Letters to the editor
There is no denying that every negative event contains within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. With enough negatives discussed, let’s look at the positive impact of the current situation arising due to Covid-19. The lockdown has compelled us to be attentive to cleanliness, hygiene, fitness, self-care and has further made us realise the uncertainty of life. The erratic and self-centred pattern of life followed by us will hopefully change and we will enter into a new world of love, care, happiness and sustainable growth.
Avineet Singh Chawla, Patiala
Reference to the editorial ‘Mother of Muzaffarpur’; the incident has shaken the conscience of all thinking persons. Once dead, there is not much left to retrieve. Yet, these sufferings could be avoided, or at least minimised with timely planning and inputs, if the government so wishes. Proper transport facility should have been arranged for them in advance. A proper handling of the situation was required. It has now taken the SC to stop the dithering by the states.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Succour for migrants
The decision of the Supreme Court on the states providing free food and shelter to the stranded migrant workers should have come much earlier. Had the decision been taken timely, lakhs of migrant workers would not have faced starvation. Migrant workers have had to face a lot of problems due to lack of money, food and shelter in the wake of the pandemic.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Apropos of ‘New policy to constraint defence planning’ (May 29); the armed forces need an overhaul. The increase in FDI in the defence sector is a leap, but only time will tell about its result. Indigenisation of defence equipment may seem to be a grandiose idea, but a lot of focus is needed to match the international standards. With China and Pakistan exaggerating things up, India needs to shore up its defence with cutting-edge technology. Pipelined purchases must be a priority along with heavy investment in local defence industry.
Ishan Chauhan, Jalandhar Cantt
Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are facing locust attacks. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the locust infestation has spread over a wide area of western and central India. Locusts can destroy crops in a blink of an eye. With crops facing the danger of getting damaged, the states will have to guard against agricultural bounty being ravaged by pests.
Mamun Hasan, by mail
Covid-19 has caused uncertainty. Class XII exams of the PSEB are held up because of the lockdown. The CBSE has issued a datesheet for the pending exams, but students are awaiting an official response. It’s time for the board to take into account the plight of the students and announce the exam schedule.
JS Humsafar, Maloudh
Debate on DBT
Refer to the editorial ‘DBT in power sector’; instead of free power, discussions were on to adopt direct benefit transfer for power subsidy to the farmers. But this didn’t happen because the successive governments found it difficult to change the prevailing system apprehending opposition. DBT is a step in bringing about transparency in the disbursal of subsidies. It ensures that the benefit reaches the real end beneficiary, obviating any leakage in the way. The DBT system can put an end to the existing method of giving in advance, a lump sum to the power supplier, PSPCL, for the power consumed by tube wells in the state, and the farmers pay no bill. But the PSPCL apprehends that after DBT application, some farmers may not pay electricity bills. On the other hand, farmers are likely to doubt the government’s intentions, apprehending the end of free power for agricultural use. There will be challenges for Punjab as application of subsidy transfer system won’t be easy. Informed debate is needed on this.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
The Chinese state media has accused US President Trump of driving a wedge between China and India. This is in response to the mediation offer by Trump in the light of the LAC stand-off. Even in J&K, the US and some other countries offered to mediate but it was turned down by India as the matter is bilateral. In this case also, India’s stand can be no different. What is astonishing is Beijing’s view. China has always regarded India as its bête noire and has obstructed India from getting a permanent UNSC membership.
KV Seetharamaiah, 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
Apropos the editorial ‘Daring the Dragon’ (May 28), the proposal to mediate between India and China, as called for by Trump, is hilarious. He had earlier made a similar proposal with regard to Pakistan. Trump has to first put his own house in order with China. India has clearly signalled to China that it will not settle for anything less than the withdrawal of Chinese soldiers from the LAC. History has shown that China, by keeping its rhetoric low, ups the ante at an opportune time, taking the enemy by surprise. India needs to stand firm and practice elastic diplomacy.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
India must stand firm
Refer to ‘Daring the Dragon’ (May 28); Chinese troops must move back to their original positions, there can be no question that this is India’s right stance. It has been the experience of China’s many neighbours that any concession to Beijing has been seen by it as weakness and not friendship. Keeping China’s trait in mind, India has rightly sent a strong signal that it will prefer to have confrontation at the border but will not back down. China may be describing the situation as stable, but it is not very reassuring. India should be prepared to show and remind China that if events get out of hand, there will be serious repercussions on other issues concerning bilateral relations.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
Medical fee hike
The 80% and 33% fee hike in medical colleges is another nail in the coffin for medical students and parents in the times of Covid. What charity and humanity can you expect from a doctor who has spent more than Rs 1 crore on education? On the one hand, the government is not able to raise fee even by thousands in JNU, and on the other, can easily raise the fee of medical studies by lakhs. The appointment of KK Talwar as medical adviser to the Punjab Government is a great tragedy, for instead of helping doctors, he is tied up amid the politicians and bureaucrats. Low stipend during postgraduation, while working hundred hours a week, is another tragedy.
Deepak Mahajan, Jalandhar
No free power
Apropos ‘No free power to farmers, direct benefit transfer from next fiscal’ (May 28), Captain Amarinder Singh has proved his political acumen by defusing this logjam between his senior colleagues and the Chief Secretary. Another one is stopping the ‘free power’ facility to farmers. Direct benefit transfer will enable the state to get additional borrowing from the Centre. Presently, the free power facility is being misused by the big farmers and others by extracting the maximum groundwater. Also, farmers are selling tube well water to make big money. All kinds of freebies must be replaced with direct transfer of benefits. This is a bold decision.
Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (retd), Mohali
Stigma of Covid
It is, unfortunately, observed that the names of Covid-19 patients are being made public by the media as well as the authorities. While we must strongly fight the virus, making public the names of patients is unhealthy and an invasion of privacy. Nobody wants to get infected willingly. The patient and his/her family members get stigmatised for no fault of theirs. Even people undergoing quarantine because they have come from outside the state have started to carry a stigma. The humanity, without doubt, is suffering from the current pandemic. However, our fight should be focused against the pandemic, rather than exposing vulnerable patients and their family members.
A Bhuyan, by mail
Nehru a true visionary
Refer to the middle ‘Nehruvian spirit kept things going’ (May 27); it is in the interest of the nation to give due respect to Nehru. His vision for promoting medical science and developing a scientific temperament is appreciable. He was right when he said people should not cling to the past; they should follow western ideals, but not the western culture. Traditional values must be kept intact. His concept of mixed economy was also successful as it looked after the interest of all segments of society. He was a true democrat and a statesman par excellence. He wanted India to be a self-reliant economy. He was a visionary son of India and may hardly be replaced by anyone in future.
NIRMAL KUMAR, PANCHKULA
Hazards of online classes
Schools have started online instruction, and this includes elementary class children, too. There is sufficient medical evidence that screen time for children should be limited to an hour a day. This time is used up in watching TV. Online classes require another two hours of screen time. It poses several adverse health risks for them. Long exposure to digital screens is corelated with ADHD, behavioural problems, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, obesity and irritability. It interferes with cognitive development. It also increases the possibility of developing near-sightedness. Home schooling should be left to parents.
Ranjit Powar, 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
Apropos ‘India, China working on backdoor parleys’ (May 27); the reason behind the stand-off at the LAC may be debatable but it may not serve to allow further escalation into a full-fledged confrontation. Though the option of talks must be followed vigorously, India’s decision to persist with road infrastructure, matching fortification and troop deployment is most appropriate in the present situation. Let us not forget that China is not reliable. Any posturing to the contrary will only embolden it for further misadventure and experimentation. In collusion with Pakistan, China has not missed any opportunity to embarrass India but Chinese bullying this time may not help as it is already in dire straits over the Covid-19 fiasco, inviting worldwide condemnation and hostility. Its growing differences with the US, unease in South China Sea, intransigence over Taiwan and Hong Kong and prospects of economic downturn have made China edgy, looking for diversionary tactics. War mongering will only complicate matters further.
GP CAPT JS BOPARAI (RETD), BHADSALI
Bid to distract India
By escalating tension along the border, China is trying to distract India to dwarf its rising stature on the global platform. Many nations are mulling relocation of their industries after the pandemic, and the prime advantage of this imminent paradigm shift in the Chinese commerce sector is likely to fall into the lap of India, irking China. It will be a gross slip on China’s part to mistake India’s silent stance for submissiveness.
SHILPI RASOTRA, HOSHIARPUR
Men do cry
Reference to ‘Both men and women need to be feminists’ (May 27); I don’t believe in women’s rights, I believe that everyone has rights, regardless of gender. One of the biggest lies that we have been told growing up is that women are timid and men don’t cry. Both have emotions and feelings. It is not a gender thing. Better start treating both genders equally.
Gaurav Badhwar, Rohtak
Notion of feminism
With reference to the May 27 article ‘Both men and women need to be feminists’; it’s time we recognise that feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives this strength. Nobody should be afraid of being referred to as a feminist because it frees both men and women from the imposed gender stereotypes. Feminism shouldn’t be perceived as hostility against men because me asking for my rights will not deprive you of yours.
SIKANDAR BANSAL, SHIMLA
Left to their fate
The writer has incisively portrayed the miserable and desperate plight of our migrant labour during the lockdown (‘I die every day on such a long journey home’; May 26). He has called a spade a spade and the description sends shudders down the spine of the readers. The harrowing experiences they have had are heartrending. Considered to be no one’s children, they were left to God’s mercy. What happened to millions in 1947, happened to these hapless workers today, during the times of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems the calamity has dehumanised the authorities. A little more wisdom, planning, forethought and compassion could have saved the situation.
Sunil Chopra, LUDHIANA
More power burden
Apropos ‘Punjab power rates set to go up’ (May 27), the public is in for another shock. As it is, the domestic power consumption rate is Rs 9 plus/unit, probably the highest among the northern states. Pollution control device is an integral part of power producing units, non-installation/compliance leading to levy of fine by the CPCB should be borne by the PSPCL and the private sector for their units. People are already facing acute financial hardships and will be further burdened with this unjustified levy, increase in power rates.
SS Arora, Mohali
Nehru, unfortunately, has become a misunderstood personality in today’s India. This is largely due to a misinformation campaign by certain sections due to vested interests. He received an India where the lifespan was 31 years, literacy rate was 12% and 80% people were struggling for two meals a day. He built IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and laid the foundation for a stable democracy. He was a visionary. We are living in ‘inclusive’ India, for which we must thank Nehru. He shunned communalism, bigotry and dogma, and worked to build a secular and egalitarian society. He emphasised the importance of developing a scientific temperament.
Akshay Singh Dadhwal, Kangra
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Reference to the article ‘I die every day…’ (May 26); 45 crore Indians were not taken into consideration while planning and executing the lockdown. These workers were let to suffer on roads and deprived of their rights provided by the Constitution and safeguarded by the Supreme Court. We have IAS officers who can write the longest essays on such situations and ‘wisely’ reflect on ideas to handle everything very carefully. How could they fail? How about our leaders who have vast experience?
Vishal Sapehia, Kangra
Apropos of ‘India, Nepal need to ignore disruptive ploys’ (May 26), the Kali river dispute has survived the past. Geographically, according to the ‘written documents of Treaty of Sugauli’, Nepal is correct. But after 1817, knowing the strategic importance of the area, the British included it in Indian maps, which was duly accepted by the then Raja of Nepal. Hence logically and historically, India stands correct. The Indian Army has been guarding this area since the 1960s, which Nepal has now termed as an encroachment. This is not right. The issue should be resolved with bilateral talks. India has always supported Nepal and will continue to do so.
