Letters to the editor
The use of drones by our adversaries poses a very potent military threat. Leading nations have incorporated drone warfare into their national security doctrines after its demonstrated success in Azerbaijan’s war with Armenia. The UK has made substantive provisions for procuring and integrating drones as a part of its overall weapon systems. Weaponisation of artificial intelligence, robotics and the cybernetics is the zeitgeist of warfare today. Unfortunately, we, in the absence of public debate over national security matters, aren’t aware of whether we have that yet. In the recent repeated drone strikes, we have failed to erect reasonable electronic warfare, even when we have sufficient expertise in finding and jamming such targets. The failure of the Air Force to detect the drone threat shouldn’t be used as an alibi to force the formation of Air Defence theatre command against the wishes of the Air Force. As the strike is against a military target, an immediate military riposte on our part becomes necessary.
Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), by mail
Threat from drones
Apropos of ‘Drone scare’, the drone attack in J&K has signalled a new kind of challenge and a rather serious one at that for India’s security establishment. The fact that drones can fly over without being detected is quite concerning. Perhaps no country is fully prepared for this kind of a terror attack, but as a countermeasure, India should take such threats seriously. For sure, India will come up with the outcomes to pre-empt these attacks.
Mohit Rawal, Ujjain
This is in reference to the death of a woman when the car carrying her to hospital was stopped for the presidential convoy to pass; VVIP convoys have become yet another manifestation of a political and administrative culture where public servants’ self-esteem depends on the distance they can maintain from the public. The police are overzealous because they respond to a system where public inconvenience is extremely low priority. There should be dedicated corridors for the unhindered movement of ambulances, as in the absence of these green passages, VVIP movement causes many avoidable miseries to patients who are in need of emergency medical attention. There was hope following the 2017 Union Cabinet decision to end ‘Lal batti raj’. But nothing seems to have changed. VVIPs need protection, but for this, the state must deploy smarter security arrangements.
PS KAUR, by mail
The recent decision of the Punjab Government to give government jobs to the sons of sitting MLAs has met with criticism. The government should know about the plight of sportspersons in the state. They are in dire need of a job so that they can earn their livelihood in a better way. Despite the fact that they earn fame for their state at various levels, their financial problems are ignored by the government. Major announcements are made by ministers on public platforms, yet we often read reports of the deplorable conditions in which our sportspersons are living. These kinds of situations show our politicians’ bad intent. Jobs should be provided to these sportspersons on an urgent basis rather than to the sons of rich MLAs.
Jatinder Masoun, Ludhiana
Even as many youngsters of Punjab are hooked to drugs, Haryana’s youth are reigning supreme in physical fitness. The Punjab Government claims to have launched an ambitious anti-drug campaign, but tangible results are not visible. The supremacy of Haryana is visible from the fact that dozens of sportspersons in boxing, shooting, athletics, wrestling and hockey are raring to go in the Tokyo Olympics. The state is lending them full support, goading them to achieve their ambition. Rs 5 lakh to each player has been sanctioned for preparation. Crores of rupees have been promised as reward for winners. Physical fitness is a valuable asset. The nation must remember this.
Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali
Essence of life
Refer to article ‘The change within’ (Spectrum, The Sunday Tribune); the pandemic has taught us about the unpredictability of life and our priorities. Fake pursuit of materialistic things, selfish attitude, wasteful habits, exploitation of natural resources are some of the issues that need to be re-evaluated, as all these are killing our inner self. Today's frightful scenario should enable us to understand that nothing is permanent and 100% safe here. Let us all pursue the eternal values of life, since only that can give us lasting joy and satisfaction.
Anita kataria, Patiala
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Reference to the news report ‘Kejri govt inflated O2 demand 4 times during peak: SC panel’; let’s not debate whether the report is correct, exhaustive or unbiased and whether the correct formula/study was its basis. None can disagree that the shortage of medical oxygen was acute in Delhi. The way the report is being fought, rather than being debated on TV channels, shows that our politicians will never learn from their past mistakes that took so many lives. An ordinary viewer is being made to believe that the Kejriwal government hoarded oxygen, as if to black market it. Blaming Kejriwal for all the unfortunate deaths due to the shortage of oxygen is irresponsible politics. The BJP was fighting elections when the need was to fight the second Covid wave. Serving political ends is again taking precedence over serving the people in distress.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
No masks at meeting
Apropos of ‘J&K polls a priority, PM Modi pitches for quick delimitation’, while it is good that PM Modi held a meeting with leaders of 14 political parties, but the group photograph did not send a positive message, as none of the leaders, including the Prime Minister, was wearing a mask. All the leaders were there because they have mass following. What type of message will the photo convey to the common man?
Hari Vansh Gupta, by mail
It is disappointing that India decided not to join 119 countries in the recent UNGA vote to condemn Myanmar’s military coup. The resolution had demanded restoration of the country’s democratic transition. India, the world’s largest democracy, shamefully joined undemocratic countries, like China and Russia, to abstain. It should have been leading, waving the flag of democracy. India ought to feel embarrassed when smaller neighbouring countries, like Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, voted ‘yes’. This was an unprecedentedly brutal coup. The army systematically butchered innocent people for holding peaceful demonstrations for the return of democracy.
Hardev Singh Grewal, California
In reference to ‘Congress top brass set to give key role to non-Jats’; Punjab includes 38% Jats, 29% Dalits, 22% forward-caste Hindus, and the remaining 11% consists of Ramgarhias/Tarkhans, Kambojs, Sainis, Ahluwalias, Kalals, Lubanas, Arora-Khatri Sikhs, Rajputs, etc. Most parties contest elections on caste alliances and considerations. It is unfortunate that the ideology of a party or a candidate is hardly taken into consideration by the people while voting.
Baldev Singh, Melbourne
Right from the Independence movement, Punjabis have been at the forefront to serve the nation in all walks of life. While Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and other martyrs deserve Bharat Ratna, icons like Milkha Singh, Balbir Singh Sr, Dara Singh, Pargat Singh, IK Gujral, Manmohan Singh and Lt Gen JS Aurora deserve Punjab Rattan. The coming generations can draw inspiration from them and take Punjab to further heights of glory and fame. The state government’s focus should be on the Punjab Rattan award.
Col Mahesh Chadha (retd), by mail
The working of the Centre is not being liked by states (‘The grand illusion of Centre-state cooperation’). Punjab has complained about partiality in the distribution of GST share and other funds. The SC has also directed the Centre to provide Covid vaccines to states with right pricing and in a better way. There is unusual interference of the Centre in State subjects. Many states have passed the resolutions against the Centre’s new farm laws. The TN Chief Minister has referred to the Centre as ‘Union government’ because the Constitution defines India as a ‘Union of states’. It divided the subjects into three lists —the Union, State and Concurrent.
GURIQBAL S BODAL, HOSHIARPUR
Heaps of garbage are coming up every day in almost all cities of Punjab due to the indefinite strike by the employees concerned. The garbage is stinking and drains are emanating foul smell and are overflowing on roads and paths. It has become very difficult for the people to move and breathe. The situation is terrifying and can cause havoc if not attended to immediately. The government must ensure proper cleaning of the cities to avoid the spread of diseases.
MM Kaushal, Faridkot
Error in sudoku
There was an inadvertent error in the sudoku puzzle in the edition dated June 26. The error is regretted.
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 ‘J&K polls a priority, PM Modi pitches for quick delimitation’, a significant step towards the restoration of the political system in the UT has got underway. It was the first formal meeting that the political leaders from the Valley had with Modi after the abrogation of Article 370. That they were now meeting with the Centre’s top leadership accounts for the importance of the meeting’s symbolism. A Constitution Bench of the SC is seized of the legal issues pertaining to the Article, as political leaders from Kashmir indicated that they will abide by the outcome, which is most welcome. The current exercise for J&K has run into a problem as the associate members from Kashmir have not participated in the delimitation committee meetings. The presence of all political stakeholders is essential to cover all aspects and ensure the credibility of the process. Hopefully, this meeting with Modi will persuade some political parties to shed their reluctance and join the process. The long-term goal is restoration of statehood.
EL SINGH, by mail
Go easy with unlocking
There has been an uptick in cases in Maharashtra which gives a cue to other state governments to not go overboard and hastily unlock things. People are weary and anxious owing to the spate of lockdowns, however, one cannot lower one’s guard and return back to normalcy. There has been ambiguity about when the third wave will hit India, but it will certainly hit earlier than estimated if the unlock process is undertaken nonchalantly. We must keep in mind the perils of an anticipated third wave.
Aanya Singhal, Noida
Encroaching on liberty
The article ‘A threat to the nation, really?’ is a strong reiteration of individual liberty guaranteed by the Constitution itself. The curbs on individual liberty on the pretext of sedition and threat to national security are a matter of serious concern for the citizens of the largest democracy. If one does not raise voice against such repressive measures, there will come a time when no one will stand by each other. Where is the nation headed? When everything that has a hint of our colonial past is looked down upon, why do we carry the yoke of archaic laws like the sedition Act and other aspects of the IPC, etc, which have lost their relevance.
Pankaj chahal, Gurugram
Need to correct course
Refer to ‘A threat to the nation, really?’ the misuse of the UAPA against student activists after classifying them as terrorists is unfortunate. The police should have a clear definition of a terrorist and act in a fair manner. Provoking protests should not be a ground for treating anyone as a terrorist. The avoidable pain and suffering which the activists and their families have undergone must be beyond measure. Legal luminaries and the government should review the whole process and initiate course correction so that provisions of law are properly applied to stand the test of scrutiny in the courts.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Voters hold key
Apropos of the article ‘A threat to the nation, really?’ not only truth, but also even justice and the rule of law itself is under trial today. Only 2% cases reach conviction. It reveals how politicians and bureaucrats misuse power and authority. In a theocratic or autocratic style of governance, as it presently seems to exist, only the people/voters are responsible for it. They are also the remedy. People must stand up for justice before everything turns into ‘jungle raj’ patronised by politicians. The system is flawed and needs refurbishing, especially at the trial stage.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
It is a good initiative that the PM has advocated the promotion of local toys. India is a big market for toys and manufacturing is very low. We import maximum toys from other countries, especially from China. When we are making weapons and other crucial things in our own country, the manufacture of toys should not be a problem. If this industry grows fast, it will save money as well as generate employment.
Narender Sharma, Joginder Nagar
Reference to ‘Chautala can’t fight LS, Assembly polls in 2024’, and that he will become eligible to contest election after six years of completion of his 10-year imprisonment, it is beyond understanding how law framers thought that after lapse of time a corrupt politician will become honest. Habits die hard. Moreover, a person convicted of criminal charges is not eligible for a government job. This is against all canons of justice and fair play.
