Letters to the editor
Apropos of ‘Putsch by petitioning’ (Nous Indica, Aug 29); the attempt by the rebels did not purport to be a coup de grace, but the bugle of disconnect has been sounded and quashing it would lead to a split sooner than later. When things do not change, we change. Sonia retains hold over those obliged during her long stints at wielding power but that is now on the wane. Rahul has been called a ‘well-intentioned dilettante’ who has repeatedly failed to deliver at the hustings. India needs a robust and constructive Opposition and the Congress needs a truly representative working committee and high command. Sonia would do well to retire gracefully and shed putramoh, making way for detur digniori (let it be given to those who are more worthy). There is no dearth of talent in the party.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Helps to be a Gandhi
Reference to the Aug 29 Nous Indica; the presence of the Gandhi dynasty in the grand old party is a sine qua non, if the party is to thrive in the midst of internal intrigues. The Gandhis have been placed in the sanctum sanctorum, making their position unassailable. If this assumption is taken to its logical conclusion, it forebodes ill for a healthy democracy. A strong and effective Opposition is a must, but to make a party depend on a person or a family is not conducive for the political environment of the nation.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Divided over exams
Concerned about the revival of the education sector and the security of students’ career, the SC ruling upholding the UGC decision on holding final year exams by September-end is welcome (‘Final year exams on course’, Aug 29). Unfortunately, it has elicited a mixed response from various stakeholders. While the UGC is against providing a ‘corona’ degree, Opposition-ruled states favour promoting students on the basis of their previous performance or internal assessment. This controversial stance smacks of an ugly political slugfest at the cost of the student community across the country. As students are the future of the country, there should be a national consensus regarding their career progression. However, strict precautionary measures should be taken to ensure the safety of the examiners and examinees.
Harmohit Singh, Hoshiarpur
Hockey India not fiefdom
Refer to the news report ‘Aslam Sher Khan challenges Batra’s position in Hockey India’ (Aug 28); the former hockey player has rightly challenged the continuation of Batra as a life member of Hockey India and Elena Norman as its CEO. The duo has been running Hockey India as if it were their personal fiefdom. To drop and change players and coaches has become their pastime. There is no transparency in its day-to-day affairs. Their job is not to promote hockey, but further their own interests. The allegations levelled by Khan should be probed to set things right. Till they are absolved of the charges, they should be suspended from their respective posts.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
In reference to ‘Seven-judge Bench to revisit 2004 verdict on SC sub-caste quota’, not every strata of a particular community can be benefited through the reservation system. It would be admirable if the judiciary and executive come up with reservation norms based on economic differences rather than on the caste basis. Today, the rich are getting richer, and the poor, poorer, irrespective of the caste. How is reservation helping?
Sub-quota for SCs
Refer to the editorial ‘Quota within quota’(Aug 29); reservation is not a poverty alleviation programme. The Government of Punjab has given 25% reservation against 31.96% population of SCs in the state. There is no provision in Punjab laws that in case Valmiki/Mazhabi candidates are not available, the post will be filled from other SC castes notified in the state. Why is adequate reservation not given in all government departments, including the higher judiciary. Did the government ever start a special programme of education or employment for the Valmiki/Mazhabi community to uplift them? Did it make efforts to fill the backlog from among the community to fill various posts? Does the Constitution recognise differences in SCs? If this is so, reservation should be as per population for all castes in India. Why divide the SCs in the name of benevolence?
SR LADHAAR, Mohali
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 weekend lockdown imposed in certain states does not seem to have been thought through. It will dent revenue which is an equally serious matter affecting the economy. It would be much better if the shopkeepers can make arrangements for home deliveries in towns and bulk deliveries to village shops. The Centre has already issued instructions to 10 states to reduce the fatality rate to 1 per cent, but it has to be cautious about data fudging, in view of inadequate healthcare facilities. In the prevailing environment, the Centre and state governments need to strike a balance between trade and healthcare.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
Life must go on
Apropos of the editorial ‘Problem with lockdown’ (Aug 28), the Supreme Court, while disposing of writ petitions of students, had expressed the same views and said that life cannot be made a bondage of the circumstances. India is in the deep throes of the pandemic. People have to make their own way for their survival and cannot expect too much from the government. In this respect, the SC had to make adverse comments against the government for not taking a decision on the charging of interest and transferring the responsibility to the RBI. With Covid norms in place, economic activities should go on without fail.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
Reference to ‘Problem with lockdown’, shutdown is not a sensible solution, keeping in view the dwindling economy. Difficulties of the sufferers cannot be overlooked in the name of battling against corona. Instead, precautions should be the primary focus. Shutdown is the only measure the government has resorted to, ignoring the outcomes and reasonable steps. Reforming the strategy is vital.
SAMANTHA GARG, by mail
The endless speculations and character vilification of Rhea Chakraborty by a large section of the media before she has been pronounced guilty by the court is problematic on various counts. The leaked chats between her and various people being flashed on news channels are a violation of the right to privacy. It is also shameful that the entire episode has been hijacked by politicians in view of the ensuing Bihar elections. The aforementioned circumstances call for court-monitored, independent and time-bound investigation into the whole saga to ascertain the truth. In the meantime, the media must stop playing the role of the jury-cum-investigating agency and shift its focus to more vital issues affecting the country.
Shivam Jain, Bathinda
The SP wants to build a statue of Parshuram in UP, the BSP an even bigger one, and the Congress wants Parshuram Jayanti restored as a state holiday. Mayawati once said, ‘We should not forget that we’re a secular country.’ Akhilesh Yadav has spoken of fighting a ‘communal BJP’. Now, they and the Congress, which also calls itself secular, are promising statues of Parshuram with an eye on electoral gains. What moral right do any of these parties have to claim that they are fighting for secularism?
Arushi Sharma, Bilaspur
‘Kurukshetra’s debt to Kairon’ (Aug 28) reflects the farsightedness of Kairon. His role in appointing Dr Tulsi Dass as the first director of the PGI and bringing Dr AC Joshi as PU VC speaks of his concern in the field of education. The fact that to check copying, he personally inspected exam centres of the university, speaks of his commitment. Not only Kurukshetra, the whole of joint Punjab owes a lot to this karamyogi.
VK Anand, by mail
Legends in their own right
Dharam Pal, a teacher at Government School in Gill village, Ludhiana, used to prepare students of class IV for an exam conducted by the Punjab education department. When Kairon came to know that most successful students were coached by Dharam Pal, he visited his school to honour him and embraced him. After retirement, Dharam Pal joined Arya Higher Secondary School, Ludhiana. I had the honour of clearing that examination under his guidance in 1962, when 13 students of our school were successful against a total of 19 for the whole district of Ludhiana. He would not allow us to leave even on Diwali, leave alone Sundays. A single exception was the day Nehru visited Ludhiana, when he allowed the students to leave earlier on Sunday to have a glimpse of Nehru.
Upendra Sharma, 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
Apropos of the article ‘Media & psychic violence’, the media is the fourth essential pillar of democracy. Thus the freedom of the Press is a must for a healthy democracy, however, the present situation of news stories and prime-time shows presents a grim picture by just getting stuck to ‘Hindu-Muslim’ agenda, and being partial towards the political spectrum of the country. For this, all TV anchors and news story writers should remind themselves of the real spirit of their profession and stick to its core values. Shouting on TV screens and using harsh words would land us nowhere.
Gurinder Singh, Moga
End of civility
Apropos of ‘Media and psychic violence’, instead of providing information about the happenings in a calm manner, news channels are trying to generate fear in the minds of people by creating a war-like atmosphere. The bombardment of verbal attacks depicts a live war scene, where nothing is comprehensible. Almost all discussions end up without giving any sincere solution and reasonable thoughts. The purpose doesn’t seem to be the concern regarding the development of the country, rather it depicts a volley of blame game. This sensationalism is toxic, diverting attention from the real and genuine issues that need to be focused on, for maintaining civility in society.
Gurjeet kaur, by mail
In these times, words like secularism and nationalism are being spoken in such a way that they categorise communities and provoke sentiments in a wrong manner, which sometimes results in violence. We are aware how panel discussions are run and what kind of individuals are invited by media channels. If we leave Hindu vs Muslim and BJP vs Congress aside, there would be complete silence. The media is not presenting a meaningful debate, rather it is providing a playground where they are promoting sensational journalism. Rather than acting as the fourth pillar of democracy, it is limiting the boundaries of democracy. Media houses should not sell sensational stories just for the sake of TRP. Public expects a much bigger obligation from the media.
Tajinder Singh, Patiala
‘Media and psychic violence’ brings out the sad state of affairs in a world, once the hallmark of the truth, but now a medium of promoting and reporting anything but truth just for TRP. The owners and anchors of prominent media channels seem to be guided by political and religious leanings that have brought their respectability to a new low.
Vinay Kumar Gupta, Ambala cantt
Vaccine nationalism is a menace for many developing countries and does not fulfil the objective of equitable access to public health. The global capitalist apparatus once again dominates by reserving and dispensing the vaccines in wealthy countries first rather than to populations more at risk in developing countries. The socialistic setup tends to make more sense in the current scenario that calls for both affordability and accessibility of medical goods irrespective of the geopolitics. That should be the sole principle for coordination among the superpowers and the WHO amid this outbreak.
Wait for WHO approval
With respect to news related to Russia approaching India to produce Sputnik V vaccine, it shows Russia’s support for India, and also that if they both produce it together, the production number will be much larger and effective. But India should wait for WHO’s approval on the vaccine, and only after it is approved should India start the process.
Hardik Gupta, Solan
Keep talks going
Refer to the editorial ‘Military options’ (Aug 26); the Chief of Defence Staff recently told the PAC about the sizeable troop buildup by China, and the commensurate mobilisation by India. China’s reluctance to disengage is pushing Indian and Chinese soldiers into a long-drawn and perilous situation. India must think twice before preferring military options because preparing for the long haul in the icy heights of the Himalayas will not be easy. Diplomatic channels must be kept open.
SS Paul, Nadia
The Jammu Mayor has stated that four more electric crematoriums will be installed. The one already installed — Jogi Gate — about 15 years ago — has not been functioning for years. Crores will be spent on the new crematoriums, which would be a wastage of funds. A probe should be ordered into the status of the existing crematorium. The Mayor should first motivate people to go for electric cremation and then moot the proposal for fresh instalments.
ONQAR NATH, Jammu
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 the editorial ‘Military options’ (Aug 26); diplomacy is the only option to deal with the Chinese transgression in Ladakh. Mobilising men and material along the LAC is a must to guard against any further evil intent of the dragon. Despite the fact that China is stronger, both militarily and economically, there is no doubt that our brave armed forces will give a befitting reply if a war is thrust upon us. But, what made the CDS talk about military options if the talks fail is confusing, since such statements, if at all, should come from the political leadership. The General is either nurturing a false hope that this threat will make China behave or is trying to project a tough taskmaster image of his political bosses. Politicians must prioritise nation-building over their own image-building in the face of such threats to the integrity of the nation. Chinese transgression in Indian economy is even deeper and cannot be reversed overnight.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Punjab minister Brahm Mohindra’s statement ‘Without Gandhis, there is no Congress’ (Aug 25) reminded me of a similar statement made in the past by an Assamese Congress leader who said ‘Indira is India and India is Indira’. It is said success is not possible without change and those who can’t change their minds, can’t change anything. Unfortunately, Congress leaders have not learnt any lesson from their party’s debacle in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. They are not ready to change their mindset of sycophancy.