Anshika Sharma, Mohali
The domestic airlines resumed services after two months, but both flyers and airlines have to tide over significant barriers along the way (‘630 flights cancelled on first day’, May 26). The passengers were hit hard by unstable schedules and abrupt cancellation of flights. The complications in the wake of doubts and ambivalence harboured by the states over allowing the inbound flights have hampered the travel operations. The capping of number of flights to operate in some of the busiest airports like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, with varying quarantine protocols adopted by various states, is proving to be a dampener. Fear of imported cases is genuine, but walling off completely can't be an option, if the economy is to restart. States consistently complain about the tanking of revenues during lockdown, and then, contradict it by worrying over the risk of reopening the economy. Transport and unhindered movement of people, commodities and services are the lifeline of the economy. A new normal isn't possible without reasonable compromises in these areas. The fear psychosis, stemming from unpreparedness, can't be an excuse.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, via mail
The passing away of hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior has left the nation in grief. He debuted in the 1948 Olympics and scored two goals in the final. The team won its first Olympics gold medal after India’s independence. At the victory ceremony, he said, ‘When the Tricolour was being hoisted, I felt like I too was flying with the flag.’ What a chaste feeling. This triumph was just the beginning of an era. None could emulate him even after seven decades. The nation will remember him forever. RIP Balbir Singh Saheb.
Gurdeep S Dhamrait, Dharampur
Fake degree racket
It is a matter of grave concern that 58 lawyers had fake degrees (May 26). Just anyone can enter the profession, there being no strict norms to join it. Such lawyers would promote underhand dealings to realise their ends. Strict action needs to be taken against such cheats and imposters after a thorough probe to stem the rot. It is only the tip of the iceberg. A law minister was convicted of possessing a fake law degree. The degree of a senior police officer from Punjab was found bogus and so on. An inquiry by the MHRD on the directions of the Central Vigilance Commission in 2017 found the law degree of a woman employee of an educational institute in Chandigarh bogus. Instead of action, the said employee was retired from the service in connivance with others. It appears that the fake degree racket in the country is too strong to bring them to book.
GS Bhatia, Mohali
Reference to the editorial ‘Chinese posturing’ (May 26), at a time demands for accountability run afoul of China’s cover-up of the Covid-19 pandemic and India’s alarming surge in coronavirus cases, pressure is being mounted to include Taiwan in the WHO. But in view of China’s pressure on Nepal to up the ante with India over its new road-building venture at Lipulekh Pass, and India’s stance of never recognising Taiwan as a separate nation, New Delhi has to take a cautious approach, so that it does not antagonise China right now.
SS Paul, via mail
The lockdown has prohibited relatives from the plains from visiting Himachal. But the government should have some mechanism in place to allow genuine visitors to enter the state on account of family emergencies or to meet infirm and aged parents. This would be a welcome move, and a step towards the general wellbeing and mental health of elders who are locked inside their homes due to the pandemic, and for those senior citizens who are unable to meet their loved ones from other states. The government should address this issue on a priority basis.
Adish Bajaj, Patiala
Reconsider new subject
Apropos of ‘Edu dept adds new subject to curriculum’ (May 25); the decision of the Punjab School Education Department to introduce a new compulsory subject “Welcome life” after getting the approval of the academic council of the PSEB for all classes is a cursory decision. The subject carries 100 marks. Students are already burdened with many subjects and their bags are too heavy. The new subject appears to be a specialised one which can be taught by experts only. Our schools, government or private, are already working with skeletal staff. Huge funds to be spent on the publication of books for all classes across the state will be a futile expenditure. There is a national CBSE policy, why does the PSEB not follow it? The students have to take eight subjects as compared to CBSE students, who have to cover only five subjects. Also, amid the pandemic, the students have been asked to go for online studies and are under pressure to cope with the current subjects. How can a new subject, in the absence of specialised teachers, be forced? It would be a coercive act. Is it not a mockery of the whole process?
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Indian hockey legend and three-time Olympic gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr has passed away, leaving his fans and the nation in grief. He was the only Indian player among 16 to be picked by the International Olympic Committee. He still holds records for his goal-scoring prowess. His life will inspire millions of people all over.
Dheeraj Tiwari, Chandigarh
It was sad to learn about the passing away of hockey Olympian Balbir Singh Senior. He was a truly dedicated sportsman, with hockey in his mind, body and spirit. Legends always live on. He will be remembered for being a thorough gentleman with an ever-smiling visage. Hats off to his daughter and his dedicated grandson for taking good care of him. The Centre and the state government should honour him posthumously.
Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘China’s military posturing questions validity of treaties’ (May 25); disregard of past treaties and commitments is, in fact, an old habit of China and is ingrained in its foreign policy. The country that could dismiss the Panchsheel treaty signed in the 1950s cannot be expected to understand the sanctity of international treaties and agreements. An arrogant China appears to have faith only in its military muscle. Good neighbourly relations and dialogue are missing in its policies.
SK Dua, Mandi Dabwali
Vital to economic revival
At last, the deafening cries of the neglected workforce reached the ears of our government and Shramik trains were arranged for them. Had our government viewed the problem of migrants seriously earlier, such a critical situation would not have arrived. To revive the economy, industry and agriculture need to be accelerated. For that, migrants are indispensable. Labour scarcity is bound to hit the production units adversely. The workers who return to their place of work within a specified time may be given handsome compensation. Return of the workforce is the only way out for the revival of economy.
KARNAIL SINGH, Kharar
Not their vote bank
In a scenario created by vote-bank politics, migrant workers are compelled to say ‘We have lost faith in system’ (May 25). The present miserable condition of the migrant labour is because of the fact that elected political representatives at their place of work never cared about them as these workers were not their voters. Their place of work was different from their place of voting, therefore, migrant workers were not taken care of at their place of work. All state governments and the Central government should take care of the genuine grievances of this class of workers.
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Refer to Nous Indica ‘Three-fold failure' (May 23); the pandemic has clearly illustrated that the ruling class, as also the Opposition, and the bureaucracy, have all been confused and are just issuing unwanted notifications and statements. The officialdom has overlooked the real India — the migrants. The ‘masterstroke’ by the Modi government has turned into a fiasco, playground of chaos and incompetence, as also of economic tsunami, with negative GDP numbers. The states have been marginalised and the Centre has no roadmap to come out of the lockdown syndrome. The Opposition is completely disorganised. Mere slogans, nostrums and self-image will not work. The Covid-19 war, if it continues, in the manner it is being fought today, will lead to social unrest like in the case of JP movement.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Absence of labour
The article ‘Three-fold failure’ (Nous Indica, May 23) aptly counts the kharif plantation problems due to labour loss, for the paddy crop in Punjab and Haryana is seeded mainly by the migrants from Bihar and UP as frontline workers. Their corona-induced leave will occasion the shortage of skilled labour, delay in plantation and the demand for higher wages by unskilled labour. The area under paddy plantation this year will remain far lower than that of last year if the exodus and Covid do not abate.
Sylvia Malik, Jind
In this time of distress, private colleges are demanding a huge amount from the students when nobody even knows when the physical classes will resume. Jobs and salaries in the private sector are on a downward trend. Colleges are providing just e-lectures but are charging full fee without any concession or an option to pay through EMI.
Tanmay Ahuja, by mail
Teachers at distilleries
By deputing teachers at distilleries in Gurdaspur district of Punjab to monitor the transaction of liquor, the administration has shown total failure in tackling the problems. Hundreds of experienced personnel from the chemical and security wings are sitting idle and can function as monitors at distilleries in the best manner. Further, it seems that the entry and exit of goods in distilleries are going unchecked, whereas rules provide double check at every point by the excise and industry inspectors. Proper billing, receipt and dispatch, along with strict compliance of procedural rules, are needed to control the menace of corruption.
JS Jassal, Patiala
Apropos of the editorial ‘Gurugram hotels as PGs’ (May 23), businesses itself are asking for a little support such as granting CLU due to the impact of Covid-19 on an industry inextricably linked to tourism and endeavouring to manage their expenses, and perhaps without cutting the staff. The slogan ‘Vocal for local’ and stimulus package are gigantic steps, but the industries which are paving the way for self-revival should be given utmost priority in terms of support.
Kanwar Preet Singh, Mohali
Online medical aid
Apps can play a big role in the field of medicine also. There are many primary ailments which don’t require physical examination. Sometimes, physical examination is not required in repeat visits also. Telemedicine should be encouraged and made popular. It’s use will lessen crowding in hospitals, and the medical staff can attend more to secondary and tertiary ailments.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Apropos ‘Covert oppression in the times of Covid’ (May 22), it is unfortunate that the pandemic has gained a political colour instead of a larger community health concern. The ugly face of poorly functional health facilities and an undersupply of basic requirements of survival has recently been exposed; the worst hit being the poor and daily-wage earners. The coercive measures taken to control the pandemic have gone off the mark as a large section of society suffers at multiple levels such as economic, psychological as well as social.
Vasudha Ramaul, Chandigarh
PSPCL is sending bills to domestic consumers on an average basis as meter readers are not visiting the premises. This is resulting in higher billing in some cases. The authorities have allowed some categories the facility of self-reading to be submitted on its portal. This facility should be extended to the domestic category, too. Otherwise, consumers will need to visit PSPCL offices to get the bills rectified, nullifying social distancing. When meter reading starts, the under or overpayment can be adjusted.
Gulshan Singh Bahl, Ludhiana
Refer to the editorial, ‘In the eye of the storm’ (May 22). How sad that 72 people have been reported dead in West Bengal alone in the severe cyclone Amphan. The speed of the cyclone was over 110 kmph that rendered lakhs homeless. I wonder why people in the villages still live in kutcha huts even 72 years after Independence? I have travelled and lived in Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, UP, Bihar and MP and it is shocking that the state governments there have done nothing to make their homes comfortable. The Centre should allocate sufficient funds to these states for making their houses of concrete.
RK Kapoor, Chandigarh
At the receiving end
Refer to ‘Covert oppression in the times of Covid’ (May 22); ironically, a health problem was mistaken as a war by our leaders, bureaucrats and the police apparatus, first forcing a lockdown without transporting the poor home when the virus-infected numbers were small, and now, lifting it and making thousands of susceptible migrant workers wander and die on the roads when it has started spreading fast. Both the ways aggravated the survival of the poor in terms of food and health. Life is a horrible onslaught when one knows not where the next meal will come from. Unlike the planes packed with rich from foreign countries, even if the poor’s homecoming is fraught with troubles, what other odds can the apathetic state address?
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Not to capacity
Resuming air travel is welcome. But allowing middle seats as well for travel may increase the chances of unwanted contact level. If the airlines could survive without any show for sixty days, they can very well manage with 33 per cent less capacity. With middle seats being occupied, physical contact is a certainty. Airlines must observe strict protocols, because any spike in infections may jeopardise future operations.
Ashok Goswami, by mail
Lockdown only in name
Now that corona cases are rapidly increasing and have crossed one lakh, the government has started trains and flights. The decision of a sudden lockdown was wrong and without foresight. All people, including students, tourists and migrants, should have been given three-four days to get to their destination. Now, the government has to arrange travel for thousands, which is more difficult than if it had given them time to be with their families. Lockdown now is only in name, enforced at night.