Sarjit Singh Gill, Ludhiana
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Though the advice to the government regarding the resumption of statehood to Jammu & Kashmir is laudable (‘Restore J&K statehood’), the eulogy for the PAGD parties is baffling. While painting these parties as victims of a vilification campaign, the pro-Pakistan pro-separatist stance of these parties has been ignored. Even now, the PAGD parties are asking for the restoration of the divisive Article 370, which in any case was a temporary provision in the Constitution, and asking for invitation to Pakistan for talks on Kashmir, ignoring the fact that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan has no locus standi on Kashmir. In fact, Pakistan is an illegal occupier of PoK.
AK Sharma, Chandigarh
Sooner the better
‘Restore J&K statehood’ underlines common people's genuine concern about this border state. The Centre’s thoughtful move to mend the fences in the trouble-torn Valley is admirable. No real progress is possible without ensuring peace and harmony. Statehood should be restored so that the common people get a chance to vote and bring into power a government of their own choice. They must get proper equal opportunities to dream, grow and prosper like citizens in other parts of the country. The Prime Minister has taken the right step by inviting the leaders for a meeting to explore the possibilities of empowering the people through the due processes of demarcation of new Assembly constituencies and the holding of elections.
Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad
It is shameful that police officials scuffled and that too in the presence of the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. What type of example are they setting for other officials? They had heated arguments over allowing members of the ‘Four-lane Prabhavit Kisan Sangh’ to assemble outside the airport. It is the democratic right of these farmers to protest against atrocities. Moreover, they were not even protesting, they were just present there to meet Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and the Chief Minister. There is nothing wrong in it. On the other hand, the ministers displayed a humble attitude by stopping their vehicles and listening to the farmers patiently. Such erring officials who become a barrier between the political leaders and the public must be dealt with severity, as they are a real threat to democracy.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
Crossing the line
Reference to the news report ‘Kullu SP, CM security staffer scuffle, video goes viral’; what has happened in Kullu is a matter of serious concern for the Himachal Pradesh Government. Where are their work ethics? The action of the SP and the Chief Minister’s security staff is condemnable, unacceptable and unethical. The state government must investigate the matter at the earliest without any partiality and punish the officers accordingly.
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
Refer to ‘Jobs to MLAs’ sons’; the Punjab Government has not only lost its credibility, but also has become a laughing stock. How could the Chief Minister be advised irresponsibly on such issues without gauging its consequences, triggering anger among people, particularly unemployed teachers, who are all demanding jobs? What is surprising is that the Cabinet also endorsed the same without debating its pros and cons. The jobs may or may not be accepted but the damage has been done. Time will only tell which way the wind will blow in the 2022 Assembly elections.
Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar
Reference to ‘Free ration scheme for 5 more months’; foodgrains will be given to 81.35 crore beneficiaries and the government will spend Rs 67,266 crore on this scheme. It is astonishing that 60% of the population is reeling under hunger. It has not yet covered the BPL families. The BPL survey has not been done since 2002. Will the bellies of the beneficiaries be filled in five months? Such a scheme will become a never-ending chain. Moreover, what are the parameters for the selection of the beneficiaries? The taxpayers’ money is being spent with an eye on the elections in Uttar Pradesh and the next General Election. Incurring such huge amounts on such schemes indicates that there is no dearth of money with the Centre. The PIL demanding Rs 4 lakh ex gratia for the kin of Covid victims holds good.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
‘Jobs to MLAs’ sons’ is a bad precedent when millions of educated youths are struggling for jobs. If jobs are being given to MLAs’ sons as a token of gratitude and compensation for the sacrifices made by the first generation, then where was the government when so many Army jawans from Punjab were killed by terrorists in Pathankot and other parts of the country, and how many of their children got government jobs? The families of the MLAs can be compensated by giving them regular pension.
SUBER SINGH PARIHAR, Nadaun
Case of horse trading
Reference to ‘Jobs to MLAs’ sons’; the decision of the Punjab Cabinet to offer government jobs to sons of Congress MLAs is a clear case of favouritism and horse trading. Such controversial decisions fuelled by infighting within the ruling party have already caused a huge loss to the party's credibility. Its efforts to regain power in the coming Assembly elections will also suffer a setback. By offering jobs to the sons of already crorepati MLAs, the government has tarnished its image and credibility in public eyes. This decision is illogical, unethical and immoral. Sooner it is withdrawn, the better it would be for the government, the Congress and even the families concerned. These jobs should be offered to the deserving wards of poor families who have been struggling for long to get a government job.
NK Gosain, Bathinda
Making amends in J&K
Refer to ‘The J&K invite’; ever since the abrogation of Article 370 and other constitutional changes in 2019, there has been a democracy deficit in the region. Restoring democracy and bringing back Kashmiri political parties into the national mainstream is in the interest of India’s own domestic political stability. It also has international implications, and was perhaps a reason for the Centre's outreach. There is an indication of detente with Pakistan, where Islamabad appears to have toned down its rhetoric on the abrogation of Article 370. An engagement in Kashmir could lead to a degree of rapprochement with Pakistan. Creating a political buffer in J&K will also help at a time when the Taliban is heading back to power in Afghanistan. The Kashmiri political parties also need to show their sincerity in being an integral part of India by accepting the Centre's offer.
PS HANSPAUL, by mail
Top cops’ plight
Now, it’s the Haryana DGP seeking repatriation to his parent organisation. Earlier, we had former IGP, Punjab, and ex-DGP, Maharashtra, submitting their resignations. These are indicators that all is not well. If top cops are in turmoil, how will law and order be maintained? This scenario calls for bringing about improvement in the working of the police force. Public representatives must introspect and look into the matter seriously lest it goes from bad to worse, compelling the public to think about better alternatives.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
This refers to ‘A dose of hope’. Looking at the magnitude of the task of vaccinating the whole population of the country, the pace of the ongoing vaccination drive is not adequate. Comparing it with the small population of a country like Switzerland is no solace. The government needs to use all its resources to raise the bar to the level of the polio drive, especially amid the possibility of a third wave. With this pace, it will take more than 200 days to vaccinate all its population which the country cannot afford. Also, there is a need to accelerate efforts on research and production of vaccines against new variants of the virus.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
Refer to ‘Prepare for 3rd wave, vaccinate on war footing: Rahul’; before criticising the government's vaccination policy, it is the moral duty of all top political leaders, including the Gandhi family, to come clean on their own vaccination so as to build confidence among the public and to give a boost to the vaccination drive so that the impact of the third wave is minimised. The track record of vaccination of Congress-ruled states is not up to the mark, which is a cause for concern.
Ashok Kumar, by mail
Adieu Milkha Singh
The passing away of Padma Shri Milkha Singh has saddened the nation (‘India pays tribute to Flying Sikh’). To him, the country came first. When asked what he expected as a reward for his performance, he humbly said, ‘Saare desh nu ik din di chhutti de deo’. The request was acceded to. He accepted only Re 1 for lending his story for ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’. His motto ‘passion with hard work’ has inspired many. Adieu Milkha Singh saheb.
Col Gurdeep Singh (Retd), Dharampur
Reference to the payment of ex gratia to families of Covid victims; the Centre is unwilling, but if it is pressured by the SC, it may adopt the strategy of ‘Rob Peter to pay Paul’. The way the fuel prices are rising and the money is being used to fund welfare schemes is axiomatic. Moreover, families have not only lost breadwinners, but have also been fleeced by private hospitals. The government has failed to rein in such unscrupulous elements. Since the outset, the people have been left to fend for themselves, and the governments are in the thick of rigging Covid deaths. How did political parties, especially the BJP, manage their mind-boggling campaign expenses? They need capitalists to bankroll the party and design favourable policies to suit them, enabling them to corner the lion’s share of the country’s wealth. The BJP can do a great service by asking its cronies to divert funds in these trying times.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Set up evaluation centres
In regard to ‘Parents, students flag concern over evaluation formula’; the criteria given by the education board should be challenged as it is uncertain and not drafted with much thought. In the past two years, there has been a boom of online education portals in the country which promise amazing content and evaluation criteria on a par with global standards. Why is the government not taking this route to evaluate the students of class X and XII? I have travelled extensively in India, conducting sessions for students, and sometimes in the remotest of places, and my observation is if the student cannot come to the evaluation centre, the evaluation centre can go to him. We do this to get votes, why deprive the student? Every district has a police station, post office, health centre, schools, colleges and universities; why can’t we convert them into an online evaluation centre, where a student can book a slot and walk in for evaluation? Let it be a 100% MCQ exam which can be taken in any language. Students who are technologically challenged can be assisted as we have a big teaching workforce. Why can’t they be mobilised for conducting exams?
Mandeep Singh, by mail
Refer to ‘Juneteenth for black lib’; the holiday is a symbolic yet significant step to set right public perceptions about Americans themselves. Recent happenings in the US have brought to the fore the unsavoury realities of the society therein. In spite of being a world power, the American society has its underbelly of colour prejudice and grave economic disparity between the whites and blacks and northern and southern psychological divide.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
‘Who makes a good neighbour’ appeared at a time, when the very concept of neighbourhood has started dying a slow death. In the last decade, with the sudden influx of mobiles and television, the lives of the majority of us have become cocooned within the four walls of our homes, glued to smartphones or Netflix. Seldom do we have the time to bother about who resides next door. At times, it is painful when information about death in the neighbourhood is conveyed by a maid. It is a hard reality that the concept of next-door neighbour has vanished. Unfortunately in our own families, we live like neighbours.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Opting for the forces
Refer to ‘Cadets from non-military families make the cut at NDA’; earlier, most cadets used to be from a military background. Life in the armed forces, especially in the Army, is quite tough. Despite that, many military officers would opt for a military career for their children. The trend seems to have changed. Presently, over 75 per cent of the cadets are from a non-military background. Being used to the comforts of civil life, whether they would be able to adjust to the tough and rough military environment, only time will tell. However, rigorous training is sure to make them fit enough to face military life.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Punjab Congress mess
It is strange that the Congress and its high command have failed to rein in a single MLA, Navjot Sidhu. Capt Amarinder Singh is the tallest party leader in Punjab. All that he has done in the past over four years has been undermined. So much time is being wasted in making panels and involving people just to please one person. It is a futile exercise. This precious time could have been devoted to some constructive development work. The Congress is left in three states, but still the high command is unmindful of this bitter truth. They are busy digging their own graves.
RD Dharmani, Shimla
It is sad and depressing that the government has revealed to the SC its helplessness to give Rs 4 lakh ex gratia each to Covid victims due to financial constraints. If the Centre would have been extra cautious in lavishly spending on not-so-important projects in the past years, it would not have cut a sorry figure today. If the Centre really wants to help the affected families, it can ask the public once again to donate generously to the PM’s fund for this humble cause. People will do so happily.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Make it count
Refer to ‘The J&K invite’; the government calling all-party meetings of stakeholders from J&K is too late and too little. This action is in reverse order, putting the cart before the horse. If the government had good intentions, it should not have put Kashmir leaders in jails for such a long period, but should have, instead, discussed the issue threadbare at the first stage before the abrogation of Article 370. In a vibrant democracy, all decisions are taken by the people through their representatives like MLAs and MPs. Arnab Goswami was given bail the next day of his application, as he was openly supported by the government. Article 370 is an issue of national level and should have been the top priority.