AK Agarwal, Chandigarh
Make it heaven again
Apropos of ‘Hoping it will be heaven once more’ (Aug 25), Kashmir, the jewel crown of India, has withstood the vagaries of time. Its history is a testimony to the fact that the Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic underpinnings not only enriched the idea of Kashmiriyat, but also instilled a deep, spiritual and symbolic meaning. This amalgamation is the primary reason for its sustenance, despite the onslaught of foreign conquerors in this holy land of revered rishis and Sufi saints. The government should focus on maintaining lasting peace, curbing terrorism and working towards development, employment generation, attracting tourists, FDI, etc, rather than on petty vote-bank politics. The remarks of the chronicler and celebrated poet of Kashmir, Kalhana, in his Rajatarangini, that Kashmir can not be conquered by force, but only by spiritual means are still relevant. It should serve as a raison d’etre to uphold and maintain the dignity of Kashmir.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Whiff of peace
Refer to ‘UAE has a change of heart’; it is nothing short of a trump card for US President Trump in an election year. The Israeli PM’s patience and the wisdom of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, backed by US power, have facilitated this development, which will have a long and lasting positive effect in the Middle East. For India and its diaspora, it is a win-win situation. For India, the added advantage is that it will hit Pakistan hard, which is yet to get out of Saudi shock. It is like a whiff of peace in the disturbing Covid times.
AK SHARMA, by mail
SC on contempt
Refer to the Prashant Bhushan case; if the SC really wants to provide for a fair ground, the power to interpret contempt should not just lie in its hands, as the definition of contempt is open-ended. A case which involves substantial questions of law should have a quorum of minimum five judges. How does the SC distinguish between criticism and contempt? In order to revive its image, the SC should establish clearer guidelines on the contempt issue.
Vaishali Thakur, by mail
Fiery editor of Zamindar
Refer to ‘On This Day... 100 years ago’(July 31); I was a student of class X in a school, which is now in Pakistan, and used to read a couple of news reports from The Tribune, placed on a lectern. After school hours, on returning home, I browsed through the Zamindar purchased by a neighbour. The couplet ‘Noor-e-Khuda hai kufr kee harkat pe khanda-zan/Phunkon sey ye chiragh bujhaaya na jaaega’ invariably appeared at the top of the front page. Zafar Ali Khan was the short-fused owner and editor of the paper. Because of his fiery nature, he was called koh-e-aatish-fishaan (volcano). He did not brook even the slightest criticism of what he wrote. The main targets of his vitriolic criticism were the British government in India and the Ahmadiyyas of Qadian. Its security deposits were forfeited, which sometimes amounted to Rs 10,000. When the mosque in Kanpur was demolished in 1913, 30,000 copies of the Zamindar were published and sold within no time. Its popularity was so much that even those who were illiterate purchased it and paid some money to those who were literate to read the news items, articles and poems etc, to them.
BHAGWAN SINGH, Qadian
Apropos of ‘India rejects K-reference by China, Pak’ (Aug 23), it is unfortunate that China has been playing a dubious role. It is ill-treating Uighur Muslims. Except Pakistan, many countries, including Islamic nations, have condemned China. With more than 90 per cent Han community, it has an expansionist attitude, and in the garb of communism, is spreading its wings to other places of the world. India knows how it backstabbed Nehru who was amicable to China.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
PSPCL in a bind
PSPCL is facing a financial crunch in serving consumers and is sometimes unable to release the salary and pension of employees and retirees. A major reason for this is that the subsidy amount toward free electricity to the agriculture sector is not being released timely by the government. Besides, heavy amount is pending towards the state department and the police, which has been brought out by The Tribune a number of times. Recently, PSPCL employees were thrashed while checking power theft at the Barnala police station. It is shameful (Cops ‘thrash’ JE, PSPCL fines station for ‘power theft’, Aug 23). Why does the government not provide timely funds for electricity payment to each department, including the police and water supply department that consume a vast amount of electricity for pumping?
OP GARG, PATIALA
Refer to ‘Treat English as a native language, not a colonial imposition’ (Aug 23); English phobia in the current context is not good for the nation. Burdening the people of South and Eastern India with three languages is unfair and biased. The three-language formula was never implemented with conviction in the Hindi heartland. No language in history has dominated the world, and certainly in the world of science, quite like English does. Almost 400 million people speak it as their first language; a billion more know it as a secondary language. It is an official language in at least 59 countries. English is going to remain the principal language of the Internet and technology for many years to come. There is nothing colonial about English. Indian English and Indian authors have won the Nobel prize.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
Mother tongue vital too
Knowing more languages is like crossing more bridges safely, and, not coming across barriers. English language has come to stay as a great language of the human race, with varying degrees of working knowledge for communication. Its adaptability from other sources like French, Latin, Greek, German etc, has made it easily acceptable and popular everywhere. English has over a million words, and, the next close, Chinese, nearly half of it. All Indian languages, including Hindi, have not crossed the 2 lakh figure individually. At the same time, it is a fact that mother tongue helps create spontaneous friendships. NEP did the right thing in promoting the local language up to class V as compulsory.
SUDERSHAN WALIA, Amritsar
Language of opportunities
Being a global language, English should not be meted out step-motherly treatment on one excuse or the other. At a time when India wants to compete with other countries and dreams to be at the forefront of all progressive movements, neglecting English language will not do. English is not only an official language of the UN but also 53 countries. It gives an edge to students and is a passport to get admission to an educational institute of repute and choice for higher studies. English should be made compulsory at every level till the final year of graduation. Being a language of job, opportunities, Internet and media, it deserves a prime position in NEP.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘Differently abled man not on IRDP list’; why doesn’t the state government conduct an inquiry against the alleged gram panchayats? Why isn’t the selection process of BPL persons transparent? If the government survey team visits the house of the people, how do rich people enter the BPL or IRDP lists? There is a need to amend the selection procedure for BPL persons, making it more and more transparent.
Ritish Pandit, Dehra Gopipur
Not in sports spirit
Refer to the editorial ‘Sports awards need overhaul’ (Aug 24); this year's sports awards were too controversial. Despite a new selection committee being formed, the fault lies in the system. A very large number of individuals were nominated for the awards. No Arjuna Award has been given to a chess player since 2013. What is the selection committee up to? Rather than provide awards that politicise sports, the government should provide jobs and funds to sportspersons.
Amitoj Kaur, Patiala
Apropos of the editorial ‘Herd immunity’ (Aug 22), a serology test can detect if a person has antibodies to SARS-Cov-2 and can help identify people who have been infected. Antibodies are produced over days to weeks after infection. Serology enables us to understand the occurrence of infection. But the WHO has clarified that even if sero-surveys reach up to 50 per cent, vaccine is the only treatment. A Noida doctor tested positive again, 45 days after recovering from the first bout of infection. Seroprevalance surveys are only an indicator.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
The report ‘Medical council used as a milking cow, claims chief’ (Aug 21) presents a dangerous situation, where the chief of the PMC feels humiliated and has to seek the CM’s intervention. The PMC has increasingly been considered as a body responsible for only the registration of doctors and regulating conferences and CMEs and has miserably failed to curb quackery, act, protect and promote ethical and legal practices leading to progressive loss of faith and confidence of doctors, the administration as well the people at large. If any institution fails to justify its purpose, people in power will try to belittle the institution and its people. The PMC has failed to initiate any action against any one in Punjab, let alone a local medical college for unethical and illegal practices.
Vitull K Gupta, by mail
Religion column in forms
Apropos of ‘When no faith matters enough’ (Aug 22), both my sons are married to Christian girls. My grandchildren find themselves in this dilemma every time someone asks them their religion. They faced the same dilemma while filling the school admission form that carried a column of religion. There is a need to do away with this column from all government forms, or include another class of religion as ‘liberal or secular’. Elsewhere in the article, the writer has counted the blessings of the lockdown. But, the blessings have come at a great cost.
Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali
‘Standard system needed to check identity fraud’ (Aug 21) is timely and eye-opening. The authorities must take note of it. Had the identity of ‘XY’ been checked through the Registrar of Births and Deaths, such types of fraud could have been eliminated. Why should there be a delay in recording births and deaths? The onus should be on the authorities instead of an individual. Secondly, not only the date of birth and names are wantonly changed by a state through its gazette without getting clearance from the Registrar of Births and Deaths, another fraud is being committed under the heading ‘Change of religion’. Why should a secular state take upon itself to notify this change in its gazette?
Prem kumar, by mail
Every year, there is a chronic problem of long duration of waterlogging in towns, yet no serious action is taken to find the reasons behind waterlogging. Due to rapid urbanisation, construction has been allowed in the areas which are potential spots to drain out rainwater. The other reason is the choked or inefficient stormwater drains which stop the speedy runoff flow. Also, rampant corruption in MCs is another reason. Serious action is required by the local authorities to find those responsible for this mess.
AK Bhatia, ex-Member, Haryana State environment Authority
Exams on track
Refer to ‘JEE, NEET on schedule in Sept’, it is an appreciable decision by the authorities because the postponement of exams would have delayed the upcoming academic year. Results and counselling also take time. Those students who were filing petitions should now focus on studies. The government, on its part, should take strict measures as lakhs of students will be appearing in the exams and their safety is important.
Akshara Gurbani, Chandigarh
The demise of Dr Ramashray Roy on August 12 has remained unreported in the media, despite the fact that he was a doyen of political science. A PhD from the University of California (Berkeley), Roy had been invited by eminent political scientist Rajni Kothari to join the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies as a Fellow in 1963. He had served as the Director of Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi. Roy had been a Visiting Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Although he had been a prolific writer, he is better known for the studies on 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections, which he and Prof Paul Wallace of the University of Missouri, Columbia, had worked on for a book.
Ranbir Singh & Kushal Pal, Karnal
Refer to the editorial ‘National Recruitment Agency’ (August 21); the concept of NRA looks beneficial for both the government and those seeking employment. Both will save money — the government for conducting several exams, and candidates for depositing money separately for all exams. Candidates will have to prepare for all exams only once. The Centre has conceptualised a single exam for all B and C posts across India, but the MP Government has declared that it will reserve state government jobs only for local candidates. It may create a problem for the quasi-federal system of India. There is a need to create maximum number of jobs to cater to the unemployment caused by Covid-19. India has only one citizenship for people staying in the country, and citizens cannot be barred from staying or working in any state, as per Article 16 of the Constitution.
Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali
Refer to ‘Oz enters deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine’ (Aug 20); ‘vaccine nationalism’ is emerging in various affluent countries. Even before the end of human trials, several countries like the US, the UK, France, Germany and Australia have entered into pre-purchase agreements with vaccine manufacturers. Such agreements can make it difficult for the rest of the world’s population to have accessibility to Covid-19 vaccines, at least initially, when the production level will be low. This fear has led the WHO to issue an advisory to rich nations to desist from hoarding vaccines and allow its fair and rational distribution to all countries, irrespective of their wealth quotient.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
In reference to the news report ‘27% pupils without smartphones, laptops’; laptops and smartphones have been the second option for all students, but due to Covid, the only option now is online education. Smartphones or laptops with proper Internet connection are required, but not all students have access to them. Covid has impacted the education of students whose families are struggling with financial problems or because they are living in rural areas.
