Letters to the editor

All-powerful L-G Other

Mar 31, 2021

Apropos of ‘Who are we kidding here?’ (‘Reflections’; The Sunday Tribune), being the national capital, the government of Delhi has to be different from the governments of other states. But if that government must be democratic, it needs to put the people at the centre of governance, as democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people. The powers and functions of the Delhi Government were settled by the exercise of the constituent power of Parliament. In 2018, the SC had declared that the ‘meaning’ of ‘aid and advise’ employed in Article 239AA(4) had to be construed to mean that the LG of NCT was bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers. The recent Bill has amended that law by stipulating that ‘government’ shall mean the Lt Governor. CM Kejriwal and his ministers have been reduced to footmen. It is evident that the goal of BJP is to establish one-party rule, with a compliant judiciary, an officially sponsored media and subservient people.

EL SINGH, by mail

Mines and minerals Bill

Refer to the MMDR Amendment Bill; the government endeavour is to bring in lucidity in auctioning, amplify employment and attract foreign investment by removing the distinction of captive and non-captive mines, transferring statutory permission, remove non-exclusive licence regimes and promote more private participation to enhance mining contribution to the GDP to 2.75%. However, it will harm the environment, upset tribals and lead to the overexploitation of resources.


Indo-Pak CBMs

CBMs with Pakistan without resolving the Kashmir issue are least possible (‘Redesign Indo-Pak CBM to inject vitality’). Issues pertaining to India, Afghanistan and nuclear power come under the control of the Pakistan military. Any peace initiative taken by the political administration is responded by the military-mullah nexus with terrorism. To draw domestic attention away from internal problems, Pakistan always plays the Kashmir card. But this time, one thing is different – the military and political administration is on the same page and the UAE is involved in the peace process. We can hope for better ties.

Pawan Kumar Rakheja, Gurugram

Bangladesh violence

Members of a hardline Islamist group attacked Hindu temples and a train in eastern Bangladesh. Fake news circulation about CAA or other related laws results in clashes. This is not the first time that it has happened. We can’t expect good relations with other countries if the sentiments of the minority community are not protected. Such incidents affect people-to-people ties. Attacks on minority communities living in one country affect the majority sentiments of others and vice versa.

Rohit Kumar Gupta, Shimla

AICTE idea not sound

Reference to the AICTE idea to make physics, chemistry and maths optional in Class XII for admission to engineering colleges; as it is, the products of present-day engineering colleges are of poor quality. Most engineering passouts are unemployable. Opening the doors to non-science students will make things worse. It will turn technocrats into generalists. They will have poor career prospects in technical field and will have to look for non-technical options or accept low-grade jobs. The AICTE should have a relook at its new policy.


Controlling DAV colleges

‘Info delayed, official penalised Rs 25,000’ is a reflection on the malfunctioning of the Haryana Higher Education directorate and maladministration of recalcitrant DAV colleges. As per rules, transfer is neither the mode of appointment nor an incidence of service in private-aided colleges. The statutory governing body of each DAV College is the appointing and punishing authority of its staff, and the non-statutory management of DAV colleges in New Delhi has no jurisdiction and authority in law. In several cases, the apex court has held that no employee can be transferred to another employer without his consent. Transfer is a tripartite agreement. DAV teachers cannot suffer due to the illegal and uncalled for interference of the autocratic DAV management running the institutions through remote control.

SK Gupta, Bathinda

Good win, introspect too

Congratulations to the Indian team and abundant praise for ODI series win against England, especially the third match, which was a hair-raising thriller till the last ball. The England team also deserves praise for putting up a brilliant fight, particularly Sam Curran, who played like Dhoni. The Indian team also needs to introspect on their drawbacks, especially fielding lapses, as four catches were dropped in the match. It all ended well though, as they won the Test, ODI and T20 series against England.

SS Bhathal, 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

Regional disparity Other

Mar 29, 2021

Refer to ‘A year of apathy’ (Nous Indica); the migrants’ sufferings pointed to certain ground realities to which we must now awaken. We have disturbing regional disparity in terms of economic growth. Most migrants hailed from UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha. For these states, we need to visualise a blueprint for holistic agricultural and industrial growth on priority. We should train ourselves mentally and culturally to accept them as equal humans. Traders and businessmen need cheap labour for running their factories but they must be bound by law to pay them full wages even during lockdown or any such emergency. We must empower them permanently so that they do not undergo the same ignominy again.


Akin to bandh

The weak and the poor are always at the receiving end, and sadly, the apathy of the insular elite in the government and society is telling. The Covid resurge points to more lessons unlearnt than learnt. All bandhs impact lives and livelihoods and any lockdown is tantamount to a state-mandated bandh. Let those in the 20-60 age range that go out to work be inoculated first, though vaccination must be opened to all. Strict compliance of Covid protocols and mass vaccination is the only key.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Workers vulnerable

Apropos of ‘A year of apathy’, the Indian economy, especially the informal sector, has been witnessing unprecedented slowdown and unemployment, aggravated due to the pandemic in recent months. NGOs, employers, and even the SC stepped in, in light of the vulnerability of the migrant workers. The local authorities should be empowered to take decisions pertaining to lockdown, as and when necessary.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Structural discrimination

Apropos of ‘Women Army officers', last year the SC had said short commission women officers were entitled to permanent commission. It has once again affirmed equality, pointing to the structural discrimination against women in a society ‘created by males and for males’. Women have fought a long battle for inclusion in the military, against various forms of patriarchal disregard, protectiveness and hostility. As they continue to press for more parity in the defence forces, the court’s reminder about implicit gender biases and structural justice will serve as a guide to the Army, and also to the rest of us.

MS KHOKHAR, by mail

Women officers

Women have played a vital role in every field of the armed forces. Their induction has boosted their confidence and also gained them the respect of society. Their dedication to duty has benefited all three forces. If they are inducted into technical and non-technical cadres, with little concession or a compromise in respect of their sex, a new structure in the defence forces will emerge that would compete with the forces of other countries.


Out of race

Reference to ‘No CAA if elected to power: Manmohan to Assam voters’; it is interesting that the former PM has claimed that the Congress would not implement the CAA, while urging the people to vote wisely and elect a government that will uphold constitutional and democratic principles. The use of words ‘if elected’ in his pre-poll speech, reveals his ‘out of sync’ party’s real inside story. One wonders if its ‘Jan manifesto’, making a whole lot of promises to gullible voters, will make any dent on the BJP’s poll prospectus.

SK Gupta, New Delhi

Stick to model conduct

Reference to Bengal elections; nonviolence is the very essence of democracy. Violence does not bode well for a healthy political system. It is the moral duty of every political party to give due deference to the election process and refrain from any act which vitiates the political atmosphere. Power or no power, they should not stoop low to garner votes. Governments come and go, but there should be no deviation from the model code of conduct. All political parties should instruct their cadres to act in a responsible manner.

Santosh Jamwal, Hamirpur

Parks not for prayers

Refer to ‘Another bid to disrupt namaz in Gurugram’; should it not have been ‘Another illegal attempt to take over public property’? A park is not a place of worship and neither are roads. This practice of offering prayers on public property needs to be stopped, else it will create law and order issues.

Aman Puri, SHIMLA

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

Rings hollow Other

Mar 27, 2021

Apropos of ‘New nadir of bigotry’, the group of ABVP workers running amok and the state machinery treating them as an extended arm of the BJP is an open secret. It shows that Uttar Pradesh is under the grip of anarchy, where rape, extrajudicial killings and harassment of minorities is becoming the new norm. Even though the Home Minister has assured that requisite action shall be taken against the perpetrators, it sounds ridiculous as going by the BJP’s track record, such miscreants who have been instrumental in instigating violence and indulging in hate-mongering are honoured by way of party ticket, ministerial berth, etc. BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur is a classic example.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Let work talk

The meeting held by Prashant Kishore shows how Punjab elections are affecting all parties. But the question is, why is Prashant Kishore given so much importance? What does he know about the problems of the people? Just making posters and ads doesn’t help people. Every party wants to create a good image, but none talks about the work they have done for the people. For many years now, elections are held only for the benefit of leaders. Kishore has always come at the time of elections and disappears soon after.

RAMANJOT KAUR, Sultanpur Lodhi

Put in practice

The question of whether our constitutional rights of freedom of life, movement, speech and religion stand withdrawn is pertinent in times of growing parochialism, regionalism and casteism, of nosediving secularism, tolerance and plurality. The majoritarian Hindutva forces seem to have assumed an extrajudicial role vis-a-vis vigil on the private and personal issues of the religious minorities. This practice of bigotry, going on with impunity, gets the silent support of the police and polity. The Home Minister’s statement, from election-bound Kerala, of action against the erring is appreciable and would be better if practised in letter and spirit.

Abhimanyu Malik, Jind

Selective action

Reference to Mehbooba quizzed by ED in money laundering case; the basic function of the enforcement directorate in the Ministry of Finance under the department of revenue is to enforce economic laws and fight economic crimes. But how is it that in the present regime, only political opponents are caught in the ED net, as if no economic crime is being committed by businessmen, professionals, bureaucrats and ruling party members? All Central agencies like the NIA, CBI and ED should work as per the constitutional duties assigned to them.

Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar

Maths counts

Mathematics is such a useful tool without which there can be no advancement in science. Undermining its importance is nothing short of an absurdity (‘Undermining maths in the land of zero’). The recent decision of the AICTE, making mathematics and physics no more compulsory for engineering aspirants is a retrograde step. Mathematics is the heartbeat of science and provides an excellent way of building mental discipline, boosts rational reasoning and mental rigour. The regulatory body must revisit its decision.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Upturning SC judgment

The GNCTD Bill passed by Parliament throws an ironic backward glance at the Delhi State Bill introduced in Parliament in 2003. For the last quarter of a century, statehood for Delhi has been a demand shared by the BJP and other parties. The conflicting relationship between the AAP government and the Lt Governor was unshackled by the Supreme Court verdict of 2018 and removed the ambiguities in powers. Thereafter, it seemed to have found a functional equation. The new law is bound to sound unsavoury bells for the elected government. Tinkering with the parliamentary system prevailing in a state is tantamount to playing foul with the basic structure of the Constitution as laid down by the SC in its judgment.

Lalit Mohan Sharma, Dharamsala

Beyond disinvestment

Apropos of ‘FY22 disinvestment target at Rs 1.75 lakh cr; privatisation of BPCL, Shipping Corp to be done’, the government has kept the disinvestment target at Rs 1.75 lakh crore. Of this, Rs 1 lakh crore is to come from selling government stake in public sector banks and financial institutions and Rs 75,000 crore would come as CPSE disinvestment receipts. To meet this aggressive target of raising funds, the government has lined up plans to monetise assets. But selling off public assets will lead to fiscal deficit and increase wealth inequality as the government will put it in private hands at a lower price than actual. An alternative would be to impose additional wealth tax. It may also increase GST rates on luxurious goods which will add more revenues by extending the tax base.

Abhimanyu Sahoo, Odisha

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

Devotees being careless Other

Mar 26, 2021

Apropos of ‘Screening, social distancing given go-by at Amritsar shrines’, it’s surprising that despite the recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases in Punjab, very few devotees are taking the necessary precautions while visiting the Golden Temple. Even staff members, including sewadars, can be seen without masks and not adhering to the social distancing norms. Understandably, people visit ‘Guru Da Ghar’ with unshakeable faith that inside the holy precincts they will be immune to any disease. The government and local authorities can do very little in such sensitive matters. However, it’s the sole responsibility of the SGPC to coax the devotees to adhere to all necessary protocols to avoid the spread of infection.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

Illusion of strength

Anchorage in Alaska is hardly ever in international news. Therefore, the Blinken-Yang Jiechi meeting there took the world by storm. America’s assumed ‘position of strength’ was diplomatically exploded by China, which conveyed the idea that the US had lost that hegemony three decades ago. The former superpower will have to relearn how to deal with China under Xi Jinping. For an America just out of the bear hug of the Trumpian rightism, and the ghost of its re-emergence still in the offing, only solid commercial and climate interests should dominate such meetings, and not the potential, real or imagined, for mutual destruction.

