Letters to the editor
Reference to ‘Fuelling misery’; petrol price under the present regime has crossed Rs 100 a litre in Thane while it was Rs 99.94 in Mumbai, after fuel prices were raised again by state-owned fuel retailers. The increase, 14th time in this month, has taken fuel prices to an all-time high across the country. Fuel prices differ from state to state, depending on the local taxes, such as VAT and freight charges. Rajasthan levies the highest VAT on petrol, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In Delhi, petrol price rose to Rs 93.84 a litre and diesel to Rs 84.61. With this, there will be a heavy financial burden on the common people, as the prices of all essential commodities are bound to rise.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Develop border areas
Refer to ‘Ladakh has lessons for India’s China policy’; China has never been true to India. It is building villages near our borders and on the border territory of Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh and Nepal. We have not developed our borders over the past 70 years. We should promote habitation and strengthen our borders with large cantonments and with electricity, communication, railways, roads, tunnels, hospitals, schools and settlements, right up to our borders. The border area permit system should be abolished. Resources should be deployed in border areas for development works.
Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula
Need another Nehru
The articles ‘India in need of viable political alternative’, and ‘A thousand lies can’t dwarf the giant Nehru was’ are relevant. The younger generation should gather knowledge regarding the contribution of Nehru to our country and ignore the vicious propaganda against him. At the same time, the opposition parties should heed to the awakening call and search for ‘Nehru-II’ who can be a viable political alternative by standing tall in politics.
RAJIV OHRI, PATIALA
Apropos of ‘The day Nehru died’, it was indeed a sad day in Indian history. One could literally feel the gloom everywhere. The grief in every Indian’s heart reflected the tallness of this statesman, to whom India owes a lot. A stanza of Mohammad Rafi on the occasion of the demise of Nehru highlights the greatness of this tallest leader: ‘Karti hai fariyaad yeh dharti kai hazaaro saal, tab jaakar hota hai paida ek Jawaharlal.’
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Iconic coffee house
The news that Indian Coffee House in Shimla is facing closure due to Covid lockdown is disturbing. It has been one of the most popular refreshment points of Shimla. During our student days, the postgraduate science departments of HP University were situated just above Indian Coffee House. It was our frequent haunt for a quick refreshment and coffee. The locals and the business community of Shimla should do something, like visit it and pay more for the items, as these are sold at reduced rates.
RC Goyel, Ambala Cantt
Battalions of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), deployed in the hinterland, are usually pressed into service at the last minute, thereby increasing the reaction time and complicating the logistics involved. The DG (NDRF) and his battalions should relocate to disaster-prone areas permanently. Cyclones are a common phenomenon on our eastern and western coasts due to climatic changes, and will continue to recur in the future. Other less frequent disasters could be an earthquake, for which a few battalions could be earmarked and located in the hinterland. By redeploying NDRF battalions, a colossal amount of expenditure would be saved in transporting and rushing the NDRF teams at the eleventh hour.
AKSHAYATA MADAN, BY MAIL
Advance power deposit
Ever since the PSEB has been converted to the Punjab State Power Corporation, it has become 'lala di hatti’. Leave aside improving the service to various types of consumers, it has added to their woes. The strength of staff in public dealing in subdivisions has been curtailed. None can find an official in office to rectify a bill. Now the PSPCL management has formulated a policy to cover up the deficit incurred in the institute. Industrial consumers have been served with a heavy amount notice under the garb of advance consumption deposit (ACD) and have been asked to deposit the same in one week's time. The public is already facing the agony of Covid-19 and was hoping for some relief.
S Charan Singh, Ludhiana
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Apropos of ‘Step up Covid origin probe: Biden to Intel’, there is no smoke without fire. As China's demeanour and stand on the novel coronavirus have been sceptical since its outbreak, a high-level probe was a global imperative to know from where and how the deadly virus originated. One should not forget that the World Health Organisation had expressed disappointment over China for not finalising the permissions initially for the arrival of the team that was to investigate the origin of the virus in January this year. If the theories surfacing are spurious, as China claims, why is it not lending a helping hand to the probe agencies? After all, it has also faced the brunt of the pandemic.
Tushar Anand, Patna
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has alleged ‘a political effort’ to tarnish the government’s image. This is concocted. There is a difference between the political imagery and actual government record. The government could speak through its actions taken over seven years rather than engage in a war of words. Its own slogan of ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’ needs to be substantiated by ‘actual’ government record.
Prem Singh, Chandigarh
Refer to “The lasting appeal of nambardari’; the nambardar still enjoys the age-old aura in villages. His job is multifarious. The most important is the identification of a person in the court of a tehsildar in matters of land registration, mutation and division. Once I, too, needed identification by my village nambardar. After having done his job, he asked for a fee of Rs 20. I was flabbergasted as I was unaware of the custom. I glanced at those standing in the small courtroom. All nodded in unison. I took out Rs 50, gave it to him, and left. He ran after me to thank me for my generosity. The nambardar is a poorly paid functionary. His honorarium needs to be enhanced.
Roop Verma, Jalandhar
Safety of health workers
The Indian Medical Association has projected a shocking report about the death of 20 doctors daily due to Covid-19. This worrisome situation should be urgently tackled by the National Medical Commission which is an authority to ensure that necessary infrastructure required for safe medical practices during Covid-19 is provided to all doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other front-line staff on priority. The IMA is a voluntary association and its advice should be included in the regulations. There should not be any hesitancy among the medical staff to get themselves inoculated, after which they can render service more intensely to save lives.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Today came the news of the passing away of 95-year-old freedom fighter and renowned Islamic scholar, Maulana Mufti Abdul Mazak Khan. The other day centenarian HS Doreswami, another freedom fighter, passed away. People at large are not even aware of such persons living among us. Passing references are made in the media when such august personalities are no more. It is a sad commentary on our sensibilities that little heed is paid to these persons who were in the thick of the freedom struggle and are a witness to the glorious events of the national struggle for freedom. They are a valuable national repository of knowledge about the freedom struggle. It is the responsibility and moral duty of the Central and the state governments to pay attention and take immediate steps lest we are deprived of valuable national heritage.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Haryana history pioneer
A former editor of the ‘Journal of Haryana Studies’ and former director of the Haryana Academy of History and Culture, Dr KC Yadav, breathed his last on May 27 on account of cardiac arrest owing to Covid infection. Dr Yadav had been chairman of the Department of History, Dean Social Sciences, Dean Academic Affairs, and chief adviser of Ambedkar Study Centre at Kurukshetra University. He not only guided a large number of PhD scholars, but also published outstanding books on Haryana’s history. Before his demise, he had completed ‘Bahadur Shah Ka Mukadama’ and ‘Constitutional Development and Electoral Politics in Punjab’. He was planning to revise his book, ‘Revolt of 1857 in Haryana’. His death has caused an irreparable loss to the discipline of history in general and to the field of Haryana studies in particular.
Ranbir Singh & Kushal Pal, Karnal
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
It is heartening that India has achieved the milestone of vaccinating more than 20 crores of its population in 130 days and has become the second country after the US to reach this figure. No small achievement for a vast country like ours. The figures would have been much better had the country maintained the pace of inoculation at the level it was started. In the midst of the second wave, we can no longer afford to slow down the vaccination drive. We must identify the means to speed up inoculation by ramping up production and making it available all over the country. It also needs to be ensured that people taking the first dose are given the second dose in the stipulated time since they will remain vulnerable till even after a few days of the second dose.
Dinesh Kumar Verma, Panchkula
Why PM’s photo?
Refer to the PM’s photo on vaccine certificates; what a publicity culture our politicians have developed! It's shameful that politicians must have their stamp on everything. What's the need for the photo? Is it his personal property? A politician, whoever he may be, serves the country in his official capacity, for which he is paid a huge amount. When the country is passing through a catastrophic phase of Covid, such leaders are adopting all means to gain cheap popularity.
Gursharan Singh Kainth, Amritsar
Nehru stands tall
Refer to ‘A thousand lies can't dwarf…’; it is quite painful to note that Nehru is presented poorly in the eyes of the present generation by his opponents. Nehru was the PM of this country for a full 17 years, and made huge contributions in the freedom struggle of this country along with Mahatma Gandhi. He is rightly called the architect of modern India. His book, The Discovery of India, is the most inspiring book for young readers even today.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Nehru did err
The article ‘A thousand lies can't dwarf the giant Nehru was’ is in appreciation of Nehru, but his great failures in matters of J&K, Sikhs of Punjab, and the border dispute with China are still lingering and have cost the Indian polity and economy dearly. At least the Sikh issue could have been resolved by him because it was entirely in his hands, but he said he was prepared to face ‘civil war’ (October 1952, ‘Times’, London). It turned out to be worse than that. It cost his daughter’s life, besides the lives of thousands of Sikhs, and the breaking of social bonds.
Baldev Singh, Melbourne
Reference to ‘Regulating digital media’; the claim of India is genuine against WhatsApp, but for the greed of financial profits, the company is discriminating against India on the grounds of privacy rights. Just because India does not have a data protection law, WhatsApp is taking advantage of it. The nations having proper data protection laws, like European economies, have tightened the hands of WhatsApp and allow users not to share their privacy. In these stressed conditions, India is facing several problems. The two should think and negotiate for a balanced path. If this platform is used with some seriousness, it can change the world at the ground level.
Jaskirat Singh Batra, Muktsar
Refer to ‘Statute needed to curb gender-based cybercrime’; indeed, cyber harassment, rape and death threats clutter the overburdened headspace of the 21st century woman. It is imperative to introduce a statute and also make the toughest provisions in the IT Act so that such crimes can be curbed. All measures should be taken to check cybercrime in online and offline modes.
Saroj Bala, Sirsa
Opinion polls show that the majority of Japanese public is opposed to holding the games (‘Cancel or not to cancel Tokyo Olympics’). But then cancelling the Olympics and Paralympics will cost Japan around 1.81 trillion yen ($17 billion). Japanese newspaper publisher Asahi Shimbun (an official partner of Tokyo Olympics) called for the summer games to be cancelled, in an editorial citing risk to public safety and strain on the medical system from the pandemic. Shimbun later said it remained committed to being an official partner of the games and that its editorial division had its independent mission. Was it a tactful retraction? Pragmatic and practical, as the Japanese are, it would be anachronistic to counsel them. Even then, being a fellow human being, it may be submitted that in the totality of the circumstances cancellation may be a better choice.
Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
The article ‘China’s Buddhism card’ highlights the importance of Buddhism in today’s politico-religious canvas of the world. It is surprising to note that China, known as a Communist and secular country, is deeply soaked in Buddhism. Religion has remained an integral part of the regimes the world over; irrespective of their types, covertly or overtly. Ironically, in the so-called liberal democracies of Europe, Christianity has wielded influence through the clergy and the Vatican. In this context, Hinduism has been liberal to a fault, and it has also become a prey to some aggressive religions. But Xi Jinping’s Buddhism is not a matter of his heart; instead, he is using it to further his expansionist agenda, and back home to keep his position secured in the quagmire of the unstable single-party rule.
Kiran Sharma, Sundernagar
Despite an advisory from the Union Ministry of Health to the states to keep the wastage of vaccines less than 1%, states like Jharkhand have recorded wastage as high as 37.3%, followed by Chhattisgarh 30.2%, much higher than the national average of 6.3%. Tamil Nadu recorded vaccine wastage at 15.5%, J&K at 10.8% and Madhya Pradesh at 10.7%. So, why and how are the Opposition parties blaming the Centre for the mismanagement of the vaccination policy?