Sudersahan Walia, Amritsar
Hope for J&K
Reference to ‘The J&K invite’; PM Modi’s outreach, nearly two years after J&K was stripped of its special constitutional status and dismembered into two UTs through an exercise of the Centre’s powers, demonstrates a desirable flexibility in his approach towards resolving the Kashmir issue through a productive dialogue. The citizens of J&K now deserve a new life that ensures peaceful coexistence and a trouble-free livelihood with a sincere and transparent process of the restoration of statehood, which includes fair elections.
SS Paul, Nadia
Allow poor to benefit
Apropos of ‘Challenging China’; by dint of hard work and commitment, China has succeeded in gaining an edge in all spheres of business, productivity, innovations, management, science and technology and military strength. To counter its threat, India must improve itself domestically and concentrate on indigenous developments, manufacturing activities, reducing imports and encouraging exports. All focus should be on ameliorating the living conditions of the poor and the labour class who are an inseparable part of economic activities. The share of fruits of development and prosperity should be made available at the ground level. India cannot become self-sufficient until poverty is removed, criminality is banished and opportunities are provided to weaker sections and the deserving classes of people.
Nirmal Kumar, Panchkula
Fudging Covid data
This refers to the report ‘Karnataka's excess deaths nearly 6 times official toll’. Nearly every state has been under-reporting and fudging Covid data. This reveals the government’s narrow and myopic approach. They are trying to use a fig leaf to cover the actual data from the public. Such tampering is also unfair to the families who have lost their loved ones to the virus. Moreover, this will make a massive difference in the formulation of health programmes for anticipated waves. State governments should roll out a clear picture to the public rather than fret over their image
Aanya Singhal, Noida
Not a fair deal
Apropos of ‘Pargat calls it case of horse-trading’, the way the Punjab Government has considered doling out lucrative jobs to sons of MLAs on compassionate grounds is unwarranted, unethical and illogical. There are dependents of the poor who are more deserving than the chosen four. When some ministers and the president of the Punjab Congress Committee are against such a biased decision, why is the CM adamant? He wants to buy the loyalty of the MLAs who are critical of his government. Besides, these MLAs must also have the courage to refuse this offer to uphold the ethics of public life. People will lose faith in them and they will have no face left to go
to the people to ask for votes in future. Our politicians must emulate Lal Bahadur Shastri, who made it clear to his sons not to expect any preference for being the PM’s sons.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
Dirty yoga politics
The controversial remark on yoga by Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi on International Yoga Day is unfortunate. Instead of giving it a communal colour, he should have inspired the people of all religions, castes and creed to practise yoga to strengthen their immunity in these difficult times of the deadly pandemic. One should not play politics on such issues and generate uncalled for dissensions in society.
RK Arora, Ambala City
Refer to ‘Challenging China’ (Nous Indica); when 20 jawans lost their lives in the Galwan clash with the PLA last year, India promised to give a befitting reply. A hue and cry was made to boycott Chinese products and prohibit Chinese investments in the country. But till now nobody knows what befitting reply has been given. Against Pakistan India becomes a giant, but against the dragon it becomes a pigmy. India cannot afford to cut its economic links with China because it is heavily dependent on Chinese goods because of the neglect of domestic industry for decades. Atmanirbhar Bharat is just a chimera. Some Chinese apps were banned in the wake of the Galwan episode, but they are making their way back. This shows that India doesn't have the nerve to challenge China on the economic and political front. There is enough space for the estranged neighbours to develop together, while remaining sensitive to each other’s concerns and aspirations.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Wary of China
In reference to the ‘Challenging China’, the rising influence of China is a matter of global concern as it refuses to accept the existence of others. India can't afford to downplay the seriousness of the threat along its borders. On the surface, it appears to be an ally of India, but it’s a foe that shows its true colours whenever there is a chance to act viciously against us. Doklam and Galwan misadventures are indicative of its ill-designs. Moreover, Chinese products exercise a huge impact in the Indian market. To curb their influence, we need to enhance our manufacturing capacities manifold. Zero dependence on Chinese goods should be the objective. We should practice extra caution even in the matter of slightest importance.
KAPIL SHARMA, KAITHAL
Politicians switching over parties during election times, and then re-switching thereafter as per their whims, succumbing to the greed of power and monetary gains, has become the order of the day in Indian democracy. No party is above board. Those who talked of accountability and transparency in public life are in the forefront of deal-making. Unfortunately, rank opportunism has become a normal practice in the political conduct of our leaders who seldom care for the voters’ sentiments. ‘Aya Ram, Gaya Ram’ politics, which was once prevalent in Haryana, has now spread to all states, courtesy the ambitious BJP whose double standards are now in the open.
Brij B Goyal, Ludhiana
Milkha will be missed
Apropos of ‘Legendary Milkha Singh passes away’, it's extremely saddening to learn about the demise of the ‘Flying Sikh’. Milkha Singh, who won four Asian Games gold medals in his career — was the first Indian track-and-field athlete to clinch the gold in the Commonwealth Games (Cardiff, 1958). In the 1960 Rome Olympics, he finished fourth in the 400m final in a photo-finish. Undoubtedly, with his passing away, our country has lost one of its greatest sportspersons. He would remain in the hearts of all Indian sports lovers.
SOURISH MISRA, KOLKATA
Apropos of ‘Row over dose gap', the tardy pace of vaccination drive is attributable to the yawning gap between availability of vaccine and the requirement. This gap was not factored in while announcing universal vaccination. Doubts are being expressed whether the government will be able to achieve its target by the end of the year. Conflicting scientific versions are coming to the fore. Fresh studies claim that even a single dose is as effective as two jabs and the chances of contracting infection remain low in both cases. India has suffered nightmarish experiences during the second wave. Now when Covid curbs are being lifted and huge crowds are everywhere, infection rate is likely to pick up again. Vaccination should be carried on strictly in accordance with fresh scientific evidence and without resorting to image-building.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Kudos to social media
During the past few days, a telltale video on Bihar elections, 'Gaon mein vikas aya?' went viral. The video exposes the harsh reality of the miserable conditions of the downtrodden people. The word 'development' becomes an integral part of various political campaigns in name only and is hyped in election manifestos and election rallies. The reality is that there is no visible significant economic and social development to be seen in cities, towns and villages of our country. The objective of elections is to gain power and not social and economic development to improve the quality of life of the people. Whereas mainstream media has become the pawn of political parties, the lack of development in the nation is reflected through the videos and memes which go viral in social media, which has, indeed, become the voice of the common people.
Sukanya Roy, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘SC refuses to stay eviction of encroachers from forest land'; the Supreme Court has said they were given much time, since February 2020, but where was the government when these people were encroaching on the forest land? If the government had stopped the encroachment when it began, it would not have been a big issue today. It is the government's responsibility now to provide these people with homes, and next time stop such encroachments in time.
Chainsingh tanwar, by mail
In reference to ‘The Covid batch’, the belated decision of the CBSE is fraught with uncertainties. The evaluation criteria for Class XII students on the principle of averages could have been decided earlier in the year. This would have saved precious time for the students wanting to focus on competitive exams. This evaluation could jeopardise the dreams of students seeking admission in overseas colleges and universities as they won’t be able to produce transcripts of the actual papers. The boards could have avoided this uncertainty with the actual conduct of examination through online mode as it is happening elsewhere. As most of the students from Punjab will be seeking overseas admissions, it would be prudent on part of the state education board to devise its own method rather than follow the CBSE.
Jashandeep Sandhu, Patiala
The CBSE’s declaration of the evaluation criteria for Class Xll is a judicious step as it has removed the uncertainty for lakhs of students and their parents. Now it is up to the schools to prepare the results as per the CBSE guidelines at the earliest so that these students do not suffer any more and are able to get admission to institutions of higher learning without further delay, especially those wishing to go abroad for higher studies.
NK Gosain, Bathinda
Difference of opinion
Apropos of ‘A-G, govt at odds as 23 posts abolished’, it is an irony of sorts that 23 not-so-high posts under him have been abolished without his consent. He had to shoot off a communique to the Chief Secretary to vent his anger against the arbitrary decision of the Home Department. Just about seven months before the Assembly elections in the state, transfers of librarians and stenographers would definitely jeopardise the functioning of the legal department. Nanda has been a soft target for witch-hunting by members of the ruling party. His resignation was sought by some leaders of the present dispensation for decisions beyond his control.
Upendra Sharma, by mail
Prevent third wave
Refer to ‘Use lull to enhance Covid preparedness’; it is true that the country has not learned lessons either from the first wave or the second and failed to utilise the time of lockdowns, and began unlocking without following the guidelines of the National Institute of Epidemiology. We are going back to square one and will be conducting our business as usual i.e. without appropriate systems in place for reducing deaths, without appropriate measures for preventing the spread of Covid, poor rate of vaccination and with inadequate healthcare system to handle future outbreaks. The lockdown has brought down the new cases by preventing movement and gatherings of people. Once the curbs are removed, the same situation will return in the country. Even now the government can control future outbreaks by increasing the rate of daily vaccination to minimum one crore per day and ensuring that people follow safety precautions seriously. Let the country not be in the vicious circle of lockdowns.
O Prasada Rao, by mail
Honesty in public life
I admire the writer’s views in ‘Glasshouses and stones’. He is frank and daring when he admits that there is a positive change in the SC after the present CJI took over. Every individual has his/her own strengths and weaknesses and they leave an impact on the position they hold. I have seen it in every field of life. Immediately after 1947, we had more honest and upright persons in public life, but soon our ‘swaraji’ politicians changed the thinking of our public servants, so we have more of them like our ruling class!
Baldev Singh, Melbourne
With reference to ‘LPG distributors, workers protest gas pipeline in Amritsar’; why did the people not ask for employment opportunities from the governments in years passed by? Why do they want to be a roadblock on the road to progress? Is it loss of confidence in the system or lack of skills, as a byproduct of the education system. When was the last time an industry was set up in Amritsar? Will the people of the city just have Guru ka langar and Bhagwan ka prasad, making it only a religious tourism centre?
Aastha Bhatia, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘Protest is not terrorism’, the decision of the Delhi HC with regard to the Delhi Police chargesheet is admirable. It not only underscores the loopholes in the chargesheet, but also emphasises the supremacy of the Constitution and fundamental rights. In its anxiety to suppress dissent, our state is forgetting the gap between the right to protest given to citizens and unlawful activities of terrorists. Protesting students were booked under the UAPA without strong evidence. Misuse of law is ruining the lives of many activists and protesters. The HC asserts that people protesting peacefully are an important element of a democracy. The State should exercise caution before levelling any charge of terrorism against them.