Shefali Kohli, Jalandhar
Missing out on classes
As per a survey by the NCERT, about 27% pupils have no access to smartphones and laptops. This is a serious issue because in the current times, the whole education system depends on these gadgets. Many from the middle class have lost their jobs. How can they, and those from poor families, buy these costly gadgets for their children?
Reference to Swachh Survekshan 2020; Amritsar, the holy city, also known the world over as Sifti-da-Ghar, is the dirtiest city in Punjab and ninth dirtiest in the country among cities with a population of over 10 lakh. This, in spite of the fact that an IAS officer as Commissioner of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation-cum-CEO Amritsar Smart City, is looking after it. Other agencies like the Amritsar Improvement Trust and Amritsar Development Authority are also spending a lot of resources for its upkeep. All government bodies are spending money to give it a beautiful look, but no one is caring to give it a ‘swachh’ look.
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
The decision by the Punjab Chief Minister to impose night curfew and the extension of the weekend lockdown was a much-needed step to curb the spread of Covid. Although the fatality rate is still low, the surge in cases is increasing. The ‘war-like preparedness’ that the CM called for, and asking the citizens to spread awareness and cooperate with the government, will hopefully prove to be effective and help in a Covid-free Punjab.
Maitri Bhardwaj, Patiala
Apropos of ‘Dhoni embodiment of new India’ (Aug 21), the former captain of Team India broke the hearts of millions of his fans across the world when he announced his retirement. Dhoni accepted all the highs and lows in his cricket career to win him the title of the best captain of Team India. The note of appreciation by PM Modi is a proud moment for Dhoni’s fans. His presence of mind is unlikely to be seen on the field of international cricket for a long time.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
Smacks of bias
I hold Julio Ribeiro in high esteem. Hence, I was extremely disappointed to read his article on Sushant Singh Rajput (Aug 15) which was unduly biased in favour of the Maharashtra Government, the Mumbai police and Rhea Chakraborty. He has simplistically concluded that Sushant’s death was a suicide due to his love affair gone awry. There is hope that Sushant and his family will get justice, now that the case has been taken over by the CBI.
OP Singh, Chandigarh
In a historic decision, the Centre has approved the creation of the national recruitment agency (NRA) to conduct an online eligibility test for candidates applying for government jobs. It will save the job-seekers’ time and money. The NRA will set up examination centres in every district of the country, which will help the youth, especially women who are from rural areas. A common eligibility test is a boon for 2.3-5 crore candidates who appear for these exams. Candidates applying for one exam will get an opportunity to compete for many posts. There will be no restrictions on the number of attempts by the candidates. It is a good initiative.
Ashwini parmar, Delhi
The national recruitment agency (NRA) is an exceptional step taken by the Modi government, as it will create a uniform, transformative recruitment process. The government has sanctioned over Rs 1,517 crore for the agency. By ensuring transparency, this initiative will be a boon to crores of youngsters. It would ensure equal opportunities to all sections of society and better access to rural and underprivileged candidates, and women also. It would cut the cost and save time and resources too.
Khushbu Ved, Gurugram
Will aid job process
Apropos of ‘National recruitment agency for Group B, C posts’ (Aug 20), the setting up of the agency is a crucial stride towards progression in the recruitment process. It is a commendable move by the government to streamline the process by having a common eligibility test in central and public sector banks. It will help young job-seekers across the country to push their ambition towards reality. Giving more importance to non-technical posts for graduates, higher secondary and matriculate candidates will help young people become self-reliant, irrespective of their age and qualification.
Ashu Arora, Chandigarh
Jobs for locals
This refers to the editorial ‘Govt jobs for locals in MP’ (Aug 20). Though reserving state government jobs for locals is unconstitutional, there is no stopping chief ministers who pursue such politics. Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s announcement is a retrograde step. The failure of the governments, be it Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra or Andhra Pradesh, to create job opportunities for the burgeoning unemployed youths is being covered up through such reservation, with no jobs to offer. This kind of politically motivated decision would encourage other states to follow suit, thus imposing restrictions on the movement of talented and meritorious job-seekers, and eventually create barriers between states. Lack of freedom to recruit workforce could hit productivity in the private sector. The net loss to the unemployed youths would only increase due to the short-sighted policies of the governments.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Online Covid results
Karnataka has come up with an online service that allows people to check their Covid test results by entering the Specimen Referral Form (SRF) ID. The portal has been developed by the Karnataka State Covid-19 War Room. The Government of Karnataka can be in touch with people through their mobile numbers. The ID contains the health details of patients. A similar process of online service is going on in Tamil Nadu, where citizens can download a PDF copy of their report. With the help of this online service, the rush in hospitals will decrease. Other states should follow suit.
Sanjana Soni, Chandigarh
GPS in trucks
With respect to Punjab news relating to GPS being made mandatory in trucks carrying ethanol, spirits etc, this will make it easy to track the trucks and get details in case of any scam. Also, rules like no stopping except in the case of a breakdown will help in checking liquor smuggling and prevent cases like the Majha liquor tragedy.
Hardik Gupta, Solan
CBI gets Sushant case
Reference to the news regarding the commissioning of a CBI probe into Sushant’s case (Aug 20); the whole nation was waiting for the SC judgment on the transfer of the case. It is perhaps for the first time that there has been the involvement of the SC in such a case. There was widespread outrage among the public and everyone is anxious to know the real cause of Sushant’s death. Finally, the case has been handed over to the CBI. Hope the agency will go into the depth of the case and the late actor and his family will get justice.
Shubham bisht, by mail
Refer to the August 19 editorial ‘Life must go on’, the Supreme Court has observed in its ruling that ‘careers of students cannot be put under jeopardy for long’, but can the lives of students be put at risk in the name of a career? One of the points being mentioned is that exams would be conducted under a controlled environment. Is it possible? Students will have to personally appear at exam centres. Will they not be exposed to the risk of contracting Covid? The irony is that the SC itself is hearing cases virtually, but expects students to come out and take a chance with their lives! The court should have waited until the flattening of the Covid curve in the country before passing this order. Life once gone cannot come back.
Ishan Hastir, Gurdaspur
Apropos of the news report ‘No action yet in fake beneficiaries case’ (Aug 18), there are several other welfare schemes, too, which are being implemented in Punjab. Is there transparency in running all those schemes? The government should find out the cause for wrong identification of beneficiaries. The delinquents should first be brought to book and deterrent punishment may be given. Identification must have been done under political pressure. The yardsticks taken to declare the beneficiaries ineligible may be made clear to the public. In fact, this issue is being highlighted just to divert the attention of the public from problems like unemployment, poor education system and medical services, sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities and the inefficiency of the government. Neither government agencies nor banks dare knock the door of big sharks who are the defaulters.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Free power politics
Recently, the Punjab CM reiterated his oft-repeated stand on free power. The groundwater is now in mining mode, where extraction is more than double the annual replenishment. The government is constitutionally bound to ensure the balanced use of all natural resources, including groundwater. Excessive use of groundwater is a criminal act and an ecological disaster. More than 70% of agriculture in the state is dependent upon groundwater. It is crucial to save the economy of the state from a government-created situation for political considerations.
SK Mittal, PANCHKULA
Why no award for Gurtej?
In reference to the news report ‘1 Kirti, 9 Shaurya Chakra; none for Galwan heroes’ (Aug 15); it is strange that the Galwan valley bravehearts were ignored. Gurtej Singh sacrificed his life, killing 12 Chinese soldiers in Galwan. The 12th Chinese soldier, who attacked him with a sword, was also killed by Gurtej Singh after he snatched the sword from him, before attaining a heroic death. Gurtej Singh should have been awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
Widening tax base
Reference to ‘Direct tax reforms’, given the behemoth population of India, its minuscule taxpayer base is paradoxical. The deep-seated trust deficit, harassment of honest taxpayers, tax evasion by bigwigs with impunity, the long-drawn-out tax disputes are some reasons for non-compliance. The government’s announcement of a faceless tax assessment is a step in the right direction. The 14-point taxpayers’ charter envisages to provide a free, fair and transparent tax environment. It is hoped that the implementation corresponds to the intended goal so that India embarks on a trajectory of buoyant economic growth to ensure that the benefits expected of a welfare state reach its citizens.
Sukhman Kaur Lochi, Chandigarh
Drying system for fruits
Fruits are a vital source of essential nutrients, but due to the high moisture content, they are highly perishable. As per the latest estimates by the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology, Ludhiana, the wastage of fresh horticultural produce is up to 18 per cent due to poor post-harvest management practices. Drying is therefore an appropriate alternative for perishable products. An optimum drying system for the preparation of quality dehydrated products is cost-effective, as it shortens the drying time and causes minimum damage to the product. Modern techniques like vacuum drying, osmotic dehydration, freeze drying, heat pump drying and superheated steam drying have a great scope for the production of good quality dried products and powders. The government should promote it.
Gurinder Singh, Patiala
The rape of a 17-year-old girl in Gorakhpur and a six-year-old girl in Hapur, the Sudiksha death case, and the murders of Sanjeet Yadav and journalist Vikram Joshi are only some cases that have come to the limelight. It speaks volumes about our law and order system that is like a sewerage system choked by criminals. The BJP and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that his government works on zero-tolerance policy against crime and criminals. In reality, the outcome is zero. Instead of focusing on compensation and suspension, our system needs to be more alert and active.
Gaurav Kumar, by mail
Refer to the editorial ‘Brutal rapes rattle UP’ (Aug 18); the heinous crime of rape has been increasing in India, and specially in states with low literacy rate. The low conviction rate and harassment of victims at all levels of justice has worsened matters. The involvement of politicians and their near and dear ones has compounded the situation. Society has failed to bring up boys with ethical and moral values. Rapes will continue until instant and exemplary punishment is given to the criminals.
Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali
Rising rape cases
Refer to the rape cases in Uttar Pradesh last weekend; such cases are increasing day by day whereas the conviction rate is decreasing. Why? The Yogi Adityanath government came to power on the promise that it will end the jungle raj in the state. But the facts and results are before us. Criminals are not getting punishment, and hence, there is no fear of law. Implementation of anti-rape laws is vital.
Master of the game
Refer to the editorial ‘Dhoni calls it a day’ (Aug 18); Dhoni’s adieu to international cricketing arena is the end of yet another golden chapter. No other cricketer can boast of world-class wins in both the shorter and longer version of the game in such a short span of time. As captain, three ICC titles and many more triumphs added to the aura of invincibility around him. It was his remarkable ability to turn things around that stole the hearts of fans. Even his risks looked like planned strategies and altered the course of the game, leading to surprise victories. His phenomenal rise from a ticket collector to the pinnacle of glory can be attributed to his exemplary hard work and extraordinary resilience. His uncanny knack in making improbable targets look achievable, match-turning ability and cool-mindedness in tense situations will continue to inspire youngsters.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Led from front
Dhoni has said goodbye to all official formats of international cricket at the right time. Leading from the front, he has shown the way to remain cool in tense situations and win the game. He is getting respect from all quarters. Though we will miss Dhoni in ICC cricket tournaments, we will look forward to his ‘helicopter shot’ in the IPL.
