Letters to the editor

Blinken’s visit Other

Jul 31, 2021

Apropos of ‘Blinken’s priorities’, some themes appear to dominate his visit, one being strategic relationship. It is an open secret that the emergence of Quad is an attempt to ensure that China is constrained to play by the rules of the game, but that remains the unstated part. Quad, as both Blinken and Jaishankar emphasised, was looking at a constructive agenda, particularly vaccine supplies. By meeting Tibetan leaders, Blinken did well in underscoring US support to the community as it prepares for a post-Dalai Lama phase. By allowing this meeting to happen on its soil, India, too, has sent out a signal to China. And on Afghanistan, India and the US, in principle, have common goals in ensuring a democratic regime. On democracy, Blinken was careful to hint at the failings of democracy in the US, before making it clear how democratic values, institutional independence, and fundamental freedoms were crucial in cementing ties. Here also an unsaid part was that India appeared to be backsliding on these metrics. If there was any doubt about the strength of India-US relationship, the visit should put it to rest.

EL Singh by mail

Glitches in I-T portal

Refer to ‘Fix income tax portal’; it’s frustrating to observe that after a bumpy start to the Finance Ministry-mandated new income tax (I-T) e-filing portal on June 7, there does not appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel as yet. Various technical glitches and other infirmities, constantly flagged by the hapless taxpayers and chartered accountants, are still hanging fire as these have not been addressed by IT giant Infosys, the developer of the portal. One fails to comprehend the rationale behind the government rushing ahead with it. Some heads must roll for putting up such a poor show. The extended date of filing I-T returns is not too far away.

Vinayak G, New Delhi

Hope for Punjab

The Indian contingent is doing fairly well in the Tokyo Olympics. Hockey players from Punjab are performing outstandingly. One can draw an inference that the younger generation, more or less, is away from the prevailing drug menace in Punjab. The higher health authorities, local authorities, social workers and the media should help make efforts to rehabilitate youths who have become drug victims, to bring them back into the mainstream.

Ranjit Kaur Phull, by mail

IAF role underplayed

Refer to ‘Recalling Young India’s Kargil triumph’ by a former Deputy Chief of Army Staff; strangely not a word is mentioned about the crucial role played by the IAF in the Kargil victory. Similarly, in an interview, Gen VP Malik, who was the Army Chief then, while rightly praising the determination and fortitude of the Army troops, chose not to utter even a word about the IAF role in winning the war. This is unfortunate. The Kargil war was fought jointly by the Army and the Air Force. Victory would have been impossible without vital ‘air support’ provided by the IAF.

WG CDR CL Sehgal (Retd), Jalandhar

Discord between states

Apropos of the Assam-Mizoram border dispute, one cannot resolve a dispute without addressing its root cause. This assertion is bolstered by the recent clashes that erupted on the Assam-Mizoram border. On the face of it, it might seem that the skirmish was an isolated incident that arose from an act of encroachment but further inquiry will reveal that it was an outcome of an interstate border dispute that dates back to the colonial period. Its genesis lies in two notifications of the British administration issued in 1875 and 1933 that demarcated the interstate boundaries in different ways. While Assam abides by the notification of 1933, Mizoram argues that it was issued without any consultation with Mizo society. Therefore, to resolve this dispute, it is imperative that both states agree to a compromise by directly addressing its colonial roots and considering the legitimate claims of all stakeholders.

Nissim Aggarwal, Panipat

Circus in Parliament

The monsoon session of Parliament is going on, but it seems like it is not a session but a circus. All political parties are busy in creating hustle and bustle. The 543 members of the Lok Sabha are elected by people so that they can work for the people. But except a discussion on essential matters, everything is happening in the session. The Opposition is boycotting the session, the ruling party is not listening to anyone. The kisan parliament is much better than the real Parliament as they are at least discussing crucial matters. Ironically, even after almost 75 years of Independence, parliamentary members have to learn how to run Parliament from Kisan Sansad. If the monsoon session goes on like that, we can’t expect anything good from our elected members.

Ramanjot Kaur, Sultanpur Lodhi

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

Looming divide Other

Jul 30, 2021

Apropos of ‘Digitally deprived and divided’, the governments, both state and Central, spend a lot of funds on government schools, and yet, the general perception is that the quality of education available there is pathetic. To improve the quality of education in these schools it should be made compulsory for all new appointees as teachers to educate their children in government schools. This stipulation cannot apply to existing employees as the courts will strike it down. However, it can be a condition for fresh employment. Also it is time to debate why the access to Dhanwantari (quality healthcare) should be limited by the access to Laxmi.

Deepak Kapoor, by mail

Glaring disparity

When educational institutions across the country were shut down in the wake of the lockdown, remote learning became the lifeline for education (‘Digitally deprived & divided’). It highlighted wide disparity in access to education and the digital divide among socio-economic groups. The introduction of new digital technologies, tools and services has widened this gap further. The corporate online companies are making huge profits during the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The digital divide may threaten the country’s social cohesion. We should keep our ground realities in mind and avoid imitating the developed nations blindly. Like China, the government should adopt corrective measures to ensure that digital education does not amplify inequalities. It should enhance budgetary allocation to 6 per cent of GDP as promised in the new policy to improve the quality of education for all.

Tajpreet S Kang, Hoshiarpur

Digital obstacles

Digital services have improved the lives of people by eliminating long queues, corruption and misinformation. However, a deluge of fraudulent calls and messages has appeared in mails, messages and chats. Vulnerable people have lost their hard-earned money by clicking on messages or answering unsolicited calls. Digital service providers should provide training to users for safe transactions. The government should safeguard the interest of the public by taking prompt action and using AI to curb such calls and messages.

Varinder pal Singh, by mail

Chaos in House

What we are seeing in Parliament these days is a travesty of democracy. The country is passing through unprecedented times due to the pandemic. Instead of discussing how to address the health and economic crises, our representatives are creating pandemonium in the House. Though it is primarily the government’s responsibility to ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament, the Opposition also needs to be perceptive. Interrupting proceedings have become a win-win situation to both sides. The ruling party avoids debates on issues which embarrass it, and the Opposition shows that they are agitating on the issues of people’s concerns. Like all others, parliamentarians are also accountable for their actions.

K Kumar, Panchkula

Border dispute

Refer to ‘Assam-Mizoram feud’; the Centre should take a serious note of the simmering inter-state conflicts that need to be settled at the earliest. Some elements of this dispute between two Indian states seem as ugly as one between two hostile countries. The failure to reach amicable settlements within the country is the failure of domestic leadership. The Centre should constitute a new boundary commission to resolve the simmering disputes. Assam and Mizoram CMs must calm tensions instead of stoking them. The Home Minister should help broker a permanent solution between the states.

SK SINGH, by mail

Executing NEP

Apropos of ‘The way forward for implementing NEP’, implementing the new policy will be an uphill task for the government as most of our government schools are sans infrastructure and institutional mechanism. The goals envisaged in this policy will require humongous capital investments and human resources and a complete metamorphosis of our prevalent educational system, and above all, a spirit to make sincere efforts to achieve these goals in near future so that we can make India a knowledge superpower.

Archana, Mandi

US strategy unclear

The meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar is futile. The US has removed its soldiers from Afghanistan, which is a threat to India. Pakistan thinks with the help of the Taliban it can control Afghanistan. The US is double-minded about Quad, as it is not clear if it is against China or is supporting it. China is capturing and influencing the Indian Ocean Region. It has captured Tibet and is bullying Hong Kong and other countries. The US should make its strategy clear.


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

Trouble in Northeast Other

Jul 29, 2021

Reference to ‘Assam-Mizoram feud’, the current situation is the outcome of mishandling, coupled with the ego of politicians. Who is going to gain from this, nobody knows? The unfortunate incident in which several policemen were killed must be condemned at every level. A piece of land ought not to disturb the peace of the common people as well as security forces. The solution to the problem does not lie in negotiations or the Central Government’s intervention, but only through high-level arbitration, acceptable to both the states.

VK Anand, Chandigarh

Tibet problem

Apropos of ‘Xi in troubled Tibet’, the freedom of Tibet from illegal Chinese occupation is vital for Indian security. To counter Chinese expansionism, India must take the lead in creating world opinion to put pressure on the Chinese.

AK Sharma, Chandigarh

Situation in Afghanistan

Reference to ‘Misreading Afghanistan situation’, the Taliban has close ideological and operational alliance with other Islamic terror outfits like the al-Qaida. Peace and stability in Afghanistan is important for India because of the potential for trouble in Kashmir if that country remains disturbed. India needs to keep a close watch and recalibrate its moves accordingly.

Sudershan Walia, Amritsar

Memorials for martyrs

Apropos of ‘Capt Batra’s statue faces neglect’, it is indeed unfortunate that the statues of martyrs are left to poor maintenance and neglect though installed with much fanfare initially to commemorate and honour the supreme sacrifices made. The statues are raised, roads are named and lofty promises made, generally giving in to prevalent popular sentiment, eagerly appropriating their legacy, but only to be forgotten thereafter. The martyrs’ remembrance gets confined to occasional rituals, fading away with time as public memory is generally short-lived. The government must have a well laid-out policy and SOPs on raising memorials for martyrs.

GP Capt JS Boparai, Bhadsali (HP)

Aadhaar card change

The Aadhaar card issued to the citizens of the country is an important document to take advantage of various schemes, subsidies or pension being run by the Central or state governments and has also curbed corruption. But earlier, the name of Aadhaar card holders were mentioned as S/o, D/o or W/o; now, it has been standardised in C/o by the Unique Identification Authority of India. Neither is it beneficial to the people nor can it be called proper. Due to this, it has become difficult to identify the relationship of the Aadhaar card holders and many a time, the card holders face difficulties in getting their work done.

Shakti Singh, Karnal

Sidhu’s elevation

The elevation of Navjot Singh Sidhu as the Punjab Congress president, despite opposition from CM Capt Amarinder Singh, suggests an interesting but not entirely risk-free line of thinking in the Congress. Recently, a number of aggressive and voluble leaders have been elevated as PCC presidents. This appointment could be seen to catapult Sidhu into the list of chief ministerial probables and pits him firmly against Amarinder Singh who has declared his intent to lead the party in 2022. But the attrition equation between the two is unlikely to change. With Amarinder’s governance narrative facing questions, the Congress appears to be hedging its bets.

PL Singh, by mail

Begging menace

Apropos of ‘Won’t order removal of beggars, says SC’, this unforeseen choice of the Supreme Court is somewhat difficult to understand as begging is now unlawful in over twenty states. The court might have had a humanitarian view in observing this but it’s better to make alternative arrangements for children who are compelled to beg. Begging is a matter of shame for society as poverty is degrading. But to solve this problem, concrete and practical ways have to be found.

Maitri Bhardwaj, Patiala

Recruitment rallies

Mass recruitment in various government departments is a common trend witnessed in the last year of every government’s term. I wonder how in a famine of jobs, suddenly there is a flood of government jobs. Jobs could be advertised yearly and examined every six months. Since vacancies are only gradual, departments pile up the requisitions. Lack of opportunities also leads to saturation of youthful minds, diverting them into wrong activities. This needs to be changed in the interest of the public and the newer generation should not be lured by such last-minute offers.

Harsimranvir Singh, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Yediyurappa’s resignation Other

Jul 28, 2021

BS Yediyurappa has a record of never completing his full term. Even if one assumes Yediyurappa would have been a poor choice for the 2023 Karnataka polls, as he would have faced the burden of anti-incumbency, there are costs to be paid for his departure. The BJP will have to contend with the show of strength by the Lingayats in the ex CM’s favour. The Lingayats have been Yediyurappa’s great source of support, giving him pre-eminence ever since the BJP’s stunning rise to the status of a single largest party in 2004. Karnataka’s complex caste calculus led Yeddy to fashion himself as a social coalition builder rather than in the Hindutva mode.

LJS Panesar, by mail

History repeats itself

History has repeated itself in Karnataka with BS Yediyurappa resigning again before completing his term. His quitting the office in 2011 had plunged the BJP into chaos and a disastrous split from which it hasn’t recovered. A decade later, Yediyurappa’s clout has waned; younger rivals have constantly baited him, despite the ex-CM bringing the party the spoils of power by inducing 17 defections from the Congress and JD(S).