Asha Yadav, Yamunanagar
Upholding a right
There is a difference between the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity, the Delhi High Court observed as it granted bail to three student activists arrested more than a year ago in connection with riots in northeast Delhi that followed protests against the controversial citizenship law. The court noted that UAPA, an anti-terror law, could not be casually applied. The High Court remarked that the chargesheet lacked any specific factual allegations that would constitute offences under UAPA. Scathing judgments by courts are notable, but not a fix for the problem. It is time to uphold the right to protest.
CK Subramaniam, Navi Mumbai
Apropos of ‘Pilferage of character’, to curb this vulturous behaviour, character-building has to start in the early years. The likely solution to the problem was given in the article ‘Above board and beyond’. We need to introduce perseverance, art of empathy and critical consciousness at an early stage. Also we as parents, teachers and mentors have to lead our younger generations by example, as David Bly said, ‘Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be.’
PS Sodhi, Bengaluru
Refer to ‘A year after Galwan’; China has been continuing its aggressive designs at LAC for many decades. Its stubborn behaviour and belligerent attitude is not likely to change ever. The deceitful Galwan clash has only increased the trust deficit. Not only in a tactical situation, China has been trying to dominate in many other fields in such a manner that India’s interests are enormously harmed. India must have a firm long-term policy to counter Chinese designs which are obstructing India’s development, especially in strategic and economic spheres. The trade balance tilts to boost Chinese economy whereas they hurt us. Corrective measures are required to be urgently initiated in multi-directional sectors with the active cooperation of all political parties, organisations, traders and the citizens.
Subhash Vaid, New Delhi
Relief for teachers
With regard to non-academic duties given to teachers in Haryana, it is a welcome step that the Director Elementary Education has issued orders to the District Elementary Education Officers not to assign any non-academic duties to the teachers henceforth. It has also been ordered to withdraw such teachers already engaged in such duties. It is a good decision to follow the provisions of the RTE in letter and spirit. It will be desirable if such a step is also taken by the Director Secondary Education to withdraw all TGTs and PGTs or heads of the institutions from non-academic duties. That will enable the teachers to pay attention to classroom teaching, especially in this digital age which is impacting the classroom.
S Kumar, Panchkula
Elderly people in Haryana have a reason to cheer as the Chief Minister has increased the old-age pension to Rs 2,500 per month, with effect from April 1, 2021. Haryana has taken the lead in looking after its older population. The Punjab Government should follow suit and equalise pension with that of Haryana.
S Chaudhary, Mohali
Fake Covid tests
‘More than one lakh fake Covid tests conducted during Kumbh mela’ proves the negligence of the officials concerned. When private agencies are involved, it is the duty of the government department concerned to check the authenticity of the test. India will develop only when the Central and state governments will not think about their respective parties, but think about the country. Allowing mass gathering during the pandemic is the biggest mistake of the government. The reason for the second wave is the negligence of the government.
Mahak Arora, Chandigarh
The Delhi High Court has done well to uphold citizens’ right to dissent and protest, but it also has to answer why it took more than a year for those incarcerated to get any relief. If they were merely exercising their constitutional right of peaceful protest, why were they made to languish for long months in police custody or judicial lock-up? Why did the bail order not come earlier? The three detainees now given bail were protesting against the Citizenship Act. The courts also have to answer why this matter, which impacts our secular foundations, has still not been taken up by them. There is no point in adopting a self-righteous attitude after the damage has been done.
Lalit Mohan, Gurugram
Nothing can be happier than the news of an innocent getting acquitted. The Delhi High Court has done an exemplary job in granting bail to three persons implicated under UAPA. The unlawful application of UAPA brings to surface the misuse of law by the executive. If a protest can so easily be labelled as a terrorist activity, then what is the difference between the theocracy of Pakistan and democracy? Frivolous application of laws are no less an injury than frivolous litigations in the eyes of justice. Salute to the judicious verdict!
Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra
Wait for evidence
Reference to ‘Unholy land deal’; what can a frustrated leader like the Samajwadi Party supremo say except speaking against the government? He refused the Covid jab saying it was a BJP vaccine. Donations are still being accounted for, how can an audit be possible at this stage? The Ram Janmabhoomi management is filing a defamation suit. It will give documentary evidence and things will be clear.
RL Bansal, Kurukshetra
Reference to the news story ‘No road link, Chowari villagers carry patients on their back’; it is a very sad reality of our society that still there are villages in the state where people have to walk 5-6 km to reach a link road. The citizens of Priyungal and Khabbar villages have to carry patients on their back to reach the link road from where they hire a taxi to reach the nearest hospital. What’s the government doing? Where is the local MLA? Himachal Pradesh must develop a rural infrastructure project under which every village must be connected by an all-season road.
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
Stick to safety norms
Reference to the editorial ‘Don’t lower the guard'; it is a very timely and necessary exhortation. We have not learnt any lesson from the second wave catastrophe. Disturbing scenes of deaths and cremations must be telecast repeatedly by the media to remind people of the fate they would meet if they remain indifferent to Covid protocols. These might deter them from violating the safety norms. People need to realise the futility of being foolhardy in the prevailing situation.
SUNIL KHANNA, Chandigarh
With regard to guidelines to avoid excessive online teaching; these guidelines are ridiculous. During the pandemic, students are continually confined to their homes. They are completely devoid of all physical activities. The only recourse available to them is online gaming, social media gossips, etc. Radio and TV shows do not attract the newer generation. Listening to stories by parents and grandparents is old-fashioned. Hence, limited time on teaching /learning is prone to more misuse of technology resulting in greater health hazards. Policymakers have failed to differentiate between ground reality and false idealism.
Vimal Kant Mahajan, Ghumarwin
Not like a Governor
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s unprecedented pace of correspondence on routine matters with the state government and meetings with state BJP leaders does not behove him. Being a constitutional authority, he should display rectitude and restraint. But his relentless, unrestrained actions project him more as a leader of the BJP. This indulgence endorses the popular public view to abolish the sinecure office of the Governor, often accused of indulgence in political pamphleteering, to please and promote the sponsoring party. It is in poor state.
BAKHSHI GURPRIT SINGH, JALANDHAR
Apropos of ‘Above board and beyond’, the learning and mastery of knowledge of different subjects is a must, but the cultivation of empathy, perseverance and creative consciousness is required to make the world a better place. The modern education system, with its emphasis on cramming and competition, has given a new definition to values and virtues. The pandemic is a wake-up call for us that now we need a more value-based grooming of children, for which parents will have to play a vital role along with the teachers and strive to create a generation which is honest and empathetic.
Manjit Ghuman, Ludhiana
In reference to ‘Above board and beyond’; the most important quality students need to cultivate in the real-life exam is financial literacy, which unfortunately in our Indian education system is not taught, that’s why our country’s financial literacy stands at only 27%. Schools teach students to make them work for money but financial knowledge is the only thing which will make money work for them. This subject should be included in schools to make our country on a par with the most financially literate country, Denmark (71%).
Gurshan Singh sidhu, Mohali
Reference to ‘Above board and beyond’; it is the prime responsibility of a teacher to show students the path of empathy, sympathy and strive to inculcate in them social, moral and ethical values. Success will follow because a student will be able to cope with the challenges of the world and will be able to live a meaningful life. Therefore, it becomes imperative for us as parents, teachers and educators to prepare our youngsters to face the real examination of their life so they can think about problems before the world such as hunger, poverty, crime, terrorism, social disharmony. As far as cognitive styles are concerned, the students should learn through every aspect of life, not only by using verbal imagery dimensions, but also by using dimensions of cognitive styles.
SURINDER SINGH KUNDU, SIRSA
Glitches in tax portal
Even a week after the new e-filing portal launched by the IT department went live, users are facing technical glitches such as usage of logging time and inability to respond to notices. The department must take care of two things to make this new portal successful. First, all the technical flaws of the portal should be removed expeditiously, and second, arrangements should be made to keep the speed of the portal always right and its server never down. Like chartered accountants, the portal should also have a facility for income tax advocates to file ITR on behalf of their assessee clients.
Shakti Singh, Karnal
G7 should do more
World would turn into a utopian society if the wealthier and privileged class pursued more magnanimity towards their poor counterparts. A pledge of donating one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to poor nations by G7 countries is a welcome step, though a very small initiative. Developed nations are already ahead in the race of inoculating their population and are about to attain herd immunity. It becomes the moral responsibility of these richer nations to help poor nations so that entire humankind could be protected from this contagious virus.
Amandeep Bains, Kurukshetra
Mad rush, again
There are serpentine queues of cars jostling to somehow reach Shimla, Mussoorie, Hardwar etc, and there is complete chaos on roads everywhere. Even the police at state barriers are taken aback with this sudden surge of tourists. We are aware that there's very little parking facilities and these small hill stations can't accommodate so many tourists in one go. The pandemic is still looming. The governments should impose conditions to check the spread of the impending third wave in time. Saving lives is more important than venturing out for fun.
RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA
‘Lalaji to Balaji, the link of kindness’ portrays the role of compassion and empathy in life. Only humans are bestowed with the trait to help needy fellow beings. Helping strangers financially to make something of their life is the noblest karma. The mantra ‘more charity, more prosperity’ is proved beyond doubt by heroes like Mark Zuckerberg, Azim Premji, Narayana Murthy, the Tatas, Sonu Sood and hundreds of others.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
With reference to ‘Sedition & the State through prism of law’; the writer has aptly described sedition. The picture is of the original Preamble, when the Constitution was adopted in 1949. The current Preamble, amended in 1976, reads: ‘We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic...’
Kiran Kalra, by mail
All is not well with the higher education institutes of the country, although The Tribune has rightly pinpointed a slight improvement in the scenario (‘Higher education uptick’). A majority of institutes are private and very expensive. Institutes run by the government do have higher intake but they don’t produce the best of the lot. The government should get a message from the pandemic that the country needs not only more colleges (especially medical and nursing), universities and many more hospitals — rather than huge statues and temples — but also more job opportunities. To save itself from facing the music again in the future, the authorities should revisit what the country desperately needs from the institutes of higher learning.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Refer to the demolition of illegal structures; these structures did not come up in one year. It was a continuous process for the past many years. The question arises, why was construction not stopped then? Actually, it happened because of corruption by MC officials or political leaders. The SC can take suo motu cognisance of the rampant corruption which has made so many families homeless. Hence, the matter needs to be investigated by a high-powered inquiry committee under the supervision of the SC to inquire how all this happened. The responsibility may be fixed and the damages may be recovered from the persons held guilty. This would set an example.
DS Hooda, Rohtak
With Jitin Prasada’s defection to the BJP, fresh rumblings within the Congress underscores why a convincing opposition interrogation of the BJP remains a non-starter. Troubles in Punjab and Rajasthan and the party’s never-ending soul search about leadership yet again demonstrate that, nationally, defection from the Congress is a key BJP advantage. Congress’ problems are well-known, those belonging to Rahul Gandhi’s generation linked their political fortunes to his rise, but now they stare at an uncertain future. There remain doubts over his leadership and electoral appeal. The prospects of the Congress returning to power at the Centre are limited. Nationally, the BJP is at a difficult moment, but the Congress and other anti-BJP parties seem as ineffectual as before. Despite the recent backlash against the NDA government on its Covid-19 mismanagement, the BJP remains favourite for 2024. At a time when the BJP is defensive about its governance, the entry of defectors from the Congress also helps shift the narrative back to its political appeal.
