a variant of the Indian Universities Act 1904, introduced for the then five varsities which did not have campuses and departments and teachers on their rolls. What is needed is reform in the construct of the Senate and the election of Syndicate on behalf of faculties as per stipulations in the 1904 Act. The PU Act needs a review to meet the requirements of the university, which is a different institution from what it was in 1882 or 1947.
Roadshows & lockdown
On the one hand, we are pleading for wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, imposing night and weekend curfews as remedial measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, while on the other, we are organising a series of rallies and roadshows in poll-bound states where no such protocols are being followed. What is surprising is that Bihar, during elections last year, didn't show an extraordinary surge in the statistics of Covid cases, and similar is the experience in the poll-bound states this year, and more so in Assam.
SL Singhal, Noida
For the honest few
In ‘Lament for days gone by’, the writer has shared his experiences as well as refreshed his memories. Everyone knows these open secrets. It would have been better if he had reserved some space to impart meaningful tips to rejuvenate the valued old system, as even now there are many in uniform who want to perform their duty with honesty. His words will boost the morale of such officers.
Vijay dania, Pandoh
Summer has just begun and in Himachal Pradesh, already forest fires have started. Drinking water schemes have been affected by drought conditions. What will happen in the peak of summer? The government as well as the people will have to be alert to forest fire. As the fire starts, it is our duty to inform the administration and also help to extinguish it.
Narender Kumar, Joginder Nagar
Apropos of ‘Pak U-turn in 24 hrs’, it is unfortunate that Pakistan has reversed its move to import sugar and cotton from India, just when the LoC showed signs of becoming a ‘Line of Commerce’. Had it gone forward, India and Pakistan could have also waived their respective visa requirements or made them obtainable on arrival. However, politics appears to have won and the ‘interest of Pakistan’s people’ seems to have been cast aside as the Imran Khan Cabinet rejected the import proposal.
SS Paul, Nadia
Roadblock to peace
Refer to ‘Pak U-turn in 24 hrs’; in 2003, India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire on the LoC, but the agreement continues to be violated. On February 22, the DGMOs of both countries announced the strict observance of all ceasefire agreements. Further, communications at various levels gave rise to the expectations of renewed closer ties in commerce, trade, sports, entertainment, medical, education. Such hopes were further heightened when General Bajwa expressed positive views during the Islamabad Security Dialogue. But the radical elements in Pakistan have again created hurdles in improving relations. The history of peace talks between the two neighbours has often seen many obstructions. We should be optimistic about cooperation in various sectors soon, which is keenly desired by the people of both India and Pakistan. Peace in the region will generate prosperity in South Asia.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
No reason to cheer
We should not feel happy that the order to cut interest on small savings has been withdrawn. It seems to have been postponed to the next quarter or thereafter. It has been withheld only due to the ongoing elections. This government doesn't care about the middle class or senior citizens.
IPS Anand, Gurugram
Free bus service for women in Punjab and doubling of pension are laudable steps, but will these schemes be continued after the Assembly elections? Why were such schemes not implemented in the first four years of the Congress rule? Why do politicians remember to do something good for people only near the elections? Now suddenly, there are 10,000 vacancies in the police and other departments. Earlier, they kept saying that there were no government jobs and no funds. People are in a hurry to fill these vacancies, because they know if they lose them, they will get a chance only after five years. This is bad for any democratic country, where parties think about people only to win elections.
RAMANJOT KAUR, Sultanpur Lodhi
Bid to create rift
Apropos of ‘List one case of Hindu trying to convert Sikh: BJP to SGPC’, the resolution passed by the SGPC has insulted the founders of this institution. I know Brahmin families who used to cast their votes in the election held for the formation of the SGPC. Some Brahmin families in Punjab follow the age-old custom of allowing the eldest son to grow his hair. I have seen three generations of such a family in Ludhiana itself. Most families follow rituals of a mixed nature.
