Letters to the editor
The approval of the National Education Policy (NEP) is a radical step. It will go a long way to make our education relevant to the needs of the times. Laying stress on scientific temper and mathematical abilities will help develop objective and analytical faculties. Taking three-year-old children under Early Childhood Care and Education scheme is one of the laudable aspects of the NEP. The other is the seeds of liberal and flexible education. Kudos to the government for making the system a blend of shiksha and vidya — the ideal of our ancient system of education.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Apropos of ‘Towards a floor test’ (July 30), the Governor functions as per the advice of the Council of Ministers. In the Nabam Rebia case (2016), the SC, after referring to the debate on draft Article 153 (subsequently renumbered Article 174) in the Constituent Assembly, held that omission of sub-article (3) in draft Article 153 confirmed the intent, and the rightful inference was that the framers of the Constitution altered the original contemplation, and decided not to vest discretion with the Governor in matters of summoning the House. However, in the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha in 1967, the period of notice for starred questions was fixed at 21 days (later changed to 15). The 15-day period for summoning the session, when the agenda did not include the vote of confidence, is a matter of expediency. The Gehlot government not specifying the agenda and wanting the session sooner was rightly asked to reconsider. It has been finally acceded to by the Council of Ministers, ending the impasse.
PIYUSH KANT JAIN, by mail
Don’t be a BJP tool
On the Rajasthan Cabinet’s demand for convening an Assembly session urgently, the Constitution and the SC have already settled that the Governor has no discretionary powers in summoning a session of the Assembly and he or she is bound to act in accordance with the aid and advice of the CM and the Council of Ministers. The Governor cannot escape constitutional responsibility and must convene the Assembly as demanded by the Cabinet. Raj Bhavan should not be a tool of the BJP to dislodge and install governments as and when it wants.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Pay for lectures
Refer to ‘Education dept tells private schools to pay for lectures on DD’ (July 30); this is a ridiculous decision and will put a financial burden on the schools to pay the annual charges for DTH services. This is no way of tiding over the economic crisis owing to Covid-19. It discriminates against private schools. There are 8,623 private recognised schools affiliated to the PSEB. The department has started the telecast of lectures on DD Punjabi (DTH) for all classes to help students who do not have access to smartphones. This is a futile exercise, as this programme is not going to benefit the students much.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Follow Karnataka lead
It is appreciable that the Karnataka Government took a bold decision to go ahead with the KCET exam on July 30 and 31 for admission to various engineering colleges in the state, even though a PIL was filed by the NSUI regarding its cancellation or postponement due to Covid. But the government assured the court to hold the exam by taking all safety measures. The NTA should also not budge under pressure and must go ahead with NEET and JEE, as scheduled in September.
Amit Singla, Sangrur
Not without art
Art has always been an abstract concept that is a bridge between imagination and the real world (What would life be without art?). Art is when perpetual emotions are portrayed or morphed into mortal life. It is fascinating as it allows ideas and emotions to be tangible. Frederic Sorrieu painted the German flag much before it was a nation. Every practical thing was once an act of imagination, an art.
SAMANTHA GARG, by mail
Justice for NRI brides
In 2019, the then Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had made a statement that the government had cancelled passports of 45 NRIs for abandoning their wives. The government had introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha to give justice to such women. She had expressed dismay that the Bill had got stalled in the Upper House. It is now over a year, but there has been no further development in this regard. There may be hundreds of similar cases in which women have been abandoned by their NRI husbands across the country. They are seeking speedy justice and suitable legal action. Passports of NRIs should be cancelled immediately after the registration of an FIR against them. This will be the first step towards justice. There is a perception among the accused NRIs that they are beyond the reach of law.
Garima Dhiman, Ludhiana
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 ‘Education in disarray’, education is a big industry, but it does no consumer or product research. It is a protected industry, and that is why it is inefficient. The degree of protection may be gauged from the fact that no man can hope to be recognised as educated without a label of degree. A great part of a government grant goes into bricks, mortar and cement. Thus the chief beneficiary of our education is the building industry. It is amusing to watch the wrath of educators over the phenomenon of private coaching establishments that take money on false guarantees of success by promising shortcuts to learning, which they fail to provide. The traditional institutions within the education system that oblige the young to take the longer route also often fail to deliver. Teaching and learning are unpredictable activities. A good teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops. This is true of all learning programmes.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
Schools under stress
The pandemic has drastically affected the students, teachers, parents and governing bodies of private educational institutes (‘Education in disarray’, July 29). Only time will precisely let us know the profound implications of the prolonged closure of schools and colleges. The economic upheavals have shattered the managements of these private centres. State governments should generously fund them lest they are shut down and students and teachers are left in the lurch.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Focus on treatment
Refer to the editorial ‘Prioritise treatment’ (July 29); there is a huge spike in infection and Covid cases in India. The number of cases we get to know tells us only half the story, only the way the government chooses to highlight the figures. No doubt India's mortality rate is falling gradually, but rather than focusing on the treatment, the government is giving the impression of being in control. Just as the WHO said, there are no shortcuts. The government should focus on treating the infection with approved drugs.
Amitoj Kaur, Patiala
Apropos of the report ‘Negotiate political settlement of SYL dispute: SC tells Punjab, Haryana CMs’ (July 29); it is time to bid adieu to the mockery of our executive, legislative and judicial interventions since 1981. Come what may, Punjab will not let the canal come up in its territory. The SC would do well to shift its modus operandi to modus vivendi and decree compensation to Haryana (for cumulative loss of water) to be utilised for the construction of big ponds in most districts to store rainwater, to be channelised in lean months.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Refer to the grim flood situation in Assam and Bihar; no matter how many floods and natural calamities occur, the ruling party never takes any precautions in advance. Its time and resources are simply wasted in blaming other political parties. This shows how careless the government is. There is no governance and no accountability. State governments ignore weather warnings and it is the people who have to suffer the most.
Ashwani Kumar, Chandigarh
The major reason for loss in PSUs is either lack of foresightedness or intention to bring it into losses to sell the unit. People have already discarded landline phones and adopted mobile phones, but to further distance people from the landline mode, BSNL has decided to enhance its tariff w.e.f. August 1. Just like power generation in a hydel project, its initial cost is more in landline telephone exchange, but the running cost is negligible. Hence BSNL should make it rent-free and charge only for the calls made, at a fixed rate per call.
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘Nikkamas and the nakaras’ (July 23), Bansi Lal had got Devi Lal handcuffed during the Emergency. Devi Lal paid him back in the same coin. In 1996, on a tour to Rohtak, Bansi Lal got the CM suite in the Irrigation Rest House vacated that was occupied by Devi Lal. Bansi Lal and Bhajan Lal never saw eye to eye with each other. Bhajan Lal and Devi Lal had good relations with each other in private. In 1985, Bhajan Lal came to Meham to address a public meeting. The government rest house was occupied by Devi Lal. Bhajan Lal remarked, ‘Doesn’t matter if he has snatched the room. I had snatched his chief ministership in 1982.’
RS Rathee, 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 ‘Dealing with Frankenstein’ (July 28); China is becoming a ‘red monster’ with a never-ending appetite for land-grabs and overstated territorial claims. The US is highly equipped to put this genie back into the bottle. India must forge a trade and military pact with the US to move ahead and there is a strong need for a global front to tackle the menace of China. Time has come for India to expand its ties beyond the stereotype. India can aspire to be a natural partner with the US and open its doors for more businesses by turning itself into a vital link for supply chains. Just ignoring China is not going to solve the problem, and it may encourage the dragon to spew more venom.
Ashok Goswami, Mumbai
Refer to ‘Lessons from Kargil conflict still relevant’ (July 28); it is shocking that we have not learnt any lesson from previous experiences. We never take proactive and preemptive steps. Whenever there is a misadventure by our enemies, we begin to blame our intelligence agencies instead of introspecting on our shortcomings, our lackadaisical preparedness and casual approach. We have to pay a heavy price due to laxity. Sometimes, offence is the best defence. We have to change our strategy and keep our rivals on their toes. China has already usurped our large chunk of territory years ago. We have not made any efforts to reclaim our land.
Deepak Mehra, by mail
Who was at helm then?
The report ‘Fake police encounter that shook state five decades ago’ (July 28) was quite informative. But it would have been better if the writer had included the version of the state government also, especially of the then Chief Minister, on the issue. Neither the present generation knows nor the older generation remembers who was at the helm of affairs at that time.
AK Sharma, Chandigarh
A strong India
Refer to ‘47 more Chinese apps blocked’ (July 28); the decision to ban Chinese apps coming amid the tensions not only shows India’s new policy towards China, but also shows how India has not forgotten what happened in the Galwan valley. In addition, with such strong decisions at the Centre, India is coming out as a global leader which is standing up against injustice and intrusions. Better late than never. India taking security steps for its citizens is highly appreciated.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
Apropos of ‘21 years on, HP braveheart’s family awaits LPG agency’ (July 26), it is true that God and soldiers are remembered in crisis and when the crisis is over, both are forgotten. After 21 years, the government is yet to fulfil its promise. How insensitive is our system. The nation boasts of being the largest democracy in the world, but it can’t take care of its martyrs.
Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (retd), Mohali
Good impact of MGNREGA
It is heartening to know that MGNREGA has softened the Covid blow (In Focus, July 27) in Punjab. It has generated wage employment for more than two lakh rural youth in the present financial year by cleaning sustainable assets like ponds etc. More than 6,200 ponds have been cleaned. In addition to irrigation, these ponds can be used for integrated farming such as duck-rearing, fish-farming and the sides of each pond may be used for growing leafy and other vegetables. Such projects have yielded fruitful results for rural households in some states.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
Bridging digital divide
Refer to ‘Community classes in the open to help students’; the Jammu and Kashmir Government has taken a great initiative of starting community classes in open areas. These classes will be held because students are unable to connect through online classes due to poor Internet connectivity in the state. This step will fill the gap caused by the online classes.
Tanvi nagpal, by mail
Over a cup of tea
Refer to ‘Raise a toast to a cup of tea’ (July 28); in India, the basic ingredient of mehman-nawazi is a cup of tea. The saying ‘over a cup of tea’ embraces in itself millions of meetings, from a small group to gatherings at international level, to sort out, resolve and discuss simple to most complicated problems. Further, the confluence of cold, rain, pakoras and a steaming cup of tea is blissful. It is said that former Defence Minister VK Krishna Menon was very fond of tea and his last words were ‘give me a cup of tea, I think this will be my last cup’.
VK Anand, 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
Reference to the editorial ‘Decoding the Covid curve’ (July 27); the daily Covid count is now 50,000, two days running. We may not be resource rich to prioritise public health, spending a mere 1.3 % of GDP, but that is to be made up by good planning, coordination and preventive healthcare with a rural base. Kerala has demonstrated this. A designated minister with an apex team of Operation Covid should have been the hub of activity to direct the nation. Millions could sink below the poverty line, even as indices on Dalal Street climb relentlessly.
R Narayanan, by mail
Learning to live with virus
Apropos of ‘Decoding the Covid curve’, all are decoding the curve, and surprisingly in this season, when non-Covid diseases such as dengue and malaria peak up, little empathy is demonstrated for the sick patients, who are compelled to rely on tele-medicine. The media is full of only the Covid news, ad nauseam. Time is ripe to take this virus in our stride and battle it by taking into account all safety protocols and move forward as it is not going to go away anytime soon.
Deepak Singhal, by mail
Now, Hanuman Chalisa
In reference to ‘Recite Hanuman Chalisa to eradicate virus: Pragya Thakur’; these are stressful times for people who have to face the virus and the threat of job loss and income. After Ganga-jal, cow urine, lighting lamps and beating thalis, we are now told to recite the Hanuman Chalisa as a remedy. Reciting it for mental peace and spiritual solace is welcome, but offering it as corona remedy is not. Scientists, doctors and the people are anxiously battling the stubborn virus. Now, they also have to battle the misleading claims of a cure. The government should ensure such claims do not gain traction among the beleaguered public.