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

Vulnerable Himachal

Reference to ‘Fatal landslides’; the tragic death of nine tourists in a landslip in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh is another pointer to the fragility of the ecology in the Himalayan states. Hydropower, which Himachal is working to tap as a significant source of “green” power, can render it vulnerable to extreme climatic events such as cloudbursts, flash floods and landslides.

SS Paul, Nadia

Himachal tragedy

Visuals of vehicles being washed away in a flash flood triggered by a cloudburst in Himachal Pradesh are frightening. Massive landslides cannot merely be termed as natural disasters. Much of the blame lies on human activities and forest lands which are never meant to be fiddled with. The concept of responsible tourism by the host and the guest is a must. Every person living or coming to the hills is a stakeholder in holding on to the pristine environment. Green tax is meaningless if no effort is made to educate the visitor. Marshals should be appointed who would guide and reprimand the citizens in laying down norms which should be strictly followed.

Garv Bhupesh, Panchkula

Mamata’s bid for unity

Mamata Banerjee’s bid for Opposition unity is not likely to succeed, because of her vacillating nature and own ambitions to be the PM. Mamata’s TMC returned to power with a thumping victory, though she herself lost her seat. But after her party came back with a mammoth mandate, Mamata has been seen as irresponsible with her verbal attacks on the Governor and even the PM. This outreach could be read as an admission of her weakness, or a description of the emerging format of political competition, in which an aggressive BJP is forcing a redrawing of battle-lines.

PS Hanspaul, by mail

Reviving economy

The Union Finance Minister’s assertive no to print currency notes to tide over the economic crisis triggered by the Covid pandemic, speaks volumes of the sturdy fundamentals of the country’s economy and resolve to put it back on rails. The outgo of every rupee from public purse on wasteful expenditure should be checked. Every rupee saved is revenue generated.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Malerkotla girl

Apropos of ‘Malerkotla girl blazes trail, plies auto’, it is an irony that 17-year-old Ritu Verma had to abandon her studies and start plying an auto to support her family comprising her mother and two sisters. Her father expired 14 years ago and her mother had to shut her small shop during the lockdown. Ritu, a student of Class XI, has also participated in state-level badminton championship. In spite of government schemes, her mother was not extended the benefit of pension. It is heartening that the Malerkotla administration has promised a job for her sister and badminton coaching for Ritu.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Surveillance state

Apropos of ‘The end of a dream’, surveillance when taken to absurd heights can have the opposite effect. Instead of safeguarding the country from potential threats, it can create problems even for those who lead their own lives because of the state’s insecurities. Using technology to pin down terrorists and keep watch on elements inimical to the country is fine, but the power should not be misused for it can only be counter-productive.

BM Singh, Amritsar

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

A poor show Other

Jul 27, 2021

Reference to ‘A day to forget for men’s hockey team’, our men’s hockey team surrendered to the Australian squad so meekly that it never looked, at any stage of the match, that this was the team from the same country that once ruled the hockey world. It is said people forget how many goals a goalkeeper saved but they remember the ones he conceded. It seemed as if our team were playing without a goalkeeper to defend the goalpost. It is the biggest loss for our hockey team since the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games when it was defeated (6-1) in the group stage. We can strike back if we forget this defeat like a bad dream and play in the coming matches like a team with determination.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

Preserving groundwater

Along with Punjab, Haryana is also confronted with rapid groundwater decline that poses a serious threat to human life and environment. The Khattar government’s decision to give financial incentives to the distressed and debt-ridden farmers for crop diversification is appreciable (‘From paddy to pulses’). Proper policy-making and implementation at the micro level for marketing and procurement facilities, and ensured remunerative prices for alternative crops are important prerequisites for breaking the cycle of water-guzzling paddy-wheat monoculture. The government should develop a rainwater harvesting system, regulate the supply of municipal water in urban areas, check illegal construction of borewells and spread awareness to save this elixir of life for our future generations. It’s time Punjab follows suit.

DS Kang, Hoshiarpur

Playing with nature

The Kinnaur landslide is an urgent warning to humanity to stop interfering in the normal course of nature. The unfortunate incident, that claimed the life of nine tourists, is the outcome of playing with nature by disturbing the course of rivers, and deforestation. We must not forget that as and when human beings, in the name of infrastructural development, try to create imbalance between forests, flora, fauna and topography, nature hits back in the form of floods and landslides. Sooner we stop this interference, the better it will be.

VK Anand, Chandigarh

Manipulating data

This refers to the report ‘Excess deaths in West Bengal 11 times official Covid-19 tally’. Majority of the states have window-dressed the Covid-19 data. One cannot appreciate the need to fudge and manipulate the data. Are the governments not reliable and trustworthy? There are hundreds of bereaved families languishing and striving to come to terms with their losses, and such an apathetic behaviour of the government is insensitive.

Aanya Singhal, Noida

Jab for senior citizens

The second dose of Covid vaccine (Covishield) of my wife, who is a senior citizen, was due on July 20. Since then, we have been running from pillar to post to get the second dose, but have been told that either it is unavailable, or the stock has exhausted, and that we should go to a vaccination centre in Chandigarh, or to enquire after a few days. The government should show some consideration for senior citizens. Earlier, we were told that we would be given the vaccination at our residence.

Paramjit Singh, Mohali

Focus on education

Apropos of ‘Health, education neglect’, both the important areas have been neglected since 1947. Education has been given lip sympathy throughout. In the sector of education, administration and finance have not been attended to adequately. Educational administration has become a complex subject, especially after increase in enrolment and digitisation. An Indian Education Service could not be created despite many recommendations. We have also not been able to provide sufficient finances for education, not even to the tune of 6% of GDP, as recommended by various commissions and committees. Nothing much can be expected unless these two reforms are put into action. These recommendations have also been highlighted in the National Education Policy 2020, most of whose provisions may hardly see the light of day without meeting these suggestions.

S Kumar, Panchkula

Reminder to children

Refer to ‘HC: Children expected to look after elderly parents’; the reminder to children that it is their duty to look after their parents, as mandated under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, is appreciable. Perhaps children forget that their parents invest enormously in them. Even in cases of extreme harassment and misbehaviour, parents keep bearing the indifference to avoid stigma. They do not share their ordeal with anybody. The children start nagging them with the aim to usurp their property. Under compulsion, parents choose either to knock the court’s door or shift to an old-age home. The court’s reminder will be a relief for all such distressed parents.

Santokh Singh, Jalandhar

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

Freedom of Press Other

Jul 26, 2021

THE editorial ‘Raids on media houses’ represents the voice of our civil society. In a democratic country, the people get most of the news and views from newspapers and they hold journalists in high esteem. They strengthen the roots of democracy through their impartial and evidence-based opinions and observations. We can take big strides in the future as a prosperous nation only when our citizens feel encouraged to share their sufferings and genuine grievances with the elected representatives, including the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister. The freedom of the Press is the lifeline of any democracy. Without having a vigilant, patriotic and pro-people media, we cannot have a vibrant and democratic nation.


Raids on media

Reference to ‘Raid on media houses’; the IT raids on Dainik Bhaskar and Bharat Samachar for tax evasion appear to be the government's bid to intimidate, but they also betray its insecurity and nervousness. The fact is that the BJP government at the Centre has earned itself quite a reputation for unleashing enforcement agencies on dissenters and political opponents. However, the burden of proof of good faith rests on the government, and it will not be easy. There will be few takers for the new I&B Minister's assertions that there is no interference with the functioning of government agencies. When the Pegasus revelations came to light, ministers rushed to call it a conspiracy to malign Indian democracy. It may be possible to recognise the deep anxiety that lies at the core of the government's shows of machismo. But the toll this is taking on the freedom of media and institutions is a cause for concern.

LJS PANESAR, by mail

Puppet agencies

‘Raids on media houses’ is a true and honest assertion of the common concerns which aren’t openly articulated by thinking citizens. The minister concerned has been quoted as saying that the agencies were doing their work and there is no interference. A puppet agency doesn't have to wait for repeat reminders of how must it proceed and in which direction once the suitable software has been fed into the hard disk of the duty-schedule. It seems to be so transparent, that no apologies are required. The universal appeal of liberty, equality and fraternity can never be denied.


Girls at Sainik Schools

Apropos of ‘Girls enter Sainik Schools’, it is heartening to know that all Sainik Schools are now open to girl cadets also. This is a major step towards revolutionising the participation of women in defence forces of the country and will further pave the way for women emancipation. But it is sadly observed that the initiative is not being adequately publicised to benefit girls who may be keen to pursue a career in this field.


Behave rationally

Reference to ‘Delhi Govt’s contempt plea against Haryana rejected’; the SC having dismissed the Delhi Government’s plea seeking the initiation of contempt proceedings against the Haryana Government for alleged violation of a 1996 order on water supply to the national capital, must serve as an eye-opener for it. In fact, the apex court's candid observation, ‘Please advise your client not to file application after application’, goes on to spill the beans about the AAP government frequently approaching the court whenever it sees an opportunity to corner the Centre. It’s a different matter that it had also to do a lot of explaining in several cases. One genuinely wishes that it desists from behaving like a habitual weeping child.

Vinayak G, New Delhi

Dodgy data

It is shocking to read the statement of the Health Ministry that nobody lost his/her life due to lack of oxygen. How could such a statement be made in the House? These are unpardonable lapses, far away from the ground reality. Our data collection and verification system is dead. The governments have never ever been able to collect correct data on any issue to date. Covid data is under-reported and this undercounting has led to inaccuracies in the numbers, their treatment and the casualties. India officially puts the tally of deaths in this pandemic at around 4.20 lakh whereas the Washington-based Centre for Global Development has estimated the actual figure could be as high as 50 lakh. The fight against Covid-19 will remain ineffective as long as there is no transparency.


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

Raids on media groups Other

Jul 24, 2021

Refer to ‘IT raids on two media groups’; it is intriguing to know that the basic fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression is being suppressed. The fact that Covid reporting is the reason for these raids is shameful on the part of the government which is trying to shape the media for its own goodwill and escaping the responsibility for the thousands of deaths during the second wave. Already the government is trying to distance itself from the contentious Pegasus issue which has blown away the right to privacy of some top senior Opposition leaders, journalists, etc. The government is trying to enforce gag laws in the country. How can the government’s official statements claim that no official death was reported due to shortage of oxygen in India? Every news media outlet reported deaths due to shortage of oxygen. Why is the government denying it?

Vishiwjeet Singh, Chandigarh

Muzzling voices

Any person, party or public platform that dare speaks unpalatable truth concerning the present-day ruling dispensation finds one in the throes of harassment. Now even a man in the street has become aware of this tool — raids and arrests. The party and persons who had raised a hue and cry during the dark period of Emergency against the stifling of the voice of the people and the Press, are now resorting to the same anti-democratic means to serve their narrow political ends. To check this harmful trend, the media and the public will have to raise a concerted voice against it.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Shadow over Olympics

Apropos of ‘Fool’s gold in Tokyo’, the Olympics has always been about striving for the impossible. It braved past the gaps caused by the World Wars, as the 1916, 1940 and 1944 events were shelved and also coped with the Cold War years when the Western and Eastern blocs took turns to boycott the 1980 and 1984 Games. But the pandemic is a bigger threat even as vaccination drives continue at varied speeds. The Olympics is the highest benchmark in sports. European football, international cricket and Grand Slam tennis have all resurfaced while following Covid-19 protocols. But there are no foolproof measures as the latest IPL edition clearly revealed. Despite best practices and bio-bubbles, sportspeople are vulnerable to the virus and the Olympics, with an expected attendance of 11,000-odd athletes, can be a logistical nightmare. The IOC is walking on the razor’s edge.


Raj Kundra in the dock

Refer to ‘Courting controversy’; the development is not new. Our industry has come a long way with finest talent, but there are still quite a few black sheep who misuse their connections and financial clout. Pimping, casting couch, pornography, drugs, money laundering and even bullying are common. So, Raj Kundra’s ‘business’ is nothing new. He and his likes have got off the hook many times before and this time, too, it will be no exception.