Mohan Singh, Amritsar

Countering China

One can draw substantive conclusions from the article ‘Political drama at Anchorage’. The US needs to treat China as its number one priority, instead of engaging in one-upmanship with Russia. Engaging with Quad

will be more fruitful. China’s line of action is clear. It does not believe in a rules-based international order, instead it intends to follow its own arrogant and expansionist policy blatantly. Its cheap electronics goods have flooded the markets of US, Europe, India and other countries. This is the bitter truth. The topmost item on the agenda should be to beat China in this sector. India’s ‘atmanirbhar’ and ‘Make in India’ programmes are right steps, but these should not end up simply as political rhetoric.

Kiran Sharma, Sundernagar

All but public servant

In a democratic setup, every government employee is a public servant, but the word ‘officer’ has made them ‘master’ of the public. They do not bother about public work as the government has not made them accountable for it. If the government makes an employee time bound to perform his duty and charge penalty, along with compensation payable to the victim for failure to do so, administrative reforms may be possible. To achieve this goal, the shield of Section 197, CRPC, is required to be removed. Along with this, their nameplate should be designed in three lines, with ‘Public servant’ at the top, followed by name and post, to suppress their arrogance.

RK Garg, Fatehabad

No stopping crime

Reference to ‘Deep rot of lawlessness’; every day, there is news of rape and murder, and UP is a hotspot for crime against Dalits. Crime is a crime; it doesn’t have any caste. This is not just in UP, it is also the problem of entire India. The government seems unable to take strict action against criminals. If the criminal is 16-17 years of age, he is underage, but what about the gravity of the crime he has committed?

Dolly Pal, Chandigarh

Accelerate vaccination

Refer to ‘Covid resurgence’; in addition to adherence to Covid protocol, we need rapid mass-scale vaccination to rein in the second wave of the pandemic. Vaccination is available now. Having undertaken large-scale immunisation campaigns before, we have the requisite experience. Still, less than 4 per cent of population has been vaccinated over the past two months. The nation is yet to recover from the economic fallout caused by the nationwide lockdown of last March. We can’t afford another lockdown. India must accelerate the pace of vaccination to defeat the virus.

K Kumar, Panchkula

No reason to rejoice

The prices of petrol and diesel have been cut by 18 paise and 17 paise, respectively, per litre after a hiatus of 24 days during which the global price of Brent Crude touched $70 per barrel. While the latest cut may possibly be attributed to the same getting reversed to around $60 per barrel, one should not feel elated. More such marginal cuts may happen in the days to come, considering the forthcoming elections in four states and the UT of Puducherry. The end-users thereof may have to pay enhanced prices, once the election results are announced, as has been the experience earlier, like the one after the Karnataka Assembly elections.

Kumar Gupt, Panchkula

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

Tainted politicians Other

Mar 25, 2021

The article ‘Like the private armies of politicians’ rightly points out the glaring anomalies of the state police forces, as a sequel to the tainted politician-police nexus, and the need to eradicate this collusion. The issue assumes added significance when the country is heading for the scheduled culmination of the celebrations of the 75th year of its Independence. Just as one crafty politician can make many in the police force bend, similarly one right politician can get the crafty cahoots to see that upright personnel are valued. Nations are not made in a day, particularly the ones that rise from the yoke of slavery. There is a need to introduce more transparency to bring in accountability.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Police-politician nexus

The criminalisation of police and the nexus between the police and politicians is the reason for the rot that has set in (‘Like the private armies of the politicians’). Police reforms are imperative. There should be an autonomous body like the Election Commission or UGC to govern the police force. All IPS officers should report to it and their training and posting should be the responsibility of that body alone.

Pawan Kumar Rakheja, Gurugram

Scholars as VCs

Reference to ‘In need of some learning’; it is a matter of concern that the university system is dogged not only by issues of access and quality, but also suffers from political appointment of VCs. It is disappointing that in many cases, the VCs — the most visible symbols of the university system — are appointed not because they are reputed scholars, researchers and distinguished administrators, but because they have the right political connections. Let the universities choose their own VCs who are best suited to lead, and not command them.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Fake degree scam

The knowledge of Internet was misused to the hilt by the fake degree racketeers arrested recently by the Baddi branch of the Himachal Police (‘Fake degree racket busted, 5 arrested’). That the culprits used their expertise in cloning websites, copying domain names and logos of universities shows how deep this malaise has penetrated into the systems of public and private educational institutions. There is also a possibility of collusion by some insiders, which needs to be probed. The government should make it obligatory for all organisations to ensure the veracity of documents of candidates applying for admissions, appointments and selections.

LR Sharma, Sundernagar

Covid resurgence

The new mutant of the coronavirus is more lethal and is spreading at a faster rate. It is a matter of serious concern. Since there is no shortage of vaccine, priority parameters have to be redefined to include all ‘working humanity’, irrespective of age and comorbidities. This would minimise the wastage of vaccine and maximise the saftey net to wider sections of the population. Safety protocols, along with vaccination, are the only way to deal with the virus.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Farmers’ issues

The Bills passed in the name of agrarian reforms have led to insecurity and fear of exploitation among the whole farming community. These fears are genuine and are based on bitter experiences with the corporates in the past. In a democracy, not only are the views of coalition partners accommodated, but also those of opposition parties have to be given due consideration. Farmers constitute a sizeable vote bank. Realising the role of agriculture in our economy, concerns of the farming community must be addressed seriously, and also with alacrity to prevent our economy to be disrupted irredeemably.


Vanity rules

Apropos of the middle ‘Nothing official about Nataraja portrait’, I got my share of jitters in 2005 when a 66 KV substation at Ambala was to be inaugurated by the CM. A black marble plaque with golden letters bearing the names of the CM, state power minister and local MP was cast with cement in the wall. A day before the event, I got a call from the DC that the MP’s name needed to be upgraded to the second position as she was senior to the minister. It was conveyed that it was not possible at this stage. The next morning, I reached the site well in advance and was surprised to find the MD waiting for me. Due to the MP’s insistence, I was told, the order of names on the plaque would have to be changed otherwise the CM would not visit the substation. A junior officer came to my rescue and immediately went to the town to get a flex printing on a piece of cloth and covered the plaque with it. Inauguration did take place late in the afternoon, but the resentful MP sat in the car and refused to share the stage with the minister.

Adarsh Jain, by mail

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

Need academic leaders Other

Mar 24, 2021

Refer to ‘In need of some learning’; present-day VCs listen only to the diktats of their political and bureaucratic godfathers and are purely at their mercy. We want a VC to be an academic leader, and not a paper shuffler or even a manager. The excessive visibility of administration in our universities and colleges has together produced an academic aridness, the extent of which is yet to be realised by the public at large. The anarchic environment in which our institutions of higher education have been functioning for sometime has made it impossible to distinguish between bad management and bad leadership. This may be due to a failure of strategy or a failure of character. But institutions could be well managed and yet be poorly led. Universities live by self-regulation. No university is likely to be better than what its VC wants it to be. Hence, the importance of the right choice.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar

University row

Apropos of the Ashoka University row, the future of India’s youth is tied to the excellence of its institutions of higher education. Ashoka University, a private non-profit university, and an unprecedented example of collective public philanthropy, was committed to ‘maintaining the highest intellectual and academic standards’. The resignation of Pratap Bhanu Mehta puts a question mark on those claims and credentials. One of India's pre-eminent scholars, he has been compelled to step down, first as VC and now as professor. The circumstances indict the university's establishment as much as they point fingers at the political regime. Mehta’s exit is a seminal moment because it points to the university’s unwillingness to protect the freedom of expression and ideas.

LAL SINGH, Amritsar

Fair probe a must

Reference to ‘The stinking feeling’; politicians and the police are two inseparable elements, but the vendetta going on between the two parties should end. Politics must not be played in this whole game. Let there be free and fair investigation. The tussle between the Centre and the state is just making things messier. Meanwhile, different security agencies should stop stepping on one another’s toes and politicians should stop interfering, so they can regain the trust of the public.

Akash Bhakri, Phillaur

Investigate allegations

The former Mumbai Police Commissioner deserves to be applauded for showing courage against the Maharashtra Government. It is a hazardous task to run a coalition government because each partner knows about their misdeeds and also that they will be ignored because the Chief Minister will always remain under pressure to save his government. The Maharashtra Government should go for a thorough probe into the allegations levelled by the former Police Commissioner.

Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana

‘Brokered’ peace

Apropos of ‘UAE “brokered” Indo-Pak truce’, does ‘New India’ need peace to be orchestrated by external forces? Is it healthy for our sovereignty and does it bolster the concept of ‘aatmanirbharta’. India might be having admirable strategic and economic relations with the UAE, but it should not allow these ties to cast a shadow over India’s ascendancy. Nevertheless, people on either side await absolute peace, for they are the ones losing their kin at the border.

Akshay Kapoor, Amritsar

Temple upkeep

Apropos of ‘1,200-yr-old temple a victim of govt apathy’, it is disappointing that an ancient cluster of magnificent temples, symbolising our rich heritage and glorious history, is crumbling. It is a pity that no Central or state agency specialising in protecting and restoring such valuable monuments has taken any positive step so far. Given its unique location and architectural excellence, the government should also explore the potential of developing it as a tourist spot by providing basic infrastructure at some cost.


Centre vs Kejriwal

The Central government, in the garb of ensuring clarity of laws for running the Delhi Government, is going to grab the powers of the elected government in Delhi by bringing in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment Bill 2021) in Parliament. In fact, this amendment will undo the law laid down by the Supreme Court, whereby the powers of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, who is the mouthpiece of the Centre, have been well defined. All know that the Lieutenant Governor is creating problems for the elected government of Delhi. This Bill, when it becomes an Act, will destroy the fabric between the Centre and the Government of Delhi which is not a good sign for democracy in India.


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

Shutting schools, colleges Other

Mar 23, 2021

The shutdown of schools and colleges till March 31 in Punjab is not understandable. Students again have to suffer as they are not doing anything. Online classes are not working properly because of improper Internet access to many students. But the hypocrisy of the political leaders in this time of the pandemic is evident in their rallies despite a ban on gatherings. Is coronavirus not affecting those present at the rallies? Students have suffered a lot due to lockdown and we know that shutting everything is not the solution.

Ramanjot Kaur, Sultanpur Lodhi

Encounter specialists

There was a noticeable dip in the tribe of 'encounter specialists' in Mumbai by the time Sachin Waze was reinstated in the city police. This tribe blossomed during the stewardship of some police commissioners whose sole focus was on keeping crime in check in Mumbai. The wider implications of this policy had not been envisaged. It is a real tragedy for the police force. Subordinate rank officers who show an inclination for the fight are much in demand. Yet, if not supervised, they turn rogue early in their career. But now the question needs to be answered: why was Waze reinstated and not put on Covid-related duties? On what pretext was he reinstated?

PL Singh, by mail

Role for women in police

Reference to ‘Let’s ensure central role for women in police’; the need for women in the police force is felt because of modern-day operational exigencies. Along with ensuring their representation, their dignity, training and specific needs should be taken care of. They can be a great force in bringing about social change by virtue of their natural instinct of devotion and sacrifice.