RK Arora, Amritsar
Stitch masks, too
Refer to ‘In solidarity, Malwa women stitch flags’; it is good that Malwa women have stitched black flags for the ‘black day’ being observed by the protesters at the Delhi border, but it would have been better if they had stitched masks also for their brothers and sisters, so as to save their lives from the deadly virus spreading its tentacles everywhere, irrespective of whether they are kisan, mazdoor or the rich living in villages or cities or camps at the Delhi borders. This could have been a great service to not only the nation, but also to humanity as a whole.
Ashok Kumar, by mail
Putting teachers at risk
The government’s decision that midday meal be supplied to students at their homes by teachers will add to teachers’ woes amid the second wave of corona. It is not a practical decision as daily wagers and migrant workers must have moved to their hometowns due to summer vacation, and lockdown restrictions. The government is putting teachers’ health at risk. Rather, money should be transferred to the accounts of beneficiaries. The government should roll back this decision.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
The decision to open shops on an odd-even basis is a mockery. If half the market is open, obviously people will throng the 50 per cent available shops. This odd-even formula was implemented by CM Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi to ease traffic congestion. Customers do not have a registered number that 50% of them will come out. There is nothing like a partial lockdown. The government should reconsider it seriously.
PK Patpatia, Ambala
Prove it first
While criticising the allopathic system and promoting ayurvedic medicines, Ramdev must remember that a system must stand scientific scrutiny. A large number of medicines used in allopathy are based on products obtained from plants, but only after proper investigation. One example is that of artemisinin, an antimalarial drug, which was discovered in 1972. It was obtained from a Chinese plant, ‘artemisia annua’ which was used in the ancient Chinese system. A pharmacist, Tu Youyou, isolated and investigated the antimalarial properties of the plant and isolated artemisinin. She published the findings and her observations were found to be correct by scientists. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2015. If Ramdev sets up a modern lab to investigate the biological properties, including toxicity of plant products, it will be a great service.
SP Singh, Kurukshetra
The Haryana Government has decided to distribute one lakh Coronil kits to Covid patients in the state. They will bear half its cost which amounts to over Rs 2 crore. This ayurvedic medicine is already controversial and the IMA has also objected to its false claims. Instead of condemning Ramdev’s recent derogatory remarks, why is the government promoting his products? Also, it is a clear wastage of public money, which could have been utilised to procure oxygen concentrators and black fungus drugs.
Priya Dhiman, by mail
The recent irrational statement of Ramdev against allopathy has exposed the rivalry between the two systems of medicine. In an era of evidence-based medicine, any system of medicine must be based on evidence and research, and all medicines, whether allopathic, ayurvedic, unani or homoeopathic, should undergo human trials to prove their efficacy and side-effects before being used as treatment modalities approved only by the ICMR. We should learn from the Chinese who have integrated the modern and traditional system of medicine. Instead of issuing obnoxious statements or 25-point letters, people like Ramdev should prove the usefulness of their medicines. And those making false claims to mislead people should be immediately arrested and prosecuted.
Vitull K Gupta, Bathinda
The shrewd tycoon, Baba Ramdev, firstly spewed venom and later cleverly twisted his derogatory remarks after he was rapped by the Health Minister. Should a man of his fame harbour such views and mentality? He is nothing but a yoga trainer who has been often unduly appreciated by various ministers. Making use of his political connections, every now and then, he tries to fool the masses for his own gains. He is all for ayurvedic formulations, not because he is a highly qualified and experienced ayurvedic doctor or a herbal scientist, but because he is successfully running a huge ayurvedic empire.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Admonishment not enough
Ramdev has spoken lowly against the medical fraternity which has been fighting the Covid pandemic since last year and has saved lakhs of people, even though they had to make many sacrifices in the line of duty. Ramdev is known for illogical statements. He has insulted the medical fraternity. The government should take stern action against him to boost the morale of doctors and other medical staff. Simple admonishment by the health minister is not enough.
Manjit Singh, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘Innovation is the key to tackling agrarian crisis’; the Centre and state governments, with the active help of agricultural experts and institutions, must prepare necessary action plans to tackle the agrarian crisis. The Centre should also initiate talks on the recent three agricultural laws with the protesting farmers. In view of the prevailing pandemic, we want peace and social harmony in the country. For the sake of sustainable farming, R&D departments of the agricultural sector should study the suggestions and prepare a concrete action plan.
SUDESH KUMAR SHARMA, Kapurthala
Dose of compassion
The middle ‘From a doctor’s moist eyes’ aptly highlights our helplessness and desperation in this hour of crisis. It is true that even if a physician cannot cure, he can always be a source of comfort to the patients. A patient listening, a caring advise and a positive approach by a doctor can work wonders. No doubt, the virus is beyond our control today, no doubt, the times are tough and there is a constant fear of losing our dear ones, yet, we need to act humanely and with compassion. A caring attitude, gestures of love and affection and a friendly conversation can help ease the pain.
Sumita Kanwar, Yamunanagar
Cancel board exams
Reference to ‘Exams in limbo’; when students and parents are against the exams, why is the Central government keen to hold them? It won't take long for the exam centres to become Covid hotspots. If children contract the virus, who will take the responsibility? Will the minister take it? Who will be answerable for the safety of thousands of young lives? Already, the healthcare infrastructure is under tremendous strain. The government must explore the option of internal assessment for Class 12 students. Holding exams isn’t feasible.
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
Exams a must
The decision to conduct class XII exams is a welcome step. As there is no replacement for classroom teaching, so is the case with offline exams. After class XII, students go into various fields depending upon their performance. Assessing the students online or promoting them based on pre-board scores or school assessment scores would have done a great injustice to brilliant students. Hence, offline exams under strict supervision are a must. Keeping in view the safety of examinees and staff, papers of compulsory subjects may be conducted. Duration of the paper can be reduced without compromising on the aim of learning. Exams can be conducted in two shifts to maintain social distance. In cases where students are not able to take exams due to Covid problems, separate exams can be held later.
Darshan S Bhathal, Nangal
There are innumerable posts everyday, some supporting the government and some against it. Is this the time to fight over such issues? You can't blame one person for lives lost in such a big pandemic. In the same way, you can't give credit to one person for controlling the pandemic. If the second wave came, it was the collective fault of the government and the people of the country. And if the first wave could be controlled, again, it was the collective effort of both. It is our own life and we can't depend on the government, be it of any country, to save us from something as dangerous as what we are going through. Hundreds of doctors and front-line workers are losing their lives for us. Staying home for one year and wearing a mask isn't a big thing. And to all those who had amazing trips in the past six months, that was the time to stay home, and set an example for those who didn't understand much about the deadly pandemic.
Garima Verma, Mohali
Refer to ‘Young brigade in big fight’ (Spectrum); doctors are front-line warriors, for not only treating critically ill patients, but also handling India’s fragile healthcare system and government’s apathy. They are real-life heroes, but this tag does not protect them from psychological trauma and mental discomfort that they undergo daily. Junior doctors who have been thrown into a crisis-like situation have matured fast. As Covid cases surge, its sink or swim situation for this young brigade. Despite sadness and devastation all around in hospitals, the feeling of satisfaction that a doctor gets by saving one or two patients must be so rewarding. And perhaps this keeps them going.
Anita Kataria, Patiala
Not new to controversy
Ramdev has turned into a business tycoon, selling all kinds of products in the name of health, ayurveda, religionism or nationalism. He was embroiled in a similar controversy in 2015 over ‘putrajeevak beej’, which he withdrew following severe criticism in the media. Now, when India is battling Covid-related health exigencies, his anti-allopathy remarks are opportunistic and violative of the Epidemic Diseases Act. If people reporting medical oxygen shortage can be booked, why not Ramdev?
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Ramdev’s remarks against allopathy, saying that lakhs of patients have died due to these medicines, is highly objectionable. The statement disrespects the corona warriors and hurts the sentiments of the country. The government must take it seriously and an FIR should be lodged. It is not enough that Dr Harsh Vardhan has asked Ramdev to withdraw his remarks against doctors and allopathy, rather he should have asked the authorities concerned to take appropriate action against Ramdev.
SC DHALL, ZIRAKPUR
Rich Congress history
It should not be difficult for the Congress to revive its fortunes (‘The Congress conundrum’). The party has a solid background. Its stalwarts have been recognised by the people at the national and international levels for rendering outstanding service to the common masses. Mahatma Gandhi succeeded in his mission of non-violence, Patel unified states under one banner, Nehru promoted medical science and scientific temperament among people, Shastri enlarged the base of democracy, Indira Gandhi strengthened defence and secured IMF loan unconditionally, Rajiv Gandhi expanded the communication network, and Manmohan Singh liberalised the economy and inducted FDI. Eminent civil servants like TN Seshan, PS Krishanan, S Ramesh and IGH Khan also belong to the golden period of the Congress. Thus, the party should believe in performance and commitment.
NIRMAL KUMAR, PANCHKULA
Alienation an anathema
The write-up,’ Winning people over, the Army way’ (The Sunday Tribune) brings to the fore the question of alienation plaguing India since Independence. The feeling that the Naga truce of 1997 is being underrated shows the changing perception and response to the problem of alienation inherent in the body politic of India for historical reasons and factors. But containment of the process of alienation has been a litmus test of the leadership in India throughout its historical development. The all-important task has acquired new and more significant dimensions due to globalisation and the unprecedented growth of science, technology and means of communication and transport. The 1997 truce, which took 27 years to come into existence, needs to be seen in the context of the overall scenario of alienation, ongoing political slugfest for power and regional turmoil before rating it either way.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Equating the grand old party to a Covid-afflicted individual gasping for oxygen is apt (‘The Congress conundrum’, Nous Indica). The revival of the party, with or without the Gandhis at the helm, is necessary for minimum essential opposition to the party in power. In the absence of a strong Opposition, even democratic governance tends to become autocratic. Sonia wants only Rahul to lead. Rahul has neither the mind nor the will to shoulder the responsibility. Priyanka has her own limitations. It is desirable that veteran leaders in the party, like Dr Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shashi Tharoor devise ways to see that the party does not get decimated. Its revival is essential for the public good.
KL Noatay, by mail
Must remain relevant
Refer to ‘The Congress conundrum’; although the Congress has ruled the country for over five decades, it has been a rudderless party for many years now, having faced several electoral defeats. Alas, Sonia Gandhi is not ready to make place for another personality to lead the party in place of Rahul Gandhi. It would be better for the party to revive the practice of annual sessions or modify it to have biannual sessions inviting mass leaders from across the country to preside over those meetings.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
True public servants
Reference to ‘Two bright stars amid gloom’; Sardar Patel envisioned civil servants to be the steel frame of the country. In reality, India is governed by IAS officers. Efficient and honest officers change the fate and face of any district in which they are posted. Many DCs have successfully completed big projects such as hospitals and mini-secretariats in their short tenure, and are remembered for long. Many times, due to political interference, caste affiliations and groupism, honest officers are not able to work to their potential. But, India could emerge as a great nation if IAS officers are posted without any political interference.
Daljit Singh Bhatia, Ambala
A job well done
‘Two bright stars amid gloom’ highlights the splendid qualities of some of our exemplary officers. India is a vast nation with pulsating varied demands for development and delivery of services for its people. It will only be served if the political leadership recognises the talent available and provides the support to get the work accomplished. The writer has given a frank opinion on the turmoil unravelling in the country. It seems that soon ‘the minds will be full of fear and heads held low’ if we do not see the writing on the wall.
