Letters to the editor
Apropos the editorial ‘Water audit in Punjab’ (Feb 21), the fast depleting groundwater level has not been shown enough concern. Man-made factors like rampant construction and reckless deforestation should also be checked. In Punjab, the canal network was the backbone of the irrigation system and its revival must be taken up on priority basis. No new tubewell connections should be permitted and the users of the existing ones should be made to pay for the use of groundwater, similar to the canal water charges. The state can ward off the danger of desertification if it can adopt drip irrigation and reduce groundwater extraction to the minimum.
PL Singh, by mail
Refer to the editorial ‘Water audit in Punjab’ (Feb 21). The writing is on the wall and the dos and don’ts are known to all. Perhaps because of the myopic political views or insensitivity towards the interests of the coming generations, the will to save the land of five rivers from turning into a desert is missing. Even the bare minimum is not done. Ideally, all civic bodies of the state should ensure adequately treated water supply that requires no further purification by aquaguards and ROs to save water. But sewage lines mostly remain choked, resulting in frequent supply of dirty water to houses, compelling people to install submersible pumps that further lead to the depletion of groundwater.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Equal in every way
Delay in meting out punishment to the convicts in Nirbhaya case has also been because of the lawyers. A lawyer is bound to watch the interests of his client, but then, it is his duty to refuse if the client is using unfair means as in the case of Vinay. We should not allow loopholes in the legal system to be exploited. Justice PN Bhagwati said, “To secure justice, courts and lawyers should rely on liberal interpretation of law without sticking to narrow interpretations.” After a crime is legally proved, delaying tactics should not be allowed.
Bhartendu Sood, by mail
Most of the time, the government splurges on useless pursuits. The plan to spend more than Rs 200 crore on a 36-hour visit by US President Donald Trump to India figures among this. An expensive temple of the ISKCON is nearing completion in West Bengal. Its total cost, when completed after ten years, is estimated to be around Rs 2,000 crore. The marble used has been imported from Vietnam and more than 19,000 devotees can pray, sing and dance on just one floor. So, there are many Indias — shining for some, pining for the others. We must first identify our priorities.
Ramesh Gupta, Narwana
The article, ‘Kill drug abuse with right-based action’ (Feb 20), brings out the ground realities. The future of every society is dependent on the quality and potential of its youth and their role in society. The youth of Punjab, once a role model, are today getting hooked to drugs, jeopardising lives and prospects. It’s unfortunate to witness deaths due to drug overdose. Community support is essential for creating an anti-drug social environment. Political parties too need to join hands along with sections of society and not just indulge in blame game.
Harpreet Sandhu, Ludhiana
Gender parity in Army
The order of the Supreme Court allowing command role to women will prove to be a right step towards gender parity, which surely shatters the glass-ceiling for women Army officers. By reinforcing the principle of gender equality, the apex court has justified the right of women officers to be entitled for permanent commission in the Army. The verdict is welcome as it upholds the right to equality in the Constitution. The SC has rightly rejected the arguments which were based on physiological limitations of the women, by making it clear that casting aspersions on their ability is an insult to both women and the Army. The SC decision will encourage more women to think of a career in the defence forces.
PS Kaur, by mail
Shaheen Bagh protest
The protest at Shaheen Bagh is the longest against the CAA. The apex court appointed mediators for opening the blockade. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted that the government was ready to negotiate, but the initiative was taken to end the logjam after a long wait and only after the court intervened. The government’s only interest is to get the road vacated. Shaheen Bagh became a major challenge for the government with its peaceful and civil character.
Krishan Jindal, 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
The Supreme Court judgment, paving the way for women in command positions in the Army, is being praised by every Indian. India has now become one of the few countries to do so. Women are not less than any man in every aspect, be it domestic or a commanding role. When the youth of the country will see an inspiring picture of a woman sporting medals, young girls will aspire to achieve such a position and reputation. Who knows if there were more Rani Lakshmibais, the British would have had to leave sooner.
Sankalp Ojha, Chandigarh
Should benefit both
Refer to ‘Red carpet ready for Trump’ (Feb 20); President Trump is a strong supporter of ‘America First’, and so his aim would be to accrue maximum gains for the US while negotiating deals with India. In welcoming Trump, simplicity has taken a back seat in the land of Gandhi. Extravagance should have been avoided. It is hoped that India also benefits from the deals being finalised. A balance must be maintained in relations in all fields with the US, without affecting our ties with Russia.
Subhash Vaid, New Delhi
Splurging on Trump visit
Refer to Trump’s visit, India is facing an economic slowdown. The state of our nation and its poor are not hidden from the world. Why should PM Modi spend over Rs 100 crore on Trump’s visit? Such a huge sum of money can solve many problems facing our country. Modi should have utilised the money for poverty alleviation schemes rather than this useless activity.
‘Real India’ not on display
In his upcoming visit, President Trump will be shown a vibrant India. We cannot afford to show him the real India which consists of slums, gutters, open defecation, pollution and corruption.
Ashwani Kumar, Chandigarh
Reliance on China market
Coronavirus outbreak has affected our industry and exposed our overdependence on the Chinese market in every field — manufacturing, electronics, telecommunications, pharmaceutical products, textiles, automobile spare parts and even small domestic items. We have drastically failed to meet even the essential requirements of our own market, despite the fact that we have a substantial number of technocrats, unemployed youth and a highly skillful and dexterous labour force. We spend only an iota of our GDP on new research and techniques, and have failed to boost our manufacturing and export. How can we think of achieving a $5-trillion economy? Most of our sophisticated defence equipment comes from other countries. We need to implement radical changes to provide more opportunities to our people as India itself is a huge market.
Deepak Mehra, by mail
End politics of free things
Apropos ‘Kejriwal signals AAP’s widening footprint’ (Feb 17), undoubtedly he deserves congratulations for his big win, but it needs to be considered if his step of extending freebies of bijli-pani is not a step towards corruption. This will lead to wastage of vital natural and national resources. People don’t care for things obtained free of cost or without any labour. The Centre cannot put restrictions on such bestowals, but the apex court should take suo motu cognisance of such freebies that will affect the lives of people in the long run. At the same time, it is heartening that Kejriwal has understood that it is futile to quarrel with the Centre.
Rajinder Kumar Arora, Kurukshetra
Freebies not a good idea
Refer to ‘Centre, Delhi to work jointly for development: Kejriwal’ (Feb 20); Kejriwal seems to have understood the futility of confrontation. The Centre should reciprocate in full measure. Perhaps the police force can be bifurcated into two, to be under the Centre for the New Delhi area, where Parliament, Supreme Court or embassies are located, and to be under the CM for the rest of Delhi? The Delhi Government will then have no excuse to wash of its hands when a crime occurs. Providing freebies to garner votes is also bad. Taxpayers’ money cannot be squandered away. Freebies can make a government bankrupt, as has happened in Punjab. Kejriwal should now focus on development.
WG CDR CL Sehgal (Retd), Jalandhar
No time for parents
In response to the middle ‘Empty nest syndrome and abuse’ (Feb 17); children in this age do not care about their elders. Parents work hard to provide children with all good things to secure their future, but sadly they are neglected in their old age. It is painful. Children have no time to sit beside them and talk to them. The new generation does not want to bear the burden of their parents and subject their elders to all kinds of abuse.
Satyaparkash Gupta, Gurugram
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Reference to the photograph of the UN chief at Kartarpur Sahib (Feb 19); his statement reiterates the urgency of reviewing our policy toward Pakistan. Only yesterday, the UN chief had offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue. These developments are attributable to lack of any fresh diplomatic initiative with Pakistan, which, of late, appears active in building a favourable world opinion. India cannot afford to be isolated for a long time and should immediately engage Pakistan in all bilateral issues, including Kashmir.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
Hindus reject Hindutva
The Delhi election results have shown that majority of Hindus, including those who are uneducated, are essentially secular in nature. The CAA was meant only to further the BJP’s agenda of polarisation, which the people of the Capital have rejected. The BJP-led government should withdraw it, bring in a common civil code, take measures to contain population and provide right to education up to the age of 14, in the true sense, by punishing parents who do not send their children to school. This will help in the development of the country.
Col NARESH GHAI (Retd), Ludhiana
Toward gender parity
The Supreme Court’s decision to ensure that women officers are given permanent commission as well as command posting is a verdict that demolishes prevalent gender discrimination in the real spirit (‘SC okays command role for women’, Feb 18). Hopefully, the day is not far when the ‘right to equality’ will also mean ‘right to succeed’, and become a fundamental right.