RS Kishtwaria, Palampur

Judicial service

Apropos of ‘All India Judicial Service’; the idea of an All India Judicial Service is as bad as passing the agriculture laws. Every state, as per the federal system, has its state judicial services which are functioning well. The Central Government now wants to encroach upon the judicial system of the state government. There is a system of nomination of judges to the state judiciary by eminent advocates keeping in view their experience in the field of law and also taking fresh law graduates through a competitive examination. Why should the Centre intend to post judges from this proposed All India Judicial Service unless the idea is to influence the judicial system of the states? The move may backfire for the government.

Capt Amar Jeet, Mohali

Admiring Bhagat Singh

The article ‘Re-imagining the icon’ raises a very pertinent question: Why is Bhagat Singh easily the most celebrated and venerated of the lot? It is still more intriguing why Bhagat Singh has rarely been condemned by religious zealots for declaring unequivocally in a booklet that he was a staunch atheist. Perhaps, it is because, as the writer says, he is admired even by those who have never read his insightful writings or assimilated his thoughts.

Basant Singh Brar, Bathinda

Irresponsible statements

Recent statements by the Uttarakhand CM like faith beating the virus at Kumbh fair and ripped jeans paving the way for societal breakdown only expose the mindset of our leaders who are supposed to lead the country. I strongly feel that it is ultimately the fault of people that we elect such leaders. Our political system needs radical reforms to prevent such people from determining the faith of the common man.

Vitull K Gupta, by mail

Discouraging talent

The step taken by Haryana to guarantee employment for locals is an attempt to shift focus from the ongoing farmers’ movement. The legislation will attract disappointment among those corporate houses which intend to set up companies in Gurugram and other cities in the state. There is already not much scope for government jobs and the shifting of base by companies will discourage those already working in the private sector.

Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad

Pollution in Jind

How a small, nondescript town with a population of just around one lakh, having no business and industrial activities, came into the 25 most polluted cities of the world, is not surprising and the reasons are well known. Recently, in the name of four-laning of roads, fully grown trees have been cut in Jind. All roads are lying dug up and the sky remains clouded with dust. The air quality index stays at dangerous levels. All these need attention.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

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

Bajwa omits K-word Other

Mar 22, 2021

Refer to the editorial ‘Reverse swing’; in a speech with potentially far-reaching consequences for South Asian security, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said “it is time to bury the past and move forward’ when it comes to his country’s relations with neighbour and arch-rival India. It is important to understand that without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, the process of sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment due to politically motivated bellicosity. However, his statements will have to be matched with actions, especially when it comes to Pakistan’s support for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan as well as India.

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

Rising Covid cases

An upsurge in Covid cases in a few states is really a matter of concern. Casual behaviour of the public in response to the pandemic is the basic reason behind the rising cases. Reverting to masks, social distancing, hand-washing protocol, contact tracing, increase in testing and more importantly, decentralising the vaccination programme will help to protect against a second wave of Covid-19. A tough stance like the lockdown is not a solution to the problem because there is already a slowdown in the economy.

Rohit Kumar Gupta, Shimla

Leadership crisis

Peter Drucker said that effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes. We are missing effective leadership. During the recent corona blast, Central and state governments are directing all sections of society to adhere to Covid guidelines. Educational institutes are being closed. A limited number of persons are being allowed entry in shopping malls at a time. Cinema halls are operating at half the capacity. The list is enormous of almost all economic activities being conducted on curtailed parameters. But election rallies are being organised in all poll-bound states. During these times, a limited number of persons should be allowed in election rallies and all campaigning should be done on digital platforms only.

Rajesh Goyal, via email

Contrasting ads

The UP and Punjab ads in the print media offer a study in contrast. While the former claims solid, palpable, verifiable concrete figures regarding the rank in ease of doing business, enhanced economy and fall in the percentage of the unemployed, the latter presents only abstract achievements using adjectives eclipsed by a photo of the CM, exactly like the previous government. Naroa Punjab is actually a repeat of the ‘Shining India’ campaign. The picture on the ground is totally different.

Mohan Singh, Amritsar

Air quality

Reference to the world air quality report that 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities globally are in India; the situation will get only worse if appropriate and sustainable measures are not taken. Major sources of pollution like vehicular emissions, stubble burning, thermal energy emission and open waste burning need to be checked. There is need to strengthen measures like enhancing subsidy for happy seeders, going for the odd-even scheme, implement GRAP, focus on renewable energy and the required political will.

Balsimran Singh, Amritsar

Judicial service

Apropos of ‘Govt bats for IAS-Like judicial service’; many decades back, the need for an All India Judicial Service was felt and in 2012, the UPA government had floated the idea. The service will be able to give us quality and speedy justice as vacant posts will be filled up and quick justice will help reduce the huge pendency of cases. The so-called parivarvad in the judicial system will also be a thing of the past. The provision of reservation may also make the lower judiciary more inclusive.

Roop Singh Negi, Solan

GST on oils

At the time of implementation of GST, oil products like crude petroleum, petrol, diesel, ATF and natural gas were not included. The Central government continued to levy excise duty and the state government continued to charge VAT on these. So, the rise in these taxes reflected on the price of these products in the past years and has now become an area of concern. The Finance Minister stated in Lok Sabha that at present, there is no proposal to bring crude petroleum, petrol, diesel, ATF and natural gas under GST. The GST council may implement this to make the taxation policy uniform throughout the country, which will benefit consumers as well as companies.

Rachana Behera, via mail

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

Not at cost of education

Mar 20, 2021

Reference to ‘Congress corners govt on closure of schools’, one is shocked when a government of the people and for the people goes against the wishes of its own people. Education is such a subject which aims to uplift people. It is painful when an educational institution is closed, saying that it has become a white elephant due to a drop in admissions. It is more disturbing when government institutions like DIETs in Haryana charging Rs 5,000 as fee are closed, while private institutions charging Rs 40,000 are allowed to continue. It is again encouraging the private sector at the cost of the poor. Moreover replacing ‘Kisan Model Schools’ with ‘Sanskriti Model Schools’ doesn’t make any sense. Replacing the word ‘kisan’ with ‘Sanskriti’ will only satisfy the ego of the ruling party without any benefit to the people.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

Farm incomes

Apropos of ‘Markets have failed to prop up farm incomes’, the current struggle of farmers which is supported by commission agents against the farm laws foresees further reduction in incomes of both if free market economy is allowed full throttle in agriculture. However, to counter the onslaught of free market economy which is corporatising agriculture, the farming community, particularly the small and marginal farmers, can't always bank upon government support. Farmers should not expect freebies of electricity and water forever. They must innovate and diversify. The farmers have to start their own cooperatives to produce area-specific crops and such cooperatives start their own agro processing units, warehousing and marketing platforms. NABARD has to be proactive in support of cooperatives. States and the Centre must be sincere in solving the agricultural crisis. Policies must be framed rising above party politics.


Learning to accept defeat

Apropos of ‘Phogats’ cousin kills self after bout’, a coach prepares his/her trainee physically and psychologically too. He inculcates mental traits and instincts, hones intricacies and the will to excel, besides accepting defeat. Competitive sports are not like ‘Kumbh ka mela’ which return after 12 years. Sometimes there is a very thin line between victory and defeat. Nowadays in an era of cut-throat competition even an extraordinary player cannot take his/her victory for granted.

Manjeet S Rurkikhas, Garhshankar

Major slip

Reference to the faux pas of the Uddhav Thackeray government; Sachin Waze, a notorious cop, was reinstated last year. Had the probe of the SUV case not been entrusted to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the consequences would have been dangerous. The Shiv Sena-led government was not happy when the probe was given to the NIA. Now the NIA has arrested one of the culprits. The Shiv Sena leaders have only tarnished the image of the Maharashtra Government by their unbecoming statements. The faux pas committed by the state government would not be forgotten soon.


Protests at public places

Political or apolitical protesters have no moral, legal or rational ground to destroy or damage public or private property in any manner. Causing damage or destruction of property should not be allowed even if the protest is for a just cause. Protest may be permitted but not damage or destruction, which should legally be made a civil liability for the protesters to pay for the damage caused by them. This should be in addition to the existing provisions in the Indian Penal Code pertaining to fixing criminal liability in all such cases. The Haryana Assembly has done well to pass such like civil liability Bill recently.


Taxing tourists

Apropos of ‘Green tax on vehicles’, tax collection without resolving the issues is not the solution. Thousands of tourists visit Shimla, but the problem of traffic congestion, shortage of parking spaces and increased green tax is a problem. The MC should take adequate steps to resolve the issues. Increasing green tax without enhancing benefits to tourists will only act as a hindrance. More parking spaces should be constructed. Waiting time of commuters should be reduced by proper management of vehicles. The project of tunnel construction should be completed timely. Tax collection via app or at toll counters is a good initiative.

Asha Yadav, Yamunanagar

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

New Covid challenge Other

Mar 19, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right in saying that if the growing Covid cases across the country are not controlled immediately, the situation can become uncontrollable. The Centre as well as the state governments will have to strictly follow the old formulas of testing, trekking and isolation for immediate control of the infection. The wastage of vaccines is also worrying in some states. People will have to be alert to the new pattern of the infection otherwise serious consequences will have to be suffered.

Shakti Singh, Karnal

List achievements first

Reference ‘Didi releases TMC manifesto, promises monthly wages for all’; every political party prior to election offers freebies to voters to extract votes. Nothing can be offered free, it has to be at some cost. Parties must focus on highlighting the achievements of the already promised ones rather than fooling the voters every time.

RS Kishtwaria, Palampur

Emulate Delhi Govt

The Delhi Government is currently providing around 100 home-based public utility services. One has to simply dial helpline number '1076' to avail the same while sitting at home. The Haryana Government should follow suit. In fact, a good beginning may be made by facilitating the online issuance of driving licences, registration certificates and sanctioning of electricity and water connections, etc. Such a faceless, hassle-free and people-oriented move will earn the Khattar government appreciation from people.

SK Gupta, Panchkula

Rethink Delhi Bill

Reference to the editorial ‘The Delhi Bill’; the new Bill introduced by the Centre in Parliament has revived apprehensions of a bid by the Centre to circumscribe the powers of Delhi’s elected government. The Centre must rethink this ill-advised move. It would do well to revisit Justice DY Chandrachud’s note in the 2018 verdict: ‘In a democratic form of government, the real power must subsist in the elected arms of the state.’

SS Paul, Nadia

Threat to democracy

You have called a spade a spade in your bold editorial ‘The Delhi Bill’. Really it is the outcome of a myopic political vision and such moves can pose a major threat to the fabric of our democracy. The Centre should revisit its decision.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Air quality poor again

Refer to the editorial ‘Most noxious’; the situation in many cities of India also has become alarming due to dangerous pollution levels. After the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic were relaxed, the air quality declined everywhere. In the past, the Supreme Court had directed to prevent cities from becoming gas chambers. This aspect should attract national attention urgently. Apart from health issues, diseases cause avoidable burden on the economy.


Rules for RWAs

There is a dire need for clear guidelines to ensure the proper working of RWAs in various sectors of Chandigarh. In the absence of a standard constitution, they make rules suiting themselves. There is no transparency of finances and no regular general house meeting. At places, residents have even stopped paying maintenance money due to lack of transparency. Elections are overdue but are put off citing petty excuses. The Chandigarh Housing Board must formulate a common constitution for all RWAs, which will ensure proper development and use of public money.