Mohanpal Singh, by mail
Opportunity to perform
The Covid management models conceptualised by two officers in Maharashtra is impressive. Covid presented ‘aapda mein ek avsar’ (an opportunity amid the pandemic) to officers to prove their worth. They converted the hardest challenge into an opportunity and emerged as triumphant heroes. Meticulous handling of the grim battle against the pandemic by these officers is a shining example of what education, common sense, perseverance and hard work can do in the most testing situations and can serve as a live case study of crisis management for other officers to follow.
Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal
Beating own drum
The writer is correct in pointing out the failure of the government in taking steps at the appropriate time, whereas it is beating its drum on steps taken so far, or accusing state governments (‘How India frittered away vaccine gains’). This shows how the government is least bothered about the citizens, and that is why today we are witnessing numerous deaths. Media debate being aired on various news channels has party media spokespersons loud and aggressive rather than being humble and their head bowed for those who lost their life due to the mismanagement of the government.
AK Sharma, Shimla
NAI documents at risk
Central Vista is a major vanity project of the NDA government. It is a major redrawing of the colonial and post-colonial landscape. Several landmark buildings will face demolition, including the annexe building of the National Archives of India (NAI), which is the biggest archival repository in South Asia. It came into existence in 1891 at Calcutta, and in 1911, it was shifted to New Delhi. It houses 45 lakh files, 25,000 rare manuscripts and over one lakh maps and 1.3 lakh Mughal documents. A large number of researchers and historians of India and abroad have utilised this source material. The Vista project will render the NAI redundant in the coming years. This major dislocation may cause huge damage and probable dispersal of rare documents. It reflects an anti-history approach. It will impede historical research. The annexe can be secured, keeping in mind the significance of the material.
Sukhdev Singh Sohal, Amritsar
PM Modi has held scores of meetings with CMs and District Magistrates of various states to disseminate information on a number of subjects affecting the country. Mostly these meetings are restricted to one-way communication, which, of late, have been labelled as a waste of time by some CMs. The Delhi CM was reprimanded for telecasting live the meeting with the PM. Kejriwal offered suggestions which were not liked by BJP leaders. Mamata Banerjee has questioned the communication style of Modi. In his last meeting with DMs, Modi disseminated information which is already available on data-base and is freely telecast by the Press. Such communication, and without the adequate resources, will serve no purpose except for passing the buck which will end up at the lowest level of bureaucracy.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
Everything about money
Looting patients is a growing concern. It is a struggle between demand and supply for oxygen, medicines, ambulances. The wild wolves are just eating the flesh out of the dead. My heart aches when I read about the black marketing of essential medical aids; where rooms will be available only when you pay a huge amount and care will be taken when you opt for deluxe rooms. Inflated bills for those who are just living hand to mouth. Is this the reason why people curb their wishes and save money — for the worst; where in hard times you will be treated only if you have money? Things are falling apart, the Centre cannot hold. Can't the Government of India provide minimum medical aid to its citizens with equality?
DEVINA BADHWAR, ROHTAK
Partisan aerial survey
It’s unfortunate and unethical that the PM of the country only undertakes an aerial survey of cyclone Tauktae-hit Gujarat and not other states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Are these states not part of India and is he the PM only of Gujarat? During my nearly 50 years of reading The Tribune, I have not observed any PM of our country touring in such a way when many states are suffering from such a humongous calamity. God save India.
JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala
Train to Hardwar
Due to lockdowns and other restrictions, the Railways has drastically reduced passenger trains and many trains have been cancelled. In addition, interstate bus services have almost been suspended. As a result, people are unable to perform the last rites of their loved ones. Ashes are awaiting immersion in the Ganga at Hardwar, which is the nearest point of immersion of ashes for people from J&K, Punjab, Himachal and Haryana. Therefore, the Railways should run at least weekly or fortnightly trains from Jammu and Amritsar to Hardwar.
Ravi bhushan, Kurukshetra
Reference to ‘Protecting privacy’, today, people of all ages are dependent on WhatsApp for fast messaging and communication. Hence WhatsApp should be more risk free for people using it as social media. The government and the company should regulate WhatsApp in such a manner that privacy should be ensured. This will not only prevent crimes, but will also allow people to use WhatsApp confidently.
Suber Singh Parihar, Hamirpur
Tarn Taran, like many rural and backward areas of Punjab, has a peculiar problem. Due to the lack of awareness among the uneducated village folk, benefits of welfare schemes are not reaching the people they are meant for. It is the duty of the village panchayats to help people in applying for these benefits. Many villagers are not getting old-age pension simply because they have no idea about their eligibility and how to apply. Simply making laws is not sufficient. Implementation needs the active role of the district administration. Panchayats must be roped in for not only creating awareness, but also helping people in completing the formalities, like filling the forms.
Aswant Kaur, Tarn Taran
Rahul Dravid as coach
Apropos of ‘Dravid to coach India white-ball team in Lanka’, it's great news for Indian cricket that our former skipper is going to coach the Indian white-ball team. Under the coaching of the batting legend Dravid, the Indian cricket squad is expected to play One-Day Internationals and T20 matches in Sri Lanka. One hopes the team would not only just play brilliantly in all those matches, but also clinch both the series under the guidance of Dravid, who is currently heading the National Cricket Academy. Undoubtedly, all cricket fans will wait eagerly for the commencement of the tour.
Sourish Misra, Kolkata
Reference to ‘Karnal oxygen plant installed under PM Cares Fund stops working’; such a worrisome scenario calls for carrying out an urgent audit by an independent agency to reveal the truth behind such an unsavoury development. How could such a vital plant go out of order in such a short span of time? There may not be many buyers of the authorities’ reported claim that the engineers of the agency hired by the Centre had got stranded in Mumbai, and later in Delhi due to lockdown since it is learnt that there are no restrictions on inter-state movement of individuals in Haryana, provided they carry all valid documents. The plant should be put back into immediate operation.
Vinayak G, Panchkula
Refer to ‘Health officials visit villages under police cover’; it is unfortunate that villagers are reluctant to take vaccination or get tested for Covid. They are not cooperating with the health teams and try to block their entry to the village. To spur the vaccination drive, the Punjab CM has announced Rs 10 lakh grant for those villages who get fully immunised. Grant or no grant, all villagers should get vaccinated. Similar adamant and non-cooperative attitude of their brethren at Delhi borders is not allowing an early resolution of the matter. They can register their protest by wearing black badges, which is a better, more peaceful and a well-accepted option of protest.
Wg Cdr CL Sehgal (Retd), Jalandhar
Farmers’ agitation has continued for many months now. Every effort to satisfy them has proved futile. To protest against the government is our constitutional right, but to create anarchy is unconstitutional. It creates many problems for the general public. The farmers protested when the Haryana CM was inaugurating a Covid hospital in Hisar. Their demands may be justified but to oppose the inauguration of a hospital is not justified. In this pandemic when even poor people are serving patients as per their capabilities, these farmers are hampering government efforts. This will hit their credibility.
Narender K Sharma, Joginder Nagar
Stand by doctors
Though even fully vaccinated, well-informed and those who have been religiously following all Covid protocols have succumbed to the disease, but this doesn't mean that we should undermine the need and usefulness of the vaccines (‘Save the life-savers’). The death of a senior cardiologist, Dr KK Aggarwal, is indeed a bolt from the blue. So that his death may not demoralise many, especially doctors, the government should assure all members of the medical fraternity that it stands by them in these testing times.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Dealing with black fungus
The recent spurt in cases of mucormycosis, or black fungus, should ring alarm bells among the authorities and the medical fraternity alike. Since this deadly infection warrants specialised treatment quickly, Haryana has done well to notify its medical colleges for urgent care and cure. Only concerted efforts can help. The union government should declare it a notified disease, making it imperative that the government authorities be informed about each case. Experts claim that the overuse of steroids in treating Covid is the culprit. To curb indiscriminate use/misuse of steroids, manufacturers should be mandated to specify steroid content in all formulations with a caution in bold letters that steroids may be injurious to health. Such medicines should be sold only on prescription by an MD specialist.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Covid in rural India
Rural India has been devastated by the second wave of Covid-19. There is a lack of infrastructure due to which severe patients are referred to city hospitals. In Bihar, 37 people of a village died in just 27 days due to Covid, which shows the impact of the virus in rural areas. There is a lack of testing infrastructure and medical staff in the rural areas. In rural areas of Gujarat, patients are treated in open fields. The government must devise a strategy at the rural level to fight such pandemics.
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
This refers to ‘Didi announces Rs 2 lakh for post-poll violence victims’. Mamata Banerjee says that the BJP must accept the people's mandate. It is rather the reverse: Mamata must accept the presence of opposition parties in West Bengal. In fact, it is she who is unable to digest that a major opposition party has won 78 seats in her state in the recent polls. She is indirectly initiating, inspiring and supporting the hooligans in creating a post-election terror in the minds of those who still think that ‘opposition party’ in a democratic setup is a part of the government itself.
Rohtash Gupta, Kurukshetra
‘Hiding corpses in UP’ highlights the failures of the Yogi government in handling Covid deaths. Over 2,000 bodies were seen along the banks of the Ganga. It is the duty of the state to ensure that the dead are treated with dignity. But it is a matter of great shame that instead of arranging for mass cremation or burial of corpses, the UP Chief Minister chose to issue a provocative statement over Malerkotla in an attempt to drive a communal wedge among the peace-loving people of Punjab. Yogi has no jurisdiction to make such a comment. It's solely the prerogative of the Punjab CM to comment upon Malerkotla. Yogi should utilise his energy in improving the state of lawlessness, communal and cast divisions, rampant spread of corona in rural areas, respectable disposal of bodies, etc., in UP rather than worrying about Malerkotla or other issues of Punjab. Punjab doesn't need Yogi's advice to run its affairs.
RS SEMBHI, Ludhiana
Propaganda won’t work
The incumbent government has recorded yet another low by poorly managing the whole scenario during the second wave of the pandemic, which has hit the country hard (‘Pandemic has laid bare flaws in healthcare’). The Central government has shunned its responsibility by abandoning the states in this time of dire need. The Modi government should mend its ways and strive to maintain the admirable reputation we had under the leadership of the likes of Dr Manmohan Singh. This can only be achieved if it focuses on bolstering the vaccination drive rather than investing in projects that can be kept on hold, for now, and promoting false propaganda in the media. The Indian population can no longer be fooled by massive advertisements, for the grim reality is out there for everyone to see.
Sandeep Kaur, by mail
With utmost care
We should be overcautious now to avoid the third wave, because if it happens, how much damage it will do nobody can imagine (‘Cautious relief’). Politicians should forget about George Orwell's 'All animals are equal but some are more equal' philosophy. Already much damage has been done. We have lost our loved ones. So many families have lost bread-earners. We should all follow the Covid protocols more strictly.
RC Garg, KotKapura
Modern education vital
Refer to ‘Redefine learning as we know it’; I beg to differ with the writer linking the negative aspects of religion, nationalism and success in society entirely to the modern system of education. In fact, the negative aspects would have been much more without modern education. Modern education has led to several scientific and technological developments that made people lead a comfortable and long life. The world is able to face the Covid pandemic due to knowledge acquired through modern education. Syllabus-based education spread over several years, from primary school to college level, is required to produce scientists, doctors, etc. Education, whether the ancient gurukul system or the present modern system, cannot transform everybody into a perfect human being, as the writer envisages past and present examples support it. A section of people, misusing knowledge for destructive purposes, is responsible for the ills of society, not modern education.