EL SINGH, by mail
What’s going on?
Something has gone wrong in the functioning of the BJP. It has an agenda to topple the elected government of opposition parties. First, it toppled the MP Government, and then, rushed to break governments in Rajasthan, Goa, Assam, etc. Then, it used money and muscle power to defeat Mamata, but was unsuccessful. Amit Shah and Modi remained in West Bengal for more than 50 days and lost the way in tackling the pandemic. Now, they are inducting Congress members. But Mamata is moving fast and Roy is back in the TMC, and others are in line to join the party. It would be better if they mend their ways and think about the betterment of the nation and show maturity in their functioning.
Subhash C. Taneja, Gurugram
Reference to ‘Something light: Redefining North Indian breakfast menu’; as a senior executive in an MNC, I had to travel often to different parts of the country. As I grew up in Bangalore, breakfast was always difficult for me when I had to travel. It was difficult to eat, and more so in these health-conscious days, fried food like puris, bondas, pakoras and jalebi or jamuns as breakfast are a no-no. I would either eat bread or keep a few packets of biscuits which would suffice, and tea was always available everywhere. In the South, there is a wide choice of breakfast items that need not be idli or vada. Darshini’s started in Bangalore and spread to other parts of Karnataka and continues to be very popular. This idea of self-service restaurants is yet to catch up in other southern states and is non- existent in some.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
After the 2008 global financial crisis, governments and central banks in advanced economies vowed that they would not let the banking system hold policy hostage, let alone threaten economic and social wellbeing. Years later, they have only partly fulfilled this pledge. Policymakers also introduced 'de-risk' measures. They increased capital buffers, enhanced on-site supervision, and banned certain activities. Though they succeeded in reducing the systemic risks, they failed to understand and monitor closely enough what then happened to this risk.
Sc dhall, Zirakpur
Apropos of ‘Mukul, son back in Trinamool’, democracy has been reduced to a farce. The BJP has indulged in arm-twisting of opposition MLAs by initiating a CBI probe against them, as in the case of Mukul Roy, who switched over to the BJP to avoid CBI action. It is said these defectors are paid heavily using donation and electoral bond money. Democracy is now just a ‘one-act play’. If their interests are not watched, they come back, like pigeons to their old nests. These types of political tactics have been rejected by the people of Bengal.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
Under deep stress
Refer to ‘Middle class on shaky ground’; India’s middle class is under enormous stress. As per the recent Pew Research Centre report, the first Covid wave saw India’s middle class shrink from 99 million to 66 million. Obviously, the second wave, which hit the middle class with brute force, will have a more severe impact. But whatever the size of India's middle or upper middle class, the basic story is the same after two Covid waves and the economic slowdown that preceded them. The vital class is smaller in size, its incomes are lower, its capacity and inclination to consume and save are down. Economic consequences of a shrinking middle class are manifold. The middle and upper middle classes are aspirational consumers willing to pay for high-value products and services. The middle class is where India’s entrepreneurs and professionals come from. So something has to be done immediately to shore it up. The government must spend big to kick-start economic activity. The middle class, given its position in the economic ladder and its wide-ranging skill set, will benefit enormously from a quick rebound in the economy. A fiscally engineered turnaround, combined with consistently high vaccination rates, will bring zest back to a class that must flourish if India is to recover.
LAL SINGH, Amritsar
Skills and jobs
What is the use of that education system which does not even enable the educated to earn their livelihood? The first priority of the youth is to get a suitable job as per their acquired skill and education. But our system of education does not prepare students for jobs. Most students opt for education which is likely to make them eligible for white-collared jobs. In today’s job scenario, there is no work available for BA, MA and even PhD passouts. The government must not only teach skills, a recently introduced system, but also create jobs for trained persons. Industries can be roped in for on-job pre-training which guarantees employment after a successful training stint.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
Reference to ‘Prasada’s defection’; the absence of a strong leadership in the one-time majestic Congress party is ostensible, and if the same situation continues, the exodus from the party will continue. Jitin Prasada’s defection to the BJP should make the Congress focus on the grassroots and conduct organisational elections in a free and fair manner. The party needs to nurture committed young leaders.
Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal
More to defection
While it was good to read the editorial ‘Prasada’s defection’, you didn't touch upon the matter of threats, intimidation and the use of money by the present ruling dispensation. Instead, you indirectly try to weaken the Congress, which as a national party is already suffering.
Col M Preet Singh (Retd), Zirakpur
Apropos of ‘Long power cuts in Fazilka’, this situation is not confined to a particular area, but is prevalent everywhere in Punjab. Whenever there is a windstorm of any intensity, the power is immediately switched off without any information, and then, it takes hours to get it restored it after a vigorous follow-up with PSPCL. One wonders why infrastructure, even after many decades, is so fragile that it is disrupted occasionally at the smallest vagaries of weather. This is tragic that consumers are arbitrarily made to pay the tariff without any improvement on any count.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
If there can be a photograph of PM Modi on vaccination certificates, it is equally essential that it be on the death certificates of patients who succumbed to Covid-19. It has been observed that every now and then, there are three personalities — Modi, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar — who are quite keen on photo-ops. This is sheer wastage of the taxpayers’ money. They should think of austerity measures, especially during the pandemic.
Shadi LAL, by mail
Reference to ‘Lakshadweep conundrum’; it is extremely unfortunate that Lakshadweep, which is a picturesque archipelago of 36 islands, is entangled in political turmoil after the new administrator and the former BJP minister in Gujarat, Praful Khoda Patel, has pushed through a slew of new laws and regulations without consulting locally elected representatives, and thereby earning the wrath of the local Muslims who form the majority of the population in India’s smallest UT. The local people fear that the new reforms under the pretext of ‘development’ will destroy their identity and culture, and ultimately impact the island’s primary livelihood of fishing. All they want is a sense of tranquillity and belongingness in the peaceful landscape, which should not be spoiled by acts initiated for cheap political gains.
RANGANATHAN SIVAKUMAR, Chennai
Too harsh a punishment
Refer to ‘Bigotry in cricket’; a distinction must be made between grave charges of systemic racism and younger players’ indiscretions. Robinson was 18 at the time of his boorish tweets. Though that doesn’t offer him a free pass, unless investigations reveal a continuing pattern of racist and sexist behaviour, stern punitive action against him may not be called for. He and others like him may need to be sensitised and educated, not punished and alienated.
SS Paul, Nadia
Congress must wake up
Apropos of ‘Prasada’s defection’, the turncoat cited his change of heart because of incessant letdown by the Congress leadership and the sworn enemy till yesterday has become his role model and inspiration. Simply put, all politicians treat voters as gullible and therefore have gumption to justify the change of the goalpost. That said, the Congress is unmoved by such defections and as usual persists to put up a brave face. The ground below the Congress is slipping, but it continues to live in a fool’s paradise. Simply tweeting against Modi and belittling the government will not help. Now it is high time for it to come out of slumber otherwise it shall be consigned to history sooner than later.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Jabs for frontline workers
The news report about below average performance in vaccinating healthcare/frontline workers in Punjab and Haryana is indeed disturbing, despite both states placed remarkably well in infrastructure, including health. It is important that both states take immediate corrective steps to remove the bottlenecks and launch aggressive campaigns to allay the fears of individuals in this category. Since comprehensive data would be available with the respective authorities regarding those vaccinated, the heads of the institutions should take it upon themselves to persuade them for vaccination. With gradual liberalisation of vaccine policy and ease availability of vaccines and the growing awareness about the potential benefits, hopefully the situation shall improve significantly in the coming days.
Dinesh Kumar Verma, Panchkula
Paddy sowing is going on across Punjab and electricity is being given free to farmers. Since paddy is a water-guzzling crop, water is being pumped out daily, unmindful of the underground water table depleting very fast. Most districts have already been declared dark zones. Sangrur was the first one but still paddy is being sown. New tubewell connections are also being released. The Centre as well as the state governments who are contributing rice to the Central pool have been making a hue and cry for crop diversification, but none could come out with any remedial measures. Farmers may be ready for diversification but they are hesitant because of non-assurance of remunerative price for their produce. Already the three agriculture laws are hanging fire for repeal and the farmers have been protesting for months. Under such circumstances, how is crop diversification possible?
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
The SC, vide its decision in Darshan Singh V/s State of Punjab, declared that 214 employees of Punjab’s panchayat samitis and zila parishads, who retired between May 11, 1995, and June 30, 1999, were eligible for pension. A few employees of these institutions who retired during this period have not been included in the list of beneficiaries. The Punjab Government is requested that in order to provide socio-economic security to aged persons, a special chance should be given to the retired employees of panchayati raj institutions who have left out of the list for no fault of theirs. Some courts have directed the authorities that when a court case is implemented after attaining finality, its benefit ought to be extended to other similarly situated persons also. Thus, the pensionary benefit can be extended to other similarly situated persons by generalising the decision of the apex court.
KARNAIL SINGH, Bathinda
Refer to ‘Ready for talks if farmers raise logical objections to laws: Tomar’; it is pointless asking the farmers again and again to raise logical objections. They want repeal of the laws. So what is the way out? Here is a suggestion. The government suspends the farm laws for a year; farmers suspend the agitation for the same period. Meanwhile, draft new farm laws in consultation with the farmers and agriculture experts. Replace the old laws with the new ones. Also, consider giving MSP a legal sanctity. Though, even without this, procurement of wheat had gone on smoothly on MSP. There has been no entry of corporates in the procurement process. Farmers’ fears on this score are, therefore, misplaced. Both sides should be sincere, reasonable and flexible. If required, PM Modi may personally intervene to end the impasse.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
The proposal by the Central government to resume talks with farmers is a good step towards ending their agitation. However, putting conditions before the beginning of talks shows the rigid stand of the Centre. It has signalled its intentions of not repealing the agri laws despite the fact that the talks will be held for the 12th time. However, talks must resume and satisfactory agreement be reached which doesn’t cause any loss to farmers.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
I have a savings account with the SBI. I went to the bank at around 11 am to withdraw some cash. I took a token slip from the bank’s machine installed there and waited for my turn. When even after 45 minutes my turn did not come, I requested the branch manager to help me withdraw cash because I am a senior citizen and a cardiac patient. Astonishingly, the date and time printed on the token slip was 30.06.2020 and 20:02:30. The error was brought to the manager’s notice, but he took it lightly and also seemed helpless to help me. Is this digital India?
RK Arora, Ambala City
Children who have been rendered orphans consequent upon the death of their parents caused by Covid face a dismal future. Whereas it is the duty of their kith and kin and the state to stand by them, couples with no children can also come forward to bring them out of these perilous times by giving them familial care and supporting their studies. In the absence of such a gesture, many meritorious children will be left in the lurch.
