Letters to the editor
Apropos of the editorial ‘Imran’s martyr’ (June 29), a terrorist is the equivalent of a martyr now, if you go by the logic of the Pakistan PM. Despicable as they are, Imran Khan’s words are nothing more than a means of political appeasement. It was a desperate attempt to mobilise Islamic fundamentalists in his favour, considering how his government is on the brink of collapse due to the internal divisions between members of Tehreek-e-Insaf. It is also important to underscore that the PM of ‘democratic’ Pakistan is only a puppet of the military and nothing done by him is an independent action.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Bias for the British
Rahul Singh’s soft corner for the Brits is on display in his article ‘Lord Willingdon, Maharaja Bhupinder & iconic Bombay club’ (The Sunday Tribune, June 28). He states that the British colonialists were better than their Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch counterparts. That is like saying that of all the murderers around, the Brits were the best because they murdered the least. But a murderer is a murderer. The writer’s soft corner is obviously a consequence of the fact that his grandfather, Sir Sobha Singh, was a loyal subject of the British, much like Bhupinder Singh, and also benefited hugely from this loyalty.
Ravi Inder Singh, by mail
Running buses to capacity
The decision of the Punjab Government to allow buses to run to full capacity, when the corona cases are only rising is very unfortunate. Who will care for social distancing? It will give a big boost to Covid cases in the coming days in Punjab. This decision will bring big relief to bus operators and their business will increase, but at the cost of innocent lives. It is pitiable, but who cares for the common man?
DK WIG, by mail
Appointment of VCs
As per UGC guidelines and the Haryana Government notification of 2000, the post of VC and the university Registrar in state-run universities is a selection post on the basis of all-India advertisement. However, VCs and Registrars are not selected, but appointed due to political clout. The Chancellor (state Governor) remains a mute spectator by simply endorsing the political decision. A VC should be an academic leader, and not a paper shuffler or even a manager. Universities could be well managed and yet be poorly led. There are no statutory substitutes for the will to insist on the right standards.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
As one nation
NCP chief Sharad Pawar has rightly said national security matters should not be politicised. But do our politicians ever let go of any opportunity not to use it for their political gain? They should understand that it’s not time for politics but to act as ‘one nation’. China sees India as a major potential threat to its hegemony. So, it will always try to keep India under pressure, either through our other neighbours or by propping up its own border issues. In this situation, we should stay firm on the ground. War is never a solution and will not serve either nation any purpose, especially when both countries are also suffering due to the pandemic. But the time has come to send out a clear message that our territorial integrity is uncompromising.
K Kumar, Panchkula
Woman Chief Secretary
The move of the Punjab Government to appoint Vini Mahajan as the Chief Secretary should be commended. In view of the ongoing tough phase of Covid-19 and the recent tussle between the ministers and the previous Chief Secretary, it would have been disastrous had no such decision been taken. The move will ease the political standoff and boost social change. Punjab is often blamed for the ills arising out of its patriarchal, male-dominated society. Such appointments of women on top positions may help bring societal change in the state, which is also battling on the sex ratio front. This step will take Punjab closer to an egalitarian society. It has set an example for other states.
Jaskanwaldeep S Ahluwalia, by mail
Allow gyms to open
People who are already suffering from ill-health are more prone to coronavirus. Fitness should be everyone’s priority, and even that of the government. Gyms also play a key role in this regard. The government should open gyms to initiate the ‘fit India’ mission. Also, various households are dependent upon the income from gyms. If malls can open, why not gyms?
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Apropos of the editorial ‘Lockdown and Livelihood’ (June 27), most states are caught in a catch-22 situation. Lockdown cannot be enforced indefinitely and unlocking is increasing the rate of infections. Given the fragile condition of Indian economy, prolonged lockdown is injurious to the livelihoods of a majority of people. The unemployment rate is already touching over 23 per cent, which is an all-time high. Locking people indefinitely has another flip side of psychological stress and ailments it may cause to many. The best way to move forward is to unlock cautiously, making social distancing norms punishable with hefty fines, markets to be opened on a staggered basis and encouraging people to work from home. It has to run side by side. No further lockdowns, please.
Ashok Goswami, Mumbai
Safety and survival
Refer to ‘Lockdown and livelihood’ (June 27); though the shutdown period gave a window to equip the healthcare system with facilities to tackle the virus, the economic damages started outweighing these factors, and resulted in the opening up of commercial activities. The unabated spread of the virus indicates that the new lifestyle is here to stay for some time. A balance is to be maintained between safety in health and survival for livelihood, at least till a vaccine is available.
Piyush Kant Jain, by mail
Apropos of ‘Towards a fair world’ (June 27), mere change of words won’t help; a change of heart and mindset on the part of society is needed to overcome the attitude of overlooking inner goodness, and also to get over this deeply ingrained ‘stigma’. A good-looking person without a good heart is like a beautiful glass without a drop of water to drink. Learn to appreciate the gift given by the Almighty, as it is. Beauty comes from within.
Harshvardhan Tehri, by mail
We are all to blame
Did you tell your child what colour skin is when he/she was in kindergarten, learning to identify colours? Considering dusky, brown or black skin colour as inferior has become a part of our outlook. We don’t even acknowledge its presence any longer. Why only blame Fair and Lovely producers when we are all at fault? We waited for a George Floyd to lose his life to take up the issue of racial discrimination. We sold falsehood to our children when we said white/fair is pretty and dark is ugly.
Adopt Mumbai model
Refer to ‘The bended knee way’ (June 27); the Mumbai mohalla committee movement is a successful example of community policing and should be launched at the national level. It will not only encourage sponsored community participation but also self-initiated participation in which the community mobilises itself and safeguards one other’s rights and interests. It will bring a behavioural change in society and encourage cooperation between citizens and police, reduce crime, increase accountability and lead to effective patrolling.
Anshika Sharma, Mohali
‘Dogras and their run-ins with China’ (The Sunday Tribune, June 21) doesn’t come clear on the exploits of Gen Zorawar Singh. Details of his campaigns tell us that he was a part of the army of the Lahore Darbar styled as the Sarkar Khalsa of Ranjit Singh. The expansion of the Sikh Empire was the strategic policy of Ranjit Singh to frustrate incursions from China and the Gorkha mainland. Gulab Singh was a satrap of the Sikh Empire till he bartered Kashmir for 75 lakh after British victory in the First Anglo-Sikh War. Zorawar’s expeditions were at the behest of the Sikh Raj. The writer has erred by giving the impression that Raja Gulab Singh as a sovereign and Zorawar as his army commander acted independently of Sarkar Khalsa.
Gurpreet Singh, President, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh
Learning from history
The article ‘How Ranjit Singh kept the invaders at bay’ (June 27) is an apt piece to recall the iconic Maharaja Ranjit Singh. We should apply this approach to the present-day scenario with China. History is, after all, read to learn from the past. The government needs to deal with invaders with an iron fist. Any weakness will only embolden their imperialist designs. There is no dearth of courage in the Army but will the political class emulate the great Maharaja?
Rajiv Joshi, Chandigarh
Fought Abdali, too
The Sikh struggle against the Mughals from 1709 to 1770 cannot be ignored (‘How Ranjit Singh kept the invaders at bay’). The Sikhs fought many wars against Ahmed Shah Abdali. When Ranjit Singh came on the scene, there were 14 misls or jathas in Punjab. He was in one of the misls. Sikh Raj was the culmination of efforts of thousands of Sikhs during those 61 years.
Manmohan S Narula, 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
I am appalled by the campaign launched for the removal of Mahatma Gandhi’s statues in the UK by misguided and ill-informed few. The statues had been erected on public demand to recognise Gandhi’s immense contribution to the free world. I shudder to think what our world would have been today without Gandhi’s struggle for racial equality. To call him a racist is out of order, when he dedicated his life fighting racism, imperial rule and shaped the world as we see it today. He was not only an Indian leader but also a universal icon who inspired people across the globe with his ideals. The civil rights movement under Dr Martin Luther King was the result of Gandhi’s inspiration. The struggle against apartheid by Nelson Mandela is another example. Apart from British monarchs, no other person in history has had stamps issued to honour him as many times as Gandhi. Over 50 countries have issued postage stamps to honour him. Those who attempt to denigrate his memory are doing the same for humanity itself, and this cannot be allowed to happen.
Lord Rami Ranger CBE, by mail
Apropos of ‘Jingoism is not the answer’ (June 22), the Galwan clash has fuelled popular jingoism among the people to boycott Chinese products. But among all this hurly-burly of devious stratagem, the question that arises is whether India is really ready to initiate a trade war with China, when its own manufacturing ability is limited? Are we ready to take the hardest pinch, as prices will increase for a host of items, ranging from mobile phones, smart TVs to cars? Are we ready to make India ‘atmanirbhar’ at the cost of our luxuries? During the Non-Cooperation Movement, Indians spurned foreign goods and burnt foreign clothes, but eventually had to go back to them due to lack of alternative Indian merchandise.
Shruti Garg, Shimla
Refer to ‘For bread and butter’; India is among the countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Almost one-third of the total population has lost jobs. All sectors have declined sharply. Before this, malnutrition was rampant, especially among children, but now hunger is becoming widespread too. Millions of workers are at a risk of falling deeper into poverty. It is tough on teachers too. Cutting salaries or removing teachers will have a negative impact on student learning. It will also impact the education of millions of students.
BhavyA Chhabra, Ambala Cantt
The Galwan crisis
The most worrying factor for India is the Galwan valley intrusion, as China’s claim to the river valley can be disastrous for India. Chinese troops may use the strategic location advantage for themselves and can cause heavy harm to the Indian side. Thus there is a need to settle the issue diplomatically and strive to free the valley by any means. India must keep in mind the razor-edge editorial of the Global Times, ‘China does not want war but is also not fearful of conflict.’ At the same time, India must expedite the remaining development work in the border region at a terrific pace.
Mushtaq Ahmad Butt, Kulgam
It is unfortunate that over one hundred people died when struck by lightning in North and Northeast India. During monsoon, lightning strikes are common. People need to be made aware about this aspect and to adopt safety measures, so that loss of life can be prevented. We should not rush for shelter below trees, where lightning strike is severe. If caught in an open area, one should sit crouching down with feet together and head tucked in over the knees. Shelter in a building is the safest. Such tips should be passed on to all by the local administration, especially in rural, isolated and remote areas.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Apropos of the editorial ‘Patanjali’s dubious claim’ (June 26), the tearing hurry in which the leading ayurvedic company launched its drug, proclaiming it as a remedy for Covid-19, even without the government’s permission, is too serious an issue to be taken lightly. Riding on the crest of its popularity and cashing in on the public’s growing trust in the curative power of herbs, Patanjali sidelined the requirement for certification and started promoting it. This unethical business practice speaks volumes about the firm’s insatiable lust for pelf and popularity. Mounting litigation against Patanjali reflects people’s growing intolerance to its misleading claims and malpractices.