O Prasada Rao, by mail
Need people with skills
Reference to ‘Redefine learning as we know it’; Tagore and Krishnamurti are the glorious jewels in the history of Indian thought. How many Tagores and Krishnamurtis has India produced during the period of Macaulay education? The purpose of education determines the contents. The NEP mentions ‘access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability’ as its pillars. It aims at ‘producing engaged, productive, and contributing citizens for building the equitable, inclusive and plural society as envisaged by our Constitution’. This social and economic aim leaves little to produce persons like Tagore and Krishnamurti. India wants skilled and productive people. Thus it is difficult to ‘redefine learning’ on the basis of the contents of the article. There are some geniuses in every century who redefine learning and charter their own path.
S Kumar, PANCHKULA
Relook at learning
It would be hard for any educator to explain the aims of education to pupil teachers, the first lesson in BEd (‘Redefining learning as we know it’). Ivan Illich, the author of ‘Deschooling Society’, says that education should not be confused with going to school. Our students know all the physical details of the planets without having ever looked at a clear sky. Nature study is regarded as a waste of time. There is no difference between my education and my friend’s, we had to walk the same beaten path. Tagore, Gandhi, Krishnamurti, Froebel and Freud are still as relevant as they were 50 years ago.
MOHAN SINGH, AMRITSAR
The foundation work of Central Vista is in progress. The declared cost of the project is Rs 20,000 crore. But in the process many heritage buildings face demolition, like the National Museum, National Archives, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Jawahar Bhawan, Shastri Bhawan, Vigyan Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan and the Vice-President’s residence. If one works out the construction cost of these buildings at the current prices, it would exceed Rs 1 lakh crore. So the Central Vista project would be a colossal waste of public money, apart from loss of India’s priceless heritage. After completion of the project, the truncated Rajpath would lose all its beauty and grandeur. It will be an obliteration of history.
AK Sharma, Chandigarh
Health not a priority
Refer to ‘Every govt chose to neglect healthcare, not just this’, politics apart, every Indian is a nationalist. What our leaders should embrace is the ‘power of love’ rather than ‘love of power’. The present dispensation’s focus is bereft of scientific temper and the focus is on four Gs — gau, gobar, gau mutra and Gayatri Mantra. In a country where the ruling dispensation believes that our surgeons millennia ago could transplant an animal’s head on the human body, priorities like health and education will take a back seat. We are spending minimum on health and education, and the nation’s crisis and sufferings are mainly because of this.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
Refer to 'Death in the villages'; besides limiting social, political and religious gatherings, what needs to be urgently attended to, and hugely invested in, is the rural health infrastructure. Most PHCs and CHCs are deficient in nurses, doctors, medicines and ventilators and the technical staff to operate ventilators. ASHA and anganwadi workers and ANMs are overburdened. In this situation, the vaccination drive in the countryside will be a challenge to the government.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Back to basic
‘Redefining education as we know it’ rightly infers that present-day education is merely a concoction of cramming up and engulfing the bitter dose of online lessons. The education system lacks the pleasure of nature, as reflected by Tagore. The education system has transformed students into robots with artificial intelligence. Let us introspect and work toward education laced with desire to know and explore the path as enunciated by Tagore and Krishnamurti.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Reference to ‘Redefine learning as we know it’; the entire education system is busy deciding about the conduct of examination, promotion of students, finalisation of admission schedule, modification in academic calendar, utilisation of budget, purchase of equipment, creation of infrastructure and utilisation of exchequer at the maximum level. But, no one is thinking about skill enhancement to strengthen health and education systems. Now, there is a dire need to develop infrastructure and intellectual capital to improve the crumbled health and education systems by revisiting the thoughts and ideologies of Tagore and Krishnamurti. The new National Education Policy has shown the ways to revisit these scholars. Being a teacher, I must say that we all have to implement this policy in letter and spirit, and as soon as possible.
Surinder Singh Kundu, Sirsa
Need ‘union’ govt
Apropos of ‘Pandemic has laid bare flaws in healthcare’; the failure in our vaccine policy lies in complacency. Governments have failed the people as much as the people have failed themselves. Our own carelessness and the selfishness of politicians have landed us here. This crisis has given us an opportunity. We either change our attitudes and system through actions, or stay complacent and keep complaining forever. Results can be achieved only through prioritisation and cooperation. Let politics be forgotten and empathy take its place. The Centre needs to be, as the Constitution mentions, ‘union’ government again.
Tushar Aheer, Bathinda
The Mohali police’s drive to help senior citizens get vaccinated is commendable. After booking, a taxi picked me from my house to the vaccination centre. I was vaccinated in the cab itself. A police officer greeted me and took my Aadhaar card to arrange this. After vaccination, I was advised to remain in the taxi for some time. After 20 minutes, the cop approached me and gave me his number in case of any complication. The service provided by the police reminded me of my friends who appreciate the police in western countries. Well done.
TS KHURANA, Chandigarh
Apropos of ‘The emperor’s new clothes’ (The Sunday Tribune), the entire defence establishment has been on its toes, which itself shows that the government is in fire-fighting mode. The lack of planning and focus is visible, as the international aid has been lying unutilised. Retired healthcare workers should be called in and more funds made available. Corona awareness campaigns should be strengthened and social security measures announced for unemployed youth so that they do not resort to crime.
Anil Oberoi, Mohali
Time for a lesson
Reference to ‘The emperor’s new clothes’; the writer has aptly echoed the pain and anger of the common man. The people of Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have already given their verdict on the failure of Modi’s style of working. The apex court has also remarked about the failure of the Indian state. Where lies the remedy? We should take a leaf out of the recent American elections where the people, the Opposition and the media taught a befitting lesson to haughty Trump. Indian media and the Opposition parties will have to get organised to awaken the public about their rights.
Jaspal Singh, Ludhiana
Have had enough
The UP Government’s shameful act of hiding the corpses is utterly reprehensible (‘Hiding corpses in UP’). The manner in which the pandemic triggered the toll is rising and is penetrating the rural hinterland. The irony is that the government is putting up a brave face and is in denial mode. It believes that the catastrophe of even such a scale shall blow over time as the raging pandemic is not of its making. However, mismanagement of Covid-19 squarely lies on its shoulders. Voters are taken for granted as usual, but this time around, they have been shattered to the core by the loss of their loved ones and income. Now no dose of nationalism, hermit attire and polarisation tactics shall work to the BJP’s advantage.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
RSS’ timely warning
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has pulled up the Modi government for complacency in dealing with the pandemic, which has since become even more acute. Both the RSS and the Left were known to put institutional discipline above individuals. In 1997, the Left did not allow its leading light, Jyoti Basu, to become the PM, despite an active consensus in the coalition. The BJP, on the other hand, in its avid pursuit of power is seen to be compromising on the RSS ethos and tenets, and shedding accountability. Given the context, the warning from the RSS to its political understudy, the BJP, is, indeed, timely. If neglected, the BJP, too, could face estrangement from people, much like the fate of the Left today.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Rural Covid wave
Now that the Covid-19 virus has entered rural areas in a big way, there is a need for remedial action on a war footing before this wave turns into a tsunami. The main requirement is to stop the spread of the virus through contact with positive cases. As our village population is living in congested households, it is not possible for them to arrange home isolation. It is imperative that makeshift isolation centres be put up by the panchayats, which can serve clusters of villages. All suspected Covid cases should be moved to these centres immediately on detection and be given medical aid. These centres can be financed by village temples/gurdwaras/masjids and other donors under the stewardship of local MLAs/MPs on the pattern of many gurdwaras. These can be manned by nurses of PHCs and assisted by family members of the patients who can also bring food for them.
Brig WS Choudhary (retd), Panchkula
The controversial Israel-Palestine conflict has escalated recently. Hundreds of missiles were fired from both sides, killing dozens. Both Israel and Hamas have given various excuses for their actions. Sadly, this is what extremist leaders do globally: they justify violence and communal conflict. The world outside stood divided, too — some fuelled with outrage and others with triumph. While the majority of them have no real knowledge about their complex history, they are quick enough to pass judgements and trend hashtags on social media, like ‘India stands with Israel/Palestine’. Passing provocative comments serve no purpose; it only deepens the abyss between the two factions and their supporters. World leaders should also put aside their political and religious ambitions and focus on saving lives by pushing for a ceasefire, as the deaths of today will only become grief and ‘excuses’ for tomorrow.
Priya Dhiman, by mail
We have been witnessing a large number of deaths caused by the non-availability of oxygen to Covid patients. The Army has pan-India presence and its officers of proven integrity can be made responsible to distribute oxygen to hospitals located in their respective districts. Army military hospitals can be roped in, boosted by non-medical officers to handle this major resource which is urgently required to save lives at this critical juncture. Army officers will not come under pressure from anyone to do favours to the powers that be. They will handle the job in the most transparent manner, much to the satisfaction of the general public.
SIDDHITA MADAN, BY MAIL
Rope in Army
The suggestion ‘Time to optimally use armed forces during crises’ is apt and timely. The armed forces have in the past rescued people in tsunami-like natural calamities and disasters on several occasions. The ongoing surge of the Covid pandemic is posing a serious threat to the lives of people. The number of those getting afflicted and succumbing thereto is multiplying by the day. The civilians made responsible for the control of the surge have their own shortcomings and limitations. It is time that the armed forces are called upon to intervene and take charge of things and manage the loose ends systematically. The sooner they intervene the better.
KL Noatay, Kangra
States left in the lurch
Considering itself to be the ‘pharmacy of the world’ months ago, India enthusiastically exported medicines and Covid 19 vaccines to other countries, and is now reeling under pressure because of its own wrong strategy and myopic vision. We are in dire straits but have failed to cut through the red tape. The first consignment of Sputnik V vaccine landed in the country on May 1, but the first dose could be administered only on May 14. Above all, now the Centre expects that states will make arrangements of remaining vaccine doses themselves. Leaving states in the lurch when their financial backup is frail, is not the right decision.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Work as one India
Reference to ‘Tardy vax drive’; the Centre’s move to decentralise the vaccination drive to respective states will have a negative impact on the minds of the people of united India. The grave situation can be overcome only when it is fought on a war footing. The morale of the nation as one India is vital as no state is untouched by the Covid surge. The Centre should keep the command and not encourage federalism at such a time.
KRISHAN BHATIA, Hansi
King and his castle
Prime Minister Modi is laying the foundation of the Central Vista project on the corpses of people who are dying every day. In this crisis, when people are dying because of shortage of oxygen and beds, and even the dead are not getting a place for cremation, how come the leader of the country, which due to the lack of resources is taking help from other countries, be so hell-bent on making his new castle?
Gauravpreet Singh, Amritsar
It is unfortunate that instead of making efforts together to conquer the pathetic situation that has arisen in the country due to the second wave of the coronavirus, our state governments and the Centre are clashing with each other on the issue of making vaccines available to their people. This diversification of efforts has no use. They should learn from an important principle of physics called ‘superposition principle of forces’. According to it, the total force acting on an object is the vector sum of all the individual forces acting on it. Here's the need of a total force to hold this deadly virus at bay, which is possible only if all individual forces (efforts) do not cancel out each other.
Kamalpreet Singh, Barnala
Masters of the game
Apropos of ‘Online games with Anand, other GMs raise $50K’, the five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand and all other Grand Masters who played a series of online exhibition matches to support Covid relief in India recently should be applauded for this initiative. These ace chess players played against 105 players for a fixed registration amount. The other four Grand Masters of the sport, who participated in that event, were Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, Nihal Sarin and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu.