HN Ramakrishna, by mail
Call for floor test
Apropos of ‘Guv’s queries motivated: Cong; R’sthan unit won’t protest today’ (July 27); this political drama is being played out in the shadow of an unprecedented pandemic, with Rajasthan on Saturday recording its largest single-day surge in new infections and also seeing its daily cases cross 1,000 for the first time. In this context, prolonged uncertainty will lead to two outcomes. One, there will be a governance vacuum at a crucial phase in the trajectory of Covid-19. Two, it creates more space for unethical bargaining. The Congress should avoid adding to public health complications that arise when its workers congregate in large numbers to protest. The Governor should convene the Assembly and get the government to test its strength there, whatever may be the outcome.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
What about others?
Reference to ‘Galwan martyr’s wife is Dy Collector’ (July 23); Col Santosh Babu was among our 20 soldiers killed in action in Ladakh. Army personnel should be commended for their gallantry, and her appointment is to be welcomed, but what about the jawans who were killed during the skirmish? There are many educated widows of lower ranks who are ignored. Aren’t they competent enough to serve the nation and the people of the country? The state government should make every effort to help educated widows of ORs, NCOs or JCOs and fill posts, irrespective of rank.
SUBER SINGH PARIHAR, Hamirpur
Time to act wisely
Refer to the editorial ‘Don’t destroy livelihoods’ (July 23); during the four months of coronavirus in India, not many lessons have been learnt either by the government or by the common people. Few state governments are following the Central guidelines, even as the cases are rising alarmingly owing to the negligence by people. From weekend lockdowns to restricting the number of people at one place, the Punjab Government is also trying different ways, but allowing buses with full capacity and opening stadiums for practice are contradictory decisions. There seems a lack of vision as far as tackling the pandemic economically is concerned.
A boon for the elderly
Addiction to mobile phones has an adverse effect on society, particularly on children (‘Under one roof, but different worlds’, July 22). It has wreaked havoc on relationships and contributed towards the disintegration of many a family. However, for us, with ‘empty nests’, and whose age does not permit outings, technology is a boon. We are connected through phones with our children living abroad. We are able to revive old friendships, form new relationships, listen to songs, watch movies, learn new recipes, read newspapers and share our views on social media. Life would have been boring for us had there been no phones. Many of us would have also gone into depression.
Aswant Kaur, Amritsar
Refer to the article ‘Should secular state control Hindu temples?’ (July 20); the separation of state and religion is imperative to uphold the secular fabric of the country. While the state may temporarily assume control of a certain religious institution on account of social welfare and mismanagement, it cannot reserve its obligations towards a particular religion. Either the state should be equally distant from all religions or when it extends aid towards one, it should not be selective with its treatment. Secularism has multiple meanings, but prejudice is not one of them. It is underpinned by the principles of freedom and equality and not by partisanship or favoritism.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Reference to ‘Help pours in for cash-strapped villager’ (July 24); it is remarkable how social media is helping the needy more than the government ever will. The report created a huge impact on people, who reached out to help. People might say that the media is government oriented or promotes news that is paid, but this news has proven all critics wrong. It is heart-warming, and has proved the power of the media, because if today he is able to build his home, it will be because of the media. Great news in this pandemic that highlights humanity!
Blessing in disguise
Apropos of ‘Online classes help reunite boy with kin after 9 years’ (July 23), during the pandemic, when a majority of parents, teachers and students are finding faults with online classes, these have proved to be a blessing in disguise for Abdul Razak who got reunited with his family. He might have lost all hope to be with his family again, but destiny had planned something else for him. Kudos to philanthropist Gurnam Singh and Col Karminder Singh (retd), who played a vital role in this extraordinary reunion.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
Brings past alive
‘Missing those days of Tiaan’ (July 24) was gripping and inspiring, especially for young girls. The festival encouraged teenaged girls to inculcate the virtues of cooperation, patience and the spirit of mixing up with girls of their own age-group. Surely, those were the days of absorbing melody that would make the girls dance and sing to the tunes of rustic music and the thumping of an earthen pitcher. The five pieces of songs that girls would sing at such festivals represent the various stages through which a girl would have to pass in the past. The writer deserves kudos for the piece.
Ankita Sandhu, Ferozepur City
Need more sero-surveys
Apropos of ‘Nearly 25% of Delhiites may have antibodies’ (July 22), the finding indicates the possibility that one out of four Delhi residents may have contracted Covid-19 until June 20. This translates into a whopping 47 lakh people with temporary immunity, revealing a wide gulf between the contagion and its detection. The infection has already passed through a sizeable population in Delhi. If so many people did contract the infection and are asymptomatic, it brings down the infection fatality rate in Delhi. But there is no room for complacency. Given the valuable information uncovered from Delhi, sero-surveys must be conducted in other major cities, too, as they could indicate the possibility of herd immunity.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, by mail
Dissent is acceptable
Refer to the editorial ‘Defection is not dissent’ (July 25); the Supreme Court has firmly declared that ‘the voice of dissent in a democracy cannot be suppressed like this’. The judgment is significant as it confirms that dissent does not disqualify someone from his position. Ashok Gehlot should now fight Sachin Pilot in a democratic way. In politics, a politician may go against the party if he is lured with money and position, and yet, he cannot be disqualified. Again, democracy is all about accepting the other person’s will, irrespective of the consolidated result.
Abhijit Chakraborty, by mail
Threat from 4-laning
The ‘NH four-laning threatens houses in Kullu village’ (July 22) indicates lack of proper technology keeping in view the fragile strata of the mountain range at this project of national level, which is going to cost heavily even after its completion, keeping in view its cost of maintenance and ecological degradation.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Refer to the ‘Covid stigma, a new kind of racism’ (July 25); being a family member of a cured Covid patient, we had a bad experience from our neighbours and relatives. It is shameful how people treat Covid victims. Please, treat the victims as patients, not culprits.
PARUL SHARMA, SAMANA
Apropos the editorial ‘Gangs of Uttar Pradesh’ (July 24), the claims by the Yogi government that criminals have either fled UP or have been subdued or exterminated is not borne out by the ground reality. A journalist was shot by a gang, his only fault was that he lodged an FIR against harassment. If the police had acted immediately, his life could have been saved. Despite being involved in 64 criminal cases, Dubey was roaming freely. It points to the complicity between the politicians, the police and the prosecution. The police carry out the orders of their political bosses with alacrity, but they lord over the masses, ignoring their most genuine complaints.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Women get their due
The news ‘Women officers in 8 more streams, MoD issues order’ (July 24) is a proud moment for all women in our country. Women also deserve the same position and equality in society as men. They have suffered a lot of gender inequality and have had to fight the belief that they are only for household work. The SC has broken the stereotype that women are weak. They can do anything.
Kartik Leekha, Zirakpur
Too long a wait
The editorial ‘Judgment after 35 years’ (July 23) made for an interesting read. The disposal of cases by courts is synonymous with inordinate delay. If a criminal case takes 35 years for disposal, the courts have no reason to be in a hurry to dispose of civil cases. The case saw 1,700 hearings. The criminals in uniform were given a lease of life for 35 years. It took nearly 40 years for the courts to decide the case pertaining to LN Mishra’s assassination in 1975. How well would it be if a judge who seriously falls ill is asked by a doctor to come after three-four months for checkup? Judicial reforms are absolutely necessary.
KV SEETHARAMAIAH, Karnataka
Opportunity for India
Refer to ‘Best time to invest in India is now, PM woos US investors’ (July 23); India is now being seen as the next big investment hub in the world, since the world is boycotting China. It will play a prominent role in boosting the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. Undoubtedly, India is emerging as the land of opportunities for economic growth and development for itself and for the world. Coronavirus has brought with it opportunities for India’s economic growth.
Pranav Attreya, Meerut
Refer to ‘What’s up with China’ (July 23); China has encircled India through its ‘string of pearls’ policy along its neighbourhood. In response, what India followed is ‘string of flowers’ to tackle Chinese nefarious designs. Under the scheme, some ports are being developed overseas. Kaladan project is one such example. But the project is going on at a slow pace, which must not be overlooked, and should be dealt with expeditiously.
Ankit Legha, Bhiwani
Take cue from China
Refer to China and Iran 25-year strategic partnership; India must choose its allies and enemies wisely. The Indian bureaucracy must consider, if not adopt, some of the measures taken by its Chinese counterpart. The PLA, over the years, has strengthened its ties with Iran (being an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative), and its ties with Russia and Arab countries are stronger than ever. Beijing has strategically, and diplomatically, strengthened its ties with its neighbours to enrich its own resources. Its diplomacy is worth considering to help India achieve a relationship with its neighbours that it still lacks.
Daksh Solanki, New Delhi
Where is the fund?
Refer to the news report ‘Quarantined in Hry dharamshala, docs told to arrange own food’ (July 23); now our corona warriors have to care for their food also, even as they are struggling day and night to save others. Even after huge funds, the government can’t take care of their food and stay. The government should, in fact, fulfil the needs of doctors, police and healthcare workers. Such a large amount of money has been distributed by the Centre. Where is the money going?
Simran Ahuja, YamunaNagar
Apropos “Takht: Don’t politicise saroops’ issue” (July 23), the concerns expressed by Akal Takht are genuine, but the issue is too serious to escape the attention of the Sikh community in particular and the rest in general. The stand taken by it to keep the issue within the gambit of religious affairs is laudable. Let this position also prevail upon the working of the SGPC, which is generally blamed for mixing religion with political affairs of the Sikhs. Also, strict action needs to be taken against those found guilty in the probe.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
Refer to the editorial ‘Judgment after 35 yrs’ (July 23); the verdict is a travesty of justice and irrelevant. In essence, this is no administering of justice. The main reason for criminals taking law into their hands is our lumbering criminal justice system. Many of our lawmakers have serious criminal charges against them. All political parties are replete with hard-core criminals. Now, a new trend is emerging, like in UP, where the police force has unbridled power to award instant death penalty to the accused. The common man has lost faith in our jurisprudence and has realised that approaching the court shall only compound their miseries by way of litigation charges and undue harassment. Unfortunately, many advocates are playing the role of a middleman to delay the case inordinately or get a favourable verdict. Revamping the judiciary is the pressing need of the day.
Deepak Singhal, Chennai
Loopholes in system
Refer to Vikas Dubey’s encounter; we are aware of the police’s status, nature and functioning in our country. From a layman to a profiled individual, everyone wishes to stay away from the police department. Registering an FIR against any crime is still not the first preference of the people. The nation is not unaware but the public tends to forget these incidents with time. The foremost duty of the police is to ensure the healthy functioning of law instead of taking advantage of the loopholes. A criminal should get a deserved punishment, but through the judiciary.
Tajinder Singh, Patiala
Respect judicial system
The Speaker of the Rajasthan Assembly held a press conference to say that he had decided to move an SLP in the SC, seeking its intervention to proceed further in the matter without waiting for the judgment of the Rajasthan HC. CP Joshi said he adhered to the instructions of the HC, where he has been requested to wait until July 24. Then what is the necessity to move the SC in haste? The Speaker’s action is tantamount to disrespect of our judicial system. A day or two makes no difference. The Speaker has created another constitutional crisis by not waiting for the verdict, but is interfering in the working of the HC. Joshi should have exercised restraint in this highly sensitive matter and avoided confrontation at this juncture.
Mukand Lal Kaushik, by MAIL
Missing the point
India is setting up its economic revival strategies to cover up the losses due to the pandemic. From becoming self-dependent to inviting foreign investments, it is a long way for India to get back on the track to become the fastest growing economy in the world. The idea is to not only increase domestic demand, but also increase exports. This will double up the pace of economic revival. The government is again missing out on prioritising the uplift of fellow Indians by working on the most crucial and important sectors — health, education and wellness!
Satyam Sharma, Gurdaspur
Evaluators to blame
Refer to “Not score, aim to make a mark in life” (July 16); when I obtained first division in my matric exam in 1952, it was a cause for celebration. The university topper had secured 70%. First division has lost its sheen now. Toppers today score 99%. Those getting below 90% find it difficult to get a seat in any prestigious college. Barring science and maths, it is impossible to get cent per cent in other subjects. Isn’t such liberal marking a travesty of our education system? Things have changed for the worst. Evaluation today seems to be too liberal, resulting in unrealistic scores. Students are rising to dizzy heights, but only in marks, not real knowledge. Some corrective action is called for. The evaluators should do their job with a greater sense of responsibility.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
A village resident in Himachal Pradesh was forced to sell his cow, the only source of income, to get a smartphone for his children, so that they could attend online classes. Not being financially stable, he sought help from the panchayat and moneylenders, but got no support. That is the grim reality of India, where there is lack of educational facility for the poor. Such news will never make it to television. It is not just one story, millions of people face this challenge.