Jaswant singh, Chandigarh

Cricket obsession

Reference to ‘When all one did was play cricket’; Bernard Shaw had said about cricket that ‘11 fools play and 11,000 fools watch’. Cricket has overshadowed all other sports. Children are obsessed with the sport and it is affecting their studies. If we divert our focus and funds from cricket to other sports, many more medals may be in our kitty in the next Olympics. Our obsession for cricket should go. To begin with, ban the IPL. It is more about making money than playing cricket. Cricketers shamelessly offer themselves for auction to earn money. The IPL exploits our craze for cricket. Secondly, we need to stop the live telecast of unduly long cricket matches. It is a national waste. An hourly score during the match should suffice. One-dayers may be preferred over Test matches.


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

BJP’s message

Mar 18, 2021

It has taken long for Delhi to acquire the status of a UT, with a promise of full statehood (‘The Delhi Bill’). But with the Centre now introducing the Government of NCT of Delhi Bill, it will be tantamount to asking the Delhi Government to stop governing. With this proposed law, the Centre will be arrogating all powers to itself, which will undermine Delhi’s elected government. Implications of the proposed law extend beyond the AAP vs BJP political conflict. By making it mandatory for an elected government to route its files through the Lt Governor, it threatens to take away the autonomy that any elected government requires for governance. Does the BJP-led Centre want to send out the message that it will support greater autonomy for Delhi Government only if a BJP government rules Delhi? It is a mockery of the votes cast in favour of a party. The Congress and other opposition parties should provide full support to Delhi’s AAP government in this matter. Though Delhi is not yet a full state, it does have a legislative Assembly which shouldn’t be rendered meaningless.

SK SINGH, Amritsar

Vengeful act

Apropos of ‘The Delhi Bill’, the Central government with its vicious agenda never misses an opportunity to scuttle the powers of a duly elected popular non-BJP government. The undue haste is obviously a vengeful act, being the absolute rejection of the BJP in the MCD bypoll. In consonance with the spirit of federalism, as enshrined in the Constitution, ideally the Centre should accord full statehood to Delhi to strengthen the well-performing government.


Army selection system

The involvement of certain Army officers in the recruitment/selection scam has brought the selection process into disrepute. There is a need to put the incident in a correct perspective, lest people regard the selection system as compromised. The selection of officers is done by the Service Selection Board (SSB). It is a multi-tier system comprising 12-13 assessors. The board is presided over by an officer of the rank of a Brigadier or a Major General. All of them give their opinions independent of one another and evaluate the suitability of candidates using a standardised protocol of evaluation system which constitutes personality, intelligence, psychology tests and interviews. Psychology sheets of a candidate are never destroyed and are preserved in the library of the Defence Institute of Psychological Research. It is a five-day evaluation process. The present instance relates to allegedly declaring candidates ‘fit’ during a review medical board. Candidates recommended by the SSB are medically examined by a board. The candidates found unfit are straightaway rejected. But those with minor medical conditions are declared ‘temporarily unfit’. Such candidates invariably treat their ailments, get cured and appear before a review medical board. There is no element of corruption here. It is the people’s propensity to bribe which is exploited by unscrupulous elements in society. Even though money might have exchanged hands in the ibid case, there was no ‘quid pro quo’. Our selection system is above board.

Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali

Farming and industry

Both the Centre and farmers' unions should work out a modus vivendi to diversify by keeping farm laws at abeyance and bringing in reforms in a consultative manner. The sustainable growth of agriculture hinges on improving infrastructure, enhancing research and development, besides the close knitting of linkage between agriculture and industry. The income of farmers, in the long run, cannot go up substantially unless non-farm activities, including rural and agro-based industries, are developed.

KB Singh, Ludhiana

Low allocation

The Haryana Government has proposed an outlay of Rs 18,410 crore for education in the total budget of Rs 1,55,645 crore for 2021-22. This allocation for education comes to 8.45% of the total proposed budget. This total share for education includes Rs 14,913 crore for school education, which gets merely 1.04% of the total budget. It does not seem possible to implement most of the components of the National Education Policy (NEP). The NEP has proposed to spend 6% of GDP on education. It was earlier said by the Education Commission (1964-66). This factor does not seem to have been considered. The allocation falls short of the needs of the NEP. Factors like teachers' professional preparedness and school leadership do not seem to have been given enough importance. Hopefully, the government will try to allocate some more amount during revised estimates so that the important issues are not left behind.


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

Legal aid for prisoners

Mar 17, 2021

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad must be aware that a large number of prisoners wanting to challenge the judgment against them in courts do not have enough money to afford lawyers. Their families are hard-pressed for money to arrange for a lawyer to fight their case. Like students in medical colleges serve as interns, attending to patients six months before they get their degrees, those awaiting their law degrees should also spend an earmarked time with needy litigants and fight their case before they get their degrees to practise law. The government is aware that people are often forced to sell all their belongings to defend their case. A large number of innocents get caught in the trap without any finances and continue to sit in prisons because they cannot get lawyers to plead their case. The government must make a law in Parliament and give internship to those graduating in law in defending pending cases of the needy.

Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP leader and ex-health minister of Punjab

Shimla tourist tax

Shimla MC’s innovative idea to impose a levy on tourist vehicles should be appreciated and, in fact, emulated by other civic bodies. Tourists enjoying local facilities and amenities should not mind contributing their mite towards upkeep. The Amritsar MC once imposed a petty token tax on bicycles (1950s) and rickshaws plying on city roads, though collection was not easy. Right now, they have unnecessarily exempted all uncovered plots from property tax, though they are only appreciating in value at the expense of the government. If they are taxed suitably, they can fetch some much-needed cash because there are thousands of such unbuilt ‘kholaas’ in the walled city. They are not only an eyesore but also a breeding ground for rats.


Privatising banks

Apropos of ‘Banking services hit due to strike’, banks remaining shut for four consecutive days may have grave consequences for the economy. What forces bank staff to take such an extreme step? Banks have played a pivotal role in the economic development of our country. A critical analysis of the role and functioning of nationalised banks is imperative. Political interference in the banking system is a prime reason for the whole NPA mess. Privatisation of banks will weaken an already vulnerable economy in the long term. Capitalistic economy has inherent risks and our country cannot afford to tread on this path blindly.

Amrinder Singh Mann, Sangrur

Sustainable agriculture

Refer to ‘Wean farmers off wheat, paddy through incentives’; paddy was only introduced as a second major crop in the state during the Green Revolution. More than 70% of the state is dependent upon groundwater resources. Paddy- growing blocks in the state are overexploited. Resultantly, water level in such areas is 60-80 ft as compared to 5-10 ft in the pre-Green Revolution era and power consumption in agriculture has more than doubled, without any significant rise in area and production. The government should come up with a definite diversification model for northern states. There is no alternative but to shun wheat-paddy rotation for sustainable agriculture. It is possible to make up for the loss of paddy by promoting it in the Northeast to ensure food security. A holistic approach at the national level is required for sustainable agriculture.


Quad cooperation

Countering China’s assertive policy in the Indo-Pacific, North Korea’s nuclear programme and other unlawful activities is possible through Quad cooperation. The US looks at India as a key partner in the Asia-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific represents the most populous and economically dynamic part of the world and India has a crucial role to play. Quad can help in adherence to freedom of navigation, rules-based order, stable trade environment, free air and sea-lane connectivity and upholding international rules and norms.


Hola Mohalla celebrations

The government has decided to permit Hola Mohalla gatherings at Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib with certain riders. Coronavirus cases are increasing again. Hola Mohalla is a religious festival and people may not follow safety protocols. There can be another corona wave if the government does not take stern steps. Such gatherings should not be allowed. The government should issue prohibitory orders and an advisory to people to pay obeisance from home.

Pawan Sharma, Nangal

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

New political loyalty

Mar 16, 2021

This refers to ‘Yashwant Sinha joins TMC; says democracy under BJP is in danger’ (The Sunday Tribune). Former NDA minister Yashwant Sinha joining the Trinamool Congress, citing danger to democracy under the ruling BJP, did not come as a surprise. Sinha must be feeling like a ‘fish out of water’. While the TMC leaders have hailed his entry as a shot in the arm for Mamata Banerjee, who has been recently hit by the exit of party heavyweights, but Sinha can’t ever fill the ‘political vacuum’ created by the sudden ‘migration’ of Suvendu to the BJP fold. One does fail to comprehend the rationale behind Sinha joining the TMC, which is a regional party.

SK Gupta, New Delhi

Litmus test for BJP

Apropos of ‘Marriage of convenience’ (Nous Indica), the CPI, CPI(M), DMK, TMC and AAP have followed the political concept originated and implemented by the Congress. The ideology of the Congress, popularly known as Nehru-Gandhi way of thinking, has worked wonders. With its pivotal tools of secularism and mixed economy, it has brought about drastic changes in the social and economic outlook of the people. Thus, to a large extent, it has succeeded in its ideological mission. The BJP has gained strength on the core issue of the construction of Ram Mandir. But the blind economic pursuits have ignored the importance of the basics of culture and civilisation. The BJP will have to face a litmus test on social, economic and political fronts.


Quad and China

Refer to China emerging as a major superpower in the last two decades; however, it has been disruptive for the region, and in particular its neighbouring countries. China is misusing its power and position to help rogue nations like Pakistan and North Korea. The last bit of world’s patience was spent when China started being aggressive in the South and East China seas, and its border with India, and failed to support a proper investigation into the spread of Covid-19 from Wuhan. Therefore, it was imperative for the regional powers to collaborate in the form of Quad in order to balance the Chinese influence. However, Quad can only succeed if it doesn't remain confined to merely acting as a deterrence against China. It must diversify in various fields of cooperation to make it a long-term and viable coalition.

Mahak Arora, Chandigarh

More equal than others

The disposition of our rulers is to play dirty tricks to further their cause — for instance, Z-plus security granted to actor Kangana Ranaut, followed by Mithun Chakraborty, now a star campaigner for the BJP in West Bengal — thus splurging taxpayer’s money, notwithstanding the risk perception. The odious trend is to unleash Central agencies on dissenters. What a coincidence that not even a single BJP leader is in the ambit of any investigation. What we need is the ‘rule of law, not rule by law’.


Not as beautiful

On my recent visit to Chandigarh, I found the city not as green and beautiful, as it used to be about two decades back. It is overcrowded and what you see is endless traffic. Over one lakh new cars are added every month and there’s no land available for providing so many parking lots, and hence, greenery is being sacrificed. People have converted their residences into business premises in virtually all sectors. Doctors, lawyers, CAs, property dealers, etc., are running their businesses from residential premises, adding to traffic congestion.


Mithali makes India proud

Apropos of ‘Mithali inspires’, as cricket is a male-dominated sport, women’s cricket catches the public eye on rare occasions and there is negligible media coverage; yet, she has made India proud. Women of our country are achieving great feats without much public support. If we provide even half of the support that we are giving to men’s cricket to the women’s team, they will definitely take the glory of the Tricolour to greater heights.

Benika Gaira, Chandigarh

Fan of vitriolic satire

I am a diehard fan of Keki Daruwalla’s writing (‘Sedition and other traditions’; The Sunday Tribune). His pen remains dipped in acid, his eyes hidden behind glasses with a minority tint. Those bored of reading bland, neutral narratives should shift to his discourses. His satire provides a unique flavour. He overlooks the atrocities on Pandits in J&K but makes hair-splitting analyses of the likes of Yogi Adityanath. His memory is sharp enough to remember the Malegaon blasts but becomes nebulous about the 2008 Mumbai attacks. A week becomes an agonising wait for another gem from his pen!