Sourish Misra, West Bengal
Reference to 'Covishield dose gap widened to 12-16 weeks’; leave aside the criticism that the move aims at hiding the present vaccine shortage. To vaccinate as many people as possible might be the intent behind it. If by widening this gap, the efficacy of the vaccine reaches 82.4 per cent, why was the Covid Working Group sleeping over this vital information all these months? Such a benign approach, when our vaccine need outweighs the supply, is simply unimaginable. A vaccine recipient, it is told, is immune to Covid only after 15 days of the second dose. Is the second one a booster dose or just the completion of a single process? Does the first dose make a person safer while he/she waits for the second? These questions demand answers.
Hira Sharma, by mail
The writer has absolved Didi of all the sins in his article “Post-election mayhem”. Elections have been held simultaneously in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Assam also. There is no report of any hyperactivity on the part of the Centre in these states. Didi has made her state a special case because of her non-cooperative attitude towards the Centre and her volatile demeanour. If the Centre deployed special police forces in Bengal elections, it was only to ensure free and peaceful elections. What is her grouse? Did she not win? Were the Centre’s forces seen helping the BJP? There is nothing wrong with the ECI’s conduct, even if certain police deployment traditions were altered.
LR Sharma, Sundernagar
Rural areas soft target
Lack of awareness about Covid among the people in rural areas is becoming a major problem. Despite the increasing number of corona cases, the rural population is not taking it seriously, resulting in a higher number of deaths in rural areas than in urban areas. Corona cases are on the rise in rural areas due to the lack of health facilities and public awareness. Most people do not wear masks and do not care about social distancing. If this continues, it will be our carelessness, and not the lack of health facilities, that will be responsible for what will follow.
Lavneet Vashisth, Morinda
Villages under virus attack
Refer to ‘Devastating pandemic raging in rural UP’; the writer has put the blame on the government, but he himself is an accused in the contribution of the spread of the virus in rural folk by leading huge gatherings at the Delhi borders, where the farmers come and go frequently to and from their villages, disobeying Covid guidelines, and thereby becoming super-spreaders. Rural Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are becoming hotspots of the deadly virus, but the media and political parties are turning a blind eye. Time will come when people will not forgive them for their blunder.
Ashok Kumar, by mail
Reference to ‘Poor patients can dial “181” or “112” to get free food at home’; it is a phenomenal initiative taken by the Punjab Government during Covid surge. We need more humane schemes like this. People are suffering from this pandemic, they don't have adequate sustenance. The government should provide food not only to poor patients, but also to the needy who can't afford meals in these hard times. As the situation is not favourable, all states should start such programmes to make sure people don't have to suffer like last time.
Rakhi, New Delhi
Not the time to be petty
Apropos of the recent debate over donations by Amitabh Bachchan to the DGSMC for Covid relief, Sikhism is a religion of tolerance and one that believes in the service and welfare of all. This philosophy is visible in terms of the welfare activities seen lately as India combats the second wave of the deadly coronavirus. Nevertheless, it is distressing to see certain elements, for the sake of petty political mileage, scandalising the donations made by several celebrities towards the fight against Covid. One such example is the donation offered by Amitabh Bachchan towards Covid relief to the DSGMC. Certain hardline elements are criticising his donation on the basis of allegations from the past. In doing so, they are standing in opposition to Sikh tenets of tolerance and compassion. Everyone is free to partake and contribute towards langar and ‘seva’. Thus, criticisms and allegations, especially at a time when there is scarcity of resources and, many lives are in danger, are uncalled for. People should rise above these trivialities and stand united against the pandemic in these trying times.
Charupreet K Lamba, Chandigarh
Mamata Banerjee deserves to be congratulated for her resounding victory in the Bengal elections. Her victory is a notice to the BJP that regional satraps are more close to the masses of their states and cannot be taken lightly. The BJP, under the PM, Union Home Minister and several chief ministers of different states ran a vigorous campaign against her to prevent her from coming to power in the state for the third time. The time has come to introduce certain changes in the Constitution. Whenever there are Assembly elections, at least the PM should not participate in the campaign. Modi’s jibe against Mamata boomeranged on the BJP.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Book culprits under NSA
With reference to ‘67 held in 15 days for black marketeering of oxygen cylinders, Remdesivir’; the Haryana Police truly deserve people’s appreciation for having arrested unscrupulous elements. The accused should be booked under the NSA and not merely under IPC and the Disaster Management Act. Further, as this matter concerns the health of all state subjects, it's also incumbent upon each one of us to lend a helping hand by informing the police about any suspected/evident black marketeering.
Kumar Gupt, Panchkula
DSGMC must shun politics
Refer to ‘Sikh bodies object to DSGMC accepting Rs 2 cr from Bachchan’; it is unfortunate that even during this unprecedented crisis, politics is being played over the charity made with humanitarian intent. The DSGMC is already doing an excellent job of providing medical services in the Capital. We need to rise above such petty considerations to unitedly face the human catastrophe with whatever resources.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
Free medicare for all
Reference to ‘Covid hotspots’; the ground reality is alarming. The common man is anxious about the Covid test and the implications if the report is positive. Faith in the health system stands shattered due to unethical practices. The need of the hour is to restore the faith of the masses in the medical system which can only be possible with the strengthening of the government system and provision of services with no burden on the sick. After this phase is over, restructuring of the whole system is required, with free medical treatment for all and without any consideration of the rich or poor.
Krishan Bhatia, Hansi
Covid in rural India
The current rapid spread of Covid in rural areas will have deeper repercussions compared to urban areas, which being primarily engaged with its treatment, could dip into savings to be able to contend with problems of supplies of drugs, vaccines or oxygen. The rural sector that perennially had uncertain income is in double jeopardy today, as Covid not only threatens their health, but also livelihood. The latest figures in MGNREGS show a dip by half in attendance due to fear of the virus and the sickness itself. This, when the current budget for women and child welfare has been cut by 20%. Engaged in the singular pursuit of vaccines and drugs and statistics of metropolises, the government would need to show as much concern over food security and enabling financial schemes for our rural cousins. Gross neglect will take an unprecedented toll on rural health and the national economy.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Worldwide, leading medical authorities have claimed that the use of Remdesivir is not recommended for Covid-19 treatment, but in India, it is freely used. Similarly, dexamethasone is highly recommended for patients. The British PM has claimed that dexamethasone has saved millions of lives in the UK and the US. Remdesivir is expensive but dexamethasone costs just Rs 10 per injection. The medical fraternity must explain this — why what’s good for the world is not good for us?
RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA
Make official statement
When it is being alleged that from being a leader in vaccine production, India has been reduced to a vaccine beggar due to the failure of the government, it is the duty of the Government of India to come forward and give its version, rather than depend on some BJP leaders to speak for it. It reflects poorly on PM Modi. All the government's decisions seem like knee-jerk reactions to the fast-spreading pandemic. It did nothing to ramp up the production of vaccines in the country. Even when Russia swept up all idle capacities in India to manufacture Sputnik V, the government failed to see the devastation that the second wave had wreaked in other countries and act accordingly.
SC Dhall, Zirakpur
Reference to ‘Covid corpses on Ganga’; locals fear that these bodies will be washed down further and can be eaten by stray dogs which may further spread the virus. Locals believe that the bodies were dumped in the river because cremation sites were overwhelmed or because relatives could not afford wood for funeral pyres. Experts say that the floating bodies are proof of the under-counted Covid-19 deaths in the country. With these horrific scenes, India has lost its credibility.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Bodies in Ganga
Apropos of ‘Covid corpses on Ganga’, it is not known which state these bodies belong to. Both states (UP and Bihar) are facing scathing criticism for their inability to handle the Covid crisis. The situation is all the more pathetic in rural areas, where in the absence of adequate medical facilities, patients are left at the mercy of quacks, resulting in an upsurge in the death rate. History seems to be repeating itself as the Ganga was also swollen with bodies during the Spanish flu in 1918. Famous Hindi writer and poet Suryakant Tripathi Nirala mentioned about this catastrophe in his writings.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Go for Army officers
The practice of foisting IPS officers in senior positions in the CRPF, BSF, ITBP must be dispensed with. Lateral entry of battle-hardened Army short service Captain-rank officers should be done at the battalion level of the paramilitary forces, along with dedicated recruitment at the entry level of the right material. These young officers can then grow with the organisation, and rise on merit. Senior positions being reserved for IPS officers, who are adept at civilian policing, but have little or no exposure to counter-insurgency is self-defeating and bad for the morale of the troops.
RI Singh, by mail
Reference to ‘Covid blows up in Yogi’s face’ and ‘Covid corpses on Ganga’; we are seeing the harrowing consequences of the manner of handling and coping with this health crisis by the powers in India. Symbolism bestows our day-to-day living with a grammar of meaningful existence. The symbolism of a dip in the Ganga washes our ills and sins led to the Kumbh Mela even in these times. Political avarice led to the panchayat elections, and elections in five states. Will the corpses found floating on the Ganga, melting grills in crematoriums and the long wait at funeral grounds teach us the necessary lessons?
Lalit Mohan Sharma, Dharamsala
‘Pandemic vultures’ draws the attention of the common man on the issue of medical oxygen being sold on the black market by anti-social elements in connivance with certain higher-ups. This is a matter of deep concern. An equal concern is e-commerce sites selling oximeters 10 times the price two months ago. Government agencies should keep an eye on such vultures as well. Does selling at higher prices, with the payment of GST, make it legal?
Aneep Kumar. Naya Nangal
With the recent news of delaying the election of Congress president, it seems that the grand old party is still not serious about its public image. It is clearly showing in the results that the responsibility of the main opposition party is not fulfilled by the Congress. Even many senior leaders across various like-minded political parties are worrying about the situation of the party. The need for strong opposition parties is important in the current political scenario, where the BJP is dominant in Parliament. Sonia Gandhi has to introspect on these defeats as early as possible and hand over the presidency of the party to a leader with a clean and strong public image.
Jatinder Masoun, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘Dig out the Covid truth’; the whole world needs to be united on the issue to corner China to tell the truth about the Wuhan lab fiasco that is at the centre of the controversy for leaking the virus by omission or commission. Deaths have devastated families all over the world. Businesses have been ruined and there is no let-down in the fury of the virus as yet. The world has to learn to shed its dependency on Chinese goods and be self-sufficient to teach it a lesson and force it to learn to respect humanity and the value of lives getting lost to the Covid-19 virus.
BRIJ B GOYAL, LUDHIANA
The Central government has urged the state governments to fast-track the ramping up of hospital infrastructure. At this critical juncture, it is the constitutional duty of the Centre to help states by extending financial help liberally for saving the lives of people. The Central government should stop the construction of its Rs 13,450-crore Central Vista project. India, being a poor country, cannot afford such a huge amount of money to be spent on this building as the existing buildings are already serving the purpose. With this amount, four-five PGI-like hospitals can be built. The government has already wasted Rs 3,000 crore on Patel’s statue in Gujarat.
SOHAN LAL BHUMBAK, CHANDIGARH
Mega vanity project
Refer to ‘Central Vista: Delhi HC to take up early hearing on plea to stop work’; it is hoped that the court will stop work on Central Vista, amidst India’s worst health crisis. As India gasps for breath and bodies pile up, massive earth movers are hungrily hollowing out the solid surface between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate. What should be the country’s priority today is to provide medical oxygen, ventilators, ICU beds and more hospitals. Allowing people to die for want of oxygen, and go ahead with the project, just for vanity, is a cruel joke on the people. If you can’t give them oxygen and life-saving drugs, don’t rub salt into their wounds. Millions of our youth have lost jobs since the first lockdown last year. Hundreds of factories are shut, and the country’s economy is in the doldrums. Yet, the priority is not to create mass jobs and remove pervasive poverty, but to build Central Vista.