IPS Anand, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Punjab Cong MLAs keen to see CM; Amarinder invites them for lunch' (May 21); it is intriguing that the Punjab CM invited a section of the Congress MLAs led by a Cabinet minister for lunch at his farmhouse. This group of MLAs that had been pressing upon the party leadership to call a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party, finally got a ‘face to face’ with the CM. One wonders whether this get-together could have been avoided in the extant trying moments? What about the much-needed personal distancing? Why do some people remain more equal than others in our own country?
SK Gupta, Panchkula
Plying of buses
The Transport Minister of Punjab has announced that PRTC buses would ply on different routes. The move is welcome, but there have been several lacunae from the beginning. It was announced that buses would run with 50 per cent capacity and no passenger would alight or board at any stoppage midway between the starting point and the final destination. But it is tough for the commuters. Buses should be allowed to stop in between but not exceeding the limit.
Rajan Batta, Nabha
The stimulus package announced by the FM has not inspired industrialists or businessmen. The stimulus is principally in the form of loans to farmers and small businesses. It does not offer any immediate succour to the groups adversely impacted by the protracted lockdown. There is no relief to the migrant workers, who have lost their jobs and are struggling to get to their homes.
Rajendra Aneja, by mail
Punjab, too, has done well
Kerala has done a commendable job to contain the virus. But there are other models which we are ignoring. Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have also handled the situation well. In Punjab, all Nanded pilgrims have been discharged. The recovery rate of Punjab has surpassed that of Kerala. Andhra Pradesh has also recorded 65.08% recovery rate. States like Maharashtra and Gujarat, which have a large number of Covid cases, can use these models efficiently.
Ramanjot Kaur, by mail
Apropos of the editorial ‘Illicit liquor trade’ (May 21); the ruling establishment has failed to protect the state treasury from being looted by those tasked with its security. The perpetrators of this daylight loot must be hand in glove with various wings of the state machinery. The parallel liquor business, ranging from illegal smuggling to distillery operations, could not have flourished without the police and political patronage. It is an irony that Punjab, once known for its rich agricultural economy, has to resort to liquor-linked revenue to run its fiscal affairs. It is time to look for other income sources. Since the black sheep have overrun the system, the excise department should be disbanded to make way for a state-owned liquor corporation to plug the revenue pilferage.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
No surprise here
Apropos of the editorial ‘Illicit liquor trade’ (May 21), does it come as a surprise to the common people, or the government of the day about the illicit liquor trade in Punjab? Certainly not, rather all governments are aware of this menace. The criminal-politician-police nexus prevails. They all stand to gain at the cost of the state. Every party in power will claim to have dismantled the nexus, yet it keeps thriving.
Vinay Kumar Gupta, Ambala Cantt
Refer to the editorial ‘Covid-19 probe’ (May 21); it is disheartening that the WHO has been reduced to a pale shadow of its former august self. In this verbal fight between the US and China, the WHO has not been able to assert its authority in a convincing manner. How the deadly virus spread should be probed immaculately by the WHO, and all the major powers of the world should extend a helping hand to it.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Attack on BSF men
Apropos of the news report ‘2 BSF men killed by militants in J&K, their weapons taken away’ (May 21); it is disheartening that in a UT where the security forces are fiercely fighting against armed militants, the BSF troop movement was not under any security cover and the standard operating procedure was not followed. The militants got time to execute the strike and even took away the weapons of the martyred soldiers. This is an instance of gross negligence and must be investigated to fix accountability.
SHASHI KIRAN, JALANDHAR
New business models
Over the past few decades, businesses around the world have seen a quantum leap in both globalisation and outsourcing. However, the spread of Covid will revolutionise the way business is conducted. Most countries would cocoon domestic industries and wouldn’t hesitate to exercise extreme protectionism to ensure their GDP regains ground before pondering over extending their businesses to other countries. We should relaunch the Make in India campaign with vigour, with the objective to breathe new life into indigenous enterprises that are on their last leg, owing to stiff competition from overseas markets.
Nepal’s anti-India stand
It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to figure out the current political leanings of Nepal, which has deceitfully changed its allegiance. However, the origin of its attempt to manipulate the boundaries of Kalapani-Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh in the Indian state, Uttarakhand, by showing them in its own country’s map could be traced to China, which has the infamous history of making repeated bids to instigate India’s border-sharing neighbours for its vested interest. Nepal has strongly objected to India’s move to construct a road at the Lipu lekh pass to shorten Mansarovar pilgrimage, but remained tight-lipped when China’s news agency laid claim to the Mount Everest from where runs the China-Nepal border across its summit point which the latter had once labelled as the crown of its country. Without China’s concealed provocation, it is unlikely for a relatively smaller country like Nepal, in its own independent capacity, to pluck up the courage to confront India.
UPANT SHARMA, PANCHKULA
China back to old tricks
When the focus of the whole world is on trying to get rid of Covid, China is preparing strategies to destabilise India’s development by creating disturbances along the LAC. We should be extra careful in guarding our borders more than in war time, as China is creating problems via the Nepal tri-junction. China is also trying to disturb our sovereignty by helping our neighbours like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and the Maldives to instigate them against India and to make war bases there. We should not vote in favour of China in the UN and its agencies. We have not seen any UN meeting in which China has favoured us since 1962.
RK Dahiya, Yamunanagar
Apropos of ‘Two states in disarray’ (May 20), Mamata may be indulging in one-upmanship with the NDA government, but the latter also doesn’t lose any opportunity to lambast the TMC government to tarnish its image only to undermine its electoral prospects. Consensual politics is conspicuous by its absence. On the one hand, the Opposition parties are targeted for not strengthening the hands of the ruling dispensation even over issues of national import, and on the other, if the Opposition extends a helping hand, it is called a political gimmick. Both Bihar and West Bengal are going to hold assembly elections and political collision will intensify in the days to come. That poor migrant workers may die or survive seems to be none of their concern. Narcissistic, egotistical and power-drunk politicians are incorrigible.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Politics on mind
It is shocking that the CMs of West Bengal and Bihar are going against the Centre. They have totally mishandled the Covid situation. Their decisions with regard to migrant workers and labour are objectionable. Both the CMs must keep in mind that they are a part and parcel of Indian politics and should be more responsible towards their state and the country by giving up their narrow thinking.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
The fresh slew of reforms has much of it on the hitherto neglected agro sector. The one on contract farming is of significance, when marginal farmers count for over 70% of farm holdings. Administering vast number of contracts, as also crop insurance policies, would reflect adversely on cost break-up. Hopefully, there would be a genesis of farm area cooperatives that would help evolve improved and scientific farm management and also significantly reduce the cost of inputs. Establishing regulatory bodies to safeguard the interests of the farmers and buyers is vital. We have a long journey ahead, but the march has begun.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Wheels of economy
It is the right time to make changes in the existing labour laws. It is the labour class that keeps the wheels of the national economy moving. How can we imagine boosting the economy by suppressing its main assets? In today’s testing time, when labourers have already lost their entire savings and many of them have lost their lives, instead of providing them with extraordinary relief for survival, we are trying to add misery to their existence, taking away pre-existing rights by making the labour laws more flexible.
Mohinder Partap S Libra, Khanna
Since March 25, India has been experiencing a series of lockdowns. Have we been able to get rid of the virus? On March 24, we were told that the Mahabharata war was won in 18 days, and to win the war against the coronavirus, we needed only a 21-day lockdown. Such kind of irresponsible rhetoric should be avoided by the people in the higher echelons of power. The fact is that lockdown may only help in slowing down the cases for some time. The virus has come to stay for long, and people should change their lifestyle to minimise its impact.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
On merit alone
The editorial ‘Paying to get into cricket team’ (May 20) is a symptom of the infectious disease: money versus merit, which every segment of the country suffers from. The Kohlis and the Sehwags are exceptions. Avenues of employment and academic admissions reek of corruption and nepotism. Metamorphosis is a dire need to tackle the situation but that has to begin at the moral level. It is not the apex court of the country but the moral messengers of society who hold the key. Here, it means parents, teachers and even our politicians. Cleaning the Augean stables is a herculean task, but let us make a beginning with that favourite of the Indian sports — cricket.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Staying the course
With reference to ‘Paying to get into cricket team’ (May 20); no matter what the circumstances may be, if there is a desire to do something, and the will, nothing can stop a person. We know that the more expensive the sport, the longer will the race be. When the race is long, people try to find shortcuts without working hard, like favouritism, nepotism and bribery. Since the IPL started, the format of the game has changed and competition has intensified. Many parents are starting to shape the future of their children in cricket. Sometimes, parents themselves encourage bribes. In the end, whoever stood up with true passion and determination emerges victorious. There is no shortcut to success.
Sikandar Bansal, Shimla
Refer to the news item ‘WHO bows to calls from nations for virus probe’; (May 19); an independent and impartial probe will surely unmask the nefarious designs of China behind the spread of this deadly virus which has shaken the entire world. Allegations against China are not unfounded which, under the wilful patronage of the WHO, kept befooling the world regarding the genesis and dissemination of Covid-19. Now, all nations must stand united to take on China. Imposition of tough economic sanctions and severing of international relations will break the back of this mighty but ambitious nation. The role of the WHO should also be probed, and if found guilty, strictures should be passed against it also.
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
Getting labour back
Reference to ‘Labour crunch imminent’ (May 19); though the decision of lockdown by the Centre was legitimate, the PM’s appeal to not sack labourers fell on deaf ears, resulting in chaotic exodus to their home states. The decision to not retain the workforce is likely to prove costly for the businessmen too, as it will take time for the labourers to forget this traumatic experience. The administration in the home states of the labourers as also the states where they have been working must coordinate properly to become instrumental in ensuring their return. They must be incentivised.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
With reference to the editorial ‘Relief on ground’ (May 19); the financial package, including Rs 40,000 crore for rural employment, announced by the Centre is bogus. It should be revised as it is much below 1% of the GDP. It is just to mislead the people. The government is pushing reforms without doing any homework and not discussing it in parliament. It is a deliberate move by the government to divert the attention of the people to cover its failures in handling the current Covid crisis. Nobody is going to benefit from this package, except for big industrialists and those very close to the government.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
The write-up ‘Now, politics over migrants’ (May 19) has exposed the Indian politician, who, to gain political mileage and garner votes, can be callous, apathetic and irresponsible toward migrants. Only for food, lakhs of labourers leave their home and hearth in UP and Bihar and migrate to other states. Political leaders from these states must explain why sufficient employment opportunities are not generated in their own states. Only at the time of distress do these politicians make statements which are baseless, without any sense and substance.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Be a model for the world
Our leaders should learn a lesson from the devastation suffered by the most powerful country, the US, at the hands of the deadly virus (‘Now, politics over migrants’; May 19). Instead of fighting the virus unitedly, the Republicans and Democrats are indulging in political slugfest. After losing the impeachment battle to oust President Trump, the Democrats are indulging in a bitter tirade to demean him, so he could be defeated in the November elections. About 75,000 deaths have taken place in eight states, which barring one, are ruled by the Democrats. But they seem to be more interested in maligning Trump than minimising human tragedy. Indian politicians should rise above politics and fight the virus together and should emerge as a model for the world.