Aman Cheema, Kapurthala
She, too, can do it
Women have been always an important pillar in society, and yet have been subject to discrimination at all levels. But decisions like the recent Supreme Court judgment, allowing permanent commission to women, is commendable, for it strengthens women empowerment, not just theoretically, but also practically. Our society needs to understand that women can not only stand shoulder to shoulder with men, but also go a step ahead of them. This attitude needs to gain currency in order to end gender discrimination in every field.
Sejal Goyal, by mail
The article ‘Invest in education for girls to reduce poverty’ (Feb 11) is thought provoking. A girl-child invariably gets step-motherly treatment at home or school. Parents do not treat girls on a par with boys — especially in rural areas — be it diet, living standard or education. Empowering women and girls is the key to social transformation. The first step is to give proper education to them to encourage sustainable development. Cumulative efforts of the government, society and parents are required for this.
RAJ KUMAR KAPOOR, Ropar
In recent times, there has been an increase in the number of coaching institutes. Their flexible timings encourage students to bunk schools and attend classes in these centres, which provide bags, own books, recorded lectures, etc. This is adversely affecting our education system, as students don’t feel the necessity of schools. Schools help in overall development.
SUKHMAN PREET KAUR, Patiala
Refer to Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia’s birth anniversary (Feb 2); he was a true secularist and instead of living a luxurious life, like most big Sikh and Muslim landlords of his time in Punjab, he acted altruistically and established The Tribune. I started reading the paper at the age of 14, when our headmaster advised us to read at least one news item from this paper, placed on a lectern in the compound of the school (now in Pakistan). He would explain the meaning of difficult words. He was indeed one of the leading figures of the country. Whenever I see his picture, I am reminded of Allama Iqbal’s verse: Hazaaron saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai/Badi mushkil sey hota hai chaman mein deedavar paida.
BHAGWAN SINGH, Qadian
Rising rape cases
Not a day goes by when we do not read cases of rape in newspapers. Why have our menfolk become so shameless? There are countless cases where victims are small children of four to five years. Undoubtedly, the accused in such cases are savages. The only way to root out this obnoxious tendency is to award deterrent and harsher punishment. The government should take such offences more seriously.
PRITAM BHULLAR, CHANDIGARH
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 ‘Only 4 inspectors for examining 3 lakh vehicles a year’ (Feb 17), such laxity of government has resulted in the unfortunate incident in which four precious lives were lost. We are aware that officials are forced to take action only after such tragic incidents. This must stop. Human life can’t be left at the mercy of the government machinery, which we have elected for the welfare of society. The government should appoint officials wherever necessary, which will be good for two reasons. First, youth will get employment, and second, the occurrence of such incidents can be checked.
HARPREET SINGH, ZIRAKPUR
Waking up too late
Apropos the editorial ‘Unsafe school vehicles’ (Feb 18), though delayed, the statewide crackdown by law enforcing agencies on such vehicles is welcome. It is unfortunate that we wake up only after a disaster. As in the past, these vehicles should be monitored on a regular basis and a fitness certificate should be issued to ply them. Strict action should be initiated not only against the school management and the driver, but also erring officials. The government should provide enough staff to check rampant traffic violations. It will restore the confidence of parents who risk sending their wards in such school vehicles.
Tajpreet S Kang, Hoshiarpur
Reference to the news ‘Admn tightens noose around school buses flouting norms’ (Feb 18); this noose comes into action only after a tragedy. The same officials, of the same administration, are there, but they have no time for even routine checks. They are issued strict instructions regarding checks, and only then they are on their toes to ensure that there is no violation of rules. If the administration always keeps its eyes open, such tragic accidents would not occur. The crackdown shows that a number of vehicles have been plying without registration under the nose of the administration.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Fear of humanities
As I meandered through the piece, ‘Our word is our weapon against inhuman acts’ (Feb 18), I marvelled at how the writer talks about the importance of creative writing, especially poetry, in a way that appeals to readers. It got me thinking, perhaps this is why governments and marketplaces across the world continue to neglect, undermine, discourage and undervalue humanities. They are aware that in humanities, especially in art and creative writing, lie the seeds of critical thinking and the potential to inspire the masses to awareness, even revolt. It is very important for the public to realise the value of protecting our creativity, so that we no longer remain in the grip of authoritarian power games that drive us to intellectual and spiritual penury of a robotic, regimented existence.
Kamna Singh, by mail
Gender bias in forces
The SC has, at last, driven the final nail in the coffin of gender bias in the defence forces (‘SC okays command role for women’, Feb 18). The physiological difference has not cut much ice with the court. The future war scenario is also undergoing a change. There may not be hand-to-hand fight theatres. New technology is ushering in the use of robots, AI etc., which has given a new definition to the art of warfare. India has a history of women commanders who fought wars against formidable adversaries and the name of Rani Lakshmibai tops the list.
Kiran Sharma, Sundernagar
SAD damage control
Apropos the editorial ‘SAD situation’ (Feb 15), seeing his party in a sorry state, family patriarch Parkash Singh Badal has suddenly woken up to oppose the CAA. He is raising the bogey of minorities only to burnish the SAD’s panthic image among the Sikh masses. Now, many Akali stalwarts have declared that they have left the SAD to free the SGPC from the clutches of the Badals, who are misusing its funds for political purposes. The SGPC was established to look after gurdwaras that were earlier managed by mahants who were not adhering to Sikh tenants. The challenge from the newly formed Taksali Akali Dal has made the Badals insecure. They are now in search of a panthic agenda to regain lost ground in Punjab. And now their anti-CAA stand may have come handy in becoming politically relevant.
LAJWANT SINGH, by mail
Poverty no handicap
Ruby Malik’s saga of success will inspire thousands of women to combat poverty to move forward in life (‘Panipat slum girl to be J’khand Civil Judge’, Feb 14). Her phenomenal rise underscores the strength of our Constitution and democratic institutions. I appreciate The Tribune for publishing the report of her resolute struggle to prove her sense of worth and earning by sheer hard work a dignified space for herself.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Apropos of the editorial ‘Combating climate change’ (Feb 17), the problem of climate change has assumed alarming proportions. Already India is bearing the brunt as rain patterns have changed drastically. Ominous warnings from scientists are becoming louder and shriller, predicting a catastrophe. Add to it the fact that worldwide efforts to reduce emissions are not getting simpler. Man has been endowed with reason, but has proved to be a destroyer and not a creator. Forests are disappearing, rivers are drying up, wildlife is becoming extinct, all because of greed. Developed countries will have to be active to take immediate action to combat climate change.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
India must gear up
Apropos of ‘The coronavirus impact’ (Feb 17), India is experiencing economic slowdown and unemployment is increasing. The country should rise to the occasion and invest more and more in lucrative fields like telecom, textiles, electronics, garments and festival-based items. The UK, US, Germany and France are major trade partners of China. India should seize this opportunity to boost its economy.
GIAN P KANSAL, AMBALA CITY
Clean mind first
Menstruation is a natural process and incidents like stripping girls to check menstruation is shameful (‘3 college staffers suspended in stripping case’, Feb 17). We are living in the 21st century but the mindset of our society is regressive. It has nothing to do with impurity. Purity comes from the heart and mind, not the body. Even the incident of girls being told to take a pledge on Valentine’s Day against falling in love is bizarre. All this must stop. We are promoting clean India campaign, but we should first clean everyone’s mind about such taboo, stigma and secrecy.
Maroof Qureshi, Chandigarh
The news (‘3 college staffers suspended in stripping case’, Feb 17) is shameful. More obnoxious is that the college used to stress that menstruating students should not sleep on beds and eat in the dining area. The government needs to keep a check on the norms laid down by colleges and take action against them. There should be uniformity in policy and rules.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Care for the elderly
Apropos of ‘Empty nest syndrome and abuse ‘ (Feb 17), my heart fills with sorrow when I see the young generation engrossed in chasing their happiness and being self-centred. They forget that their present will also turn into past. Togetherness is the key to happiness. Parents sacrifice their prime raising up children and giving them the best facilities with their hard-earned money. The apocalypse of the joint family system is disappointing — Khandron se dhalti umron ka/ Darvaje par nazron ka pehrah/ Jab dastak nahin koi deta hai/ Deh jati hain veeran imaratein. Let us teach our younger generation to value parents.
Aruna Dogra Sharma, by mail
Caste system here to stay
Refer to ‘Let quota continue, but assessment required’ (Feb 17); the caste system will never end. It is being strengthened day by day, not because of reservation, but due to the attitude of upper caste people toward SC/ST/OBCs. Upper caste population is about 25%, and at the topmost level of every field, its concentration is nearly 95%. In the private sector, too, the condition is bad. Still, the upper caste people oppose reservation. Instead, they should surrender their share for the welfare of the less privileged. Toppers from every community should be selected on the basis of the ratio of their population. The concept of creamy layer is baseless.