PS Bhati, Chandigarh

Why the denial?

Reference to ‘Covid deaths’; the statement from Parliament during the monsoon session that nobody lost his/her life due to the shortage of oxygen is shocking. People were gasping for oxygen in front of hospitals and gurdwaras in Delhi itself. How can such a statement be made in Parliament? The whole world sent relief support, specially oxygen plants and generators, to reduce the oxygen shortage. The non-availability of data cannot be made the basis to say no one died due to oxygen shortage. The poor performance of the Health Ministry has already led to the change of the minister concerned. Accepting mistakes may lead to improvement, but denials may lead to disasters.

Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali

Thaw bodes well

It is heartening that Navjot Singh Sidhu invited the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to attend the ceremony of his coronation as the PPCC chief and the Chief Minister accepted it. It was a good gesture since it was very important for the top leaders in Punjab to be united. This meeting has mitigated the problem being faced by the Congress high command. The Congress will have to restart its journey from the grassroots. To retain its vote bank, the Congress party will have to work very hard. The party will have to leave its air-conditioned drawing-room politics and connect with the general public.

Narender K Sharma, Joginder Nagar

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

Capt, Sidhu both at fault Other

Jul 23, 2021

Reference to ‘Captain firm on apology, won’t meet Sidhu’; while refusing to meet Sidhu, the Captain is committing the same mistake of indiscipline that the latter had committed. Sidhu had violated party discipline by going to the media against the government of his own party, which he should not have done. Now, the Captain is doing the same thing by refusing to meet Sidhu, who has been appointed the state party chief by Sonia Gandhi. It means that he is challenging the authority of his party president. It is in the interest of the party and the people of the state that they both should come to the table and realise that they have been elected by the people for their welfare. People are the sufferers due to the tussle between the two. They want their grievances redressed. They don’t want to see the power of their muscles.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

People final arbiters

Apropos of ‘Show of strength by Sidhu…’, it is an open secret that Sidhu is eyeing the CM’s chair, which by no means is a ‘laughter-challenge-show’ seat. With the Akali Dal fragmented and both the BJP and the AAP out to establish their moorings, the Congress has an edge in Punjab, but the imminent split will be its undoing. As the image and prestige of Capt Amarinder Singh has been bruised, intra-party truce, if any, will only be skin-deep. This bodes ill for the stability of the government. New political permutations and combinations are in the offing. People are the final arbiters and advancement of the Assembly elections will allow them to exercise their choice.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Data transparency

In the larger interest of the country and to maintain the confidence among the masses, facts and figures should be accurately ascertained and honestly submitted (‘Covid deaths’). The extremely harrowing experiences the patients and their attendants have had at the time when the second wave was at its peak cannot be just swept under the carpet. The causative factors should be explained and the future plan to take the third wave head on be shared with the public. To blunt the third wave impact, the healthcare facilities will have to be strengthened further, right down to the village and tribal levels. Impoverished, downtrodden and the daily wagers should also be factored in.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Award honesty

This is with reference to ‘Covid deaths’. It is disheartening to read about people who died due to lack of oxygen supply. The Centre had not pre-planned and hence there was confusion at the fag end. Wrong information about Covid deaths has put the government in the dock. The disaster management data was not fully compiled as it should be. Had oxygen supply been provided to the patients on time, several lives could have been saved. Action should be taken against those officials who misled the government by giving false information on Covid deaths and those who have overcharged oxygen cylinders during emergencies. Gurdwara committees all over the country have done a laudable task by providing oxygen cylinders free of cost. Those who have shown honesty when people were in danger should be awarded.


Fuel price burden

Fuel prices are on the rise but both the Central government and states have not come up with a plan to reduce the burden on citizens. Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, high fuel prices are having an adverse effect on India’s financially strained families, to the extent that they're cutting back expenditures on essential items in order to pay for fuel. It is the need of the hour that the Centre finds an optimum tax rate that does not harm their revenues, but at the same, doesn’t burden consumers. Alternatively, the GST Council must include petroleum products in the Goods and Services Tax regime to provide relief to the already-stressed sectors.

Akash Kumar, Jagraon

Take nature seriously

‘Illegal mining and structures in hills’ are posing a serious threat to lives, property and economy, as evident from the recent floods in HP, and Uttarakhand earlier. This scenario necessitates the environmental laws to be more stringent with preventive approach and meaningful environment education, thus making the masses more aware and responsible. Strict law enforcement by the agencies concerned must act as a deterrent for environmental abuse. The National Green Tribunal must play a more proactive role. People’s active participation would make the masses realise that abusing nature means digging our own graves.

RS Kishtwaria, Palampur

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

Health infrastructure Other

Jul 22, 2021

THE editorial ‘Strengthen public healthcare’ aptly emphasises that there is urgent need for huge investment in public healthcare infrastructure, especially rural healthcare. Most PHCs and CHCs are lacking in nurses, doctors, medicines and infrastructural facilities. ASHA and anganwadi workers and ANMs are low paid and usually overburdened. Most people in rural areas fear to bear the cost of treatment in private hospitals and die untreated as they are unable to manage finances. It will be a challenge to the Central government as well as the state governments to address the various chinks existing in the healthcare industry.

Abhimanyu Malik, Jind

Covid protocol

Reference to the news story ‘Navjot Singh Sidhu gives clarion call for sach di ladaai’, it is surprising to note where the Covid protocol has disappeared. It appears that the Covid guidelines are meant to be followed only by the ordinary citizens of the country, and the political leaders are free to have their own protocol. Let us see what action the Punjab Chief Minister will take in this matter as no senior officer will dare to take action. The common man is booked for not observing Covid safety measures and for violating other rules, but politicians are free to do what they want. What kind of democracy is this? Politicians should be a role model for fellow citizens, but unfortunately, they are the true violators of the law. It is indeed a matter of shame for the political bosses.

Gursharan S Kainth, Amritsar

Sidhu’s elevation

Massive crowds following Navjot Singh Sidhu to pay obeisance at different gurdwaras and temples, with no social distancing, and hardly a few wearing masks is a horrifying reminder of the large crowds at the political rallies in West Bengal during the recent elections. Can we forget the second wave of the coronavirus which followed and wreaked havoc? The Congress party is trying to regain its lost sheen and is preparing for the coming elections. But the way Navjot Sidhu is making a show of his supporters, more for the opponents in his own party than Opposition parties, is not in good taste, when the third wave is looming large and our farmers are struggling against farm laws. Some sobriety and sensitivity will be appreciated.

Sadhna Saini, by mail

Writing off loans

The government is using black money to write off big corporate loans across the country, while giving no benefits to senior citizens whose income has come down from 14 per cent to 5 per cent. Public sector banks have written off a massive Rs 8 trillion worth of loans during the past seven years of the Modi government, which is more than double the amount of capital infused by the government during the period. Financial Year 2019 saw the highest amount of capital infusion during the period at Rs 1.06 trillion. In 2020-21, the government infused Rs 14,500 crore into four public sector banks. The banking industry should also not allow any corporate to write off loans on the basis of political recommendations.


Good performance

Reference to ‘Deepak steals the show’; Chahar deserves approbations, as he not only shone with the bat for a change, but also played well with a lot of resolve and courage in the company of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to pull off an incredible win from a seemingly improbable position in the second ODI against Sri Lanka. In a rare fortuity, it must have gladdened the hearts of Team India players camping at England to watch our players perform well

against Sri Lanka. India’s bench strength is so good that it can field two separate international playing eleven and still win matches. This augurs well for the team ahead of the T20 World Cup.


Fuel price rise

Reference to ‘Oil turmoil’; the constantly increasing prices of petrol and diesel in the country are turning out to be a matter of huge concern. Despite the change of minister for Petroleum and Natural Gases in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, there doesn’t seem to be much change in the policies of the Central government. The citizens of the nation are paying a heavy price. The government should come up with some concrete solution for the people and prioritise resolving the matter promptly.

Saurya Ajay Singh, Varanasi

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Pegasus scandal Other

Jul 21, 2021

The recent Pegasus snoopgate scandal, collaboratively investigated and exposed by international media outlets, has raised serious concern in the country (‘Spyware for snooping’). Targeting Union ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, judges, human rights activists, scholars, scientists and businessmen amounts to a brazen violation of an individual’s fundamental right to privacy and personal data protection, and is likely to compromise even national safety and security. Though the Centre has debunked the allegations of any involvement in unauthorised surveillance, a credible investigation by the Supreme Court is imperative to ascertain whether the victims were officially spied upon. The government should review its bureaucratic digital security measures to avert the misuse of surveillance technology and allay the fears of our democracy slipping into authoritarianism.

DS Kang, Hoshiarpur

Surveillance tool

This refers to ‘Spyware for snooping’. There is little to doubt that snooping using Pegasus spyware has been done to target journalists, politicians and businessmen of several countries, including India. The company has claimed that it sells the software to ‘vetted’ governments only and that too for checking terrorism and crime. Perhaps the company failed to see that many governments see even dissent, criticism and political opposition as terrorism and crime. As expected, our government has denied any role in it. The Opposition must demand transparency, accountability and safeguards to ensure the safety and privacy of citizens. The government must prioritise clarification and debate over outright denial. Otherwise, citizens may view the government’s digital push as a tool to bring everyone under surveillance.

Hira sharma, by mail

Sidhu must apologise

Amid the ongoing infighting in the Punjab Congress, Navjot Singh Sidhu has been appointed president of the PPCC, settling the issue that has been the source of much squabbling and instability over the past two months. His appointment attests to the niche he has carved for himself since he left the BJP and joined the Congress in 2017, and the way he positioned himself as anti-Amarinder Singh voice as well as an anti-Badal campaigner. It also indicated a decisive say of Priyanka Gandhi in party affairs. Many believe the way he held the AAP threat over the party, with speculation he could defect if he was ignored, also played a role in his elevation. The appointment of PCC chief is the prerogative of the party high command, but washing dirty linen in public has dipped the party graph. Pulling the party into different directions will only harm its prospects in the 2022 polls. Sidhu, who had tweeted against the CM and the government, should tender a public apology so that the party and the government can function in tandem.


Digital push

Reference to ‘SC’s digital push’; with digitalisation being promoted at various levels, the decision to bring about change in the working of the jail authorities is a commendable decision. This would not only benefit the jail staff, but also the entire system that relies on immense paperwork and documentation. This is a wonderful initiative by the Supreme Court that will help cut paperwork and reduce hassles.

Surbhi Attreya, Meerut

Stranded tourists

Apropos of ‘Manali road blocked, tourists stranded’, it is disturbing that tourists have been stranded due to landslides. In the wake of the coronavirus, it does not appear prudent on the part of people to venture out to tourist destinations. When tourists are stranded on highways in difficult weather conditions, it also creates problems for the traffic police. There are also concerns about the third Covid wave. Crowds should not be encouraged during these difficult times.

Devendra Khurana, Bhopal

Need statesmen

Statesmen like Nehru, Ambedkar, C Rajagopalachari and Dr Rajendra Prasad played a crucial role after 1947 to uplift Indian society and put the country on the road to development. Later, leaders like Indira Gandhi and Vajpayee, among others, filled the vacuum in the Indian political sphere and strengthened democracy. Nowadays, we have countless politicians, but none of them are statesmen. Most are opportunists and propagandists who have no vision to take the country forward and make its people happy and prosperous. Their only focus is on how to win elections.