Mehak Taneja, Chandigarh
No to Amarnath yatra
Refer to ‘No Amarnath yatra, first time in 150 yrs’ (July 22); it is a good step taken by the government for the safety of all citizens. In this manner, we can at least prevent further cases of coronavirus and can focus on treating the existing patients. Prevention is better than cure.
Mansi Bhardwaj, Ambala
If the proposed Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill becomes an Act, the ‘bail-in’ clause may change the relationship between the customer and the bank. It would empower to cancel the liability owned by the bank or change the form of an existing liability to another security. It means that the customer’s savings bank account of, say, Rs10 lakh, can be reduced to 1 lakh, which is mandatory by law, or the bank may convert the savings a/c balance of Rs 10 lakh to a fixed deposit. If the Bill is passed finally, it may not be in the larger interest of depositors to keep their money with banks, and if the depositors do not keep money in the banks, the banks cannot lend money, which, in turn, may jeopardise development.
ROOP SINGH NEGI, Solan
‘Civilisational crisis and post-human society’ (July 22) challenges the powers that be to seriously give thought to how they can overcome the prevalent hostile sectarianism and apathy to the basic needs of humankind. The present nexus operating among big corporations, unregulated banks and insurance companies must not be allowed to act as custodians of all governance. The reins of economy and the quality of a citizen's life are in the hands of forces of consumerism and big sharks. The ordinary citizen is overwhelmed with a blitz of data and statistics of government handouts.
LM Sharma, Dharamsala
Crisis of existence
Refer to ‘Civilisational crisis and post-human society’; if humans’ age-old insatiable desire, and politics, for power, beauty and control is now being compounded by mushrooming engineering and throbbing technology, the presence of pristine parameters of culture and civilisation, governance and public good, social understanding and moral values, peace and harmony is sure to suffer departure. The art, aestheticism and essence of being are being replaced with impatience, apathy, materialism and violence, turning the public pathetic and the rulers ruthless.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Crossing the line
Refer to ‘CM Gehlot slams door on Pilot, calls him worthless’ (July 22); the rebellion initiated by Sachin Pilot has grabbed the attention of every leading national daily. Such kind of phenomenon has been observed in MP, Maharashtra, Goa. How can a voter trust such elected representatives who could not be loyal to their party, even though serving it for years and reducing it to a minority government. This shows the strains in our democracy, where a state government comes in danger of being overthrown now and then, under the banner of horse-trading of MLAs.
Jashan Goyal, Bathinda
The middle ‘Under one roof, but different worlds’ (July 22) conveys a meaningful message that isolation and loneliness are not the only factors for depression and suicide, but also the present lifestyle has added to the sad saga. Increase in the income of the middle class has made it possible for independent rooms and TV for each member of the family. Different routines of grownups, and even kids, are a hurdle for family get-together. Bigger houses have resulted in smaller hearts. Smartphones have added to the distance between family members. Gone are the days when at night, nani used to tell stories to grandchildren, and during winter, all members relished the warmth of angeethi with a soothing session of chit-chat.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Real life missing
Refer to ‘Under one roof, but different worlds’ (July 22); loneliness has increased more due to factors like nuclear families, social media and smartphone addiction. Traditional activities like outdoor sports and goodwill visits that build friendships and relationships are rare nowadays. We are surrounded more by ‘things we love’ than by ‘persons we love’. Let’s live in a real world with real human beings instead of a virtual world.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Don’t dread failure
There was a time when a student attaining first division was considered a genius. Nowadays, there is no dearth of students who are found grumbling even on scoring over 90% (‘Not score, aim to make a mark in life’). Although the total percentage is important, it should not be the ultimate goal. Knowledge and wisdom is. Marks can’t judge a student’s intellect, but reflect only his diligence, cramming capacity and luck. Failure is the stepping stone to success. Our faulty education system fails to teach students how to cope with failure. This is the reason why suicide is increasing among students. Parents should have realistic goals and teach their wards that not failure, but low aim is wrong. Teachers should also tell pupils that greatness lies not in never falling, but rising every time.
SUNIL CHOPRA, LUDHIANA
Refer to the editorial ‘Welcome candour’ (July 20); the bold statement by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is appreciable because the government now agrees that the double standards shown by China hampered peace talks. Promising to resolve the dispute and then killing our 20 soldiers is a case of mistrust created by China. India should tie up with Western powers to contain China. Any inch of land ceded to China means a failed stand against that country. It is time to be adamant on our claims in the Galwan valley and Pangong Tso. Like-minded countries such as the US, Japan, Australia and Russia should be roped in to make a gigantic strategic collaboration to counter China. Proactive steps can yield fruitful results. China should be strategically and diplomatically limited to its real limits.
Vishiwjeet Singh, Chandigarh
Apropos ‘Welcome candour’, despite winning in Madhya Pradesh in 2018 after a yawning gap of 15 years, the Congress lost it to the BJP due to infighting and factional politics within the party, which tore apart the party’s state unit and ended up in the Congress youth face Jyotiraditya Scindia embracing the BJP with 22 MLAs. Now, it is the turn of the Rajasthan Government. Scindia was sidelined, notwithstanding his rapport with Rahul Gandhi. Sachin Pilot too is meeting the same fate. Both of them shared a camaraderie with Rahul Gandhi but accomplished nothing. Keeping the party’s old warlords at the cost of losing the Gen-Next will cost the party dearly.
Rahul Chouhan, Chandigarh
Hope for millions
In reference to ‘Oxford vaccine holds out hope’ (July 21), the first and second phase of the vaccine trials has been successfully completed and has no side-effects. Also, it has been declared safe for use, but the third trial is yet to be confirmed. If the hard work of our scientists pays off, it would be wonderful for India’s image. It is the most encouraging bit of news, at a time when millions of people are getting infected by the coronavirus.
Poonam Poonia, by mail
Not fit to lead
Refer to ‘The attack from within’ (Nous Indica, July 18); the biggest burden for the Congress is imbecile leadership at the top. Rahul Gandhi lacks oratorical skill and a visionary approach. His criticism of the BJP is never couched in a meaningful and articulate language as behoves a mature leader. Sonia Gandhi is both ageing and ailing. The combined leadership of mother, son and sister is neither inspiring nor motivating to the rank and file of the party. There is not a single leader in the party who is visionary, dynamic and commands a perceptible following. That is why Jairam Ramesh is right when he says that the Congress is facing an existential crisis.
RN Malik, Gurugram
Reference to ‘Labour dwellings a hurdle in fight against Covid’ (July 20), labourers in vehras are accustomed to living in dismal conditions, where they do not even have basic amenities. The small rooms are outnumbered by the people living there, hence the congested areas often have huge gatherings. How can we expect them to practice social distancing under such living conditions? Their health and safety should be a matter of grave concern. The department concerned should hasten work to construct public toilets, or shift workers to a safer place. Moreover, these vehras should be monitored, or else these places will also turn into Covid hotspots.
Ayushi Bisht, Dehradun
Misuse of UAPA
The UAPA seems to be like the IPC, being used so commonly in Punjab and other states. The main purpose of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act is getting lost in the recent amendments and can cause serious harm. It is anti federal in nature and empowers the Centre with extraordinary powers which can result in arbitrariness. Minorities and people who speak out against injustice can become an easy target. Restoration of faith and the legal system is needed.
Perminder Kaur, Patiala
Poor state of roads
I wish to draw attention to the pathetic and deplorable condition of our roads. No doubt there is a considerable increase in kilometres, but quality-wise, our roads are in poor shape. In addition to this, we are adhering to the age-old system of speed-breakers, which, at many places, are unusually higher than permissible limits, leading to accidents. They should be clearly marked in paint. We are vulnerable to defence threats, and our roads are not up to the mark. This poses a serious challenge.
SANTOSH JAMWAL, HAMIRPUR
Refer to the editorial ‘Welcome candour’ (July 20); it was reassuring to learn that the Defence Minister admitted to the challenges before the country, while addressing the troops in Ladakh. It is the first time that a senior functionary has freely expressed his views. At the same time, he has assured us that no power in the world can grab even an inch from India. We cannot trust Chinese leaders as they believe in grabbing the land of other countries, either by hook or by crook.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Poor state of justice
Refer to the editorial ‘Decongesting prisons’ (July 20); we needed a pandemic to draw our attention towards the alarming magnitude of poverty, crumbling public health system, overcrowded prisons, etc. You cannot check the spiralling crime—you have a big number of undertrials in prisons whose trial goes on at a snail’s pace. Political adversaries and the ones raising even genuine voices of dissent are put in jails. But, still, the government doesn’t feel the need to have a matching number of prisons. In the name of decongesting prisons because of the pandemic, justice secured by the aggrieved parties after long legal battles should not be reversed or diluted overnight. Undertrials should be let out following an easy procedure. An 80-year-old poet-professor-humanist and champion of social justice languishing in jail without trial should make us hang our head in shame.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Undertrials in jails
Refer to ‘Decongesting prisons’ (July 20); the Prison Statistics India report is collated by the National Crime Records Bureau. The total number of prisons in India decreased from 1,412 in 2016 to 1,339 in 2018. However, the capacity of prisons increased from 3,80,876 in 2016 to 3,96,223 in 2018. If one looks at the number of undertrials in prison, these are surprisingly high owing to our long road to justice. There was a 10.4% increase in the number of undertrials during 2016 to 2018. Recently, the number of people who have been detained in prisons has increased. Many students, academicians and journalists, among others, are facing serious charges because of dissenting viewpoints. Poet Varavara Rao has been admitted to a hospital due to health complications inside prison. Speedy bail procedures can save lives. It would be a grave injustice if any innocent dies in jail.
Jaspreet Singh, Patiala
6G will have to wait
Apropos of ‘Mission 6G — time to lead’(July 20), top telecom players owe the government Rs 1.47 lakh crore towards licence fee, spectrum usage charge, interest and penalty, accumulated over the past 14 years. They have filed review petitions in the SC. These telcos, Vodafone, Idea and Airtel in particular, have threatened to shut shop and not roll out 5G, in case they are not provided relief by the Centre. This arm-twisting smacks of a conspiracy to close this matter, with a few hundred crores of bearer bonds being issued in favour of the ruling party and crores in savings to telecom licensees. It is shameful that the country is being held to ransom by a few companies. It is a clear case of quid pro quo. The country will be a big loser in sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and education, where 5G was to be used, because of this dogfight. Let us forget 6G for a couple of years.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Quitting party? Recontest
The Rajasthan imbroglio is no longer an intra-Congress feud, it is turning into Congress versus BJP, and why not? The BJP found a chance to wrest power from the Congress because of the tussle between Gehlot and Pilot. Both are not on talking terms since the formation of the government 18 months ago. For the people of Rajasthan, where is governance under such circumstances? Such destabilisation of any state government by any means should not be allowed. A fair investigation into the whole affair and phone tapping should be brought in public knowledge. We have a right to know what went wrong and where. The anti-defection law needs a relook to make it effective. Transparency should be there, if anybody wants to switch over, let him resign and fight the election again, without recourse to shortcuts. This whole sordid drama must come to a logical conclusion.
Devinder Garg, Chandigarh
Stuck in Australia
Will the aviation ministry inform when it intends to start flights for India? I am a senior citizen who came to Australia with my wife for three months with a return ticket of Air India for March-end. Unluckily, we are stuck here due to Covid. Medicines are costly here and people like me need medical consultation frequently, and the supply of medicines has been exhausted, leading to stress. For how long will we remain dependent on our daughter? If we are to live with Covid, why not in India, in our own home?