Chaman Arora, Ferozepur
Fuel prices and GST
The prices of petrol and diesel are continuously increasing in the country. At this point when the economy and micro units are in depth of recession, and public transport being restricted, it has become worrisome for households and industries to manage fuel expenses. The cost is not much affected by international compulsions but by the taxes imposed by the government. The Centre should reduce the excise duty and states should also try to provide relief in VAT. The government announcing packages to revive economic sectors should also provide deduction in taxes to control inflation. If it is not possible to reduce tax, the Centre should rethink considering petrol and diesel under GST. This will decrease the prices considerably, boosting the manufacturing industry and relieving the common people.
Navjot Singh, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘QS Rankings: 3 Indian universities in top 200’, India cannot strive to become a global power without having the requisite academic underpinnings. It is disheartening to see one of the largest populace not in the reckoning. World-class institutions dish out disruptive talent, who, in turn, are the new-age entrepreneurs creating a large number of jobs required for adjunct talent. The resultant economies of scale and scope are required in our country to overcome the conundrum of quality jobs. We must have a strategy in place very quickly.
Gurjyot Singh, Shimla
Where will they go?
Refer to ‘Will lose place we call home for 20 years, say Aravalli migrants’; the residents of the Basti are poor migrant families who are engaged in odd jobs of arduous nature. Many women work in Faridabad sectors as maids. The livelihood of these poor families is already in jeopardy due to the pandemic. Construction of small houses has consumed the earnings of their lifetime. The SC decision is not wrong, but it has certainly lost sight of the humanitarian angle. Where will these families go? All political parties are silent on this issue. The court should have given three months before the start of the demolition drive and the state should have been directed to make arrangements for the rehabilitation of the families. The SC should have also taken strong action against the land mafia.
RN Malik, Gurugram
Refer to 'Forest land grabbers'; the Supreme Court's order to demolish an unauthorised colony in the Aravalli forest area is highly appreciable. This illegal activity on a massive scale going on for the past several years could not be possible without the tacit connivance of the land mafia, forest officials and the municipal corporation. While the Haryana Government may look after the interest of these gullible poor owners of these houses, strictest punishment should be reserved for those found guilty in promoting such illegal colony under the very nose of the NCR authorities.
LN Dahiya, Rohtak
Razing of homes
It is shocking and disturbing that the Aravalli migrants would lose their homes to a ‘strange system’ which is in place in India. On the one hand, it seems to be a good decision that the SC wants zero tolerance in the case of encroachments. But in cases like that of Aravalli migrants people are not at fault. The land mafia which had carved out the illegal colony must be punished severely for shattering the innocent lives of the migrants. Secondly, such acts cannot take place without the involvement of government officials. The residents claim that nobody stopped them from settling down in the area in the 1990s. This means that some corrupt officials must have been hand in glove with the mafia. Such officials should be taken to task. Imagine the condition of the migrants, the majority of whom have used their entire life’s savings to build their dream homes, knowing little that one day these would be razed. Where will these people and their families go? The government must come to the rescue of the migrants who are tortured emotionally as well as financially. Immediate monetary help is the need of the hour. Let justice prevail for them.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
Refer to ‘BJP wants Dalhousie renamed as Netaji Nagar, Cong opposes’; it is another gimmick of Subramanian Swamy to remain in the limelight. He knows that it is only through such controversies that he can make himself relevant and earn sinecures from the BJP. He is highly educated but his misdemeanour nullifies his qualities. By raising the renaming bogey, he has proved his nuisance value. This little hill station neither belongs to his home state nor his constituency. The residents of Dalhousie, irrespective of their political affiliations, do not want its name changed. The BJP endorses the ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’. Nations are helping one another in this pandemic. Swamy should use his capabilities in constructive activities in the service of people.
Roop Verma, Jalandhar
Better late than never
It is a welcome announcement that free vaccination will be provided from June 21. ‘Der aaye durust aaye’ is in the interest of everyone in the country to overcome the Covid pandemic as soon as possible. Vaccination is the only way to keep the virus away. Now, it is imperative to chalk out a well-planned system for inoculation for everyone and initiate more efforts to clear the doubts about any bad effects of the jabs where people are hesitant to come forward.
Jagdish Singh Jassal, Patiala
Damage control by PM
Apropos of ‘Centre to provide state free vax for all adults from June 21’, the move is just to make good the dents on the face of the government sustained by the present poorly managed Covid situation and an exercise to earn goodwill in the forthcoming Assembly elections. Real governance is that which foresees and plans the remedies for any catastrophe the country may confront. It is only the SC and state heads under whose pressure the government has mended its policy overnight. Checks and balances are the heart and soul of our Constitution lest one should become a dictator.
BR Dhiman, Hamirpur
The Centre should frame a transparent formula for allocating vaccines to states, and make the formula public. Second, advance payments should be made well in advance. Third, the Centre should allow states to decide the distribution strategy. May it be door-to-door vaccination or drive-by vaccination or through other means, they should be free to mix-and-match strategies that suit them best. The ideal combination will be Central procurement and flexible decentralised distribution.
Sanjay CHOPRA, Mohali
Income tax website
The new version of the income tax website is a let-down. I have been trying to access the website since June 7 but have not succeeded. There are login hiccups. I couldn’t even see the utilities for filing the returns, like it used to be in Excel and Java-based versions. Hope the site functions smoothly soon.
Rajiv Kapoor, Solan
In a welfare state, the government is supposed to impart quality education to all. However, the government’s failure to do so gives it no right to keep a check on the financial matters of private schools (‘Private schools’ right to privacy’) These schools, as per common knowledge, are providing better education as compared to government schools. Compelling private schools to make their financial statements available in the public domain would negate their right to privacy, recognised as a fundamental right under the Constitution.
RAJIV OHRI, PATIALA
The fact that private schools of Chandigarh have filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision asking them to upload their financial statements reveals that there is something fishy about the management of finances and they want to avoid public scrutiny of the capitation fee and other charges. Most schools claiming to provide quality education are fleecing parents and have degenerated into commercial concerns. The term ‘quality education’ is vague. Such schools may outshine government schools in terms of infrastructure like AC classrooms, but in most schools, the staff isn’t outstanding as the idea is to maximise profits by paying minimum salaries. Reasonable restrictions must be imposed on the functioning of private schools and a regulatory mechanism put in place.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
China in denial mode
The editorial ‘Probing Covid origin’ echoes the sentiments of all nations which have suffered badly due to the pandemic. If China is not cooperating with the investigating agencies, obviously it has more to conceal than to reveal. A Covid-free world is still not in sight. If Wuhan is not the birthplace of Covid-19, China has no reason to deny free access to the agencies to probe the matter. The fear that it stands exposed is haunting China and as such it has been consistently in the denial mode. The probe into the origin of Covid must be brought to its logical conclusion. If China is found guilty, it must be made to pay a heavy price for its wrongdoings.
KV Seetharamaiah, Karnataka
Check overcharging, too
The centralisation of the vaccination policy is a welcome step as it will ease the supply of the vaccines. Having a unified command centre is always better than having many centres. It will surely help the country inoculate its citizens at breakneck speed. The decision on free vaccines will also benefit many people. As far as private hospitals are concerned, there should be strict monitoring on the rates charged by them. People authorised by the state governments should keep a check on the hospitals. Operational helplines should be created by each state government for the citizens to report cases of overcharging.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Jab for students
Refer to ‘Priority jabs for students who are flying abroad’; the Punjab Government’s initiative is a good decision, but since we have only one vaccine that has been approved by the WHO, those going abroad need Covishield. Many countries have denied entry to people who have been vaccinated with Covaxin. It is a challenge for the government to make Covishield available for the students leaving the country.
Chainsingh tanwar, by mail
Healthcare free of cost
Free vaccination for all is a welcome step by the Central government, and logical, too, amid the rising clamour for it. But we must understand that even if we are not paying for it, someone else is. We should not mind paying for the vaccine if we can afford it. Prevention of a disease comes at a fraction of the cost of the disease itself. And ‘free’ healthcare comes at a formidable price.
Sandeep Chaudhri, Karnal
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up the West Bengal Governor and expressed anger over the law and order situation in the state, BJP president JP Nadda said the post-poll violence was reminiscent of Partition days. He brazenly ignored the massacre of Gujarat’s Muslims, who had nothing to do with the Godhra incident in 2002. Modi was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The violence continued for days together. Modi’s government failed to maintain peace. The then PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had said he was pained by the killings. He reminded Modi of ‘raj dharma’. Dr Manmohan Singh was not the PM when the anti-Sikh riots took place. Yet, he gracefully apologised in Parliament later. Modi is still devoid of remorse for his failure to quell the anti-Muslim riots.
BHAGWAN SINGH, Qadian
Apropos of ‘Pvt schools’ right to privacy’, the necessity of autonomy to the private players in the education sector is imperative. Expecting charity is delusive. The current system discourages potential talent with higher skills and passion for the noble profession of imparting education. In the era of competition, parents are willingly admitting their wards in these schools for better learning, according to their financial capacity. It is strange that despite various practical hurdles these schools are the first choice. The Right to Education makes it the responsibility of the state to provide free and compulsory education. Instead of appreciation of the work being done by private schools, the government is putting all kinds of pressure. Autonomy will facilitate the schools to discharge their social responsibility with greater commitment.
Vimal Kant Mahajan, by mail
Not a business
Reference to ‘Pvt schools’ right to privacy’, the court has decided that education is essentially a charitable activity. It has been so in the past. There was a surge of private institutions, with the advent of the freedom movement. All those institutions were philanthropic in nature and substance. Later, education became a lucrative business. No doubt, the contribution of the private sector in spreading quality education is immense and unparalleled. The government should strengthen its political will to spread quality education. Efforts, though not sufficient, are being made. Philanthropic associations should also increase the momentum in the direction. Education should not be allowed to run as a business. Let the private institutions accept the decision of the court and not run as a business.
S Kumar, PANCHKULA
What a performance!
Refer to ‘Punjab among top five performers in education’; the state education department, under the command of Krishan Kumar, a dedicated, sincere and hardworking officer, has achieved the top position in India. The department, which was earlier the worst affected, has been able to chart a new course. If such a positive change is possible in the education department, it may also be possible in other departments. What we need is a sincere, honest and able officer. The health, revenue and PWD, etc., should be on the priority list for improvement. The government is also bound to take note of the taxpayer's money being spent without the desired results. Quality is substandard everywhere.
Sukhdev Singh, Patiala
Punjab on top
It is a matter of immense pride that Punjab has topped the Performance Grading Index in school education with 929 points on the basis of 70 parameters. It has even left behind the so-called Delhi School Education Model, which has been placed sixth with 898 points. Punjab’s performance is stated to have been achieved by way of transformational changes in the field of school education, like smart school policy, introduction of pre-primary classes, online education and distribution of free smartphones amid the pandemic.