Jaswant Rai, Chandigarh

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Going digital Other

Jul 20, 2021

Apropos of ‘SC’s digital push’, the court has stressed on the need to equip prisons with the internet to enable digital bail orders. It is necessary, but not sufficient though. Why should Indian prisons and the judiciary not keep pace with digital advancements and continue to adopt antediluvian ways of working? The opaque prison system entails complete overhauling. Officials deployed are not willing to use technology at their disposal for vested interests. Providing basic internet facility, enabling electronic FIR and e-bail order does not require heavy lifting. Now is the time to make all prisons and courts digitally active and fix accountability for non-implementation.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

May hurt Congress

Refer to ‘Navjot Sidhu appointed PPCC president’; the Chief Minister has reportedly dropped his objections to Sidhu’s elevation with many riders. As of now, the week-long crisis in the Punjab Congress seems to have ended, but the forced and uneasy truce is fragile. In the run-up to the Assembly elections, the critical factors with regard to nominating the party candidates and other critical decisions can trigger another round of friction capable of hurting the party’s poll prospects. It can even turn out to be a major blow to the Congress in a state where it has been in power for some time now.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

Accommodating Sidhu

Capt Amarinder Singh is a tried-and-tested leader. He is a force to reckon with in Punjab. But the fear of Navjot Sidhu going to the AAP weighed heavily on the mind of the Congress president in the present political scenario, where the Akalis are weak and there is every chance of the AAP coming to power. Sidhu has only been made a state Congress chief and not a chief ministerial candidate. Therefore, Capt Amarinder Singh and other senior leaders of the party should wait till the 2022 Assembly elections are over.

Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Circus of the absurd

It is unfortunate but the stark reality is that the grand old party, the Indian National Congress, across the nation, and in Punjab in particular, has become a circus of the absurd (‘Sidhu appointed Punjab Congress chief’). How would the government and the party work, and that too when the Assembly elections are round the corner? All eyes would be on Capt Amarinder Singh’s future course of action. It would be interesting to see the role of his recently appointed political adviser, Prashant Kishor? In this tug of war, the real sufferers would be the people of Punjab.

AK Sharma, Chandigarh

Easing curbs

Refer to ‘Hry eases curbs; restaurant, gym timings extended'; according to various studies and reports, the third wave may hit the nation next month. In such a situation, the decision of easing curbs might not be the right step. The crowds seen in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, as soon as the states opened for tourists, should serve as a note of caution to the state governments that easing the curbs might not be a good idea.

Saurya Ajay Singh, Varanasi

Free power

Apropos of ‘Delhi's success story can be replicated in Punjab’, one reason for the worsening electricity situation and the PSPCL going bankrupt is the free power supply in the agriculture sector even to the big landlords in Punjab. This is the biggest difference between Delhi and Punjab. While comparing success, this factor should also be kept in mind.

Sohan Lal Gupta, Patiala

Grain procurement

Apropos of ‘Boost price stabilisation fund for pulses, oilseeds’, the record foodgrain production in 2020-21 is attributable to the hard work put in by farmers and government purchase at MSP. In spite of all this, farmers’ income has not increased. The MSP for 23 commodities is of no use if there is no purchase in the open market, as it is not legalised, for which farmers have been protesting for months. With extra stock of foodgrain, the government should reach the farmers with a new policy for incentive-based crop diversification. The government also has to ensure through legislation that the grains are purchased at MSP. The quality of commodities can be improved by providing seeds, fertilisers and technical support. Farmers are to be educated and encouraged to improve production to qualify for export standards. This will help reduce our import budget of edible oils and help farmers in enhancing their income. This can only be possible if the government regulates the purchase mechanism to save farmers from exploitation by the corporate sector.

Darshan Singh Bhathal, Nangal

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India’s interest supreme Other

Jul 19, 2021

Apropos of ‘The Great Game continues’ (Nous Indica), over the years Afghanistan has turned to be too complex an imbroglio — born out of the clash of ‘titans’. The fast-percolating jihadi extremism is a global challenge to be squarely dealt with overcoming parochial interests by all countries. The Indian EAM is in competent hands striving at international fora to de-link religion from terror and annihilate the latter for good. It is time to rekindle the spirit of the Magna Carta, though now only commercial interests rule the roost in foreign policy across the globe. India would do well to negotiate with the Taliban.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Tackling Taliban

Apropos of ‘The Great Game continues’, negotiations with the Taliban are not easy. Worldwide, women are outdoing men in all male bastions, right from sports to scientific, political and economic fields. The right organisation to secure respectful existence for women in Taliban-ruled territories is the UN. It is the duty of the UN to tackle the Taliban and make them conscientiously responsive to the humane aspects of live and let live.

KL Noatay, Kangra

Negotiating with Taliban

Apropos of ‘The Great Game continues,’ the recent withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan is a positive development for India's Afghanistan policy. It should take advantage of the situation by talking to the willing leaders of the Taliban for doing business and setting up consulates etc., as India has also invested heavily in creating infrastructure in Afghanistan. After so much war and bloodshed in the past three decades, Afghanistan needs peace. The legendary Sahir Ludhianvi had aptly said, ‘Jang toh khud hi ek masla hai, jang kya maslaun ka hal deghi.’

Gurpreet Singh, Mohali

Colonial-era law

Kudos to Chief Justice NV Ramana for upbraiding the callous government for the blatant misuse of the sedition law. The present dispensation has no regard for human liberty, democratic institutions and is using the law to silence dissent. Our only hope is the judiciary. The Supreme Court should take suo motu notice and declare these outdated laws as unlawful.

Bakhshi Gurprit Singh, Jalandhar

It’s not sedition

Apropos of ‘Colonial-era sedition law being misused, is it still needed, asks SC’, the latest brazen misuse of this law by the Sirsa police, justified by Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij, was witnessed recently when a large group of farmers surrounded the car of the Deputy Speaker of Haryana Assembly and damaged the windscreen. The farmers were charged under Section 307 (intention to kill) and Section 124 (sedition). The farmers had no right to surround the car and vandalise it and deserved to be punished under the relevant sections of the IPC. But charging under Section 124A is not even remotely connected to the incident and confirms the fear of the Supreme Court in respect of the misuse of this law. The charges would probably be struck down by the courts, but the victims will have to struggle and spend a lot of money to get acquitted. Unfortunately, the courts only acquit the victim but do not punish the police officer who arrested the innocent person under the sedition provision.

RN Malik, Gurugram

Flawless performer

Apropos of ‘Dadi’, whose grand smile never…’, the sudden passing away of a consummated thespian, Surekha Sikri, whose nuanced acting skills and intense yet elegance-personified aesthetics enlivened Delhi theatre in the 1970s with her pitch-perfect performances, has left a void. A three-time national awardee, the veteran actor will always be remembered for her unforgettable roles in Mammo, Tamas, and more recently, Badhai Ho. Who can erase from memory the role of Dadisa she essayed in the soap opera Balika Vadhu? Her two other much-talked-about plays, Aadhe Adhure and Sandhya Chhaya earned her the endearing sobriquet of a peerless performer.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Political alignments

Former ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu and Anil Joshi started their political career with the BJP. Sidhu is said to have mentored Joshi in 2007. Their relationship changed when Arun Jaitley was given the ticket by the BJP from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat in 2014. Sidhu later joined the Congress and became an MLA from the Amritsar East constituency and got the portfolio held by Joshi. Both are outspoken and critics of their seniors. Both are being praised by the Aam Aadmi Party. Joshi has been expelled by the BJP. Will the guru and chela join AAP?

Prem Parkash Punj, Amritsar

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Playing caste card Other

Jul 17, 2021

There seems to be a mad race among political outfits to promise caste-based and religion-based CMs and Deputy CMs in Punjab, and the latest is the SAD. Constitutionally, and even ethically, it is disturbing and shows how low selfish politicians can stoop to grab power by hook or by crook. In all fairness in a democracy once a person is elected through a valid democratic electoral process, he or she is supposed to rise above political, social or religious affiliations and serve all the people without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, gender, religion, faith, region or linguistic background. The promises of CMs and Dy CMs on the basis of caste and religion imply that only a CM or Dy CM from their own caste or religion can serve people of particular caste or religion and so on. This betrays the spirit of true democracy. The Election Commission should take a serious note of this betrayal by politicians and disqualify the politicians who make such unconstitutional and unethical announcements.

AK Sharma, Chandigarh

Wooing Hindus, now

Apropos of ‘After Dalits, SAD woos Hindus; promises 2nd Deputy CM’s post’, it's highly objectionable and unfortunate that political parties are trying to galvanise their election campaign on communal and caste lines. Instead of deputy CMs, why can't there be one Hindu or Dalit CM? Political parties must refrain from pivoting their election campaigns on such sensitive issues. Such irresponsible acts can disturb the communal harmony of the state.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

Sedition law

The Chief Justice of India has questioned whether the sedition law was still necessary after 75 years of Independence and observed that the law is a serious threat to the functioning of institutions that hold ‘enormous power’ for misuse with no accountability for the executive. The draconian law of sedition was introduced in 1870 as a tool of colonial domination and terror, it is being used at an alarming rate by successive governments to stifle dissent and harass dissidents. Will Parliament ever do away with such laws? Earlier also, the Supreme Court had set the record straight by stating that ‘dissent is not sedition’. However, the present-day governments have failed to follow and implement the SC guidelines in letter and spirit.

Paramjit mand, by mail

Draconian laws

This refers to ‘Colonial-era sedition law being misused, is it still needed, asks SC’. The prime motive of an alien rule in a country is to plunder its wealth and natural resources to enrich its masters by depriving the natives. This loot can continue in a rule of oppression only. Thus, the need to bring in draconian laws ensuring imprisonment of people sans fair trial. An indigenous democratic rule that tends to become elitist and alienates itself from the poor, farmers, the unemployed army of the youth, small traders/industrialists, employees and all others from the lower stratum of society is akin to an alien rule.

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Liberal praise

The commendation showered by the PM on Yogi is unsurprising and is a no-brainer as he is donning the hats of both the appraisee and appraiser. By complimenting the UP CM, he is showcasing narcissism as usual. Floating bodies in the Ganga, crematorium and burials bursting at the seams fly in the face of the Modi dispensation. Following the first wave, the Centre patted itself on the back and lulled itself into complacency, and now again it is repeating the same mistake. The state has earned notoriety for extra-judicial killings. Is this deemed as maintaining law and order? The BJP appears to be remorseless and unabashed, which reflects its overconfidence in light of emaciated opposition.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

All set for Olympics

Refer to ‘High on hopes’; Tokyo has been a lucky venue for India. It was here that India regained its hockey gold which it had lost in 1960 at Rome. India scored 22 goals in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, of which 11 were scored by Arjuna awardee Prithipal Singh, whom the international media described as ‘king of short corners’. It was here that Gurbachan Singh Randhawa appeared in the final of the 110 m hurdles race and finished fifth. In the coming Olympics, the Indian hockey team is expected to do well. The boys are capable. Our wrestlers, boxers, shooters, archers and track/field athletes are bound to upset many. May the games live up to its motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’. Best of luck to the Indian contingent.

Col Gurdeep Singh (retd), Dharampur

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Promises not kept Other

Jul 16, 2021

Reference to ‘Capt announces debt waiver for farmhands’, politicians feel they can allure people by giving incentives to the general public when elections approach, but forget that people are more aware now. People will not forget what promises have been fulfilled in the last four years. The state government has failed to keep its on word on many counts only due to the tussle among party MLAs. Voters tend to judge their leaders by their overall performance.

Chanpreet Singh Maan, Amritsar

Damage to ecology

Apropos of ‘Stop fiddling with hills’, the hill states, be it Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand, are witnessing an alarming spurt of tourist influx in recent years, so much so that the locals have transformed their houses to guest houses and hotels to cater to the rising demand. It has tempted many to go for illegal constructions by ruthlessly pulverising the ecology of the area. Water scarcity and traffic jams have become the order of the day and one has a harrowing experience in travelling to these places. The pace at which degradation of the environment is happening , the day is not far when frequent natural disasters may spell doom.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Deuba’s problem

Reference to ‘Power tussle in Nepal’, the Supreme Court judgment has paved the way for Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress to take charge as the PM. Deuba has his task cut out, but a firm message of unity and consultative governance can bring about political stability. This is a daunting task. He will be called on to strike a balance when he is himself likely to be politically unsteady even if he manages to win a vote of confidence by seeking to please the smallest political factions. New Delhi must offer quiet support since negative developments in Nepal have a bearing on India’s security.