Tirath Garg, Ferozepur City
Too busy to notice
The photo of a physically challenged person pulling another to board a train in Chennai was heartbreaking. It is a matter of shame for us as well as those around them who were able-bodied, but did not come forward to help. We are so involved in our daily lives that we have become insensitive to the sufferings of others.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘Three years of service unlikely to attract talent’ (May 19), a person coming for three-year service shall spend a minimum of eight months at home enjoying his annual and casual leave. In the third year of his service, he shall be busy pursuing employment opportunities for his second career. Since he is there only for three years, he wouldn’t be bothered about his performance and annual confidential reports. Such officers shall draw no respect from their subordinates, which is the hallmark of a professional army to succeed in its mission. There is no dearth of required talent to make up the shortfall of officer cadre, provided we make it more attractive with better service conditions. Lack of these is the only reason for the youth not coming forward to join the forces.
Lt Col HS Dullat (Retd), Patiala
The government’s decision to amend the Essential Commodities Act along with marketing reforms will improve the lot of farmers. As grain stocks are overflowing, there is need to shift to a new pattern of crops to promote diversification. A free hand to traders to hold stocks might result in price rise but farmers will benefit as they will be free to fix their own rate. Freedom to sell stocks in other states will be another incentive to the farmers to fetch a better price for their produce. The problem will rise for those farmers who grow perishables which they cannot hold for more than a day or two. The government must promote contract farming for such farmers.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), Patiala
Not enough as agri reform
Refer to the editorial ‘Major agriculture reform’ (May 18); to enthuse farmers, the decision of the government to amend the Essential Commodities Act as a market reform is necessary and deserves appreciation, but not sufficient as an agricultural reform. We need ‘rainbow revolution’, not merely increasing the productivity, but also ensuring agro product processing with facilities for their export. To prevent grain wastage, we have to meet storage gap by easing the load of godowns, as we cannot afford to allow food grains to rot. We need adequate preservation and storage capacity against vagaries of weather and unseasonal rain. The movement from the godowns to designated destinations needs to be made fast. To escape the debt trap, we have to understand the ‘cobra effect’, where ‘solutions’ worsen the problem.
MM Goel, Kurukshetra
Refer to ‘Govt’s stimulus package a glorified loan mela’ (May 16); the stimulus package of the government had a good pomp and show of loans but the grants that were important to some bad performing sectors like the discoms or the kisan scheme were left out, and no rebate to the middle income group was announced. There was no economic aid for the companies and the core sectors like manufacturing, energy and medium enterprises. The government’s main focus was on lending monetary support to the institutions instead of giving incentives and rebates that were much needed.
Harshdeep Saini, by mail
Their contribution, too
The majority of migrants were primarily working in industrial and construction sectors. They have always given their best to the nation. It’s very shameful that they are trudging on foot to go back to their native places. They worked in sunny summers, soaked in sweat to make large buildings. Please don’t forget their contribution. Tenants are being kicked out by the landlords because they have failed to pay rent. There should be no difference between the higher and weaker classes among the migrants. They all have contributed to the nation through their services.
Rohit Lahori, Ludhiana
No notice to them
A showcase notice is served to a health worker if he doesn’t report for duty during the corona crisis. But many elected representatives in Parliament have remained elusive during this critical phase. Is there no protocol for them to ensure that they perform their duty?
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Opportunity for India
Being the epicentre of the virus, China has come under severe global criticism for suppressing information about the virus. In this global pandemonium, India has come up strong not only in containing the situation at home, but also emerged as a harbinger of peace and kindness by helping countries with medical supplies. Trump’s latest tweet, tagging our Prime Minister, indicating deepening ties between the two countries in the future, is a proof of India’s increasing potential to be a superpower, especially when the world order has gone upside down.
Sandeep Charnoal, Amritsar
With the lockdown restrictions easing and an announcement of a Rs 20 lakh-crore economic package and stress on self-reliance and ‘local’ concept, the government has tried to infuse a sense of confidence in an environment of crisis. Let us move forward and contribute our maximum to compensate the losses and make the dream of atmanirbhar Bharat a reality.
Jai Prakash Gupta, Ambala Cantt
Give compassion a chance
The novel coronavirus has broken all boundaries of the world. There is no powerful country, no weak country for the virus. No missile, bomb or other weapon can eradicate it. Only compassion can prevail. This is the time to help one another. Countries should stop producing weapons and put an end to the feeling of hatred.
Narender kumar, Jogindernagar
Refer to the article on the government stimulus package being a dignified loan mela. It really looks like a dignified form of granting loans to the poor who hardly believe in taking loans from the banks. Where is the package? The poor labourers, government servants, skilled workers and farmers need some hard currency package and not the virtual dream of loans for their survival. Making big announcements in instalments without any practical implementation cannot yield any results. There is a need to handhold the poor to put the economy back on track.
Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali
Reference to ‘Govt’s stimulus package a glorified loan mela’ (May 16). The government has very cleverly played with the figures. The actual dose will be only about 2.5% of the GDP, as the RBI has already over the past three months injected liquidity. The country’s industrial output is at its lowest in the last four decades. The IIP has contracted to a negative 16.7%, as per March data, when the lockdown was only for a week. It will further contract in April and May due to the lockdown. In a nutshell, the claim for the government on the economic front is only financial jugglery. We are heading towards stagflation.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Refer to your ‘American Uproar’ (May 16). With Covid-19 cases and deaths mounting in the US, throwing the economy into a tailspin, the pressure on President Trump is enormous. China which played down the virus threat, should face the music. With the Senate backing action against China and the presidential election in the offing, tensions between the two superpowers are going to flare up. As long as it remains to the confines of business and trade, and not military, it would be fine.
Ashok Goswami, Mumbai
China is suspected of having played a role, intentional or unintentional, in the spread of Covid-19. Their accusations are not baseless. President Trump has never minced words and has threatened to sever all ties with China. His anguish is justified as the US has suffered an irreparable loss. The virus has killed a large number of people across the world. It is for China to assist other countries suffering from the pandemic so that its role is seen as constructive.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Helping migrant workers
Our country is full of eminent personalities from all walks of society. We are a nuclear power with great technical capability and huge resources. India has everything one can think of. Still, we are helpless in helping the migrant workers on highways whose number only seems to be swelling. It’s time an immediate solution is found to this.
Baldev Singh, by mail
Open up public transport
It will be good if the states agree to open up public transport. The general public needs public transport, including buses, metro, cabs and auto-rickshaws. But at the same time, the safety of the citizens too will have to be ensured through social distancing and other guidelines. Haryana has done well by resuming plying of its state-run buses on limited routes initially and adopting due process for doing so. The government should focus on providing public transportation in a phased manner. Finances can be recovered later on but not the human lives.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
World Telecommunication Day is observed on May 17. It also marks the anniversary of the founding of International Telecommunication Union on this day in 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris. World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is celebrated with a different theme every year. This year, the aim is to create awareness about the possibilities of using digital spheres like the internet and other modern technology to make information and communication easily accessible to people living in the rural and backward areas. Most importantly, the telecom sector is turning India into a cashless economy, making a huge impact and offering endless opportunities.
Kajal Kumawat, Ujjain
Students need change
Teachers are counsellors. They can influence the students to remain calm in this disturbing situation. Students need conversations, warmth and intimacy. Teachers can give assignments related to the student’s passion, interesting topics and let the study be practical. Because of the lockdown, the role of parents is also increasing through open conversation current events and news.
Sahib Cheema, Sriganganagar
Refer to ‘Retirement age of jawans to increase, says Gen Rawat’ (May 13); the move will benefit soldiers as well as the forces who won’t lose trained manpower. The CDS, General Bipin Rawat, has touched upon many points concerning the forces but said nothing about veterans. Col Navjot Singh Bal, a gallantry award winner, died at Bengaluru last month amid the lockdown. His aged parents, father a retired colonel, had to travel 2,100 km by road from Delhi to Bengaluru for their son’s last rites. The Defence Minister, on the recommendation of the CDS, had permitted the couple to be accommodated on an IAF plane flying out the same day, to the same destination. But red tape in the MoD and the MHA caused bottlenecks, forcing the grieving parents to take the arduous journey by road. This hurt the feelings of the veterans.
Wg Cdr CL Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar
Tour of duty
The proposal to introduce a three-year ‘Tour of duty’ for young civilians is fraught with danger. The Indian Army can’t be used to provide thrill and adventure to the youth. One year of training, six months of annual leave and three months of casual leave in these three years... what does it leave a young officer with to lead a platoon? Such an officer who has only his degree to show to his men will never be seen to be a good leader. What shall be the commitment of this type to the ethos of Naam, Namak & Nishan of the units and regiments? It takes years to mint leaders to lead their men in to war.
Col BS Bhullar (retd), Amritsar
The PM’s stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore has grabbed the headlines but those looking for a big-bang fillip would really want a boost in demand for the economy to take off. The second leg of measures announced by the Finance Minister has made it apparent that the package relies primarily on monetary measures. The government aims to encourage and support lending by different institutions, complemented by some fiscal support. The country needs all the changes outlined by Modi, but an expansive vision must be carefully thought through.
Lajwant Singh, by mail
Reference to ‘To be or not to be rooted in the past’ (May 15); India has a huge population and spending from the government coffers in building new structures shall be a criminal wastage. The present structures are beautiful, comparable to any nation’s. Just because it was built by the British is no reason to abandon it just as we have retained historical architectural marvels from the ancient and medieval periods for their uniqueness, as testimony to the time and contemporary progress.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Year of redemption
Refer to ‘How to strike ecology-economy balance’; the environment is teaching us a lesson. To serve our interests, we have destroyed the natural balance of the ecosystem. Hence, 2020 can rightly be termed as the year of redemption. European countries are now taking every precaution to save the climate, wildlife and forests. Germany’s focus is reduced emissions. Italy is redesigning its cities to preserve its pollution-free status. We will have to learn to live with the virus till we get a vaccine, but what if saving the climate and ecology turns out to be the vaccine?
Anshika Sharma, Mohali
Apropos of ‘Box office at home’ (May 15), the dark clouds of uncertainty are already looming over the future of the multiplexes owing to the pandemic. The existential crisis has deepened with big production houses gearing up for the Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, skipping theatrical releases of movies. This unprecedented move is likely to reduce drastically the footfalls in the multiplexes. Even in the post-corona world, it won’t be easy for the cinema halls after reopening to draw a large number of movie buffs who would get accustomed to watching movies in the comforts of their home at a relatively cheaper price.
Upant Sharma, Panchkula
Give grants, not loan
The Centre has announced a package for the power sector amounting to Rs 90,000 crore for the fund-starved discoms. The loan will be given by PFC and REC to state discoms against state guarantee for the exclusive purpose of paying payments, mainly to private power generators. Earlier, under the UDAI scheme, the financial loans of discoms were transferred to the state government with reduced interest rate. How will discoms repay this loan and interest as their earnings dwindle? Discoms are finding it difficult to pay the salary and pension of staff. The government should have given grants instead of a loan.
VK Gupta, Kurukshetra
Recently, some states have made changes in the labour laws, rather suspended major laws that regulate minimum wages, work hours, holidays with pay, occupational safety and health, protection of migrant workers, right to form a union, etc. People are calling it labour reforms, which they are not. Reforms broadly mean to facilitate ease of doing business by increasing production, productivity and generating employment in such a way that the interest of the workers is not compromised. These changes are meant to benefit the industry by violating and ignoring the basic rights of workers. These changes will have dire consequences. There will be exponential increase in cases of accidents at workplace, incidents of workers falling sick, demoralisation and resentment against the system and the government. This blatant exploitation will take us back to the time when thousands of workers across the world had fought for social justice and higher living standards. These changes would lead to agitations, civil war and industrial unrest in the long run. It would also tarnish the image of our country. Labour reforms should be such which benefit and take care of both the pillars of the economy, industry and the workforce.
SS Lamba, District and Sessions Judge (Retd), Haryana
Audit to check misuse
With reference to the editorial ‘Mega stimulus package’ (May 14); it has to be seen how much in actual terms will be effective to help the falling economy, which is heading for a disaster. Auditing will be imperative to monitor where the funds will be utilised and in which sectors, and to ensure that it goes to the pockets of the poor and not greedy individuals. The details of this package must be made public to see its impact in the coming months.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Woes of migrants
Reference to the editorial ‘The long walk home’ (May 14); if the authorities cannot fully take care of the problems of migrants, they can at least mitigate them. Any help or benefit announced by the government should reach the beneficiaries without delay and with minimum possible formalities. No doubt, it is difficult to handle such a mammoth class but help should reach the maximum number. There must be no gap between the announcements and ground realities. The police should be more humane towards the tired and distressed hapless workers.
Dilwar Ali Meerak
It is shameful
Reference to ‘The long walk home’ (May 14); those worst hit during the corona crisis are the migrant labour and lower classes. The government should tackle their problems on priority. One feels ashamed watching them walk on roads with small children and even pregnant women. Even after 72 years of independence, there is a huge gap between the upper and lower classes.
Sahildeep Kaur, Muktsar
Covid-19 has not only given a strong jolt to the socio-economic structure of the nation, but also revealed insensitivity in implementation of policies to get the ‘desired’ results, and today we are witnessing what has been brushed under the carpet for decades, ever since the onset of industrialisation and development in our country (‘Need to resolve housing for slum dwellers’, May 12). The focus should be on affordable housing, disproportionate growth of population, rate of development and employment opportunities in a local zone. Envisaging, framing and implementing policies without injecting sensitivity is an exercise in futility.
Teachers struggling, too
Everyday there is news about the struggle of labourers, MSME and other entities, but what about the teachers, who have not been getting their salaries since February. No one is interested in our sufferings! We are also labourers doing online teaching work, we are also the backbone of this society, we also need money to eat and pay EMIs, school fee, taxes, etc. But no one is thinking about us. What are we to do?
Satinder Verma, Ambala Cantt
A mother’s love
Apropos of the middle ‘Irreparable loss of a mother’ (May 13), I would like to pay my tribute to all mothers, and especially my mother who passed away recently. Mothers are a symbol of love and forgiveness. They are selfless and full of generosity. I quote an Urdu poem: Maut ke aagosh mein jab so jaati hain Maa, tab jake kahi thoda sa sukun paati hai Maa/ Bachchon aur pure pariwar ke fikar mein kuch aissi ghul jaati hai Maa, ki naujawan hote hue bhi budhi nazar aati hai Maa. We should always treat our mother with love and affection.
Ramesh G Jethwani, Bengaluru
Apropos ‘Rs 20L-cr stimulus to bring in self-reliance’ (May 13), is an appreciable move of the government. The PM talked of Vasudhaiva kutumbakam, but what about those spreading hate against religious minorities and Dalits? Would the PM be able to stop hate politics and initiate strict action against those spreading animosity? The PM has revealed that the country has manufactured 2 lakh N-95 masks, which is encouraging. Since Covid-19 is expected to exist for some years, it is good that the country is expected to manufacture N-95 masks in huge numbers for the use of the common man.
ROOP SINGH NEGI, Solan
Now, when the labour laws are abolished or frozen temporarily, there is a legitimate apprehension that firms paying less salaries to contract labour may still continue to hire more contract labour. Since there are no labour laws in effect, the workers will be left at the mercy of employers. At a time when the unemployment rate has increased, and market wages have declined drastically, this call for abolition is unbecoming and unnecessary even if it is to boost firm outcomes. This policy will accentuate worker distress and place protection of worker rights at the mercy of industrialists.
SC Dhall, Zirakpur
Conflict of interest
Refer to the editorial ‘Ministers vs Chief Secretary’ (May 13); the handling of the issue, protest and final authorisation for decision shows the skills of Punjab politicians at its best. The standoff is a pointer to the conflict of interest that assumes significance in the changed conditions. The final decision on the excise policy would determine the political astuteness of the politicians concerned. The state and majority of the common people need a new approach that would enable them to withstand the pandemic. The real value lies in ameliorating the conditions rather than continuing to indulge in the same old ways of politics.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Thrash it out
Reference to ‘Ministers vs Chief Secretary’ (May 13); the standoff is disturbing. If the ministers don’t trust the CS and the CS does not give due regard to his ministers, the government machinery is sure to crumble and the Opposition will find an opportunity to raise a finger at the government, terming it as weak, with no control over its bureaucracy. They have every right to demand the resignation of such a government. Both parties should not make it a point of prestige and work in a constitutional way within their rights and duties. After all, the ministers are answerable to the people and the CS is answerable to the Council of Ministers. It is the result of this standoff that the CS has been divested of the excise and taxation department charge.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Apropos ‘Trust deficit comes to the fore’ (May 11), it is commendable that the government has been initiating several reforms to mitigate the agrarian crisis at this critical juncture. Issues are being raised by numerous kisan unions across the country in the interest of farmers, for getting them economic relief, due to late harvesting, labour shortage and ever-changing procurement policies. The National Agriculture Market is a standalone platform for all integrated services, ranging from crop marketing to instant direct payment. The farmer has become a puppet in the hands of the arhtiyas. It has become a necessity to eliminate the middleman from the process to safeguard the interest of the farmers by making the latter aware of e-NAM as the only viable solution.
Money Arora, Ludhiana
Why not flights?
If a 30-hour journey in trains can be allowed, from Bengaluru to Delhi, why not three-hour flights, where social distancing can be better maintained. Will the minister concerned come up with a reply? Today, the problem with the BJP government is that no minister wants to apply his mind and believes only in carrying out the PM’s instructions. This can prove to be the BJP’s biggest undoing.
Bhartendu Sood, by mail
This is a crucial time when governments at the Centre and states must function with stability to counter the pandemic effectively. Unfortunately, the Centre and the Opposition are trying their best to derive the maximum political mileage. The Punjab Government and its top bureaucracy are also on an asynchronous path. People choose governments to govern them for prosperity in peace and help them in disastrous situations but every party at the helm of affairs works for its political agenda. Time has come to work in sync for the safety of mankind. Political agendas can be addressed at a later stage if people survive the present crisis globally.
Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali
Apropos of ‘Fresh norms for rail travel, only asymptomatic travellers allowed’ (May 12), as per government guidelines, some standard operating procedures are mandatory, including full fare. While on the one side, the government is making us believe that it is concerned about the welfare of citizens, and therefore train services are being resumed, on the other, it seems to be on a ‘looting spree’. Why start only air-conditioned coaches? Why should Rajdhani Express fare be charged when no facility of Rajdhani will be provided? Where are the trains for the common man? The Tribune’s ‘Thought for the day’ — ‘There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all’ — is apt.
GURPREET S MALHOTRA, KANSAL
Collect labour database
Millions of workers have returned to their homes or are in the process of returning. This is the time for the government to collect data. The data available with the government is of MGNREGA, which does not have the data of these labourers. If the data is available, any company or organisation that needs labourers or workers can rope in their services through a portal. This way, labourers will also get their fair share of money.
Bhupendra Singh Ranga, Panipat
Apropos of ‘Non-Covid patients can’t be left in the lurch’ (May 12), our short tryst with the deadly virus reveals that it is unpredictable and it may take a long time before a reliable vaccine becomes a reality. In this scenario, how long can we deny non-Covid patients proper treatment and make them suffer indefinitely? Other diseases are equally threatening and agonising, requiring timely medical or surgical intervention, wherein telemedicine sans clinical examination and evaluation may not be enough. In our quest for answers to saving lives and livelihood, this issue too requires a relook at the appropriate level.
GP CAPT JS BOPARAI (RETD), BHADSALI
Mishandled the situation
Refer to ‘Quite the flop show’ (May 12); the Covid-19 pandemic took the entire world by surprise, but once we knew it was deadly, our matching defensive and protective measures leave much to be desired. The government should have drawn a contingency plan on a war-footing to help labourers reach home. What have MPs and MLAs done for their voters in deep distress? They would have stayed back at their place of work if proper arrangements had been made for them. All political parties should have been invited for a consensus. The government seems to be functioning more like a groom, with no bride, band and baraatis.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
The continued detention of former CM Mehbooba Mufti is beyond the ken of the common man. Appeals, petitions and pleas seem to have lost their relevance. The approach of the political parties is also half-hearted. The latest appeal of eight opposition parties to the President for her release (May 12) is just an exercise in futility. If they are sincere about their intentions, the right approach is to create congenial conditions in J&K to force the Union Home Ministry to heed to the common man's hurt feelings and offer succour to the people.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Spread of misinformation
Apropos of ‘Fighting the infodemic’ (May 12), misinformation and rumour mongering have compounded the problems created by Covid-19. The circulation of fake news through social media platforms to the pliable public is only going to act as a breeding ground for panic. This may compel the people to take drastic and undesirable measures which may obstruct the right action. Therefore, it is imperative that the government and social media companies work in tandem to prevent the spread of false information. Furthermore, to obtain authentic news regarding the pandemic, people should access the legitimate sources of information such as the WHO website.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Punjab ministers have been at loggerheads with the bureaucracy in the past also, but the present logjam over the new excise policy with the Chief Secretary has reached a flashpoint, with majority of the ministers demanding his replacement. Attributing the state’s revenue loss from liquor sales, the Chief Secretary has been accused of having business interest while formulating the new liquor policy. It also points a finger at the CM Office, since the excise and taxation portfolio is with the CM. The Governor should intervene in the matter as it concerns the state exchequer. The standoff must come to an end at the earliest as it may impact the fight against Covid.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
The migration of workers from Punjab is a matter of concern for both the government and industrialists. Although the government tried to stop the migration of labourers, it could not succeed. In every train running for the past three-four days, hundreds of labourers are returning home. This will affect industry in the coming time. Farmers will also find it difficult to get labour for farming. Migration has started at a time when about half of the industries have opened up, but are unable to run.
Shahid Khan, Ludhiana
Neglect of the poor
The number of shocking incidents in which migrant workers are victims is growing day by day. It seems like our government is completely unaware of the condition in which the down-trodden people of this country live. The death of 16 migrants on the rail track was preventable if proper arrangements had been made for them. Their deaths are the result of complete negligence and apathy. This is a bad sign for any developing country.
Drishti Doel, Jalandhar
Migrants walking on roads and the railway track present a pathetic scene. While initially announcing the lockdown, the PM had instructed that all should stay where they are. He also requested businessmen, industrialists and shopowners not to cut the wages of workers and look after them by providing shelter and food. The professionally trained government servants should have administered and managed the situation efficiently. NGOs and other organisations that normally care for the welfare of the needy also failed at this crucial juncture. It is hoped that the authorities streamline the process of caring for the marginalised, at least now. No such occasion should arise in future where the migrant workers are treated so shabbily.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Reference to ‘Amid pandemic, two Sunam docs resign’; the town is already devoid of health amenities. People around Sunam and nearby villages depend on this main hospital for treatment. At this time of pandemic, the resignation of two MD doctors has left the residents in the lurch. The doctors ought to fulfil their moral duties in this hour of need. The Punjab Health Secretary should not accept their resignation, and should also take strict action against their irresponsible behaviour under the Punjab Epidemic Diseases Regulation-2020 and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, if they fail to rejoin duty immediately.