RC Kohli, Melbourne
Apropos of ‘The attack from within’ (Nous Indica, July 18), the infrastructure of the house of the party has become too worn out and is now infected with termites, resulting in the Gen Next of the Congress moving out and creating a rebellion within. The only hope for the Congress is to remain dependent on regional satraps, who can still help in overcoming the rot within the party. Ambition is not a bad word. A roadmap for the future needs to be shown to them for their enhanced role in polity. The Rajasthan fiasco illustrates that meritocracy can never thrive in the Congress, only sycophancy can. The youthful flavour that Rahul Gandhi was trying to induct into the Congress has succumbed to this culture, and the rule of the fading old guard.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Indian democracy badly needs an Opposition but the role of the Opposition must not be limited to resistance and dissent (‘The attack from within’; Nous Indica). The basic prerequisite is patriotism that lies in supporting the country all the time, and the government when it deserves. Nemo repente fuit turpissimus (no one became extremely vicious all at once). But any defection ought not be incentivised. We need to regulate unfettered liberties of politicians to twitch, switch, stitch or ditch, by mandating a one-year membership norm for any party nomination for election or a berth in ministry. This can cure most ills plaguing our parties, politics and polity, and lend stability.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Virtues of the past
The political drama in Rajasthan reinforces the fact that ideology, loyalty and morality are fast losing their place of pride in Indian politics. All parties can compromise with ideology for power, finding numerous excuses to justify their disgraceful conduct. The PDP-BJP government in J&K, SS-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra and the political somersault in MP are recent examples. Politics is now a profit enterprise only for the rich. Pilot’s action is not all honourable, but it was also not justified to deny him chief ministership when he had led the Congress to power, amid BJP’s campaign of ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. Had Gehlot been so popular, why did he not prefer the field for party revival rather than playing safe at the Centre? Pilot was tricked after the Assembly elections, thereby sowing the seeds of dissension. Whatever be the outcome of the present stalemate, the Congress will either way lose and hasten its extinction due to indecisiveness.
GP CAPT JS BOPARAI (RETD), BHADSALI
Business as usual
I happened to visit Sai Bridh Ashram at Chaura village to take stock of the inmates’ needs. On the way, and in the village, I observed that no one was wearing a mask, not to mention social distancing. Shops were crowded. The CM is making repeated requests to the people to adhere to safety guidelines. The public should cooperate in true spirit. Announcement and awareness needs to be undertaken in the rural belt to take timely precautions before it gets out of hand.
OP Garg, Patiala
Refer to the editorial ‘Cap on treatment cost’ (July 18); the government hospitals have been providing free of cost treatment to Covid-19 patients. But infrastructure and other facilities are poor. The cost mentioned on the medicine and medical devices varies from 10 to 90 per cent. State governments have put a cap on the cost of treatment. It is clear that private hospitals and laboratories have been charging unreasonable bills. The governments should take strict measures to save citizens from unethical business-minded medical experts.
DILWAR ALI MEERAK, TOHANA
Enough on Bachchans
The front-page news ‘Aishwarya, Aaradhya admitted to hospital’ (July 18) raises a question: Why ‘undeserved’ and extraordinary governmental care, patronage and prerogative coverage by the media is being extended to this family? Lakhs of citizens are suffering from coronavirus without care and thousands have died ‘unsung’. We don’t have dohri nagrikta in our nation. Why the focus on this elite family?
MPS Chadha, Mohali
Artwork on vehicles
Signages, hoardings and ad boards along highways are a distraction for drivers, and the courts have already banned paintings etc, in hilly areas (‘Stickers, artwork on vehicles no hitch to registration: HC’; July 15). Artwork-donning vehicles shall be a bigger menace on roads. About 50 years ago, a study in Sweden established that except white, all colours on vehicles give wrong assessment of actual distances and may lead to crashes. I faced the problem of distraction due to artwork on trucks in Pakistan during my visit to Katasraj Dham.
VK GUPTA, KURUKSHETRA
Apropos of “Human trials of Indian ‘vaccines’ start as count reaches 9.36 lakh” (July 16), the trajectory of the Covid-19 vaccine seems to be on a positive side. Even after the vaccine passes the final stage, there will be dozens of challenges ahead, both for the government and the citizens. The government would have to ensure that the vaccine becomes easily available to all and the huge demand does not lead to overpricing. Meanwhile, the people should keep following safety norms. We should imbibe the feeling of ‘service’ in ourselves and be ready to assist the government to reach out to the people in need in near future.
Deepakshi Seth, via mail
Sachin Pilot is a promising political leader. The reason for his slugfest with the old and experienced warhorse Gehlot should be seen through a wider lens. Often, the old do not accept the young so easily. In this case also, it seems as if Gehlot has successfully pushed a defiant Pilot out of his way in one go. Not only has he been able to save his government, but also brought down Sachin’s political ambitions to the ground level. This political drama is not going to end soon. Pilot won’t accept it easily. The public is an eyewitness and knows who is right or wrong.
Simranjeet Singh Saini, Jalandhar
Rebellion in Congress
The rebellion by Sachin Pilot and his resignation has sent a strong signal to the Congress. Now, the party should start giving more opportunities to younger leaders. Many leaders like Milind Deora are speaking against the Congress which shows that the party leadership has lost all contact with its younger leaders, who are now rebelling. They should be given responsible positions and accorded respect and dignity.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Stop Covid shaming
Covid patients are facing a two-pronged battle, one from the illness itself and the other from society in the form of discrimination. People should support them and treat them with a lot of care, assuring them that there is hope. We have to stick together to fight this crisis.
HARNOOR DANG, Hoshiarpur
Air bubble pact
In reference to the news report ‘Limited flights: Air bubble with France, US’ (July 17), India has signed bilateral agreements that will allow airlines to operate international flights, but as Covid cases are increasing, it has established an air bubble agreement to carry a possible number of people under defined conditions, protocols and restrictions. This is a good initiative, keeping in view the safety and security of the people in this worst pandemic.
Shefali Kohli, Jalandhar
Refer to the middle ‘Not score, aim to make a mark in life’ (July 16); an increasing number of students scoring above 90 per cent has made anyone scoring below 90 as mediocre. When I see students scoring 98 per cent in English, it reminds me of my teacher’s words when asked why she won’t award full marks to a question. ‘There’s always a better way of writing an answer as it is literature.’ There is no best answer as such. Only scoring high should not be priority. By looking at our present education system and marking pattern, many deemed universities have designed their entrance exams for admission. This gives a level playing field for everyone and helps them to pursue their course of choice without being barred due to their past performance.
Sreedhar Nambi, by mail
To reduce the burden on students, the CBSE has reduced the syllabus by 30 per cent to make up for academic loss. This is a big relief for many students, but for those preparing for competitive exams, this has given way to anxiety. Classes 11 and 12 are vital, as students make major decisions on their career. Nothing is mentioned regarding the status of syllabus for competitive exams. How can topics like Newton’s laws and a major portion of digestion and absorption in humans be deleted? There could have been two approaches: removing bits and portions from each chapter, and removing one full important chapter completely. The first approach has been followed by the HRD Ministry but it has its own pros and cons. The second approach could have been better as it would not have compromised the quality of the topics to be read. After Class 12, students adopt different courses and it is important to have basic knowledge of the topics in senior secondary years. A different strategy considering the quality of topics could have been better. To reduce the time taken to complete the unit, the quality of learning has been compromised.
Neha Dhiman, PANCHKULA
Refer to the editorial ‘Capping kids’ screen time’ (July 16); the huge surge in coronavirus cases has led the entire education system to shift from physical classrooms to virtual classrooms in the form of online education. No doubt this is imperative, but the government must look into the problems being faced by poor children who have no access to digital technology. Also, for hours, children are glued to the screen which creates problems and frustration besides health issues.
Amitoj Kaur, by mail
Clearly not prepared
Refer to the editorial ‘Restrictions are back’ (July 16); it is deeply ingrained in the Indian psyche that we first create problems and then waste most of the time looking for solutions. The spread of coronavirus is one such example. The prolonged lockdown yielded no positive result nor did we bring out effective preparedness plans to deal with the virus. These locking, unlocking and relocking exercises reflect our failure to have infrastructural preparedness to deal with the virus. Instead of exposing people to the risks of a slew of hazards — physical, psychological, economical and sociological — creating awareness could be a more useful tool than creating panic and fear among the public. Sanitisers, masks and social distancing should be the sine qua non.
EPSA PRASHAR, DHARAMSALA
No lockdown, please
Apropos of the editorial ‘Restrictions are back’ (July 16), the further surge in Covid cases is worrisome but lockdown can never be a permanent answer. Lockdown was required for a certain time, but extending it beyond three-four months may be counterproductive. Now it’s time to make peace with Covid, and with safeguards, let us get on with the new normal in our lives. Everyone has to be responsible for their own safety and follow dos and don’ts religiously. This is the only way. There is a limit to how long a nation can be under lockdown, as it would wreck the economy and individuals. India is already reeling under 24% unemployment rate.
Ashok Goswami, by mail
Too large a number
There can be no better situation than Covid-19 to open the eyes of our policy planners that the burgeoning population of India ought to be controlled. It is because of such high numbers that vigorous testing is not being done. The sorry state of affairs of the medical infrastructure can also be attributed to our large numbers. It is reason for illiteracy, too. Successive governments have not taken any step towards controlling the increasing population. It is high time the government did something on a war footing, otherwise India is doomed.
Amit Kumar, by mail
To control this virus, awareness is a must. Physical and social distancing besides masks should be made completely compulsory. This should be implemented strictly till a vaccine hits the market. There is no need for a lockdown if we keep a safe distance and use masks. Make it a habit. If we are safe, the country is automatically safe.
Narender K Sharma, JoginderNagar
Kudos to the doctor!
With reference to the news ‘Rs 30 per patient, Amritsar doctor sets example’ (July 16); it is heartening that there still are people like Dr Sudesh Kumar who do selfless service to society, unlike a majority of doctors. There is a dearth of such doctors in India where a large number of people live below the poverty line. He prescribes generic medicines, thus saving patients from monetary burden. It is surprising that he examines patients for 13 hours. He is doing commendable work. A big salute to the doctor.
He is a source of inspiration not only for doctors, but also for others.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
Turmoil in Valley
In the wake of abductions and shootings, the response of the Kashmiris will be a litmus test for democracy in the Valley. To vent their frustration, separatists and terrorists have stooped to targeting unarmed civilians, sarpanches and politicians to indulge in fear-mongering and thwart the return of normalcy in the region. In these testing times, the people had better show the gall to take on the fringe elements by acting as informers to the Army and stand their ground, to tap the opportunity of a new sunrise dawning upon the UT, else the region would again slip into chaotic anarchy fuelled by a secessionist agenda. The government, too, should prioritise the education of young Kashmiris, so that they are job-ready for a safe and better future.
UPANT SHARMA, PANCHKULA
Apropos of the editorial ‘Pilot crash-lands’ (July 15); it is the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul that is responsible for the mess created by the Sachin Pilot episode. The Congress itself first gave in to the unreasonable demand of Pilot to make him the Deputy CM of Rajasthan and also the president of the state party unit. Probably, all this contributed to the vaulting ambition of Sachin Pilot. The senior Congress leadership should learn a lesson from the unfolding political drama and find out ways to prevent such incidents which only dent the party image.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Introspection for Cong
Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot was in a tearing hurry to be the CM but his plot seems to have misfired. It is also possible that the Congress may have to rue its decision to ground Pilot in such haste. India’s oldest political party, the Congress seems to be racing towards oblivion. Pilot’s options don’t look good either. Even if the BJP were to topple the Congress and form its own government in Rajasthan, it may not leave much space for Pilot at the expense of its own old-timers.
PS Hanspaul, by mail
Crisis in Congress
Sachin Pilot, a promising and talented leader, had a bright future in the Congress had he not let his overweening ambition get the better of him. His indiscretion in trying to dislodge the government of his own party, which had rewarded him so richly in a short span of time, was unacceptable. In this unsavoury episode, he has inflicted immense damage to the party and also burnt his own fingers. The party high command can’t escape criticism for its failure to handle the situation before it snowballed into a crisis of huge magnitude.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
With Google planning to invest Rs 75,000 crore in India, a good step is being taken towards a better economy. Covid-19 has restricted everyone to their homes and during such times, digitalisation is the right step. These days, not just big companies but also small vendors are using QR codes for payments. If digitalisation is embedded from ground zero, every one will be exposed to it. Only then will it make a difference and get accepted by all.