Divender Gupta, Solan
Not immune to criticism
Apropos of the editorial ‘Contempt of court’ (Aug 17), no doubt the majesty of the law has to be maintained and the judicial system must have an aura of sanctity around it. Therefore, any act to scandalise it, should entail the exercise of power of contempt by the court. But the aspect of the jurisdiction that stifles constructive criticism requires correction. As Churchill observed, ‘Criticism may not be agreeable but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.’ Criminal contempt of court has, for long, invited varied views and debates. In the landmark case of S Mulgaokar, Justice VR Krishna Iyer laid down certain guidelines to courts in the exercise of contempt jurisdiction. The public interest in curbing cases of corruption, nepotism and questioned integrity etc, would outweigh the desirability that judicial acts or judges manning the system of administration of justice are immune from criticism.
PIYUSH KANT JAIN, by mail
Refer to ‘Reimagining secularism’ (Nous Indica, Aug 15); Gandhi triggered a mass campaign of non-compliance against the British to alter the political climate. Gandhian secularism struck a decisive blow to British imperialism that thrived on dividing Indians on religious and communal lines, and ultimately led to our Independence. We are a multicultural population with regional, religious and economic differences. At a time when Gandhi’s legacy is becoming apparent in civil society and politicians across the spectrum fight to be its guardians, it is unfortunate to frequently violate society’s widely held values for narrow political interests.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
THE editorial 'Contempt of court’ (Aug 17) rightly suggests that judges should be circumspect while using the contempt law. The SC decision in the Prashant Bhushan case should stir a public debate regarding the necessary amendments to ensure increased transparency. With due regard to the judges, this decision makes a common citizen feel that magnanimity rather than the rod would have served the ends of justice more. Any move which tries to stop the flow of information from the public to the judiciary is likely to prove counterproductive, particularly bearing in mind that corruption and permissiveness are all pervasive in our society and polity. Shutting the flow of fresh air, sometimes with heavy dust particles, is likely to make the judiciary stale and inadaptive to the changes required with the changing times.
Subhash C Chabba, Panchkula
Criticism is not contempt
Prashant Bhushan would never have imagined that his seemingly innocuous tweets would render him guilty of contempt of court and possibly land him in jail. This judgment, unfortunately, brings the credibility, impartiality and fairness of our judiciary under the scanner. Nothing can be more damaging than people losing their trust in the apex court. It appears as if we are not worthy of being branded as democrats if mere criticism is tantamount to contempt of court. It is time to revisit the definition of contempt of court to clear the vulnerable vagueness and ambiguity.
Kanwal Gurtej Singh, Mohali
In this case, wrong
‘Contempt of court’ (Aug 17) apparently ‘criticises’ the apex court decision which declared Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court by making scandalous remarks against judges of the Supreme Court. The Tribune’s remarks may fit in other cases, but in the case of Prashant Bhushan, this decision is right. He always blames the judiciary when his writ does not work before the judges and he fails to get decisions from courts as per his expectations.
RL Bansal, Kurukshetra
Guilty of contempt
Apropos of ‘SC holds Bhushan guilty of contempt for CJI tweets’ (Aug 15), we may gainfully refer to the observations of Justice Wilmot in R.v. Almon in 1765: ‘And whenever men's allegiance to the law is so fundamentally shaken, it is the most fatal and most dangerous obstruction of justice, and, in my opinion, calls out for a more rapid and immediate redress than any other obstruction whatsoever, not for the sake of the judges, as private individuals, but because they are the channels by which the King’s justice is conveyed to the people.’ It is an eye-opener and the case will have a long-term impact.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
Same rights as son
Reference to the Aug 13 editorial, ‘Equal rights for daughters’, the SC verdict resolves an issue where courts took conflicting positions. The judgment underscores the 2005 amendment’s progressive intent that ends gender inequality and discrimination against women. The amendment had stipulated that the daughter of a coparcener shall ‘by birth’ become a coparcener in her own right. The 2005 amendment’s ‘by birth’ clause leaves no confusion, yet the legal lines got blurred. However, gender battles over equal rights are far from over, as varying by state, women are at the mercy of religious personal law. Many states follow HSA 2005, but some like Punjab, UP and Haryana are still governed by tenancy laws riddled with patriarchal biases. Succession rights for Hindu women have overcome some hurdles, but some still remain. Perhaps a uniform civil code may undo this gender inequality and injustice too.
PRAKASH HANSPAUL, by mail
Not without bias
I found Julio Ribeiro’s articles balanced and logical till I read his Aug 15 article on the Sushant Singh Rajput case. It was biased. He doesn’t touch on various aspects which the Mumbai Police should have investigated. He is also biased in his views on Aditya Thackeray. Is that because he said he voted for him? The public is seeking a CBI probe because the Mumbai Police haven’t done their job. It is a pity that he should talk about a person whom he came to know after his death.
Gurmeet Singh, Jalandhar
Played for team, not self
This year, several notable sport personalities have passed away — PK Banerjee, Chuni Goswami, Balbir Singh Kullar and the legendary Balbir Singh Sr, Dronacharya awardee Joginder Singh Saini, and now, cricketer Chetan Chauhan. Chetan was a prolific opening batsman. He would often get out when batting in the nineties. It reveals he played for the team and not for self, and thus has no centuries to his credit, even after playing 40 Tests. Adieu to these illustrious sons of our country.
Gurdeep S Dhamrait, Dharampur
Refer to Nous Indica (‘Reimagining secularism’, Aug 15); a debate on secularism has started after the participation of PM Modi in the bhumi pujan for Ram mandir. Whether it was secular or non-secular by a PM of a democratic country to take part in a religious function must be debated, but it seems a new name or word is needed for those challenging majoritarian politics. Perhaps ‘plural’ is more suited than ‘secular’. Ironically, India’s secular values started decaying after the word secular was added to the Preamble in 1976. In the Modi era, secularism has almost been nearly discarded. Lines between state power and Hindu religious functions are almost blurred. Instead of secularism, what we need is to start building genuine tolerance in society. Religion, an important part of life, should be treated as a personal matter. Respect for all and appeasement of none is the mantra.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
‘Reimagining secularism’ (Nous Indica, Aug 15) is a scathing attack on the modern concept of secularism. Nehru and Modi represent opposite views of secularism. Secularism remains unhurt when the US President takes oath on the Bible. The shadow of ecclesiastical practices is visible in the British political life. Conversely, our secularism was suppressed under our colonial masters but it is embedded in our cultural practices. Indian secularism approves its commitment to Ram Rajya based on the foundation of social justice and universal brotherhood. India can’t be imagined without its cultural and spiritual heritage, besides our proud icons like Lord Krishna and Lord Rama, or Buddha and Guru Nanak. Anti-national forces are distorting ‘secularism’. We have failed to understand the critical view of our cultural and historical realities.
Kapil Sharma, Kaithal
Independent audit must
In reference to ‘Pbi University in financial mess’ (Aug 13); it calls for drastic measures to wrest the constant slide of one of the oldest universities of Punjab. Years 2011-12 saw unrestrained recruitment in the teaching and non-teaching cadre, with charges of nepotism and sidestepping of UGC norms flying thick and fast. This unwanted and under-qualified staffing resulted in ballooning of the salary bills and denting the credibility of the university. The constituent colleges and neighbourhood campuses funded and regulated by the university with the objective of acting as ‘feeders’ are a huge drain on the limited resources. An independent audit of all past selections, thorough investigation of corruption cases and punishment of erring officials occupying responsible.
Jashandeep Sandhu, Patiala
Apropos of ‘Hypnotising nationalism’ (Aug 13), the dispensation is busy peddling myths to create its own version of pigeon-holed nationalism. Our great past heroes would be turning in their graves over this pitiable spectacle. Blind conformity seems to have become a norm, and even an ounce of dissent borders on treason. The so-called nationalists hardly realise that the plight of the poor Hindus is as despicable as those of other minorities. It is high time for the media to shed its genuflection and servile attitude to serve its true cause before it is too late.
Kunwarbir Singh, by mail
Every July, a pensioner has to submit a life certificate on a prescribed form duly attested by a gazetted officer to document his being alive and entitled to pension. Covid-19 lockdown has barred even physically fit individuals from compliance, not to speak of those medically unfit. Accordingly, there is a requirement for the pension-paying authority to devise an online arrangement for the certification. A message should go to the pensioner well in time that the certificate is due. Thereafter, the authority may WhatsApp the pensioner to show his or her face with the PPO No. and Aadhaar card or passport pinned on the chest pocket — in public interest to avoid any pension payment delays.
KL Noatay, UK
Collapse of system
In Punjab, it seems there is complete failure of governance. The recent hooch tragedy is just an addition to incidents in the state. Corruption and crime are on the rise. The so-called secular and welfare government is, meanwhile, busy diverting the attention of the common man. Then there is the sand mafia, transport mafia, cable mafia, land mafia and drug mafia. Home and Excise come directly under the CM and he can’t shun responsibility. Merely setting up commissions for inquiry is not enough. Corrective measures are needed.
Puneet Garg, Patiala
Apropos of the editorial ‘Lessons from the US’ (Aug 14), we may fail to recognise the fact that the rise of Kamala Harris is attributed to a truly pluralist society that provides abundant possibilities to people with exemplary talent, courage and conviction. It is time for the Indian State to pause and do some honest introspection to promote democratic and secular values which somehow seem to have fallen prey to the forces of pseudo-nationalism and pseudo-secularism.
Refer to ‘Lessons from the US’; Kamala Harris is a worthy choice as Joe Biden’s running mate. Given that she is a biracial child of immigrants, Kamala truly represents the diversity of the US, and has been chosen as a flag-bearer of inclusivity, a living antidote to the four-year tenure of President Trump. It should not be forgotten that she tends to have a sceptical view of India’s rightward political turn that is against the principle of inclusivity, diversity and coexistence.
SS Paul, Nadia
Has come a long way
‘Lessons from the US’ echoes the sentiments of Indians. It is challenging to get acknowledged in distant lands. One has to perform more in comparison to natives to draw attention even on the basis of one’s merit. Kamala has come a long way because of her academic parents. She is going to sway the voters of Afro-Asian roots in America. Having undergone a long periods of trials and tribulations, they seem to have the same emotional affinities.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Will eliminate corruption
By launching a taxation platform for ‘honest taxpayers’, PM Modi has taken a historic step to end the era of inspector raj in the tax regime. Faceless, seamless, painless will be the new SOP for the income tax department. The scrutiny, assessment and appeals would no longer be confined to one region or one officer, ensuring transparency and harassment. The random computerised system will end person-to-person contact between the taxpayer and the taxman. The new IT chapter is set to widen the tax base with more and more people willingly paying taxes under the new laws.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
PM Modi has taken the biggest step to reform the tax system since Independence by launching a transparent taxation platform. It is a big gift to the honest taxpayers of the country. The taxpayers will not only be rid of the income tax department, but also of unnecessary disputes. The government will have to ensure that the system checks corrupt officials as well as discourages those who refuse to pay taxes. It should be monitored at the level of the Ministry of Finance. Only then will the desired form of the taxpayers’ charter emerge. It is a matter of consideration that in a country with a population of 135 crore, there are only 1.5 crore income tax payers. The government should make efforts to make it mandatory for every adult Aadhaar card holder to file tax returns, even if no tax is payable.