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Apropos of ‘Diplomatic downgrade’ (June 25), the morbid relationship has again been strained by Pakistan’s bid to implicate three Indian nationals as terror sponsors. This shows Pakistan’s frustration and desperation to grab international attention. Pakistan’s intimidation of Indian diplomats is a retaliation of its staff members being thrown out of New Delhi. India must maintain the status quo and remain firm over ‘no talks’ as long as terror continues. The current standoff with China gives Pakistan an edge to destabilise the situation. The matter must be dealt with firmly and further talks must be snapped with Pakistan as it’s a rogue nation and will keep hatching machinations against India.
Varun Tiwari, Etawah
Patanjali in dock
Refer to “U’khand to serve notice on Patanjali over ‘cure’ claim” (June 25); surprisingly, the ministry concerned was neither aware of the facts of Patanjali’s claims nor cognisant about the scientific study carried out on the formulations. All medicines and vaccines have to undergo rigorous trials and scientific validation processes. One should be wary of drugs being proclaimed as Covid cures, as it will end up doing more harm as people may avoid scientific treatment protocols and go for these so-called magic medicines. The last thing we need is people falling for unapproved drugs and becoming super spreaders. Ayurveda may carry ancient medical wisdom but its usage in the 21st century must comply with approved scientific protocols.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Does Patanjali have the necessary know-how for such research? When scientists the world over are working overtime to find a cure for coronavirus, and have not been successful so far, the claim by Ramdev to have found a ‘cure’ is absurd and questionable. We doctors are just treating patients by hit-and-trial method till a final remedy comes to our rescue. Ramdev is misguiding the general public on TV channels. The broadcasting and health ministries together must act to check this. His other medicines should also be assessed for their efficacy.
Devinder Garg, Chandigarh
Another ‘cure’ claim
Ramdev created a sensation by announcing the launching of Coronil for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. According to him, this herbal medicine offers 100% success rate. However, as per medical fraternity all over the globe, there is no specific medicine to work against the virus. In such a scenario, his claim must be taken with a pinch of salt. In the past, he has made many such claims, like cure for cancer, which turned out to be false. The Ayush Ministry is justified in asking him to stop promoting Coronil and provide more information on it to the satisfaction of the authorities concerned.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Dip in learning outcomes
Parents who have watched their children struggle with online learning are painfully aware that virtual classes are no substitute for face-to-face instruction. Even so, many of these parents worry that schools might hastily reopen without necessary precautions. If this crisis of confidence continues, millions of families could well decide to keep children at home when schools reopen. This would further harm the prospects of schoolchildren who have already lost ground because of the pandemic and who are at risk of falling irretrievably behind. By the start of the next school year, the average student could have already lost a third of his or her expected progress in reading and half in maths. It would also undermine support for public education generally and damage the possibility of economic recovery by keeping caretaking parents at home and out of the workforce.
Arush Sharma, Jalandhar
Roll back hike
Fuel prices are being hiked almost daily. Above that, the Punjab Government adds to the prices with VAT. Common people are facing an economic crisis due to the coronavirus, and the lockdown was announced without proper planning in March, so crores of people have been rendered jobless and homeless. The purchasing power of people is very low now. It also results in an increase in the prices of other commodities, which is another dilemma. It is impossible to manage meals twice a day. The government should roll back the prices.
Navjot Singh, Moga
There is hope, yet
Refer to ‘Credible Opposition lacking in the Hindi heartland’ (June 25); the need of the hour is, indeed, the Opposition picking up momentum. What is stopping the Opposition from taking a lead is not unknown to people. But it’s in the nature of democracy to give people hope, as does our history of revolt by completely new faces during the all-powerful Indira regime.
Harsimran Chaudhary, by mail
Reference to ‘Move to squeeze Chinese imports’; mentioning the ‘Country of origin’ is a great step to help people recognise the product they choose. Also, grocery shop owners or retail stores should keep locally made goods on front display or in separate, larger sections, so that every person can first choose the Indian version of any product. Also, the price of local goods should not be kept high, as people will choose other cheaper products. Either more machines or more labour employment should be ensured. Nationalising local goods and ensuring availability in remote areas should also be kept in mind. Reducing the demand for Chinese products will automatically squeeze imports and help in India’s economic rise.
Diya Arora, Bathinda
NAM has run its course
A Bill has been introduced in the US Congress to consider Tibet as an independent country, just like they did for Hong Kong. The world order has changed. Before announcing Tibet as an independent country, India must either match the economic equation with China or engage in a military pact with ASEAN or NATO. NAM has lived its life. It is time to bid it farewell.
Harpreet Sidhu, by mail
Own heft will matter
Apropos of the June 24 editorial ‘Rapport with Russia’, while it may be generally said Russia is India’s all-weather friend, it is only so during our conflicts with Pakistan. It may not be so during similar circumstances with China. In 1962, when China attacked India, I was in class X. The common refrain then was that ‘whereas Russia may be friend to India, it is brother to China’. This equation may never change. In the present circumstances, India needs to stand on its own heft. Its values-based conduct in international forums like the WHO and UNSC will win it enough support worldwide in times to come. In the meanwhile, it can depend on its hardy armed forces for a long standoff, while its Cabinet Committee on Security takes a long view and comes out with a formal National Security Policy with clear enunciation of national interest and objectives. India must remain prepared for a long haul.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
New map & equations
China has occupied vantage positions in Ladakh, from where it can view the Indian Army’s developments. The Galwan valley is one of them. ‘Slice by slice’ they are intruding into our territory. Similarly, at the behest of China, Nepal has claimed Indian territories of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh, and has changed its map unilaterally. The Indian reaction has just been in the form of a protest statement. Nepal, at the moment, is aligned with China and both enjoy a symbolic relationship. China gets passages into India and Nepal gets financial support. New alignments in the region do not bode well for India.
NEENA SANGHA, by mail
Let the Army talk
Apropos of the article ‘Spinning out of hand’, giving statements which have to be later qualified by some other statements to give a leg to the original, is not a good policy. The updates of our position at the LAC should not be politicised. Instead, a military spokesman should be given the task of updating the situation. This will be more professional and also less amenable to political reactions, and also will be more credible.
HK chaudhary, Mohali
Refer to ‘Wooing workers back’ (June 22); jobless migrants’ urge to head home was quite natural, but in their villages, there is nothing but a bleak future awaiting them. The exodus of workforce has a major impact on the labour market. The industry is feeling the pinch of labour shortage. But getting back the migrant workers will not be easy. It is important to build their trust. States that must ensure proper housing, sanitation and medical facilities, and the Centre should fast-track one nation, one ration card, and also invest in their skilling. Without these steps, the crisis will continue to fester and have a debilitating effect on the economy and lives of people. Though the hiked allocation for MGNREGS was a right step, this scheme alone would not be sufficient to employ much of the labour force.
LAL SINGH, by mail
Why scrap exams?
A group of parents and students has approached the SC to scrap CBSE, ICSE and entrance exams like NEET and JEE Mains due to the pandemic. More than 20 lakh students are studying day and night for the exams. But a section of parents want admissions on the basis of 10+2 results. In our country, it is easy to gain marks in classes X and XII exams. The government should take the view of all aspirants to scrap or postpone these exams. The exams should be conducted with proper social distancing, masks and sanitation and in maximum shifts possible.
Kamaljeet Malwa, Patiala
The dilemma over the reopening of educational institutions during the pandemic reminds me of a similar crisis at the time of the Partition, when I was in class VII. Schools were closed for summer vacation in early July, 1947, and were to reopen in September. Riots started in July and schools remained closed till the end of February, 1948. Lakhs of Muslim refugees were stationed in a huge camp adjacent to our school at Kurali. They were sent to Pakistan by trains. Schools reopened in East Punjab on March 1, 1948, and exams were held in August-September, 1948. The next session started in September and exams were held in March-April, 1949 (session of about seven months). As such, the academic session was saved. In the present situation, the authorities may consider extending the present session by a few months until the pandemic ends or subsides, and may shorten the next session accordingly.
Kuldip Singh Kabarwal, Patiala
The CBSE is likely to roll out a special marking scheme, scrapping class XII board exams, as a one-time measure in view of the pandemic. Evaluating pupils on the basis of internal assessment is not desirable. Students often don’t perform up to their full potential in internal exams, having a mindset to exhibit their best in career-deciding board exams only. The principle of natural justice should be adhered to. A new equitable scheme needs to be devised to test their potential and knowledge, and not a disadvantageous scheme depriving anyone of the best possible opportunities.
Kalyani Tehri, Tohana
We will lose more
Some pseudo-nationalists are raising a demand for banning Chinese goods. By banning goods in India, we have to face reciprocity of the same policy. Our exports to China account for 13 per cent of the total exports and their exports to India are merely 3 per cent. So, India will suffer more by banning products.
Navpreet Singh, by mail
Hike at our expense
The prices of petrol and diesel are increasing daily, just to earn revenue, with no regard to the economic condition of the common man, already battered by the pandemic. How much profit shall be earned at the cost of the common man? Is the government allowing the oil companies to make good the losses of the lockdown from the public? The price rise is totally unjustified as the crude prices are falling globally. What are the opposition parties and various unions doing? They need to take effective action to stop this open loot.
SS Bhathal, Ludhiana
Dealing with China
China has a habit of poking. There is a saying in China to put problematic issues on the backburner and discuss trade. Running the country is a serious issue. Such hiccups can be costly for our economy. Foreign policy runs on mutual understanding. Muscle power backfires. Confidence is good, but overconfidence is bad. Chinese products are cheaper; mere boycott won’t help us. War is no solution.
Discussions bring about healthy results. Dreaming big is good, but daydreaming won’t help.
Jasvinder S Humsafar, Maloudh
Sovereignty not negotiable
Refer to ‘Gathering support’ (June 22); the government must utilise all resources to end the border dispute with China, without compromising the country’s dignity and sovereignty. We must mobilise our economic, diplomatic and military resources to put pressure on China. The bravery shown by our soldiers is testimony to the fact that the capabilities of our Army are second to none, and if the situation arises, they are capable of giving a bloody nose to the aggressor. Military leadership needs sound political will and trust of the government for success in the battlefield.
SK Sharma, Panipat
Diplomacy is the key
Apropos of the article ‘India needs to be firm in face of Chinese threat’ (June 23), India should take into consideration that Chinese companies have penetrated deep into our telecommunication sector. In a war, it would help China to block our defence network which depends on telecommunications. But India would get the support of Japan and the US. We should think about defeating China diplomatically, as war is the last recourse.
Jashan goyal, Bathinda
Goel didn’t get his due
It was shocking to learn that cricketer Rajinder Goel has left for his heavenly abode. Although he was a good bowler of his time, and more talented than Bishan Singh Bedi, luck favoured Bedi. Once there was a golden chance when Bedi was dropped, but again Goel was not picked for the Test team. He took 637 wickets in the Ranji Trophy. But he had no grudge with any player for not being chosen in India’s playing XI. May his soul rest in peace.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
THE PM’s ‘no occupation, no intrusion’ remark has caused a kind of political storm. It has given room to numerous interpretations and valid questions. The government wants to brush under the carpet its inept handling of the issue. China is India’s long-term chief rival and showing any kind of warmth in ties creates hindrance in unequivocal perception of our already deep-in-dark relationship. India needs to tread cautiously as the situation is precarious at the LAC. We need to clarify whether we are capable of marching ahead without economic ties with Beijing.