Gagandeep Kumar, by mail
Back to NAM
Apropos ‘Why India has returned to the NAM fold’ (May 11), it is a commendable step because today India needs to look after its own interests. Pakistan and China have stepped up their game at the LoC and the LAC. Too much tilt toward Uncle Sam is not healthy. India can turn NAM into a platform to maximise its strategic space in global politics. It should grab the opportunity presented by the pandemic to reduce the growing proximity among NAM members and China.
ANSHIKA SHARMA, MOHALI
Not the same India
Refer to the Indo-China skirmishes in Ladakh and Sikkim (May 11); it reminds of the 1962 War, when we suffered a humiliating defeat forced on us by covertly imperialistic China. I was a college student then. We were not prepared as PM Nehru was promoting world peace. A lot of water has flown down the Ganga and Brahmaputra since. Now we are equally prepared. Our fronts are well connected with a good network of roads and airfields with modern equipment and aircraft. It would be prudent for China to come to terms peacefully and accept McMahon line as the international border.
Gurdev Singh, Mohali
Adopting new practices
In reference to the editorial ‘Koreans set the ball rolling’ (May 11); it is to be appreciated that new standards have been set in sports which should be followed by every country. India, too, shall adopt and accept the newer trends in Covid handling in every sector, including education, health and sanitation, sports and transport once the lockdown period is over. These practices and standards will be the new normal in post-Covid India.
Astha Anup Agarwal, Navi Mumbai
Inculcating good habits
Apropos ‘Let’s make behavioural change sustainable’, it is the right time for a paradigm shift. It may be in terms of not spitting on the floor or walls and maintaining hygiene. We should create awareness regarding the benefits of a healthy mind which is imperative for a healthy life. A positive mindset is vital in the current scenario. A sound body and a healthy mind can make all the difference in these challenging times.
Surinder Singh Kundu, Sirsa
Reference to ‘Blood on our tracks’ (Nous Indica, May 9). The article clearly illustrates that the Central and the state governments have been indifferent in treating the vulnerable classes. It is time the government understands that more people will die due to hunger and unemployment than the coronavirus itself. The Aurangabad train accident is only due to livelihood issues and the worst part is that none have an innovative solution to mitigate the miseries of these workers. The controversial and radical labour reforms will work in the interest of the labourers only if we put into place income security instead of job security. The government should legislate on social security and unemployment allowances, to ensure that there is no repetition of such tragedies.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Plight of working class
Refer to ‘Blood on our tracks’ (Nous Indica, May 9); the mega events, first in Houston in September last year and then the replicated Namaste Trump event in Ahmedabad in February, ironically overlooking the worldwide coronavirus outbreak fears and the Delhi riots, display the toxic side of power politics and prove the hypocritical side of democracy. What former judge Deepak Gupta said recently about the legal system being geared to favour the rich and the influential holds true. The flight and plight of the working class out on the roads — in cement mixer trucks or on railway tracks — attest to our political, economic, social and judicial fiasco.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
The tragic death of migrant workers near Aurangabad may have been an accident, but it highlights the utter callousness with which workers, whom poverty forces to seek a livelihood outside their states, are treated. They will remain like dumb cattle without entitlements in the eyes of the authorities until they organise to speak up for themselves. Apart from being ethically objectionable, their present vulnerability is economically counterproductive. Agriculture, construction work and medium and small-scale enterprises depend upon them.
SC Dhall, Zirakpur
Run trains to capacity
Apropos of the editorial ‘No homecoming’( May 9), is it not a farcical paradox that while a large majority of hapless migrants are being made to walk long distances in close clusters, the few trains that are being put into service to carry a few lucky ones, run almost empty in the name of social distancing? In fact, these trains should be allowed to carry passengers, after proper screening, to their full capacities, so that the migration process ends early.
Balvinder, by mail
Rail mishap inquiry
This refers to the editorial ‘No homecoming’ (May 9). Though the Railways has ordered an inquiry into the exact cause of the accident, it is difficult for a speeding train to stop at short notice despite applying emergency brakes. Unfortunately, migrant workers have been forced to walk to reach their native places owing to the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. Many of them have died on way either due to hunger or because of other mishaps. The government must provide proper rail or bus transport to avoid such unfortunate deaths.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
Reference to the editorial ‘Another gas tragedy’ (May 9); the Vizag LG Polymers plant is an ISO-certified facility, which means it has a protocol for everything. The people who died or were seriously injured due to leakage of styrene have become the first victims of the lockdown exit. Accountability must be fixed on the management for ignoring the rules.
SS Paul, Nadia
Vizag gas tragedy
Refer to the editorial ‘Another gas tragedy’ (May 9), it is shocking that so many people lost their lives while many others were hospitalised after a chemical gas leaked at a pharmaceutical company in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam. People complained of burning sensation in eyes and difficulties in breathing following which they were admitted to the hospital. There is an urgent need for the NDRF to evacuate people from the nearby villages. There must also be a CBI probe to find out the details and those guilty must be sent to jail.
BB Thadani, by mail
A mother is always with her child during the worst and the best of times, the only person whose love is pure and unlimited for her children. She needs love and a smile from her children to make her life a pleasure. Don’t mothers deserve a smile? They do because they only demand happiness from their children. Mother’s Day is a memorable day for everyone.
Jubel D’Cruz, by mail
Apropos of ‘Vizag gas leak kills 11, over 1,000 affected’ (May 8), the dreadful incident has brought back the grim memories of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, which claimed thousands of lives. As styrene is a known carcinogen and requires a high level of supervision during its usage, one wonders how the company was made to establish the plant amid a residential area. Our country is already dealing with the extremities of Covid-19. The Vizag gas leak should be acknowledged as a cold-blooded murder, and not merely a mishap. Those guilty should be punished stringently.
Tushar Anand, via mail
Health system crumbling
Apropos of ‘Death of a Covid-positive cop’ (May 8), it is really shameful that constable Arun Kumar had to die for want of care and treatment, that too in the national capital. If it can happen to a constable, with all the so-called medical wherewithal and expertise against Covid-19 around, what will be the fate of a hapless villager in rural India, whose trials generally remain out of media gaze? It not only brings to light an environment of apathy, insensitivity and inefficiency of our healthcare system mired in cumbersome procedures and maladministration, but also the false claims of our leaders. The tragedy needs to be probed so that recurrence of such incidents can be avoided.
Gp Capt JS Boparai (retd), Bhadsali
Apathy to the fore
The editorial ‘Death of a Covid-positive cop’ (May 8) reveals the apathy towards people afflicted with the deadly virus. Patients should be treated with compassion. It is heartbreaking to see a young cop dying due to lack of medical attention. The police are risking their lives for us and is this what they get in return?
Drishti Doel, Jalandhar
If a government employee, a cop, who might have contracted the disease while on duty, could be meted out such shabby treatment when his life was in danger, one can imagine the fate of the general public. The authorities need to wake up and have suitable measures in place to ensure no valuable life is lost in future due to medical negligence and red tape in the system.
SS Arora, Mohali
Mishandled labour issue
Refer to the editorial ‘Let migrants decide’ (May 8); Indian industry and agriculture survive and thrive on manpower, and the exodus of labour can bring all industry and development to a grinding halt. Our system, government, NGOs and other social organisations failed to assess the labour problems and solutions. A contingency plan at the national level is required to keep them staying at their place of work. Covid is, after all, a temporary crisis. The Karnataka CM’s idea came too late, and in a flimsy manner.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Reference to ‘Halt exodus by extending aid to labour, say industrialists’ (May 8); when there is some relaxation for construction work and industries in the state, migrants should not have been sent back to their native states. This is the time when labour was needed. Rather than spending money on their transportation, they should have been provided with help and shelter. A large number of micro and small enterprises are going to be affected. Some alternative arrangements should have been made in coordination with the industrialists to check the exodus.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
With reference to the article ‘Shift of supply chains from China’; as India is taking various steps to attract foreign companies, which are moving out of China, we have also to seek redress to issues regarding the speedy disposal of suits. One of the big reasons why foreign companies don’t prefer India is that there is lack of infrastructure for quick redress. Rather than going for a regular lawsuit, which is exhausting due to a case backlog in courts, we need an efficient and speedy disposal system for resolving business disputes.
Navkiran Kaur, Bathinda
Darbar move illogical
It is strange that the practice of J&K darbar move is still continuing. Apart from the huge expenditure, it causes disruption in official work and inconvenience to the public. Further, if the people in the Valley can bear the harsh winter conditions, why can’t people’s representatives? And how about the soldiers bearing the freezing cold on Siachen Glacier? The darbar move at the expense of the state exchequer is illogical and can be avoided. Alternatively, some government offices in Srinagar and some in Jammu can be set up permanently.
Lt Col RL Arora (retd), Jalandhar
It is proven scientifically that if we continue or discontinue an activity for 21 days, it becomes a habit. During the lockdown, people addicted to smoking and drinking didn’t get supply of these products. Many people could have kicked this habit, if these products were not made available to the public for some more time. But the government kneeled before liquor and tobacco lobbies. The government is dependent on sin tax to a large extent. In future, governments should devise ways to be self-sufficient without sin tax.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Home delivery of alcohol
The decision of the Punjab Government to allow door-to-door delivery of alcohol is absolutely galling. This will only alleviate the alcohol addiction mayhem across the state. It will not only increase the economic burden on middle-class families but also shrink the quality of food on their plates. There is also a risk of underage drinking. The strategy to dissuade people from drinking by increasing taxes on alcohol is absurd. The long line of people waiting outside liquor shops across the nation is enough proof that there is no guarantee that door-to-door selling of alcohol will not increase the spread of coronavirus. Alcohol consumption weakens our immune system and may raise the Covid mortality rate.
Salute their valour
Gallant Indian troops, who carry out courageous operations, are the backbone of the country. Their devotion towards the nation is extraordinary. Their loyalty, selfless service, valour and tactical thinking are commendable. The spirit and passion to save the nation is imbued in a soldier’s blood. We have lost many great fighters, who were martyred to prevent havoc by terrorists. Salute to our comrades-in-arms, who embrace death for the bright future of the country.
Pooja Saini, Kurukshetra
Apropos of ‘MHA to decide on darbar move’, the J&K High Court has rightly asked about the practicality of spending Rs 200 crore on the bi-annual shifting of the J&K capital. The MHA should keep in mind while filing its reply that expenses incurred would include transportation and accommodation of government employees, especially during the current pandemic. The practice started in 1872 by the then ruler has indeed lost its relevance.
Devender Yadav, Sirsa
Reference to the editorial ‘Living with the virus’ (May 5); we have to be ready at the psychological and social level to take the virus head on. A new lifestyle has been adopted in the lockdown period, like working from home, studying online and the delivery of essential goods at the doorstep. All this has shown the way life will go on. With proper safety guidelines, we can go a step ahead.
JANAK RAJ SARANGAL, GURDASPUR
The little bronze work
Apropos of ‘Dawn will come, but when?’ (May 7), the little bronze does seem to resonate with the current situation of so many people, whether it is embodying helplessness or contemplating something is anybody’s guess. Its gesture truly is ambiguous and open for interpretation. Its simplicity is indeed what makes it so remarkable and alluring. There seems to be a mysterious aura surrounding it. One cannot help but envy the owner of possessing something of such interest. Modifying an English adage, we can say, ‘A sculpture is worth a thousand words’.