LR Sharma, Sundernagar

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

Theatre of the absurd

Mar 15, 2021

Apropos of ‘Marriage of convenience’ (Nous Indica); West Bengal is turning into a theatre of the absurd. Casteism and communalism, by way of either appeasement or design, or both, have come to the fore, where pre-poll and even post-poll alliances will disregard ideological considerations. The Congress and the Left are dying and crying out in the wilderness, while the BJP is going all out to topple the TMC through turncoats. Anarchy and violence in the name of ‘poriborton’ are threatening India’s rich diversity of language, caste, religion, culture and geography. Sheer opportunism has made inroads into Indian polity, and ethics in politics stand compromised.

Abhimanyu Malik, Jind

Coming together, for now

Reference to ‘Marriage of convenience’ (Nous Indica); such marriages are often short-lived, though easily consummated. Our Constitution provides for enough guarantees and safeguards against interference of personal faiths and beliefs in polity, but insertion of ‘secular’ in 1973 in the Preamble smacked of minority appeasement, and an equal and opposite reaction later was a corollary. Communal politics dominates elections. Judicial activism at the highest level and a TN Seshan at the helm in the ECI, can stem the rot. India boasts of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ at the international fora and should employ that spirit at home, too.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Flouting Covid protocol

It was shocking that spectators who came to watch the T20 cricket match between India and England at the Ahmedabad stadium indulged in blatant violation of Covid-19 safety norms. There was zero compliance regarding the maintenance of physical distance and majority of them were not wearing masks. Criminal proceedings should be initiated against the organisers for putting so many lives at risk. The state is already in the grip of surging fresh cases and such kind of gross violation at a huge public gathering cannot be overlooked.


Far from free

India getting dropped from a ‘free’ to a ‘partly free’ in the freedom index is worrisome (‘The truth has a price’). India’s score in this report has dropped consistently since 2017 when it scored 77. The authoritarian regime in the country has been misusing power to silence its critics, which is against the very spirit of a democracy. Voices of dissent in the country are labelled as seditious and any international criticism is labelled as a conspiracy. There is another perturbing aspect — the report has granted two out of four points for independence of Indian judiciary. It refers to the recent pro-government rulings and the appointment of a retired Chief Justice to the upper House of Parliament. Our institutions stand up and speak against undemocratic activities and rejuvenate our battered and divided nation.

Aaditya Singh, by mail

Incentivising production

The writer may be correct in saying that the scheme is to increase domestic production and reduce imports, but it is a fact that the net effect of reduction of imports and increase of exports is the same on the balance of payments position (‘Jury’s out on production-linked incentive scheme’). Rather increased domestic production will contribute more towards GDP growth and employment creation. Regarding issues related to land, labour, electricity and legal system, a comparison with other countries may not be logical for participating in the PLI scheme. Entrepreneurs and big houses must participate in a big way to avail the benefits of the scheme.

Ashok Gupta, Ludhiana

For society’s sake

With reference to ‘Keeping couples safe’, the high number of cases throw a light on how rigid our society can be when it comes to norms. Corruption and other evils could have been reduced significantly if people had the same dedication to laws and structure. If families could go to such extent to threaten their own children, what kindness can they have for those not their family? Are we living in an unkind society, where you either live by society rules or are threatened to death?

Vandita Jain, Ludhiana

She shoots, she scores!

Apropos of ‘Mithali inspires’, Mithali and her ilk in different sports are doing a great service to the nation by inspiring girls to take up sport. Kudos to Mithali Raj for having joined England’s Charlotte Edwards in a prestigious club. Her performance has been precise and priceless. She has become a source of inspiration for those daughters of the nation who intend to pursue cricket as a passion and profession. Since long, the BCCI is considered as a male-centric organisation, but now with an exemplary performance, Mithali Raj has changed the definition.

Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad

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

Amend TA rules Other

Mar 13, 2021

Apropos of ‘Anurag Thakur is Capt in Territorial Army’, the Army is apolitical, how can a politician and minister be in TA, take part in active politics and propagate his party’s agenda in elections? A serving soldier on leave took part in Kisan Ekta Morcha, where his father was protesting, was charged under the Army Act. Thakur took part in election rallies and led the crowd to chant ‘Goli maro saalon ko’. Why should he not be charged under the same Act and court-martialled? Why a different yardstick? How can active politicians be allowed to serve in TA? If he is allowed, why are active soldiers not allowed in active politics? When in Opposition, will Thakur be allowed to raise slogans against the government wearing Army uniform? TA rules must be amended to stop this misuse of the Army.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali

The victim card

Apropos of ‘TMC attacks EC as Didi lands in hospital; Oppn calls it drama’, whatever the cause of her injury, it has given sufficient fodder to media outlets which are running the story ad nauseam. As politicians enjoy such low credibility and are adept in cooking up stories, voters do not take them seriously. This episode may be a classic case of the crying wolf. Voters are disillusioned and hope that the parties shall get down to brass tacks and shy away from politics of the pot calling the kettle black, and playing the victim card.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Attack on Mamata

It is still a mystery whether the attack on Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was a conspiracy or a strategy to garner public sympathy for the upcoming elections. But what is the point of Z plus security if the CM can be attacked in the presence of security personnel? Is Mamata Banerjee’s security force so weak in Bengal that the CM gets attacked and none of her security personnel takes quick action?

Nandani jangir, Panchkula

Keeping it together

Apropos of ‘Keeping couples safe’, caste and communal prejudices are not only deeply entrenched and buttressed by misogyny in our society, but also are nurtured on a daily basis by our communal and casteist leaders, social organisations and tradition-bound families. In such a hostile environment, young men and women who defy socio-cultural mores and tie the nuptial knot, regardless of caste and community considerations, are helping dismantle barriers and are promoting social harmony. By ensuring shelter and safety to such runaway couples, the court is also contributing to the slow process of transition in society towards harmonious social ambience. These marriages are harbingers of social change.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Curfew is back

Refer to ‘One year of pandemic’; a year later, India is back with night curfews and lockdowns amid a steep rise in Covid cases across states, including Punjab. The present surge in cases is not due to Wuhan or international arrivals, but because of our own complacency. The decline in test and contact tracing by the health authorities, throwing open large congregations by the administration and people’s casual approach in adhering to safety protocols are among the reasons.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Letting them down

‘Time can’t heal some scars’ is a touching piece. Is it not a shame that Taro Devi who lost her husband in the nation’s service was forced to live in a dilapidated house till the writer found out and helped her? The wives/families of the PoWs and war heroes deserve better treatment from our great nation that spends crores on building statues and lakhs on its ‘netas’.

Aswant Kaur Gill, Tarn Taran

No-trust vote

Refer to ‘55 vs 32 : Khattar govt easily sails through no-trust vote’; it was expected even before the motion was taken up by the House in view of the whips issued by three parties in the Assembly. The government will stay in power till it has the support of the JJP. But does the government have the right to stay in power when its support base has been eroded in the state? Morals and ethics have no meaning for modern-day politicians. The Central government committed a blunder in passing the three farm Bills in a hurry, bypassing all discussions/negotiations with the parties concerned and now the deadlock will create only more ill will for those in power, be it the Centre or states. Renegotiations should begin to end this chaos.

Suresh Verma, Chandigarh

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

Promote FPOs instead Other

Mar 12, 2021

I read with interest the article ‘MSP is aspirational for most crops’, but beg to differ on the MSP argument. If a law is made on MSP, who is going to police it? Does the government have enough resources to buy, store and market all the agricultural produce? It is a far-fetched idea. We have seen schemes like PDS and midday meals using rotten grains. We have also seen the ‘efficiency’ of some government departments. The writer should motivate farmers to establish Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) at Ballari and at other mandis, instead of asking them to confront the government. He can make his vision a success in two years by promoting FPOs rather than a law on MSP.

Suresh Menon, CHANDIGARH

Employ other means

Reference to the farmers’ move to block Delhi entry points; it is debatable whether the demands of the farmers are genuine or not, or if the government is on the right path. However, one thing is certain that the public moving to and fro from the Capital is being harassed for no fault of theirs. Hundreds of people commute daily to the Capital. People are already troubled by restrictions due to the pandemic. Many patients requiring medical treatment go to Delhi for checkup. The farmers are putting the common man at inconvenience. The farmers should, instead, gherao the residences and offices of ministers and cut off the supply of essentials to ministers and members sitting in Parliament.

Surinder Kumar Mahna, Karnal

Bharat Bandh, why?

Bharat Bandh, fine, but against whom? Some farmers’ unions have called for Bharat Bandh on March 26, when all transport services, including road and rail, and business establishments will remain closed. The question is, what harm has Bharat done to them? The government of the day is not Bharat. The common man and economy will be impacted adversely, which will only add to the woes of the people.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Covaxin shines

It is heartening that the performance of the Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech has been appreciated by the prestigious Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal (‘Covaxin shows potency’). Now when all dust has settled, we all should get inoculated enthusiastically at the earliest. Mass vaccination is the only way to control this pandemic, but we must also continue taking preventive measures.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Congress must correct course

Apropos of ‘Chacko quits on Kerala poll eve, says no democracy left,’ the Congress is not a sinking ship. It is floundering because of its ‘age-related’ faults and factors. Whether it is his resignation or the rumblings of the Jammu caucas, the forebodings are being ignored by the party top brass at the cost of its very survival. There is a spate of pieces of advice to the Congress on how to correct the course, but are the quarters concerned ready to pay heed?

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Online exams in schools

Refer to ‘Students, teachers main drivers of Covid spread in state’; the situation is alarming but the Punjab school education department is silent on the issue. KVS is conducting online exams for nursery to class VIII for the safety of students. Punjab schools should also conduct online exams, but the DPI (Elementary) has forced students of classes V and VIII to go for offline pre-board exams. Preparations are on for offline final exams from March 15 (nursery to class VII) and March 22 (for class VIII). A large number of students are corona positive as per the above report, and it is a matter of concern.

Devinder Sahni, by mail

Undo pension injustice

Apropos of ‘Poll-year populism’, the Budget indeed has something for virtually every section of society. It has brought hope to many deserving sections of society in the present pandemic crisis. We must appreciate the efforts of FM Manpreet Badal in providing some cheer to farmers, women, freedom fighters and writers/authors through the Budget. Education nevertheless is essential for every individual and those imparting it need to be recognised for their worth. Nearly a decade back, a grave injustice was done to retired teachers of aided colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh by repealing the pension scheme. The needy and aged teachers were expecting the present government to undo the injustice by offering relief in the form of a token honorarium.

UMA JOSHI, Chandigarh

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

Populist measure Other

Mar 11, 2021

Apropos of ‘Plan for crop diversification’, the Punjab Budget for the next fiscal is a populist measure aimed at wooing the farmers who are protesting against farm laws. Promises made in earlier manifestos have not been fulfilled. Diversification of crops has been the watch word of all governments since India became surplus in foodgrain production, but the scheme remained on the back burner, as a consequence of which Punjab’s soil as well as water table has been contaminated with chemicals. The government should abide by its commitments and implement agricultural schemes in right earnest to pull the tottering economy out of the morass of apathy.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Women as objects

Reference to the article ‘Dissecting toxic masculinity’, unfortunately women are seen as objects of desire. How can a rapist be given the offer of marrying his victim? Her dignity, again, depends on a criminal. In which era are we living? Women are scientists, pilots, doctors, lawyers, PMs, Presidents, and what not! They have proved their mettle in all fields, but still must have a ‘social guardian’ in the form of a father, brother, husband, son. They are worshipped but not loved because love lies in equality. Masculinity lies in aggression, control and possession. A patriarchal society doesn’t want women to be autonomous and capable.