Shadi Lal, by mail
Refer to deficit financing, the economy contracted by 7.5% in 2020-21. With millions left unemployed and pushed into poverty due to Covid-19, the government can opt for deficit financing. Government borrowing is not viable as currently the debt is 80% of the GDP, leaving the option of printing new notes. Deficit financing naturally leads to inflation, but this might be absorbed by the demand side problems the economy is currently facing, along with decreased savings due to lockdown and sudden medical expenditure. Retail inflation is already high. Government investment should be increased, the healthcare sector and food supply should be subsidised further. The surplus should be directly given to the poor and to those who have lost their jobs or breadwinner of the family. Identifying them is another challenge as the government has not compiled concrete data for the same.
Priya Dhiman, by mail
Apropos of ‘Conflict in Punjab Congress’, dissidence has been simmering in the state party unit in recent years, but now with the elections less than a year away, it has gained ground. Navjot Sidhu is a dyed-in-the-wool sycophant of the Gandhi family. He has been a thorn in the flesh of the CM and an incessant troublemaker from the outset. If the party leadership fails to nip the infighting in the bud, it shall pay a heavy price in the forthcoming elections. It ought to throw its weight behind the CM who is a seasoned politician and cannot be downplayed at the cost of megalomaniac individuals.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Apropos of ‘Pre-modern to anti-modern’ (Nous Indica), priests, politicians, quacks and semi-literate are ruling the roost in the country. They are aggressively advertising their wares to suit their own vested interests, leaving the public to fend for itself. The priests should be positive, not dogmatic; scholarly but not pedantic; simple but not commonplace. And the politicians always think of the next election. The reign of the charlatans has not ended even in the 21st century of immense information, technology and scientific temperament. Saving lives is more important than deflecting the blame from one entity to another. So far the dictum has been everybody for himself. This is not good governance.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
No to poll rallies
During the forthcoming elections, rallies for garnering votes must be shunned (‘Pre-modern to anti-modern’). Candidates should approach voters through electronic communication only. For large-scale campaigning, they ought to buy print and electronic media space to disseminate their agenda. Anyone found flouting the pandemic safety norms should lose his candidature.
KL Noatay, Kangra
Playing with public health
Refer to ‘Pre-modern to anti-modern’; in every city and town, we have quacks administering ayurvedic medicines and claiming to treat patients suffering from minor illnesses like influenza to serious diseases like cancer and renal failure. The ground reality is that private hospitals are out of the reach of the common man and government hospitals, too, fail to inspire confidence. Black marketeers and mercenaries, irrespective of their loyalty to allopathy or ayurveda, must not be allowed to trade in people’s heart-wrenching suffering for profit.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
With regard to Class XII results based on assessment, the criteria is no challenge as the CBSE has successfully evolved a computing model for the results of Class 10. It has already set up a panel to decide the assessment criteria to arrive at the final results. The panel would perhaps take into consideration the weightage to be given to Class X and Class XI results and for various exams held for Class XII during the 2020-21 session. The system will provide genuine results, but this time, students getting above 90 per cent may be much lesser. It will be a leveller for all candidates. However, differences will occur with state boards so colleges/institutes may need to have their own entrance exam criteria.
RC Patial, by mail
Taking on China, Pak
‘China-Pak exercise’ is a timely warning to Indian troops to be prepared for any misadventure from the evil nexus as China and Pakistan carry out joint war drills near the LAC. The preparation to handle China-Pakistan militarily cannot be left to the soldiers alone. The entire nation, and particularly the Ministry of Defence, must rise to the occasion by providing cutting-edge technologies and lethal arsenal at the disposal of our defence forces so that a credible deterrence is available with them.
Arun Datta, Kurukshetra
Breach of protocol
Agreed, the transfer of the Bengal CS may have been a punishment, but it is done as per standard rules. The state CM was arrogant and the CS did not follow protocol. The CS is showing disregard to the orders of the MHA, under which he was to report immediately on receipt of the transfer order. Government action is justified, and as per the requirements of the Disaster Management Act. The civil services are run on a code. When senior officers disobey orders, what kind of message goes out?
Gobind Ram Jindal, SIRSA
Refer to ‘GDP contracts by 7.3%, worst show in 4 decades’; the pandemic's second wave has disrupted the economic momentum. The glimmer of good news in the fourth quarter notwithstanding, there is cause for concern. While the disruption isn’t as severe as last year, there appears to be a sharp dip in activities. How quickly the economic activity bounces back to levels before the second wave, will depend on the trajectory of the pandemic, the timelines for the rollback of the restrictions imposed by some state and the pace of the vaccination drive.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
Reference to PUDA slashing non-construction penalty up to 50%; the move has been welcomed by all allottees. It will be in the fitness of things if PUDA decides the facility of a one-time option (lump sum money is charged for whole time to cover against non-construction penalty) to allottees, as it will be in the interest of PUDA as well as the allottees.
KK Mittal, Bathinda
‘State should own responsibility, not pass the buck’ presents a good case for setting up a study group by the Central government to examine where things went wrong during the second wave of the pandemic. The timeline related to the improved situation in Mumbai which reported the maximum number of cases at one time, as also in Kerala, will have to be considered. What were the factors that hindered other states from following such successful models of triage is of vital importance. The third wave is feared to strike anytime, and in order to prepare well for it, the findings of the study group will be very helpful. The PM would not be averse to such a suggestion. It is time to rise above party politics and think of the nation.
Jagdish Batra, Sonepat
Citizens not a priority
India's tryst with democracy has not brought the desired welfare of its citizens. We should thank the courts for their timely advice and order to the government, from time to time, to correct the course. The government on its own is not ready to do its sole work for which it has been voted to power. It's only through courts that it gets a rap and is told to do the needful. It is time that some alternative type of experiment should be done with the Indian democracy. The district heads should have a target for the welfare of the people and they should be answerable to the Chief Minister of the state. Suggestions and complaints of the citizens should be directed towards the courts, who, in turn, would advise the chief ministers what needs to be done. There would be no post of Prime Minister; it is a farce. Let the new system be called ‘supremocracy’.
Amit Kumar, Mohali
In the editorial, ‘CBSE board exams’, it has been stated that students’ safety is important, but so are careers. It is highly insensitive to think of putting young students’ lives at stake in the name of their careers. Moreover, in the process of holding these exams, not only the lives of students would have been at stake, but also those of the teachers conducting the exams. Don’t forgot the high number of unfortunate teachers who died while conducting the avoidable Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections recently, which also helped in intensifying the second Covid-19 wave. Heavens would not fall if a young student fails to get into a career of one’s choice, but it would certainly fall if even a single one loses his/her life in this mad pursuit.
Balvinder, by mail
Optimism at its best
The middle ‘Never too old to live it up’ is a marvellous piece of writing, an expression of incorrigible optimism which enthuses hope in the minds of us all. We, the senior citizens, can well empathise with the feelings of the writer. It is like a ray of hope in the dark clouds that we will again enjoy the company of our friends, cherishing the memories of the good old days! Such positivity is the need of the hour. Let’s all have faith that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Sadhna Saini, by mail
Reference to ‘Need to rethink vax plans’; it will not be wrong to say that all confusion has been created by the Central government. If the Prime Minister can declare lockdown in the whole nation, then this spirit should also have been in the vaccination drive. It is still time to consider the pandemic as a Central subject and keep the states only as executing agencies. Keeping the planning, procurement, distribution, and direction with the Central government will not only be helpful in curtailing the pandemic, but also keep the faith of the masses in the government.
KRISHAN BHATIA, Hansi
Reference to the article ‘Just what the doctor ordered’; over the ages the human race encountered many diseases and pandemics but survived; it devised herbalism during ancient times. India and China developed traditional, time-tested healing systems like ayurveda and huangdi neijing, respectively. These conventional techniques are still being practiced and relevant during modern times and running parallel to the modern allopathic system. Efforts must be made to do pioneer research. Ayurvedic medicine should also go through a five-step process of discovery, preclinical research, clinical research, FDA review and FDA post-market safety monitoring.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
You have hit the nail on its head in your precise editorial ‘CBSE board exams’. Although our exam system is not flawless, its significance cannot be undermined. Exams are not just a tool for promotion but improve a student’s memory and talent considerably. They are the building blocks of their future. The class 12 exam is of utmost importance as it has far-reaching effects on their career. Taking exams and the pandemic as a challenge, the students should not have vehemently asked for cancellation but wholeheartedly agreed to take them. Now the non-serious students will have a field day and others will go into depression. Instead of cancelling the exam, the authorities should have conducted them with full precautions and safety measures. When the Centre and medical experts are asserting that Covid-19 is ebbing and there is nothing to panic, why this step?
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘CBSE board exams’; the board must now come up with a model scientific scheme. The decision to cancel the exam may have resolved an important issue, but the question of national entrance examinations — such as NEET and JEE — need to be addressed. The Centre must recognise that factors, such as non-availability of enough vaccine doses, absence of a systematic vaccine coverage plan, and poor understanding of where variants are spreading, contributed to the second wave. Students’ career must be a top priority for the government. Singapore has approved vaccine coverage for children 12 years and older, just as the US regulator FDA has for 12 to 15-year-olds. There cannot be an indefinite wait for vaccines to trickle down to all. The Centre must take responsibility to provide them to everyone, including students.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
Coping with old age
It was refreshing to read the middle ‘Never too old to live it up’ amidst the Covid-19 gloom. As parents, it is natural to look to our children and seek support in old age. If any one of them lives with his/her parents, it is a bonus. Moreover, having a communicative, healthy partner in old age is a life-long blessing. Though friends can’t replace any of them, they play a significant role to share, care and fully live a retired life. Participating in and volunteering for social events are other ways to remain busy.
Sanjiv Gupta, Australia
Reference to ‘HC calls Juhi’s suit against 5G defective’; celebrities need to get their facts right before resorting to litigation on matters of public importance. The actress should have done a proper analysis regarding the pros and cons of the new technology before filing the case. Also, she should have first approached the appropriate forum regarding her apprehensions. Celebrities have a large fan following and should not resort to publicity measures on issues which affect the progress of the country. 5G is the future of mobile and Internet technology. A majority of the countries worldwide have adopted it and India is also on track to roll out this revolutionary service. The government needs to allay fears about its usage through various publicity campaigns. Needless litigation sought with the primary objective of publicity can be a stumbling block to the overall development of the nation.
Navraj Brar, Ludhiana
VC’s extension justified?
Apropos of ‘PU VC gets 3-year extension' and 'PU slips 26 places..'; it is surprising that on the one side the Asian ranking of the university has been constantly slipping since 2018, and on the other hand, the VC has been given an extension! Is the extension justified?
Lt Col Harbinder Singh (Retd), Patiala
Stood for medical ethics
Dr Ram Kumar was a gentleman doctor, who served the community with humility and passion. He was passionate about creating awareness on many controversial issues related to his profession. He was forthright in his views and never spared anyone. His own adage, prevention is better than cure, let him down and in the bargain lost his life to Covid (‘Dr R Kumar: The doctor who prescribed health-mindedness’). He was associated with many NGOs and was a good administrator and adviser. I was lucky to be associated with him in an NGO of alumni of Government Medical College, Patiala. He often gave advice to doctors on medical ethics. He was the author of many books and wrote extensively in reputed foreign magazines. He will be missed by all who were in contact with him.