Khushnaseeb Kaur, Patiala
Refer to the news item, ‘Fresh HRD guidelines out for online classes, screen time cut’ (July 15); rapid changes and the increased complexity of today’s world present new challenges and put new demands on the education system. There has generally been a growing awareness of the necessity to change and improve the preparation of students for productive functioning in the continually changing and highly demanding environment. Although many people still consider traditional universities as the best way to achieve knowledge, online learning proves to be a great alternative.
Mansi Bhardwaj, Ambala
Julio Ribeiro’s (June 13) and Rahul Singh’s (June 14) race-related articles brought back painful memories. I had just joined the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. There was a student from Nigeria. The attitude of the students toward him was not proper. Unable to put up with it, he one day packed his stuff and left. A few years later, I myself ended up in England at the Manchester University for a Master’s degree. There were two Nigerians as classmates. The Nigerians and I, invariably, got a warm smile from the British. Later, the Huddersfield College of Technology, England, hired me as a lecturer in electrical engineering — a first non-white at that time. I mention it here as a salute to the fairness of British system.
Hardev Singh Grewal, California
Artwork on cars
Refer to the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on stickers and artwork on vehicles. The order should be reviewed. The stickers are normally displayed on the front or back. The concentration of the driver is not disturbed by this. If these artworks are done on the side of the vehicles, these are bound to divert the attention of the drivers driving parallel or coming from the opposite direction and make them prone to accidents.
RC Garg, Kotkapura
Make masks compulsory
It is a matter of concern that most devotees visiting the Golden Temple are without masks. The SGPC should make arrangements to provide them with cloth masks at the gate itself like it is done with patkas to cover the head. An appeal will result in masks being donated in large numbers as a preventive measure.
Ranbir Singh Pannu, Amritsar
Apropos of the editorial ‘Sachin Pilot’s gamble’ (July 14), two-time MP, junior minister in UPA-II government and Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot’s hunger for power became apparent when he unsuccessfully tried to topple his own government, with the tacit backing of the BJP, which he had opposed tooth and nail. The Congress must get a grip on itself and that process must start with filling the leadership vacuum and mitigating Pilot’s discontent to preempt a repetition of the MP episode.
SS Paul, Nadia
Bereft of ideology
Refer to ‘Sachin Pilot’s gamble’ (July 14); in politics these days, ideology has taken a back seat. The Congress is facing a grim battle for survival. At this critical juncture, when mass leaders are few and far between, state-level leaders have come to carry more weight. The leaders seem to be suffering from lack of vision and philosophy. Emerging young leaders must be given due importance in the party. Pilot was made the Deputy CM, but kept away from key portfolios. Why?
Raj Bahadur Yadav,Fatehabad
Giant tech initiative
Google brings an initiative of Rs 75,000 crore investment to help increase the adoption of digital technologies in India. The main focus areas like new technology for health, education, agriculture, empowering businesses, digital transformation and enabling affordable access in local languages will benefit India. This step can definitely help to fill the void created by the banning of 59 Chinese applications.
Amitoj Kaur, Patiala
Google’s forward march
Refer to ‘Google to pump in Rs 75K cr for Digital India initiative’ (July 14); tech giants are coming under increasing regulatory pressure around the world on tax, data privacy and data storage, and so, it makes sense to be on the good side of governments everywhere. Google is facing mounting competition in its core search business. It needs to make its uniqueness felt. In rapidly evolving AI, too, India is a good place to locate high-quality talent. Google’s self-interest goes perfectly well with our public interest. The digital ecosystem can generate millions of high-quality jobs and other ancillary occupations that India needs.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
Road project stuck
The work on the Ambala-Saha highway was flagged off in June 2019. The proposed distance is roughly 15 km. The project started with great fanfare but it’s been over a year, neither the contract assigning authority nor civil society/media has questioned the reasons for delay. Elections may be contested on such matters, but there is neither a time frame for projects nor penalty in case of delay. I wonder what kind of management did E Sreedharan enforce at the workplace that the entire web of Delhi Metro was handed over to the state government before time. None of us have learnt from the DMRC that construction of roads and highways in busy cities could also be done after sunset. Thankfully, the said project is a ‘no toll’ highway, else, the company winning the bid might have started the construction by first bringing the toll plaza into effect.
DS Thukral, Ambala
Acts of philanthropy
Lord Swraj Paul is often in the news for his philanthropic activities (‘Lord Swraj Paul donates $5 million to alma mater’; July 13). India has also been a recipient of his largesse. People like him have also helped Indian institutions to further research in many fields and programmes alleviating poverty and improving health conditions. But often, India-born philanthropists are known to donate large sums to US and UK institutions that are already well placed in money matters. But would it not serve better if the research and educational needs of the developing countries of their origin are given a larger portion of the largesse?
DV Sharma, Mukerian
A lot has been said and debated in the media on the encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey. Sadly, no police or government agency has come forward to give plausible answers to the doubts raised by different groups of people and political parties. The overturned vehicle involved in the episode was not towed, but virtually dragged in lying position by a crane. Without much effort, the vehicle could have been lifted to be put on wheels. What can be the motive behind this mysterious move?
VK Anand, Chandigarh
We are at a stage where restrictions related to public gatherings and public movement is necessary. Even though the recovery rate is at a good pace, we cannot deny the active cases and also the main concern that most people aren’t even getting tests done. Therefore, the decision by the CM should be welcomed by every resident of Punjab. The state government should, however, ensure that all guidelines and restrictions are executed in a way that people don’t face any trouble.
Raktanjali Sharma, Hoshiarpur
FIRST in Madhya Pradesh, and now in Rajasthan, Congress leaders seem unsatisfied with their party leadership. Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi seem to be active more on Twitter than in public. Sachin Pilot’s defiance is another wake-up call for the party president after Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the Congress. This shows there is something wrong with the party.
Ashwani Kumar, Chandigarh
Clamour for Rahul’s return
In reference to ‘Party MPs want Rahul Gandhi back at helm’ (July 12), the chorus for Rahul Gandhi to return as the Congress chief can be seen as ‘no other option’. The MPs have been vouching for Rahul Gandhi to take charge as the party is in dire need to strengthen its position. And apparently, there is no other leader who can revive the party, as he has constantly frowned upon the Modi government for its decision-making and silence on significant matters.
Maitri Bhardwaj, Patiala
No respect for voters
Politicians have no values or principles. No one cares for the citizens and the prevalent situation. They are not bothered about the pandemic, but about toppling the government. It was time for Ashok Gehlot to step aside. The main reason for the party losing has been arrogance of its senior leadership. There is no respect for voters left in this country.
Rahul Baghel, by mail
Don’t provoke China
Refer to the editorial ‘Walk the talk, China’ (July 13); China’s Ambassador Sun Weidong is right. It took decades to build goodwill between the two countries. What was then the trigger that made China adopt the present attitude? I think it is the utterance by our own Home Minister in Parliament that we will get back not only Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK, but also Aksai Chin. Perhaps that is why China took up a defensive position in the area. This may be the reason why they opposed the construction of a bridge over the Galwan river. Our leaders should refrain from making statements that can cause bitterness in relations.
Saroj Kumar Patial, Bilaspur
Apropos of ‘Kurukshetra ex-MP calls Mahabharata fictional, Brahmins fume’ (July 11), questioning any belief system is practical but the public platform Saini chose to criticise the Mahabharata is inappropriate. Fictitious or not, its sub-text Bhagavad Gita has always been a guiding light. The unparalleled lessons of selfless action and love it teaches is actually worth acquiring. The unchallenged ideas of the Gita open ways before us when every door seems closed. The path shown in it never inspires anyone to indulge in false religious practices but delivers a clear message to enjoy life, being practically sound and morally upright. RW Emerson, renowned American poet and philosopher, believed that there was no dilemma in the world whose solution the Gita didn’t offer. The ex-MP should have selected some other ways to debate the issue. His act of playing with the sentiments of the masses can’t be endorsed.
Kapil Sharma, Kaithal
Software for transfers
Refer to the news regarding the software for teachers’ transfer in HP; the move is discriminatory in nature. Online transfers should be applicable to all state government employees. The state’s topography varies from other states in the plains. The online system shall transfer a teacher on points basis and a serving couple will score more. Moreover, teachers belonging to Hamirpur and Una would be most affected due to lack of tough terrain and get less points. If employees of other departments can serve at nearby stations, why not the teachers? Why are only school teachers being targeted?
Tarun Sharma, Hamirpur
Private hospital fee
Private hospitals are charging heavily for Covid treatment. The government should issue guidelines to these hospitals regarding treatment charges. In government hospitals, there is no proper care and sanitation. Washrooms have to be shared and the food is unhygienic. There should be a cap on the fee charged by private hospitals. Moreover, the government must take strict action against hospitals that have shut their door to Covid patients.
Kamaljeet Malwa, Patiala
Refer to ‘Ponds not cleaned for years, villagers bear the brunt’ (July 12); during this pandemic, when we are talking about cleanliness and taking precautions to beat the virus, in the rural areas of Bathinda, ponds have not been cleaned for years. This negligence has not only ruined natural water bodies which could be used for farming and other productive purposes, but also threatens the lives of residents. This is an important health and environmental concern which needs to be taken up seriously.
Sugandha jain, by mail
Apropos of the editorial ‘Rule of lawlessness’, the case of Vikas Dubey smacks of the palpable nexus between politicians, criminals and the police in UP, which also indicates that the new era of governance in the country has its considerable share in such criminal disorder. The UP Police have lost credibility. Who will trust the men in khaki when they so dishonestly scripted the ‘encounter drama’ to save their bosses? They are no less than goons in khadi masquerading as the guardians of the Constitution. The police have to answer to society. As I saw the ADGP (Law and Order) sport a peculiar style of moustache, I wondered if it behoves a senior police officer, or is it just to signal his impudence?
EPSA PRASHAR, DHARAMSALA
Refer to the editorial ‘Rule of lawlessness’ (July 11); with the death of a dreaded gangster, the truth about many unanswered and unexplained doubts may never be revealed. This is a hard fact that nobody has any sympathy with the gangster, but the incident gives a sad message where the police act as prosecutor, judge and executioner. No civil society can digest such a scenario. The day nexus between criminals, politicians and police is fractured such unfortunate happenings will stop automatically.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Dubey killed in dubious encounter near Kanpur’ (July 11); mostly such kind of high-profile cases end in an encounter only in films. Coincidentally, the car in which Vikas Dubey was sitting met with an accident in Uttar Pradesh territory. If it was a planned encounter, it puts a question mark on the functioning of our judicial system. It was the right deed done in a wrong manner.
jashan goyal, Bathinda
Refer to the encounter of Vikas Dubey; a proper interrogation should have been undertaken, as he had been linked with various political parties and politicians. It was a great opportunity to disclose the links. It is difficult to understand if it gave justice to policemen killed by him, or if this incident protected the unholy nexus. An encounter for overall ‘protection’ is malicious.
Neetika singh, Chandigarh
Don’t ban in a rush
The Federation of All India Vyapar Mandal’s letter to the PM has put light on the probability of endangering the domestic market by boycotting Chinese goods. In 2019-20, China accounted for 18% of total imports of India. A sudden ban can affect medium and small businesses in the domestic market. Considering that India has a huge trade deficit, reducing our dependence on China is crucial. There is a need for a well-thought-out plan, keeping the domestic market in mind. Making a relevant policy and executing it properly is a major step so that the domestic sector can get financial support.
Apropos of the middle ‘First-hand experience of racism in US’ (July 10), in 1961, it was my first visit to the US. Just 45 minutes before landing at the New York airport, I was handed a pink immigration card. Against the column ‘race’, I mentioned ‘white’. The air hostess insisted I write ‘black’. I refused to budge. The matter was sorted out when a purser appeared with the card and asked me to write ‘Indian’ instead. Other than that, during the past 58 years, I have travelled to over 60 countries, and can say that I have never experienced racism.
Karan J Kumar, Panchkula
The editorial ‘For Himachal’s sake’ (July 11) rightly calls for a review of the decision regarding permission to allow entry into Himachal. Ours is a tourism-dependent economy, but it will not be advisable to let in tourists. As it is, the locals too are taking things lightly and can be seen moving without masks. It will be very late if things go out of hand.