Om Parkash Sandhu, Naya Nangal
Of late, Kurukshetra is drifting towards organising religious festivals and festivities which do not find any mention in any scripture, or in the known history of Kurukshetra. Lakhs of rupees are being extravagantly wasted. Spending public money on professional dancers does not have any religious sanction. Even during the reign of Harshwardhan, which was the glorious period of Kurukshetra’s history, such pseudo-festivities do not find any mention. The sanctioning authorities should verify whether a particular festival has any religious significance. The budget and expenditure on such extravagant festivities should also be examined.
HS Sinha, KuruKshetra
Not the same exam
Refer to the middle ‘A different era, different board exam’ (Feb 5); the times have changed since. In the board exams that I sat for, in the late seventies, copying was rampant. From the principal to the superintendent to teachers and invigilators, all were involved. Failure does not matter. You can still get a fake certificate. There is bungling in answersheets, and sometimes, marks are raised for a ‘fee’. What a downfall! Where is the country headed?
It is disappointing to read about Turkish President Erdogan’s speech in Pakistan’s parliament. Surely there is no better example of the kettle calling the pot black (‘In Pak, Erdogan rakes up Kashmir’; Feb 15). I am reminded of the hurt souls of some Armenian friends I studied with. It is generally accepted that some 1.5 million Armenians were systematically slaughtered or driven out from their homes by Turks in the last century. A similar barbaric behaviour is recorded in history as regards their Kurdish population. Imagine banning language, dress, folklore and denying the existence of Kurds. The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey time and again, with little effect. On the other hand, many in India, a majority of whose citizens are Hindu, have been volubly critical of the government’s action in Kashmir, as also regards the CAA. The world is indeed chaotic. The US has waged major wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. There have been major interventions in South America, as also attacks at will on other countries on a smaller scale. Their own behaviour has not desisted them from advising us on Kashmir, which is very much a part of India. One must develop and make our country strong to be more relevant.
RS Mathoda, Chandigarh
Shah equally to blame
After BJP’s humiliating defeat in Delhi elections, Amit Shah admitted that drubbing was mainly due to hate speeches made by its campaign leaders. However, by saying so, Shah can’t absolve himself by putting blame on others. Why did he not dissuade them when they were making such speeches? As a matter of fact, Shah himself made many venomous statements during electioneering. It was he who asked the voters to press the EVM button so forcefully that people sitting in Shaheen Bagh should get the ‘current’. It was a well-thought-out poll strategy of the BJP to polarise the voters by making inflammatory speeches. The tone and tenor of all leaders was vitriolic. If the BJP is genuinely remorseful, it should desist from making such hate speeches during forthcoming elections in Bihar and West Bengal.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Politics of freebies
Congratulations to Kejriwal on winning the Delhi elections. He must have undertaken several welfare steps to win the confidence of the voters once again. But he has set a bad example for other states by showering freebies. Is it good to offer free electricity and water to those who can afford them? Punjab was number one state in development and used to be the richest state. But it went to the dogs, thanks to freebies offered during the elections. Is it good to squander taxpayers’ money just to remain in the saddle? Now all big parties will follow suit.
VINOD K CHOPRA, HAMIRPUR
Rogue travel agents
Refer to ‘Duped by travel agents, 104 women in distress in Muscat’ (Feb 15); it is disturbing that unscrupulous agents continue cheating innocent women and cause them monetary loss as well as physical and mental pain. There seems to be a nexus between agents here and in Dubai, who take women to Dubai on the promise of getting them the job of a teacher or nurse. Once there, women are sold to landlords and left to undergo mental hardship with prolonged working hours as domestic help. The government should identify all such rogue agents, bring them to justice and shut their shop forever.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
But ‘termites’ to us
Refer to the editorial ‘UK’s new Chancellor’ (Feb 15); the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Chancellor of the Exchequer is proof of the acceptance of the Indian talent and its growing influence all over the world. No doubt, due to Brexit and the general slowdown, the new FM has his work cut out, but he is likely to overcome the challenges on the basis of his wide international exposure, financial acumen and the practical understanding of the issues at hand. But Sunak’s rise to prominence is not without its ironic undertones. We celebrate and feel proud whenever a person of Indian origin gets a top post abroad, yet we call outsiders ‘termites’ when they come to India in search of mere livelihood, and view them as a danger to the nation.
Pardeep Gautam, Nuh
Punjab’s water model
Apropos ‘Water consumption cut to half, 175 Doaba farmers reap benefit’ (Feb 15), the Pani Bachao Paisa Kamao scheme has been successful in saving precious water. Adequate extension measures and proper implementation of this scheme has led to reduction in water input in fields. Though a small number of farmers has shown interest in its adoption, but their approval will surely motivate other farmers to go for the scheme, which simultaneously saves water resources and adds subsidised money to the farmer’s pocket. The state government now needs to further strengthen the policy framework, so more farmers can reap benefits from the scheme.
Simranpreet Singh Bola, Patiala
PEOPLE remember the names of films, actors, politicians, cricketers and other celebrities, but the answer would be negative if asked to name a single martyr in the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 CRPF soldiers attained martyrdom when their vehicle was blown up. The whole country paid tributes to them in Delhi, where a special function was organised to remember their sacrifices. When their mortal remains arrived at their native places, several local politicians and celebrities made promises to help the kin of martyrs. It is unfortunate that the tall promises have not been fulfilled. Their kin are going from pillar to post to get the announced benefits. Nobody has visited them, and ensured compliance of the promises.
H/Capt Jagdish Verma (Retd), Sarkaghat
Crime and politics
Refer to the editorial ‘Cleansing politics’ (Feb 14); the SC order is welcome, but it should have come much earlier when CMs like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Om Prakash Chautala and Shibu Soren were convicted. The court order to political parties regarding details of candidates with criminal charges may encourage voters to reject criminals in politics. There was a similar order in 2018, but failure to effectively implement it has prompted the SC to issue more guidelines. Such politicians serve only their own interests. The SC order is well-intentioned, but will not resolve the crises fully unless reforms are undertaken in the criminal justice system.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
Congress in free fall
The Congress scored a duck in two consecutive Delhi elections. This did not come as a surprise to anybody, including its cadre. To say that a decision on the top leadership would be taken in two months speaks of a sense of drift. Party stalwart Karan Singh candidly advised for action before the party becomes irrelevant. The spectacular AAP win shows that a party desirous of winning needs to perform on the ground, besides a credible, communicative top leader and a novel narrative. Smart use of social media for creating positive perception is also imperative. The Congress needs to reinvent itself by bringing forth a party president and potential PM who is an effective communicator and touches the heart and mind of the masses with a strong alternative narrative.
Look outside family
By keeping the BJP out of power in Delhi, if the Congress feels satisfied again with a big zero, time has come for the party to voluntarily take political oblivion. The Congress should have fought the elections along with the AAP and not against it. Time has come to debate the blind loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Priyanka has charisma, but with a cloud of scams hovering over her husband, is unable to pull the Congress out of the deep political morass. Let the younger generation of Pilots and Scindias come forward. The Congress should look within the party, not within the family.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
BJP allies getting restless
Apropos ‘Badal breaks silence on CAA, says secularism sacrosanct’ (Feb 14), the BJP leadership is on notice from its allies across the country, mainly for its big brother attitude, and specifically due to issues relating to CAA and seat-sharing formula. The latest continued attacks from the Akali Dal, over Delhi seat-sharing agreement, after having similar issues in Haryana, needs to be taken seriously, as also on CAA. Earlier, the SAD had been questioned by the RSS on the locus standi of its claim as the sole custodian of Sikh issues and gurdwaras. The LJP, JD (U) and the AGP are sulking over various issues. The Shiv Sena has also deserted the BJP. The BJP needs to introspect and undertake course correction, else the fissures within the alliance will only multiply.
RAJIV BOOLCHAND JAIN, Zirakpur
Politics of change
The AAP victory is an indication that ‘development trumps communal politics’. Winds of change are blowing in the country. Right-thinking people of Delhi have embraced progressive politics and shown the way by voting for the AAP. After blunting BJP’s hype with credible governance agenda, the AAP can count heavily on the experience of the past five years to push new goals and fulfil old ones. CM Kejriwal has signalled that air pollution, sanitation, transport and water supply will be the top priority.
Khushboo Singla, Ludhiana
5-star life awaits Saeed
The Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has been sentenced to jail in terror financing cases. It’s an eyewash to escape blacklisting. In jail, he will enjoy a five-star hotel life. A terrorist breeding country will never sincerely punish their own home-grown terrorists.