Kapil Sharma, by mail
Must rely on ourselves
We will have to start manufacturing good quality goods with minimum cost ourselves. We have helped build the Chinese economy, now we will be supporting another country’s economy by boycotting China, and in the coming times, this new country will become China for us. There will be no end to our woes this way.
Arunjit S Kaku Butalia, Ferozepur
With the ongoing clamour for boycotting Chinese goods, it becomes imperative that to achieve such a gigantic objective, when Chinese products are in the bloodline of every supply chain across the world, our own industry, with a firm backup from the government — both in terms of policies and finance — should pull up its socks to manufacture, promote and support our local brands. Every household must use indigenous products, which would be a befitting tribute to our martyred soldiers.
Charit Vohra, Patiala
Is boycott viable?
The government recently announced big-bang institutional reforms under Atmanirbhar Bharat to revive economic activity affected by the pandemic, which may now go hand in hand with the idea of boycotting Chinese goods. But as is evident from China’s evenness in the global market, and India’s low quantum, it looks like a distant dream. China dominates the Indian market. A flimsy ban on imports will harm our small-scale businesses and will make them battle even more in the current circumstances. Giving up on small goods by the common masses won’t make a difference until the big players omit China’s centrality and upgrade India’s agility to produce finished goods. Furthermore, we need a more socialistic approach from the Centre to cope with the pandemic and the China dispute simultaneously than locking horns at a global capitalist level.
Refer to ‘Diesel price hits record high after rates hiked for 15th day in a row; petrol up 35 paise;’ this is not price increase but fleecing of citizens. The continuous increase in the price of petrol and diesel is not the right way to stimulate a flagging economy. Gone are the days when fuel or personal transport was considered superfluous. Most people have some form of personal transport, and with the virus rampant, many are opting out of the limited public transport that is available. The automobile sector is stressed and the fuel price increase will only add to its woes, and job losses. In view of the cascading effect on all items due to an increase in the prices of fuel, the government should roll back the hike immediately.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
Defusing the crisis
Since there are conflicting statements of PM Modi on the LAC incident, the Government of India should come out with an authoritative statement as to what actually happened. At the same time, it is imperative that both India and China immediately initiate talks at political and diplomatic levels to defuse the current tensions, and advance the process of disengagement on the basis of the agreed understanding on maintaining peace on the border. War is not a solution.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Prove its mettle
Apropos of ‘Crises of India’s own making’ (June 20), the internal and external threats have not been viewed seriously by the government. The BJP has been more and more interested in power and politics. And accordingly, it has been reshaping foreign policy objectives, which have now proved fatal and counterproductive. India’s provocative concern for the PoK and Aksai Chin, and its increasing proximity with the US have been taken very seriously by China. The plight of our workers during the lockdown has exposed the weakness of the nation and its people. The enemy has seized the opportunity and inflicted another pain. All gains attained by the BJP seem to have been nullified by China and Nepal. The BJP should not undermine the Congress. It should use its experience in national and foreign affairs. Indira Gandhi had succeeded in securing frontiers and balancing national interest between the superpowers.
NIRMAL KUMAR, PANCHKULA
The government must understand that geopolitics doesn’t run through rhetoric. ‘Neighbourhood first’ policy has failed, as we have seen the worst relations with all neighbours in the past six years (‘Crises of India’s own making’; Nous Indica, June 20). Nothing came of ‘Act East’ policy, too. In fact, we have withdrawn from the RCEP, disappointing nations that are a part of ASEAN. It is time to act rather than use cosmetic words to entertain domestic audience for political ends. Else we will burden our future generations with a pile of problems.
Arjun Sharma, Bathinda
Whom to believe?
Reference to ‘Crises of India’s own making’; whom should we believe, when the PM says there has been no intrusion? Politicians are all the same, as they ‘promise to build a bridge even where there is no river’. We had close ties with Nepal because of geographic, historic, cultural and ethnic proximity, but now it is an emerging adversary. For Nepal, China has spread a red carpet and the common ground is political ideology.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Folktale says it all
Apropos of the boldly penned article ‘Crises of India’s own making’ (June 20); there is a Punjabi folktale that describes our confused leadership's current situation: A jackal fell into a deep pit and could not come out of it despite many hard attempts. Hoping to get help the next morning from his kin, he slept in that pit only. Next morning, his mates saw him and asked why he was sleeping there. ‘I lost my way home, and made this pit my new home!’ he replied sheepishly!
Balvinder, by mail
What’s the truth?
Apropos of ‘Taking on China’ (June 20), when the western media exploded with the news of Indian soldiers taken as ‘captives’, the government and Army denied it. What a shock after three days that the government announces their safe return. The nation was not informed and the government played a game. Now when the PM says that not an inch has been acceded to China, what should we believe? Why were the facts downplayed? As citizens, we have a right to know what is going on. Our brave soldiers could have been disowned or forgotten like many still rotting in Pakistani jails.
Ashok Goswami, Mumbai
Come clean on clash
Refer to ‘No intrusions, no post under occupation: PM’ (June 20); if there was no intrusion, what led to the clash? While Sonia Gandhi wanted to know too much, Modi revealed too little. Has the post set up by the Chinese in our territory, which caused the clash, been removed and have the Chinese troops withdrawn? Ten of our men were captured by the Chinese and released, but the Army kept saying all soldiers were accounted for. Giving no information, due to security reasons, is understandable, but dishing out misinformation is unfortunate. Was the release of our soldiers unconditional, or involved some give and take? The government should come clean. People should not be kept in the dark.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD) JALANDHAR
In ‘It is psychological warfare’ (June 19), the writer says that the Chinese army intruded into multiple areas across the LAC in Ladakh region in early May and occupied certain areas that India treats as its territory. But the PM claims that China never intruded into Indian territory. This statement is at variance with the observations of the writer. It also implies that the bloody duel took place inside Chinese territory. Also, if the PLA did not enter our territory, what is the bone of contention for which meetings between the Generals of the two armies were held on June 5 and 6? And what about the construction of the DOB road that China is preventing? These vexing questions need urgent answers.
RN Malik, Gurugram
No to Chinese goods
People are responding to the India-China tensions by making a call to boycott Chinese goods. These goods are not being forced into the Indian market, but these have almost captured the market because these are in high demand due to low cost. We are not as determined as the Japanese who don’t buy foreign goods in general, and American in particular, after WW-II.
SS Verma, Longowal
The editorial ‘Phone seizure in jails' should be an eye-opener. If some robbery or theft takes place, it can be deduced that either the concerned police is not aware of the doers or it has happened in connivance with them. Whatever may be the situation, we need to introspect. The tightening of security and making it foolproof is the need of the hour. CCTVs, jammers and sniffer dogs will go a long way in putting the system in order. Those inside jails should not consider it a safe haven to do whatever they like.
RC Garg, KotKapura
Refer to the editorial ‘Too little, too late’ (June 19); lack of real action to safeguard the interests of the bravehearts guarding our frontiers is being sought to be covered up by rhetoric or sloganeering. Blame Nehru for 1962 but how could you overlook China’s aggressive designs so often on exhibition at the LAC? How come that the Railways and BSNL, to name a few, have given contracts to Chinese companies and a private telecom company is allowed to use Chinese hardware? Is it not an invite to China for espionage, sabotage or hacking data, given the notoriety of China's hackers? Do the slogans of a self-reliant India or of boycotting Chinese goods carry any meaning
in this backdrop?
HL Sharma, Amritsar
‘Too little, too late’ (June 19) rightly portrays the dilemma of the government under the circumstances. Let us admit that as things stand today, military intervention is neither advisable nor possible. Shouting oneself hoarse to boycott Chinese goods is not going to pay rich dividends. Chinese goods and technology have penetrated every product and project.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Refer to the article ‘Step up manufacturing to meet Chinese challenge’; it is a long battle to overtake China in the global market. Our markets are stocked with Chinese products, either as a whole or as assembled part, which have no Indian substitute at all. Even if they are removed from the markets, the customer can order it online. We need to build better substitutes for these products. For this, we need to improve our work culture, stop brain drain and infuse confidence among the working class by paying them well. We have the best doctors, engineers and scientists in the world. Unfortunately, they are serving other developed nations, due to lack of opportunities in India. If they could find growth here, they would definitely serve here. Our English-speaking skills give us an edge over China in the global labour market. We need to prepare ourselves fully before boycotting Chinese goods.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Don’t postpone NEET
I request NEET organisers not to postpone the exam as students are already burnt out studying for more than two years now at a stretch. More postponement will lead to further problems for them. We don't want stress to cause depression and other problems. Being a doctor, I feel Covid is not going to end in the near future, so exams should go on, taking all precautions like wearing of masks, using sanitisers and observing social distancing. It’s good that the number of centres is being sought to be doubled to maintain social distancing.
Amit Singla, Sangrur
Apropos of the editorial ‘Life-saving steroid’ (June 18), the simple administration of the readily available drug, dexamethasone, to cut down the potential risk of Covid death, has comforted humanity. The successful trial has strengthened hope, as now the discovery of a potential cure doesn’t seem insurmountable, but only an uphill task. Necessary stipulations should be passed by the authorities to start using this drug, as and when appropriate.
Kalyani Tehri, New Delhi
Give only ‘active’ number
The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is multidimensional. One of them is emotional. Many people are overwhelmed by the growing number of Covid patients and the death toll. Projecting only the current active cases and deaths, and not the total cases by the government in the media, will go a long way in reassuring the people and enabling them to fight and live with corona.
Raj Kumar Aggarwal, Kotkapura
The Punjab government has declared that patients with no sign or mild corona symptoms don’t need to be admitted to hospitals; rather they be allowed to put in isolation in their houses. In practice, the local administration compels those returning to their hometown to observe quarantine in hotels, at their own expenditure. One can’t be looked after with the kind of care which is available at home.
Puneet Mehta, Patiala
Old age & happiness
Refer to the middle ‘Don’t let age creep up on you’ (June 10); old age is an age of ill, pill and bill. It is said those who deeply love, never grow old. They die of years but they die young. I am almost 81 years, and firmly believe that positive thinking and happiness are imperative to lead a purposeful life. Everyone is gifted, but some people never open their package. If you want to be loved, be loveable.