Reduce fuel tax

Taxes are the primary reason for record highs in the retail price of petrol and diesel. The rise in the price of international crude has played its part (‘Rein in fuel prices’). While numbers vary across states, a significant part of retail fuel cost is due to the levy of taxes by both the Central and state governments. The real picture emerges when the retail price is subdivided. Some time ago, the retail price of petrol in Delhi was Rs 89.29 a litre. Of this, Rs 57.19, or 64% of the price, was on account of taxes and dealer commissions. The major portion (Rs 32.90/litre) of the taxes went to the Centre, higher than even the base price of petrol. When the crude prices dropped from 2015, the government increased taxes to corner the benefits of a favourable environment. When the environment is changing, people are expected to bear the brunt of the increase. States like Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Meghalaya have reduced fuel taxes. Electoral considerations may have played a part in the decision of the first two states, but the other two deserve credit. Rising fuel prices are inflationary. To control the prices, the Centre and states should lower taxes so that the consumer gets some relief. The government must also focus on improving direct tax and GST compliance.

EL SINGH, by mail

Skill-based education

Education in India definitely needs to be restructured. The old-age concept of acquiring degrees or any specialisation is no longer a guarantee of a job and its security. Constant upgrade, learning new skills and even leaving jobs to do something on your own is the new norm. The world is changing and so are business organisations and industry. Let us adapt to the changes.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

Fight Covid on your own!

I recently visited the Government Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh, for an RT-PCR test. I waited in a queue for three-four hours as the registration process was prolonged. On the second day, I received a call from the SDM office that I had tested positive and must isolate myself. My neighbours were not apprised of my status by the department. It is left to the individual to inform colleagues, family etc. Any person with a destructive mind can continue mingling with people. Even after 24 hours, there is no official prescription from the UT administration. A colleague residing in Chandigarh got himself tested at a Mohali hospital. He tested positive and was immediately given a first-aid box, free of cost, to fight the infection. Is the UT administration having a paucity of funds?

Rajesh Goyal, by mail

Plug loopholes

With regard to ‘Second Major held in paper leak case’, such cases show how deep the rot has set in. It’s time to switch over to a strict, preventive approach in our system. A stitch in time saves nine. Administrators and planners at the helm must take a serious note of the sorry state of affairs.

RS Kishtwar, Palampur

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

Path towards equality Other

Mar 10, 2021

Apropos of ‘Dissecting toxic masculinity’, asked for a synonym for ‘man’, most would use words like ‘brave’, ‘fearless’, ‘powerful’, ‘bold’. With respect to ‘woman’, the words would be ‘docile’, ‘submissive’, ‘polite’. It is time to stop considering females as puppets in the hands of a patriarchal society and to stop considering men as the sole breadwinners of the family. Society needs to undergo tremendous change to alter its mindset towards women. Women should not be bound by restrictions imposed by men; she should not remain caged. She is free to achieve her ambitions. Grandfathers, fathers and brothers should set an example that is free from toxic masculinity and both parents should work together towards the goal of equality.


Local quota

Political rhetoric is not new in India. But what the government of Haryana is doing by passing Bills of employment for local candidates is wrong. This was also done by Andhra Pradesh. What type of hypocrisy is this that the BJP-led Central government is pushing farmers to sell their crops anywhere in the country, and on the other hand, they are stopping migrants to work anywhere in the country?

Ramanjot Kaur, Sultanpur Lodhi

Battleground Bengal

Apropos of ‘Electoral battle in Bengal’, soaring political rhetoric has already set the tone for an intensely competitive Assembly election in West Bengal. The BJP has been trying to overcome its leadership deficiency by recruiting defectors, primarily from the TMC. CM Mamata Banerjee has rolled out new welfare schemes and reached out to regions and social groups that tilted towards the BJP. If the Left-Cong-ISF alliance claims a segment of the anti-incumbency votes, it will weaken the BJP; if it splits TMC votes, it will help the BJP. Mamata faces a fierce contest.

SS Paul, Nadia

Budgetary astuteness

‘Poll-year populism’ conceptualises the financial needs of the state in an economically and politically restive environment. In the prevalent scenario, the FM has done a tough job reasonably well, given the limitations and nature of electoral politics. The government needs to create conditions where the innate spirit of the people of the state finds expression to reverse the adversarial trend. The total outlay for Punjab should test the mettle of the political leadership and dutifulness of the sections of people in their assigned domains to produce desirable results efficiently.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Reinforcing prejudices

Apropos of ‘Trolley suitcase, what a blessing!’ as much as it brings into perspective the alleged unpleasantness of being harassed by porters, the writer goes too far in saying that trolleys were invented because of ‘greedy porters who were overcharging for a very long period’. The Middle speaks of suffering at the hands of a very marginalised section of society, reminding one of conversations about transgenders, where victims are portrayed as oppressors. The writer’s comments generalising that ‘their families never benefited from their earnings’ reinforce prejudices, making it look as if people take up these jobs out of choice. The essence could have been conveyed in a more nuanced manner.

Ankita Chakravarty, Delhi

Matter of privilege?

‘Privileged to take Covid-19 vaccine…’ raises pertinent questions. Those living in metropolitan areas will be vaccinated but what about the 70% population living in villages? Will they have to trudge to cities and how long will the immunity last? The nation of over a billion population has to be covered. Have the authorities given it a thought?

Gursharan S Narula, Ludhiana

Remembering Sahir

With regard to Sahir Ludhianvi’s birth centenary celebrations, step-motherly treatment is meted out to our icons. On the literature front, Sahir had made Ludhiana proud, but there are little efforts to revisit the memory of the legendary poet. Our society has failed in recognising the contributions made by our heroes in every field. Sahir lives on in the hearts of peasants, the working class and the downtrodden.

Jasvinder S Humsafar, Maloudh

Glued to entertainment

Entertainment is become a daily need of our life. We are not giving ourselves time and we are forgetting the value of boredom. By watching movies all the time, we are losing the ability to do our best. In free time, we become more creative. Today, we are not making weekly plans with friends to go somewhere. We are, instead, making plans to watch a web series together. We are not playing outdoor games, but are indulging in mobile games together. This is not good. We should focus on creativity and read more books.


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

Quite an example Other

Mar 09, 2021

Three cheers for the woman traffic constable, Priyanka, who was spotted on duty with her five-month-old baby in her arms! Some may criticise her for carrying a baby while on duty, but I feel that such a conscientious constable should be awarded a police medal for not remaining absent from duty. Carrying the child to work was not an every-day affair. It was an emergency when she couldn’t have left the baby anywhere. Instead of resting under a tree and sitting in a chair, like many cops do, she preferred performing her duty which deserves praise.

S Chaudhary, Mohali

Discuss women’s issues

One can think of a world without men but we can’t think of a world without women. International Women’s Day must be a day for reflection and action because women are not just an observer of change, they are the change maker. For a woman, the world is full of struggle. Rather than discussing their problems, we should discuss their achievements and contributions towards society. For a better tomorrow, let us talk about their protection, freedom and equality.

Devina Badhwar, Rohtak

Equal opportunities

Empowering women with education can lead a nation and world to new heights. Education not only makes women self-reliant, but also contributes in the education of a family, society and nation. Women are touching new heights. We can't expect the growth of a nation without women's participation. The real significance of Women’s Day is in giving women equal access and opportunities to achieve their potential and convert the theory of being ‘dependent’ to the practicality of ‘atmanirbhar’.

Archana Anand, Palampur

Retrograde step

Haryana has joined other states to legislate reservation of private sector job for locals. It will have some adverse effects, like driving jobs out of the state as it will make business unviable. It will encourage informalisation of labour, as employers look for ways to compete in the market and follow the law. The law does carve out exceptions by allowing employers to seek permission for waivers if there are not qualified locals available. That will open the door to a licence-permit-quota raj leading to corruption. Nativism will weaken the bonds that unite India and violate the fundamental right of citizens to seek a livelihood anywhere in the country. The BJP claims to be nationalist. It should not have pandered to nativism, even if it was an election promise of its most important ally that helped to form the government.


The ‘Flying Sikh’

‘WW-I Sikh fighter pilot’s memorial to come up in UK’ makes every Indian feel a sense of pride. Hardit Singh Malik entered the UK at the age of 14 and went on to become a member of the Royal Flying Corps. He became famous as the ‘Flying Sikh’. Though late, a befitting memorial is being erected in Southampton in the memory of this great fighter pilot. We are proud of him.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

India connect

Sikh fighter pilot Hardit Singh Malik later joined the ICS and served a full term in the British, and after 1947, in the Indian services. Thereafter, he was appointed ambassador to France. He had also taken part in negotiations when Akali leader Tara Singh went on hunger strike for some days.

Baldev Singh, Melbourne

Splendid performance

Kudos to Virat Kohli’s men for clinching a 3-1 Test series triumph over England. India’s innings and 25-run victory in the fourth Test, concluded a series that was largely one-sided, barring England’s win in the opening encounter at Chennai. Like it did in Australia, India shrugged aside the early loss and turned around its fortunes in a riveting fashion. The excellence of youth and the terrific form of Ashwin and Rohit Sharma, papered over the modest returns from Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Shubman Gill. India has topped the ICC Test rankings but in June, on a grassy English pitch and against crafty New Zealand seamers, a tougher competition awaits.


Not enough teachers

Apropos of ‘Patiala’s Girls Multipurpose School adjudged ‘best’ in state’, it is good to rank schools on the basis of technology, but not even a single school from the border belt has figured on the list. Punjab schools recorded 15 per cent increase in enrolment due to the hard work of school heads. The government has still to provide teachers in rural and border schools. There are no science teachers in many schools or only one lecturer which is not justified. Also, senior teachers, lecturers and headmasters are awaiting promotions. Senior principals are awaiting promotions through a departmental promotion committee.

Devinder Sahni, by mail

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

Regulate tech giants Other

Mar 08, 2021

The monopolistic attitude of technology giants has put these companies in a circle of negativity. Complaints have been filed against Facebook and Google all over the world for their way of capturing the market. One example is the way Facebook acquired WhatsApp and Instagram to snuff out competition. The government had to issue a notice to Twitter for tweets of hashtag ‘farmer genocide’. WhatsApp’s new privacy policy is also a matter of concern. The time has come for collaborative action against them. They have become so powerful that all nations will have to come forward to restrain them.

Jaskirat Singh Batra, Muktsar

Vaccine rumours

The moment the whole nation had been eagerly waiting to deal with the deadly Covid-19 virus has arrived. But the whole nation is bound with fear and apprehension regarding the vaccine. Rumours are being spread, mainly on social media, regarding the side-effects of the vaccine. Every vaccine has some side-effects. Taking the vaccine is voluntary but one should not spread rumours to confuse others.


Live the Army credo

The news item that JCO(s) will also be making a presentation during a conference being attended by the CDS and other senior commanders is a good thing. It augurs well for the Army as the PM will learn about the problems being faced by jawans, first hand from JCOs. However, the CDS is known to create an impression that the welfare of JCOs and ORs is more dear to him. It has the connotations that their welfare is being neglected by officers these days and he is trying to redress the situation. This is not true. Their welfare is at the heart of their immediate Officer Commanding. Besides the pretensions of the CDS, it has dangerous ramifications — creating dangerous divisions between officers and men. Let the credo of the IMA: ‘The safety, honour and welfare of…’ be prominently displayed at the conference venue. Let the PM see it, read it and assimilate it well.

Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), by mail

Pak peace offering

The agreement between Pakistan and India is much needed to avoid future tensions. However, this initiative has raised serious questions in the minds of the public. Pakistan promises to maintain peace along the border, but breaks that trust every time. Even though the agreement is positive, India needs to be cautious and maintain strict vigil.