Upendra Sharma, by mail
US rights template
The US has castigated India for violation of human rights (‘US State Dept report flags human rights abuses in India’). Another news story appeared on the same day — ‘Biden spells out steps to stem anti-Asian violence’. According to a Hindi proverb, ‘Jitna bada khet, utni jyada kharpatwar’ (Bigger the farm, greater the number of weeds). One can conclude: India is thrice as large in population as compared to the US and is crowded with ethnic, religious, linguistic and regional diversities. Still, it is managing well. On the other hand, the US, with its compact population and profuse resources, is struggling to contain violence against the minorities. In spite of all this, it wants to judge, but doesn’t like to be judged.
LR Sharma, Sundernagar
Amended chess rules
The change in rules by the FIDE, the international governing body of chess, with regard to drawn games is welcome. The offer to draw by agreement, repeated moves and stalemate has been amended, ending the possibility of drawn games. This will make chess more competitive and offer natural justice to the players in a winning position. Chess, a game of skill, has been a strong area for India as well. Let us hope the new rules will pave the way for encouraging young talent in India.
Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra
With reference to ‘The new detente’; it is certainly a commendable step taken by Pakistan. There should be talks on controversial issues between the two countries. Terrorist camps should be abolished. Only then will we know how serious Pakistan is about the talks. Both countries will have to find solutions to small and non-contentious issues through backdoor diplomacy. Implementing them will build the necessary confidence and improve bilateral relations. Now is the time for peace. Since the Pakistan army supports these steps, it is expected that there will be long-awaited peace in the region.
Sikandar Bansal, Shimla
Dealing with Pakistan
Refer to ‘The new detente’; Pakistan desires to improve relations with India due to domestic compulsions. Its debt has reached unmanageable proportions. What was said about Bangladesh being a ‘basket case’ in the 1970s applies to Pakistan today. India ought to respond cautiously to Pakistan’s overtures. At best, cooperation in areas like trade, transit, tourism and travel could be given attention. Back-channel talks may be encouraged. India desires good relations with all, but its national interest is paramount. Had Pakistan understood why Bangladesh became independent, and mended its fences with India, things could have been different.
Parthasarathy Sen, New Delhi
Apropos of ‘No roadmap to double farmers’ income’, like the promise of transferring Rs 15 lakh into each bank account and the generation of two crore jobs, doubling of the farmers’ income may also prove to be a mere ‘jumla’ because no policy or roadmap has been realised so far. The promise of doubling the farmers’ income was made by the Modi government in 2016 and it was to be fulfilled by 2022. But the government has not released any information regarding the increase in farmers’ income nor does the PM or his ministers talk about it in election rallies.
Shadi Lal, by mail
Auto-debit of fine
Refer to ‘Haryana mulling automatic challan system for overspeeding’; while the Haryana Government’s proposal is laudable, auto-debit of the fine from the account of the violator may give rise to several hiccups and other operational constraints. Why would anyone share his/her personal account details with the traffic department and under what provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act would it be legally enforceable? Moreover, how could anyone be made to pay fine (via SMS), but without providing enough opportunity, either to explain the actual position or contest the same, should he/she so desire?
Kumar Gupt, Panchkula
Apropos of ‘Interests on small savings schemes cut’, after being publicly humiliated, hours later, the Finance Minister rolled back the announcement on the pretext of ‘oversight’. As Finance Minister, she realised this step would adversely affect the prospects of the ruling party in the Bengal and Assam elections. Political U-turns carry potential risk, as they are seen as lacking conviction and authority. In Australia, it is called a backflip. Whatever we may call it, if we want better politics and better debate, we need to give in to it.
Gurwinder Singh, Jalandhar
The Covid scene is worsening and has put the whole nation at risk once more. Instead of adopting the lockdown route and blundering again, the authorities should aggressively persuade the masses to go for vaccination (‘Expand vax drive’). Experts agree and have been asserting daily through mass media that vaccination is the only solution to control this pandemic. Everyone above the age of 18 should be allowed to take the jab. To avoid rush at inoculation centres, only spacious and well-ventilated buildings should be designated for the purpose. It is time to stop export/donation of the vaccine to other countries, and rather let the nation add more vaccines like Sputnik V and Novavax to the present list.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Why the opposition?
Free bus travel for women in Punjab has been launched by the CM from April 1. Though the facility has been granted keeping in mind the Assembly elections, it is a good move towards the empowerment of women and girls in the state. But the decision has been criticised by the AAP, saying that the Punjab Government is following the Delhi model. What harm is done if a good habit of a neighbour is followed by another? Has the AAP got this facility registered in its name that it cannot be granted by any other government? It means that this opposition is merely for the sake of opposition.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Apropos of ‘Matter of shame’, the CM has done well to reiterate his government’s commitment to take action against those who disturb peace. At the same time, he has urged the PM to intervene for an early resolution of the farmers’crisis to prevent any further escalation. For now, the BJP has seized the moment to target Punjab’s Congress government and demanded President’s rule. But the BJP, too, must heed the dangers of the widening gulf between restless farmers and mainline parties. Already in Punjab, the BJP doesn’t have a significant electoral presence and has lost a vital interlocutor after its split with the SAD. The Congress, though it swept the local bodies polls, has no reason to be complacent. Neither a state nor the nation gains from this political stalemate. As people’s representatives, politicians should speak to the farmers again. The unnatural political silence must be broken.
SK Singh, by mail
Onset of anarchy?
In the name of protest, the incident of manhandling and stripping a member of the Legislative Assembly of Punjab is, indeed, a disgrace (‘Matter of shame’). Punjabis are considered to be large-hearted. While it is not another act of mob-lynching, the unruly behaviour of the protesting group has ashamed the people of Punjab, Punjabiat and democracy. The MLA from Abohar is a democratically elected representative of the people of his constituency. Are we, as a society, on the brink of anarchy and jungle raj?
KK Sood, Nangal
GDP and social welfare
Apropos of ‘India not out of woods, real GDP growth to be 7.5 to 12.5 per cent: World Bank’, economic growth has raised living standards around the world. However, modern economies have lost sight of the fact that the GDP merely measures the size of a nation’s economy and doesn’t reflect a nation’s welfare. Yet policymakers and economists often treat the GDP as an all-encompassing unit to signify a nation’s development, combining its economic prosperity and societal well-being. As a result, policies that result in economic growth are seen to be beneficial for society.
Ekta Sharma, by mail
In the name of religion
Reference to ‘22 held for attempts on policemen’; with respect to religious sentiments, one is appalled to see the misdeeds of the participants during Holla Mohalla celebrations. The sword-wielding self-proclaimed worshippers and protectors of religion came across as goons. A Sikh is expected — if at all — to carry a ‘kirpan’and not a lethal sword. Let me also share that it is heartening to see that at Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in Delhi, or any local gurdwara, one does not see even a single worshipper or any sewadar without a mask. Wish one could say the same about the Golden Temple! Be it ‘Maha Isnaan’at the Ganga, Holla Mohalla, or any other large religious gathering, these have to be suspended till things improve.
SPS Narang, New Delhi
Apropos of ‘An outstanding legal mind imbued with a vision’, a friend of mine was working in a government department as a head clerk and his promotion was challenged in the high court by another clerk by hiring a well-known advocate. My friend had heard about Justice Nijjar who was practicing in the court then, but could not afford to pay his fee. He mustered courage and went to Nijjar’s residence but was reluctant to enter the office. He caught Nijjar’s attention and explained his dilemma. Nijjar heard his case and promised to fight the case free of cost. He later won the case.
KS Dhami, California
Living up to legacy
I am member of a club which bears the consensual title of ‘Tribune Club’. Its members share a common taste, of subscribing to The Tribune, hence the name of the club. The members are of the view that this is the only paper which is not owned by any business house or individual. The paper has remained independent, transparent and apolitical during its long history of 140 years. But of late, a slant is conspicuous in the views, opinions and writings. Some writers that regularly appear dispense a particular ideology. But it is welcome. Everyone has a right to dissent and also of freedom of expression. Ironically, if some reader endeavours to contradict these writers, the same does not find place in the paper. On March 29, I mailed my views to the letters column on Keki Daruwalla’s article, “Who we are kidding here?” I wanted to puncture the hubris of this erudite writer because he slapped the epithet of ‘non-intellectual elite’ to all those whom he regularly criticised.
But sadly my views were not published. The Tribune vociferously projects itself as a supporter of right to dissent and freedom of expression. But it was not so in this case. May I ask why it is so?
Kiran Sharma, SunderNagar (HP)