DV Joshi, Zirakpur
Apropos of the editorial ‘Resolute response’ (June 18), the signs are evident. Beijing is turning up the heat on most of its neighbours, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan, even as it revoked Hong Kong’s autonomy. Beijing is in a race to establish itself as the undisputed leader of Asia through a display of brute power. In this situation, New Delhi must take stock of this new reality and frame a response accordingly. The ball is now in China’s court. If India joins the camp of those interested in a rules-based international order, it will be Beijing’s loss.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Delayed plan of action
India’s political masters who have always been sluggish in taking decisions, especially against China, took too much time to decide their move against intrusion in the Hot Spring area. Delayed political decision led to this unprecedented scuffle, resulting in fatalities. Even though Chinese territorial claims do not stand any documented testimony, their expansionist policy stays on course. They are using the same tactics of intruding deep into the Indian territory, and retreating marginally after the talks. We have no option but to use the same tactics at places where our Army holds dominant positions.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), Patiala
Send strong signal
Refer to ‘India must stick to its guns’ (June 18); China must be taught a lesson by strengthening military deployment. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families whose loved ones were martyred at the LAC. China has tried in vain to divert the international community, for it has already been condemned for spreading the novel coronavirus throughout the world. China should be taught a tough lesson. Boycotting Chinese goods, uninstalling Chinese apps and reducing imports will send a strong signal to that country.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
Reference to ‘Ensure timely salary to docs: SC’ (June 18); it is indicative of a sorry state of affairs if the apex court has to issue directions to the government for timely payment of salaries to the doctors and healthcare workers fighting Covid-19. The SC has other important duties such as interpretation of the Constitution which involves national interest. Timely payment of salaries is an important issue, but it does not involve any constitutional interpretation. Such matters should be decided at the executive level, on a priority basis, so that the SC does not waste its time on issues like salaries. The executive is competent and efficient enough to recognise the urgency of the matter. Can a person with a disturbed mind do justice to his duties?
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Conduct JEE Mains
JEE Mains are conducted in January and April every year. IIT admissions are through JEE Advance, rescheduled to August 23. But the HRD Ministry is thinking of postponing JEE Mains again as some states and parents want it put off due to Covid. This year, over 9 lakh candidates have enrolled for this test. The government has already unlocked all services like trains, flights, buses, malls and offices. Why is it hesitating to conduct the exam? Moreover, AIIMS recently conducted PG admissions test on June 11, for which nearly 2 lakh candidates had appeared. If the exam is postponed, it would mean the risk of losing a year.
Kamaljeet Malwa, Patiala
Another fuel price hike
Apropos of the editorial ‘At public expense’ (June 17), coronavirus is depriving millions of people of jobs and livelihoods. The economy has plummeted like never before. The government is also taking money out of people’s hands by imposing excise duty on prices of fuel on an almost daily basis. Retail prices of petrol and diesel have reached an all-time high with windfall gains to the government. Citizens do not get the benefit of unprecedented low oil prices worldwide. Considering the cascading effect on all items due to an increase in the price of fuel, the government should roll back the hike immediately.
SS Paul, Nadia
Hike jewellery tax
Why is that governments do not think of other avenues for increasing revenue except for raising petrol and diesel prices? On top of that, petrol, used by common people for two-wheelers is more expensive than diesel. Luxury items like gold, platinum and diamond are taxed at the rate of only 3%. Jewellery-making charges are taxed at the rate of 5%. Why can’t they be taxed at least 12% and taxes on petroleum products be reduced proportionately?
Gurinder Singh Sethi, by mail
The tragic death of our 20 men at the LAC is indicative of the failure of command and communication at all levels. At the top political level, the PM chose to remain silent and the Defence Minister used soft words. Chinese appreciated their ‘strategic silence’ and ‘choice of words’. Diplomatic corps under External Affairs Minister Jaishankar did not share with military commanders the complete details of interactions with their Chinese counterparts. Jaishankar is lonely at the top. There is no one in the Cabinet with the necessary security heft to advise him. It is a general practice for troops in contact to keep on improving their defensive positions by occupying areas which offer them tactical advantage. No clear orders seem to have been issued to them in this regard. CDS has only disrupted the military command for the worse at the top. It is indeed ludicrous to see him displaying Army No. 1 on his star plate. It is General Naravane who is No. 1 in the Army. Participative decision-making at the top and unequivocal communications of orders down the chain of command are the need of the hour.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
Condemn China globally
It is high time that our top brass came up with a strategy to end the LAC logjam. Dialogue is the only solution: we have witnessed it during the 2017 Doklam standoff. It takes huge resources, will power and hard work before a soldier comes into being. Their sacrifices can never be paid back. China has always put dialogue as second priority. It should be condemned globally for this and all countries must come together to defuse tensions.
DEEPINDER KAUR, PATIALA
Rising fuel prices
Apropos of the editorial ‘At public expense’ (June 17), what an irony that as crude oil prices are at a historic low in the international market, the petrol and diesel prices have been hiked consecutively for 11 days, touching the highest level in over a year. The moment crude oil prices surge, the same are immediately implemented in India. But now, when the prices have gone down drastically, this benefit is not being given to the consumers who are already physically, mentally and financially affected due to Covid-19. Why these double standards? The government should think of the welfare of the masses also.
NK Gosain, Bathinda
If in this emergency, the CBSE, CISCE or state boards cannot cancel exams suo motu, there is something wrong with our education and exam system (‘Looking beyond exams’). Class X and XII students are fighting a mental battle regarding an uncertain future created by the government. Courts are taking too long to decide the petition filed by parents and organisations. At this juncture, the PMO or HRD Ministry should step in and take a decision in the best interests of the students. Students are mentally fatigued, anxious, stressed, and their parents, too.
Vikramjit Singh Gill, Muktsar
Strengthen rural economy
Reference to the June 16 article ‘Lessons for Yogi from Gandhi and Lee’; Yogi’s wishful utterances amid Covid blues that he does not want UP residents to migrate in future may turn out to be a mirage for the migrant labour back home. UP’s growth has been less than the national GDP numbers. Its people’s aspirations for economic freedom are yet to be fulfilled as the politics of Babri Masjid and Ram Mandir have put development issues on the backburner for years together. The sordid politics of power could never appreciate the strength of Gandhian economic philosophy which visualised development of villages as a unit. The immediate need of the hour is to plan for strengthening rural economy by engaging the employable ones in intensive and allied agricultural activities. Formation of workers’ and small farmers’ cooperatives with support from the state government can replicate the model of Amul Dairy not only in UP, but also in other states.
Brij B Goyal, Ludhiana
Picture says it all
Refer to ‘When a picture is worth a thousand woes’ (June 17); the emotive response the pictures generate denotes our collective concern, distress, agony, anger, fear or expectations in life. Sometimes these pictures of people or of events become catalysts for large movements, bringing about a social, political or economic change. Writers also get inspired to depict and generalise the sufferings or woes of humanity through an individual’s predicaments.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
This refers to the editorial ‘Pushed to the edge’ (June 16). We live in a virtual world where many friends connect with us through social media. If any person goes into depression, or experiences anxiety or fear, the responses of family and friends are not supported. They fail to understand the problems faced by that person. Counselling and mental health facilities in the country are not adequate. Suicide is an extreme step and a sign that we are living in a world where we are incapable of sharing our problems freely with a close friend. It’s important for the family, too, to detect signs of depression among a member and seek professional help. Mental support and encouragement might save many lives.
Amit S Kushwaha, Satna (MP)
A large number of people are resorting to suicide without thinking about the fate of their near and dear ones. Every individual faces some kind of a challenge. What people will say, is another factor. I read a line in today’s paper that ‘when luck smiles, we meet good people’ (middle ‘A library that opened new world’). Every day meeting good people is also not in our hands, we must live with trying situations and people. So it is advisable to speak up. If suicide crosses the mind, one must meet friends and family for support.
PARVEEN KUMAR, PATIALA
Kalapani is the trijunction meeting point of India, Tibet and Nepal borders, and its Lipulekh Pass is an important vantage point for India to keep an eye on Chinese movements due to the height. Having settled for a deceptive truce in the recent Ladakh skirmish, China is keen to keep issues hot here, as the ownership of this region has been fluid for years. This time it has perhaps tried to underscore that its communist ties with Nepal have better leverage than our Hindutva ties. Our economic blockade imposed on Nepal in 2015 ill-suited a friendly neighbour.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
On the other hand...
We’ve witnessed a deluge of applications and protest of parents against private schools and to do away with examinations (‘Looking beyond exams’, June 16). The philosophy looks assuaging when the belly is full. The current time is not for any reformation, but it’s about survival. It is also a matter of the livelihood of teachers, who are suffering in this situation. Poor Internet access in remote areas is the failure of Modi’s Digital India. Financial assistance must be provided to students for digital devices, as this is the best method available to us. The worst-hit sector is education, as it can prove to be a hotspot. Talking about the stress level of students, if we won’t engage them in academic activities, they will have enough spare time to indulge in meaningless activities like PUBG and Facebook.
Varun Tiwari, Etawah
India is facing very hard times. Religious organisations should come forward and contribute generously to fight against the pandemic. The large donations made to religious organisations should be used to set up new hospitals, make ventilators and procure medicines. Moreover, this ‘revenue’ can help people who are badly affected by this situation in terms of food and shelter.
Raghav Singla, by mail
The Punjab and Haryana HC has slammed the use of malicious words against an African national by some Punjab Police personnel. Along with a strongly worded warning, the court also implied how such nationals must be referred to. Unfortunately, cases of racial abuse are growing globally. Recently, cricketer Daren Sammy’s claim that he was called ‘kalu’ by spectators and some cricketers has not gone down well in the light of Incredible India’s ad ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’. In our dialect, words like ‘chitta’ and ‘gore’ are commonly used. A Punjabi celebrity in her post described the lifestyle of elderly foreigners in impressive English. But the use of the rustic word ‘gore’ in the very first sentence was in bad taste. We should avoid using such words.
Sqn Leader KK Sharma (Retd), Nangal
Dhelas & damris
Reference to the middle ‘Mind-boggling annas and pice’ (June 13); a yard has 36 inches and the old paisa had 2 dhelas. A dhela had 3 pice and a pice had 8 damris (kodis), which ceased to circulate after the Partition. The conversion to the metric system was adopted in 1957. At that time, I was in college and would commute daily from Kapurthala to Jalandhar by bus. I would often witness passengers quarrelling with the bus conductor over the balance of 9 annas in naya paisa.
Karan J Kumar, Panchkula
While facts are still grey about what made Sushant Singh Rajput end his life, depression seems to be the reason. If depression was the killer, it shows how important it is for society to have a conversation about mental health. We must let go of the stigma attached to the health of our minds. We all wear big smiles to show the world how happy we are, all the while isolating ourselves. And the descent into depression continues. We have all been there at some point in our lives. Don’t bottle up feelings. Share your stories on social media. Try therapy. Sometimes just speaking to someone who will let you process your emotions, without passing any judgement, is exactly what the doctor would order. If you take your own mask off and start to show your true face: happy, sad or miserable, the chances are your example will inspire others to do the same. And hopefully, we would get rid of the shame attached to mental health issues.
Angad B Sodhi, by mail
Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide has left everyone shocked and wondering what goes wrong with such visibly perfect lives. Why does one have the need to look perfect? The reasons are many factors like genetic makeup, environmental programming, early childhood experiences and personality disorders. Also it is not always about being weak. Clinical depression is as serious a killer as cancer. It is wrong to call it an act of cowardice because it is beyond a person’s control. We do not know what were his reasons, and whether it was even depression. But we know that suicide is not a one-day happening. It is a slow process that forces a person to take such a step. We need to be more aware, sensitive and vigilant towards signs around us and reach out to those who are actually beyond the capability of even seeking help.