Shakti Singh, Karnal
The taxation system going faceless is needed for a country of 135 crore people, where less than 2% people pay tax. This will not only help in checking frauds in the system, but will also reduce corruption prevalent in the taxation departments. It was becoming a big hindrance to growth. The consistent efforts to clean up the system is commendable, but the bigger question is whether it will be implemented in the right spirit.
Muskaan Gulati, Ambala City
Nothing on ground
Refer to the editorial ‘Boost for defence industry’, it seems like the BJP government is on an announcement spree over the past six years. Every week, there is something new, but on the ground, we hardly see anything. The media is also tight-lipped, even as the government has failed on various issues such as employment, drugs, corruption, price rise etc. This government will be remembered for bhaashan, bhaashan aur bhaashan.
Rajeev Bansal, Nabha
Show of maturity
Reference to the news ‘Post Rajasthan, Cong to deal with dissidence in Punjab’ (Aug 14); dealing with the dissidents in Rajasthan has boosted the morale of the Congress leadership, which is now planning to solve the problem of dissidence in Punjab. The maturity which Rahul Gandhi and his sister have shown in dealing with this problem proves that Rahul can don the crown of the party president.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Apropos of ‘3 die in B’luru firing after MLA’s house attacked over a post’ (August 13), the incident reeks of political conspiracy. The well-armed violent mobs indicate a planned riot that was done to create unrest in the city. But the situation right now should not be given a communal angle. This wrongful act was done by a group of people. Not only the miscreants, but also those who provoked them should be brought before the law and punished. In times like these, where we need everyone to stand strong and together, such incidents are disheartening.
Ayushi Bisht, Dehradun
Refer to ‘Boost for defence industry’, there was a long-standing need for boosting indigenous manufacturing and creating an extensive infrastructure base for producing military hardware, the import of which consumed a major part of the defence Budget. There is no doubt that local industry will lap up the opportunity to enhance their business, but the main impediment will be the non-availability of cutting-edge technology to meet the global standards. Arjuna tank took 35 years from the drawing board to production line, and it still has some glitches. The LCA took three decades, in which the indigenously produced Kaveri engine did not give the required performance, compelling us to import the engine from the US. The government should create a separate department for manufacturing intelligence to keep pace with the world.
Col Kuldip S Grewal (Retd), Patiala
Step up R&D
The decision to put an embargo on 101 defence items is a good piece of politics, besides its potential implications (editorial ‘Boost for defence industry’, Aug 11). The decision needs to be implemented in the light of the new dictum, ‘technology desired, technology achieved’. For focused R&D, a qualitatively different environment must be created, which is easier said than done. But whenever political leadership is positive and committed, desirable results have materialised sooner than later.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Apropos of the editorial ‘Equal rights for daughters’ (Aug 13), the SC acknowledging equal rights for daughters on a par with sons as equal inheritors is a verdict that is being praised all over the country. Our society has always been male dominated. The verdict is a bold step and will act as a catalyst to empower women and treat them equally. But a change in the mindset of the people on a personal level will make a huge impact rather than the amendments being made to the Constitution.
Utkarsh Kapoor, Chandigarh
Apropos of ‘Equal rights for daughters’ (Aug 13), a daughter is a daughter for life. We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court that upholds a daughter’s right to inherit parental property as absolute. This is a step towards promoting equality for women. Property rights are fundamental to a woman’s social, economic and legal security. A great day in the march for gender equality.
Mehak chaturvedi, Chandigarh
Way too negligent
We all are equally responsible for the surge in Covid cases. People can be seen without masks at public places and social distancing is given the least priority, even at places where it is easy to maintain. In some places, there is no facility to sanitise or wash hands, and the places where it is provided, people often don’t use them. Our conscience, rather than fines, should compel us to follow the guidelines for our as well as the safety of others.
Mandeep Kaur, Jalandhar
Population stabilisation fortnight is observed from July 11 to July 24 every year, with practically no impact on awareness among the public about population control. India is still expanding in population in quantity, adversely affecting the quality of population. All-round improvements can be brought in by stabilising or controlling the population, which is already long overdue. Unemployment among youth, increasing number of beggars on the roadside, rush and traffic overload, all are related directly or indirectly to population explosion. One or two-child policy is the need of the hour. What is needed is political and administrative will at the highest level.
Anil Garg, Raipur Rani
Refer to ‘Shimla MC to shame pet owners for not cleaning poop’ (Aug 12); it is a laudable decision. But this nuisance is not that easy to solve. Until the decision is converted into effective action, it will only remain a good intention. Cities across India are constantly experimenting with solutions. There is scientific evidence that dog waste is an environment pollutant and a human health hazard too. It may contain certain pathogens that can cause people to get sick.
K Kumar, Panchkula
Apropos of ‘Global N-order in a flux’ (Aug 12), nuclear use today is fraught with an unimaginable holocaust for all living creatures on the planet as the present nuclear arsenals are a thousand times more powerful. The world needs to build a strong movement against nuclear pile-up, and, therefore, the UN must be strengthened, impartially playing its part in freeing the world of nuclear danger. India, the land of the Buddha, Mahavira, Guru Nanak and Gandhi, who strived for peace, compassion and universal brotherhood, should take an out-of-the-box lead for peace.
Sudershan walia, Amritsar
Wasting nation’s time
Apropos of ‘A needless crisis’ (Aug 12), the decision on the impeachment of former US President Bill Clinton mentioned that though no charge was proved, the nation’s time, which could have been used for productive purposes, was lost. The same is the case here. Valuable time was lost which could have been better used during the Covid phase. But Indian politicians do not care about it due to their mindset. The Congress must have a full-time president, otherwise, similar incidents will happen in other parts of the country, too.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
Message from Rajasthan
The month-long stalemate in Rajasthan seems to have come to an amicable end. But it has conveyed an uninspiring message to the aam aadmi. Gehlot, despite being a seasoned politician, lost his cool and resorted to improper language. He was at his worst conduct during the crisis. The fear of losing the chair unnerved him. On the contrary, Pilot conducted himself with dignity and was composed throughout. We need such educated politicians (irrespective of party) who deserve a chance to run the government. The sinking ship of the Congress can be saved only by such leaders. It is hoped that the party high command realises this and has learnt a lesson.
Prem Kumar Sharma, Chandigarh
Kohinoor of Urdu poetry
The accursed coronavirus pandemic has taken the life of the Kohinoor of modern Urdu poetry. Tears welled up in my eyes on reading his obituary. Rahat Indori was my favourite poet. He was a poet of bearami and bechaini (restlessness). He wrote about burning issues. His daring couplet is quoted often: ‘Jo aaj sahibe-masnad hain, kal nahin honge; Kirayedar hain, zati makan thodi hai/Sabhi ka khoon hai shamil yahan ki mitti mein; Kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai!’ He would steal the show in mushairas and kavi sammelans, mesmerising audiences with his inimitable dramatic style of presentation of his poems and ghazals. He motivated the youth with couplets like: ‘Toofanon se aankh milao sailabon pe vaar karo, Malahon ka chakkar chhodo tair ke dariya paar karo!’ When at a book fair, I purchased all the books of Rahat Indori, the bookseller asked me if the poet was my relative. Replying in the affirmative, I told him, ‘Khoon ka nahin, rooh ka rishta hai.’
Jaswant Singh Gandam, Phagwara
Rahat bhai will be missed
Rahat bhai will live forever in the minds of those who value freedom of expression of voice, thoughts, and above all, alignment with a clear-cut concept of nationalism. A widely travelled personality, who was at home everywhere, Rahat Indori always mesmerised his audience with his unique style of rendering nazms and kept them spellbound. May his soul rest in peace. We will forever miss him.
Deepak Kumar, Panchkula
Fake research degrees
The large-scale proliferation of fake and fraudulent research degrees has engulfed colleges and universities of Haryana (‘500 PhD degrees under lens’; July 30). Such spurious research degrees are being issued by private universities in Himachal Pradesh and also in Rajasthan on monetary considerations. Persons holding such degrees are penetrating into private and aided colleges affiliated to Kurukshetra University. It is laudable that a probe has been ordered in all government colleges to verify the veracity of research degrees obtained from these private universities.
Manish Singh, Kurukshetra
In many states, the flood situation is grim. It happens every year. People have to pay a heavy price and it disrupts the economy. It costs loss of lives and properties. Building indiscriminately and illegal mining is only adding to the problem. The culprits should be punished. To make sure that the flood situation does not get out of hand, safety arrangements should be made before the onset of the rainy season to mitigate the loss of life and property.
Narender K Sharma, Joginder Nagar
Refer to the editorial ‘Boost for defence industry’ (Aug 11); manufacturing defence equipment will give India a unique identity, more so since India is one of the biggest defence importers. The Defence Ministry’s decision to set aside Rs 4 lakh crore for defence development within the next five to seven years will give employment to many Indians. Defence privacy would be easily maintained. India has huge manpower and low labour cost. It will surely boost the economy. LAC Tejas was manufactured by HAL, which has shown India’s ability to make defence goods with excellent quality.
Ashwani Kumar, Chandigarh
Making in India
The development regarding the manufacture of defence equipment in India is a matter of great satisfaction. Embargo in a phased manner will lead to major reforms to boost the domestic defence industry. Over the next five to seven years, orders worth several lakh crores would have been placed for defence procurement. A clear signal has been sent to the indigenous industry regarding commitment and the government’s intent. Indeed, a very good step has been taken.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
In the right direction
Refer to ‘To empower small farmers, PM launches Rs 1L cr finance facility’ (Aug 10); the creation of a comprehensive post-harvest infrastructure can be a game-changer in agriculture. Most of the storage infrastructure is not owned by farmers. This also means that they are forced to sell their entire produce in one go after the harvest, and when the prices are low. Laudable as the scheme is, its benefits will only accrue in the medium to long terms. In this context, the government must not lose sight of the immediate economic challenge of boosting growth and incomes. The actual fiscal boost to the economy doesn’t match the scale of the government’s big-ticket announcement.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Back-to-back fire cases at Covid-19 facility centres are a wake-up call for the government. All such tragic events have proved that those bearing the responsibility of safety regulations have only paid lip service. Exemplary action is the need of the hour, or else such cases will continue to occur. It is appalling that only 30 per cent cities have a master plan in case of an emergency, and even those have become obsolete now.
Rahul Chouhan, by mail
A waste of effort!
Apropos of the news ‘Raj crisis ends, prodigal Pilot returns after meeting Rahul’ (Aug 11), what a denouement and what a cost! Pilot, who needed Rahul’s shoulder to cry on and wasted a lot of time and money to keep legislators tucked in five-star resorts by both parties, was a no-show in the end. Gehlot calling Pilot ‘nikamma and nakaara’ is now a thing of the past. Or it is a tactical retreat because the required numbers were not ‘arranged’, despite given enough time for horse-trading? Pilot should be prepared for an ignominious exit and shabby treatment at the hands of a seasoned Gehlot.