Col Karaminder Singh (Retd), by mail
The ugly tug of war between the Centre and the West Bengal Government cannot be seen in isolation. The possibility of concurrence in the Bengal Chief Secretary’s case was a possibility only if there were consultations, but who believes in these? The ‘successful’ players of politics in today’s India are stubborn, confrontationist, intolerant and self-obsessed. One wonders how they are still busy in the game of one-upmanship and self-projection when the entire world is a witness to the misery and misfortune let loose by Covid-19. We can only fight back Covid, or our hostile neighbours if we stop our senseless fights with our own people, political opponents, farmers, employees, etc.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Reference to the article ‘Redefine powers to end Centre-state tussle’; bureaucrats are there to serve their political masters, the elected representatives of the people, but they should not be expected to serve the politics of their masters. That is the red line that should not be crossed, but sadly is crossed with increasing impunity by both politicians as well by more than a few bureaucrats. The West Bengal Chief Secretary’s ‘recall’ to the Centre is the product of the bitter BJP-TMC tussle which sends a worrying message of the bureaucracy’s increasing vulnerability to political headwinds. In this particular case, when the Chief Secretary failed to report for deputation, the Centre’s disciplinary action against him should have been well avoided. There should be clear rules for Centre and state to follow a consultative process on civil service officers’ Central deputations. The political executive at the Centre and states must, no matter how bitter their political fight, never abandon the consultative process. Bureaucrats are the steel frame, let it not be weakened.
LAL SINGH, by mail
Pays to be MLA’s son
Apropos of the news report ‘Govt jobs for sons of 4 MLAs on cards’; it is very surprising, considering there are lakhs of Punjabi youths who are unemployed. What is the emergency for their employment? Just because they are sons of politicians? There are no employment opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed Punjabi youth. What kind of governance is this? Shame on Punjab’s politicians.
Gursharan Singh Kainth, Amritsar
Revamp education system
In a social setup like ours, where everything is status driven, only success interests our students but its definition remains elusive to them (‘Fuss over academic standard’). Our educational scenario has no room for reflexivity and creativity. The teachers in our structure are merely service providers. Our young and intelligent learners who excel in academics often are hesitant to walk on untrodden paths. The students we call educated are only literates. Our system is such that it helps the learners fare well in board exams, no matter if they fail in practical life. We, as teachers, have failed to explain that education chiefly governs the idea of life, that is why the students find it hard to find a deep connect between the two. Our students can neither express nor reflect, neither understand nor differentiate. They heedlessly carry just a heavy load of information in the name of knowledge. To help them realise their actual potential, life should be the subject-matter of education where learners need to be at the centre stage in classrooms. It is time we evolve our teaching practices that encourage students to apply their learning to real-life situations.
KAPIL SHARMA, KAITHAL
Reference to the cancellation of Class XII Board exams; we need to revisit our obsession for examinations. The cancellation of the CBSE Class XII Board examinations highlights the Indian education’s reliance on examinations and the prominence it holds in the system. With the pandemic, it is high time that India’s education system implements progressive changes which allow more flexibility for students and reduce the burden of examinations and deadlines. Our education system focuses too much on examinations instead of actual learning. The end goal for Indian schools is just examinations, nothing more. With so much importance being given to examinations, students are overburdened and are losing interest in studies. They are losing all creativity and are gaining no sense of practical knowledge. Reforms in the education sector are now essential.
Saloni Kohli, Gurdaspur
Reference to ‘Image dented, tough road ahead’; this has turned out be the year in which PM Modi ran out of luck and leadership. Could this be the reason why the celebration of the anniversary of his second term is unnoticeable? Usually, it is an occasion when his ministers and party men raise their voices in praise of his great leadership. And various departments of Government of India compete to place huge advertisements plastered with pictures of the leader and words of effusive praise in the media. The second wave’s mishandling and political losses have certainly dented BJP image. Farmers marked May 26 as black day because it was exactly six months since the start of their agitation against the three farm laws. It can be said, without question, that it has been the worst year of Modi’s political career, and there is nothing to celebrate.
EL SINGH, by mail
The fight between the Central government and the CM of West Bengal is not a secret. A bureaucrat who was given extension recently is caught in the crossfire between two giants. The present fracas would affect the morale and public images of serving officers. The day Bandyopadhyay resigned, all authority ceased over him, unless a mendacious case was made out against him. He should not be made a scapegoat and any malicious proceeding can destroy the future of his family.
GIAN P KANSAL, Ambala
The merging of MES and BRO is a good decision of the government to bring about efficiency in two sister organisations in the present scenario. But by making it top-heavy, with two more retired officers for monitoring purposes, may not serve the purpose and is going to be a futile exercise. These officers should work without any salary/perks if they really want to contribute to the progress of an organisation that is working for the nation’s progress in very hostile terrain.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
The good doctor
Refer to ‘Doctor who prescribed health-mindedness’; the City Beautiful has lost a real gem. My association with Dr Kumar goes back five decades. Apart from being a prolific writer, he was an able ophthalmologist. He was an unconventional medico who believed in wellness rather than cure. He was the founder of SPEAK (Society for Providing Ethical and Affordable Healthcare) that successfully highlighted various problems and myths associated with the medical fraternity. Many of his suggestions found place in the Ayushman Bharat scheme. His departure is a big loss to society.
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
Refer to ‘Chandigarh move in conflict with sabka saath, sabka vikas’; the HC has done well to question the credentials of the UT Administration’s ‘misplaced’ priorities and the haste towards ‘privatisation’ of electricity, even as the department was not only making profit, but also time and again matched the high standards of customers’ satisfaction. One shudders to imagine the ‘real’ compulsions that could have prompted the administration to toy with such an imprudent idea.
Kumar Gupt, Panchkula
Biden’s nod to probe
President Biden’s announcement of a further probe into the origin of the coronavirus reveals the real agenda of the US media. The irony lies in how during Trump’s presidency, he had demanded the same, and even went on to blame the Chinese government behind the outbreak. Unlike Biden, Trump received backlash instead of support. It is said Biden’s team had shut down a State Department effort led by the Trump administration to prove that the virus originated in a Chinese lab. Observing the Biden administration’s approach, it is obvious that Trump had the right idea, but now Biden is taking credit for the intelligence probe. This goes to show the way the American media treats and portrays their political leaders and parties in order to represent a certain persona and idea to citizens and to complete their agenda.
Saloni Kohli, Gurdaspur
Price of honesty
Apropos of ‘ED top shot retires, faces probe as parting gift’, the news report did not surprise me at all. Working with a leading PSB, I faced the brunt of my senior colleagues many times in the form of postings at hardship centres, denial of my legitimate dues, withholding of my salary without assigning any reason and frequent transfers in contravention of bank rules. I had to approach the highest authorities to get my legitimate dues because I looked after the interests of the bank. Niranjan Singh should not lose heart, as God helps honest persons. Two GMs, a DGM and an AGM violating rules had to forego promotions on the eve of their retirement, while I retired gracefully.
Upendra Sharma, by mail
Refer to ‘Fighting virus with all our might: PM’, a blame game is on between the BJP and the Opposition. Certain suggestions to tackle Covid from former PM Manmohan Singh are not even considered. This is a war-like condition and there have been many setbacks due to the government’s mishandling of the farmers’ stir, Covid preparedness, elections, etc. In spite of serious debacles and deficiencies, how can the PM list achievements in the past seven years? The common man feels that the government has failed to address corona-related issues, including vaccines. If any politician of the ruling party feels that they can fight this pandemic with might alone is sadly mistaken. Politicians have to shed their ego, frustration and hatred, and fight like soldiers. Our parliamentarians must visit soldiers deployed at the borders and learn from them how to remain united in adverse conditions.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
Call off the games
Apropos of ‘Olympics during pandemic’, the go-ahead to the games by the IOC and the Japanese government, despite the raging pandemic, is imprudent. However, if Japan is the first to call off the games, it has to pay a hefty penalty to IOC and this could be the reason why it is dithering. The IOC ought to weigh in waiver of penalty. It is also possible that many countries may like to shun the games and it shall give undue advantage to a handful of athletes in an uneven playing field, which is at odds with the spirit of any international competition. Further, the games may be scrapped midway on account of the pandemic. By all accounts, the pitfalls outweigh the monetary and other gains.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Japan can do it
In reference to ‘Olympics during pandemic’, if in such times, when the pandemic is wreaking havoc around the globe, many sports events are still being conducted smoothly, for example the NBA and the French Open, why not the Olympics? In some stadiums even spectators are allowed. If we compare Japan’s figures with those of Russia, we will know how safe the former is. Russia, which is 45 times bigger than Japan, has almost an equal population, which means the population density of Japan is far greater than that of Russia, but still Japan’s Covid death toll is about 13,000 and that of Russia is 1.21 lakh. Therefore, if proper measures are taken, there is a high possibility that the Olympics can happen safely in Japan.
Gurshan Singh Sidhu, Mohali
Modernisation of forces
Apropos of ‘Modernisation of Army on course’, only 28 per cent of the allocated defence budget is used for modernisation. With Pakistan and China on the loose, subordinating the defence sector is not acceptable. Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative cut down on weapon imports, putting the weight on the unprepared indigenous companies. As the government introduces the private sector to the military market, it must ensure that the weapon quality is not compromised. The news of MiG-21 crashing every two months must be taken as an ultimatum to modernise our equipment. India has the most skilled task forces, if only it could be synergised with the sophisticated machines, we would have Atmanirbhar Bharat in the true sense.
SIDDHITA MADAN, JALANDHAR
‘Storm bares Punjab’s fragile power infra; blackout in several districts’ is a grim reminder of the deteriorating condition of PSPCL. The bureaucrat given additional charge of PSPCL feels helpless and gives a one-line fixed reply, ‘There is no shortage of material and manpower.’ With the paddy season about to start, the power engineers are worried how to cope with the situation owing to shortage of distribution transformers, insulators, cables, etc. The management’s aim to run PSPCL with existing meagre strength is a pipe dream. Shortage of staff is reported in almost all departments. By denying it, the CMD is only fooling the consumers.
Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar
The pandemic has exposed the fault lines in our education system even further. Many pupils from rural areas are complaining about the education system. Some say it is stressful to study online. Many parents worry about their child's health and career. Some say their children have lost interest in studies. I was flabbergasted when a student asked me, ‘Madam, what will we do after studying when there are no jobs? It’s better to do IELTS and migrate to another country.’ This is worrisome. Education should be considered the first priority and exams should be taken through an alternative method, like viva-based exam on calls by the school faculty, so that students take academics seriously.
BHARTI THAKUR, JALANDHAR