Sonie Sidhu, via mail
Delhi turning into ‘corona capital’ is shocking. On the one hand, Arvind Kejriwal claims the readiness of a large number of beds for patients, and on the other, there is mismanagement by the Delhi Government. Only beds won’t do. Where are the required doctors, nurses and the other staff? The lethargy in filling vacancies of medical staff is the biggest drawback in such situations. Even bodies being shoved here and there is a sad commentary on the working of the authorities. CM Kejriwal threatening the overburdened doctors is another minus point in his working style. All must join hands. Non–corona patients are suffering because no one is attending to them. This is inhuman. Hospitals must attend to every patient.
Devinder Garg, Chandigarh
It is ironic that the public in Delhi enjoys egregious freebies and the doctors and health workers, on a tightrope, go without salaries (‘For the doctors’, June 15). When corona numbers in Delhi are exponentially rising, the government, Centre or state cannot afford to look the other way. It is vital to focus on PPE kits, safety, salary or even strategies to keep them de-stressed in these hard times. SC’s intervention is laudable.
Sylvia Malik, Jind
Check on pvt hospitals
The coronavirus disease is spreading across the country at a rapid pace. The shortage of vital equipment like PPEs to protect healthcare staff from catching infection is a matter of grave concern. Among all this chaos, private hospitals are taking advantage — overcharging patients and refusing admission and treatment. The government must ensure that private hospitals fall in line.
Karishma Meena, Chandigarh
Easy for liquor buyers
The Punjab Government has put restrictions on the movement of the public on Sundays and public holidays, but liquor vends are open even after 8 pm on Sundays. The police question people who are out for urgent work or are visiting religious places. But people going to purchase liquor are moving about freely. It means one can give the excuse of buying liquor to venture out. Those who need liquor can purchase the stock well in advance. The government should reconsider its orders regarding the opening of liquor vends.
Sukhdev Singh Minhas, Mohali
The locust menace has spread over a wide area of western and central states of India in the midst of the pandemic. Locusts can migrate over large distances, and being a voracious feeder, can destroy a large crop area in seconds. In response to environmental stimuli, they can form dense swarms. The livelihood of one-tenth of the world’s population can be destroyed by it. As rain is conducive for their survival, locusts migrate to India at the onset of the monsoon, and are able to fly up to 150 km daily. Farmers must be given remuneration as crops will be facing dangers of attack.
Amarjit Tanda, Sydney
Punjab has done well to impose a weekend lockdown to check the community spread of Covid-19. The police are already performing their duty well and are risking their lives to check the uncalled mobility of citizens. It is equally important for the people to be responsible and comply. The state has also made it easier for people to obtain e-passes in case movement is required.
Harpreet Sandhu, Ludhiana
Even in not-so-big cities like Amritsar, Covid-19 is spreading drastically. But it’s not possible for all to stay at home, as they have to go out to buy essentials. This is causing crowds to gather. To check this, different parts of a city should be allowed to go out on different days. The same for shops. Shops selling non-essential items should only be allowed to open twice a week. An ambulance and a PCR should be provided at every colony.
Sehtejpal S Khehra, Amritsar
Who is responsible?
Apropos of ‘Man with asthma left to die on road’ (June 13); who is responsible for this death? The ambulance staff refused to ferry him to the hospital as they were without PPE kits. In a similar case, in Punjab, a suspected Covid patient refused to board the ambulance as it was dirty. Was any responsibility fixed? If such is the sorry state of ambulances, which lack essential equipment, it speaks volumes of our healthcare system’s preparedness to fight the virus.
Ashok Kumar, Jalandhar
Apropos of ‘Holding exams risky’ (June 13), corona’s unbridled spiral should be a signal enough to extend the date of closure of schools till the situation normalises. The government, bearing the direct responsibility of looking after the education of poor children, should make a bold endeavour to shift its strategy from offering freeships in cash to procuring smartphones for all such children in order to digitalise education faster. Teachers should also be given training to equip them with digitalising the curriculum. The aim should be to bring the government schools to the level of private schools, if not better.
S Kumar, Panchkula
Pressure of exams
Many states have announced to promote the students on the basis of their internal assessment and their previous year’s results. But there are still some states where practical or written exams are given priority and not the internals and assignments of the students, who are now facing difficulties. Some way should be found out so as to be able to resolve the problem.
Priyanka Verma, Mohali
Choices, right & wrong
Refer to ‘Let’s enable students to make the right choices’ (June 13); as a student of class XII, I could relate to the article. If a student is helped to find his real self at an early age, he/she would make the right choices as per interests and would not be influenced by anyone. But this self-realisation is inculcated by a parent, and then, a teacher, who implants the first seed to assist us in distinguishing between right and wrong. Then the role of the student starts. At this stage, self-realisation helps to break this dilemma.
Jashan Goyal, Bathinda
River pollution, again
Business activities were closed due to the lockdown, and the sky was blue and our rivers were clear, since the spectre of pollution was removed. Now, commercial activities have resumed and effluents from factories are flowing into the rivers. Thousands of fish died due to effluents from Himachal factories flowing into the Sirsa river. This has been going on for the past 20 years, but has been ignored by the governments. The licence of such factories should be cancelled and strict action taken.
Nikita Sharma, by mail
The editorial on NIRF rankings (June 13) rightly pleads for a qualitative uplift for the educational and research institutions of the region. The stature of the PGIMER is a result of that vision. Only two factors are responsible for excellence at the institutional level. On is the selection of competent specialists and second is not compromising with merit during recruitment. These factors have largely been adhered to in the case of the PGI and results are there to see.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Read to write
Refer to the middle ‘In bleak times, reach for a book’; during the lockdown, I was worried about how to utilise my free time. It had been long since I had read a book. I managed to read five books in a fortnight. It does help you to explore the imagination of the author, and also teaches you to enhance your writing skills.
Jagampal Singh, Patiala
Apropos of the editorial ‘Negligent hospitals’ (June 12), healthcare services in most states are in bad shape. Patients are dying and bodies have been lying for days on beds. It is a pitiable situation. Even the doctors, who are called ‘frontline warriors’, are not paid salaries for months. Broken healthcare services cannot be mended immediately, but an effort in that direction must begin in right earnest. The lockdown has exposed the state governments who have done nothing to fix the healthcare system and only hoped that cases would subside on their own. It is time to fix the healthcare system and make government hospitals as good as private hospitals, but affordable.
Ashok Goswami, by mail
Testing by pvt labs
The government must give approval for testing only to laboratories with credibility. Five patients tested ‘positive’ for Covid-19 in the private laboratories of Amritsar, but were later declared negative by the laboratory of the Government Medical College, Amritsar. This is a sensitive and serious issue and puts a big question mark on the functioning of our health system. If reporting by private laboratories is false, the government must take stringent measures, including cancellation of licence. At the same time, the government must ensure the credibility of its own laboratories, since test reporting is the main basis for treatment.
Surinder Singla, Sangrur
Bihar stands betrayed
Reference to ‘Which way Bihar will go’ (June 12); it is unfortunate that the BJP has spent crores of rupees on the ‘virtual rally’ for Bihar, but not for the poor who are struggling due to the Covid-19, lockdown, unemployment and a falling economy which proves that the BJP is only interested in power and is not bothered about the state and its people. Bihar, under JD (U)-BJP rule, has become bankrupt and backward in all spheres. The people of Bihar have been betrayed.
Bhagwan Thadani, via mail
Edge over China
Refer to ‘Taking China head-on’ (June 11); China today is at the receiving end of a global backlash over Covid-19. As far as Indo-China relations are concerned, the latter is stuck in 1962 and cannot see that India has come a long way. In the current standoff, India enjoys a distinct advantage over China and must hold its ground. China cannot jeopardise trade with India by escalating the conflict. Due to our vibrant democracy, we are perceived to be a better brand than China. The key is to use these strategic advantages tactfully and tame the Dragon without bullets being fired.
SK Prabhakar, Gurugram
The return of labour
The Supreme Court’s observations and directive to the Centre and the states to mitigate the woes of labourers has exposed our political and administrative system in the face of the pandemic. Even as labourers are leaving for their home, voices from industrial associations as well as farmer leaders have started arising to call them back via special trains. But, it is easier said than done, both for the administration as well as the migrant families. The migrants faced quarantine when they reached home and are forced to quarantine again on their return. All workers should be registered for their skills and area of employment and an accurate data bank of migrant labour must be consolidated for any fruitful implementation of measures.
Brij B Goyal, Ludhiana
Assam oil disaster
The massive inferno at the Baghjan oil well in Assam’s Tinsukia district has unfortunately claimed the lives of two firefighters. Although around 1,600 families were evacuated, the fire has caused massive damage to biodiversity. The Maguri-Motapung wetland, an important bird and biodiversity area, is just 500 metres away from the damaged oil well, while the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is 800 metres from the site. Given the interconnectedness of the natural world, we need to lay greater emphasis on the ecological impact of human activities. This means transparent assessment of environmental impact with built-in provisions for compensation in case of accidents. An example needs to be set by holding Oil India accountable for damage to biodiversity.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
Baba Farid University, through its affiliated institutes, is resuming BDS classes from June 16. This could be dangerous as the students belong to other states as well and some have been declared as red zones. The safety of the students should be a primary concern. And what about the plans of hosting classes like Do ghaz ki doori? If anything happens, the university or the institute will be responsible for it.
Devinder Sehmi, by mail
Reference to the editorial ‘Ties with Nepal’ (June 11); it’s definitely a litmus test for Indian diplomacy how they handle Nepal now. With constitutional amendment all set to be passed since opposition too had supported this Bill, a permanent wedge between the two nations shall be created. To that extent, China has succeeded in dividing the attention of India from development and growth. India must rue the folly of 1950, when the then PM of Nepal Koirala proposed Nepal to be merged with India, but our then PM did not approve, believing that it may attract the tag of ‘expansionist’ to India. Nepal, which shares borders with China, may prove to be a thorn in India’s skin. India seems to have lost a strategic ally and a friendly nation to its policy of aloofness.
Bholey Bhardwaj, by mail
Focus on improving ties
Apropos the editorial ‘Ties with Nepal’ (June 11), we should focus on ties with Nepal, and not the complexities. Nepal being a landlocked country is dependent on India for its economic progress, as it accesses our ports and highways for all its needs, and hence, the importance of India for Nepal. However, the internal strife in the Nepal government would die down over a period of time, which is the root cause of its protests against India. But any adventurism by India at this stage, could lead to trouble with China, especially with its increased footprints in Nepal and its isolation in the G7 (G11) league of nations.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
There is no denying the fact that the tussle between India and Nepal on the boundary issue is a matter of serious concern. The approval of a constitution amendment Bill by Nepal’s House of Representatives to change its country’s political map should be addressed seriously by India. At a time when our country is having confrontation with China on the LAC, it seems that Nepal has deliberately raised the dispute.
Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal
Poor show at hospital
The state of Covid patients at LNJP Hospital in Delhi is shocking, demanding immediate action by the government. Minute-by-minute coverage of inaccessible patients should be made visible through CCTV cameras to waiting relatives to keep them apprised of their condition so that they can act to save the life of their near and dear ones by other means available to them, if they are unsatisfied. The medical staff found guilty should be brought to book. If the hospital is not able to rectify its basic flaws, it would be better to hand over the patients back to their family rather than let them die. If this is not stopped immediately, the trust of the public will be lost and they may be forced to take some violent action.