Ashok Goswami, by mail
Apropos of ‘SC tells Pb, Hry to list steps taken to curb stubble burning’ (Aug 11), the country is already battling a deadly respiratory disease. The burning of stubble will affect patients in the recovery stage. Moreover, as the air quality deteriorates, the lungs of not only adults but also young children can be affected as it will make them vulnerable to the virus. Be it providing machines or creating awareness among farmers, we need proper policies more than ever before. The governments of the respective states should come up with policies that could help farmers and stop them from burning stubble.
Ayushi Bisht, Dehradun
Need police reforms
Police reforms are the need of the hour. From strength to technical superiority, our police forces are in a pathetic state. People must understand that cursing the police blindly after a crime and worshipping them after an encounter will not bring any positive or real changes on the ground. We must gear up for strong reforms, otherwise, the police will remain ineffective in curbing crime.
Ginish Kumar, Bhiwani
Optical fibre inauguration
Reference to the inauguration of the submarine optical fibre during Covid; when everything has gone virtual, it is a commendable step by the government. This will boost the economy of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as it will promote the tourism sector. Besides, it will help in defence and employment generation and give an impetus to the economy. It will raise the standard of living while facilitating the delivery of e-governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education.
Neetika Singh, Chandigarh
As China is involved in a bitter economic and power struggle with the US, it does not tolerate India’s burgeoning strategic relations with the latter, and wants to run down New Delhi’s national interest (editorial ‘Taking China head-on’, Aug 7). The recent intrusions in Ladakh are symbolic of China’s long-term strategy of capturing the DBO-Karakoram pass and help Pakistan capture the Siachen glacier for the successful operation of its flagship CPEC project. India has boldly refused to move back its forces. Knowing that a stubborn China will negotiate hard and long, India should be cautious. It should counter China diplomatically, economically and militarily. For that, we should revamp our intelligence and border infrastructure, enhance military potential and protect against any possible cyber attacks.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Reference to ‘MoD trims import list, bans 101 items’ (Aug 10); this is a commendable step because the people of India will become fully self-reliant only when the government becomes self-sufficient. India will then move towards ‘atmanirbharta’. We used to depend on other countries for defence equipment and machines, but now we will manufacture it. It will help develop industrial skill, which will make India a source of defence equipment for other nations. It will also increase employment opportunities and save foreign exchange.
Basmati GI tag
Refer to ‘Rice exporters oppose MP basmati rice in GI tagging’ (Aug 8); the controversy on the legal status of the GI tag, granted to aromatic rice varieties grown in the sub-Himalayan region of India, Pakistan, Nepal etc is unwarranted. Basmati has been grown in the Indo-Gangetic plains since ages. India is the largest producer and exporter of rice in the world, with major exports to the Gulf countries accounting for over Rs 25,000 crore annually due to the international recognition of Indian basmati. India, as a member of the WTO, enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999, which came into force in 2003. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production. The proposed inclusion of aromatic rice varieties grown in non-GI region (MP, etc) will legally weaken the basmati GI status of India, which won the GI tag case in 2001 against the US patent of Texmati aromatic rice obtained by RiceTec company at the international level.
Virender Singh Lather, Karnal
Murder charge apt
Apropos of ‘Slap murder charge on accused, says CM’ (Aug 6), many innocent lives were lost due to the consumption of illicit liquor in the state. This clearly points towards the mentality of the violators behind this serious crime. They have no fear of law and couldn’t care less about the repercussions on human lives for their own selfish motive. The CM has announced stringent steps, including booking the accused under Section 302 (murder charge) under the IPC. At least there is a ray of hope for the family of the victims who are waiting for justice.
Harpreet Sandhu, Ludhiana
Illicit liquor trade
‘Desi tharra’ is a household word in Punjab. Illicit liquor is available in every nook and corner of the state. And the recent tragic death of a hundred people reveals that the administration has been caught on the wrong foot (‘Punjab govt in the dock’, Aug 3). Drug trade and booze are the biggest money spinners in Punjab. The police and bigwigs in the administration provide protection, and, in turn, get a share in the booty. Nothing can happen without the power cover. That is why both products are readily available. The government is a little worried about the widows and orphans who are left to fend for themselves after such hooch tragedies. If our government is sincere and dedicated, there is no reason why the illicit liquor trade can’t be rooted out in Punjab.
KARNAIL SINGH, Kharar
Heritage Street an eyesore
Refer to the deplorable condition of the inundated Heritage Street of Amritsar. This is a routine affair after a rainfall of just half an hour. This Rs 250-crore project, instead of providing a soothing effect, has become an eyesore for the people. Under the smart city scheme, a free Wi-Fi project is in the pipeline in this area. What is the use of having free Wi-Fi in an area where people can’t even walk easily? The same IAS officer is occupying the post of the MC Commissioner and CEO of the smart city project.
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
The RBI decision to permit banks to restructure loans of firms that are being battered by the lockdown seems an unambiguous signal that India is in the midst of one of the worst economic performances since Independence. The RBI has forecast a recession that can undermine the long-term viability of even sound firms, thus affecting jobs and growth. Indian banking has an uninspiring record when it comes to special dispensations on recognising stressed loans. Given the nature of the economic challenges, public investment needs to lead the recovery. The recession will, in any case, render the Budget’s deficit targets meaningless. Another fiscal stimulus package is badly needed now.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
Refer to ‘A-I plane skids off runway in Kerala, 17 dead, many hurt’ (Aug 8); the pilot cannot be held responsible for the accident. If the runway was slippery or it was not ready for planes to land, how could the airport authority permit the plane to land? What was the ground staff doing? The authorities should investigate the case as soon as possible and take strict action against those responsible.
In an unfortunate event, an Air India aircraft slipped off the runway while landing causing many deaths. The Karipur airport is in a hilly area and has a tabletop runway. This is a master of concern as there have been four major incidents of aircraft slipping on the runway between 2008 and 2017. The government must pay attention to such airports.
Sumit parmar, Hisar
Apropos of ‘Divided, we stand no chance’ (Aug 8), the campaign is a good initiative and all well-meaning Indians must participate in it. But generally, such campaigns are reduced to an ‘intellectual’ exercise by persons who claim to be left-liberal-secularist. Liberal means to be capable of appreciating a diverse point of view. Secularists view religion as a personal affair. For them, the propagators of communalism are Hindus and sufferers are mainly Muslims. Muslim votes are ‘secular’ votes whereas Hindu votes are ‘communal’. Such secularism is reverse communalism. If they term the Ram mandir foundation stone-laying ceremony by the PM as the death of secularism, how is hosting of Iftar parties secular? There are numerous examples of such hypocrisy. How the reversing of Shah Bano decision was secular, as was banning The Satanic Verses? How amendment to Hindu personal laws was secular but talking of a uniform civil code is communal? Communal frenzy is more a result of selective secularism. ‘India Against Hatred’ campaign will be effective if it is targeted against all types of communalism.
Rakesh Gupta, Patiala
What’s changed for J&K?
On August 5, 2019, Article 370 was removed from J&K, and again, on August 5 this year was the bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple. Two historical events were combined, representing a form of politics. How much development has taken place in J&K in this one year? The government had said that after the removal of Article 370, there would be large-scale development. Lakhs of Kashmiri students could not go to school till March, and soon after, schools were closed due to the pandemic. It is difficult to study online on a 2G Internet. Many senior leaders are still in detention and all business is at a standstill.
Win their confidence
The abrogation of Article 370 has removed a psychological barrier from the minds of citizens. It has not only brought relief to some sections, but has also come as a shock to corrupt elements. For the past 70 years, J&K had been receiving 10 per cent of Central funds, despite having a population of 1%, but there was no progress. There is a big question mark on how this money was used for the state and its people. This historic step aims to promote social amalgamation to reduce the threat of militancy. The government, along with the armed forces and prominent citizens, must focus on winning the confidence of the Kashmiris.
ANSHIKA SHARMA, Mohali
Incentives for e-vehicles
The new electric vehicle policy unveiled by Delhi CM Kejriwal was overdue. He came up with financial incentives for those who purchase e-vehicles for the next three years. The Delhi Government will give a benefit of up to Rs 30,000 for a two-wheeler, and for a four-wheeler, a benefit of up to Rs 1.5 lakh. The decision is already showing positive results. This will give a head start to the economy and help in combating pollution. For those keen to buy e-vehicles for commercial purposes, loans will be given at low-interest rates and registration fee and road tax will be waived. Other states also should come up with similar ideas.
Vihaan Gupta, by mail
Refer to the editorial ‘Taking China head-on’ (Aug 7); China seems to be hoping that with its immediate neighbours Pakistan and Nepal breathing down its neck, India will buckle under pressure and make a move to buy peace with China. India’s stand on not retracing from its territory is a sign of resolute and firm stand. China’s attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN are not new, but India should not remain a passive defender all the time. It’s high time India ups the ante on Tibet, its claim on PoK and fortify its position in Bhutan. Let the app ban be followed with a trade ban as well. If China does not relent on Ladakh ‘transgressions’, India must close down the diplomatic mission of China to send a strong signal that such acts are not tolerable anymore.
Ashok Goswami, by mail
Despite several rounds of talks between India and China regarding de-escalation of tension along the LAC, no immediate solution appears in sight. In view of the Galwan incident, China cannot be relied upon as it had attacked Indian soldiers without any provocation. The attack was premeditated. Moreover, China’s expansionistic tendencies and greed for grabbing weaker landlocked territory through unfair means is a never-ending phenomenon. As regards India’s relationship with Russia, though India has had good relations with its long-standing military ally, at the same time, Russia’s rapport with China cannot be overlooked. It is doubtful if Russia will openly extend help to India in case of a conflict. At this stage, it is imperative that India must forge a military pact with the US to effectively check China’s assertiveness, aggressiveness and other nefarious activities.
SANTOKH SINGH, Jalandhar
Do we follow Ram’s ideals?
As expected, PM Modi conducted bhoomi pujan and laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Ram temple with great fanfare. But as the head of the government, he should have avoided performing these mythical rituals belonging to a particular community. There were hundreds of sadhus and sants who would have happily stood in for him in this task. Holy men like Lord Ram belong to the whole humanity, and we should not try to monopolise them for our ulterior motives. The ultimate truth is that had we internalised Lord Ram’s human values and way of life, India would not have been a society riven by strife.
Tarsem Singh, Mahilpur
Child bride saga
Apropos of the editorial ‘Sirmaur’s child brides’ (Aug 7); it was disturbing to read that girls still continue to be married at an early age in the 21st century. It is said a woman has to pass through three stages of birth in her lifetime — when she is born; when she marries, and when she herself becomes a mother. Not only is it legally banned but also morally wrong to marry a girl at an age when she is too immature to understand the meaning of marriage. As a result, she finds herself unable to cooperate with her husband and becomes unnaturally quiet as she accepts everything unquestioningly, considering it to be her fate. It is an ugly blot on our society which we collectively need to remove. A girl has an equal share in the story of human growth. She has always been in solidarity with her male counterparts to shoulder every responsibility. She should be given complete freedom to steer her own life.