Sanjay Aggarwal, Solan
Doordarshan is streaming live the aarti at the Amarnath cave daily from 6 am to 5 pm, and will do so till August 3. The government has not taken the decision on the official start of the yatra. In the wake of Covid-19, ceasefire violations and the situation at the LAC, the government should not permit the yatra this year. The forces are facing hard times at the border. However, work on creating and strengthening the infrastructure should be allowed to continue and the government can divert funds for this instead of spending on the security arrangements.
Pawan Kumar Sharma, by mail
Nepal has banned the broadcast of all Indian media channels except Doordarshan after they made derogatory remarks about PM Oli and the Chinese ambassador. If the media had gone by the book, on the basis of facts, issues and data, it would have strengthened India’s stand, but the way in which it has gone about the row, has given Nepal another chance to confront India. The speed with which the credibility of the media has declined in the past few years is worrying because the media is regarded as the fourth pillar of democracy. On the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, India is ranked 142 among 200 countries. The ranking is low because the media is now putting questions to the Opposition and the public instead of the government. Earlier, the media channels used to show news, but now they merely sell news.
Gaurav Kumar, by mail
Refer to ‘70 Ayurveda licences in 3 months, no check’ (July 9); according to the record of the Directorate of Ayurveda, Punjab, 70 new brands have been offered a permit to sell without checking the crude material or formulations. This is an extremely casual conduct by the division during the pandemic, when sanitisers and masks are regarded as basic things. Such conduct may prompt serious rethink. The authorities need to take strict action against the permit suppliers as well as the permit holders.
Muskan Sharma, Parwanoo
Refer to the editorial ‘UP’s most wanted’ (July 10); as per the NCRB data, UP has been harbouring criminals for a long time. Only the mafias change with a change in political guard. Caste and religion of the criminals is elementary here to be nabbed or sheltered. Commoners often suffer the paralysis in law and order due to the nexus between netas, police and criminals. This time, gangster Vikas Dubey rendered police the victim, leading to much hue and cry. Was mob-lynched Subodh Kumar not a police officer? Dubey’s arrest, or his gang’s encounter, is not going to be the last nail in the coffin of crime in UP until political masters and the police stop being in cahoots with the criminals.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Crime and politics
Apropos of ‘UP’s most wanted’, people had high hopes from CM Yogi in the perennially crime-infested state of UP to rein in criminals. However, a change at the helm has failed to bring about any change in the fate of the masses who are still reeling under the terror of dreaded criminals. Enjoying political patronage, they kill at will. Nobody dares to speak against them for fear of elimination. They rule the roost otherwise Dubey could not have roamed freely despite committing countless crimes. Until the politician-criminal nexus is severed, a crime-free society will remain a dream.
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
The past few months have been ominous to the film industry as it has lost Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Sushant Singh Rajput, dancing queen Saroj Khan, and now, the evergreen comedian Jagdeep, pushing fans in a state of sadness. Every role performed by him left an indelible mark on viewers. The void created by the death of this comedy star will be difficult to fill.
BS TEKNA, HISAR
Rejection, Khushwant style
Like many others, I am no exception to getting rejection slips, but the one I received in 2007 from Khushwant Singh stands out (middle ‘Dread of the rejection slips’, July 8). It was handwritten on a postcard, and carried a word of encouragement: ‘Your poem reads well, but it does not fit in the column, which is lightweight and sarcastic...’ A line seeking my forgiveness for the delay in responding spoke of the rare humility of one of the most celebrated writers of his time. It was a privilege for me to subsequently get a poem ‘Kasauli and Murree’ published in his column ‘This Above All’ (The Tribune) in 2010.
KC Prashar, Kullu
There has been a spate of news about addicts flocking to out-patient opiate assisted clinics and private de-addiction centres and the untraceability of Rs 5-cr worth of Buprenorphine-Nalaxone tablets, used as substitution therapy. I have served in the PCMS and know that opiate addiction is difficult to treat. Over 90% again start using opiates after detoxification. It would be better if they are issued permits through their respective civil surgeons. The process of issuing a permit is simple. All that the patient has to do is file an application. He is then called to appear before a board of specialist doctors. A permit is given, fixing the quantity of opium. This way, the addict gets unadulterated drug at government-fixed rates and without the fear of law enforcement authorities. At the present price, the drug is very expensive in the international market. Therefore, it would be almost impossible to stop the illegal trade.
SATWINDER SINGH, Ludhiana
Refer to the news item ‘Dubey flees F’bad hotel; aide shot’ (July 9); a deadly gangster was on the run without ostensibly much checks. It is a corrupt system that has led to the rise of mafia and criminals who torment their own people. The responsibility mainly lies with the policemen who have been providing such criminals with information and helping them escape the system. The complicity of the cops and politicians will only result in the national interest getting compromised, putting the lives of the people in peril.
Sejal Goyal, by mail
The CBSE decision to cut the syllabus by 30% would definitely be a relief for the students, but altogether a huge loss to them. Removing important topics and chapters can prove to be a bad decision as many important things will be skipped and the child will have no knowledge of it. Rather than reducing the syllabus, the modes and methods of evaluation should be changed by reducing the quantum of assignments and focusing more on imparting knowledge. Overloading the students with excessive projects should be reduced rather than the syllabus.
KHUSHNASEEB KAUR, Patiala
Topics not vital?
The CBSE has decided to remove a few chapters from the curriculum to reduce the workload of students. Chapters such as secularism, federalism, citizenship and nationalism have been removed. These chapters of social sciences are highly relevant. Similarly, chapters have been reduced in other subjects too. The process by which the CBSE arrived at the decision, to remove or include any particular topic/chapter, is something that we deserve to know. Does this mean such topics do not deserve much importance? Would the students rather not learn about it or learn it through other sources?
Nikita Singh, Dehradun
Shorten chapters instead
The CBSE move to drop chapters on democratic rights, challenges to democracy, gender, caste and secularism from classes IX to XII is inappropriate. It will have larger implications on the future of the students. Instead of dropping these chapters from the syllabus, it should have shortened their length. In the normal course, students are taught these topics to help them know about political and civic aspects. One hopes the omission remains just an exception.
Sakshi mathur, by mail
Only in books
Refer to ‘Syllabus cut one-time move: CBSE’; the Board has removed some important chapters from the syllabus. The decision was taken keeping in mind the convenience of the children because of less time left for the academic session. The chapters are important, offering a basic knowledge about the body politic of the country. But then the fact remains that these concepts are merely taught and not really practised in the country anymore.
TANVI NAGPAL, NEW DELHI
Exams in Himachal
The education system in Himachal seems to be directionless. From students to teachers, university to the education department, and finally the government, everyone seems to be clueless. Thousands of students are eagerly waiting for the conduct of their exams. But the government and the bodies concerned are indecisive. They are looking to the Centre for every decision. Does the state have no academic plans or think tank of its own to decide the course of things?
EPSA PRASHAR, DHARAMSALA
Corona in Chandigarh
The Chandigarh administration is losing its sheen in fighting the coronavirus, as now there is no effort to constantly alert people of the threat and no issuing of challans by the police, even at the most visited places, and that too when the presence of the police is most visible.
VS Ahluwalia, Chandigarh
Postman didn’t like it!
It was stimulating to read the middle ‘Dread of the rejection slip!’ (July 9). It reminded me of an incident that happened several years ago. Once, my brother, who was a writer, had sent an article to a leading magazine and having not received any response for months, he wrote back to the editor for its status. Pat came the reply: ‘Perhaps, the postman did not like it!’ In those days, articles were sent by post. My brother sent a rejoinder: ‘I never knew that a postman is the editor of your magazine!’ It was later published.
C Ghanshyam, Visakhapatnam
Refer to the witty middle ‘Dread of the rejection slip!’; I have been published a number of times, but every time, I remain apprehensive if it will appear in the next day’s paper or not. If it does, one gets a good dose of happiness for the entire day. The middle has touched the sensitive nerve of all writers.
Kuldip Dosanjh, Jalandhar
Reference to ‘ICMR jumps the gun’ (July 6); it would be an honour if India comes out first with a vaccine against Covid-19. But as a young citizen, I think the deadline that the ICMR has declared is just unrealistic. If the deadline declaration is only due to political and public pressure, it is a big concern for everyone. Under the normal circumstances, vaccine trials require a certain period, mostly in years. Many a time, there are unexpected side-effects of a vaccine after several years, and also, no one can guarantee its durability. Hasty production or declaration of Covid-19 vaccine may not only increase the risk of many side-effects, but also concern about human life.
HARSHAL SURESH DESALE, Pune
China can’t be trusted
The developments at the LAC are surely a cause for concern keeping in view the hypocrisy of China, though on the face of it, China feigns innocence. The telephonic talk between our NSA and the Chinese foreign minister has for the time being helped in de-escalation, but to trust China will be a blunder. ‘One may smile, and smile, and be a villain’ is true of China. The need is to be more cautious and vigilant and weigh all pros and cons in the right perspective.
Santosh Jamwal, HAMIRPUR
No country can become atmanirbhar if the population increases by 180 lakh per year or one Australia is added every year. A consensus should be reached to introduce a system of incentives and disincentives. A massive awareness programme for observing a two-child norm should be launched on the scale of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. There was a very successful programme in Haryana in 1980. A person was required to bring one case of family planning operation before joining duty after recruitment.
RN Malik, Gurugram
It is heartening that the government has decided to start constructing the Halwara airport on priority, but being a common citizen of Ludhiana, may I ask what is wrong with the development of Ludhiana airport? Why the huge funds to be spent on developing the Halwara airport in the coming months and years cannot be used to upgrade the international airport at Ludhiana, which is already in operation in stages for the last many years?
ASHOK JAIN, Sahnewal
Refer to the middle ‘Feathered visitors & their long history’ (July 7); people should be cognisant and aware of detrimental upshots of diminishing biodiversity. Each species plays its specific role. The rivet popper hypothesis suggests the importance of species richness in the maintenance of the ecosystem. To tackle the emerging stumbling blocks like global warming, climate change, radiation, air pollution, waste management etc., conservation of biodiversity should be our most urgent need. Recreational activities in nature’s meadow make our day, and enrich our lives.
Vinod Kumar Garg, Barnala
I greatly enjoyed the middle ‘Feathered visitors & their long history’ (July 7). It is so true that nowadays we are witnessing so many marvels of nature that man has been forced to step aside. Hopefully, we will learn and continue to not interfere with nature even after this crisis ends. Sometimes it feels like we humans are the actual virus that nature is trying to get rid of. Even in my garden, I see doves and mynahs making nests in the bougainvillea. Their merry chirping wakes me up every morning.
HS Bedi, Mohali
How ayurveda heals
Apropos of the editorial ‘Misleading brand name’ (July 3); vata, pitta and kapha do not just mean air, bile and phlegm but represent bio-physics, bio-chemistry and bio-mass forces in the human body. They carry all body functions, physiological and pathological. During wellness, they remain in balance. Correction of abnormal function is a treatment approach by means of samanya and vishesha dravyas or methods, so as to bring vridhi or hraash to physio-pathology, like the modern medical approach.
Naresh Dalal, Jhajjar
Will change come?
In my 76th year, I am still awaiting the moment when we will stop demeaning our citizenry by using terms like garib, Scheduled Caste etc. When Modi came to power, I had high hopes that he would take action on key problems. Why can’t we eradicate the mafia operating in our country? Why can’t we have centres for those in need of assistance to become self-reliant, instead of begging? Why can’t we have a social security system that takes care of everyone’s needs of health, shelter and food? When in Opposition, all parties attempt to disregard the work done by their predecessors. The chair alone interests the politicians.
Col Kulbir Singh (retd), Chandigarh
This refers to the editorial ‘Naked expansionism’ (July 7). The more the government is indulging in rhetoric and symbolic action against China, the more it is flexing its muscles. China is keen to keep the border cauldron boiling with the insidious objective of projecting to the world that India is a tinderbox, so that potential investors who are contemplating to shift to India shall shelve their plans. China may have mutually agreed to disengage at the LAC, but it could be a stratagem to confuse India, as it has been doing for ages. It is naïve to expect that the China imbroglio shall be resolved soon. China wants India to join the league of nations like Pakistan and Nepal that are playing second fiddle to it.
Deepak Singhal, via mail
The editorial ‘Naked expansionism’ (July 7) reveals Chinese hunger for hegemony in the comity of nations. Chinese monetary handouts to vulnerable countries make them easy prey to the shameless expansionism of the Dragon. The Ladakh incursion is a militaristic and strategic warning to all the neighbouring as well as regional countries to beware of the Chinese designs. The bigger economic powers of the world have been unable to contain China because every move by it is well-planned and executed, including ‘salami slicing tactic’ of two steps forward and one back.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Apropos of ‘Time for a movement against police brutality’ (July 4), the writer has made a sweeping statement about the custodial torture by the police prevalent since long. What did he do to stop it when he was the police chief? Why was the evil not nipped in the bud? If the police are disallowed from using harsh methods, how will they deal with hardened criminals? But if allowed, the police tend to cross the line. A middle path is needed. It is easy to come out with suggestions after one’s retirement while doing little when in service. This is not to suggest that the police force needs no reforms. It will have to do much to refurbish its sullied image. But for a brutal act of a few individuals, let us not malign the whole force. The police have a difficult task to do, but they should strive to be more friendly and never brute.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Why Aug 15 deadline?
Reference to ‘ICMR jumps the gun’ (July 6); such haste for a vaccine is inappropriate as its effectiveness will be questioned worldwide. The trials cannot be rushed because risk will prevail on those suffering from the virus and the possible side-effects of the vaccine. Moreover, if scientists are claiming that it is nearly impossible to make a vaccine so soon, how can it be launched by August 15? Is it a publicity stunt to coincide with Independence Day?
Drishti Doel, Jalandhar
Refer to ‘Unpaid for months, BSNL staff protest’ (July 7); ‘grouse does not give liberty to a victim to disobey the laws of the land’. The rampant increase in cases of protesters climbing water tanks or towers or creating ‘bandh chaos’ has acquired alarming proportions of disobeying law as well as damaging public property. Being an interest group, such protesters get their demands fulfilled sooner or later with all compensation, but the damage their protest does to the nation and humanity is often irrecoverable. Such damaging style of protesting needs to be contained administratively.
MPS Chadha, Mohali
Change is here to stay
In ‘Pandemic has ushered in the new normal’ (July 6), the writer has analysed the catastrophic situation caused by this global contagion. Undoubtedly, these happenings change the course of history. The pandemic has disrupted the socio-economic scenario on this planet and the survival of the human race will require a disciplined approach by adopting the ‘new normal’ habits which may include a combination of traditional and modern lifestyles. The advancements in science and technology must be harnessed for the welfare of humankind.
Vimal Setia, Faridkot
Apropos of ‘BJP questions Rahul’s absence from defence panel meetings’ (July 7), it is shocking that a top leader of the principal opposition party has not attended even a single meeting out of 11 meetings of the standing committee on defence matters held so far. What is the point of wasting so much time and public money on these parliamentary standing committees? Rahul Gandhi has lost his moral right to question the government on defence matters when he had no time to give his views. A responsible Opposition leader ought to do much more than criticising the government on Twitter every day.
Ashok kumar, Jalandhar
China is surreptitiously weaponising data and leaving no stone unturned to digitally colonise India. The PLA misuses data mining technology to know India inside out through its captivating social networking apps, and then comes up with cheap products. All the products imported from China come under suspicion, as many imported sensors were found to be used for espionage earlier. The telecom and communication sectors need to be kept out of Chinese expansionist mode and the government must infuse money in these sectors to safeguard our interests. Chinese tech giant Huawei and ZTE will lead India into an abyss of virtual slavery, in the name of giving cheap and affordable 5G technology.
Rahul Chouhan, Chandigarh
Heads must roll
This refers to ‘Top Hyderabad jeweller dies of Covid-19; creates panic among 100 people who attended his birthday bash’ (July 5). Another owner of a top jewellery chain also attended the bash and died of the deadly disease after having reportedly contracted Covid-19 from the host of the party. What an irony? But the moot question that obviously arises here: How such a large birthday bash was permitted in the first place? As per the Centre’s guidelines, not more than 50 persons can take part in a marriage ceremony and not more than 20 people can join any funeral. Some heads must certainly roll for such a serious administrative lapse.
Vinayak G, Bengaluru
Mere degree providers
Refer to ‘7 Pb polytechnics wasted Rs 75 cr in 8 yrs’ (July 6); to establish any government or private college, it requires to fulfil certain criteria to get accreditation and recognition. Successive governments have misused funds to establish these colleges across Punjab. Due to their illogical spending on unnecessary infrastructure, hiring professors for unapproved courses, governments have been playing with the fate of thousands of students. It creates a doubt in the mind of the public whether such colleges set up under the scheme of ‘Skill Development’ to produce skilled students would actually help in improving the ability of the students or merely provide them with degrees.
Sirat Sapra, Fazilka
It is always good to see young leaders taking initiatives to do something. Similar is the case with two IITians, who, with the guidance of their teachers, created an app named Copal-19. Through this app, people can register themselves as plasma donors and can come as volunteers to save the lives of Covid-19 patients. This is really a proud moment for all of us. Our youth, instead of looking back in these hard times, looked forward and created this app by working hard. They are also the heroes of our country.
Parwinder Kaur, Ludhiana
Surplus, still no power
Kudos to PSPCL for record power generation. Punjab has become a power-surplus state and has shut down some of its power plants. In spite of this positive situation, people, especially those living in villages, are suffering due to frequent power cuts to prevent overloading or outages due to breakdown in the distribution system. The PSPCL needs to improve its infrastructure maintenance in order to pass on the benefit of 24-hour supply to residents. Life becomes miserable when there is no electricity in this hot and humid weather. Some villages do not get supply for days together when there is a breakdown. What use is this surplus power when people are still suffering in this sweltering heat?
NEENA SANGHA, by mail
Ban in national interest
Refer to ‘No Kanwar yatra this year’ (July 5); implementing an administrative ban on Kanwar yatra by the Haryana Government is in the interest of the nation and society. Since the whole country is affected by the coronavirus, people should stay away from social and religious events. The restrictions should be considered as a commendable step in security rather than hurting the sentiments of people. Appreciably, the government will provide the holy waters of the Ganga, in view of Maha Shivratri.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
Saroj Khan was a three-time national award winner and also the first recipient of the choreography award instituted in the ’80s. She redefined an era of the film industry with her iconic work and will be remembered for her grace and simplicity. She has left behind her legacy of masterpieces of songs beautifully choreographed. Her demise is a huge loss to the film industry. RIP Saroj Khan!
Ramesh G Jethwani, Bengaluru
Apropos of ‘Little to be vocal about local’ (Nous Indica, July 4), it is worrisome that what our elders in governance have been thinking and planning has not materialised fully on the ground. Slogans like ‘Make in India’ and Atmanirbhar Bharat, though well-intended, have remained mostly unimplemented. Progressive thinking has not helped in boosting the economy adequately as per expectations. The slogans have remained popular jumlas. With our relations with China going sour and the focus on reducing dependence on cheap Chinese products, ushering in self-sufficiency under Atmanirbhar Bharat has become all the more essential. The adverse situation demands unleashing of industrial skills and entrepreneurial acumen of one and all Indians to the optimum for gradually reducing our dependence on foreign goods.
KL Noatay, UK
‘Little to be vocal about local’ (Nous Indica) highlights our economic vulnerabilities in these hard times when the nation is grappling with the pandemic. Amid the LAC faceoff with China, we have to spare a thought for our model of economic growth which heavily depends on imports. We cannot have true self-reliance without giving a fillip to our manufacturing sector. Selling or reselling old public sector undertakings or sick factories won’t bring about the desired results. An economy based on imports can crumble any moment because of its shaky foundation.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Taking on the system
In ‘Time for a movement against police brutality’, (July 4), the writer has tried to be more politically correct than upfront. He has blamed the increased pressure from civil society for police brutality, whereas it is exactly the opposite of it, which allows the police to indulge in such brutality with impunity. Civil society has been crippled in the country today. There was none from the marketplace or residential areas to go to the police station to enquire about the arrest of Jayaraj and his son. The writer further says that it is not easy for a police leader, even one committed to human rights to fight the system. Why not? Back home at Mohali, the case of the disappearance of Balwant Singh Multani is moving up and down the judicial labyrinth. Morally upright police leaders need to clean the stable even at the cost of their jobs. It is time for the top police leadership to lead from the front.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
Refer to the July 4 report regarding PSPCL’s record power generation. PSPCL generated 3,018 lakh units of electricity on July 3, the highest-ever in history. I belong to Bengal and have been staying at Kapurthala for the past three years due to my service. Since childhood, I had the perception that Punjab was self-sufficient in electricity. But my experience is just the opposite. There are frequent power cuts in Kapurthala. When mild wind blows or there is very little rain, a power cut is inevitable. Even on the historic day of highest power generation, we experienced frequent cuts.
PK Bhowmik, Kapurthala
Profit, not sewa
The editorial, ‘Misleading brand name’(July 3), is an eye-opener about the sorry state of affairs prevalent in commercial, pro-profit ayurveda venture, Patanjali Trust. The brand name of the medicine, ‘Corona kit’ is misleading to say the least. The name is cleverly crafted to target the semi-literate and illiterate masses. Ramdev, who has amassed millions through Patanjali, should have risen to the occasion during this pandemic and distributed free medicines as sewa rather than trying to feather his own nest.
Amandeep Singh Grover, Toronto
Don’t put off exams
Both NEET and JEE have been postponed for the second time due to Covid. The government should go ahead with the exams without more delays. It is important to keep the aspirants away from stress and prolonged exam fear. Exams should be conducted with all precautions as Covid has to be seen as part of life now, and life has to keep on moving.
Amit Singla, Sangrur
Caution only way
The editorial ‘Life unlocked’ (July 3) is a genuine piece of advice to every stratum of society to adhere to the guidelines or be ready to face the consequences similar to that of the US. The government should roll back its order allowing buses to run with full capacity. It should also ban rallies and protests at public places being organised by various political parties. The fight against the pandemic must be undertaken by all.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Apropos of the news report ‘India to upgrade fire power’' (July 3); some retired defence personnel and TV channels have been saying that China has already got what it wanted in Pangong Tso and Depsang plains. Now, the Indian troops are unable to patrol between Finger 4 and 8. The tussle started on the construction of a road which is in abeyance. Chinese forces are there to thwart any effort of the Indian Army to regain these areas. It has to be seen if the Chinese troops will retreat during the winter when the temperatures go down. RN Malik, via mail
Charity begins at home
After reading Rasheed Kidwai’s account, ‘Cong fumbles over RGF and Priyanka house rows’ (July 3), an ordinary voter like me feels disappointed. In politics, it’s all a show of bonhomie. Public funds are misused on several pretexts. Rules are made and unmade for furthering personal interests. The allegations and counter-allegations that political parties shower upon their opponents are only meant for public consumption. The days of upright leaders are now gone. Now, it is quid pro quo that prevails. LR Sharma, Sundernagar (HP)
Cost of generic medicines
Of late, a lot of controversy has been generated in the social media regarding the variation in the cost of generic and ethical drug formulations. It is alleged that generic medicines are being sold by retail chemists on MRP against its low cost price. No drug can be sold without the doctor’s prescription and doctors seldom write generic names on their prescription. Therefore, as per Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, no retailer can sell any medicine, including generic on his own. If the government is really interested in percolating cost benefit to the patients, it must reduce the MRP as per the production cost. Also, doctors should be advised to write the generic names of medicines on their prescription. Let the patient decide what he wants. Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Quality of sanitisers
Apropos of the news item ‘Sanitisers may contain lethal methanol’ (July 3). It makes people aware of the possibility of adulteration in a medium to ensure hygiene in these times of Covid. Adulteration at the cost of human lives is a hallmark of corruption. But merely letting people know that the Punjab FDA found 60% samples of hand sanitisers substandard, including many that contain methanol, does not suffice. The whole purpose gets defeated if the brand names of such substandard sanitisers are not published. This will prevent the public from buying such below par, rather harmful sanitisers made by unscrupulous manufacturers. The FDA must make this information known to the general public. AK Maria, via mail
Covid effect on rural India
Even as rural India is spared, the Covid has wrought havoc on the urban tendency for excessive affluence. Urban exploitation of the rural has been on the ascendant. Barring raw agro produce, the fruits of economics through value addition and leveraging science and technology, is usurped by the urban clique to deny wealth to the rural sector. Covid-19 is a rude hint for the dispersal of wealth creation and consumption into rural heartlands. Post -pandemic, that must be our core aim and concern. R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Ban on Chinese apps
Keeping our security and privacy concerns in mind, the ban on Chinese apps should have been imposed much earlier. The government ban, effected under the IT Act, seems to form a part of retaliation against the Chinese incursions in Ladakh’s Galwan valley. But this is the first time that India has thought of using such a direct lever in the digital sphere to react to military actions. This ban is also aimed at one of China’s most ambitious goals, namely, to become a digital superpower. Though the banned apps were not the most important or insidious example of how China was accumulating influence, purging a Chinese browser like UC sends a warning that worse may follow. This app ban is a way to show India’s intent and leave room for escalation. Ban on Chinese apps will not yield the desired dividends, LJS Panesar, via mail
Tourism in Himachal
The economic stimulus by the Centre has ignored tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh. Even the state government has not given a serious thought to it. The state, with assistance from the Centre, with their MP being the Union Minister of State for Finance, should have ideally prepared a roadmap for the revival of the tourism industry, which has been totally shut since March 23, due to the pandemic. Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
We are hoping that the Galwan valley logjam will extend till winter and it has to be seen how the Chinese hold on to their positions. This shows an approach of weakness towards the PLA. The Chinese have huge investments in CPEC and they have the will to hold the advancements made on all strategic points at any cost. If we are able to hold posts at the much higher Siachen Glacier, why can’t the PLA hold on to posts at 13,000 feet? The LAC standoff has overshadowed the effects of the lockdown over the economy and unemployment issues. The arrival of six Rafales will hardly change the scenario. As we put efforts in ensuring air defence along the LAC, we are vulnerable in the north-western sector, where posturing has already been done by the PLAAF by making landings at Skardu. Therefore, not being in a position to fight even a limited war with China, we have no option but to continue talks.