Rajinder Narula, by mail
Won’t benefit farmers
Apropos the article ‘Stimulus for the rich, begging bowl for the farmers’, it is an unfortunate decision by the government to amend the Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act and Essential Commodities Act to make procurement more privatised. More than half the population directly depends upon agriculture for survival. Further, more than 90% of farmers belong to the small and marginal category, having less than two hectares of land. Privatisation leads to profiteering. Our nation cannot afford such ill-conceived moves. Appropriate safeguards must be in place to protect farmers. It is an established fact that corporate giants always influence government policies to increase their clout over the market. They violate policies even in developed nations having an aware citizenry. Litigation against IT giant Google for violation of privacy norms in the US is a latest example. Can an Indian farmer survive in a market controlled by big corporates? Geographical, demographic and social realities of India are different from other nations. Distress sales are prevalent in states like Bihar. Government took a retrograde step towards free economy, ostensibly to help farmers in distressing times. Ground realities need to be considered before implementation, otherwise it may backfire.
AMRINDER SINGH MANN, SANGRUR
CM window online
During the lockdown, one could not visit any government office, not even the CM complaint window located inside the office complex of the DC, Panchkula. Nor could one access the CM through the Internet. I logged on to the site ‘haryanacm.gov.in’ and clicked the icon ‘suggestions/feedback’. A window opened where I was asked to fill the details and type the suggestion in the ‘comment box’. When I pressed the ‘send’ button, the message flashed that the server could not be found. What does this mean? Simply that the system is non-functional. I tried it even after the lockdown, but with the same result. What kind of governance model is this?
AK Sharma, Panchkula
THE article ‘Way forward has to be different’ (June 7) transmits a clear message about the urgency to modify the way we have been operating. The same modus operandi to the evolving issues will not fetch different outcomes. Influential leaders must allow space for a new approach and support the transition to enable the nation to perform to its full potential. India has one of the best education systems, yet it has failed to reap the full benefits of the available intellect. Countries like the US perhaps utilise the Indian brain better than we do. It would be a little harsh to expect a graduate of international relations to manage the irrigation or transport department, but India has followed this bureaucratic structure since Independence. Developed countries hire people who have years of experience in the relevant industry as their department heads. This strategy is the key to sustain and grow in this competitive global economy. The discrepancies are there for everyone to see, but a change would require more than just discussions. With a robust and stable government at the Centre, now is the time to ponder upon these issues and alter the old recruitment/hiring process that has held the country back for so long.
Deepak Saini, Chandigarh
Refer to the article ‘Pakistan at its crafty ways’ (June 10); the ongoing locust attack in Indian states is a cause of worry due to the damage to crops in such trying times. Last year, due to excessive rain in West Asia, the dry sand of Africa was so moisture laden that it helped these swarms to breed in excessive numbers. The Locust Warning Organisation at Jodhpur alerts about any infestations. But its working was hindered due to the lockdown. As a protocol, the work is divided equally by both countries to prevent any locust invasion. This attack has to be stopped in view of the coming season of Kharif crops.
Jashan Goyal, Bathinda
Revival of Khalistan issue
It is very disturbing that statements about the revival of the Khalistan issue are emanating from the Akal Takht jathedar. It does not behove a person holding a responsible position to make statements which can harm communal harmony and disturb the hard-earned peace in Punjab. Punjabis will never forget how their state suffered due to terror in the name of Khalistan, which forced people to take their business to Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, which have prospered at the cost of Punjab. Whenever the Akalis are out of power, they indulge in panthic politics, and find ways to create problems for the state government. Since it is an open secret that the SGPC and Akal Takht heads are appointed by the SAD president, the party must clarify its stand on the issue of Khalistan. And the SAD’s permanent ally, the BJP, has a duty to tell people about its views on the issue.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
No train from Ferozepur
The Railways has started around 200 special trains across the country, but not a single train has been started from two important junctions and terminal, i.e. Ferozepur and Bathinda. The Railways has ignored the needs of residents and migrant labourers of these areas by not considering these two important and other districts of Malwa belt to start any train to carry stranded passengers of these areas to their native places.
Raj Kumar Aggarwal, Kotkapura
No fall in fuel prices
Though consumers should be benefiting from the fall in international oil prices, the rate build of petrol and diesel is such that it does not translate into retail fuel prices. Retail prices of petrol and diesel in India are linked to the prices of these fuels in global markets, not to that of crude oil, per se. So, only when these product prices come down will we see an impact on pump prices in India. Even after six years, there has been a big neglect on the part of the present government, either to put up new refineries or set up more strategic storage facilities in the public sector, or even in the private sector.
SC DHALL, ZIRAKPUR
Corruption real virus
The three incredible stories of corruption (June 6) are the real picture of the country. The writer deserves appreciation for heading the Punjab Police during militancy. During that period, it appears that he remained busy and did not pay attention towards corruption that was also prevalent in Punjab, especially in the police department. All the three stories pertain only to Maharashtra. India is being ruled by corruption, which is the real coronavirus that needs to be controlled. Six years ago, PM Modi promised that he would not allow corruption. His promise remained hollow. Recently, a Director of Health Services, Himachal Pradesh, was caught red-handed for accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh. The state is ruled by the BJP. There are lakhs of untold stories of corruption.
Mohan Lal Phillauria, Jalandhar
Refer to the editorial ‘Unending drift’ (June 9); during Nijalingappa’s tenure as party president, PM Indira Gandhi was expelled from the party for violating party discipline. The Congress split paved the way for a selection system for organisational setup, both at the Centre and state level. More powers were vested in the high command rather than divestment of powers at the lower level. The downfall of the party started with the selection of incompetent organisational heads. After the split, no time limit was specified for party elections. To keep the party afloat, organisational skills matter the most. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi lack the skills to lead the party. The drift might lead to Congress’ decimation from the national scene unless urgent measures are taken to overhaul its election system, so skilful leaders can come to the forefront.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), Patiala
Congress losing grip
It is a painful reflection that the grand old party has been reduced to a smaller party with small means (editorial ‘Unending drift’, June 9). There was a time when grandparents of millennials of today were Congress persons in almost every other house in the country. That generation looked towards the party with gratitude for leading the country to freedom. The party will have to leave its old tactics of caste and religion politics, and feel for the middle class. It will have to shed the politics of rhetoric on social media and its leadership will have to become a part and leaders of the masses with a definite agenda, while accepting the challenges of the new generation. If it is waiting in drawing rooms to get the BJP and Modi discredited, so that it becomes an automatic choice, it may be wishing too much. Who knows an AAP model may emerge at the national level and the Congress may be reduced to Delhi level.
Tirath Garg, Ferozepur City
Refer to ‘The race for Covid-19 vaccine’ (June 9); it is time to put in place collective efforts to save this world from the ongoing pandemic. Indeed, technology has the power to change the dynamics of a country, but biotechnology has the opportunity to excel this time. With already a few vaccines at the phase II of development, it is a good sign. When the world economy has been hit hard, this is the only solution to get it back on track.
SUBHAM PATHANIA, MUKERIAN
Don’t rake up Khalistan
Apropos of the June 7 report, ‘Will accept Khalistan if govt offers: Takht’, Akal Takht is revered for being the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. Its jathedar's remarks may encourage the Khalistanis holed up in Pakistan to disturb peace in the state. Punjab was the most prosperous among all other states, but terror activities at the behest of Pakistan, had rendered it an unsafe place for industries, which moved away to other states. The jathedar’s observations on political issues can be misinterpreted by anti-national elements as an invitation to indulge in such activities that had brought the Army into the Golden Temple. When we are facing a pandemic, and the Sikhs all over the world are being complimented for their service toward humanity, the mention of a sensitive issue should have been avoided. Our efforts must be aimed at bringing normalcy in the lives of the people, and not unrest and disturbance of peace by reviving the demand for Khalistan.
PS Kaur, by mail
Bring out the truth
Having trudged long distances during the past two months, losing work and wages, having no shelter, lakhs of migrant labourers did heave a sigh of relief on reaching their native place/home. It is astonishing that the government, before the apex court, claimed that not a single death had taken place among the labourers during their movement, whereas an estimate by the media puts the death toll at over 600. Is it not a matter of shame for the politicians and bureaucrats to conceal truth and facts and always be champions of blame games to save their own skin? No one can change their ways, not even the current pandemic.
JAGDISH SINGH JASSAL, PATIALA
India always defends and ‘waits’ for aggression from Pakistan and China. Both these countries have annexed vast chunks of our land and are now extending it further. In the case of China, it was previously by feet/yards and now by kilometres. It is further increasing its borders from Aksai Chin in Ladakh onwards. Instead of making efforts to reclaim Aksai Chin, India is negotiating on the recent inroads into our land. India should also act aggressively to bring them both on the negotiating table.
Ramesh Chopra, by mail
The statement of the officiating Akal Takht jathedar (June 7) contains overtones that could disturb the hard-earned peace in Punjab. The politicians of the state, both Akalis and the Congress, have brought Punjab down from the zenith of glory it once enjoyed to its nadir now. They should introspect as to why the state has become a laggard while neighbouring Haryana and Himachal are performing much better in every field. No jobs are available in the state, even regular vacancies are not being filled, forcing the youth to migrate abroad every year. The perpetrators of the 1984 carnage should be brought to book expeditiously to tame the fissiparous tendencies of the misguided youth. Say no to Khalistan and work for the unity, integrity and defence of country.
SURJIT SINGH, Shimla
The class factor
Refer to ‘When class mitigates caste’ (Nous Indica, June 6), class can subsume the conflicts and contradictions of castes in India, particularly in the new age of burgeoning urbanisation and industrialisation. We must take a serious note of the migrant workers’ ordeals. All our research on migrants shouldn’t gather dust in the college and university libraries. It should be used to help the uprooted workers.
Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad
Reform quota system
Apropos of Nous Indica (June 6), an empty stomach knows no caste and a light purse is a heavy curse, so heavy that individual liberties aside, even survival at times is at stake. The vicious circle of caste-based reservation does not let the benefits percolate to the deserving ones. The need of the hour is to shift focus to reservation based on economic criterion; population control that transcends caste or class; and electoral reforms to negate a breach of trust.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Register all workers
Refer to ‘Dealing with migrant crisis’ (June 8); the Centre had erred while handling the migrant workers’ issue. The fact that the apex court has to intervene to force the government’s hand to safely transport the migrants is a testimony to the fact that the issue has not been handled prudently. Stories about the travails of these workers and the government’s claim that no one died for want of food and water in the trains are half-truths. Since there is no fixed data, as they are not registered, their numbers can easily be fudged. As a logical step, all workers shall be registered and counted.