LIPIKA LALLER, AUSTRALIA
Appreciation and honour
We appreciate the Punjab Police for not only honouring the police bravehearts, but also those who helped them, that too during the pandemic. It boosts the morale of a force by prodding its each member to do his/her best. Are there no such warriors in other departments to be recognised and honoured? Other departments, including health, should take a cue and bring out their list of extraordinary workers every month without waiting for the ultimate triumph. This will encourage all those having gone through many weeks of challenges at this juncture.
Gurkirat Bajwa, by mail
Red Cross movement
May 8, the birth anniversary of Henry Dunant, is celebrated as the World Red Cross Day. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 for founding the International Red Cross Movement, based on seven principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, unity, universality and voluntary service. Our sincere tributes go out to all volunteers associated with this largest humanitarian movement of the world. We should further promote the movement along with our commitment to realise the Sustainable Development Goals to evolve a world worth living in.
SUDESH KUMAR SHARMA, KAPURTHALA
The Centre and the state governments are trying to generate utmost revenue to fill the gaping hole in the exchequer due to the ongoing pandemic by enhancing excise duty on fuel and liquor. The global crude oil prices are at an all-time low, but state governments are further increasing the excise duty, rather than passing the benefit on to the consumers. The freezing of DA of government employees is another step of the Modi government, which is being resented by various sections of employees, especially pensioners. The RBI has further made a mockery of the financial system of the country by waiving the loan of Rs 68,000 crore, in which the absconding Mehul Choksi and Jatin Mehta were among the top defaulters.
Pankaj Mohindru, Patiala
Show of gratitude
Reference to the recent flypast to honour Covid warriors; such expenditure is uncalled for in a country like India, where a large number of people do not have enough money to feed themselves and their families. Every penny has great value for our public. First, we have to support the large number of industries/shops which are being forced to shut business due to labour payment problems. Some state governments are even facing problems in paying salaries to their employees in this crucial time. This undue expenditure could have been better used to send labourers to their hometown. No doubt, we all are very grateful to our frontline workers, but we can honour them through other means also like giving appreciation letters and garlanding them, which will cost far less.
PARVEEN KUMAR, PATIALA
FIR in Arnab case
In moving the Supreme Court (May 6), Arnab Goswami of the Republic TV is seeking a favour on the premise of freedom of speech — especially his own, a journalist-turned-electronic media baron. An FIR is an instrument entailing necessary investigation and adjudication. That process is necessary for justice equity and fair play. The channel is engaging in unnecessary debates on sensitive issues and matters already under consideration before the law courts. Individuals belonging to different nationalities having little allegiance to the Constitution of India are called upon to join the war of words on ‘non-airable’ matters. The court should adjudicate only by keeping in view numerous old cases pending before it.
KL Noatay, UK
Rush to buy liquor
It was a grave mistake to open liquor shops all over the nation, just for the sake of revenue by compromising safety and norms which were in the making the hard way. The reaction of the public was as expected. Most alcoholics had crossed their breaking point and had learnt to live without liquor, which they could not have achieved without this opportunity, but all was in vain. If this is the last resort left for the authorities to collect revenue for combating the coronavirus, it would be better to raise the price of liquor by 10 times, with restriction of only one bottle per person. The delivery could be made at home or the timings of liquor shops can be staggered which will enable easier implementation of social distancing by the police.
Parminder Narula, Alwar
Up to people now
Apropos of ‘Living with the virus’ (May 5), the government has done its duty proactively by enforcing curfew and lockdown to arrest the spread of the virus and save lives. It is now gingerly moving to lift the restrictions in a calibrated manner and may relax the lockdown considerably or completely in the coming weeks. The lockdown can’t continue indefinitely. The onus now shifts to the people to observe self-imposed discipline and new social norms. This will relieve the government considerably and allow it to concentrate on economic revival, vital for livelihood and the well-being of all.
GP CAPT JS BOPARAI (RETD), UNA
The article ‘Embracing death in line of duty’ rightly speaks about the CO and his duties, including getting personally involved in the firefight, fighting bravely alongside his men. He is the guiding and motivating force for his men. During such times when we should remember the sacrifice of men who keep us safe, it is demeaning to raise unworthy questions.
Sonaal Dehran, Sangrur
Apropos of ‘Virtual hearings at High Court’ (May 5), considering the low number of hearings at the courts, they would be overwhelmingly burdened once normalcy returns. The Indian judicial system is notorious for a backlog of about 43 lakh cases as of July 2019. As the disputes keep arising and cases are being filed but not heard, the increase in backlog during the lockdown would further increase the discontent with our judicial system.
Harman Singh, Panchkula
The article ‘Embracing death in line of duty’ (May 5) highlights the very peculiar nature of a soldier’s calling. A civilian, a politician or even the men in the street can hardly visualise how a soldier’s warrant to kill the enemy is related to his willingness to lay down his own life. What bothers a law-abiding citizen is the inability of the State to thrash out international bickerings, despite the whole world facing apocalyptic threats to the survival of nations. No wonder, within the country too, political outfits and social media trolls continue to spout venom against rivals. How can we expect terrorists to behave better, or a rogue State to display sanity? Platitudes after incidents evoke cynicism.
LALIT MOHAN SHARMA, DHARAMSALA
Refer to the editorial ‘Tragic loss in J&K’ (May 5); this incident has once again forced everyone to think why India is not giving a befitting reply to Pakistan. Otherwise, we will keep losing our jawans and officers in this battle. The exceptional courage shown by Major Sood’s father, and also the family of Colonel Sharma, looking bold and composed on national television, is really commendable and a morale booster for the defence personnel. We must learn from the US and Europe regarding zero tolerance to terrorism. Our political leadership and defence establishment must plan to cleanse out all outfits that dare attack our country.
SANJAY CHOPRA, Mohali
Retaliate with full might
Refer to the editorial ‘Tragic loss in J&K’ (May 5); surely this is the most heinous attack by the Pakistan-based terrorists after the 2019 Pulwama attack. India must retaliate with full might. No mercy should be shown to the adamant Pakistan leaders. Only immediate forceful action will calm the people of India.
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
Horrid locker room tales
The boys’ locker room case has shaken the social media. Boys aged 16-17 are objectifying women and underaged girls, plotting rapes and body-shaming — where is a safe space for a woman? We didn’t even step out of our homes this time. This happened in broad daylight and by kids. If a man posts a picture, he is a dude; if a woman does the same, she is called names. How does society come up with such norms? Today, we won’t use the word feminism, but we will ask for gender neutrality — for justice, for respect.
Sanvedna, by mail
The timely editorial ‘Living with the virus’ (May 5) embodies a clear-cut message for all. The corona catastrophe has shattered the whole world. No one thought of such an occurrence at a time when we boast of scientific advancement. We should take the words of some of our experts and Delhi CM Kejriwal that we will have to learn to live with this virus. Nobody knows when a cure or vaccine will be available. The only weapon in our hands is to change our lifestyle totally and inculcate the habits we are cultivating during the lockdown, if we want to lead a corona-free life.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Temporary ration cards
Due to the lockdown, the government is working to provide ration to all the needy. But ration is being allocated only to those with ration cards. There are many people in the country who are deprived of this government help due to the non-availability of ration cards at this time. To help such people, the government should issue temporary cards. Many migrant labourers are staying away from home. Public canteens should be opened for such people, so that no one is inconvenienced and no one goes hungry during this crisis.
Bhupendra Singh Ranga, Panipat
Rush for liquor
People forgot all about social distancing and lockdown norms to buy liquor. Big crowds were seen on the roads which was ridiculous. Why did the government open liquor shops? The poor and needy people are running out of food, but the government has done little for them. They can’t resume work, but liquor shops, it seems, are necessary. Those in long lines on the road show that they don’t care about their own lives, and also about their families.
Ramanjot Kaur, Jalandhar
Apropos of ‘Cong, SAD in war of words’ (May 4), the spike in Covid cases in Punjab makes Nanded the latest epicentre of the pandemic. As at Nizamuddin, where the misconduct of the Muslim clergy led to an all-India effect, the inaction of the SGPC in Nanded has made Punjab the new fulcrum of the infection. The verbal duel between the Punjab and Maharashtra Governments, and the authorities in Nanded, is unwarranted. Ensure treatment of affected pilgrims, and not turn this event into a national battle. The role of the SGPC president and the SAD must be condemned.
RAJIV BOOLCHAND JAIN, Zirakpur
Apropos of ‘Pak deep state’s war on media’ (May 4), the suppression of political dissent and curbs on the media are nothing new in Pakistan. However, the irony is that such restrictions are being imposed by a government that claims to be democratically elected. Censorship of media houses and abrupt interventions in the interviews of opposition leaders clearly indicate that the government will muffle any voice that refuses to comply with the official narrative.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Amid lockdown, when government employees haven’t attended office, the salary cut in salary and curtailing of DA till July 2021 is justified, but health staff and sanitation staff and the police should be exempted from it due to their continuous fight against the pandemic. Also, the undue expenditure being incurred on the fuel of planes and helicopters and other equipment for the flypast is a good gesture towards Covid warriors, but should be restricted to prevent loss to the national exchequer, which is already strained. This amount may be utilised for providing medical infrastructure, ambulances, isolation wards, ventilators and PPE.
H/Capt Jagdish Verma (Retd), Narola
Act not meaningful
Every citizen is a corona warrior in one's own way by following the lockdown instructions sincerely and motivating others. Shifting of needy persons and performing other much-required sorties would have been a meaningful act rather than showering flowers on health staff by defence choppers and playing band at so many places throughout the country. At this crucial time, each penny and action matter a lot.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Refer to ‘Accidental contagion’ (May 4); the statement by Trump that he is confident the coronavirus originated in a Chinese virology lab and the silence of the Wuhan Institute of Virology on the allegations is ominous. The pandemic has cost tens of thousands of lives in the US alone, sparked an economic contraction and threatened his chances of re-election in November. The deepening rift may lead to a war between the US and China, which will be a disaster for the whole world.
BHAGWAN BALRAM THADANI, MUMBAI
Let no child go hungry
Reference to the news ‘Birthday of 1-year-olds made special, courtesy cops’; has shown a human face of the police. We appreciate such warm gestures from the police. But at the same time, let us ensure that no child sleeps on an empty stomach during the Covid pandemic.
Janak Raj Sarangal, Gurdaspur
Reference to a rapid rise in Covid cases in Punjab, an atmosphere of fear and trepidation is prevailing among the people of the state. This impulsive move by the government of bringing back people from Kota and Nanded is going to have drastic outcomes. Another lapse was sending some pilgrims from Nanded to their homes without properly examining them, and then calling them back to check if they were infected or not.
Rajkirat Singh Makkar, Muktsar
Set up tent cities
Had the Punjab Government taken the right steps by sending only a few buses, instead of about hundred, along with health teams and kits for screening and testing at Hazur Sahib itself, before bringing stranded pilgrims back to Punjab, this big problem of sudden spurt in number of positive cases could have been avoided. Further, isolation/ quarantine places should be hygienic and enough toilets should be provided. Tent cities like during Kumbh Mela and at Patna Sahib should be created on a war footing.
Jagdish Singh Jassal, Patiala
Bond with plants
Apropos of the middle ‘We have time, let’s talk to plants’ (May 4), plants do communicate with the surroundings. Today, as we are going through tough times, we should forge a special bond with plants and trees. It would not only be beneficial in preserving our natural assets but also help humankind in the generations to come.
KIRANDEEP SINGH, CHANDIGARH
A fresh start
Let us all take a solemn pledge not to ruin our planet again. We have learnt that we can live without most non-essential things. Let us keep our water and air clean. Keep vehicle use to the minimum. Noise pollution like blowing horns should be avoided too. Let us not burn garbage anymore and dispose it of properly. Let the mountains be decongested. Avoid rush at tourist places. Let us start afresh.
KC Garg, Hansi
The Punjab government, in its effort to take the credit for bringing back pilgrims stranded at Nanded, has goofed up the whole operation. Maharashtra is among the states worst affected by Covid-19. Why was a preliminary test for the virus not conducted on the pilgrims before bringing them back to the state? Why no arrangements were made to quarantine them at the border? It is confirmed that more than 150 pilgrims have tested positive. Who is responsible for playing with the lives of the law-abiding citizens?
Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur
No politics please
The Punjab government initiated the process to make arrangements for the return of stranded pilgrims. But in the rush to claim credit, some irregularities were committed. After seeing the alarming increase in Covid cases, there was unprecedented silence on the part of these credit seekers. We have seen the helplessness of developed countries in combating the disease. Keeping in view our limited resources and healthcare facilities, it is time that we fight this pandemic on humanitarian grounds.
Major Singh, Mohali
Apropos of ‘Reaching out to women hit by lockdown’ (May 1), cases of domestic violence have increased. The main reason is the socio-economic and psychological stress that Covid has generated. In a family, a woman has come under many layers of stress. It is encouraging that the Punjab Police have established a mechanism to help a victim. NGOs, social activists, women panchayat members and sarpanches, media and other agencies must come forward to help. Shelter homes should be set up under police protection. Counselling should be a part of the scheme. Alcoholics and drug addicts in the family and outside should be properly dealt with and regular feedback sought.
Sudesh K Sharma, Kapurthala
Refer to the increase in cases of domestic violence; state governments need to declare helplines as essential services that would remain open during the lockdown. Media can sensitise the public against gender-based violence and increase resourcing for NGOs that respond to domestic violence. We need to go into the root cause of the problem. Our education system needs to be reformed, and must include the truth of domestic violence in the syllabus. We need to teach our future generation respect for women.
JP Lodha, Mahendragarh
Apropos of ‘Relief for Uddhav, Maha poll on 9 seats’ (May 2), though the May 21 election will clear the impending fear of political uncertainty in the state, the action of both the Governor and the Election Commission, only after Uddhav Thackeray phoned PM Modi over procrastination in the matter, shows how far and deep the political obsequiousness of the upholders of constitutionality has gone. The Governors and the EC should shun vested interests and do their job.
Sylvia Malik, Jind
Reference to the editorial ‘Return of the migrant’; states like Punjab, which are dependent on migrant labour, have been hit hard. Punjab’s own youth have either mostly migrated abroad or are not involved in vocations such as farming. The Centre should do everything to help Punjab, which is the food bowl of the country. Also, crop diversification will need a rethought after the manner in which the wheat-rice stocks have proved to be useful in dealing with the crisis. Policies will need a rejig to take into account emergencies.
Brij Bhushan Goyal, Ludhiana
Ensure safe return
Thousands of migrant labourers are desperately waiting to return to their native villages. The government should devise an effective strategy for their safe return. Only asymptomatic persons should be allowed to travel with adequate transportation facilities. They must be examined before entering the state and quarantined at home or institutions for 14 days, besides following the mandatory safety protocols. The government should strive to address their hardships, otherwise there would be chaos all around resulting in social tension.
Neha Jindal, Bathinda
Refer to ‘Flypast to honour Covid warriors’; while preparedness for the Gulf evacuation is understandable, the flypast to honour Covid warriors amounts to an absolute waste of time. Instead, the need of the hour is to provide hospitals with good quality testing kits and PPEs in large numbers, which are lacking in most of the health institutions.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Reference to the news item, ‘Natives influx worries Shanta’ (April 30); there is nothing wrong if the natives of Himachal are allowed to return. What is their fault if they were stranded in other states because of the curfew? First, where is the infrastructure in place to keep thousands of persons in hospital quarantine in the state as more will be coming? The trend the world over is home quarantine, even for those found positive. The unfortunate natives can’t be left to die/suffer just to save the others inside the state border. CM Jai Ram Thakur has done well to bring home the ordinary natives. Those well-connected already reached home in the dead of night and nobody tested them at the border. In such times, a leader always thinks of ‘swim together or sink together’, and not ‘I versus them’.
Ved Parkash Sharma, by mail
Spike in cases
Apropos of ‘Returnees lead to spike in Covid cases’, Punjab’s steepest spike can only be attributed to follies of politicians, both of the Congress and SAD, who were vying for credit for bringing back Punjabis from Nanded and Kota. This was just for political consideration. While Sukhbir Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and the SGPC president were requesting Home Minister Amit Shah and the chief minister of Maharashtra to aid the return of pilgrims, the Punjab CM sent Volvo AC buses to bring them back in luxury. The pilgrims could have stayed put at Nanded, where they were being looked after well by the gurdwara management. Politicians should not be allowed to play with the health of the people just because of vote bank politics.
Prakash Hanspaul, by mail
Open dental clinics
The Covid pandemic has hit dental surgeons equally, just like all others from different walks of society. With most private dental clinics closed, most dentists are finding it hard to pay staff the salaries and rents. The government can join hands with the state dental associations and come up with an amicable solution in the form of subsidised PPE kits and other disposables, thereby enabling the dental surgeons to handle dental emergencies on a priority basis.
Charit Vohra, Patiala
In home comfort
The editorial ‘Home quarantine’ (April 30), has struck a chord with the readers. The importance of quarantine during a pandemic should not be underestimated. The word comes from the Italian word ‘quaranta’, which means ‘forty’. In 1348, Venice was the first city to enforce the official quarantine to curtail the spread of the bubonic plague. Entrants were isolated for 40 days. Home quarantine carries less stigma and is not only convenient for the person but also his or her family, and health facilities. We have fewer isolation wards and more suspects. To get the desired results, home quarantine should be taken seriously and in a disciplined manner.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Save wildlife too
Refer to ‘Rare birds now a common sight’ (April 30); not only the exotic birds are being seen, wildlife is also reclaiming public space. Sambar were spotted on the streets in Uttarakhand, while a nilgai was found strolling in Noida. An elephant was captured in Dehradun and a civet was seen in Kozhikode. Let us save these beautiful creatures, as a few days back, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in US was infected with the virus as the first case of ‘human to animal transmission’. What will happen if the wildlife coming to the cities gets infected with Covid?
Janak Raj Sarangal, Gurdaspur
Silence spoke louder
Refer to the middle ‘Irrfan, you’ll continue to inspire’ (May 1); the actor’s essential humanity seeps through and confronts you, compelling you to rethink dignity in death and how wonderfully this agnostic adapted himself to face his end with rare demeanour and wry humour. Those who have studied his art reiterate that he displayed master class when he simply immersed himself into a role. His silence spoke better than even his impeccable Urdu/Hindi/English delivery. He not just made us a part of his movies, but became a part of us. He left us saying: Sirf insaan galat nahin hota/waqt bhi galat ho sakta hai. Could he have been more intuitive?
Maj Gen Raj Mehta (retd), Mohali
Gone too soon
Soon after the sudden demise of actor Irrfan Khan, the cruel hands of destiny have snatched another acting gem, Rishi Kapoor, from us. We grew up singing and dancing to the tunes of this romantic hero. In recent times, we watched him mature like old wine in movies like Do Dooni Chaar, Kapoor & Sons and Mulk. Another star has gone into oblivion too soon, leaving his millions of admirers heartbroken. May his soul rest in peace.
Rajiv Sharma, Amritsar
Apropos the April 30 editorial ‘Home quarantine’, given our overstressed healthcare infrastructure, the Health Ministry’s new guidelines will ease load on hospitals treating the confirmed Covid-19 cases. It can give good results only if patients honestly follow the set conditions and strong monitoring by the home caregiver. With adequate precautions, patients can stay at home, and in due time, with proper care, recover without straining the health system.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
Ensure food security
Apropos the editorial ‘What a waste!’ (April 30), for strengthening food security to avert scarcity, the government must escalate the movement of food commodities from surplus to deficient areas. The most urgent task during the lockdown is to ensure that all people are saved from hunger due to food shortage resulting from slow movement of this most vital commodity. The PDS will have to be the lifeline for most Indians. Though there is a buffer stock of grains and pulses at the disposal of the government, rations will have to be moved from Centrally managed godowns to states and onwards to ration shops. The procurement and supply chains for agricultural commodities need to be strengthened.
LAL Singh, by mail
Reference to the April 29 editorial ‘Over to the CMs’; how a CM handles the situation in his state will matter a lot. The PM’s most significant remark was about the need for ushering in reforms that touch the lives of citizens. While details of specific reforms are yet to be spelled out, there is a need for re-evaluating priorities. The CMs will have to conserve their own resources and find a fine balance between healthcare precautions and the revival of the economy while keeping social distancing norms intact. Despite raising the issue of their state’s depleted finances and need for Central help, the PM has not provided any specific commitment. The Union government has already delayed the stimulus package, which may have caused irreversible harm to business and industries.
MS Khokhar, by mail
DA freeze, cuts fine
It is disheartening that some people are objecting to DA freeze and pension cut. Emoluments and pensions are not entitlements and are subject to the economic condition of a state. Crores of people have lost their jobs. Crores are struggling for even two meals a day. At the time of selection during an interview, all candidates claim that they want to serve the nation and society by joining government service; now is the right time to fulfil that promise. At the same time, former and sitting legislators receiving multiple pensions should draw only one pension and set an example.
Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra
Why write off NPAs?
NPAs worth Rs 68,000 crore written off by the RBI raise many questions. Why these NPAs belong to those among the richest Indians? Why have they been written off at a time when the whole nation is fighting the war against the coronavirus? Why was this not made public by the government? An RTI whistleblower had to bring out the facts in front of the public. This huge amount could have plugged the deficit created in the economy. Farmers are committing suicides for paltry loans because banks put pressure on them, but these people, with huge loans, are enjoying in India and abroad.
Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali
Strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) are meant to be used in emergencies, where time is likely to be of essence. In order to mitigate risks, India should look to diversify its SPR holdings. Now is the time to reserve and sustain oil for future by adopting better storage facilities.
Bhawna Verma, Rajpura
Two versatile actors, Rishi Kapoor and Irrfan Khan, have bidden us goodbye. Every eye is moist. In this crucial time, where we are fighting the world’s most dangerous virus, corona, their sad demise has doubled the grief. Irfaan justified every role given to him. Lunchbox, Makbool, Hindi Medium — three different characters and one actor. Commendable performance! He would have contributed tremendously to the film industry had he survived. Rishi Kapoor was the superstar of his time. It is an irreparable loss. May they rest in peace.
SAROJ BANYAL, HAMIRPUR
Apropos ‘He wowed critics & fans alike’ (April 30), it is sad to learn about the tragic death of actor Irrfan Khan. He was a brilliant performer and a magnificent actor. His craft in movies like Lunchbox will forever remain etched in the hearts of fans and admirers. May his soul rest in peace.
KIRANDEEP SINGH, CHANDIGARH