Gaurav Brar, Gidderbaha
Defence top agenda
The top priority for India should be its defence and security, whatever the cost. Other things should be put on the back-burner. We should be prepared for a single meal in a day, but our sovereignty should be at the top of our agenda. Mention may be made of the nefarious designs of our immediate neighbours who are hell-bent on playing dirty tricks against us. We should not take for granted the role of our friendly countries as they shall ultimately watch their own interest.
Santosh Jamwal, HAMIRPUR
See death anew
Refer to the article ‘Trivialisation of death’ (July 1); we feel shattered, hopeless and extremely saddened when the prospect of death begins to strike our mind. Death is a natural mystery solved by none, understood by only a few and accepted, though unwillingly, by all. Our mechanical education tends to forget the advice of the enlightened that the more we collect, the more fear we have to lose it. No one is taught how to die meaningfully. All are mad after success, but few take the pain to define it. We should call death a kind of internal sleep that helps us be eternally wake. We teach how to live, but never how to depart. We seldom follow what we preach. Let our young generation learn to realise the true meaning of life. Philosophers like Buddha and Swami Dayanand understood the true meaning of life and that is why they had no worries and anxieties in welcoming the ultimate reality. Let us shed the bitterness connected with this idea and experience the sweet and pleasant feeling of flying with the ashes.
Kapil Sharma, Kaithal
Recruitment age limit
There has been negligible recruitment in the Punjab government departments during the past three years and the chances of a fresh recruitment are bleak in the near future, citing financial crisis due to Covid. The government is already facing a financial crisis due to mismanagement. Most employed youth have crossed the upper age limit, waiting for jobs. The government should increase the upper age limit by five years, to 42 years, for the general category, as in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal, the upper age limit is already 42 years and 45 years, respectively.
Puneet Garg, Patiala
Curse of old age
Refer to the middle ‘Don’t let age creep upon you’ (June 10); poet Mela Ram Vafa, who died at the age of 85, said: Sau aarizon ka aariza hai saal-khurdagi/Umar-e-daraaz naam hai marg-e-daraaz ka (Old age is the worst of all disease. Long life is a lingering death). It is hell for those who become physically, mentally and visually impaired. Blessed are those who enjoy good health even in their declining years. In our country, crores of people remain in privation and cannot afford even the basic necessities of life, such as simple food and clothing. Can they regard ageing as fun and remain jovial and cheerfully face the troubles caused by old age?
BHAGWAN SINGH, QADIAN
Why this hullabaloo?
I fail to understand the noise being generated by the Akalis and AAP on the government’s decision to sell about 1,600 acres in Bathinda due to the closure of the thermal plant. If the government is determined not to start the plant again, due to various reasons, mainly its life span, why should the land be kept unused? Why not sell it and generate a few thousand crores for the PSPCL? The land can’t be returned to the original owners, as they have already been duly compensated andways will have to be found to utilise it.
NARESH RAJ, Patiala
Apropos of ‘Free ration till Nov, no LAC mention by PM’ (July 1), the PM’s address was more of a PR exercise and belied people’s expectation that he would apprise them of our position against China. He chose not to mention China for strange reasons. India’s sovereignty and integrity are being challenged by Chinese aggression and our soldiers defending the country with their lives is no small matter. The PM’s silence is sure to give ammunition to rumour mills which shall be churning half truths. Modi should have taken people into confidence over China, which could have galvanised Indian sentiments and national spirit.
Bholey Bhardwaj, via mail
In his address to the nation, the PM laid stress on strictly following corona-preventive norms. He quoted that even the PM of a country was fined Rs 13,000 for not wearing a mask. In our country, it seems impossible even to take action against a common political leader, leave aside the PM or a state minister. There have been reports of violators being challaned and cases being registered even at funerals. But such action is being taken against the common public only. During the recent protests by the Opposition parties against the excise scam, ration card scam and enhanced electricity bills etc, safety norms were violated, but still no action was taken. Even the ruling party ministers have been seen openly violating the norms on occasions like inaugural functions and meetings.
Surinder Singla, Sangrur
India has seen the plight of its migrant labourers. At least now they will get free grains or rice till the end of November. One nation, one ration card is a right step. Modi’s appreciation for farmers and taxpayers must be lauded. Though we expected him to talk about the alarming situation in the Galwan valley, but until some final agreement is arrived at, he might have given it a miss.
Mukand Lal Kaushik, via mail
Daughters a blessing
Reference to ‘Sisters sell fruits on roadside to support ailing father’ (June 30); there is a saying that, ‘To a father growing old, nothing is dearer than a daughter.’ Salute to both sisters who have shown courage and determination towards their responsibility to look after their parents. It is a hard time for them. In most cases, we see that only daughters support parents, while sons ignore them once they get married. The time is not far when people will pray for a daughter instead of a son. We must educate and support daughters and encourage them to stand on their feet.
Jalari Suber Singh Parihar
Youth & governance
The middle, ‘Courage nipped in the bud!’ (June 29) is a scoop from the university campus, albeit 29 years late. The coverage of the incident brings to the fore the significance of the watershed year of 1991 for India’s polity and its people, particularly the youth. How an issue is handled determines its long-term ramifications, as is clear from the agitation following the Mandal Commission recommendations and handling of the budding journalists by the police on curfew duty. How traumas get inflicted by political decisions or as a sequel is a great lesson of the middle for the politicians, professionals and others in authority who profess good governance.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
No relief for Delhi
With 307 active containment zones and ever-rising Covid cases, the situation is highly precarious in the national capital. The authorities concerned must not only properly identify various trouble spots, but also strike at the basic fault lines. The government must urgently consider imposing a suitable fine for not wearing masks as also the non-observance of personal distancing at public places. CM Arvind Kejriwal should seriously think about reimposing the lockdown in all vulnerable areas of Delhi, irrespective of their extant prominence, proximity and locations before it gets too late. Time and tide wait for none.
SK Gupta, New Delhi
Education a dream still
Refer to ‘Indian Women’s University’ (100 years ago...June 24); the century-old editorial regarding the significance of educating women raises some thought-provoking questions. Empowerment, social uplift, employment are some of the main purposes of imparting education, but when it comes to women, unfortunately, we lack in all these major facets. Education is still a mere dream for a huge population of our womenfolk. Education and a secure environment complement each other. Why, even after seven decades of Independence, are women not getting everything they deserve? How long will it take to totally eradicate these issues? The government should devise efficacious policies to mitigate these issues, which are hampering overall national growth and development.
Virender Tehri, Tohana
This refers to the editorial ‘Institutionalised brutality’ (June 30). Unbridled power application by the executive in the garb of curfew enforcement is a blot on the country which prides itself on promoting the rule of law, fairness and natural justice. Custodial violence in Tamil Nadu is the latest example of how police brutality results in the loss of life. This pattern needs to be changed, and for change to come, all of us have to raise our voice. After all, it is not the people who should fear the government, but the government who should fear the people.
Divya Singla, Patiala
Urgent police reforms
The custodial death of P Jeyaraj and his son in Tamil Nadu has caused nationwide outrage. Both of them were victims of police brutality. Their bodies were bleeding profusely when they were to be produced before the magistrate. Later, their condition worsened in the government hospital and they met a tragic death due to police torture. Four police officers have been suspended and an inquiry has been ordered. Custodial deaths have taken place in different parts of our country. It is a matter of serious concern. According to the National Humans Rights Commission report for 2017-18, around 15 cases of custodial violence and torture were reported every day, with nine people dying every 24 hours in judicial and police custody. This can only be addressed through police reforms, including better training and prosecution of custodial malpractice.
Krishan Malhotra, Ambala Cantt
Do our lives matter?
The problem with police brutality is that we don’t even consider it as a problem and keep ignoring it. Several cases have come up worldwide where people lose lives after being brutally and inhumanly treated by the police. Getting someone stripped naked, sexually assaulted, killed for violating Covid norms can’t be termed as law and order. We must not sit in silence but advocate for actionable change. This barbaric brutality needs to be stopped and rotten apples need to be removed at the earliest. We all stood for George Floyd but do we stand for someone who lacks media coverage? ‘Black Lives Matter’, but what about Indian lives?
Healthcare for elderly
It is really disheartening that our elderly have been at the receiving end during the lockdown restrictions (‘Healthcare needs of elderly call for upgrade’, June 29).There is no doubt that they are more prone to Covid-19 because of comparatively low immunity, but also at times, suffer from a variety of other lifestyle and psychosomatic diseases. Their comorbidities need more evaluation and better treatment during a pandemic. How callous it has been on our part to become oblivious of their routine diseases and to have just focused on their vulnerability to Covid. We should always be conscious that the medical needs of paediatric and geriatric patients are unique and different from other patients.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
We will overcome...
Refer to ‘Thought for the day’ by Helen Keller; it is quite relevant for this year and also gives us hope. The world is suffering from Covid-19. We had bad news like the Delhi riots, death of Bollywood celebrities, suicide cases, Indo-China clashes, locust attacks, cyclones, etc. Globally, we also had George Floyd murder case sparking the protest against racism. We must keep hope alive for better times. We will definitely overcome these times.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Ban on Chinese apps
The recent move by the Indian government to ban 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, is a welcome move in consonance with the idea of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and protecting the sovereignty of the nation. Moreover, this will encourage young children to divert their attention to more productive activities instead of wasting time on such apps.
Jashandeep Singh, Amritsar
Go for Indian goods
In order to deal with China’s foul play and disturbing elements every now and then, it is for the state to form a policy, negotiate, resolve through diplomats/senior commanders and fight for a resolution to have peace and normalcy on the border. But ‘we the people’ of Bharat have vast powers to teach lessons to China without any fight by simply boycotting all sorts of Chinese products from today onwards, strictly and sincerely. There are thousands of items which are in use, for which our own products are available. But for cheap pricing, we are buying Chinese goods. This one action on our part, on top priority, requires no permission but will affect China.
Jagdish Singh Jassal, Patiala