Ashok Goswami, by mail
The key issue of migrants has not been dealt with seriously (‘Dealing with national crisis’, June 8). The word ‘migrant’ is inappropriate for people in their own country. Their only fault is that they went to another state for work. Ask the survivors of 1947 the meaning of migration and migrant. They were forced to migrate due to the Partition and were greeted with the label of ‘refugees’. Thousands died due to lack of food, water and medicines. The same is the plight of the migrants of today. It is a national crisis that requires top priority, but no lip service.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
The decision of the Delhi government to reserve medical facilities exclusively for its residents is against the spirit of the medical profession that provides for no discrimination against a patient. There have been several instances where doctors have treated patients across the borders, not just patients from other states. As per the directives of the Delhi government, state-owned hospitals won’t attend to patients from Haryana or UP. But would they entertain a patient from another country if he/she happens to visit them for treatment?
SL Singhal, Noida
Tarnishing police image
Refer to ‘Floyd redux in Jodhpur’; it is disheartening to learn about the third-degree treatment given by a cop to a man for not wearing a mask. Amid the pandemic, the image of our police has changed a lot. Such incidents need to be handled with great care and concern to keep the dignity of the police intact. At the same time, a probe into the matter should be initiated without any delay.
Simranjeet Singh Saini, Jalandhar
Protocol for weddings
As per government instructions, 50 persons can be part of a marriage ceremony. But the government has not mentioned the ways the public must adopt to perform such functions. No function can be performed at a hotel. At the same time, there is no instruction whether marriages can be performed by maintaining distance near one’s residence. Clear instructions should be issued so that people whose marriages were deferred due to the lockdown are able to perform such functions without any apprehension.
LK Handa, by mail
Refer to ‘When class mitigates caste’ (Nous Indica, June 6); the institution of police, like politics in our country, is an amalgamated pack featuring region, religion, caste and community. Besides being overburdened, bribery, nepotism, impunity, complicity, prejudice and servility to the ruling dispensations, officials and businessmen remain constant extraneous considerations with the police. The Delhi Police drew a lot of flak in dealing with the students at JNU and the Jamia Millia Islamia. We need free and fair, and not delaying, diverting or sabotaging investigating agencies to handle the law and order situations so that all abide equally by the law.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Trade ties with Australia
Apropos of ‘Indo-Australia amity’ (June 6), the virtual summit received wide publicity in the Australian media. Australians admire the contributions made by the Indian diaspora in various fields. A trade war is on between Australia and China. Recently, China placed a high tariff on Australian barley imports. India came to its rescue by purchasing the barley products. Trade tension with China will bring an opportunity to expand trade between India and Australia.
Mukand Lal Kaushik, Melbourne
National interest first
The Quad alliance is vital at a time when China has adopted the attitude of a bully. India has to be on its guard. The developments following Xi Jinping’s visit to India bring to mind the earlier historical experience when Zhou Enlai visited India in 1960, and thereafter, China attacked India. However, India is much better in terms of defence preparedness. The only thing that is needed is the realisation by the opposition parties to prioritise national interest over narrow political self-interest.
Jagdish Batra, Sonepat
Refer to the news item ‘Resolution of LAC dispute unlikely.’ India must remain firm and insist that both armies withdraw to May 5 positions. Any confusion and difference of opinion regarding the LAC should be solved amicably. An aggressive attitude may result in a big clash, which will be counterproductive for both the nations. When Covid-19 pandemic is a major challenge, both governments must take necessary initiatives to settle and neutralise the border disputes peacefully and mark the LAC to defuse tension and avoid any future clashes.
SP Bassi, SBS Nagar
China has developed infrastructure near the LAC and has developed military alliances and bases in our neighbourhood. We should not lag behind and develop full infrastructure along the LAC and other feasible places, so that we may be in a position to move our artillery and fighter jets 24x7 to protect our sovereignty.
RK Dahiya, Yamunanagar
Taking on corruption
It is a challenge for society and its anti-corruption machinery to eradicate the menace of corruption perceived as consideration, quid pro quo, cooperation, efficiency money and honour by its practitioners and perpetrators (‘Three incredible stories of corruption’, June 6). Dr APJ Abdul Kalam believed it could be controlled if women and children refused the entry of tainted money into their home. Where there is a will, there is a way. It is a matter of choice. Regular cleaning keeps society healthy.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Plan Bee, a strategy adopted by the Northeast Frontier Railway to keep the elephants away from the track, had won the best innovation award by the Railways. But then, there is the inhuman practice of placing meat bombs to kill wild boars. This practice is also prevalent in areas around forests and national parks in Karnataka. There is an urgent need to implement effectively the laws made for the protection of animals.
Harnoor Singh, Pathankot
Misuse of position
Sonali Phogat struggled in real life and went from ground to a high position in politics. The official she slapped was doing his duty. It is regrettable. If something goes wrong, one can go to the court. It is unacceptable to take law in our own hands.
NK Sharma, JoginderNagar
The decision to develop 200 urban forests across the country in the next five years under the Nagar Van Scheme needs to be welcomed. This is necessary for the environment. The urban areas are more polluted and carbon emission there is higher. People should take part in saving the forests. It will be helpful in leading a healthy life.
Amit Singh Kushwaha, by mail
Covid-19 has woken up the entire world to the need of more and able doctors. The Punjab Government’s move to increase MBBS fee by about 80%, which is already around 50% higher than in other states, is shocking. It will further block the entry of deserving students. Medical education business, it seems, has been given an economic package because of the pandemic, and students, viewed as customers, are left to buy this commodity (medical education), if they can afford the rates. A nation/state that does not view its young promising brains as assets is sure to face a drought of capable and qualified doctors, engineers, scientists, administrators, etc, inviting stagnation, deterioration, and ultimately, a collapse of the entire system.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Fee hike unjustified
Reference to the MBBS fee hike issue in Punjab; the decision of the government may bring further deterioration in the already crippled health services. As such, a huge hike will discourage the academically sound, but financially tight aspirants from pursuing medicine. This will have a negative impact on the health sector, especially at a time when there is need to promote medical education and research. Justification by Dr Raj Bahadur, VC of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, that when people are ready to pay in lakhs for admission to schools, why they are unable to pay for MBBS course, is illogical. The reasoning of the minister concerned that massive surge in costs and expenditure of medical colleges necessitated the hike, is unjustified because medical education and health cannot be treated as a business by any government, as these are the rights of every citizen in a welfare state.
Surinder Singla, Sangrur
Plight of migrants
Reference to the editorial ‘No end to migrants’ misery’ (June 4); it is disheartening that the plight of the migrant labourers has come to the SC’s notice very late, and only when several of them have met their tragic fate. The court should have taken cognisance of the situation in March-April when they began their long and ill-fated journey home. On the other hand, it is gratifying that the top court has come to the rescue of the hapless workers in the hope of a better tomorrow. One hopes that the honourable court will keep this ideal practice until all safely reach their destination.
Kapil Sharma, Kaithal
Hats off to the Supreme Court for making the governments of UP, Haryana and Delhi realise their folly in persisting with separate passes for securing entry into their respective state territories. It has now asked the Centre to call a joint meeting, within a week, not only to devise a uniform policy, but also have a single portal for the issuance of an e-pass for the entire NCR. The general masses, as of now, have to move from pillar to post for obtaining the pass from the offices of the DCs. Presently, someone residing in Noida (UP) who intends to go to Gurugram (Haryana) must arrange for an e-pass each from UP, Delhi and Haryana governments, which remains a nightmare.
Kumar Gupt, Panchkula
Too many things wrong
Refer to ‘Why India is not first choice’ (June 4); some other factors may be the higher production cost due to higher wages, higher cost of electricity, costly transport charges, slow means of transport, tax system, etc. In India, frequent labour unrest, strikes, riots, shutdowns and corruption may be the other factors which discourage foreign entrepreneurs and investors. If we want to attract foreign companies and investments, we also need to shun religious and caste politics to create a congenial atmosphere.
Roop Singh Negi, Solan
India must stand ground
China and Pakistan together are a big headache for India’s foreign policy architects (‘India-China talks’, June 4). The current standoff with China is happening against the backdrop of new global geopolitics and is different from that of Doklam in 2017. China is under extreme pressure to come clean on coronavirus. Its aggression in the South China Sea is eroding its credibility as a responsible economic power. Though talks are the only option to resolve the conflict, it is important for India to hold its nerve. If India succeeds in that, it may forever change the dynamics of Indo-China relations.
SK Prabhakar, Gurugram
The world of poets
Apropos of the middle ‘The case of absent-minded poet!’ (June 4), Sardar Isher Singh ‘Bhaiya’ is symbolic of all poets who are immersed in their self-created paradise and live a blissful, fulfilled life. When one unites himself with the Creator, he does not need to depend on unnecessary materialistic things to survive in this mortal world.
Simranjeet Singh Saini, Jalandhar
APROPOS of the editorial ‘Antifa and Acevedo’ (June 3); violent protests across the US over the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a police officer lay bare the deep frustration over continuing racial discrimination in the country. The protests are not just about Floyd’s killing, which was just a trigger. Underlying the demonstrations is pent-up anger over systemic violence against blacks. Although affirmative action has reduced racial inequality to some extent, the situation of blacks with regard to income, housing and medicare lags far behind. The Floyd video displays the prejudice against blacks that runs deep and negative stereotypes define how people relate to them in society. Worsening unemployment situation and political polarisation ahead of the presidential elections, too, appear to be driving the protests. Once again, President Trump has put on display his inept and insensitive leadership. White nationalists and supremacists, his core support base, are reported to be out on the streets, provoking protesters. Their mobilisation will energise Trump supporters and could boost chances of his re-election.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, via mail
Eternal vigil must
Police brutalities are a common phenomenon across the world, and India is no exception to it (‘Antifa and Acevedo’, June 3). This issue is often swept under the carpet since the police and political masters are suspected to be in complicity behind such atrocities. Specious arguments are cited to defend the indefensible acts of the police. The US has set an example of a healthy democracy in the world, where not only are people protesting to safeguard their life and liberty, but the institutional response is also creditable. Sometimes, protests need to be suppressed with an iron hand, but intolerance toward any kind of protest, and the tendency of dubbing them anti-national, facilitates totalitarianism. The foremost requisite of a vibrant democracy is that crucial institutions must not be manned by spineless bureaucrats. Eternal vigilance is the price people have to pay to keep democracy alive and kicking.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Mantras won’t do
The Centre has been repeatedly saying that it plans to double the income of farmers by 2022. Now, it has raised paddy procurement price by Rs 53 per quintal! It’s a cruel joke on farmers. Why have successive governments failed to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission? Our neighbouring country has slashed the rate of diesel due to a fall in oil prices in the international market, but our government is increasing the excise duty because it does not want to pass on the benefit to the farmers. Every third day, the PM gives a new mantra to industrialists, farmers and the general public. Mantras won’t help. When even the middle class is finding it hard to survive, the Railway Minister is harping on $5-trillion economy!
Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur
Farmers also warriors
Reference to ‘How Punjab’s farmers rose to the challenge’ (June 3); in these testing times of the pandemic, farmers have proved to be another class of corona warriors by diligently working for food security, taking their produce to the market and making the procurement of rabi crop successful. Without any reluctance, they worked while maintaining social distancing regulations. From time to time, our farmer community has proved how they are, indeed, the backbone of our country, and how the slogan of ‘Jai Kisan’ holds true.
Divya Singla, Patiala
Don’t open schools
The government’s plan to open schools in July will be a very dangerous decision, considering the recent surge in Covid cases. We can’t play with the life of children. They are not testing kits. They are the future of our country; we can’t put them in any kind of danger. Children are more vulnerable than adults and must be ensured maximum safety.
Devina Badhwar, Rohtak
No room for laxity
It was unavoidable for the Union and state governments to unlock all types of economic activity but it has to be a carefully executed exercise in a country of 136 crore citizens, and also keeping in view the interstate movement of migrants and other persons in wake of the resumption of various modes of transportation. Any negligence may wash out all the hard work done by various agencies to contain the outbreak. The government must keep communicating these guidelines to the public through various platforms like public announcements and the media.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Apropos of the news about videos on skirmishes between the Indian and Chinese troops (June 1); though unauthenticated, the videos betray the gravity of the situation of the standoff. The making of such videos and their circulation is not appropriate. Obviously, it is done with mala fide intentions. The Global Times, a Chinese daily and mouthpiece of the Communist Party, has advised India not to engage in the US-China confrontation and divide the nation into two parts: people and the government. The implications are that the Modi government is with China, but people are not. Does it mean that the present transgression is to scare away the people of this country, and that the government need not worry? The portents are dangerous.
Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali
Getting into G7
Refer to the editorial ‘G7 expansion’ (June 2); it remains to be seen whether the move of the US President is diplomatic or merely the politics of establishing supremacy. If included, it may be useful for India to adopt an export-oriented approach and calls for the leadership to be diplomatic in pursuing the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan by thinking globally and acting locally. Lip service for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is not sufficient. We need diplomacy of the highest order.
MM Goel, Kurukshetra
Why no CAG audit?
The PM CARES fund was created with the primary objective of tackling any kind of emergency or despair circumstances, like the one posed by the Covid pandemic. The PMO has refused to reveal any kind of information sought in an application under the RTI Act. It is a violation of the democratic values and the very ethos of our nation’s transparent layout. Article 266(2) of the Constitution states ‘public money received by or on behalf of the Government of India’, which is not on account of revenue from taxes, duties, repayment of loans and the like, should be credited to the Public Account of India. The name, composition, control, usage of emblem and government domain signifies that it is a public authority. The government is acting as a barrier to the lucidity of certain facts which is not desirable by the tax-paying masses. By not allowing the CAG to audit the funds, the government has failed to instill public confidence.
Apropos of ‘Tackling trust deficit in higher education’ (June 1), universities are temples of higher education and innovation, which have been turned into a battleground. The government has a big responsibility to resuscitate the healthy education environment. All political parties must keep their hands off campus politics. Students should also desist from indulging in anti-national rhetoric. If the government fails to act on time, the country will lose good leaders and thinkers who are capable of steering us safely away from the difficult situations in the times to come.
VISHNU SHARMA, by mail
Changes to be brought about in higher education will remain a dream unless the government starts improving school education. A beginning towards meta-skills should start from the school system in a manner that meta-skills work like metabolism in the body of society with rich values. Distrust leads to hard control which should be avoided as was the case in ancient India. Hopefully, the government will consider to keep off higher education to map out its progress.
S Kumar, Panchkula
Stick to guidelines
Refer to ‘More trouble for NCR commuters’ (June 2); while visiting markets and public places, people aren't maintaining social-physical distance. The dangers of the spread of infection from Delhi towards other cities of the NCR, especially Faridabad, have increased significantly. Strict guidelines issued by the governments of Delhi, Haryana and UP to seal borders are the need of the hour. The government has relaxed some rules after Lockdown 4.0, but this does not mean that people should flout rules. Bypassing the rules will be harmful for all.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
Curfew in Himachal
Apropos of ‘Extension of curfew in Himachal Pradesh draws criticism’, it seems that the bureaucracy is taking itself too literally. A bureaucrat has been defined in the dictionary as ‘someone who follows rules of the department too strictly’. With scant regard for collateral damage that extension after extension is causing, the officialdom continues to overreact to the situation. No one has bothered to evaluate the negative externality on economic activity. The control variable seems to be just infection control without reflecting on other insidious elements the scenario inter alia generates. It seems the pill here is more bitter than the disease itself.
Gurjyot Singh, Shimla
The MHA guidelines indicate that we are moving back to normalcy incrementally, with the current month-long phase geared towards expanding economic activities. This is a welcome development as the lockdown that began on March 25 has extracted social and economic cost. Now, the priority should be to restore normalcy at the earliest. Beginning next week, parts of the hospitality industry, shopping malls and places of worship will reopen. All activity and gatherings will be subject to physical distancing and attendant health protocols. This is the right way to go about. On the anniversary of its coming to power, the NDA government needs to be mindful about how much its legacy will be shaped by its economic stewardship during Covid times.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, by mail
Refer to the news item ‘Phased exit from tomorrow: MHA’ (May 31); the measure will come as a relief for the people. The long lockdown has crippled economic activity, and there is an emerging consensus that in this fiscal year, the economy will contract. This will make business unviable, increase unemployment, slash purchasing power, reduce demand and push millions back into poverty. Both science and economics dictate that India should open up, but there can be a surge in Covid cases, for which the Centre and state governments should gear up.
MS Khokhar, by mail
Deal with scams
During any pandemic, medical facility and food security are of utmost importance. It is really disheartening to listen that there was a sanitiser scam in Himachal Pradesh and a seed scam in Punjab. Those guilty should be dealt with as per the provisions of the law so that there is no recurrence.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Violence in the US
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, US, has opened the prolonged wounds of American racism. The death of Floyd has triggered violent unrest in the state. It is leading to a state of emergency in America. More tragic is that such racial police brutality comes into picture when the whole world is struggling hard to tackle the Covid pandemic. The world needs to pay attention to what Nelson Mandela said, "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than it's opposite."
Ankita Prasher, by mail
Vaccine for Covid
Lot of work is going on to develop a vaccine for Covid. The sooner a vaccine is developed in any part of the world, the better it will be for the human race. This vaccine should be supplied on an almost ‘free of cost’ basis. The receiving country should pay only the freight charges. The victim should not be charged for the vaccine. That would be the most effective way to curb the deadly coronavirus.
RK Kapoor, Chandigarh
Make school bags lighter
Many children keep developing irreversible back deformities because of the weight of their school bags which they carry daily to the school. Despite the Children's Schoolbag Act, 2006, which states that school bags should not weigh more than 10 per cent of the body weight of the student, many students regularly carry heavy bags to school. Children gradually lose interest in going to school due to the stress caused and their attention span also gets reduced. As textbooks constitute a major proportion of the weight of the bag and the teachers teach only a part of the textbook in a month, the publishers could separate the big textbook into thin booklets, which will make the load lighter for the children. Schools can also provide lockers where the students can keep their books so that they don’t have to carry them home daily and bring them back to school the next day.
Jubel D’Cruz, by mail
Shaping higher education
Apropos of ‘Tackling trust deficit in higher education’ (June 1); higher education is passing through tough times as the youth is distracted and finds solace in political-religious conflicts and above all, social media. Our primary education is in doldrums. Being on a weak base, higher education needs more coverage. Amendments of rules in policy must encourage students to be part of studies. Mere passing is not enough. Effective higher education can become a useful tool for research for which sincere efforts are needed. The psyche of the young should be analysed and shaped accordingly.
JS Humsafar, Maloudh
Refer to ‘Staring into economic abyss’ (May 30); the Covid syndrome has overtaken everything, even intelligible actions. Extension of lockdown portends economic disaster. Businesses which are facing a double whammy of liquidity crunch and shortage of workers may not recover from continued lockdown. The government had been given enough time for preparedness and lining up medical services. It must now facilitate the opening up of businesses and the hospitality industry. India is already staring at less than 3 per cent GDP, which may set off conditions for Great Depression.
Ashok Goswami, via mail
Our brave jawans
Hats off to our ever ready and agile soldiers whose alertness and presence of mind thwarted Pulwama 2.0. Children and the youngsters should be made aware of the brave stories written on the sands of time by our security forces, so that they too may work with a never-say-die attitude and live their life in a purposeful manner. Our soldiers should be honoured and revered like national icons.
Simranjeet Singh Saini, Jalandhar
Foiling terror attack
Reference to the Army averting another Pulwama-like untoward incident; the whole nation is thankful to all the soldiers and paramilitary officers rendering duty diligently. Terrorism has spread all over the world. If terrorists infiltrate from outside, it is easy for the forces to tackle them, but when they come from inside, it becomes very tough. The government must take strict measures against this scourge for peace and prosperity.
Hemant Khatak, Gurugram
Can’t deny treatment
Refer to ‘Gurugram pvt hospitals deny Covid treatment’ (May 29); it is to the credit of the DC that he took note of the practice being adopted by private hospitals of turning away Covid patients and others with related symptoms of flu. It is not only unethical but also against the law, for hospitals not to treat patients, in spite of having enough infrastructure and competent doctors. The situation is the same in all other cities. Most hospitals have availed of concessions from the government and it should be made mandatory for private hospitals with necessary infrastructure to admit Covid and other patients.
Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa
Tourism and Covid-19
Reference to ‘Inhospitable terrain’ (May 30); amid the pandemic, the tourism industry has been hit the hardest. If this continues, the World Travel and Tourism Council projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue. In India, with the suspension of all visas, tourism has been the worst hit in history. The rising cases will ruin tourism the whole year. The industry contributes almost 10 per cent to the GDP and the revenue may dwindle to negligible. The assistance of Rs 20 lakh crore package should reach soon before the laying off of the staff begins.
Kamaldeep Kaur, Zirakpur
FD rate cut
The sudden announcement of curtailing interest rates on FD is a big blow to a section of society that is solely surviving on the interest earned on the deposits accumulated from retirement benefits after rendering about 40 years of service. This lower middle class, which is paid EPF pension of Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000, are the worst sufferers. But instead of providing some relief at this juncture, the rate cut will cause mental agony, with a question mark on how to survive.
Gobind Ahuja, Chandigarh
Censor CDS remark
Apropos of ‘Defence planning constraints’ (May 29), the CDS must be part of these imports as he himself was COS of the Army. Such off-the-cuff remarks should be avoided by the top brass as it has a demoralising effect on the defence forces. The change in supply line with ‘Make in India’ cannot be done overnight. Also, reducing the quality standard to 70% is very dangerous as lives are lost and costly equipment is scrapped. The statement by the CDS must be censored, more so for his background. The services seem to be taking a political colour to please their masters. As the first CDS, General Rawat enjoys the confidence of the government, and knows which side his bread is buttered!
PS Bhatti, Chandigarh
What’s wrong with ‘India’?
The Constitution of India itself says that ‘India’ is ‘Bharat’, then what is the point in filing a PIL in the Supreme Court? The actual meaning of India is ‘Independent Nation Declared In August (15, 1947)’. So, what is the harm in referring to our country as India? The SC should dismiss this PIL immediately.
RK Kapoor, Chandigarh