Kapil Sharma, Kaithal
Long queues at Chitra
The middle ‘Ram Rajya at Chitra Talkies’ took me down memory lane. Chitra Talkies ranked first in Punjab for maximum seating capacity of any cinema hall in the state. It had two balconies, the second on a great height, hence, ticket for this was equivalent to the lower stall. The queue for tickets was rather long, but children used to get tickets without getting into the queue, a special privilege not available anywhere else!
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Long way to go
Refer to the editorial ‘J&K, a year later’ (Aug 5); a year is too less to expect ground-breaking results for a problem as complex as the Kashmir imbroglio. From the security point of view, the Centre has done well in maintaining relative peace in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370, but a militaristic approach alone is not enough to eradicate terrorism. The government must find ways to resume Internet facility followed by starting of economic activities to generate employment and avenues of livelihood. Special focus must be given to youngsters who have just entered school age. Efforts must be made to prevent radicalisation and develop a bond of trust with India. The journey to normalcy has just started. It is a long way before complete peace is achieved in the Valley.
SK Sharma, Panipat
The ground-breaking ceremony of Ram mandir at Ayodhya after a long wait is a glorious and historic moment for the Hindu community, but organising such an event on a large scale and spending a huge amount of money for the bhoomi pujan ceremony is not a wise step when the economy of the country lies shattered. The event should have been organised in a simple way and the money spent on it used for the welfare of the needy.
Sukhdev Singh Minhas, Mohali
PM should have kept away
Refer to ‘PM lays stone, says Ram belongs to all’ (Aug 6); one question comes to mind. Was it appropriate, unavoidable and constitutionally correct for the PM to lay the foundation of the temple that has a long history of disputes attached to it. In a secular democracy, the PM is not expected to represent any particular religion or organisation. Religious affiliations of the head of a state should be confined within the four walls of his home.
SANJAY CHOPRA, Mohali
Extend gesture to masjid
The bhoomi pujan ceremony went off peacefully. But it would have been much better had the PM attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the proposed new Masjid also, having earlier persuaded the Muslim clergy to plan the unique event simultaneously. This gesture would certainly have assured the minorities that they too matter. He would have won the hearts of not only millions of Muslims, but also of secular-minded Hindus. It is still not too late. The actual digging for laying the foundation is likely to take time. The PM should give true meaning to the rhetoric of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.
Amritlal Madan, Kaithal
New Pak map
The new map unveiled by Pakistan has created a lot of disturbance again. Along with Kashmir, Pakistan has incorporated Junagarh in the map which is ridiculous. The J&K border links both India and Pakistan, but Junagarh does not share its border with Pakistan. India should give a befitting answer to Pakistan. Kashmir, too, is an integral part of India.
Ramanjot Kaur, Jalandhar
It is shocking that so many lives have been lost because of spurious liquor (Aug 5). Every year, because of spurious liquor, many people die. In 2011 and 2015, altogether 182 people died in West Bengal because of spurious liquor. Also as per WHO report, alcohol kills 2.6 lakh Indians every year, either by causing liver cirrhosis, cancer or leading to road accidents because of drunk driving. All government departments should be invigorated so that deaths due to alcohol are scaled down. Particularly, the excise department should see that spurious alcohol is not prepared and sold.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
Depriving others of seat
Refer to ‘PEC grad, doctor shine in Civil Services exam’ (Aug 5); irresponsible, newly qualified administrators have deprived deserving medical and engineering aspirants of a chance to enter their respective fields. If they were so inclined to join the services, why did they ruin the chances for others? Their seats could have gone to those truly keen to become engineers and doctors. The relevant qualification for the IAS is arts, more specifically political science and public administration. Such candidates harm the system and cannot be taken as ‘dedicated’ to any field of service.
MPS Chadha, Mohali
Help them contribute
The UPSC has declared the Civil Services exam results. Many successful candidates have shown their keen interest to develop and restructure the education system of India. But when it comes to ground reality, our young and talented officers either get diverted or refracted to some other zones of working. A cluster system should be implemented in these appointments, so that every officer can do a conclusive job with undivided attention.
Gagandeep singh, Jalandhar
Learning from animals
‘Who is to tell who is an animal!’ (Aug 6) conveys a precious message; humans have a lot to learn from animals. Only a few hours after going through the piece, I noticed many crows cawing and surrounding an injured crow in a park, a message of concern about fellow beings. Sadly, a morning before, nobody was aware of the death of an elderly woman in the neighbourhood. We can pick up more from animals than the Internet. I am a septuagenarian, and in these past seven decades, I have never read about a dog who is disloyal to its master, a trait reserved only for human beings. Siberian cranes migrate to India after flying thousands of miles, indeed a strong message of patience and optimism. Group hunting by hyenas, wild dogs, wolves and lions conveys a message of cooperation and collaboration.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
The absence of a couple of leading faces of a struggle for the past three decades notwithstanding, the bhoomi pujan ceremony for the construction of the Ram temple has, at last, been accomplished amid all religious, political and social rituals. Now, let us hope that the imaginative wish of Ram rajya comes true, where merit, truthfulness, justice for all, equality among all sections of society, irrespective of caste, class, creed, religion, gender etc, prevail.
KK Sood, Nangal
Soft touch must
Since the reorganisation of J&K and the abrogation of its special status, there have been conflicting claims about economic development, infrastructure, democracy, freedom, rights, job opportunities and eradication of corruption ( ‘J&K, a year later’ and ‘A case of hits and misses’, Aug 5). Undoubtedly, the overall security environment has improved with the scale of terrorist violence and civilian deaths declining drastically, but the government still faces the formidable challenge of emotional integration of the Kashmiri people. Restrictions on Internet services, suppression of dissenting voices and detention of political leaders are the main irritants. The government should immediately release all political prisoners, start the process of holding free and fair elections and restore statehood. A soft approach will win the confidence of the people as well as the international community.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Many have lost their lives due to the consumption of spurious alcohol in Punjab. Alcohol is considered an integral part of Punjabi culture, and is also a major contributor to revenue. Addiction to anything is bad, and the same goes for alcohol, yet our songs — Punjabi as well as Bollywood — glorify its consumption as a habit and as an antidote to miseries. What we see and listen to, whether it is good or bad, always has an impact, more so on teenagers.
Mandeep Kaur, Jalandhar
Lone sane voice
Refer to former Himachal CM Shanta Kumar’s advice to his party to not deviate from value-based politics (Aug 4); he seems particularly concerned about the machinations in destabilising the Rajasthan government. His is a sane, but lone voice in the BJP in the state. Leaders of his ilk are not many. The BJP has shunned the principles that made it ‘a party with a difference’. That is the price it is paying for being the biggest party in the country.
Sanjiv Sharma, Pragpur
Don’t deserve relief
The SC had directed Airtel to pay additional cess, but unable to pay, it has approached the Centre, DoT and the SC to reconsider the same, and also seek permission to pay the cess in many instalments, otherwise, the company may be liquidated. This issue is applicable to various other companies that are facing financial hardships. If the government bails them out, it will put a burden on the exchequer. When these companies are in huge profits, they do not pay anything extra to the government. Why should the government consider any kind of relief for them? It is against public interest. Their management is fully responsible for their working. CEOs draw huge salaries. The government should not consider their appeal.
Deepak Saraf, Rampura Phul
The write-up ‘Travails of a staff officer’ (The Sunday Tribune, Aug 2) raises some significant questions. Given the specific requirements of staff/field postings, an intelligent officer adapts faster to new persons and situations to build confidence-inspiring relations and reputation. Whether one is lazy, intelligent or hard working to fit into the British period army classification gets reflected not only in one’s personal elevation, but also the actual quality of conditions of one’s area of operation, and the overall condition of the organisation if one heads it. Given the ever-increasing number of organisations and institutions regressing quality-wise, the review of the British period classification assumes significance. Punjab that has come to pass as a laggard state, needs to reorient its 3.15 lakh employees to restore its premier position in terms of pre-Independence classification. The police and paramilitary forces can also try it out.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Unfair to employees
Apropos of ‘Revenue dips, govt holds up staff salary’ (Aug 4), employees have to bear the brunt of inefficient planning of the state Finance Ministry. GST refund not released by the Centre and non-tax revenue falling because of lockdown is not the concern of employees. It is the duty of the government to plan for such exigencies. Employees should get their dues in time, just like MLAs and ministers get theirs without delay. The state FM’s statement that he has written to the Union FM will not suffice. It will not fill the bellies of the families of the employees.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Refer to the editorial ‘Politics and spirituality’ (Aug 4); politics and religion have remained connected to each other for decades. Any event, be it a foundation ceremony or riots, related to any religious place is used by politicians for their vested interests. Nobody is interested in the principles of religion. It is said religion is regarded by common people as true, by wise as false and by rulers as useful. What about social distancing, which is necessary as a preventive measure for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, during these ceremonies?
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Not much of an issue
Refer to the editorial ‘Politics and spirituality’; the timing of the ground-breaking ceremony has been blown out of proportion. A large chunk of population is indifferent to the anniversary of the abolition of Article 370 and even the construction of the temple, when they do not know what is in store for them the next morning in terms of physical, mental and economic wellbeing. For all practical purposes, this has given enough fodder to the news channels to dissect the issue, other than Covid. People ought to heave a sigh of relief that these two burning and contentious issues shall be history, and hopefully the government shall get down to serious business which shall bring development and prosperity to the country.
Deepak Singhal, Chennai
Mind Delhi, Mr Kejriwal
Punjab toll due to spurious liquor is painful and definitely the state police are accountable. Remarks of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal that ‘so many people have died and all you are interested in is political meat from the incident’ is uncalled for (‘Capt lashes out at Kejriwal over CBI probe demand’, Aug 3). Kejriwal should mind his own business and look after Delhi instead of interfering in affairs of other states. He should not forget that many lapses have taken place in his state where the people have suffered badly. He should set his own house in order.
OP GARG, PATIALA
Get to bottom of it
Apropos of ‘Punjab govt in the dock’ (Aug 3), the hooch tragedy has unmasked the glaring inadequacies in the state apparatus. Passing the buck would tantamount to trivialising the tragedy. It is time to wake up to this grim reality. The ostensibly complicit political dispensation should come out of its slumber and order an independent inquiry by a sitting HC judge. Undoubtedly, the excise department has a fair share of the blame but a more pernicious aspect relates to the nexus between politicians and the police. The emergence of such a spectre in a small district like Tarn Taran reveals that the civil and police administration cannot be oblivious to this operation. Let’s hope that this tragedy serves as an eye-opener.
Education mattered then
Refer to ‘The heyday of govt schools’; those were the golden days when holistic development of students of government schools was cared for. Now, the attention has shifted to ‘opulent’ schools rather than teaching methodologies, resulting in the degradation of quality education and widening of the gap between private and government schools. Efforts made to cover this gap are hailed. Revival in the education system can be brought about by diminishing the divide as well as restoring dedication and quality.