Ishita Kukreja, Ludhiana

Similipal forest fire

The Bengal elections and the farmers’ protests have made headlines over the past weeks. It is surprising that the forest fire raging in the Similipal Forest Reserve hasn’t been reported by the mainstream media. The second largest biosphere reserve of Asia, which is also home to the Bengal tiger, has been burning for days. The Odisha Government claims that there has been no loss of life. Don’t animals and trees matter? According to reports, human activities were responsible for the wildfire. Other than the terrible loss of biodiversity, carbon dioxide emissions pose a great threat. Immediate action by the state government is needed.



Reference to ‘The man who knew Sahir inside out’; religious/spiritual scriptures of any faith are loaded with difficult words and phrases that are difficult to understand without a guru. But Sahir conveyed through simple words the most difficult philosophy of life, like in the song, ‘Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, gum aur khushi mein farak na mehsoos ho jahan, main dil ko us makaam pe lata chala gaya’ (I just accompanied life, I took life to a destination where there is no difference between sorrow and happiness). Sahir, the great shayar and philosopher! He is still alive in our hearts in the form of his immortal songs.

Naresh Johar, Amritsar

Cut taxes on fuel

The all-time high prices of petrol and diesel have pushed people into financial stress. People are already facing heat due to Covid-induced disruptions. Millions of people have yet to come out from the severe jolts they have experienced on account of breakdown of economic activities. The steep rise in fuel prices needs to be brought down by slashing taxes. Taxes on diesel require considerable reduction because all commercial sectors of the economy are hugely dependent on it. Reduction in retail prices will help revive the economy speedily. Ultimately, the demand will go up, and so will the revenue.

Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra 

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

No room for dissent Other

Mar 06, 2021

Refer to ‘Dissent is not sedition’; the dispensation at the Centre is under the illusion that every action, policy or programme rolled out by it is sacrosanct, unquestionable and the gospel truth. The invoking of the sedition law at the drop of a hat and unleashing investigating agencies against dissenters have become commonplace. Rather than taking criticism positively in its stride and undertaking requisite course correction, it chooses to crack down on its own citizens, whose only fault is a difference of opinion. Even outsiders are not spared. The latest report by the US-based ‘Freedom House’ that puts India under ‘partly free’ category speaks volumes and is an eye-opener. We must mend our ways before India is bracketed by the world along with our rogue northern neighbour.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Perils of sedition law

The law of sedition as defined in Section 124 A of the IPC is a relic of British colonialism which was enforced to counter the Wahabi movement and subsequently became a tool to suppress freedom fighters. Certainly, parallels can be drawn today with regard to its usage. The provision has become an instrumentality of the Centre as well as the states to prevent people from vocalising dissent. This provision is legally antiquated and opposed to individual liberty, a principle embraced by the Constitution. Barring exceptional circumstances, the government has no role in regulating speech and dictating to people what they can and cannot say. Furthermore, the problem lies not merely in the substance of the provision but in the procedure, too. Sedition is a cognisable and non-bailable offence. The pre-trial process causes harassment to the arrested person. The law must either be repealed or amended to establish ‘incitement to violence’ as the sole standard capable of invoking this provision.

Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh

Dignity, above all

Apropos of ‘No country for women’, women are subjected to exploitation even in the four walls of their own home. Our society is male-dominated, where theoretically, there are many laws to grant rights to women, but practically their dignity is not intact. Every day, there are news reports of atrocities against the womenfolk. I remember the lines from Adrienne Rich’s poem, Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers — ‘When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.’ The same applies to women even today. They are treated cruelly. It is time for women to gather on a common platform and fight collectively for their rights. The men need to respect women’s dignity, irrespective of her rank and position.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur

‘Think local’ overdrive

We hear about one-India one-ration card. Integrity of India and integration of Indians signal assurance of our national pride and identity. But then, we have legislation in certain states, reserving 75% jobs for local people. In principle, the Centre is empowered under Article 16 (3) to offer domicile-based preference in public employment. Do states have such power? Strangely, one state after another is intent on such legislation, especially with regard to blue-collared jobs. You can have labourers from other states. Our Constitution does not permit discrimination based on place of birth.

Lalit Mohan Sharma, DHARAMSALA

Punjab’s debt

The news ‘Pb debt to double in five years: CAG’ is not good for the state. Punjab is a developed state, but with such a huge debt, it might fall in a debt trap. The development of the state will be hampered. The government should now give importance to the generation of more revenue and unnecessary subsidies should be discarded. As far as possible, cheap politics to lure people to create a vote bank should be done away with.

Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad

A long struggle

Reference to ‘100 days of farm stir: Farmers hold their ground, but no solution in sight’; it was unusual to learn that the farmers had taken out a ‘shav yatra’ of the Centre at Tikri following no solution being in sight even after the expiry of 100 days of their unending struggle. Despite taking a recourse to ‘chakka jam’, holding mahapanchayats, mobilising support, blocking roads and organising countrywide ‘rail roko’ programme, nothing appears to be working in their favour. The farmers should shed their extant demand for the repeal of the new farm laws, if they wish to amicably resolve this matter.

SK Gupta, New Delhi

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

Another caged parrot Other

Mar 05, 2021

The SC had used the words ‘a caged parrot’ for the CBI sometime back. Now, it is true about the income tax department. It was surprising to learn about the raids on the premises of Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu. Is it because they spoke against this government and in favour of farmers, civil activists and JNU students? This dictatorial government is muzzling the voices of people. Activists like Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bharadwaj were incarcerated. No wonder India has slipped on the world democracy list.

JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala

A struggling Congress

Refer to ‘Post Anand Sharma poser, Cong defends deal with ISF’; the party is having a tough time adapting to the changing trajectory of Indian politics. One remembers the strong leadership of Indira Gandhi, who handled the syndicate (powerful party leaders) and worked hard to regain the ground lost by the party in the 1967 General Election. Even after the split in the Congress, she was able to win the midterm elections because she had a genuine agenda. This is lacking in the Congress these days. The 'sanyukt morcha' does not have a clear stance on seat sharing. The infighting reminds one of the collapse of the Janata Party which won the 1977 General Election but failed to make a mark as the alliance slumped due to infighting for power. The Congress needs to reinstall itself as an umbrella party which can tackle different opinions and ideologies.

Jashan Goyal, Bathinda

Guaranteed farm prices

Refer to ‘It’s changed for Spain’s farmers’; the case is of further consideration in the present Indian context. Farmers in India are demanding MSP guarantee and repeal of the new farm Acts. If a mechanism is devised to calculate a base price (on cost plus basis) for all 32 crops, along with a band of upper and lower prices to be followed by all stakeholders, at least on the first stage of supply chain (buying from farmer), it would protect the farmers from the volatility of the market.

KB Singh, Ludhiana

Vaccinate teachers

It is heartening to see that the vaccine for Covid-19 has been made in a record time and is being given in an effective manner. At the same time, the spurt in new cases has caused some worry also. Schoolchildren and teachers account for a good number of fresh cases. To deal with this situation, the teachers should be put in the priority category for administering the vaccine so that they are able to perform their duties fearlessly and effectively.


Vaccination of elderly

The government has started another phase of Covid-19 vaccination to cover senior citizens, but with prior registration. It is a fact that getting registered through the relevant portal, or even otherwise, may be difficult for most senior citizens. The best way is that the authorities concerned should chalk out a list of senior citizens by accessing their DoB from voter lists and get them registered for the vaccination in coordination with the health authorities. The date and time of vaccination may be intimated to the persons concerned so that they could avail of this facility concerned and without any stress.

Balbir Singh Batra, Mohali

Biowaste disposal

The crisis brought upon by the pandemic has altered global waste generation dynamics and therefore has necessitated attention. The unexpected fluctuations in waste composition and quantity also require a dynamic response from policymakers, especially in small towns and villages where we find no units to dispose of biowaste except primary healthcare units. Failure to properly manage the waste generated, like masks and gloves from individuals may have serious consequences to human health, besides environmental ramifications.

Rohit Kumar Gupta, Shimla

No fear of law

Apropos of ‘Hathras re-run’, the shameful cases of stalking, molestation and rape are on the rise everywhere, like a pandemic. The police cannot be present every time everywhere. In fact, it is the fear of law and speedy justice which deter crime. Unfortunately, in our country, corruption among law enforcing agencies and tardy judicial system embolden the perpetrators. Riding on the back of power and pelf, abusers of women manage to go scot free. It is also happening due to the nexus between criminals and politicians.

Deepak Kaushik, Radaur

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

One more adviser Other

Mar 04, 2021

Refer to the induction of poll strategist Prashant Kishor to the existing battalion of advisers; apparently to accomplish the upcoming election agenda, the Punjab CM is flagrantly compromising the propriety. Need is for some more advisers to improve governance, which is at its nadir. By way of example, a streetlight beside my house has not been functioning since January, but even after bringing it to the notice of the CM’s office, Secretary (Local Government) and the Chief Principal Secretary, nothing has happened. Like so many other hapless citizens, I draw consolation from the adage, ‘God is in His Heaven, all is right with the world’.


Don’t burden taxpayer

Apropos of ‘Kishor named CM’s principal adviser’, why should he be paid for perks like staff, residence, conveyance and medical facility out of the taxes paid by the common man when he would be helping the Congress party in the Assembly elections?

Ram Parkash Arora, by mail

Pay from Cong funds

A well-known election strategist, Prashant Kishor, has been made principal adviser to the Punjab CM. Kishor handled the Congress campaign in 2017 and led the party to power. The CM is within his power to appoint anybody as his adviser. But Kishor is not an expert either in finance or in agriculture. He has no expertise in any other field. Then why should the state government take his services at the cost of the taxpayer’s hard-earned money? Is the Punjab Cabinet and bureaucracy not competent to advise the CM? If the CM wants him for election purposes, he should be hired by the Congress and paid out of party funds. No need to burden the common man anymore.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

SC poser befuddling

Refer to ‘Rape and marriage’; the SC poser is befuddling on two counts: first, how come the highest court of the country was not cognisant of the antecedents of the rapist? He could drop a bombshell and declare that he was already married, catching the SC off guard. Second, for such a heinous crime, rather than adjudicating exemplary punishment, the judiciary chose to shower largesse. Is the judiciary trying to legitimise and incentivise rape? Error of judgment does take place as judges are, after all, human beings, but in this case, hopefully, it is not under some moral duress which made it go haywire.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Quality, not quantity

Higher education in India is at the crossroads as there is little uniformity among colleges and universities as far as the quality of teaching, infrastructure for research and allocation of funds are concerned (‘Reduce learning deficit to boost education’). We lay more stress on quantity rather than quality. In educational institutes of some states, we have almost no or substandard labs for science students. Instead of opening new colleges, universities and bringing out new education policies, the authorities should do away with the education deficit and strive to make available the best facilities for teaching, learning and conducting experiments in existing institutes.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Quota for Haryanvis

The Haryana Governor has given assent to a Bill fixing 75 per cent quota for state domicile candidates in the private sector. We are living in the 21st century and dreaming of becoming the ‘vishwa guru’. Such medieval moves are politically motivated and this ‘sons of the soil’ policy may serve as a setback to the dream of knitting India into ‘one nation, one people’. Going by the past quota system, it is better to set a criterion based only on merit to get rid of mediocrity now rampant in all spheres of our governance.

Prem Singh, by mail

Senior citizens in queue

The elderly standing in long queues and finally returning home without a jab is unsafe and unjustified when active Covid cases are on the rise. The huge rush was on expected lines. The government must ensure proper working of the CoWin portal to avoid unnecessary hardships to senior citizens.

