Letters to the editor
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
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 ‘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
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
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
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 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)