Deepti garg, by mail
Colleges alone won’t help
Refer to ‘11 new colleges to be opened soon’ (Aug 4); instead of opening new colleges on political and extraneous considerations, the Haryana Government should try to streamline the administration of existing colleges, both government and non-government. They are violating the mandatory provisions of Haryana Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service) Act 1979 and rules of 2006 framed there under in the matter of the constitution of college governing body, method of recruitment and service conditions of teachers. The higher education department has failed to take action. BEd and engineering colleges are already on the verge of closure due to poor quality of education and teaching. Degree colleges shall also fall in line soon. It is no longer realistic to relate job opportunities to our devalued university degrees. No knowledgeable employer these days reckons a university degree at its face value.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
An irrigation project was awarded to a company in 2014 under PMKSY at Nadaun in Hamirpur. Six years have elapsed, but even Phase 1 of the project is yet to see the light of day (‘Minister for time-bound completion of works’, Aug 3). This has resulted in cost escalation and has deprived the youth of job opportunities. Timely execution will ensure livelihood to the needy in the command area that envisages to cover about 3,000 hectares.
NK Pathania, Hamirpur
Apropos of the editorial ‘Criminal contempt of court’ (Aug 3), corruption is rampant in all departments in the country and those dealing with the public are more corrupt than others. Defence and judiciary are considered to be less corrupt because of internal checks. Judiciary has recommended that its functioning be kept out of the ambit of the RTI. According to the Transparency International, judicial corruption in India is attributable to factors like delays in the disposal of cases, shortage of judges and complex judicial procedures. Impeachment procedure of corrupt judges is very complex and time-consuming; whistleblowers fearing invocation of contempt of court is another factor. In a democracy, ‘we the people’ have the power to elect governing bodies of our choice, and should also have the right to transparency in functioning of the government, including the judiciary.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
Apropos of the editorial ‘Criminal contempt of court’, the SC’s contempt of court against senior lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan is based on the assumption that the courts can never be wrong. It has been recognised by jurists that each time the offence of ‘scandalising’ the court or lowering the court’s authority is invoked, some tend to believe that the court has something to hide. Contempt of court is more and more an anachronism in a democracy — it has been circumscribed and rejected in the US and the UK. It is time to usher in judicial accountability.
SS Paul, Nadia
The death of over a hundred persons due to spurious liquor in Punjab is a painful tragedy, especially for the near and dear ones of the victims. But the politics over the whole affair leaves a bad taste. Weren’t the panchayats and villagers, who are now demonstrating outside the police stations and hospitals, aware of the goings on? When the government is giving a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the families of martyrs, an MLA has demanded Rs 1 crore for the families of hooch victims. What a cheap way to score political brownie points. Rather than politics, it is time for introspection for politicians, the police and the public to avoid such gruesome tragedies in future.
Lt Col Harbinder Singh (Retd), Patiala
Reference to spurious liquor killing over 100 people in Punjab; the news is shocking and calls for a serious debate on the prevailing law and order situation in Punjab. To lose a breadwinner is unfortunate. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. Bootlegging has been going on in Punjab under the very nose of the powers that be. No serious efforts have ever been made to contain this malady. The government should devise ways to avoid the recurrence of such incidents.
Santosh Jamwal, Hamirpur
Can’t do away with exams
Refer to the NEP; I have observed that the major trouble with the reformists is that they hate exams. They cite exam pressure and the weight of books children carry as two major reasons to play with the education system. What they do not understand is that if you teach well and students take interest in studies, there is no such pressure. Exams are a very important component of education as it tests the ability and capability of a student. The crux of the problem is poor teaching and learning environment in classrooms, especially in government schools. No amount of structural changes will be able to improve learning unless we recognise the facts for what they are.
DS Hooda, Rohtak
Not the end of world
It is really shocking to learn that on an average, Ludhiana saw one suicide per day during the lockdown. It might be the story of other cities across the country. The bitter truth is that lockdown has snatched the ways and means of livelihood of a majority of the people, which is an immediate cause of depression during this phase. But we must realise that it is a temporary phase and it will abate soon. Birbal rightly said to Akbar, ‘Yeh waqt bhi guzar jayega.’ So, we must not lose hope and try to adopt a positive attitude. It is a precious gift by God. Spend time with your family and share your feelings with others.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
The middle ‘The twilight zone of reason’ is praiseworthy. Big claims by babas and illiterate people will go on unless people develop a scientific temper. These claims should be scrutinised before they are aired because a majority of the people, being illiterate, try to find quick and cheaper treatment. Most channels are showing such miraculous treatment of all diseases just for TRPs. The media should be more responsible.
RC Garg, KotKapura
No self-correction can be expected from the bureaucracy (‘Inscrutable Indian babu’; Nous Indica, Aug 1). Indian politics has become a fortune hunting ground for those having an insatiable greed for wealth and power. The Indian babu is a facilitator-cum-partner in the game. This nexus is responsible for all the ills of society and the country. As a result, the poor remain ignored, deprived and tormented. Certainly, there are many upright and honest bureaucrats but they are very few and far between. They remain marginalised and most of them choose to keep to themselves seeing the condition of others like them who are tortured by frequent transfers, implicated in false cases, and even liquidated. It will be too much to expect any remedial steps from them. To further lower, whatsoever remains of their morale, even our autonomous constitutional institutions, apart from investigating agencies, are also becoming facilitators of misrule. The only possibility is the awakening of the Indian, whom the writer sees as ‘easily excitable’. But that is a far cry.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Gone too far
Refer to ‘Inscrutable Indian babu’ (Nous Indica, Aug 1); diplomats are one of the pillars of a country’s administration, and when this pillar gets wrecked, it poses a great threat to a country’s integrity and governance. It is shameful that gold was smuggled in bags that were passed through customs as diplomatic cargo. Introspection and credibility are indeed needed, without which the country is doomed.
Jashan Goyal, Bathinda
China can’t be trusted
Apropos of the editorial ‘Chinese checkers’ (Aug 1), China, as a nation, has a ‘psychological’ problem, it seems. In recent times, it has made unprecedented progress to become second in the world, militarily and economically. This has gone to its head. It now wants to be number one. India, in South Asia, is an obstacle, and therefore it wants to keep us on edge. The Chinese ambassador’s five points are reassuring, but after the 1962 back-stabbing, poet Bashir Badar wrote, ‘Yaron ki mohabbat ka yakeen kar liya maine, phoolon me chhupa hua khanjar nahin dekha’.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
It is painful to read about the deaths caused by the consumption of spurious liquor in Punjab. Spurious liquor has been in news for long in the state. It is further disheartening to read that the police are involved indirectly in all such scandals. Policemen have turned a blind eye. Corruption is at the roots. Will the authorities take these policemen to task for ignoring this business for two decades in the region, where these deaths have taken place?
Kuldip Dosanjh, Jalandhar
Beyond lip service
Refer to ‘Education in disarray’ (July 29); the pandemic has caused a double whammy to the education sector. All stakeholders are confused and concerned. Students are on the brink of losing a session, parents and schools are at loggerheads regarding the payment of fee and teachers are at the receiving end from school managements. Only a small section of student community is engaged in online learning. Many senior teachers have lost their jobs for failing to cope with the new system. Other sectors too are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. The government has not thought beyond distributing ration to poor sections of society. The states as well as the Centre must act beyond lip sympathy and do something concrete to assist these sectors.
VISHNU SHARMA, AMRITSAR
Apropos of ‘Jadhav case: Pak Bench to hear review petition’, years of clashes between India and Pakistan are not showing any results. Instead of settling conflicts, they are getting stretched due to some reason or the other. India is fervently fighting for freedom of Kulbhushan Jadhav since 2017. Keeping aside the ongoing quarrel, the apex court and laws of both nations should professionally and patiently look at facts which may lead us to something.
Tanishka Bahl, Dehradun
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot was adamant on convening an Assembly session from July 31, but he had to blink first in his battle of attrition with the Governor by agreeing to hold the session from August 14. Though many constitutional functionaries were consulted to resolve the political crisis, it seems a satisfactory solution eluded them all. This is most unfortunate because of the long-term implications of such machinations for democracy. The ugly reality is that the Rajasthan-like situation is becoming quite common in Indian politics.
PL Singh, by mail
The NEP is out after a long wait. It heralds a new and better change but there are doubts about its implementation. There are many issues but three appear to be more important. A paragraph has been devoted to the creation of Indian Education Service (IES). This service, hopefully, will be more effective in implementing the NEP, which needs a more human and pedagogical approach. IES should be created on administrative and teaching sides to make them interchangeable. It will not suffice if it is restricted only to the posts of Registrar of universities. Secondly, the recommended foundational stage of five years seems to be a patchwork. If pre-school education is attached with every Kendriya Vidyalaya, why not with every government school in states? Organisational hurdles can be addressed adequately. Thirdly, learning language/medium of instruction is also a half-hearted approach. The provision follows many roadblocks in view of English getting an important position at home, in schools and many service matters.
S Kumar, PANCHKULA
Reference to the July 31 editorial ‘A new beginning’; before and after 1947, matriculation was the requirement for entrance to higher education in colleges. Then, 10+2 streams brought more changes, but NEP-2020 promises much-needed reforms. It offers a bright ray of hope, as it is ambitious and forward-looking. Though there are many challenges in its implementation, by delivering on greater flexibility and skills to students and much more autonomy to educational institutions, it could prove to be a game changer. Utmost care is needed that pushing the mother tongue or regional language does not translate into another assault on English-medium schools. In higher education segments, there couldn't be a better goal than increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio by 2035. It is now very important for the HRD/Education Ministry to get state governments on board and also have a debate and discussion in Parliament.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
No country for researchers
NEP is coming along with a lot of hope, but the government should simultaneously work upon the quality of teaching and research along with funding. Researchers prefer to move abroad for pursuing PhD just because there are many more opportunities. Huge funding, fellowships and assistantships are attracting Indian students to widen their scope for quality of education and life as well. In India, a PhD scholar stands in the queue of 10+2 pass for jobs, but a researcher with strong financial support goes abroad for higher studies and handsome job offers and financial security. I wish India to be one of those countries where researchers crave to build their future.
Devina Badhwar, Rohtak
Sanskrit is considered as the oldest language and is also called the mother language, but the truth is there is no future use of the language. Communication in Sanskrit cannot be seen anywhere and it is the main reason that this language is losing its importance. It is a very good initiative to conserve this language, but the focus should also be on communication, otherwise there will be no use of this language in the modern era.
Akshara Gurbani, Chandigarh
Offering Sanskrit as a subject in schools and colleges is appreciable. For the coming generation, it will be beneficial if they learn this language. The NEP ensures that everyone at school and university level will learn Sanskrit. People will learn the value of Sanskrit rather than just giving importance to English and other foreign languages.
Rohan Kakkar, Faridabad
Treat with sensitivity
Apropos of the middle ‘Covid stigma, a new kind of racism’ (July 25), the writer shows the mirror to society. The news of ‘finding’ a victim of the pandemic is treated not less than finding an alien. People start circulating photographs and making videos of the patient. Patient’s family members are also treated poorly. We need to understand that it is the physical distancing which is required, not mental isolation.
KAMALPREET SINGH, BARNALA
Not like old times
It was heartening to read ‘Missing those days of Tiaan’. It was a mesmerising attempt; important in respect of revitalising young girls to recollect their cultural past. Is it not a sad state of affairs that today, our youth is forgetting our cultural traditions and are running after film songs and western dances? Ours is a rich culture, replete with religious tilts, all of which pertain to the traditions of our sacred land.
Inder Dev, Bathinda