PS HANSPAUL, by mail
All parties to blame
Reference to ‘Let’s fight Covid crisis calmly & collectively’, every previous government is criticising the present government regarding deficiency in medical infrastructure. But every party should introspect. Most of them had ruled different states, and even the country for decades. During their tenure, medical services remained in a pathetic condition. It remained rickety throughout the seven decades after Independence. Governments gave more focus to develop private medical infrastructure which can be availed only by affluent sections of society. All parties have been negligent to develop lifeline infrastructure. In next elections, the public should prefer only those parties which have basic amenities on their agenda on priority.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Increase health budget
The pandemic lessons should bring practicality to the hardships we are facing and provide a direction to figure out the answer to the basic question of how much a government, either at the Centre or the state, is devoted to healthcare facilities. For India, it would be a perfect time to increase investment in healthcare, which was just 1.28% of GDP in 2019 — way lower than the average expenditure by countries clubbed among the ‘poorest’.
Inderjeet Singh, by mail
Why no lockdown?
Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh’s attitude towards the Covid situation seems to have changed since last year. Is it because of the Assembly elections to be held next year? Last year, a lockdown was imposed in Punjab by the CM on March 22, whereas the nationwide lockdown was declared by PM Modi on March 24. Now, when our neighbouring state Haryana has opted for lockdown, the Punjab CM is not in its favour. Even the weekend lockdown and other restrictions aren't being implemented strictly, unlike last year, when the police even resorted to a lathicharge on violators. Farmer unions are agitating against the weekend lockdown and no action is taken against them. Is it because the CM wants to portray himself as pro-farmer to gather their votes? Every decision seems to be centred around how the Congress can again come to power. Even some medical experts are claiming that a 15-day lockdown can improve the situation. Therefore, lockdown should be imposed in Punjab. There is no meaning of victory over corpses.
Rashpinder Singh Sidhu, by mail
Politicians are gifted with a keen sense to befool people just to garner votes on the eve of elections (‘Punjab largesse’). The Punjab Government did nothing tangible to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission during its four-year rule, but now, with limited time, CM Capt Amarinder Singh suddenly realised that it is a suitable time to win the favour of employees and pensioners by dangling the carrot of new scales. How can the government that failed to give DA instalments to its employees spend Rs 3,500 crore per annum for its employees? It is a tall order for the cash-strapped government. Due to the wrong policies of successive governments in Punjab, the fiscal health of the state has already deteriorated beyond restoration.
KARNAIL SINGH, Kharar
Reservations have been a contentious issue and a subject of multiple SC judgments. An important element of this issue is determining the extent to which reservations can be provided. By what degree can the opportunities afforded to the backward classes exceed those of the rest of society? The question has been explored in the cases of MR Balaji, T Devadasan and Indra Sawhney, all agreeing on capping the reservation limit at 50%. Recently, the SC in the Maratha reservation case has upheld and furthered the same opinion. The rationale for affixing a limit on the quantum of reservations is that in the pursuit of making provisions for the advancement of backward classes, the rights and claims of other members cannot be undermined. The rights exercised by one group cannot override the other, and therefore, it is imperative that they be balanced against each other. Hence, seats reserved for backward classes should be complemented by seats open for competition in a manner that is reasonable and that does not jeopardise the efficiency of the administration.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
At someone else’s cost
Apropos of ‘Pandemic’s vultures’, when the whole country is in the need of cooperation among all its citizens in the deadly second wave of the pandemic, there are some people who are using this time to earn money through black marketing. What will people do by earning money at the cost of the misery of other people? It is a very sad reality of our society.
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
The significance of benevolence and brotherhood should not be undermined at any cost in these testing times (‘Let us fight Covid crisis calmly and collectively’). When most of us are in trouble, the best thing to do for all of us is to show compassion to all. It is time to extend a helping hand to a person who is neither physically nor financially sound. We can accompany those patients to hospitals who have been abandoned by their near and dear ones or donate money to those who can't buy food, medicines, masks, sanitisers, etc. If we will work together, only then we will win this war.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
At a time when Covid-19 is raging like never before, it is shocking how some humans are behaving, hiking ambulance and oxygen charges. When I was nine years old, in 1955, I was a witness to severe floods in Punjab. Every home in the town was cooking meals for families who had shifted from affected areas to dharamshalas and schools, even as young men were building walls of earth filling to divert the flow of water. What have we learnt in the past six decades? To become selfish and loot when we get a chance? However, some NGOs have come to the rescue of those suffering and providing help with transport, langar and medicines.
OP GARG, PATIALA
Cummins shows the way
With reference to The Sunday Tribune, ‘Cometh the hour, Cummins the man’; the second wave of corona has shaken India badly. Amid the greed for money and glamour, world's cricketers are eager to get into the IPL. In this era, keeping humanity alive with such a sporting spirit is an example in itself, which an Australian player did. It was also a slap in the face of Indian players and IPL organisers. Indian players should also become partners in this initiative. Cummins has certainly won the hearts of millions of Indians.
Sikandar Bansal, Shimla
Reference to ‘Why India is getting bad press’; even if the government side is friendly with foreign media and tries hard to justify its viewpoint, what explanation will it give to the visual proofs of people running from pillar to post for hospital beds, oxygen, medicines; people dying on the roads, and the long queues for cremation? No journalist worth his salt would buy the government explanations! The only explanation the government has is that it didn't expect such a deadly onslaught of the second wave. Also, it was busy in holding political rallies and allowing religious events like the Kumbh mela.
Lalita Jagmohan Singh, Chandigarh
Go for joint farming
Refer to ‘Joint farming boon for Dalit in trying times’; it is relevant in the pandemic times. The Sangrur model should be implemented all over Punjab so that the downtrodden can get employment with dignity. Common and reserved land should be given to landless labourers. The Dalits are 32% of the state’s population but barely own 3% of the land. Major political parties are wooing Dalit voters by promising them the post of deputy Chief Minister to their community, but are silent on providing them viable extents of agricultural land. The need of the hour is joint farming as many farmers and labour organisations are on agitation path over the three farm laws.
JANAK RAJ SARANGAL, GURDASPUR
Refer to ‘The truth hits home’ (Nous Indica); the BJP should be judged on the basis of Covid mismanagement. The cause for concern for democracy would be how future electioneering is conducted, rather than who wins. The provocative political discourse does not bode well for the future of our democracy. The politics of communal polarisation is here to stay. Huge rallies were held, throwing Covid precautions to the wind. We must reject politicians who can put our lives at risk in their pursuit of power, who talk only about religion and caste and not our real issues, who excel in election management and not in managing the country.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
UP different ball game
The impressions about the election results of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala may be correct, but one would be sceptical about the forecast of BJP’s probable defeat in the 2022 UP Assembly elections (‘The truth hits home’). The way the electorate has voted in West Bengal may not be replicated in UP. Bengalis have always been ‘argumentative Indians’ as they were pioneers of our nation’s renaissance wave which started from Calcutta in the late 18th and 19th centuries, with the opening of Western-style colleges and universities. In UP, the common people are still clinging to caste and religion. Be it upper-caste Hindus or Dalits, ‘Ramcharitmanas’ is recited at every family function in the countryside of central UP, Awadh and its eastern parts. It won’t be a surprise if the BJP retains power in UP because of the division of the biggest social block of rural and urban electorate — the OBCs, SCs and the minorities who happen to be under the influence of the SP and the BSP.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Data integrity must
Refer to ‘Covid response should be driven by data’; junk science promoting untested treatment or myths and fables has no place in managing the pandemic. The actual trends in many areas of health delivery should be assessed reliably. Such data when analysed for patterns enable us to make faster, more accurate decisions for improved outcomes. It is here that data integrity is very important, and more so in the healthcare sector as it impacts the health and lives of millions. Accurate data helps us gain valuable insights, avoid preventable complications, reduce the cost of healthcare delivery and improve the quality of life in general.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
Defies business ethics
Apropos of ‘Scrap faulty purchase pacts’, the suggestions by the association of engineers are not only ill-conceived but defy business ethics. Any unilateral action to scrap the power purchase pacts shall not stand judicial scrutiny and will discourage future investments. Even taking the suggestions at face value, can the state afford to lose around 4,000 MW of power from the IPPs? This would mean 6-8 hours of power cuts during paddy season, besides huge financial losses to PSPCL. Utilisation of cheaper coal from the Pachhwara mine would not be possible in the scenario of closure of private as well as state plants. The engineers’ body has failed to pinpoint the root cause for costlier power, which is due to the collapse of the state sector generation. Why did PSPCL not initiate steps to sell the land of the closed thermal plant at Bathinda, worth over Rs 8,000 crore, and invest equity to acquire generation assets of supercritical technology? Also, the association is silent on the theft of power worth Rs 1,500 crore. Who shall rein in the defaulters?
Malkit Singh, by mail
We, too, at fault
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has asked the pilgrims coming to gurdwaras to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to check the spread of the disease. Better late than never. But what prevented the SGPC from implementing this earlier, knowing about the dangerous fallout? Have they calculated how much havoc they must have played with people’s lives by not enforcing these measures from day one? Surely, complacency is not the prerogative only of the much-maligned BJP. We, too, are equally responsible for the spread of the disease.
Balvinder, by mail
Question the government
The news report ‘Without work, daily wagers scared of hunger, not infection’ questions our democratic system. Why does the government not come forward with financial aid for citizens in such testing times? Heavily taxing citizens in general, the government has enough resources. However, its inclination is doubtful. People need to step up their role beyond just casting a vote. There is a need to audit government’s working for better prevalence of democracy.
MPS Chadha, Mohali
During the second Covid wave, when 4 lakh cases in India are being reported daily, partial lockdown in Punjab is not serving any purpose. With some shops open, there are still crowds at public places. Daily-wage earners are, again, victims of the administration’s blind decisions. There needs to be a complete lockdown for a few days in Punjab also, which could help in checking the transmission of the virus to some extent.
Puneet Mehta, Patiala
Refer to ‘No quota beyond 50%’; the SC upholding the 50% quota cap on reservation for educational institutes and government jobs is a welcome development. That this ceiling is sacrosanct unless an extraordinary case is made out, was also the essence of the 1992 Indra Sawhney judgment. The cap reflects an attempt to balance the state’s prerogative to try to correct historical injustices suffered by some groups. Given the trend of demands for reservations, it has great value in returning the focus on increasing jobs and educational opportunities. So, beyond the constitutional dimensions, the verdict has political and economic dimensions which actually are at the root of the Maratha reservation legislation. Similar processes are underway in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat. Even socially dominant communities have begun to demand reservation in the backdrop of a weak economy that is not creating enough opportunities for upward mobility. Breaching the quota cap will impart neither economic dynamism nor social healing.
EL SINGH, by mail
No quota beyond 50%
Caste reservation continues to remain a bone of contention since 1990, particularly when VP Singh’s government granted 27% job quota OBCs. Different judicial opinions and decisions keep coming on reservation at different points of time. Piecemeal judicial approach on similar issues is another disturbing point. The SC has restrained Maharashtra from exceeding 50% quota cap, but nothing is heard on the issue in case of Tamil Nadu, which extended reservation to 69% in 1990. It is time that all reservation issues are clubbed together and resolved once and for all. Let the respective quota be fixed on 50:50 ratio; 50% for reserved categories and 50% under the open one. All beneficiaries should be horizontally clubbed under a single category on the basis of their poverty level alone.