Ramit Bagga, Panchkula

Rail link to Shimla

Refer to ‘Shimla-Kalka rly track to be realigned to raise train speed’; Shimla should be connected to the rest of India through broad gauge, because it is a state capital and a commercial centre that requires alternatives for cement, steel and apple transportation and to deal with the tourist rush. A new alignment should be considered from Paonta Sahib to Shimla via the Renuka river and Aswani Khad. This route will be along the riverbed, without long tunnels. This route will connect the capital in the shortest and fastest way, bypassing populated areas, at the cheapest cost. All state capitals are connected to Delhi by Rajdhani trains. Only Shimla is missing on the broad gauge front.

Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula

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

Circus at Vidhan Sabha Other

Mar 03, 2021

The circus on the first day of the Budget session in the Vidhan Sabha of Punjab was ridiculous. At a time when Punjab is suffering from so many problems, politicians are putting on such a show. The elections are approaching and politicians of every party are making efforts to woo people. The Opposition creates a scene to convince people about the promises that have not been fulfilled by the Congress. Where were they all these years? Why does, in routine, no one asks what has been done or is being done for the people?

Ramanjot Kaur, Sultanpur Lodhi

Hindi word of 2020

Oxford Languages, the world’s leading dictionary publisher, has named 'aatmanirbharta' (self-reliance) as the Hindi word of the year 2020 in its English dictionary. The term was first mentioned by PM Modi publicly in May 2020, at a time when the country was in the grip of the corona pandemic. The Oxford Hindi word of 2019 was ‘samvidhaan’; in 2018, it was ‘nari shakti’; and in 2017, it was ‘Aadhaar’.

RK Arora, Amritsar

Wrong precedent

The appointment of a professional political strategist as principal adviser by the Punjab Government has set a wrong precedent. It is unethical to appoint a political analyst to hold public office equal to the rank of Cabinet minister at the expense of the taxpayer’s money. His only job is to guide the ruling party to garner votes through his agency and not for the ‘betterment of people’. Token honorarium fee is a joke compared to his entitled privileges which amount to a whopping six-digit figure to carry out his assignment from the state exchequer.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Political appointment

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor has been engaged by the Punjab CM as his principal adviser on a deceptive Rs1 token honorarium, but he will have a plethora of perks and privileges of a Cabinet minister in the guise of ‘betterment of people of Punjab’. It is actually for boosting individual and collective party winnability at the hustings. Such engagements out of the public purse are discriminatory vis-a-vis other candidates in the electoral fray. Fair play warrants a statutory ban on such blatant misuse of taxpayer’s money.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

OTT content

With rapid improvement in technology and increasing levels of Internet penetration across India, the way people consume media is changing. These platforms include brutal, abusive and violent content which affects the impressionable minds of teenagers, children as well as adults. Though the FTII is against censorship on the content of OTT platforms, intervention by the government in the form of regulation is right.

Lakshay Guru, Chandigarh

Education standards

Refer to ‘Reduce learning deficit to boost education’; higher education institutes, specially private ones, have been harping on increment of student strength. The quality of education imparted by these institutes can be seen from the job profile of students passing out. Inadequate infrastructure and staff crunch in higher medical education institutes has been a cause of serious concern. Quality of education has gone so poor that some higher institutes have been selling degrees. Students from Punjab have been immigrating to other nations for education and employment. The lack of job opportunities in India has further made education only about degrees.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali

Learning deficit

‘Reduce learning deficit to boost education’ underlines a serious but less talked about issue that has a bearing on what kind of world leader India will become. There is disturbingly little mention of the poor quality of our education. One only hears of Himachal's high literacy accomplishments, for instance, but never that the vast majority of our undergraduate students have learning levels of middle school grades. What they understand and do in college remains a mystery! However, while poor budgets are a big reason, political and bureaucratic apathy is a key continual cause. After all, these people never have to send their children to run-of-the-mill government schools or colleges.

Vinay Tandon, Kasauli

Consult, collaborate

Apropos of ‘Link farming with employment to stem rot’, the observations are correct in the light of shrinking job avenues. In the best interests of the nation, those at the helm must honour the spirit of collective wisdom, expertise, consensual approach and sentiments of the masses. The nation faced the music of unilateralism in the wake of demonetisation, GST, CAA, instant lockdown and farm laws. The ever-rising spectre of unemployment and farmers’ unrest should wake the polity from its slumber, exhorting it to initiate strong measures to resolve these crises, instead of frittering away the nation’s rich resources, time and energies.

PK Sharma, Barnala

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Delusion of peace Other

Mar 02, 2021

It is ironic that the news ‘Want India, Pak to be friends: Malala’ and ‘Pakistan arrests 17 Indian fishermen’ were alongside. We know the mischievous intentions of Pakistan. Who doesn’t want peace? Suppose a statement comes that Indo-Pak peace can be maintained if both nations agree on the current boundaries and rest their claims. Forget politicians, will the public of India or Pakistan agree? No, because the Kashmir issue is just an excuse to satisfy ego. After a few decades, the new generation won’t even care about these borders. Honestly, how many of us care to fight to bring Afghanistan back to ‘Akhand Bharat’? But yes, both countries should try to mend their relations, taking one step at a time for peace.

Rohit, by mail

LoC truce

Apropos of ‘LoC truce should help open more doors’, the journey from ‘confrontation to compromise’ is tough in the backdrop of decades of bad blood and wars, but nevertheless, there is a chance since both countries have a common heritage and culture. Look at EU countries and the US and Canada, and many more nations, all are good neighbours. The people on both sides dream and hope ‘woh subah kabhi to aayegi’.


War of words soon

Apropos of ‘Poll bugle sounded’, the hallmark of any election now is personal attacks, name calling, insinuations, theatrics and the use of unparliamentary language. Each party strives to outdo the other in terms of money and muscle power. No party dwells upon the issues pertaining to voters’ welfare. The voters are taken for granted despite the electorate becoming more informed and the literacy rate rising. The reason is that voters have no meaningful choice and are stupefied at the rate at which candidates are brazenly jumping ship. This is the reason for the audacity of politicians to reach out unabashedly to the voters, despite failing to live up to their expectations.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Election expenses

Elections are round the corner in four states and one UT. It is time some malpractices are curbed, a major one being the allurement of voters through money and false promises. Candidates with a criminal background should not be allowed to contest. In order to reduce expenses in elections, and also maintain a harmonious atmosphere, suo motu action from the SC would help greatly. No minister should be allowed to campaign as this is done at the cost of the public exchequer. Only functionaries of parties and Independents should be allowed to hold public meetings. Ministers should only be allowed to participate in TV debates. This would prevent a vicious atmosphere.

SL Kataria, Patiala

Make, buy Indian toys

The India Toy Fair inaugurated by the PM is an attempt to make the country ‘atmanirbhar’. We import toys from other countries, especially China, in bulk. Chinese toys are not eco-friendly and may be harmful for children as dangerous chemicals are used in them. Indian toys are eco-friendly, cheap and durable. It will help generate employment and save money. New innovations should be launched as soon as possible to achieve the $5-trillion dollar economy target.

Narender Kumar, Joginder Nagar

Water conservation

The PM’s call for a 100-day drive to clean up water bodies and harvesting rainwater is a good step towards water conservation and cleanliness. It is possible only if all citizens actively participate in it. We must not throw flowers, food waste, plastic, etc., in rivers and lakes. We should also not waste water while washing cars with a hose and use water judiciously for our daily needs. Water is fast becoming scarce in many regions. Let’s save it before it is too late.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

Easier said than done

Reference to ‘Bringing back Nirav Modi’; going by the past failed efforts to bring back Indian fugitives like liquor baron Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi’s extradition to India may just remain a dream. Like Mallya, Nirav Modi has been offered means of appeal to higher courts, maybe even European courts, as was done in Mallya case, which can keep him beyond the hands of Indian law for a long time. Past experience with extraditions from the UK shows that if anyone wants to escape from the law, he or she can find a safe haven in the UK, for a price of course. If the government is serious about bringing back fugitives, it will have to plug all means and loopholes misused by absconders who might have been helped to flee India after swindling banks.

PS HANSPAUL, by email

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

Image at stake Other

Mar 01, 2021

Apropos of ‘Clamping down on Disha Ravis’ (Nous Indica), the Union government has shown indiscretion in arresting Disha Ravi under a colonial-era sedition law. Curbs on freedom of speech and expression of citizens are eroding the credibility of India’s democracy. Hats off to the judge who delivered justice by proving that the judiciary is not only the custodian of the law, but also the protector of human rights against the repressive steps of the police and the government. The government must refrain from lowering the country’s image as the world is pointedly admonishing India for acts of intolerance and communal disharmony.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Be proud of Disha Ravis

When most of our young people are making a beeline for foreign shores in quest of greener pastures, or are busy on social media or are into vices like drugs and crime, the nation should be proud of the likes of environment activist Disha Ravi. The toolkit that our politicians use to win elections has many divisive and distracting instruments that cause dangerous fissures in society and make the gullible voter elect wrong representatives. Is that not seditious or anti-national?

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Tread with caution

Apropos of ‘Clamping down on Disha Ravis’ (Nous Indica), suppressing the voices of dissent can be dangerously counterproductive, for ‘Stone walls do not a prison make, /Nor iron bars a cage:/ Minds innocent and quiet take/ That for an hermitage.’ Anyone who doesn’t toe the government line should not be arrested and the offence of sedition should not be invoked every time. The real test of a free society is the tolerance of what is despised by the majority of its members. Freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article 19(1), but it should not be mistaken as a licence to say or do anything that goes adversely against the sensibilities of others. AG Gardiner rightly said, ‘Liberty is not a personal affair but a social contract; it is an accommodation of interests.’ While expressing oneself one must be sensitive to the social psyche and perspective of the country. Similarly, the State agencies should not rush in to slap cases of sedition against dissenters on frivolous grounds.

Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala

Nirav Modi’s extradition

Refer to ‘Bringing back Nirav Modi’; Nirav Modi defrauded the PNB to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore, which is nearly the equivalent of what thieves took from the 1963 train robbery in the UK. The Indian people, whose money it is that was swindled in connivance with bank officials, are hoping that the justice system here would ultimately hand down an apt sentence commensurate with the crime. It is up to India to use its heft in pursuing the matter to a conclusion by convincing the UK Home Secretary to sign off on the court ruling and allow the repatriation of the fraudster.

SS Paul, Nadia

Hurried pace of life

Reference to ‘Ruminating on life in the fast lane’; the middle is an apt analysis of the present-day fast moving life that most of us are leading today. It is ironical that though our standard of living has improved, most of us seem to be ill at ease with life. A strange agitation and anxiety disturbs our peace of mind and makes us snappy. We need to slow down and try to focus on enjoying the blessings of life before it gets too late for us to understand that past despair and future hopes are often elusive. We need to live in the present and appreciate the bounties of life calmly and with perseverance.

Sumita Kanwar, YamunaNagar

In a hurry

‘Ruminating on life in the fast lane’ reminded me of what Lewis Carroll wrote — ‘The hurrier I go, the behinder I get’. For instance, in order to get ahead of others, we create panic that results in accidents. Patience is a virtue fast dwindling, and it is affecting our lives adversely. Haste often makes waste. Patience is a must in every field to coexist amicably.

Aswant Kaur, Tarn Taran

Regulating social media

Reference to ‘Tough norms for social media, OTT platforms’; the government has done well to regulate social media. Some sites have vulgar content. Smartphones for online learning can be misused by youngsters. Unfortunately, TV channels, too, sometimes air objectionable content, unsuitable for young minds. Any talk of a dress code for women is resented. What all can the government control? Self-regulation is the key that seems to be missing.


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