Ashwani Kumar, Chandigarh
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was overjoyed at the BJP’s defeat, forgetting the shameful drubbing of the Congress in the Delhi elections (editorial ‘Clueless Congress’, Feb 13). Sharmistha Mukherjee is right when she points out that they must worry about Congress defeat instead. In fact, throughout the election, the Congress had no intention to fight, forget win, and its entire so-called cadre was supporting the AAP directly or indirectly. Looking at the present scenario, the Congress is a sinking ship, with no future whatsoever in the times to come.
Ramesh Gupta, NARWANA
With the Congress drawing a cipher in the Delhi elections, it is time for its top leadership to realise that the task of defeating the BJP cannot be outsourced. In any country, the Opposition is of great importance, especially when it comes to the world’s biggest democracy, India. The party should bring back the spirit of contesting and start connecting with grassroots workers. Opposition is a necessity to roar in both Houses, and on the streets, against the government.
Prabhjot Singh, Ludhiana
Too much of a free thing
AAP’s election promises of free water and electricity and bus travel for women has taken the wind out of the sails of other parties, especially the BJP. Regional political parties in other states are likely to follow this trend because people’s expectations are already hinged on such freebies. But can a party treat the public exchequer as its coffer that can be used as and when it desires? Is there a limit to such freebies? The next in line is free ration, free education and free health services. Where will the money come from? In India’s context, if one thing is made free, it is very difficult to stop it. Take the case of reservation for SC/STs, that was only for 10 years. Now, this has become a political issue and no party worth its name dare scrap it.
LR Sharma, Sundernagar
Reference to ‘Govt schoolteachers to act as health envoys; it is a good initiative by the Centre to promote healthcare and well-being among children. Providing children with suitable knowledge regarding healthcare is the foundation for a healthy nation. The outbreak of coronavirus has already scared people in India. It can help in spreading awareness to follow safety measures. The ultimate goal of healthcare is to enhance the quality of life by living a healthy life.
Shivani vijyal, Jammu
Dilatory tactics by convicts
Refer to ‘Delhi court offers lawyer to Nirbhaya case convict’ (Feb 13); the game of petitions should be stopped. It has been many years. If everyone knows about the culprits and all evidence points to it, it is very disturbing to know that an innocent soul has to wait for years to get justice. Everyone has the right to fight against injustice, but these rights are manipulated. The court must understand the delaying tactics of the convicts. A new death warrant should be issued as soon as possible.
Neetika singh, Chandigarh
Two peas in a pod
Apropos ‘Two Punjabs offer hope for India-Pak conciliation’ (Feb 13), it brings to mind the lines of the song, Woh subah kabhi to aayegi. People of East and West Punjab have great commonalities and similarity of language, culture, literature, music, art, food, and above all, nature. They are like two peas in a pod. Innumerable exchanges of theatre and lilting musical performances between the twin cities of Lahore and Amritsar bind people of both Punjabs. It is a treat to see a warm welcome with hugs and handshakes at such events. The Kartarpur corridor has opened the floodgates of goodwill. The time may not be far, when some wise statesmen appear on the horizon and create history and usher in a new chapter in friendly relations.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
Apropos ‘Invest in education for girls to reduce poverty’ (Feb 11), India’s overall development is largely dependent on the education and work opportunities the women get. There is no denying the fact that educating a girl means educating the whole family. Influential women should be given the work to encourage young girls to come forward and fearlessly and stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. Girls should not be treated as if they are meant only for domestic chores. Give them wings and they will show that they are not less. The government must provide safety to women everywhere, so they can contribute to the nation’s progress.
HARPREET SINGH, ZIRAKPUR
The outcome of the Delhi Assembly poll has given a new direction to the country’s political discourse (‘Curing a dangerous madness’; Nous Indica, Feb 12). The landslide victory of the AAP clearly indicates that the educated and young voters have chosen polite and progressive politics over the BJP’s abusive, communal, divisive and regressive one. While the AAP focused on governance and development agenda, the BJP’s political strategists relied on its core ideological national issues, particularly the high-pitched anti-Muslim rhetoric over the CAA and the NRC. The saffron party has failed to realise that people are fed up with economic slowdown, unemployment, price rise, corruption, violence, etc. Its national leadership should introspect and draw lessons from Kejriwal’s model of performance, so that the progressive and liberal-minded Indians can fulfil their aspirations and relish the glory of achhe din.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Take cue from Delhi
The Delhi election results have also rung alarm bells for the current government of Punjab. The development model adopted by the AAP government in Delhi has yielded results for the party. The Kejriwal government has brought the Budget under profit. Manpreet Badal should take some lessons in economics from Kejriwal and try to give relief to the people of Punjab, who are paying a hefty tariff for electricity, water and other facilities.
Harpreet Singh, by mail
New kind of politics
The victory of the AAP has proved that votes cannot be won on the basis of nationalism and religious talks; voters want solidarity and development through proper administration. The AAP evidently worked for the welfare of the people and ignored all trash talk and criticism from the Opposition. Its focus and dedication is praiseworthy. The AAP win is also a clear verdict on CAA-NRC. The Assembly elections had garnered the attention of the entire country. The party has set a strong bar for the administration of other states. The BJP should now learn a lesson that the same strategy it used in the Lok Sabha polls can’t be used always. A new kind of politics has emerged.
Maitri Bhardwaj, Patiala
Yes to performance
The BJP’s crushing defeat was inevitable. The party that won 300-plus seats in the Lok Sabha polls last year seems to have lost control over the mind and opinion of people. Delhi is the heart of our country and Delhiites voted on the work done by the AAP. It won’t be wrong to say that the AAP has emerged as a new brand of politics. NRC-CAA, Article 370 and calling the election ‘India vs Pakistan’ drowned the BJP. The AAP led the election by its work, whereas the BJP only had provocative statements.
Tajinder Gill, Patiala
BJP must change agenda
The BJP’s defeat in Delhi elections was bound to happen. The party must have realised that points, issues and matters to be raised before the public can never remain the same. It could not have won elections on security issue. There should be a change in agenda. It must introspect after having lost so many Assembly elections. It should be clear what it wants to do and how it has to be achieved. On the contrary, Kejriwal’s party had highlighted issues like development works which led to victory.
SANJAY CHAWLA, AMRITSAR
Why resent freebies?
Refer to comments by Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij that ‘Delhi ke chunaav mein mudde haar gaye, muftkhori jeet gai’; he has disgraced the intelligent voters of Delhi who elected a highly educated CM on the basis of his past performance, while rejecting the politics of hatred of the BJP. Moreover these politicians themselves enjoy all the freebies on taxpayers’ money, but if a little goes to the common people, it bites them.
Bhupinder Kochhar, by mail
The article ‘Why Khushwant Singh considered himself an Indian’ (Feb 9) portrays a true picture of Khushwant Singh. Though his ‘likes’ — wine, food, women — were better in foreign countries, his mind was happy more in India than anywhere else. I am reminded of ‘Sare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara’. Emperor Jehangir said in Persian: Agar firdaus bar-rue zameen ast, Hameen asto, hameen asto, hameen ast (If ever heaven exists on earth, it is here only, it is here only). Our population has exploded because it is a likeable country. We should register the entire population and effectively stem any further influx.
Mohinder Behl, Gurdaspur
The Aam Aadmi Party has again won the Delhi Assembly elections. The people of Delhi have proved that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is not a terrorist, but a patriot. He is working for nation-building and the work he is doing is patriotic. It is clear that the BJP was adversely affected by the CAA, the provocative speeches of its leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma, the fall in the GDP growth rate and unemployment in the country. When it comes to state issues, the public takes a very careful decision before choosing the government.
Neha Jamal, Mohali
Out of order
Refer to ‘The toxic notion of order’ (Feb 11); there is no gainsaying that anarchy spells doom and order is always desirable for sustainable development of the country. But if order is sought to be established by suppressing dissenting voices, protests and by projecting the dissenters as anarchists, seditionists and Naxalites, it can’t be desirable in a secular and pluralistic society. Patriotism cannot be appropriated by a single political party to the extent that anyone who dares to disagree with the ruling regime is dubbed a traitor.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Refer to the editorial ‘Pregnant with reform’; the amended law, extending permissible limit for abortion from 20 to 24 weeks, is a progressive reform. Given the delay in getting permission to medically terminate pregnancy, the 20-week limit often lapsed, leaving many, including rape survivors and minors, with unwanted pregnancies. The MTP amendment was long due. This will give a woman greater autonomy over her body. While the extended period is welcome, more needs to be done. The current provision of allowing of contraceptive failure as a basis for seeking an abortion should be extended from married women only to all women.
PS KAUR, by mail
Support EV makers
Reference to ‘Electric vehicle makers bet big on battery swapping stations’ (Feb 10); while the government is trying to move towards cleaner fuel and contain carbon footprint on earth, it is the automobile manufacturers who are the real torchbearers. In the Auto Expo, electric mobility has been the theme. It is an open secret that battery cost is the biggest cost component for manufacturers as far as electric cars are concerned. If that is taken care of and the use-and-exchange mode is built round it, it will bring a significant drop in the final price of the vehicle. The government now must do its part to ensure that whichever automobile company is putting its energy, time and money towards creating infrastructure for such vehicles should be supported at all levels.
Bal Govind, Noida
Refer to ‘Economy perilously close to collapse’ (Feb 10); the government is clueless about the diagnosis of the malady and its treatment; evident from the long and dreary Budget speech of the FM. A hype was created that the 2020 would be a big-bang Budget, but it was a damp squib. The total Budget proposals amounted to Rs 32.4 lakh crore, whereas revenue accruals amounted to Rs 22.4 lakh crore. According to a report, 37% of last year’s Budget remained unspent and there was no mention of this serious flaw in the FM’s speech. Two-thirds of the funds earmarked for the Defence Ministry will be spent on the payment of salaries and pensions, and very little left on purchasing modern armaments. The same is the case with the Railways, where only Rs 72,000 crore has been provided as budgetary support. There is no mention of two very important, but slow-moving projects of freight corridors. In the Budget proposals, only 20% money is left for the completion of ongoing or new infrastructure projects. The only engine of growth to lift the economy out of the morass lies in initiating a large number of infrastructure projects, particularly in the field of water resources and hydropower development, which is missing in the Budget.
RN Malik, Gurugram
Won’t help students
The new policy by the PSEB to minimise the passing criterion from 33% to 20% for classes V and VIII board examinations will degrade the educational system. Accordingly, students need to score 20% each in theory and practical, which will be applicable from this academic session. This step will lead to increase in pass percentage by affecting the quality of education. Competition among the students is increasing day by day and by taking such a step, students won’t be able to compete with students of other boards.
Harmeet Kochhar, Patiala
Apropos the article ‘Time to upgrade military capabilities running out’ (Feb 8), it is very true as time and tide do not wait for anyone. Being a peace-loving country, India has aggressive designs towards none, and hence, rightly or otherwise, has not upgraded its war machine for decades. If some rogue and inimical nations around us thrust war, we will be found wanting in resources and may have to pay a heavy price. Therefore, under all circumstances, war or peace, we have to equip ourselves to the extent that our adversaries feel threatened before thinking of any misadventure. It will also address our internal security problems, once for all. A token increase in the defence budget doesn’t augur well. The government should do more to enable the defence forces to outwit enemies in the event of a two-front war scenario.
Col Sajjan Kundu (retd), Hisar
Betraying own country
Reference to ‘IPS officer suspended for leaking national secrets’ (Feb 10); the bodies made for the protection of the nation are indulging in corruption. Trust in such officials is waning. The government should take strict action against such officers, so as to root out corruption. Such officers, given the duty to protect the nation, are like termites that are making our country hollow.
Akshara Gurbani, Kanpur
Fake degree scam
Refer to the news report ‘Fake degree case: Varsity told to file FIR’ (Feb 10); it is shocking that a person with a fake degree from Manav Bharti University of Himachal Pradesh is not only holding the position of HoD of the civil engineering department at Indus International University since 2014, but is also teaching and guiding MTech and PhD students. This is only the tip of the iceberg. A thorough investigation must be carried out as to how fake degrees from the universities are managed by such persons. This also puts a question mark on the quality of students passing out of such universities. The state’s Regulatory Commission must ensure that all those involved in such scams are punished as per law.
BD Sharma, AMRITSAR
Growing gun culture
The report ‘Punjabis’ love for guns has security agencies alarmed’ (Feb 10) is another blow to the image of Punjab. The land of five rivers was known for Green Revolution and producing sportspersons, soldiers and freedom fighters in the past, but is now known for drug menace, water crisis, youth migration, gun culture, etc. The youth gets influenced by Punjabi video songs which display expensive cars, guns and liquor. Youth is the future of the nation. The government must channelise their energy towards building a better Punjab, a better India. Parents should not spoil their children by buying them bikes, cars and other expensive things. More restrictions should be imposed on granting arms licences.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Voters happy with AAP
Apropos ‘Exit polls predict big win for AAP’ (Feb 9), the ruling party’s chances of getting a clear majority in the exit poll assessment show that the people of the Capital have shown immense faith in the AAP government. The implementation of free travel in buses, free water and electricity up to 200 units, mohalla clinics and improvements in public offices, hospitals and schools are some praiseworthy initiatives of the AAP government. Other governments should learn a lesson from this. The Kejriwal government has been successful in leaving an indelible impression on the minds of the local voters.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
Second-time not lucky
Apropos Julio Ribeiro’s article ‘How inspirational officers can help transform lives’ (The Sunday Tribune, Feb 9), I was on emergency duty in the Civil Hospital, Kapurthala, when PM Das was brought one late evening in the mid-eighties. There was firearm injury on one side of the chest. Blood as well as air was oozing out of the wound. It was obvious that his lung was punctured. The chest X-ray showed pneumothorax with lung collapse. Blood transfusion was started and the SMO, who was also a surgical specialist, was called. Later, he was referred to DMC, Ludhiana. Fortunately, he survived the trauma. I have put this episode in my book — Autobiography of an unknown doctor. Unfortunately, he couldn’t survive the next incident, and was buried in an avalanche while trekking in the Himalayas a few years later. I was saddened to read about that mishap.
Dr JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala
It is a sad day that politics in India has dipped to the lowest ebb. Barbs and jibes have become a tool to defame opponents to win elections. Unprecedented exchange of barbs leading to the Delhi elections was unwarranted and unpardonable. In fact a divide has been created within the country which has crept into every home, thus tearing apart close relationships. Moreover, the atmosphere created by our elected representatives in Parliament, is undesirable and does not behove the high status. The need of the hour is self-restraint by one and all, high or low, to keep the social fabric intact and take the country forward in terms of all-round vikas for every section of society, without any bias.
Sardul S Dhawan, Chandigarh
Right to Internet
Refer to the editorial ‘Internet curbs’ (Feb 8); Internet, as the apex court has rightly mentioned, is a fundamental right and the Centre cannot continue with the restrictions beyond a period of time. Internet is no more a luxury, it has become integral part of our lives. The Internet curb has not only hurt locals in the Valley, but also the tourism sector. Airlines, travel agencies and hotels, all have suffered massively in the past six months. The government must take cognisance of this fact and ensure that Internet services are restored and people are allowed to speak up and share their views.
Bal Govind, Noida
Tired of politicians
At a time when voters are being criticised for turnout in fewer numbers, the blame actually rests with politicians and their poor image among the masses. Politicians are selfish and corrupt. Why should we queue up at a booth in biting cold to vote for someone who will reappear only after five years? And while some politicians express their desire for making voting compulsory, can we, in a similar way, ask them to make working towards national development mandatory?
Ramesh Gupta, Narwana
Harsh, but true
The language used by Rahul Gandhi may be harsh against the PM, but the sentiments and facts expressed are not wrong. The language used may be wrong, but the fact remains that youth has been betrayed by the false promises made by Modi of giving them two crore jobs, whereas they have been rendered jobless. They see their dark future in the country and feel that they have been cheated. They may want to give the PM the same punishment as suggested by Rahul for playing with their future.
DK WIG, by mail
Ban ‘vanity’ ads
Reference to ‘Up to five years of jail, Rs 50 lakh fine for skin, hair growth magic cure ads’ (Feb 8); we are aware of the stereotypes created in our society, and these ads are taking advantage of societal perception — due to which spectators are purchasing such products. Mostly actors and sportspersons are promoting these ads. People are naturally drawn to the products. We should boycott such ads that are creating differences in society, and make you believe that you are inferior and do not match the so-called standard of a perfect male/female. This initiative by the government will make people think more clearly.
NIKITA BHATI, RAJASTHAN
The middle ‘Lonely lunch without the little guests’ (Feb 8) is an emotive vignette of the sweet days spent in the lap of nature, which an emotional person is bound to miss when deprived of this simple pleasure. Most people don’t value the precious treasures offered by nature, engrossed as they are in the ruthless pursuit of power and pelf. However, I consider myself fortunate in having unrestricted access to the garden where we can enjoy watching birds, including peacocks. Appreciating the beauty of nature can considerably help in ridding oneself of stress.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
The fun of 5-day Tests
Refer to the editorial ‘Let Tests last five days’ (Jan 16); it should be recalled that in the decade of ’70s-80s, Test matches used to last for six days, including a day reserved for rest for players after three days of play. With more commercialisation of the game, the rest day was stopped and it resulted in non-stop play for five days. Who can forget the expert batting of legends like Gavaskar and GR Vishwanath, and still more slow and patient batting of Anshuman Gaekwad and Ravi Shastri. All this was possible because there used to be ample time to concentrate on their batting. The long, magical bowling spells of the likes of Bedi, Prasanna and Chandrasekhar would keep the audience engrossed till the last ball of the match. The top cricketing authorities should plan how to keep this beauty intact. The first step in this direction will be to prepare the cricketing calendar in a manner that the number of matches to be played among nations should be drastically curtailed.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
APROPOS ‘Bogey of sedition’ (Feb 6), while the cohorts of the government themselves are employing incendiary rhetoric and polarising the masses, it is the general public that is being pestered with frivolous cases of sedition. The scenario is similar to how the British misused the sedition law to repress freedom fighters. It is time that this law be subjected to discussion and deliberation since it stands antithetical to the freedom of speech and expression.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Should apply to all
Apropos ‘Street protests can lead to anarchy: PM’ (Feb 7), protest, demonstrations, strikes and defiance of people against any act of the government are constitutional tools to caution the government that people are opposing such actions. When ministers, responsible leaders incite people to ‘shoot traitors’, call an elected CM ‘terrorist’, misuse media, what action has the PM taken against such ministers and politicians of his party? How can he call protesters anarchists? Adamant attitude can lead any protest to anarchy, and at the same time, governance against the spirit of the Constitution can make a democracy an autocracy. Both are harmful to the people and governance. Kabir had said, Nindak nere rakhyo, angan kuti chhabai, bin paani bin sabun, nirmal kare subhaye (Keep a critique in the compound of your house, who will clean your inner self without using any soap and water). No democratic government can succeed if it loses the faith of the people.
Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (retd), Mohali
The witty middle ‘Files come & go, babudom stays on’ (Feb 7) is the cry of the general public. Not just an ordinary person, even the officers sitting above the babus in most government offices appear to be helpless. The way the writer has suffered, just to get a correction done in his RC, is a general condition prevalent everywhere. Who is to be held responsible for this pathetic state of affairs — the government, officers, babus, latent corruption or the helpless aam aadmi?
Kuldip Dosanjh, Jalandhar
Shortage of blood in blood banks, unsafe transfusion and unhygienic storage of blood, all these are some common life-threatening mistakes which often make headlines. The glaring violations of rules of storage and handling blood, and carelessness of hospital staff is a major reason for these kinds of incidents. Senior health officials should take strict action against the guilty, so that nobody will dare repeat such mistakes, and will perform their duty diligently.
Rohini Sharma, Chandigarh
Failure of blood bank
It is a matter of grave concern that safe blood transfusion is a major challenge in India, since there is a shortage of skilled manpower in the healthcare sector. It is a criminal lapse that an 85-year-old woman in Phagwara was supplied blood infected with hepatitis C virus. Blood banks should have trained staff to deliver the right blood, so the life of no patient is endangered.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Quick to evacuate
In spite of its poor performance in the creation of jobs and the overall economic front, India has done well to evacuate its citizens stuck in distressed conditions abroad. Such projects were undertaken earlier also, but those were initiated or executed mainly by individuals or non-government organisations. But since the past few years, we see our government taking full responsibility for Indian citizens and bringing them back from life-threatening situations. This time also, India stands tall by evacuating 640 Indians and seven Maldivians from coronavirus-hit China. In stark comparison, Pakistan has left its citizens in the lurch.
Arun Bala, Bathinda
Power tariff too high
Why is the electricity rate so high in Punjab? Its neighbours Haryana and Himachal Pradesh charge less than Rs 4 per unit. The Punjab electricity board charges Rs 10 per unit. The Punjab Government has more sources than Haryana to produce electricity. Instead of reducing the power rate, the Congress government is talking about distributing smart phones free of cost among the youth.
Lakshay Anand, by mail
A good idea perhaps
Refer to ‘No male coaches for women’ (Feb 5); I think it is a welcome step, if we keep in mind the facts — that it may result in sexual crime and harassment. The same should be adopted in educational institutions also as there are frequent reports of sexual crime there too. In the name of modernity, why should we allow the possibility of such crimes?
ANAND PRAKASH MADAAN, Panchkula
The negligent attitude of the hospital staff clearly reveals their apathy towards patients (‘HCV-infected blood issued to 85-year-old by Phagwara bank’, Feb 6). Such carelessness could lead to loss of life. Hospitals should take utmost care while treating patients. Such incidents are nowadays becoming common in India. The Ministry of Health should take strict action against such hospitals and penalise them. Regular inspections should be carried out in hospitals across the country.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
Act like public servants
Reference to ‘No check on misuse of sirens, hooters’ (Feb 6), it is surprising that people on responsible posts are violating prohibitory orders of the apex court. Many of them start thinking that they are above the law of the land. They forget that they are public servants. Noise pollution is one of the main concerns of the country. The officer who cared a fig for the SC’s orders must have studied about pollution while appearing for the qualifying examination for her present post, but forgot everything after getting it. Such people must remember that they are a part and parcel of the executive branch of the three wings of the government — legislature, executive and judiciary. The sole role of the executive is to implement the rules framed by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Threat to State!
A nine-year-old girl’s mother is in jail, and that too on the charge of sedition. And for what, a play that depicted CAA and NRC! We are living in a democratic country where we have the freedom of speech and expression. The current scenario of increasing sedition cases, year by year, portrayed in the NCRB data shows gross misuse of the Section. In the failed attempt to silence dissent in the country, the BJP is testing the waters in an aggressive way. Democracy is in peril and people, rights organisations, civil society and activists should raise their concerns at the highest level.
Vishiwjeet Singh, Chandigarh
Trade deal with US
In reference to ‘Trade deal likely during Trump’s visit’ (Feb 6); important issues like J&K status and CAA-NRC will also be topics of discussion. Though India has rejected several times Trump’s proposal of being a mediator on Kashmir, it will be interesting to see the government’s stand when face-to-face with Trump. The visit will also be an important opportunity to expand trade with the US.
Varun Malik, Chandigarh
Good move on toilets
Refer to ‘Officers’ toilets to be sealed if public ones found unclean’ (Feb 6); the DC’s move to lock officers’ toilets is a great way to teach the officers concerned a lesson and give them a taste of their own medicine. It is a revelation what kind of unusual ways one has to resort to, to get people to work properly in India, and how inefficient government officials are in doing their job and ensuring that basic civic amenities are maintained at an acceptable standard.
Prateek Ghavri, Zirakpur
Board exams, then & now
Apropos the middle ‘A different era, a different board exam’ (Feb 5), I appeared in the HSC Board examination for matriculation at Hyderabad in 1960. The centre was different than my school. Unlike now, two papers were held every day, including elementary maths and optional advanced maths, each having two papers consecutively. For the first time, objective-type questions with negative marking were introduced. Schools gave importance to education as their reputation was at stake. Two months before the exams, extra classes for English grammar were held after school hours. The school achieved 96% result. Those days first division was rare. High second division was considered equivalent to first division.
Gurdev Singh, Mohali
Apropos the article ‘China’s eye on Myanmar’ (Feb 6), with greater foothold in Myanmar, China poses a grave challenge to the strategic security of India. It already has a foothold at Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Gwadar in Pakistan and serious presence in the Maldives. The Asian giant is now the Myanmar’s largest investor. Its investment in Myanmar’s infrastructure will boost the BRI which will provide China with overland access to, and strategic presence in, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. India is the only neighbouring country that has resisted Xi’s expansionist agenda. In a word, China is dangerously coming nearer to India.
SS Paul, Nadia
In the Budget, the amendment in personal taxation norms has created confusion among taxpayers. It will be difficult to judge the suitability of the new scheme. It is just a gimmick and there is no real benefit to the taxpayer. More tax slabs create confusion, and will be a serious blow to the savings system. Again, there is the commitment to give four crore jobs in the next five years and a $5-trillion economy to achieve, but there is no road map.
DEEPAK SARAF, RAMPURA PHUL
The new Budget has brought in a more complicated income tax system. A good taxation system should be simple, but now the tax slabs have been increased from three to six, and an option to retain the old system has made it more complicated. Abolishing tax rebate on savings and exemption on interest on home loan will adversely affect savings and house building activities. The salaried class has been hit hard. The Budget has abolished all deductions, making it unfriendly for the common man. The government should rethink over deductions under Section 80C, interest on home loans and increase in limit.
BL Gohal, Nabha
Will discourage savings
Apart from confusing the taxpayers, the Budget is sure to make people less thrifty. Human mind is weak and bad habits get inculcated sooner than the better ones. With no rebate available for investments under CPF, VPF, PPF, insurance, NSCs etc, the public is sure to move away from such options. People will go for more consumption, and even conspicuous consumption. This may result into higher inflation as well. Gold and diamond prices will also increase over time. Increase in FDI is the need of the hour. With the withdrawal of subsidy on fertilisers, agricultural products are sure to be costlier, resulting in overall price rise.
NPS Sohal, Chandigarh
Now this, now that
Reference to ‘Govt now says no documents needed for NPR’ (Feb 5); this whole exercise is only confusing people. The announcements regarding document submission and disclosure of information are making people ponder again and again what is happening. With Aadhaar, too, the non-compulsory step created confusion. NPR is not required since we already have a powerful tool in the Census. Polarising statements from the government is also creating a divide among people.
Shivam Bajaj, New Delhi
Apropos ‘6 months on, no word on ex-CMs’ release’ (Feb 5), Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have completed six months in detention, without any further clue about their release. Several other politicians have been released. It seems to be an act of injustice as they are not allowed to speak up, which is unconstitutional under Article 19. They are being ‘incarcerated’ without any charges, which is unfair.
Tanishka Bahl, Dehradun
Refer to the editorial ‘No male coaches for women’ (Feb 5); the decision by the Haryana Government to appoint only female coaches for female players is not far-sighted. The nation does not have high quality female coaches and the move would demoralise emerging women players. Sports is a pivotal instrument for the uplift of women, but if the support becomes a constraint, the results will get hampered. This is an atavistic step. There are better ways to ensure safety, including a stringent mechanism to deal with complaints of sexual harassment, allowing athletes to present their grievances and ensuring speedy redress. The government must aim to provide the best coaches, irrespective of gender, to a state known to produce shining stars of the country.
Death by negligence
Refer to ‘3-yr-old falls into cooking pot in UP school, dies’ (Feb 4); it is really disturbing to read this news. A little girl died only because of the carelessness of the school management, specially the cook. If the cook was not using earphones, he would have saved her by taking immediate action. Strict action should be taken by officials, so that such mishaps do not recur.
Kanika kapoor barjatia, Dharamsala
Pakistan’s India-fixation is touching ridiculous heights (‘Will buy more Malaysian palm oil to compensate for India’s import ban’, Feb 5). How will its populace absorb India’s import of 4.4 million tonne? We already have enough of their ‘paav aur aadha ser’ bombs. People-to-people ties are the key to peace. Open trade and frequent participation of youth of both sides in educational and cultural programmes can pave the way. Pakistan will have to set its focus right because India has always been indulgent in its dealings.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Refer to the news report ‘Chinmayanand granted bail in sexual abuse case’ (Feb 4); one wonders how the high and the mighty can walk away from the long hands of the law after committing horrific crimes. It appears that the country is heading towards anarchy, where such people would be free to have their way without the least fear of law. A series of hate speeches are being made by ruling party leaders. The killers of Nirbhaya are getting a fresh lease of life every day due to our fragile laws, the root cause of a spike in the crime rate. Time has come to teach such people a lesson; to tell them that they are not above the law of the land. Isn’t it denial of justice to the gullible and the aggrieved?
RAMESH K DHIMAN, Chandigarh
Common man in a fix
The Budget has put the ordinary man in a fix regarding the option of tax rebate. The Finance Minister does not know that the meagre savings under Section 80C are the only hope for salaried people. Moreover, one has to save something for a rainy day, in a country like India, where the future looks bleak for the aam aadmi. Inflation keeps soaring. The government should adopt one simple tax rebate scheme.
Lk Handa, by mail
Plug tax loopholes
Apropos the editorial ‘Parallel tax regime’ (Feb 4); when the hiked tax-free exemption limit subsumes most investment exemptions, the logic in twin option for income tax computation remains indiscernible. The government needs to act bold and go only for the new tax regime, doing away with exemptions. Income tax envisages sharing a fraction of personal income for nation-building. Small savings schemes must fetch better returns when no tax benefits accrue. Simplification — plugging all scope for manipulation — should be the guiding principle.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Apropos the article ‘The surge of the virus’ (Feb 4); the economic impact is fine but the need of the hour is to fight against coronavirus. After three positive cases in Kerala, the government has declared a health emergency. The government must conduct campaigns to make people aware of how to fight against it. They should be educated about the initial symptoms, precautions and dangerous aspects of coronavirus. The government must not wait for cases to take action, it should gear up before an outbreak.
SAURAV SHARMA, JAMMU
The escape of three inmates from the Amritsar jail has put a question mark on the security setup of Punjab jails. Suspending officials and ordering inquiries has not proved a deterrent for the staff and inmates of jails from carrying out their nefarious acts. Heads must roll to get rid of the rotten affairs of state prisons, where gangsters, drug smugglers and terrorists have a free run to operate their network, jeopardising national security. It is time to overhaul the state jail management. Till then, the reins of the jail administration in the border districts should be handed over to the Central agencies.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Apropos the editorial ‘Super Novak wins 17th Slam’ (Feb 4); by winning the Australian Open, Djokovic has proved that he is made of a sterner stuff. He rose like the Phoenix to clinch the 4th and 5th sets to conquer Thiem, who seriously threatened to topple him. He is well nigh on the road to catch up with his illustrious rivals — players of astonishing ability, agility, speed and stamina, playing around the world simultaneously. His tenacity, perseverance and mental strength are bound to help him realise his cherished dream. But Pat Cash’s words should be heeded to, ‘I call tennis the McDonald’s of sport — you go in, they make a quick buck out of you, and you’re out.’
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Not easy for pensioners
The government is planning to sell all PSUs and leaving state-funded autonomous bodies to fend for themselves. Employees and retirees of such organisations feel cheated. My husband and I run our household on pension we earned after working diligently for the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan for decades. This premier institution holds great reputation in the field of education. Its remarkable distinction lies in the fact that it is affordable in terms of funds and fees. But with the HRD reluctant to fund such autonomous bodies fully, pension benefits are being delayed inordinately. This is nothing less than a torture for the aged and ailing pensioners.
Sadhna Saini, by mail
Apropos ‘Nirmala’s novel approach’ (Feb 2), the taxpayers are in a dilemma because they would have to consult income tax professionals, who will charge more fee to ascertain under which of both the schemes they should file returns. Besides, things of daily use have become costlier, which will further burn a hole in the pockets of consumers. How is the Budget citizen friendly? The PM took very harsh steps in the past to integrate India by introducing schemes like one nation-one tax and one rank-one pension and demonetisation. Then why two schemes for income tax?
Rajinder K Arora, Kurukshetra
Option clause tricky
Refer to ‘Deep cuts will benefit middle class’ (Feb 3), the income tax part of the Budget is flawed on many counts. Choosing between the new tax regime and the old one is tricky. Most taxpayers will not be able to make the right choice. If you choose the new regime, you cannot go back to the old one. This is absurd. The new Budget may have attractive provisions, but how can a taxpayer be bound by these? Taking away the exemption on savings under 80C will be suicidal for the government. It receives lakhs of crores through savings that are used for development. Keep the savings under 80C intact, as it benefits the individual taxpayer as well as the government.
Wg Cdr CL Sehgal (Retd), Jalandhar
Not for aam aadmi
The Budget is using positive words, but in essence, it is only for corporates (‘Deep cuts will benefit middle class’, Feb 3). The common man is neglected. The Budget is a rehash of the earlier one with cruel intentions. There are going to be winners, but not the middle class. It will pay more taxes. Inflation will rise.
Mansi bhardwaj, Ambala city
Taking them for granted
Budget 2020 failed to show urgency or imagination. It did not acknowledge that the economy is in a real crisis, waded through far too much detail and other than the rationalisation of income tax, did not have a single big idea. Ultimately, you have to put more money in the hands of the farmers, to get in private sector, in a big way. The Budget could not match the expectations of the stock market. The government should understand that the middle class is very angry and could not be taken for granted.
Mehak chaturvedi, Chandigarh
No serious thought
The editorial ‘No liquor delivery, please’ (Feb 3) brings to the fore the initiatives of an off-balance state. The proposal to sell liquor online falls in the category of the decision under which thousands of speed-breakers have come up in the city, giving one undeserved jolts, thereby reminding the conscious road-user that everything is not well with the state. How will an elderly person with weak bones, or an arthritis patient, bear the pain? The proposal to sell liquor online itself speaks volumes about what thought has been given to the issue. In an off-balance situation, the leadership needs to shed obsolete approaches to find cost-effective solutions for quick recovery.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Service to humankind
I got my octogenarian mother admitted to the Government Civil Hospital, Ambala Cantt, recently. I was amazed to see an NGO, Roti Bank, Ambala, distributing food free of cost among indoor patients and to one of their attendants for the past almost three years. They serve specific food to patients five times daily, as recommended by dieticians/doctors. The bank has 125 members and is spending Rs 3-3.5 lakh per month from funds contributed by the members, with no government aid. What a great service! The hospital has no canteen.
RK Arora, Amritsar
Use own prudence
The CAA has nothing to do with existing citizens, still there is disaffection. Rather than allaying the fears of the minorities, the Centre has turned it into a fight between ‘us’ and ‘them’. The Congress is hell-bent on converting this spark into conflagration. The average Joe on the street must be prudent to defeat this politics of expediency. Let the Delhi polls send a clear message that it is time this Machiavellian politics is put to an end.
Abhinav Sharma, Ludhiana
While paying homage to Dalip Kaur Tiwana, the writer has rightly mentioned that she stood up for rural women (‘She spoke for rural Punjab sisters’, Feb 3). Her every work is worth reading, including novels Hastakhar, Peele Patian di Dastan and Nange Pairan da Safar. She was a nice teacher and a soft-spoken writer. Although with the demise of Dalip Kaur and Jaswant Singh Kanwal, an era of old and committed writers has ended, there is a new generation of Punjabi writers that is writing beautifully, inspired by such eminent litterateurs, and taking all forms of Punjabi literature to new heights.
Aman Preet Singh, Ropar
Refer to Nous Indica (‘A dangerous madness’, Feb 1); Delhi elections have taken a serious contour to politics of exploitation of votes based on majoritarianism — a push to the Hindutva agenda to garner support. Having no apparent issue, and without a CM face, the BJP entered the fray with aggressive and dirty politics of hate and polarisation. The Centre has unleashed a barrage of cannons to defame its opponents. On the other hand, the AAP has maintained a sober stance by seeking support of Delhiites based on its performance. The negative policy of the government is all too visible. This is not positive secularism which the BJP promised while coming to power. Under the circumstances, the residents of Delhi will have to weigh the pros and cons before pressing the EVM button.
Sardul Singh Dhawan, Chandigarh
Who will bell the wild cat?
Undoubtedly, every word in the article ‘A dangerous madness’ (Nous Indica, Feb 1) is true. And thus it sounds scary. The main question that erupts in every thinking person’s mind today is that in the absence of any potent opposition to the current political madness, which is all set to ruin the sane social fibre of the country, who will bell the wild cat? A non-believer, even I pray for some Godly intervention to bring things back to normal.
As sorry as it gets
Reference to the editorial ‘Hate speech, hate attack’ (Feb 1); as they say, even a fortnight is a long period in Indian politics. How in the past few days election and politics have taken a drastic, nasty turn in the National Capital is a testimony to it. There are motormouths in every party, but when senior leaders of a ruling party start giving provocative statements, and that too without being pulled up by their party, it is really a dangerous sign. Delhi elections started with the AAP highlighting its good work in the fields of education, public health, etc, but due to protests against the CAA at Shaheen Bagh, it has taken an ugly turn. The recent statements from JNU student Sharjeel Islam have also added fuel to the fire. But the recent incident of a man shooting at protesters, and policemen standing a few feet behind him, was baffling to say the least. It sums up the sorry state of affairs.
Bal Govind, Noida
Don’t deserve mercy
Apropos ‘Court postpones hanging of four Nirbhaya convicts’ (Feb 1), postponing once again, this time sine die, the execution of the black warrants issued against four gang-rape convicts, has shaken the faith in the existing judicial system, which is showing undue clemency to the demons who transgressed the limits of barbarism against a hapless girl. Nirbhaya’s soul and her distraught parents are still crying for justice. The yawning difference between crime and punishment is the mockery of justice and a bad omen for our society. Who can question the audacity of Yeats’s line: ‘The best lack conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity’?
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
Refer to the editorial ‘Battling coronavirus’ (Feb 1); there has been a growing global concern over its spread and impact on public health and economy. Less developed countries like India are liable to be hit the hardest. The high population density in India makes it a hotspot for emerging infectious diseases. For India, with its poor healthcare system, it will be a herculean task to control the spread of coronavirus and deal with it effectively. There is no room for complacency. But unscientific advisories, giving people unproven disease prevention tips against a virus that did not exist till some weeks ago, can put lives at risk by misleading and confusing the public. The authorities must make people aware of the facts and symptoms of the virus and ask them to follow scientific precautions and advice to stay safe.
LJS Panesar, by mail
Refer to ‘State witnesses 4.7 lakh dog bite cases in 4 years’ (Jan 31); the figures are alarming and pertain to only those cases that have been recorded at government hospitals. The number is much higher. The government has done little on this serious issue except constituting a working group to plan strategy. It doesn’t mean that the government’s duty is over. There should be stringent guidelines for the departments concerned to take concrete remedial measures. Sterilisation of dogs is a must to control canine population. Victims are mostly children, which is a matter of serious concern.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Refer to ‘Man fires at CAA Jamia protesters’ (Jan 31); the person whom the Delhi Police are referring to as ‘unknown’ spoke violently two days ago, and even 10 minutes before the incident was on Facebook. Yet, the police calls him unknown. The police stand there as mute spectator. Is this the duty of men in khaki? When a policeman was allegedly attacked by lawyers, then the khaki went into action mode. The police are meant to stop violence, not witness it.
Narayan Hari, Chandigarh
A movement that shaped into a rebellion with a cause spawned the AAP as a political entity that soon turned into a medley without a cause. In time, a maturing Kejriwal leveraging the compact geography of a cosmopolitan electorate could find direction and revert to simple basics of successful local governance by looking from the perspective of the common man than be subdued by any ideology. The BJP, on the other hand, had found surprising sustenance in its mantra of ‘us vs them’. Having crossed the Rubicon, the BJP is compelled to pursue a line that has since been yielding it rapidly dipping political returns. More than the AAP, it is the BJP that is desperate to find some vindication in Delhi.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Book leaders who instigate
Apropos ‘Man fires at CAA Jamia protesters’ (Jan 31), obviously the man got indirect inspiration to shoot from the utterances of minister Anurag Thakur and MP Parvesh Verma. An FIR should be lodged against these two politicians for instigating people. The courts should exercise suo motu powers to do this. This is no less than an act of terrorism as the atmosphere of the country is being blemished by such communal politics.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
Long wait for farmers
Refer to ‘11 months on, 78k farmers wait for first payment’ (Jan 31); the government plans several schemes for the uplift of weaker sections of society, but when they are not actually implemented, they become a hurdle in the process of development. The same happened with farmers after the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman. Thousands of farmers are still waiting for their instalment and are being harassed for not updating their Aadhaar card and bank details. The government should not only show concern while planning or implementing a scheme, but also should make sure that people actually benefit from it.
Sugandha Jain, by mail
Pak back to its ways
The report ‘Pakistan may escape FATF noose this time’ (Jan 25) appears to be repeat of the October 19 decision. Though Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the FATF by taking cosmetic action against funding of terrorist organisations, and may succeed with the connivance of China and some Muslim countries, it will continue to support its so-called strategic assets. On our part, we must impose heavy cost by way of further trade tariff, cause attrition on men and material through invisible and direct actions on the LoC to further crumble its economy. We need to further isolate Pakistan internationally on account of its support to cross-border terrorism. This is the only way to counter its policy of bleed lndia through a thousand cuts. Pakistan should mend its ways otherwise the FATF will sooner or later blacklist it.
Col Sajjan Kundu (retd), Hisar
Police lacking in training
Apropos ‘Dereliction of duty’ (Jan 31), the incident of demolition drive in Kasauli points to negligence on the part of 12 cops of the HP Police. It is an eye-opener. Two valuable lives were lost due to the negligent attitude of the police. Taking away services advancement benefits for five years is too mild a punishment. In addition to the review of punishment, the need is to focus on the training of the police force that failed to put up any kind of resistance in overpowering the assailant and even allowed him to walk away from the spot. Improve their training skills in promptly reacting in such cases, and even open retaliatory fire, if needed.
H/Capt Jagdish Verma (Retd), Sarkaghat
Tribune & freedom struggle
I endorse the view that The Tribune projected India’s freedom struggle. My father JN Kapur, an eminent educationist, philanthropist and freedom fighter, used to read The Tribune since his adolescence, when it was published from Lahore. He was influenced by the writings of Editor Kalinath Ray, which were a great source of inspiration. Consequently he took keen interest in the freedom movement at a very young age, and was in the forefront with Lala Lajpat Rai for defying the Simon Commission.
Vijay Kapur, Yamunanagar