SS Paul, Nadia

Probity in politics

The contagion of one-upmanship, inter-party and intra-party upheavals has permeated across political spectrum in the states taking a toll on national polity and resources. Sadly, the lure of power and position betrays all loyalties and ideologies. To better the quality of electoral democracy in India, legal provisions need to be made harsher. No pre- or post-poll alliance, due to inherent fragility, should be recognised until and unless these coalesce and merge shedding individual identities to reap the fruits of majority.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Five-star railway station

PM Modi will be inaugurating the Gandhinagar railway station which would consists of a 5-star hotel, a prayer room and a child care facility. The question arises: why only Gujarat? Why not improve the conditions of other railway stations like Hazrat Nizamuddin in the national capital?

Vishesh Balhara, Chandigarh

Governance quality

Apropos of ‘Government sans governance is unimaginable’, government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Is it truly happening? Good governance is the lifeline of administrative function where major stake-holders are the politicians and bureaucrats. People are getting more aware with empowerment because of education. The basic tenets enshrined in our Constitution should serve as the guiding light. Today, unfortunately lies have taken centre stage. “Woh jhoot bol raha tha bade salike se, main aetbaar na karta to aur kia karta.”

BM Singh, Amritsar

Kanwar Yatra

The Uttarakhand CM deserves plaudits for his decision not to permit Kanwar Yatra, keeping in view the Covid-19 pandemic. Why is the UP CM adamant on ensuring that the yatra remains uninterrupted and unimpeded with the stipulation that Covid-appropriate behaviour must be adhered to strictly? Nor is he ready to pay heed to the advice of the PM, belonging to his own party, nor to the grave concern being expressed by the apex court. If the third wave hits us, Yogi Adityanath may have to pay a heavy price politically after the witnessing of bodies floating in the Ganga.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Practise before preaching

Reference to ‘Regulate crowds in markets, hold officials liable, Centre tells states’, the same advice needs to be given first to politicians who are responsible for gathering crowds during functions. For example, in Telangana, the state government is organising the Bonalu festival which is drawing large crowds that are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour.

O Prasada Rao, by mail

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Calling off yatra Other

Jul 15, 2021

Reference to ‘Kanwar Yatra’; the move of the Uttarakhand Chief Minister to call off the yatra should not only be a wellness drive for his state, but also a relief for other states. The yatra is a long journey starting from Har ki Pauri to the last temple of every pilgrim’s faith. They can be carriers of the coronavirus and spread it at hotels, dhabas, public utilities etc, on the way. The administration can better focus on vaccination and preventive drives in the absence of such yatras.


Prevent superspreaders

Apropos of ‘Kanwar Yatra’, while taking a bold decision, the Uttarakhand government has rightly cancelled the yatra for this year. The government should do the same for related congregations. Maskless tourists and those flocking to crowded markets could be inviting a third wave with such laxity. The Kumbh Mela earlier this year turned out to be a superspreader event. That alone should have forced those pushing for the Kanwar Yatra to do a rethink. As for safety protocols that are supposed to be followed for the yatra and the UP CM’s assertion that numbers will be restricted, religious events in India are almost always larger, more chaotic and less well managed than what governments want. UP has often claimed it managed the second wave better than many other states. Disallowing large gatherings is the best way to keep that performance going.


Political catchphrase

Refer to ‘The UP initiative’; the population policy unveiled by CM Yogi wants to incentivise couples to stick to a two-child norm. It is a return of the Hum do, hamare do slogan. The policy proposes that any citizen who violates the norm not only be barred from contesting local bodies polls, but also from applying for government jobs and even receiving government subsidies. Though similar restrictions may be existing in other states, a policy or law that arms governments with more powers over citizens is erroneous for another fundamental reason: India is not being threatened by a population explosion. The National Family Health Survey and Census data shows that in most urban areas, the total fertility rate (TFR) has already reached a replacement level of 2.1. On the national level, TFR has declined from 3.4 in 1994 to 2.2 in 2015. It appears that ‘population control’ is making a comeback as a political catchphrase in view of the UP Assembly elections next year. The success of southern states in containing population growth indicates that economic growth as well as attention to education and empowerment of women work far better than punitive measures.

Lajwant Singh, by mail

‘Gobind Ramayana’

Apropos of ‘SGPC demands ban on book’, Guru Gobind Singh never wrote Ramayana. In a ‘Sawya’, he writes ‘Ram Rahim puran kuran, anek kahe mat ek na manio’. He disagrees with these creeds or whatever is said by them. Then how can he himself write Ramayana? Actually, he had engaged 52 poets under him, and one of them appears to have written Gobind Ramayana. The book in question should not have been presented to the Prime Minister.

Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala

Taliban fiefdom

Reference to ‘Mayhem by the Taliban’; over 100 years ago, Churchill had presaged Britain’s foray into Afghanistan to be ‘financially ruinous, morally wicked, militarily an open question, and politically a blunder’. When Iraq, more cohesive and politically mature, is in a mess post-US occupation, Afghanistan will be in a deeper one. The Afghans have been trying to evolve a semblance of national identity over the past decade, but that was been shred to pieces by extremists. As the Taliban strives to keep India and Pakistan tied up in border conflicts, Afghanistan itself stares at a political vacuum. China could now enter the scene. Little has changed in Afghanistan.

R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai

Restrict travel

Nowadays, many hill stations are full of tourists. Such crowding is not a good thing. At present, our country is at a very crucial moment with regard to the second wave of the Covid-19 virus. The present number of daily cases is still high, which shows that the second wave has not fully receded. Many states have also reported a resurgence of cases. The third wave of the virus is a threat to be considered seriously. At such a time, people need to know that it is not right to travel. While pandemic fatigue is evident, people should realise that staying at home now will help us to prevent future waves.

Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh

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Population policy Other

Jul 14, 2021

The population control measures to be enforced by the Uttar Pradesh CM have not come a day too soon, and in fact, should be implemented across the entire country, irrespective of caste, creed and religion (‘Population measures won’t be class-specific, says Yogi’). The country is bursting at the seams due to population explosion, which is the main cause of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment. To bring down the infant mortality rate and enhance life expectancy in the country, such curbs are mandatory. While tackling Covid-19 effectively, and quickly vaccinating everyone, India has had to cut a sorry figure only because of its sizeable population. In more populated states, the incidence of crime and violence is also more.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Incentivising policy

The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill makes it only the second BJP state, after Assam, to adopt a ‘two-child policy’. Population control is imperative for India, but the UP government’s approach of carrot and stick is not the right way to go about it. If passed, it would incentivise government employees who adhere to the policy. It will be a win-win situation for public servants as they will get additional increments, maternity or paternity leave of 12 months with full salary and allowances and 3% increase in employer’s contribution fund etc. Benefits also include a preferential seat for their child in IIMs and AIIMS, tax rebates and other attractive offers to those who undergo voluntary sterilisation. The objective is indubitably right but not the modus operandi.

Aniket Jaswal, Panchkula

Applicable to all

The UP government’s move to control the population in the state is a bold step in view of the fact that a massively increasing population adversely affects growth and development. The Bill also provides for disincentivising couples who do not follow the norm. Though it has been clarified that the norms will apply to all, without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or community, it needs to be ensured that no such discrimination takes place at the ground level. It must also be ensured that steps are taken simultaneously by the government to improve the health infrastructure in the state, so as to improve various health indices like the infant mortality and maternal mortality rates, besides reforms in the education sector and creation of job opportunities for educated unemployed youth.

Dinesh Kumar Verma, Panchkula

Chinese objective

Afghanistan is clearly ‘a place of interest’ for China. As far as China’s long-term planning is concerned, it seems to have got what it wanted — the US forces out of Afghanistan. This is something that both Beijing and Islamabad have wanted since 9/11. Beijing was equally involved, as Pakistan, Russia and Iran, in ensuring that the Taliban strengthens against the system of government Washington was trying to plant in the country. China will continue to operate and communicate through Pakistan, which remains the biggest stakeholder in Taliban’s success or failure. Irrespective of the impression from Islamabad that the security services are extremely nervous about Taliban presence, the Afghan militants remain Rawalpindi’s biggest asset. The Chinese Communist Party uses its influence to provide infrastructure loans to poorer countries in return for control over local resources, of which Afghanistan has plenty. Tapping into Afghanistan’s vast natural resources has been a long-standing goal of China.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

The generous Raja

With the demise of Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Pradesh and India have lost a humble king. I had the chance to stay with him for two days at his official residence in Shimla. I was appointed the first principal of DAV College, Kotkhai — his constituency. He was popular in every nook and corner of the state. His palace and office had a basement where cots, charpoys, tables and chairs were laid for the people to stay and present their problems. People from all over the state used to visit him. Politely, he would try to resolve the issues. He was very keen to educate the local people and put his best foot forward for the welfare of the state, even in the remote areas of Dodra Kwar and Reckong Peo. I am beholden to him, for he proved a great help to me in the success of the college at a remote place like Kotkhai. I salute him for his generosity, hospitality and sagacity.

S Chaudhary, Mohali

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

China-Taliban nexus Other

Jul 13, 2021

Apropos of ‘Mayhem by the Taliban’, the influence of China in Afghanistan is increasing by the day. So much so that it now claims to be the right ‘guarantor of security’ in the region, as per a recent article in the Global Times. Even Pakistan had demurred from being that. What gives traction to the moves of China is its clout with the Taliban. They call China a friend. The rising vulnerability of the neighbouring countries in the region gives it a further push. It is, therefore, attaching a lot of significance to the visit of the Chinese foreign minister to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. While providing ‘financial and technical help’ to these countries, it is only promoting its Belt and Road Initiative to connect with Eurasia.

Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali

Checking population

It is heartening to learn that after Assam, now the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has announced its intent to formulate a new policy to control the ever-increasing population (‘No govt job or subsidy if more than 2 kids, can’t fight local elections: UP draft bill’). Undoubtedly, the scary size of population has in itself become an environmental hazard as it requires over-harnessing of the limited natural resources. Steps to control population are needed and should be welcomed. Hopefully, a rational and uniformly applicable law will be in place in UP soon that may become a reference model for other states and union territories to follow.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Not class-specific

Apropos of ‘Population measures won’t be class-specific, says Yogi’, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has taken a step in the right direction by introducing a legislation to control population explosion. It is a fact that illiteracy and poverty lead to population growth and create obstacles in the path of progress. This is not confined to any particular religion or section of society. It has a negative impact on the health of women too.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Big three in tennis

Refer to ‘Djoker rules the pack’; by winning the Wimbledon 2021, Novak Djokovic has finally caught up with his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles. The big three are well past their 30s, but among them, they have won a staggering 60 Grand Slams, and are still a force to reckon with. They have reached dizzying heights in men’s tennis and still have utmost respect for each other, showing the world a perfect model of sportsmanship among rival stars. No doubt, they will go down in tennis history as not only the best players of their generation, but also possibly the best of all time.

Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai

Vaccine phobia

A drastic and profound change has been brought about by the pandemic in the lives of people. The virus can be tackled with vaccination, which is proving to be a difficult task because of underlying misconceptions. India seems to be the only country where vaccination has not picked up the desired pace unlike in the US, UK and Canada where almost half of the population has been vaccinated and is prepared for a plausible third wave. Awareness needs to be created for this. The WHO and AIIMS should also assure citizens of safety.

Simranjeet Kaur by mail

Tragic deaths

Reports of more than 50 deaths on Sunday due to lightning in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are unfortunate. In this season of heavy rains, cloud bursts and fierce storms, much care and caution need to be exercised. One should not stay in open, near poles and tall trees, but take shelter in good buildings. Lightning conductors must be checked for proper functioning. Tragic deaths impact families, which should be prevented.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Kanwar yatra

This is with reference to the report, ‘Dhami holds off on Kanwar Yatra decision’. It is imperative that the Uttarakhand CM comes up with a logical decision. The Kumbh Mela facilitated the second wave of the pandemic and another such large-scale congregation will certainly lay the ground for an anticipated third wave. Ideally, the government ought to do away with the yatra keeping in mind the turmoil the country has been witnessing.