Udai Singh Phogat, Rohtak
Dues, not largesse
Refer to the Punjab largesse; employees all over the country have had their pay revised five years ago, but employees of Punjab are still waiting for it. If you go into the calculations, no benefit is being given. Allowances that should have been revised in 2017 will be given from July 2021. As per all pay commission reports, whenever DA reaches 50%, it should be merged with basic pay. But employees have not been given DA instalments for a long time. In January 2016, the rate of DA was 125%. Why is the salary bill always taken as non-productive expenditure when this is the most productive providing services to the people? In all other so-called capital expenditures, a good part goes down the drain as hefty commission.
Rajesh Kumar Sharma, Fazilka
Say it mindfully
Refer to ‘SC junks EC plea, won’t expunge Madras HC remarks’; the HC has made only oral remarks. It is not right to say that the SC has junked EC plea, instead it has reprimanded the Madras HC for its inapt remarks. The SC has termed the ‘murder charge’ remarks against the EC as ‘harsh’ and the ‘metaphor inappropriate’. This should assuage EC’s hurt feelings. During an earlier hearing, the SC had said it would not interfere with the Madras HC remarks, as it would demoralise the high courts. But what if the EC also got demoralised by the HC remarks? Let us have a balanced view. The SC order advises the judges to show restraint from making off-the-cuff remarks. The moot point is that whatever is said in the court by anyone should be carefully crafted so as to maintain the decorum of the court.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
The Central government has lost in the SC the case regarding a high court order notifying it to increase oxygen supply to Karnataka. Instead of approaching the SC, they should immediately ensure optimum quantities of oxygen and other medical items so that no one has to suffer. The current demand of the states should be fulfilled adequately and resources should be utilised properly. If the Centre lacks resources, funds should be allocated to the states to start up oxygen facilities independently, but with cooperation with each other. States having excess oxygen or equipment should distribute them to other states. The Centre’s strategy should be made clearer to avoid the scope of any clash.
Navjot Singh, Amritsar
Apropos of the editorial ‘No quota beyond 50%’, the Supreme Court has put the Maharashtra government in its place by quashing the law granting quota beyond 50% to the Maratha community in admissions and government jobs. Even the ceiling of 50% is unreasonable as the very concept of reservation is against the essence of the Preamble to the Constitution which professes the equality of status and opportunity. The existing quotas deny the eligible the opportunity they rightly deserve. The quota system has become a huge political enterprise in pursuance of vote bank politics. It should be given to the deserving ones on the basis of their financial and economic status so that the benefits reach the grassroots.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Dearth of jobs
With reference to ‘No quota beyond 50%’, the Supreme Court’s order is most welcome and a tight slap on the face of political parties which habitually use reservations in jobs and educational institutions as a tool to get votes. The 50% cap reflects an attempt to strike a balance between the state’s prerogative to try to correct historical injustices suffered by some groups and the right to equal opportunity for all citizens. Communities that are considered socially dominant have begun to demand reservation in the backdrop of a weak economy that is not creating enough jobs. A durable solution lies in a coherent set of measures to create more job opportunities for the youth.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
The RBI has stepped in to ease the Covid-19 burden. Cheap and affordable credit is crucial for a country’s development. With income dwindling amid the second wave of the pandemic, RBI’s measure to mitigate financial stress is praiseworthy. It would ease the process of taking loans and help people who are reeling under the exorbitant health expenditure. This step has raised hope among innumerable people that healthcare would become accessible to them.
Aanya Singhal, Noida
It’s unfortunate that lack of demand for capsicum in Mansa district has forced farmers to destroy their crop in distress. There is a wide gulf between agricultural production and consumption. As a result, both farmers and consumers are suffering. There is a dire need to fill this void and this job cannot be left to the state. All stakeholders should work hard to ensure that the farmers get adequate remuneration for their produce and the consumers get some relief.
Ravinder Mittal, Ludhiana
The second wave of Covid-19 has devastated the country. The healthcare system is in tatters. In Punjab, hospitals and dispensaries are short of trained staff, especially to operate ventilators that are lying unused. All parties should rise above politics and join hands to handle the situation. Putting the entire state under lockdown or curfew is no solution as the daily wagers will be hit the hardest. The lockdown should be imposed in a phased manner so that there is as little disruption of livelihoods as possible. The public needs to cooperate with the district administration, the police and the health department by following Covid-appropriate norms.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
In this hour of crisis, some people are busy making a quick buck through unscrupulous means. These are black marketeers, hoarders and greedy traders dealing in pharmaceutical equipment, oximeters, gas cylinders, etc. Two days ago, I purchased an oximeter at a price four times higher than the normal price. Fleecing pandemic-hit people is a sign of vulturous behaviour. The government should not remain a silent spectator to the plight of the masses who are being exploited. To mitigate people’s woes, it should take strict action against black marketeers, hoarders, pharmaceutical dealers and retailers.
Vinay Kumar Malhotra, Ambala
Even though the second wave of Covid-19 is wreaking havoc, we see that many people are neither wearing masks nor following the standard operating procedures. The wearing of masks should be made mandatory for all; those found without the same should be fined heavily, even if they are ministers or other VIPs. We should be prepared to tackle the third wave so that it doesn’t hit us hard.
Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai
The BCCI’s decision to suspend the IPL amid the Covid pandemic is a belated one. At a time when the country is bearing the brunt of the lethal virus, holding the cricket tournament was not a wise step to begin with. With economic activity drastically scaled down, there was no point in conducting this annual extravaganza.
Ajay S Kumar, Trivandrum
With reference to the article ‘In the midst of life & death’; it was expected after the first wave of Covid hit us over a year ago that we all — individuals, society and the nation — will pause and try to reorient our goals and objectives to make lives meaningful. Unfortunately, when the situation became slightly better, it was business as usual. There was no change at all. A great opportunity was given to us, but we failed to grab it. The same bickering is going on among people, political parties and nations. The second wave has given us another opportunity to redefine the goals of our lives. Even the definition of success of a person and the development of a nation can be recalibrated.
Ashoke K Sarkar, Jammu
Curbs not for farmers?
The governments of Delhi, Haryana and UP have imposed lockdowns in their respective states to control the surge of Covid-19 infections. All large gatherings — political, social or religious that are a major cause of the spread of the virus have been banned. Even the number of attendees at funerals is capped at 20. Are the lockdown curbs not applicable to farmers who have been sitting in thousands at Delhi borders for months now? Will a gathering of 21 mourners at a funeral spread more virus in a few hours than a gathering of thousands of farmers for months? We can’t win the war against Covid with politics on our mind.
AK Agarwal, Chandigarh
Liquor not ‘essential’
The Punjab Government has modified its order to allow liquor vends to remain open. It is a step in the wrong direction, amid the highest case fatality ratio (CFR) being witnessed by the state. Since there are hundreds of liquor vends dotting the state, to allow them to operate on weekdays, may invite a catastrophic situation. The rush at liquor vends would turn into mini hotspots. Restrictions on other non-essential activities may not yield the desirable result to break the virus transmission chain if liquor shops remain open. Since liquor is not listed as an essential commodity, the government should roll back its decision.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Taking on the BJP
Refer to ‘Didi may emerge as rallying point for anti-BJP forces’; the impressive victory of the TMC was the most striking feature of the recent Assembly polls. With these results coming at a time when a vacuum exists in the national Opposition space, hopes have been rekindled of regional parties coalescing together to take on the BJP at the Centre. But we must remember that earlier third front governments needed a national party to serve as an anchor. Therefore it is time to prepare for the 2024 LS elections, and if such a third front experiment is to be revived sans a national party, a strong regional leader has to lead. With Mamata's thumping Bengal win, where a CM defeated a PM, she is a top candidate for the role of leading the third front. If she is serious about the national spotlight, she will have to shed Bengali parochialism and craft a national image for herself. Roping in the Congress will reinforce the Opposition.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘An able administrator’, the J&K administration has done well by announcing a three-day state mourning in memory of Jagmohan. I was posted at Srinagar three years after he relinquished charge, but people there spoke highly of him even then. He was very particular about the basic requirements of the general public. Even during a power cut, the supply of potable water was never stopped. PM VP Singh had to recall him under pressure from the Abdullah clan. His most remarkable achievement was the setting up of the Dharmarth Trust for Vaishno Devi shrine. Himachal Pradesh followed suit by setting up similar trusts for shrines in that state, putting an end to the distribution of donations to ‘Baaridars’.
Upendra Sharma, by mail
CRRID and beyond
Besides playing a ‘pivotal role in bringing socio-economic development to the northern region’, Rashpal Malhotra actively also sought a rapprochement between India and Pakistan by exploring a possible solution to the J&K issue. He arranged a meeting at CRRID, where he invited Lt Gen Talat Masood (retd) of the Pakistan army, a leading commentator on matters relating to politics and security, accompanied by some other professionals in the field. On our side, he persuaded Gen VP Malik (retd), journalist MJ Akbar and Sajjad Lone, People’s Conference chief now, to participate. The proceedings must have provided the government with relevant feedback at that time. Such was the wide canvas of his work which was possible only because of his immense energy and initiative. I was one of the spectators at the meeting.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
The duration of campaigning for various elections must be restricted to the bare minimum. The number of rallies and road shows start much before the elections. This leads to huge wastage of money and time. Money plays a crucial role in elections. This money comes from sources and donors are obliged later on. Also, the winners fill their coffers after the elections. Further, the Prime Minister and other Central ministers should not go for campaigning in state Assembly elections. The PM represents the whole country and gets paid from public money. Why should he leave the primary duties of his office and waste valuable time? Election reforms are a must.
Jaswant singh, Chandigarh
The reports of post-poll killings and clashes between TMC workers and those of the BJP and other political parties in West Bengal are not only disturbing, but also are against the spirit of free and fair elections. There must not be any place for violence against those who dared contest the elections against the TMC candidates. If Mamata Banerjee wants to make good her image beyond state politics, she must give a firm signal that any violence will not be tolerated, because whosoever is injured or killed, irrespective of his/her support to any party during the election, is the son/daughter of Bengal and any property damaged belongs to a Bengali. When a party wins with a thumping majority, its leaders and cadre must show humility instead of indulging in violence. Our judiciary and other constitutional institutions should take cognisance of such violence in any state, and hold the CM responsible for it.
PC Joshi, Chandigarh
Humbling for BJP
Bengal’s electoral battle has ended with the Trinamool Congress’ win against the BJP. Now, the biggest task is to handle the Covid situation. The violence after the win is signalling a disturbing situation in Kolkata. The two-time CM, despite losing her seat, successfully led her party to a clear mandate. India needed a strong Opposition and it was time to break the overconfidence of the BJP. It will definitely be a lesson to the party and the people.
Aman Jaiswal, New Delhi
Don’t put off NEET-PG
The Centre must review its decision to postpone NEET-PG exam as it will generate mental stress among aspirants and their parents. The entrance test should be conducted without any further delay and the government can avail of their services even after their admissions to PG courses. Instead of such temporary measures to strengthen Covid services, our governments need to strengthen the healthcare delivery system on a permanent basis.
Surinder Singla, Sangrur
Various state governments are imposing weekend lockdowns apart from night curfew to prevent the spread of Covid. It is a temporary measure. In order to tackle the grim situation, stringent measures are needed otherwise the situation will go out of control in the very near future. The Central government should impose a curfew on the entire country for a specific period. All should be well intimated in advance so that the people may make the necessary arrangements beforehand.