Aanya Singhal, Noida

Pension too little

Pension pertaining to old age, widows, destitute and the handicapped should be increased to a minimum of Rs 1,500 at this time of soaring prices and the pandemic. The monthly meagre amount of Rs 750 is not enough. Welfare of the underprivileged is important during these times.

CP Sharma, Solan

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

Better off without CDS Other

Jul 12, 2021

Refer to ‘The theatre command debate’; the CDS raises one or the other controversial issue, be it disability pension, theatre commands or IAF role. Calling the Air Force a ‘supporting arm’ and comparing it with an Army regiment is unfortunate. The Air Chief has done well to refute it. A sarcastic post on social media by a retired IAF officer reads, ‘Suddenly I get the feeling that I served 30 years in the Air Force Regiment of the Indian Army.’ Even on theatre commands, the IAF is not on the same page as the CDS. The IAF feels that it will divide its already limited resources as it is facing acute shortage of fighter jets, besides giving rise to command and control issues. With so many controversies doing the rounds, one wonders whether we were better off without the CDS.


Cairn case

Apropos of ‘Cairn Energy row’, the Government of India now faces the prospect of having its assets abroad seized for not honouring its obligations as Cairn Energy has secured an order from a French court. The issue of retrospective taxation continues to haunt India. The Cairn case issue flared when India imposed a tax demand on the company after passing a law in 2012 that gave it powers to levy taxes retrospectively. The Indian Government should respect the arbitration award in Cairn case, as not doing so will send a wrong message to investors. Unwillingness to put this issue to rest will ensure that claims of improving the ease of doing business in India are met with scepticism. The talks of tax administration reform ring hollow when a tax department is intent on not accepting its mistake or correcting it. This is no time for posturing on the domestic audience. A resolution calls for pragmatism, not state obduracy.

PL SINGh, by mail

Gimmick may not work

The unceremonious exit of some senior-most union ministers is beyond apprehension. Some of them appear to have been made mere scapegoats. They have fallen prey to the whims and fancies of the powers at the helm. The move appears to have been exercised to give a new look to the party, but this gimmick may not work.

Santosh Jamwal, HAMIRPUR

New Cabinet

Apropos of ‘Challenges galore for Modi’s new team’, Modi has ignored professionals and experts from the technology field completely. This class is the cream of the country. In his new Cabinet all are politicians and retired bureaucrats. Even in the appointment of Governors of states, no academician has been included on the list. An academician can be more suitable, since the Governor is the Chancellor of the universities in state and can play an important role in the development and running of state universities.

DS Hooda, Rohtak

His bond with people

Reference to ‘The king of hills leaves a void’, Virbhadra Singh’s bond with the people of the state was strong. It didn’t need any party tag. There were numerous political machinations to downsize him, but he proved his love for the people. During the 2007 Assembly elections, our constituency got a parachute candidate against his wishes. Overnight the support of Rajaji to the party’s rebel candidate vindicated that he was above party politics.

Sunil Mahajan, by mail

End stalemate

The stagnation of talks between the Centre and farmers are having a devastating impact on Haryana ('Best foot forward'). The state being governed by the same party is helpless before the high command and not in a position to show its grievance and ill effects on the economy, development, industry, and above all, the well-knit culture of different castes and creeds in the state. The economy of the area bordering Delhi has been shattered due to disturbances in the supply of raw material and dispatch of end products. Every politician in Punjab has eyes on political gains only because their state is not the battleground. What is required is to prevent the masses from opting for demonstrations every time, causing loss to public property, restrictions on the movements of elected representatives, etc. Considering the welfare of the state and stopping further damage, the Centre should not further delay and immediately come up with a solution.


Power theft in rural Punjab

The rural belt of Punjab accounts for 66% of power theft, despite getting free power for paddy cultivation and subsidised domestic supply. The rampant pilferage of electricity is a norm in most villages. It is an irony that politicians of every hue are mum over the issue. The kundi system has been in practice for long but PSPCL failed to check this open loot of electricity, resulting not only in revenue loss to the exchequer, but also shortages to other segments of users. The state needs to bring out a white paper on power thefts and mull strict action against defaulters.

Krishan Sudan, Amritsar

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

Power theft Other

Jul 10, 2021

Refer to ‘Rs 1,200 cr power stolen every yr, villages account for 66% theft’; it is shocking that residents of Punjab are stealing power worth Rs 3 crore per day from PSPCL supply lines, with rural Punjab leading with 66.66% distribution losses due to power theft using kundis. Despite free power for paddy fields, villages account for theft worth Rs 800 crore per annum. Domestic and commercial urban consumers steal power worth Rs 300 crore while the industry Rs 100 crore. This is indeed a huge loss caused due to the mismanagement and negligence of the government and the greed of the people. To cover up the losses, PSPCL enhances power rates from time to time. Resultantly, the honest consumer is made to pay through his nose. Enforcement wing officials are not allowed to do their duty by villagers and influential local politicians. Special meter checking campaigns under police protection should be launched throughout the state.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Focus on governance

Refer to ‘Course correction’; the reconstitution of the Cabinet was guided by both political and administrative considerations. The major reshuffle since the second term of the BJP government shows that PM Modi means business and that non-performers would not be tolerated even if they belong to senior ranks of the party. Governance issues might have been a factor in the axing of some ministers. New faces such as Ashwini Vaishnaw and Jyotiraditya Scindia have administrative skills that could prove valuable. They must be empowered to plan and take decisions in their respective areas. Proposals must go through rigorous technical vetting and wide political consultations. The revamping was intended to enhance governance, ramp up the economy and fuel the BJP’s political march ahead of the crucial elections.


A true royal

Known as Raja Saheb, former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was committed to the uplift of people of Himachal Pradesh. The Dharamsala college gained from his official visits. A new library block, a three-storeyed arts block and a huge auditorium were made available to the students, courtesy his vision for quality education. He opened new colleges in remote areas, thus enabling the students, especially girls, to have easy access to education.

Lalit mohan sharma, dharamsala

E-learning gets push

Apropos of ‘Pushing boundaries, bit by bit’, indeed the positive side of the pandemic is the evolution and complete establishment of e-learning and its associated technologies. As a parent, I always wanted my daughter, a student of Class XI, to get the best coaching available in the country. However, this was not possible before the pandemic due to the geographical distances involved. But now with online education in place, sitting in Patiala, she can study her favourite subject from a teacher in Chennai. Educational institutions have become e-schools and e-colleges, providing all the knowledge and education required by students of varied age-groups from pre-primary to doctorate. Kudos to the teachers and students who very quickly adapted to this scheme of education. Also, it is worthwhile to mention the role of Internet service providers in the successful implementation of e-learning.

PS Sodhi, Bengaluru

No more a heaven

There is a famous saying about Kashmir, ‘Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast’ (If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here). But it is sad to know that this heaven is on the edge of economic despair (Kashmir valley on the edge of economic despair). Kashmir has been infamous since the beginning of the insurgency in 1989. The situation had started improving a bit and then came the J&K Reorganisation Act in 2019, which resulted in the widespread turmoil in the Valley. In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic came as a bolt from the blue for the residents of the Valley. Something concrete must be done to save the Valley, which depends on tourism that has been hindered due to one reason or the other. A bailout package seems to be the only solution to save the businesses which are in the doldrums.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur

Flouting Covid norms

With the second wave of Covid-19 subsiding, people have become careless. Neither are they maintaining social distancing nor wearing masks properly. The northern parts of India are getting hot due to the delayed arrival of monsoon. Images of huge crowds of people without masks in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are going viral on social media. Violation of the Covid protocols is being seen not only in the mountains, but also in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

Mahak Arora, 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

Task cut out Other

Jul 09, 2021

Refer to ‘Mega rejig: 36 join Modi govt, 7 promoted’; there is a razor-sharp focus on politics and the coming elections. There is a clear message on representational politics, reflecting regions and social constituencies crucial for the BJP, especially for the Assembly polls in 2022. Modi's mega Cabinet with 77 members is the biggest-ever council of ministers. Good results are expected of this big team which has the job of bringing pandemic-battered India back on track. Just days before the 30th anniversary of reforms, the economy is in the worst shape in 30 years. The vaccination question is not yet fully answered. A third Covid wave remains a potent fear. If the mega council of ministers’ primary job is to govern, this team has its task cut out.

PS KAUR, by mail

Polls on mind

The PM has selected his new team keeping in mind the caste factor. OBC, SC and tribal appeasement will prove to be a costly gamble. Dropping 12 ministers is confirmation that these ministers were not competent. Ravi Shankar Prasad’s arrogance was the cause of his dropout. Harsh Vardhan paid the cost of being a totally ineffective Health Minister. The new ministers may not be able to cope with people’s anger against the government’s monumental failure to check the prices of fuel and daily commodities.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), mohali

New Cabinet

Refer to the ‘Minimum government, maximum governance’ slogan of the Modi government, 43 new ministers have now been inducted. Those who lost their chair cannot be blamed as they were ministers with no power or one can say they were not empowered by the Prime Minister. Let’s see what these new ministers can do, or should do.

Aastha Kapur, Solan

Loss of ‘tragedy king’

The news of the passing away of ‘tragedy king’ Dilip Kumar, who gave a new direction to Indian cinema, is heartbreaking. Dilip Kumar was iconic. Nobody was able to match his acting, even in the twilight of his film acting career. The gap created by his death will be hard to fill as the new generation is not capable of the talent possessed by Dilip Kumar. Films like Devdas, Gunga Jumna and Mughal-e-Azam have left a permanent impact on our film industry.

Manjit Singh, Ludhiana

A void, a legacy

This is in reference to ‘Goodbye, Dilip Kumar’; an actor, star, thespian, legend — it is easy to run out of adjectives for Dilip Kumar, who leaves behind a rich legacy of memorable films and roles, in a magnificent career graph that spanned over five decades. His acting style ranged across genres and characters. He was a natural and commanded instant attention. More than anything else, he felt real and relatable. Even today, when you think of effortless performance in Hindi cinema, you think of Dilip Kumar. His legacy will live on.

PL SINGH, by mail

Shoes hard to fill

Dilip Kumar ruled Indian cinema for no less than 50 years. Not only that, he had self-respect not to play second fiddle to the hero in the Hollywood film Lawrence of Arabia. Interestingly, an Iranian actor said he was the most popular in his country after Dilip Kumar. That shows the greatness of this method actor. I doubt if there would be any Indian actor greater than this thespian. He would be remembered for generations to come.

JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala

Transparency in funds

The Centre has been collecting large amounts by way of withholding DA instalments of Central/state employees and pensioners since January 2020. Crores would have been saved. Similarly, the steep hike in petrol, diesel and gas for over a year has filled the government coffers. And then, there are increased duties and taxes. Add to that the amount collected through the PM Covid care fund which must be substantial. In view of these facts and increased collection of GST and direct and indirect taxes, the amount collected is mind-boggling. These earnings and expenditures on various schemes should be placed in the public domain so as to earn the confidence of the people.

Harbachan Singh sandhu, by mail

At public cost

Refer to ‘Judge recuses from Nandigram case hearing, slaps Rs 5 lakh fine on Mamata’; the big question agitating the common man's mind is: Who pays for Mamata Banerjee's litigation and the fine — she personally, or her party, the TMC, or the state? Similar cases abound where politicians in power settle personal scores, abusing state funds/machinery and hiring legal luminaries at public cost, besides the bevy of advocates-general. The onus falls on the media as public watchdog to ensure that public purse is not misused or misappropriated.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

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

‘Deathless’ litigation Other

Jul 08, 2021

The severest punishment is not the ‘death penalty’ but the preceding deathless litigation. Many undertrials languish in jails for long periods which is the highest punishment prescribed for the offence they are charged with, throwing all canons of liberty and freedom into the fire because of our insensitive justice delivery system. Would it not be a travesty of justice to keep a person in jail for long years for an offence which is ultimately found “not committed” by him? It is common knowledge that some accused are in prison for three or more years, but the courts have not even framed charges to begin trial. It is the death of a fundamental principle of justice.


Attack on activists

Refer to ‘The death of Fr. Swamy’; it was sad to read about the demise of the Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist who worked for more than 30 years on various issues of the Adivasi community on land, forest and labour rights. This includes questioning the non-implementation of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, which stipulated the setting up of a tribes advisory council with members solely of the Adivasi community for their protection, well-being and development in the state. The Left ideology is opposite to that of the BJP and it wants to make sure that the Left is wiped out and every Left leader languishes in jail. Swamy was among the oldest person to be accused of terrorism in India. There have been widespread protests across India by many calling for his release, but nothing came of it.

Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

Real tribute to Fr. Swamy

The news of the death of Father Swamy came as a shock. One wondered why the government incarcerated the old and ailing man. It is unfortunate that the media and the civil society, which is paying glowing tributes to him today for championing the cause of the meek, failed to launch a movement to secure his release. The callousness of the jail, the NIA and the judicial authorities was evident in denying him bail. Our criminal justice system is hostage to the political powers. When the United Nations Human Rights Council and other human rights organisations called the circumstances of his death as ‘disturbing’, ‘inexcusable’, and ‘devastating’, our MEA says that it was all strictly in accordance with the law. Will the new Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, restore the ‘rule of law’ to further democratic governance in the country? Will the Press and the civil society rise to the occasion and be the voice of so many behind bars crying for justice? That will be the real tribute to Father Swamy.

Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali

Inhuman act

Refer to ‘The death of Fr. Swamy’; the denial of bail for eight months to an 84-year-old Parkinson’s patient has marked a blot on the making of the UAPA. The NIA did not conduct any interrogation since his arrest but still objected to his bail. The Act seems to be made to arrest any opponent without any proof of terrorism activity to silence the opposition. This Act needs to be repealed so that such inhuman acts are never repeated. What damage can an 84-year-old person cause to the state? The matter may be investigated to find out the reason to keep him in jail without bail. Responsibilities and accountability must be fixed. The Act should not be used to harass innocent people.

Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali

Bhagwat’s remarks

Refer to ‘Bhagwat: Those behind lynching against Hindutva’; Bhagwat’s remarks downplaying religious divides and foregrounding a national identity were made to Muslim Rashtriya Manch of the RSS. But his observation that the DNA of all Indians is the same, irrespective of religion, his critique of incidents of lynching, and his emphasis on the primacy of the rule of law are nonetheless important because of two reasons. First, his speech comes at a time when the cost of division and social strife is rising as the economy struggles to recover from two Covid waves. Secondly, his words can be read in the context of electoral political challenges for the BJP because the Muslim vote deserted the Congress and CPM en masse and consolidated behind the TMC. What happens if in the UP Assembly elections, the sizeable Muslim population rallies behind only one Opposition party. Such a tactical mobilisation combined with incumbency factor can be worrisome for the BJP. Bhagwat’s remarks are welcome, but they need to be read in the context of evolving strategies of India’s most election-focused party.

PS HANSPAUL, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Outmoded debate Other

Jul 07, 2021

Refer to ‘A Force to reckon with’; the infantry vs Air Force debate is as old as WW-II. In later day warfare, air superiority became vital. It is hard to win a battle on the basis of the Army alone. Equipped with the latest firepower, the Air Force paves the way for penetration into enemy lines, but then, it is the Army that seals victory. This era increasingly uses new technologies to engage in any conflict zone with minimal military footprint, through remote warfare. This approach also strategically creates political distance between the nation and the sites of its military interventions that stand enhanced by powerful armed drones and meticulous special operations. It is surprising that we should engage in debates that are far less relevant today. The emphasis today is on coordination, optimisation of resources and the use of superior technology.

R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai

No relief on fuel front

Petrol price has been hiked 35 times in two months. But sadly, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, as the twin fuel prices continue to rise in the country and the government conveniently turns a blind eye to the resultant predicament of the common man. The state-run oil marketing companies have relentlessly been toying with their revenue-centric game plan (obviously on the Centre’s behalf) ever since the declaration of the West Bengal Assembly poll results. Petrol has already crossed the Rs 100-a-litre mark in 14 states and UTs. It’s a different matter that neither the Centre nor the states are willing to part with their current overflowing revenue surpluses.

Kumar Gupt, Panchkula

Quashed law

This refers to ‘Shocking: SC on FIRs under junked Section of IT Act’. The big question remains: How to compensate where the damage has been done? Why is the quashed law not taken off the statute book through an ordinance pending action by the legislature? The ends of justice are met only when unjust suffering ends. The executive is dancing to the tunes of its political masters guided by vote-bank politics and has oftentimes failed to come to the rescue of the common man. Suspension of traffic to avert confrontation only adds to public woes. As the sentinel and saviour of constitutional freedom and rights, the SC needs to bite where baring its teeth does not suffice.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Federer still in the game

Apropos of ‘Federer ready for another title run’, the Swiss legend, who is gunning for a record 21st Grand Slam title, has been sailing smoothly in the current Wimbledon. When many professionals would have long retired from the game, astonishingly Federer is still playing, and has the hunger and energy for more Grand Slam titles. Maybe the body will listen to the master for a couple of more years. But living in the present moment, we need to stick around, for there is a final chapter left to write on this tennis icon because legends always have one last surprise to spring.


Misuse of water

Refer to ‘Water scarcity’; acute shortage of water can be seen in many parts of Haryana, especially in areas bordering Rajasthan. But, still people waste a lot of water on activities like washing cars and for maintaining lawns. In Narwana, a lot of service stations have mushroomed in every nook and cranny, where their staff wash cars throughout the day and waste a lot of water. They dig deep, illegal borewells, connect illegal kundi connections and carry on their illegal business openly without fear of the law. Water is precious; people should use it judiciously.


Will be Punjab’s undoing

‘Sidhu bats for 300 units of free power, wants PPAs scrapped’ is an amusing but ironical story. In politics, ex-cricketer Navjot Sidhu is regarded as an opportunist. He has always had his feet in two boats. His statement on 300 units of free power is an echo of AAP’s slogan. Here again, Sidhu’s one foot seems to be in AAP’s boat. Free power to all consumers is a ruinous path. It will sink Punjab into debt. But politicians bid their time and enjoy power. Who cares for the long-term effects on the economy?

LR Sharma, Sundernagar

Wake-up call for all

Apropos of ‘Tyranny of the elected in a democracy’, it is true that India has turned into an authoritarian democracy because citizens have submitted to tyrants. All democracy-saving institutions have been hijacked by the ruling dispensation. Minimal scope of justice is left for the common people. Here, Arnab Goswami gets bail while Stan Swamy dies in jail! Our freedom fighters laid down their lives not for this kind of India. This is George Orwell’s ‘Oceania’, instead. There is need for a mass movement against such totalitarian trends. Wake up people, save democracy.

Bhavya Atal, Bathinda

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

Change of guard Other

Jul 06, 2021

Reference to ‘Tirath yatra ends’; the change of CM in Uttarakhand, just a year short of the next elections, speaks of a wider malaise on view in several states ruled by the BJP. Pushkar Singh Dhami has been handed a crown of thorns. Tirath’s short tenure was marked by controversies during the initial days, although later as he settled down in his role, he became more careful in his statements. It is noteworthy that neither the Centre nor the state government urges the poll body to hold a byelection. It appears that the BJP headquarters wanted Tirath Singh Rawat out in any case. This clearly disproves the BJP’s claim that it can provide stable governments unlike the Congress.

SS Paul, Nadia

Political rigmarole

Reference to ‘Tirath yatra ends', it is a welcome decision that will prevent the state from the agony of going for a byelection. The step will further boost the confidence of sitting MLAs that their associate is the choice. On and off, the practice of appointing MPs should be looked at as being detrimental to the true spirit of democracy and a burden on the state funds, by way of holding unnecessary and wasteful byelections.


Taking people for a ride

Apropos of ‘Pushkar Singh Dhami sworn in as 11th CM of Uttarakhand’; Dhami taking oath as the new Chief Minister — the third CM in the past four months — does not augur well for the image of the BJP leadership. One fails to comprehend the rationale behind the party high command handing over the reins of this hill state to the outgoing CM Tirath Singh Rawat, even as he was required to attain the membership of the state Assembly within six months, thus needlessly necessitating a bypoll just prior to the scheduled 2022 Assembly elections. The BJP may soon have to pay a heavy price for frequently playing with people’s sentiments.

Vinayak G, New Delhi

Digital divide

Apropos of ‘Bridge the digital divide to empower farmers’, in view of the burgeoning digital disparity, bridging it is not just about providing more computers or mobile phones to farmers. It is essentially a matter of making the information more accessible, and this needs political will, awareness and financial resources. From promoting digital literacy to minimising entry barriers for tech startups, the incumbent government can leverage technology and digital solutions to achieve the highly ambitious target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

Akash kumar, Jagraon

Won’t help farmers

Refer to ‘Bridge the digital divide to empower farmers’; the increased use of Artificial Intelligence and digitilisation are being advocated to the farmers by the government without considering the ground reality of their education and socio-economic status. The exploitation of farmers by supply chains and middlemen is a universal phenomenon. The practical solution is not the use of theoretical AI or digitilisation but progressive legal reforms, as suggested by the CACP in its Kharif-2018 report to ensure the ‘right to sell at MSP’ and DBT to farmers’ accounts, as recently adopted by the government for foodgrain procurement. In the overall interests of the farmers and agriculture, the Government of India should ensure the ‘right to sell at MSP’ to legally protect the farmers from exploitation.

Virender Singh Lather, Karnal

Sidhu’s tantrums

Navjot Singh Sidhu’s comments and aspersions defy the cardinal principle of loyalty. His forte of non-stop grumbling, ongoing tirade, scathing attacks on the Punjab CM, duly fanned and unchecked by his ‘bosses’ in Delhi, leaves one dumbstruck. The complete setup has ensured that the Congress party’s reputation is in tatters. His desire to be the CM of Punjab, backed with freakish and trivial conduct, leaves one baffled and worried for the Congress, at least in Punjab.


Act of vandalism

Refer to ‘Farmers damage BJP leader’s paddy’; it is hard to believe that real farmers could resort to such an obnoxious act. It seems to be a clear case of vandalism undertaken by political opponents. Since it is a law and order issue, the police must book the culprits and take appropriate action. It also reflects poorly on governance by the state government. Political rivalry is understandable, but such an act of vandalism is certainly most undesirable and unhealthy for the civil society.


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Restore statehood Other

Jul 05, 2021

Apropos of ‘Next step — J&K statehood’ (Nous Indica), J&K has been historically viewed in the vortex of politics of subcontinental power games. This has adversely affected the development of the state and its people. A lesson needs to be learnt from this past mistake. The road to recovery lies in J&K’s assimilation. Granting statehood would make democracy more vibrant by active participation of all parties in this process. Inclusiveness, not exclusiveness, is the need of the hour. The people of J&K have already suffered during the past decades due to political and ideological differences among their leaders. Now, it is time for peaceful living and development.

Gurpreet Singh, Mohali

Polls top priority

Early Assembly elections are imperative, but why hasten statehood? (‘Next step — J&K statehood’). The Gandhian nationalism of assimilation cannot be legislated but it is a slow and steady panacea. The ‘melting snow’ ought to be channelled with caution. In border states, regional satraps coming to power exploiting local issues and sentiments cannot behave as if their state is a separate nation. Till the secessionist elements and terror apparatus are fully decimated, J&K must continue with the status of a ‘UT with legislative Assembly’. It would be a folly to succumb to any threat smacking of vested interests — even to boycott elections till the demand for statehood is met. Nonetheless, early elections to restore public rule, for which the UT status is no impediment, should be the top priority for the government, which entails fast conclusion of the delimitation exercise.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Protests a waste of time

The call given by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha to hold a protest against the fuel price hike on July 8 is an absolute waste of time. When their own protests against farm laws have failed to influence the government, the protest against fuel hike will not yield any result. The only way out is to vote against the ruling party during elections. Every day, protests are held at various places in India, be it by teachers, farmers, doctors, bank employees, traders, women, unions, Dalits, etc. Protests have lost their impact in the present times.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

IAF independent arm

Refer to Gen Bipin Rawat calling Air Force a supporting arm; the Air Force is an independent arm. Air operations to gain a favourable air situation over a theatre are sine qua non for the ground forces to operate. In the absence of it, the ground forces will suffer a lot of damage and destruction. Every Army officer is trained to ask for air strikes on the enemy target to soften it before launching an attack. It is only a matter of semantics that such strikes are called ‘air support’ in the Army’s tactical parlance. To extend such semantics to calling the Air Force a support arm is misplaced. Dividing our limited military assets and allocating them piecemeal to various theatre commands will prove our greatest undoing. The nation must listen to the Air Chief.

Lt Col GS Bedi, (Retd), Mohali

Power crisis

Apropos of ‘Power pangs’, (July 2), Punjab, reeling under unprecedented power shortage amid an intense heat wave, is facing unbearably long electricity outages. The pressure on the power generation system is unprecedented, with farmers needing uninterrupted electricity to run pumps to supply water for paddy transplantation. This worst power situation could be avoided had the government and the PSPCL planned for the excessive demand due to paddy plantation and summer season by purchasing power from the open market and by doing preventive maintenance of all power plants in advance to avoid outages during the peak demand period.

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

Not in an instant

Two types of industries are flourishing — one that makes people overwhelmed with the thoughts of competition, comparison, hate and inhumanity; and the second, which provides impermanent but hasty solutions to the repercussions of the first (‘Age of instant enlightenment’). These both sectors have the primary concern of earning maximum profit. Therefore, people, especially youngsters, need to understand the urge of connecting their souls to their roots, which of course demands time and patience in this rapidly growing world of technology. They should spend their precious time amid nature rather than searching for ways of instant enlightenment on the Internet.

Amritpal Singh, Bathinda

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

One-man rule Other

Jul 03, 2021

With no immediate threat to overthrow it, the CPC can congratulate itself as the most successful communist party in history that single-mindedly converted a weak and poor China into a technologically advanced superpower. All of this has, however, come at a great cost to the Chinese people. The CPC has maintained its grip over power through a vast and intimidating organisation and at the cost of the individual liberties and rights of the people. It has arrogated to itself the position of China’s sole ruling party, and its leadership controls the government and all organs and instruments of the state. Its model can only appeal to a few authoritarian regimes and leaders in other countries. The idea that one man controls the party, the government and the military, and a small clique of men surrounding him, none of whom have been elected by the people, should be able to determine the daily lives and destinies of 1.4 billion people is so out of place in the 21st century.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

False grandeur

Apropos of ‘100 years of CPC’, it isn’t a good intellectual exercise to create a halo of grandeur around the Communist Party of China (CPC). Its contribution is seldom noticed to promote peace and harmony along its borders. Changing the course only under adverse circumstances is its sole pattern to rule. The adoption of the single-child policy was an effective instance of this pattern. The global community is trying to underrate its own self-esteem by unnecessarily getting impressed by the presence of the CPC. It deserves congratulations only for completing a century of rule.

Kapil Sharma, Kaithal

Kejriwal’s shenanigans

Five years of political power against a promise of 300 units of free electricity power is not a bad bargain (‘Punjab reels under long unscheduled power cuts’). Kejriwal has declared in an interview that he would provide 300 units of free power to each consumer in Punjab if his party came to power in the state. I would like to ask: Does his political outfit, AAP, generate power from its own resources for free distribution? If not, then what would he have done in a situation like this in Punjab? The people should be wary of such shenanigans. It is akin to purchasing votes on the promise of freebies. Once in the saddle, they enjoy five years of political power with impunity.

Rup Verma, Jalandhar

Power agreements

The PSPCL is a victim of flawed power purchase agreements. The Congress had shouted from the rooftops before the elections to cancel the same once voted to power. What happened thereafter is there for all to see. All have been talking about the cancellation of agreements, but no one talks about fixing responsibility. The revenue lost should be recovered from them and refunded to the PSPCL. Why should consumers be penalised for agreements which have destabilised their domestic budget?

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

Plan & execute

In reference to ‘What other states can learn from Tamil Nadu’; it is a good move by CM Stalin to have on board the Economic Advisory Council the best brains like Raghuram Rajan and S Narayan. They can guide the state government to collect and manage revenue in a better way. The real challenge is to execute these plans and policies. He should also form a good field force for better execution.

Rajesh Goyal, by mail

Not guilty

Refer to the release of Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi by the NIA court after 19 months in prison over charges clamped under the UAPA for his alleged role in the anti-CAA protests; numerous are such cases where persons are acquitted after spending years in prison for suspected crimes. Should not some branch of prosecution be held accountable for such injury to the free life of citizens? It’s fashionable to state that no innocent man should be punished even if a guilty one escapes penalty, but in reality it is a different story.

Lalit Mohan Sharma, Dharamsala

Augment vaccination

Reference to ‘Focus on planning vaccine drives, not creating panic: Harsh Vardhan’; it is true that by panicking, our vaccination drive will only lose traction. It is imperative that all governments work in sync to accomplish the desired target of vaccination. The state governments cannot be held responsible for the dearth of vaccines. The drive can get fillip if the Centre procures 100% vaccination from the manufacturers. Moreover, door-to-door inoculation can accelerate the vaccination drive. Simultaneously, health infrastructure ought to be reinforced on priority.

Aanya Singhal, Noida

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

Be ready for third wave Other

Jul 02, 2021

Refer to ‘Second wave burden’; India has seen the worst pandemic situation during the last one and half years. The preparedness by the medical fraternity and the people to thwart/reduce the effect of the expected third wave has become mandatory. This will not only reduce the fatalities, but also the load on hospitals and the exhausted medical staff. Vaccination efforts must further increase to cover maximum people. The capacity of hospitals, oxygen and medicines required must be augmented and procured to avoid the chaos that happened in the second wave. The economy has also suffered a lot due to the pandemic and cannot afford another setback in the near future.

Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali

Bengal tussle

It is a matter of concern that the relationship between Mamata Banerjee and the West Bengal Governor has become very strained and uncordial after the Assembly elections in which the TMC won. The Governor should not have been actively in favour of the Centre. Mamata also crossed limits while making allegations against him, calling him corrupt. The Central government should settle the issue amicably. It is their duty and responsibility.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Government jobs

Our legislators are well paid and by the time they complete their five-year term, they are rich. They get a huge pension with entitlements of family pension to their spouse and multiple pension entitlements if they are re-elected. It is surprising that their children still need government jobs. In most cases, children of legislators join police service in officer ranks or as tehsildars or SDMs. Why should they not be asked to join the Army or BSF? Let them serve the nation by undergoing hard life in field areas and difficult terrains and set an example to be emulated by children of common citizens. The children of legislators also should be asked to set up their own business or industries by taking loans from banks to promote self-employment opportunities which are the need of the hour.

Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra

Instant spirituality

With regard to ‘Age of instant enlightenment’; there is no end to ‘competitive spirituality’ in which people jostle with one another in a bid to be the first or take no chances in case the supply is exhausted. Multiple rings on each hand, necklaces and cotton wristbands supplied by one or the other ‘guru’ only illustrate what the writer describes. Online spirituality and enlightenment are available in the religious market. Ironically, this confusion of the civilised Indian helps the governments who remain quiet over cow-dung solutions to viral issues like the corona.


Love for sports

Refer to ‘Why we cut sorry figure in international sport’; we are not a ‘sports-loving nation’, though we have the potential to match the world’s best sportspersons. Only cricket is an exception. Punjab, at one time, was the centre of sports like wrestling, kabaddi, athletics and hockey. Much of this glitter has shifted to Haryana. We must hand over sports activities to experts, and not politicians, bereft of ‘love of sports’.


Another title missed

The Indian cricket team has once again failed in the knockout game of an ICC event. The problem of not crossing the line in a big match has been a concern since 2013, despite having a plethora of batting greats on our side. Some tough decisions need to be made.


Pension arrears

Apropos of the Punjab Pay Commission, the state government has accepted its recommendations but justice is yet to be done to pensioners who died awaiting their dues. Officials handling their pending dues start harassing the dependents of such people with ulterior motives. There is no time limit to clear dues such as medical bills, family pension and pay commission arrears. The government should fix a time frame.

Roshan Lal Vij, Panchkula

ITRs for all

The income tax department should issue a very simple one-page ITR form and make it mandatory for all citizens of the country with income below the income tax exemption limit to file the details of income received from all their sources in the ITR. The benefit of all kinds of government facilities and reliefs should be given only to those citizens of the country on the basis of their income declared/appearing in the ITR filed by them.

Shakti Singh, Karnal

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

Uniform ration card Other

Jul 01, 2021

Apropos of ‘One nation, one ration card must by July 31: SC’, the Supreme Court has directed the states and UTs to regulate the issuing and integrating of ration cards, but it is a huge challenge for the Centre and states to implement this scheme in a short time. Still, governments have to apply this method because migrant workers and the ones who are really eligible for the card are not getting ration on time under schemes run by the states. Also, irregularities like issuing ration cards even to those not eligible calls for transparency.

Chain Singh Tanwar, by mail

Credit guarantee schemes

The slew of relief measures unveiled by the Union Finance Minister to alleviate economic stress wrought by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in sectors such as MSMEs, small household borrowers, tourism and health sector consist largely of credit guarantees. But what the country’s battered economy needs at this critical juncture is direct demand side support to script robust economic recovery. Measures such as increase in the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme to help MSMEs access the funds and leverage the same to ensure their survival and commence operations, Rs 50,000 crore loan guarantee scheme to buttress medical infrastructure in several parts of the country and an additional allocation of Rs 23,220 crore to ramp up short-term energy preparedness with a special emphasis on paediatric care are steps in the right direction. However, relying on the credit guarantee route to kick-start the engines of economy and alleviate the sufferings of those badly hit by the pandemic has its own limitations. The usefulness of the entire package of the credit and guarantees depends on the willingness of banks to lend whose prospect now seems to be very slim.

M Jeyaram, Sholavandan (TN)

Open schools, colleges

Keeping in view the overall fall in active cases, the Punjab CM has given more relaxations in Covid-19 restrictions. But what about reopening schools and colleges? When markets, cinemas, malls, transport services have all been allowed to open, then why not schools and colleges? These have been lying closed for more than a year now. School and college-going students, staying at home for so long a period, have become inactive adversely impacting their health and fitness. In view of the improvement in situation, educational institutions too should be allowed to function, of course, with necessary precautions.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Not much progress

Since Independence, Punjab has been ruled mostly by two parties — Congress and the Akali-BJP alliance. But on the graph of development, Punjab has come down steadily, thanks to all these governments. Their leaders have not benefited the people of Punjab much. Not much progress has taken place. Will any other party be able to fill the gap however remains to be seen.

JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala

Kejriwal’s free power

Kejriwal’s announcement of free power to all and other freebies in his 2022 Assembly election agenda is unfortunate for a progressive state like Punjab, as it may result in unhealthy competition leading to similar announcements by other parties which may not be possible to fulfill later as the state is already cash-strapped. A genuine leader would always present a progress oriented and motivating agenda. Why do our leaders fail to realise that everything comes at a cost?

RS Kishtwaria, Palampur

Thwart the third wave

Reference to ‘Third wave scare’, though some states have stated unlocking in a big way, to thwart the third wave is also a challenge so as not to invite another Covid disaster. The best long-term solution against Covid, of course, is mass vaccination, but there is a massive mismatch between demand and supply of vaccines at the moment. Given the current pace of vaccination, the only immediate solution is to rigorously follow advice on Covid-appropriate behaviour.

MS Khokhar, by mail

Abrasive CM

Apropos of ‘Another faceoff: Mamata calls Governor corrupt, he hits back’, the utterances of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee remind me of the attitude of a 14-year-old boy, as described by Rabindranath Tagore in his story, ‘Homecoming’. When Mamata is annoyed with persons senior to her in age and rank, she vents out her anger by using words which do not behove the Chief Minister of a state with a rich culture. She has tarnished the image of the Bengali language. She must understand that appointing a Governor is the sole prerogative of the President.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com