SOHAN LAL BHUMBAK, CHANDIGARH
The Punjab Police have done a commendable job by arresting celebrities caught shooting amid the pandemic. This shows how irresponsible celebrities are towards society, especially when the state is under a near-lockdown. Earlier, there were politicians holding rallies across the state with impunity, and now, we have artistes shooting for films. Everyone must realise that the pandemic spares no one. Many celebrities have died prematurely due to Covid-19.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
The Indian Premier League (IPL) should not have been conducted in the first place amid the raging second wave of the pandemic. The BCCI, which had allowed it only for the sake of money, has now decided to suspend it for the time being. It has finally dawned on the BCCI that it does not want to risk the safety of the players, support staff and those involved in organising the cash-rich cricket league. The board should have taken pre-emptive action last month by postponing the tournament. Some of the top cricket stadiums should have been turned into makeshift Covid care centres.
Bidyut Chatterjee, Faridabad
Mamata Banerjee’s mercurial temperament would not stand her in good stead to fill the vacuum as the face of the Opposition on a sustainable basis (‘The woman in white’). In politics, hubris must melt into humility. Coming events cast their shadow vis-a-vis governance and welfare. With the election rivalries over, now the focus must shift to synergy in ‘business’, relegating Centre-state frictions and party politics to the back seat. The national challenge to tame the Covid monster ought to be the foremost priority. The Election Commission of India, too, needs to earnestly rework the model code of conduct vis-a-vis new experiences gained during the recent elections.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Refer to ‘Bengal saved India, Didi on landslide win’; the outcome is stunning and remarkable even though Mamata Banerjee lost her seat. The election in every state is important to that state, but from a national perspective the present round of Assembly elections was much about West Bengal. The Trinamool Congress government was thought to be vulnerable on many counts because it was in power for 10 years, with no great record in crucial areas of governance and development. Corruption was a major issue. Credit goes to Mamata as she protected her territory, and the BJP can derive solace from becoming the principal opposition party in the state, at the cost of a decimated Congress and Left parties. While this verdict cheers the regional satraps across the country, the distress in the Congress has deepened further.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
No EVM row now
We have had many debates over the manipulation of EVMs by the ruling dispensation. But now, with Mamata Banerjee winning the Bengal battle, no one will talk about the role of the EVMs, because the BJP has lost the election. The issue arises only when the BJP wins. So should we now believe in the EVMs, and put this matter to rest?
Ajay sachdeva, Ludhiana
The results of the West Bengal Assembly polls are a tribute to the wisdom of the people of the state. Being a mainstream national party does not mean bulldozing the regional or states’ sentiments. The BJP has its consolation prize but the decimation of the other two national parties, the Congress and the Left, needs serious consideration by the concerned parties themselves and the political pundits involved in studying the contours of our democratic setup. Besides Mamata Banerjee’s victory, the results of Tamil Nadu and Kerala can mark the beginning of the era of true constitutional federalism. Didi is correct in saying about the landslide win that ‘Bengal saved India’.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
The heart of every sane person bleeds today on seeing the plight of the masses and the country itself (‘Indian state has failed’). The system has collapsed in Atmanirbhar Bharat, as today patients have to fend for themselves as far as beds, medicines, oxygen and ventilators are concerned. Many states could not start the inoculation of people above 18 years due to the shortage of vaccines. The country is also facing a shortage of doctors. Are we paying all sorts of taxes and donating generously to the PM Cares Fund, etc., to die like this? The administration has failed miserably in improving the healthcare system of the country.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
The nation’s cry
Over the past few months, what India has witnessed is catastrophic: failure of leadership, failure of the system, and somewhere, failure of humanity. People are dying, some on luxurious hospital beds, some on footpaths. Many have spent their savings just to save the life of a loved one, yet could not. The main priority should be to keep oneself safe and fight collectively as a nation.
Navjot Singh, Amritsar
Failed the people
With reference to ‘Good governance, RIP’ (The Sunday Tribune); neither any government nor any party can be exonerated on account of their failures during the pandemic. All have failed even to offer solace to the kin of dying patients in hospitals due to the lack of medical equipment, medicines, etc. Elected persons are not there to only claim salaries, perks and pensions. They are not supposed to oversee their own welfare. Their election by the people has made them responsible for the welfare of the people, and they have failed.
Sukhdev Singh, Patiala
A lot of concern has been seen in today’s situation regarding inappropriate pricing of essential drugs and oxygen by unscrupulous people whose objective is to make profit by whatever means. I wish to draw the attention of the authorities towards the hefty payment demanded by ambulances. In this crisis, ambulance drivers and owners have jacked up their prices to unimaginable levels. A trip from Karnal to Delhi, which used to cost about Rs 3,000 in normal times, is now Rs 50,000. Ambulances, being a numbered commodity, can easily be regulated by the administration and strict action taken against defaulters.
Sandeep Chaudhri, Karnal
Lockdown is needed
It is a shame that so many deaths have taken place due to the lack of oxygen and medicines. Still, all politicians are playing politics. Lockdown is the only way to slow the spread of the virus, but the Punjab CM says it is not a solution. There is no national strategy to fight Covid and governments are under-reporting deaths. Night lockdowns do not serve any purpose to control the spread as there are not that many people on roads at that time. Why can't governments close everything except basic necessity shops? How many more deaths are these politicians waiting for, to evolve a strategy to control the virus?
Maninder sekhon, by mail
Lockdown not for teachers
The Punjab Government has imposed weekend curfews, but why is it not for teachers? When students are not coming to school and the teachers are teaching online, there is no point of calling them to school. The teachers are coming from different places and could spread the virus. Work from home must be encouraged.
Himani Jain, by mail
How is it a crime?
The SC’s directive to state governments to not take coercive action against helpless people sharing their pain on social media wraps in itself a component of humanity and social justice. The common man was astonished and horrified by the unjustified action taken in similar cases by the state under the National Security Act. Is airing one’s genuine grievances on social media a crime?
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Another life lost to Covid. Who is to be blamed? The government or doctors or us: the so-called educated lot? People don’t abide by rules or laws put in place for their own safety, be it traffic rules or advisory issued for Covid vaccination. The Army has been deployed to tackle the tsunami of Covid patients, and this is only possible because the armed forces are 80%-85% fully vaccinated against this deadly virus. The government spends crores to formulate a vaccination strategy and we people tend to let ourselves drown in WhatsApp forwards. This is how a catastrophe takes place.
Amarpreet Kaur Bhandohal, Nabha
The initiative by the Punjab Government to supply ‘Fateh Kits’ to Covid patients at their doorstep is laudable. The kit contains 17 items, including an oximeter, a thermometer, medicines and a steam inhaler. To lend more support to the welfare programme, it is required to create awareness among village folk who still refuse to acknowledge the existence of the virus. Special teams must be sent to villages to persuade people to get tested. Panchayats have to play a proactive role.
Aswant Kaur Gill, Tarn Taran
Both sides negligent
We have to admit that neither the Centre nor states were prepared for this humongous wave of Covid (‘Oxygen imbalance’). As the scramble for oxygen in the Capital continues, it clearly shows bad planning. Due to the hazardous nature of liquid oxygen it needs special tankers, which requires advance planning. Both the Centre and the Delhi Government were sleeping till things went out of hand. The government has now activated the Railways to move multiple tankers and we are importing oxygen tankers. Let’s just hope the situation doesn’t get worse.
Vipul sharma, Kurukshetra
Empowering the L-G
At a time when people are struggling to live, parties are engaged in dominating one another. A CM is the head of the legislative Assembly and is the choice of the people who give him the power to run a state. Is it okay to reduce a CM’s powers and empower the L-G with more power, because the CM belongs to another party? Is it applicable only to the Capital? The President keeps the same power at the Centre, should he do the same? The welfare of the people does not depend on powers, but a leader’s will and concern. An elected member of the state is the choice of the people. Someone deputed by another party should not be supreme. This was not the time to amend the GNCT Act. This is the time for cumulative efforts.
Sanjay Banyal, Hamirpur
Refer to the editorial ‘Make or break’, there was no shortage of the Covid vaccine till the eligibility was extended to people above 45 years of age. Without increasing domestic production, importing vaccines and approving more brands other than Covishield and Covaxin, the government, despite shortage, further extended the eligibility to all adults above 18 years. Poor planning by the government has led to the present situation wherein there is no vaccine for the second dose. If the Central government does not act immediately on a war footing to meet the vaccine demand, the Covid pandemic may spread uncontrollably.
O Prasada Rao, by mail
Ensure adequate supply
Apropos of ‘Make or break’, in just a few hours after vaccine registration opened for the 18-44 age group, around 1.3 crore people signed up. The challenge in the days ahead will be to ensure adequate supply. In recent weeks, the daily administered doses have been falling and many centres have run out of stock. One way to ease India’s supply woes is for the Centre to undertake imports on behalf of states as it will be in a better position to have tough negotiations over price and quantity.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
India is a big country and it requires a lot of planning to vaccinate the entire population. The government should have known it after last year’s experience. Still, its knee-jerk reactions have put the public into a state of confusion and inconvenience. First, the vaccination for senior citizens is announced, and then, the 45-plus people are asked to line up, but even before 10% of them have been vaccinated, the government issues another order to vaccinate all above 18 years, which is not possible with vaccine shortage and inadequate centres for the same. And to add to the confusion, there are different prices for the vaccines. Why can’t the government plan first, and then issue orders?
PS Bhatti, Chandigarh
No room for complacency
The decision of the Centre to import Remdesivir to ease the shortage of this anti-viral drug speaks volumes about the gravity of the situation. While a government company has ordered 4,50,000 vials of Remdesivir from US-based Gilead Sciences Inc and Egyptian pharma company Eva Pharma and the same may be supplied as soon as possible, it's incumbent upon the government to keep a close watch on all those currently engaged in hoarding and black marketing of the drug. Anyone found indulging in hoarding of the drug or creating artificial shortage of the life-saving oxygen should be booked under the National Security Act and not merely under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act. There is no room for complacency on this count.
Vinayak G, Bengaluru
Face the facts
Apropos of ‘Under-counting the dead’, it is disturbing to know about the mismatch between the actual number of deaths and the official figures coming from different cities and towns. The rising number of deaths seems to have overwhelmed our nation. In such a situation, it is imperative to have authentic data in order to meet the emerging challenges in the near future. Once we have the guts to face the truth, we will be able to think of timely solutions.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
While being positive is vital for robust mental health in the current scenario, positive attitude does not give one a licence to flout Covid rules. Most of the people who are preaching about the importance of a positive attitude are organising big gatherings and parties at their homes. It shows their disregard for Covid-appropriate behaviour. Also, the terrifying images shown by the media should be welcomed as they depict the ground reality and demonstrate colossal mismanagement of the pandemic across the country. The truth must be shown and not be hidden in the garb of positivity. It should wake up people who are careless and frighten them into following Covid protocols.
Shivam Jain, Bathinda
Don’t switch sides
Refer to ‘TMC in Bengal, BJP in Assam: Exit polls’, it is suspected that some newly elected Trinamool Congress legislators may switch sides to join the BJP. If it so happens, due to the greed of some MLAs, they will be betraying the voters who supported them against the BJP. Furthermore, this will be murder of democracy and one will lose faith in elections. Bengalis are wise, and one hopes that the elected TMC legislators will not resort to it.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala