Letters to the editor
It is sad to read that the Haryana Government led by Chief Minister ML Khattar has misused and destroyed public property and machinery to stop the peaceful march of farmers. Khattar is liable to be booked under the public property Act for damaging a national highway. Instead of giving the farmers a safe passage, he obstructed them by placing huge blocks using cranes, as if a war had broken out. Politicians should desist from playing dirty games with the public that votes them to power.
Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh
For long-term growth
Refer to ‘Economic recovery’; it is established that the Indian growth story is more attributable to internal consumption than exports unlike China and Japan. The same has been acknowledged by FPIs investing record amounts in the Q2 alone, making India a current account surplus state, with record Forex reserves. However, for achieving long-term consumption growth, there is a need to increase rural incomes which can only be achieved through massive government investments in futuristic farming and rural infrastructure rather than dumping farmers at the disposal of capitalist forces.
It is a matter of some satisfaction that the Indian economy, which had sunk to a record low during the lockdown, is on the road to recovery. It was not expected by any economic expert. Besides, GST collections crossed Rs 1 lakh crore in October and power consumption has gone up. More efforts should be explored to hasten economic recovery.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Keep the peace
A pertinent issue has been raised in the article ‘The bottomless pit of anti-Muslim legislation’. Whereas there should be no official interference in matters of love and choice for life partner, the interests of minor girls must be protected. Prominent citizens, intelligentsia and religious leaders of each community should take the initiative to do away with regressive practices. No one should exploit girls in any manner. India is a land of multi-cultures and ethnic groups living in peace for centuries. That traditional harmony should continue to prevail and any effort to create a wedge among the people should be opposed strongly and resisted.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Refer to ‘Batting for big businesses’; political interference has nudged public sector banks to sanction huge credits to unscrupulous corporates who willfully become defaulters. Mountains of NPAs have been created as a result. Despite big write-offs, these banks could still serve the country well and have stood their ground even during the economic recession of 2007-09 when many financial giants of the world were licking dust. Why are many of these banks being sought to be privatised and the big corporates being allowed to open banks with promoters’ shareholding increased to 26%? Despite the experience of the likes of IL&FS, Yes Bank, PMC Bank, and despite the opinion of experts, why is the government going ahead with it? The government is totally pro big corporate, the big donors of the ruling party, enabling huge poll campaigns. The BJP is all out for grabbing total power, as is shown by its scale of electioneering in even the Greater Hyderabad MC election. The BJP’s belief that it can afford to ignore public opinion stands belied by a resolute agitation of farmers for the restoration of their rights and the widespread support they are getting. The agitation of all central trade unions against the government’s pro-corporate policies should also be a wake-up call.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
It is dreadful to read about the heinous crime of the killing of four daughters by their own mother. It is incredulous. How can a mother kill her daughters? How can a female be another female’s enemy? The culprit seems either under undue pressure or surely she is insane to do so. Whatever may be the reason behind the crime, but the point is that the desire for a son is so much in Indian society that it can even drive you to such crime. When will we change our mindset regarding our girls? We proudly call ourselves educated, but it is futile if education is not able to bring about a change of mind. The young generation must come forward to curb this menace. The culprits need to be dealt with sternly to teach a lesson to others.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
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
Refer to ‘AG bats for judicial reforms, four courts of appeal to cut pendency’; unfortunately, lakhs of cases, both genuine and frivolous, have been pending since ages in various courts to the detriment of aggrieved litigants. Sometimes, the best advantage of one person can be the worst disadvantage to another. The undue burden on our courts is mainly due to the lackadaisical attitude of the executive having scant regard for the rule of law. The jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution being special and extraordinary, should not be exercised casually. Remedy under Article 226 shall not be available except where violation of some statutory duty on the part of statutory authority is alleged. The court cannot allow it to be used for deciding disputes for which remedies under general law, civil or criminal, are available. The authority of court exists for advancement of justice and not for abuse of the process of law. The legislative and the executive cannot abdicate its duty and responsibility to act in accordance with law. To perpetuate an error is no virtue,
but to rectify it is the compulsion of judicial conscience.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
Demanding their due
Refer to ‘Farmers’ stir lays bare unjust economic policy’; it lays bare not only the economic aspect of the stir, but also offers the most viable way out of this quagmire. Everyone will have to realise the gravity of the issue. Farmers are no more gullible rustics seeking doles for their toils. They only want that they be assured of a viable return for their inputs. No commissions, committees or consulting groups are required to understand this basic economic factor. The Amul dairy cooperative structure is the guiding light. Indigenous issues are best resolved with indigenous means.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Draconian farm laws
Agriculture still remains the primary source of income to many across the nation. What is more surprising is that none of the farmer unions are on board with the decision to bring these laws, but still the government passed them with brute majority. When the nation is battling its toughest battle against the pandemic, why did the Modi government choose this inappropriate time for the ordinances, pushing the nation into protests and deadlocks? There is a huge chasm between what the farmers are demanding and what the government is offering. Though the government is making tall claims, why is the central component of MSP not assured in black and white? The previous governments strengthened agriculture by building irrigation canals, dams, modern techniques and equipment, subsidies on seeds and assuring MSP to farmers, effective PDS, etc. We have become exporter from importer over these years. The other troubling part of the laws is that in a situation of conflict, the farmer cannot go to the court, rather he will have go to the SDM and the APMC board. Even the state government cannot intervene in the matter. This will give an upper hand to crony capitalists. Hope the government will work out an amicable solution for farmers.
Akshay Singh Dadhwal, Kangra
Reversal of fortune
Apropos of ‘The dangerous yes men’, the article reminds me of a real case of a leading public sector bank that had remained the highest loss-making bank for three years. Perturbed by the development, the CMD engaged a consulting agency to go into details. Before the submission of the full report, he asked for a gist of their recommendations and underlined one reading ‘senior executives of your bank have no concern for the institution’. It proved a turning point. The CMD concentrated mainly on the functioning of AGMs. This worked like a miracle and the bank remained the highest profit-making bank over the next three years.
Upendra sharma, by mail
Honouring sports legends
Argentina has really honoured the legacy of Diego Maradona by keeping his casket draped in its national flag and declaring a three-day national mourning. In comparison, in our country, in spite of so many representations, three-time Olympic gold medallist hockey wizard Balbir Singh Sr was not considered fit for the Bharat Ratna. His record for the most number of goals in an Olympic final remains unbroken. Our only hockey team which went on to win the 1975 World Cup was also coached by him. There is a need to honour and preserve the legacy of sporting greats to motivate the future generations to achieve laurels for the country.
Lt Col Harbinder Singh (Retd), Patiala
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
‘Vacant posts in Army’ is not a new thing these days. We find every department with shortage of manpower at different levels against sanctioned strength which naturally hampers working and performance. There are departments which need to be kept alert/emergent 24x7 and 365 days, such as defence, health, Railways, fire, disaster, etc., where not only full strength is a must, but also the provision of leave reserve (10%) is required to be kept. As far as replacement in place of retiring personnel is concerned, rules are very clear when sufficient time remains with appointing authorities for selection/recruitment of suitable employees or new entrants systematically. But personal whims or considerations put obstacles in timely action. We should not forget the 1962 debacle on account of our unpreparedness in manpower strength and Army equipment. We need to prioritise manpower strength in all disciplines, or else abolish posts which remain vacant for years.
JS Jassal, Patiala
Farmers or terrorists?
Water cannons (which are not available when crop residue is burnt in the fields, but are available to ward off protesting farmers), tear gas, cobra wire to defend, rapid action force, and what not! Are they farmers or terrorists? The way the government is treating them is simply not acceptable. Delhi is underestimating the farmers. If left unheard, they will intensify their agitation.
Vishal Munjal, Abohar
Farmers’ loss of trust
The farmers’ agitation has been going on for the past two months or so, but the situation has taken a grim turn as thousands of farmers and union activists are on the march to Delhi. One thing is for sure that mainstream political parties in Punjab have turned irrelevant as the farmers hardly trust them, and their elected representatives have failed them. In a democracy, such a situation is an unhealthy development. We, as common citizens, can just sit with our fingers crossed. I hope that the union government will find a pragmatic political solution as the farmers are a very significant stakeholder in the national economy.
MS Aulakh, Ludhiana
Meaningful dialogue must
The BJP’s strident political posturing, portraying all its political opponents in the Valley as anti-nationals and separatists might be electorally useful for it in the Jammu region, but is harmful for the national integration that it professes. When such statements come from the Home Minister, it is even more counterproductive. A meaningful dialogue is essential, and violence-free elections are the best way to open up peace possibilities.
Corona upsurge in HP
The recent surge in active cases in Himachal Pradesh is an alarming situation for a state with limited medical facilities, transportation and climatic difficulties. The lifestyle of the people of the state that is based on agriculture, animal rearing and other livelihood means as well as overconfidence supported with ignorance about the dangers of the virus in its first phase are responsible for the present situation in the state. The government as well as the people need to be more cautious and observe the Covid protocol. All family and religious functions and duties should involve utmost caution.
SS Verma, Longowal
Ad hoc DEOs
‘Vacant posts in animal husbandry’ is an eye-opener. I am a retired educationist and similar is the story of school education in Punjab. There are 22 posts of District Education Officer (Elementary) and the same number in secondary, but all 44 DEOs are working on an ad-hoc basis in the pay scale of a school principal. Ironically, even the Director (Elementary) is working on an ad-hoc basis. According to inspection cadre rules of 2018, seniormost principals are to be promoted as DEO through departmental promotion committee with one additional increment, but for the past many years, such promotions were never ordered. Junior DEOs and junior DPIs are dictating orders to senior principals and even writing their ACR, contrary to rules. As the seniority of the DPI (Elementary) is placed at 1262, all senior principals up to 1261 should be designated as DPI. For the sake of justice, and for improvement in the standard of education, the department should promote senior principals as DEOs and DPIs.
Devinder Sahni, by mail
A blow to Congress
The death of Congress leader Ahmad Patel is a great shock for the party. Called Chanakya in the Congress party, he had the ability to take everyone along. His death has created a vacuum in the party, which is hard to fill. Now, Rahul Gandhi should take the command of the party in his hands, and make the Congress strong at the booth level as well as the Centre. He should connect with booth-level workers via video conferencing.
Narender Kumar, by mail
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
The RBI is considering a proposal to allow large corporate and industrial houses to operate banks. This effort is being made to increase the pace of the national economy and improve financial management. But many experts, including former top central bank officials, have objected to it. Four out of five members of the bank's internal working group had earlier suggested that big houses should not be allowed to run banks, but the panel also said corporate ownership companies should be converted into banks. The panel believes that the work culture of industrial companies is not in line with international standards. There is also concern about the centralisation of economic power. The banking system is the backbone of the economy. The ratio of loans stuck in our country's banks is the highest in the current economy. The pandemic has also affected the banks. NPAs are projected to grow by double digits. But any final decision in this regard should be taken only after due consideration of all aspects and care should be taken to ensure that the interests of the country and the customers are protected.
Bhupendra Singh Ranga, Haryana
Apropos of ‘New banking landscape’, as government finances appear to be on the mend, with the GST regime stabilising and the worst of the lockdown-induced revenue shortfalls over, the RBI panel proposal to allow large NBFCs to convert to banks is welcome. But there is the unresolved crisis of a broken banking system that can hold back economic growth. The Centre cannot keep recapitalising public sector banks. India today needs more banks. It is in this context that the recommendation by the RBI is in the right direction. Such NBFCs could include those controlled by large corporate houses, subject to conditions. Converting established NBFCs into banks is different from permitting large corporate/industrial houses to set up banks. The RBI panel has rightly adopted a cautious approach.
Mona Singh, Amritsar
E-waste collection centres
The Pollution Control Board should kick-start e-waste collection centres in every district of every state, since almost all electronic scrap components, such as CPUs, PCB, etc., contain potentially harmful material. These materials affect the health of all living beings adversely. According to an EPTRI report, 80% per cent of e-waste generated in the cities is from households and also bulk consumers of electronic goods such as public and private institutions, manufacturers or IT companies. It will be more useful if the board starts an e-waste collection centre by incorporating private organisations via a mobile application. The waste should be picked up from the user’s doorstep, thereby making small households stakeholders in waste management. Users should get monetary payments for the e-waste they give up. Every year, over 20 lakh tonnes of e-waste is generated and only a small percentage is recycled in a scientific manner.
Vijaykumar HK, Karnataka
Why invoke Gandhi?
Refer to ‘The limited impact of the roko agitation’; it is unfortunate that the writer has been totally partial towards the Central government and against the farmers of Punjab. Why evoke Gandhi in this farmers’ agitation? Though people suffered because of the ‘rail roko’ protest, the fault lies entirely with the Centre. The writer doesn’t entail the farm laws scripted as ordinances during the lockdown and then passed in the Rajya Sabha surreptitiously, even without proper voting. The stakeholders were never consulted. This government is beholden to corporate houses and does not seem to care for the farmers, and the people at large.
JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala
Mask as good as vaccine
The public at large has become complacent, as if the Covid-19 pandemic has come to an end (‘Mask as metaphor’). Almost every state is witnessing a surge in Covid cases. Vaccines are expected soon, but won't be available for everyone in the next few months and may not have 100% results. Thus the mainstay of prevention of this disease will remain universal masking. Metaphorically speaking, a mask is no less than a vaccine, but the regret is that people are underestimating its importance. It is not the right time to throw to winds the various precautionary measures.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
‘Better to do something late than not’. E-sports is not recognised by our government, and therefore the people of the country. Many other countries are reaching heights in e-sports, but in India it is not considered a field which one can consider to build a career in. Many countries are supporting e-sports and its players. There is a lot of young talent in India which needs to be recognised. As all other sports are considered legit, why not e-sports? Where is India’s official e-sports federation?
Varun saini, Panchkula
Covid cases are increasing alarmingly and its pattern is not understood as of now. There are reports of the vaccine coming soon, but nothing can be said conclusively. Cold weather conditions are adding fuel to the fire. The problem is how to deal with people who are behaving in a most irresponsible manner, making no use of masks, or not maintaining social distancing and throwing all precautions to the winds. The death rate is on the rise in almost all states and governments are finding themselves helpless. Under such circumstances, the onus lies on the people to behave in a responsible manner.
Santosh Jamwal, HAMIRPUR
Though the governments and the courts are taking responsibility to come out of the pandemic, it is also the duty of the citizens to take precautionary steps to avoid the transmission of the virus. They should practice social distancing, cover their mouth and nose properly with mask, use sanitiser and wash hands properly. It should be the moral duty of a citizen to not only look after their own health, but also that of others.
VANSHIKA BHASIN, PANCHKULA
Apropos of ‘Covishield trials show 90% efficacy’, the update on this vaccine, along with other vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna, are encouraging in the backdrop of a surge in Covid infections. India cannot afford another lockdown, therefore, the next phase in the battle against the pandemic should focus now on vaccination. Given the differences in the distribution infrastructure needed and the consequent impact on costs, we need more than one vaccine and multiple pathways to access them. The government also needs to prioritise beneficiaries as there may not be enough to go around even as a vaccine receives regulatory approval. The quicker the people get vaccinated, the better it will be for the process of our economic recovery. The government, with its ability to buy in bulk, can lower costs for subsequent distribution. A combination of free vaccination along with a reduction in prices through bulk purchase can cover a substantial section of population.
PS Hanspaul, Batala
Fill top Army posts
Reference to ‘Amid LAC standoff, key Army posts lying vacant for months’; it is highly disconcerting and has serious implications for national security. Smooth transition and transfer of knowledge doesn’t take place in the absence of personal briefing by the outgoing commander which is very important. No amount of staff briefing can take its place. The responsibility of the department gets diffused when it is so important to fix it. There are already several instances of ‘failure of intelligence’, due to which military operations go awry. Failure to appoint DGMI for six months is unthinkable and unpardonable. Also, projects get delayed as there’s no competent authority to clear them. It also affects the morale of the rank and file. The ubiquity of social media takes it to the man on the front in the bunkers. The delay in crucial appointments in the armed forces is a serious dereliction of duty. The common perception is that top appointments are being deliberately delayed to accommodate favourites till they come into the reckoning, even though there are protocols to announce the successors well in time. If that be the case, it needs to be investigated by a high-level committee. It is essential to remove the bottlenecks from higher decision making in the interest of national security.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
Rail corridor collapse
What a pity that a portion of an under-construction freight rail corridor from Dadri to Rewari has collapsed. What are the main causes of such collapse? Is good material not being used or the foundation soil is not fit for the purpose? Earlier, this happened in Gurugram. Had it fallen after completion, there would have been huge loss of men and material.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Police reforms must
Refer to ‘Kerala’s U-turn’; of late, Kerala is in the news for all the wrong reasons, despite being one of the most progressive states. The ordinance could not stand legal scrutiny as it is beyond the purview of the state government to amend Central laws. However, it begs the question, do the state police really need untrammelled power by way of legislation or ordinance in a country where the police department is solely run on whims and fancies? There are states where extrajudicial killing has become the new normal. The irony is that police officials are being booked for terrorist acts. The department in public eyes is likened with licenced criminals. The pressing need before the country is to bring police reforms.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Bihar’s newly appointed education minister resigned days after taking oath amid charges of corruption in appointments during his tenure as VC of an agricultural university. He was among the 14 ministers sworn in as part of CM Nitish Kumar’s cabinet. Eight new ministers have criminal charges against them and six of them are accused of serious criminal charges for non-bailable offences. Nitish Kumar used to be known as ‘Mr Clean’. He should sack these tainted ministers and induct honest MLAs.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Ayurveda and surgery
Apropos of ‘Ayurveda PGs can do surgeries, IMA aghast’, it is shocking that the government has allowed ayurvedic practitioners to be trained and legally allowed to perform a variety of general surgical, ENT, cataract, orthopaedic and dental procedures. This is a highly ill-conceived, retrograde and reprehensible step. Surgery is a part and parcel of modern medical science and not a mainstay of ayurvedic curriculum. Capsulated training in surgery to ayurvedic doctors can jeopardise the basic standard of safety and care of patients. The government should desist from mixing the Indian system of medicine with modern medical science.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Refer to ‘Cong in need of overhaul’; the stubbornness and personal preferences of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are responsible for the present situation. In the 2017 Assembly elections, people wanted a change and responded to the call of Rahul Gandhi, but he messed up. No efforts were made to stop Priyanka Chaturvedi and Tom Vaddakan, party spokespersons, from quitting the Congress. Rahul abandoned Amethi for Smriti Irani, shifting to Wayanad in Kerala. Next time even Sonia may not win Raebareli. They should pay heed to the 23 disgruntled party leaders and hand over the party to regional satraps like Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Capt Amarinder Singh, Sachin Pilot, Ashok Chavan, Shiv Kumar and Shashi Tharoor to strengthen the Congress in respective states, and then, at the national level. Sonia may remain the ceremonial president of the party.
Gurdev Singh, Mohali
Degrading air quality
Extreme level of pollution, reduction in visibility, unhealthy air quality, etc., are making climate change in India even more challenging. Activities such as stubble burning, bursting of crackers despite a ban, more vehicles plying on the roads, and industrial production are adding to the problem. ‘Mini lockdowns’ every weekend or twice a month could turn out to be an effective measure. This would help nature heal itself and bring down the levels of pollution.
Bhavya, Ambala City
It came as a rude shock that a retired police officer should term the CAA and NRC as discriminatory laws (‘Dilemma of secular liberals’). The CAA is specific to Islamic nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, where Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities are persecuted. The NRC is simply enumeration of citizens of the country to enable the government to evolve welfare policies. How is it discriminatory?
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
India depends a lot on its farmers. Each year, we see many cases of farmer suicide due to a number of reasons. The government needs to take measures to prevent it. The new farm laws may push some farmers to take this extreme step. Thus the concerns of farmers should be resolved on priority.
Palak Bathla, Kaithal
Apropos of ‘A woman of substance’, Chandrawati was a leader of calibre and character, and an epitome of simplicity. Such leaders are rare who are dedicated to redress the problems of the public and thus are loved by all. She is a role model for politicians. Once elected, leaders become arrogant. They should attend to their duties diligently and honestly to bring about good governance.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Reference to ‘Women are soft targets’; not only women and kids, but also men are targeted by swindlers on social media. While people should use social media platforms with extra caution, the social media management must provide a highly secure environment to its users. People who take advantage of information shared by somebody must be punished. The cyber police should remain proactive to control cybercrime.
SAKSHI SHARMA, AMRITSAR
Apropos of ‘Cong in need of overhaul (Nous Indica, Nov 21)’; the Congress is confronting a crisis. Rahul Gandhi lacks organisational and strategic skills, gift of the gab and the craft of alliance politics. But his circumlocutory ways leave none impressed. The point Kapil Sibal or other party leaders raised demands introspection, needful changes at the grassroots level and a show of unity, besides internal democracy. But Rahul, Priyanka and Sonia Gandhi take umbrage to the dissenting voices. The disintegrating Congress can’t simply harp on outdated ways of being in politics in order to counter the BJP, led by the Modi-Shah duo.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
‘Cong in need of overhaul’ provides food for thought to rid the Congress of the Gandhis. For intra-party democracy, there is no logic and rationale in fostering the hegemony of one family. Not making leadership broad-based is bad politics. The regional parties emerging at the cost of national parties have to be analysed with a cool mind. The onus lies on the leadership to understand the reality and foster good leadership in the party that can take on the ruling alliance and also make the party stronger.
MM Goel, Kurukshetra
Act against Pakistan
Reference to the editorial ‘The terror files (Nov 21);’ the arrest of Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan is nothing more than a drama to hoodwink the Financial Action Task Force. Only a few months are left for Pakistan to make it to the black list. Saeed was arrested earlier too but was given preferential treatment. The complicity of Saeed in terror attacks in India has been acknowledged and the FATF should be urged to blacklist Pakistan for its inadequate response towards acts of terror emanating from its soil.
Ravinder Kwatra, Shahabad
RBI steps in
The RBI’s decision to recommend the imposition of a one-month moratorium on Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) and almost simultaneously announce a draft scheme of amalgamation that entails the Indian unit of the Singapore government-controlled DBS Bank taking over the capital-starved private lender marks a welcome intervention by the banking regulator. The move will protect the interests of depositors and employees, while shareholders will see the value of their holdings written off once the merger is operationalised. Coming just about eight months after another flailing private lender, Yes Bank, was rescued by an RBI-orchestrated capital infusion, the Karur-based bank’s proposed bailout signals that the regulator is keen to proactively step in to ward off risks to wider financial sector stability. The overall health of the banking sector, however, remains a concern on account of the damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
Apex court on TV channels
The Supreme Court is critical about the government’s position that it does not act till the court directs it to, regarding the transmission of controversial contents in TV channels, and that the authorities are to handle the situation timely and in a decisive way. If so, a judicial intervention through repressive, intrusive, regulatory mechanism could no longer be required. TV channels should be more circumspect and it is the Centre’s responsibility to regulate, if required in national interest, but in a transparent way.
TV Jayaprakash, via mail
Respect for all faiths
Apropos of the article ‘Dilemma of secular liberals’; in simple terms, secularism is about promoting none but protecting all religions. Accordingly, the state should maintain equal distance from all religions. Acts of extremities enjoin upon secular liberals to not only exercise restraint, but respect the religious faith, ethos and traditions of others. It’s prudent for all religious denominations to be guided by the time-tested adage, ‘Ba Khuda Diwana Bhaso, Ba Mohammad Hoshiyaar,’ to ensure lasting peace.
Bakshi Gurpreet Singh, Jalandhar
Being a doctor, I have seen two kids brought by parents as they tested positive, going to be admitted to a ward where the parents couldn’t even meet them... a Covid-positive man asking for a discharge to bury his father who died of the same disease…people coming after getting a call that their relative is dead, to collect their body. And yet, when they grieve, they don’t wear masks or practise social distancing. How are we supposed to fight the disease that has brought so much despair when we still don’t want to adjust to the new realities?
Tanvi Aggrawal, via mail
Reference to ‘ Delhi’s Covid crisis (Nov 20);’ though the violation of social distancing norms during Diwali combined with a spike in air pollution may have led to a higher count, Delhi government’s Health Minister claimed that the third Covid wave had passed its peak. Perhaps this may be just rhetoric but it detracts from ramping up the anti-Covid efforts. It also proves that not only are the people showing signs of pandemic fatigue, the government too is succumbing to it. The pandemic has survived governance shortfalls and it has been exposed in the case of Delhi. Hopefully, the steep hike in fine for those not wearing masks may help to an extent in containing and controlling Covid cases.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘Help state govt end rail blockade: CM to Centre (Nov 20)’; Captain Amarinder Singh should first abide by the verdict of the Supreme Court, instructing the state government to make arrangements for the free movement of rail and road traffic. He should know that the decision of the farmers to consider lifting the blockade of passenger trains, once freight services are resumed in Punjab, is conditional and there is no firm commitment. The CM should also take into account the fact that some vested interests are now leading the agitation. Before pleading on behalf of the farmers at this juncture, he should be suggesting ways to solve the problem.
Upendra Sharma, via email
The decision of the farmer unions to maintain the status quo with respect to their blockade of passenger trains, is extremely unfortunate. They should realise that things cannot continue like this and if the rail transport continues to remain suspended any longer, the state would plunge into a crisis and no government can afford such a situation. The Punjab government backed the farmers by introducing its own laws on agriculture to counter the Central legislations. Instead of reciprocating the gesture, the farmer unions are firm on not allowing trains to move in the state without considering the grave financial and other implications it was having on the state exchequer, the industry, the common people and the farmers themselves.
Yashpal Ralhan, Jalandhar
AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi may be the chief of a small party, but winning five seats in the Bihar Assembly polls is not a small achievement. He had earlier won a bypoll in the region last year, but has now emerged a major force this time in the keenly contested Bihar elections. Owaisi is quite a controversial figure, interspersing his rhetoric with the language of constitutionalism, and seeking rights for the marginalised groups within the Muslim community. But what explains his growing popularity, with his party winning seats in a places as varied as Maharashtra and Bihar? On his part, Owaisi must ensure that his party remains wedded to the peaceful, democratic and constitutional path and refrain from parochialism.
PS Kaur, via email
Apropos of ‘Trade ties behind Chinese military push (Nov 20)’. China’s policy towards India seems to be ‘kiss and kill’. China is indeed being hegemonistic, encouraging small states like Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan to drive a wedge in their relations with India. Though today’s India is not what it was in 1962, but it still needs to mobilise resources on a large scale to counter the Dragon. The call for self-reliance will be achieved only if India is able to make distinct its strategic interests.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Covid and mental health
Himachal is experiencing an increase in suicide cases due to the Covid impact, but sadly, the state government, like the rest of India, hardly has adequate psychological counselling infrastructure. There is a stigma attached to suicide. Little do we realise the mental pressure a suicidal person goes through. Mental health is just as important as physical health. There should be adequate mental health clinics for people to get counselling.
Vijay Kumar Sood, Shimla
‘Punjab’s sixth river of sorrow’, was very apt. Every year, many die of drug addiction, which also causes serious illnesses. It has become a major problem today as youth, the future of the nation, are falling prey to drugs. People also need to be aware and alert. Unless they too accept their responsibility towards the country, it would be difficult to see any change and qualitative improvement in lives.
Konica, Rampur Phul
Refer to ‘It’s unfortunate, rail roko must end: CM’; the reaction is ironical. Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh’s appeal sounds hollow. The Congress, the SAD and the AAP had instigated the farmers to resort to needless agitation against the farm laws passed by Parliament by spreading falsehood to garner political mileage. Now, when things have taken an ugly turn and the situation has resulted in a stalemate, causing tremendous loss to the railways, the state and industry, the CM is pretending to fake concern.
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
Apropos of ‘Regulating TV channels’, the Supreme Court’s prescription of asking the government to form a statutory body to regulate TV content is a remedy worse than the disease. The government already has sweeping statutory powers to regulate the electronic media. The government doesn’t want to regulate what suits it or which is being telecast at its behest. Private bodies like the NBA and NBSA should continue to regulate the media. They are registered bodies with a declared statement of objectives. They should be taken to task for failing to achieve their objectives.
Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali
No will to take on mafia
‘Punjab’s sixth river of sorrow’ is a poignant and realistic portrayal of how drug addiction is causing unspeakable misery to families who suffer bereavements due to the government’s apathy to address the crucial issue. It seems the milk of human kindness has dried up in the state as the administration is doing precious little to take the drug mafia to task. The wails of unfortunate mothers have failed to stir the conscience of the government that made tall promises to end drug addiction in the state.
Vimal Sethi, Atlanta
Ambiguity of HBSE
The Haryana Board of School Education (HBSE), Bhiwani, recently invited online HTET-2020 applications. Following the NEP 2020 guidelines, various Central institutions like the KVS and NVS have paved the way for BEd degree holders to be recruited as primary teachers. The CBSE has also allowed BEd degree holders to sit for the PRT CTET paper. But the HBSE is not following NEP guidelines. During the previous HTET exam, held in November last year, some candidates challenged the board’s lackadaisical attitude in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court allowed those BEd candidates to sit for level-1 PRT HTET paper. Does one have to knock the door of the court every time to get the desired outcome?
Hitesh Arya, Bhiwani
Festivals can wait
We live in a country where a festival is given importance over a deadly virus which is killing people across the globe. New Delhi is the Capital and politics is going on over a festival. A festival is connected to a person’s religious sentiments and we have the freedom of religion as our constitutional right. But people should adapt according to the situation. People are arguing that if New Delhi could remain open for Diwali, why is Chhath Puja being banned! They should understand that the situation then was in control, but is getting worse now. We have the right to exercise our freedom, but one’s freedom should not become a reason for someone else’s suffering.
Apropos of ‘Centre-state turf wars over investigations’, the writer has mentioned the opiate drug syndicates in Af-Pak as the Golden Triangle syndicate. The Golden Triangle was the borderlands between Burma, Laos and Thailand, which was subsequently destroyed. The drug syndicate of opiates in the borderlands of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran is called the Golden Crescent that has smuggled millions of dollars of opiate the world over. It is still very active in that area as we note how much of that opiate merchandise is seized by our police and other agencies.
JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala
Power to exploit
Refer to news regarding the alleged rape by an MLA; horrendous power play seems to be again at work. Politicians misuse their position and power, and whenever allegations are made against them, they always claim that these are politically motivated. This only shows how hollow the system is and how politicians think they have the right to exploit anyone in need. The woman had approached the MLA in desperation. Justice is still afar but it should not be. This should alarm us.
Gauri Dogra, Pathankot
Over the years, corruption and criminalisation of politics have had a detrimental impact on India’s electoral democracy (‘Tainted candidates’). Despite several laws and judgments, there has been an alarming increase in the number of candidates with a criminal background contesting elections to parliament, state assemblies and local bodies. It is unfortunate that political parties and the Election Commission have not done anything constructive to curb this menace. How long can we wait for clean politics? It is encouraging that in its latest ruling, the Supreme Court has put the entire onus on parliament to enact a law to debar criminal politicians from entering public life and become lawmakers. At a time when the country is faced with various challenges, only strong political will and the collective wisdom of parliament can improve governance and usher in holistic development.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Self-regulation won't work
Refer to ‘Self-regulation won’t do, SC wants rules for TV channels’; TV channels should keep a check on the content they are broadcasting. But if this was happening, the spread of fake news would not have increased rapidly. TV, a popular medium, influences people and creates communal disharmony. Thus, self-regulation is not an option because private bodies give permission to any type of content. Therefore, a government body should be set up to ensure that the sentiments of all communities are respected and that facts are checked before being broadcast.
Tanvi Nagpal, New Delhi
Centre must give in
Reference to ‘Stalemate over farming laws’; it is unfortunate to watch the prolonged standoff over farm laws in Punjab with no end in sight. With the passage of time, the economic cost of blockade is also mounting. Both sides appeared to have taken non-negotiable positions. It is incumbent on the Centre to bend for the people and take their views seriously and make necessary amendments. But the Centre wants its orders to be implemented without any argument or explanation. The government should shed its adamant stand. Our soldiers deserve all praise of the PM for their exemplary valour on the borders, but he cannot afford to belittle the contribution of farmers in the matter of food security of the nation. ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ slogan of the late PM, Lal Bahadur Shastri, is relevant today also. Farmers are the backbone of our economy. Democracy remains a government of the people, by the people and for the people and should continue to be so.
Vishnu Sharma, Amritsar
It is disturbing to note that the ban on the use of firecrackers during Diwali, enforced by the National Green Tribunal, was violated in several parts of the country. It is evident that even the coronavirus did not deter people from bursting crackers. Unless people and society accept their responsibility towards the environment, it will be difficult to see any change.
Apropos of ‘Cracker ban goes up in smoke’, the air quality has gone poor, and yet people burst crackers. We will suffer the consequences in the form of respiratory diseases. We need to control pollution by saying a big no to stubble burning and the use of firecrackers. Plastic, too, should not be burnt. Not only the government, the citizens of the country also need to work on it.
Parul Gupta, Bassi Pathana
Not attractive enough
Refer to ‘Less specialists in govt hospitals’; Punjab recently ranked top on the list of health and welfare centres, but on the contrary, fewer medics prefer to go for specialist jobs in government hospitals, mainly because of lack of basic amenities, poor infrastructure, delayed payments and old technology. More than 60% jobs are vacant which draws attention towards the serious drawbacks which prevent youngsters from taking up these opportunities.
Mehul Monga, Amritsar
Fragrance of Urdu
‘A Brigadier’s love for Urdu’ endorses the fact that Urdu is essentially not a language of Muslims alone. It belongs to sensitive folks with a propensity for literature. The fragrance of lofty Urdu is summed up in the apt couplet, ‘Voh karein baat toh har lafz se khushbu aaye; Aisi boli vohi bole jise Urdu aaye.’
Bakhshi Gurprit Singh, Jalandhar
Street food project
It’s alarming that the street food project could never see the light of day in Amritsar (‘Urban Haat project still far from reality’). Local and international brands that had aimed at accommodating themselves there have been left in the lurch as the company which was awarded the contract by the ADA did not do enough homework and did not have any concrete plan to launch the project on such a vast scale. It is not only a missed opportunity for the state, but also a huge revenue loss for the city.
Manoj Kumar Thampi, New Delhi
This refers to ‘Nitish dwarfed’; undoubtedly he was a Hobson’s choice as CM for NDA’s survival, but for all practical purposes, he has to play second fiddle to the top BJP leadership and shall be relegated to a figurehead. Most of his energy shall be squandered in managing his allies. How long shall he sustain such undue meddling and pressure is anybody’s guess. Further, Nitish Kumar is known for jumping the ship and therefore shall keep the BJP on tenterhooks perpetually and use this as his trump card. However, this deadly cocktail and power asymmetry between the BJP and the JD(U) coalition shall eventually leave the voters in the lurch once again.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Clipping Nitish’s wings
The BJP’s plan to clip CM Nitish Kumar’s wings has succeeded as the JD(U) lost its ‘big brother’ tag. Kumar will have no free run after the BJP emerged as the dominant partner for the first time in about two decades. By appointing two Deputy Chief Ministers, and displacing former Dy CM Sushil Modi, who was seen as close to Kumar, the party has set the ball rolling for a more expansive role. The BJP has also kept the lion’s share of ministerial berths and significant portfolios. Kumar will have to come to terms with the BJP to retain his post.
SS Paul, Nadia
BJP general secretary CT Ravi has demanded that JNU be renamed as Swami Vivekananda University. He tweeted, “It was Swami Vivekananda who stood for the idea of ‘Bharat’. His philosophy and values signify the ‘Strength of Bharat’. It is only right that the Jawaharlal Nehru University is renamed Swami Vivekananda University. The life of Bharat’s patriotic saint will inspire generations to come.” This is a prejudiced demand and shows that the BJP has been trying to play with historical facts by promoting its ideologies. The BJP should not misuse power and must establish constitutional values that promote national integrity, harmony and peace in society.
Amit Singh Kushwaha, Satna
Govt health centres
Refer to ‘Few opt for job of medical specialists in Pb’; no specialist doctor happily joins government hospitals. Officials try to hide behind the lame excuse that the cause is poor monetary benefits but the reality is that it is because of poor infrastructure and working conditions. If the government admits this, it will be counted as its failure and it will have to improve infrastructure. How can a surgeon work at a CHC without a proper operation theatre and an anaesthetist? Other specialists also require infrastructure. The government must improve health institutions because poor people depend entirely on them.
Rajesh Kumar Sharma, by mail
It’s a matter of deep concern that medical specialists do not appear to be keen to join government service. As per the figures, out of 142 selected specialists, only 62 have opted to join the service. Apparently, these people are not professionally and financially satisfied. Past practice shows that even those who have joined government job, leave it after gaining some experience. As a result, the common man is not receiving treatment at the hands of medical specialists. The treatment in private hospitals is too expensive for the common man to afford. To provide relief, the government should arrange proper infrastructure in its hospitals and dispensaries. The salary and perks of these doctors should be hiked so as to attract specialists. They should be posted at stations where adequate infrastructure exists so that they can utilise their talent for the benefit of the people.
NK Gosain, Bathinda
Investing in children
Apropos of ‘Thought for the Day— Teaching kids to count is fine but teaching them what counts is best — according to my experience as a student and a teacher, sensible parents should take full care of their wards up to Class XII. Then they become mature and can well choose their career. Sanskar imbibed in children by their parents and gurus work in their development as best citizens. In future, they will bring pride not only to their parents, but also their alma mater and country. Good company and honesty pay them in the long run.
PS Mehta, Hisar
Reference to ‘VP bats for freedom of Press’; it can be said that a section of the Press is being gagged, even as some mediapersons can be seen bypassing ethical codes of journalism. Accuracy is at a low ebb and facts are being suppressed. This may break the trust of viewers and readers. People need factual information. Journalists are expected to adhere to the ethical codes of journalism.
ROOP SINGH NEGI, Solan
Reference to the editorial ‘Bang eclipses ban (November 16)’; it is a matter of regret that despite there being a ban on firecrackers, people still continue to do so without any restraint. It seems that people either do not want to understand or the authorities refrain from taking strict action against such law-breakers. The only remedy to make Delhi safe from pollution is to take strict action and impose heavy penalty. Let us fill our homes with prayers and light, not with fumes and crackers.
Suber Singh Parihar, Jalari (HP)
Not obeying the directions of the NGT over the bursting of firecrackers presents the other side of the problem of air pollution in Delhi-NCR region. While the blame is put on the burning of crop residue for the deterioration in air quality, the bursting of firecrackers may in fact worsen the problem.
NK Singhal, Noida
Apropos of ‘Test of magnanimity’ (November 16); it’s a good piece of advice that the court should not read much between the lines in what is uttered by a comedian. If a comedian begins to contemplate how to distinguish between the comic and the contempt elements, then he would lose his natural flair. Modern-day comedians are not equal to the Shakespearean fool or our Tenali Ram and the legendary Birbal. It is better if they are left to play the role that they are assigned and the sober sections of society are to take them with a pinch of salt. After all, humour is an essential ingredient of our lives.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Apropos of the editorial ‘Booster shot’; the Finance Minister’s prescription for self-reliance is aimed at addressing the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. The measures follow a multi-pronged approach, aimed at generating employment and encouraging formalisation of the workforce in urban areas to boost the economy. The focus this time has been on incentivising job creation, and on real estate sector, one of the biggest non-farm avenues of employment. The steps announced by Nirmala Sitharaman could help stressed developers liquidate inventory, and given the sector’s strong backward linkage, could help kickstart broader economic activities. Yet whether the better-than-expected performance of the economy is sustained beyond the festival season remains to be seen.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
The Northern Railway announced special trains during the festival season in which five pairs of trains and two one-way trains to and from Amritsar were included. This has only added to the problems being faced by the people because rail traffic has already been affected by the farmers’ agitation. To add to the confusion, the Railways released another advertisement to cancel some of the trains. This is nothing but a wastage of the tax-payers’ money by a leading PSU.
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Love for language
‘A Brigadier’s love for Urdu’ was interesting as well as instructive. It is preposterous to associate a language with any religious group. A lesson can be learnt from the widespread use of English in the IT sector throughout the world. In this context, Hafeez Jalandhari’s comment comes to mind: Hafeez ki boli, mohabbat ki boli/Na Urdu, na Hindi, na Hindustani.
Basant Singh Brar, Bathinda
Peace with Pak
Apropos of ‘List or no list, writing’s on the wall for Pak’; no matter how India and Pakistan feel, it is clear that there can be no possibility of lasting peace unless the contentious issue is resolved amicably. We must accept that the issue is alive internationally. Since, a third party intervention is strongly opposed by India, it becomes mandatory for us to take initiatives to settle the matter on a bilateral basis. The abrogation of Article 370 has complicated matters.
BM Singh, Amritsar
The article ‘Scams galore in the name of Covid cure’ was revealing. It is a pity that Covid-19 cases are rising manifold and patients are rushing to quacks to seek treatment for a disease for which a confirmed cure is yet to be found. It is shocking to note that scamsters are using the pandemic as an opportunity to mint money. People should go by qualified medical advice to ensure that in case they fall prey to the disease, recovery is proper.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
All rules and regulations, bans, resolutions by individuals as well as groups went into thin air on Diwali night. People burst all types of crackers with impunity, polluting the already polluted environment. It may seem to be a bitter truth, but barring a few, we all lack a sense of responsibility. The government was responsible enough in putting 42,000 cops on duty for a safe and green Diwali. But, we, the citizens, are not at all responsible. Why can't we understand our moral duty to safeguard our environment? It is not only the duty of the government, but also the citizens to work for the welfare of the environment. Hope some miracle happens and there are favourable AQIs of our cities.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
The pollution levels in many cities in the country have increased manifold after Diwali night, be it NCR, Amritsar or Ludhiana. Moreover, fire broke out at many places, causing a huge loss of property. All this has occurred in spite of the ban on crackers and the two-hour window. People continued to violate orders even past midnight. The only solution is that the manufacture and sale of crackers should be banned in the country. The workers engaged in these jobs can be offered alternative means of livelihood.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
Diwali of our times
Apropos of ‘Diwali of our times’, it surely is a big lesson from the past for us to celebrate festivals with a spirit of love for our fellow beings as well as Nature. Today, Diwali has become more of a show of wealth. Contrary to expectation and directions, Diwali night was just about the noise of crackers, and the revellers not paying heed to social norms and decency.
Manjit Ghuman, Ludhiana
Be wary of the Chinese
There are some signs that India and China are close to a pullback, which is a positive development as the Chinese at least are accepting that they have to walk back from their present positions if they expect the same from New Delhi. But there remains a yawning gap between what China is offering and what India should be prepared to accept. There should be no question of India returning to the status quo ante position without China, at the minimum, doing the same. Given that China is the aggressor, it should be trying to restore trust. However, the Indian side would be well advised to carefully weigh and verify the disengagement plan, as an earlier such plan had gone horribly wrong.
SK Singh, by mail
Stand by the soldier
The article ‘Don’t give short shrift to the resilient soldier’ by Lt Gen Sujlana (retd) was thought-provoking. He has aptly pointed out how the armed forces stand out through their integrity, physical and mental strength, courage and valour. Their talent and interests should not be compromised.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Gone too far
Apropos of ‘Kamra refuses to apologise or retreat tweets against SC’ (November 14), the trend of openly criticising the judicial institutions is dangerous and is fraught with unforeseen repercussions. The controversial tweets by the comedian need to be retracted.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
Booster shot of stimulus
With reference to the editorial ‘Booster shot’ (November 14), the announcement of yet another economic package by the government shows its confidence to neutralise the ill-effects wrought by the pandemic. People, particularly the productive members of society, should also inject their own booster shot to perform better in their chosen sphere of economic activity by enhancing their efficiency and by being more honest in paying back to strengthen the system. India is on the move, notwithstanding constant politicking or Covid-19.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Exemplary Mumbai Indians
Though played under the pandemic scare and shadow, IPL’s season 13 was a remarkable success. Mumbai Indians owe their IPL success as much to individual brilliance as to collective efforts. No other team boasts of such a dazzling galaxy of stars. There was a time when the Mumbai Indians used to splash money recklessly in the auction, but now every acquisition is carefully weighed. They have arguably the best leader in Rohit Sharma, the most consistent middle order and the deadliest bowling pair ever. Mumbai Indians’ march to their fifth title has been their most assertive ever. They can be now called the gold standard of success in any cricket league across the world.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
Apropos of ‘Big push for housing, employment’, through the Atmanirbhar Bharat package 3.0, the FM has offered a comprehensive set of announcements, although the assessed standalone fiscal cost is modest. Nevertheless, the package is expected to solidify economic recovery. The RBI has confirmed that India is in a recession. The forecast for GDP in FY2021 is of a contraction of 11%. One has to revisit this projection in early December 2020, after the data for Q2FY21 is released by the NSSO. By then, there will be greater clarity on the likelihood of the endurance of the festive season uptick, as well as the pace of new Covid-19 infections domestically and in major trading partners in the winter.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Under govt control
With the digital media, the last bastion of creative content, finally coming under the ‘oversight’ of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, there is concern about censorship, dilution of content and interference in the previously freely operating medium. The government’s decision will hit lesser-known content creators who relied on these digital platforms to establish themselves independent of the mainstream industry. Fuelled by an increasing user base, thanks to cheaper broadband, and being realistic and content driven, these platforms grew from hosting to creating their own quality content. One might even argue that they have become victims to their soaring revenues and success. What shape this new ministry oversight takes will be for time to tell, but it may well be time to say goodbye to the way things were.
Ajay Dogra, by mail
Apropos of ‘UK PM cautiously hails vaccine news’, it's reassuring that the coronavirus vaccine by Pfizer will be available in some countries in one-two months. It's claimed by the company that two shots of the vaccine will offer 90% effectiveness against the Covid-19 infection. The Indian Government has shown its willingness to have a dialogue with the manufacturing company to make it available here. However, the biggest stumbling block in percolating its benefit to the Indian people will be to meet its storage requirements. The vaccine needs to be kept at minus 70 degrees, which may not be feasible even at big hospitals in big cities, leave aside small towns and rural areas.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Education in Bihar
The NDA government in Bihar should give the state the two gifts of education and employment. Employment will ensure that the citizens of Bihar don't have to migrate to other states for jobs. The state government should create employment and make sure that the people get these jobs based on merit and not connections. Education is needed to make it certain that they can get the jobs. Education should be spread to every rural area also.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Poor Net connectivity
The pandemic has changed the pattern of education from physical to virtual classes, which is a boon for students living in cities and a bane for those residing in remote regions. Students in villages are unable to access the Internet properly and are facing challenges in pursuing education. Good connection must be made easily accessible to all, especially to students in backward areas. The authorities concerned should come forward to assist in the e-learning mode of education.
Aakash Dhiman, Ambala Cantt
Force to reckon with
The BJP chief, JP Nadda, has said people of Bihar have chosen ‘vikas raj’ over ‘gunda raj’. But the alleged ‘gunda raj’ has defeated ‘vikas raj’ in Bihar despite all the mudslinging against the RJD by top leaders of the BJP. The BJP leaders should rather feel small that a political greenhorn, Tejashwi Yadav, has emerged as the leader of the single largest party in Bihar, the RJD.
Maj Narinder S Jallo (retd), Mohali
Solidarity for green Diwali
Air quality is worsening in a huge part of North India, especially Delhi-NCR, due to stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana. We should join hands to not burst crackers this Diwali so that people could breathe in a clean environment. Two hours of celebrations with crackers can affect the air quality of the next two coming months or even the entire winter season. Due to stubble burning, people of Delhi suffer the most; we can at least avoid crackers for their sake.
Harsh Kumar, Rohtak
This refers to the editorial ‘Challenges in Bihar’ (November 12); it is naive to expect that the new government in Bihar has any intention of delivering on its election promises for the simple reason that if non-performance can lead to victory, then why bother about the gullible electorate. In every election, the BJP has promised the moon which eventually proved to be a dud. The calibrated strategy is to make the Opposition infirm by using all resources at its disposal which includes exploiting all investigative agencies, so much so that the Opposition leaders are emaciated to the hilt. The country is now witnessing a new form of democracy which is devoid of any accountability of political parties and they are left with no meaningful choice because all are cut from the same cloth. How shall someone cast his or her vote when he or she is confronted with tainted candidates?
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Now, work for Bihar
Reference to ‘Challenges in Bihar’; now is the right time for a fresh beginning with a positive agenda for the socio-economic transformation of the ancient land. The youth must get gainful employment and they should not be forced by their poverty to board trains for distant states, hunting for livelihood. The farmers must get the remunerative price for their produce. The law and order machinery ought to be oiled afresh and peace should prevail in the countryside for a better future for the people of all communities. This will be the fourth term of Nitish Kumar as CM and he ought to show a large heart by accommodating the suggestions of his alliance partner, the BJP, and his political adversary Tejashwi Yadav in restoring the glorious past of Buddha’s land. The painful tales of mass migration must now come to an end. The weak and the poor must feel secure in the state.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
One nation, one election
Apropos of ‘PM Modi endorses Nitish as Bihar CM’, India is the country of festivals. One festival is followed by the other. It is the same in the sense of elections, where an election is followed by other polls. We were busy with Bihar, and now the focus will shift to West Bengal and so on. So, we should work on the policy of one nation, one election, like other developed countries. The main reason behind their development is work. They have fixed some time for elections, but in our country, the process of election keeps going on through the year. A nation requires more time to work than keep holding elections.
MOHIT MOR, JIND
Away from nuisance
Being the festival of lights, Diwali has always been the day which brings joy and happiness every year and is celebrated with a lot of fanfare. This is the most popular festival in our country, meant to illuminate and spread the message of love, brotherhood and friendship. This Diwali, let us not make it a show of fireworks and not be an occasion where some celebrate it as a festival of noise, while the others suffer the consequences. Rather, we need to abide by the orders of the NGT, which has banned crackers as the Air Quality Index has worsened. People need to celebrate Diwali in the traditional way by lighting eco-friendly earthen lamps and pray that this festival brings respite from Covid-19, and may the spirit of light lead us on to the path of peace and social harmony.
Harpreet Sandhu, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘Mumbai’s IPL triumph’; the champions Mumbai Indians played like a well-oiled machine all through the IPL campaign. They were the embodiment of consistency, superb application and execution. So immaculate was their consistency that they did not lose two consecutive matches at any stage. Their dominance over all teams was complete. They deservedly clinched the IPL title for a record fifth time.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Apropos of ‘IBA, bank unions reach pact for 15% pay hike’, in spite of having taken three years to reach a settlement, the retirees feel ditched by both parties. Notwithstanding the categorical assurance given by the Finance Minister herself, nothing is mentioned about their genuine demands pending for the past 25 years. The aggrieved retirees are left with no choice except to resort to judicial remedies which are cumbersome and time consuming. The government may consider the issue on humanitarian grounds in the spirit of various rulings of the Supreme Court.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
Refer to ‘Triumph of caste politics’ (Nous Indica); the Bihar verdict is a vindication of the harsh political reality that caste, read religion, is a paramount politically dominant and driving force in the country. For that matter, politics is subject to logical conclusions in no country or society. Wherever human element is involved, the X-factor plays a vital role that defies all political predictions and baffles political pundits. The verdict can be a boon as well as a bane for the people of Bihar. From this cliffhanger, the NDA can learn lessons in ‘gathbandhan dharma’. This election outcome is going to have repercussions for national politics.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
The people of Bihar deserve kudos for showing maturity and giving another chance to incumbent Nitish Kumar. The credit also goes to the senior leadership of the BJP for showing magnanimity towards Nitish Kumar, despite becoming the second largest party in the keenly contested elections. It is the poor performance of the Congress which is responsible for keeping the Mahagathbandhan away from the majority mark for which it only has itself to blame.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Students in despair
Apropos of ‘Bright life snuffed out’, we have entered the era of online education. The prerequisites like smartphones, computers and the Internet must be made easily available to all. The increasing economic and digital gap is telling upon students, especially those who are finding it difficult to cope with modern, digital requirements of online education. Their struggle is bringing instability in the minds of students. The government must come out with effective and supportive educational measures towards e-learning.
KRITIKA MADAN, CHANDIGARH
‘Changes in PRIs’ is a welcome initiative which has come from the state which is usually condemned for its patriarchal views. This amendment can serve as a revolution in the involvement of transgenders in Indian polity as it makes provisions for transgenders to be sarpanch in a cyclic manner. Another encouraging aspect for Indians is the recent National Family Health Survey which shows increasing acceptance of daughters. This shows that the turbulent wind blowing across India can change into a positive outcome.
Jashan Goyal, Bathinda
Return of the virus
Refer to ‘Covid resurgence’; the Delhi government has attributed the surge to people letting down their guard during the festive season, and also pollution. Governments in many states like Kerala, and particularly Bihar, where election rallies lacked caution, have failed to correct glitches in their anti-Covid strategy. With the festive season spike beginning to strain medical facilities, the ‘ad hocism’ of governments like that of Delhi seems to be resurfacing. It will do well to revisit the city’s experiences of the past and course-correct it.
PS KAUR, by mail
Way to losses
Though the Amritsar railway station wears a deserted look due to the ‘rail roko’ agitation by farmer unions, the railway authorities, going by the old routine, have opened up one extra reservation window and increased the platform staff in anticipation of the Diwali and Chhath Puja passenger rush. This is how the PSUs incur financial losses.
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Ban the only way
Strict laws against crackers are necessary considering that we have to achieve a net zero in our carbon dioxide emission level by 2050 to stay below 1.5% rise in global temperature (‘6-yr jail for bursting firecrackers in NCR’). The festive season is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in this country. Climate change is not solely about smog in Delhi or poor air quality, it’s about survival of mankind. It’s time people realise there is no planet B.
Prateek Sachdeva, Mohali
Hope of a new start
Refer to the ‘Thought for the day’ — Every moment is a fresh beginning — It is interesting to think that you can start anew with each passing moment. You can let go of the past, let go of whatever is holding you back and start doing again whatever you want to do. It is refreshing to know the present is not entirely enmeshed in the past and your future is created moment by moment. If you have been mired in doubt and hesitation to start a new project or to mend a relationship because of the things that have happened to you in the past, remember that this moment is totally new and you can move in the direction you want to go.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Politics of populism
Apropos of ‘75% jobs for locals’, the legislation seeking to reserve a certain percentage of jobs for the locals is a populist gimmick to mobilise public sentiment. The problem with this law is that its effect is the opposite of that intended by those who support it. A private company functions with the motive of earning profit and in order to achieve this objective, it hires people capable of yielding the most benefit. This legislation will severely limit a company’s choice of workers and force it to hire those with less skill, as a consequence of which its profit margins would gradually decrease. With insufficient profits, the company would be forced to lay off workers or shut down its business in the state. Instead of curbing unemployment, this law will increase joblessness. Local reservation is not an ideal solution to tackle unemployment. Instead, the state should invest in education and skill development.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Do away with crackers
Reference to ‘Firecracker ban’; the ban on firecrackers imposed by the NGT must be strictly implemented. Every year, crackers worth an estimated Rs 7,000 crore are exploded, which only adds to pollution, pushing the deteriorating Air Quality Index from bad to worse. The health of elders, children and patients is adversely affected. People should adopt such modes of celebrating festivals which do not harm the environment. Traders should also show concern about the well-being of citizens and not sell polluting crackers. We only get momentary joy from crackers but the results are far more damaging to health and environment. It will be better if we shun crackers altogether.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Repeated efforts made in these columns to highlight the unprecedented health hazards being faced by NCR residents due to the alarming pollution level is a welcome step, and should be taken in the right spirit by the government and public at large. However, the decision to ban crackers might have been taken well in advance to avoid criticism by the dealers.
NK SINGHAL, NOIDA
The National Green Tribunal has banned the sale and use of firecrackers, which is a good move, but the manufacturing of crackers should also be banned. If there is no manufacturing of crackers, there will be no use of it. There is not much merit in using crackers. But the harmful effects are obvious like noise and air pollution. Many people sustain burn injuries while bursting crackers, and the worst affected are those who inhale the toxic fumes. Hence, its manufacturing must be banned.
DOLLY PAL, CHANDIGARH
Ringing school bells
Refer to ‘Week after opening, HP schools stare at closure’; winter has arrived and with it comes a high chance of the second wave of the coronavirus in the country. Delhi, experiencing the third wave, is a quintessential proof that the dipping mercury and worsening air quality can aggravate the problem. Our country is witnessing a rise in cases after a week of fall in the numbers. The decision of CM Capt Amarinder Singh to open colleges from November 16 might increase the chances of the youth getting infected. Himachal Pradesh’s experience has created more concern and fear in the minds of parents. Allowing the colleges to open can amplify the extent and impact of the second wave. This is definitely not the right time to open educational institutions.
Ankita Sharma, Panchkula
Agriculture is a profession, a practice that requires multi-stakeholders for the farmer to earn profit (‘The lazy economist way’). MSP is only one component in this chain. Agricultural scientists develop improved varieties, extension workers take it to the farmers, who adopt it to increase productivity and to cater to the demand of time. MSP is a market intervention mechanism that aids in stabilising the price of the produce to be sold above it. In the article, the history of MSP and linking with economic parameters, especially subsidies existing the world over, has been propagated as a remedy to the problem. The fact is that for the produce to be sold at MSP or above, it requires market, followed by market forces of competition to be brought in the market to play for farmers getting a price of their produce above the MSP. Such a strategy is missing in the article and in the farm laws enacted by the government.
SP Vasudeva, by mail
Refer to ‘Biden, Harris are in’; among the important agreements signed during the tenure of Trump, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement and the recently concluded Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement are important. Diplomatic and strategic relations at sea, cyber security and space issues should be retained by both countries, being major defence partners. The Modi government should maintain its sovereign diplomatic policies in such a way that the US continues to be India’s most reliable ally.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
There is a need for immediate reforms in the Election Commission. The Chief Election Commissioner should be a Supreme Court judge and not a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats are unable to withstand pressure from the ruling party, the PM and ministers. The selection of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners should be more democratic and transparent. The commission has constantly been at loggerheads with political parties and powerful individuals where proper perusal of cases in various courts of law is required. It has been taking illegal decisions under pressure from the ruling party. Further, the Prime Minister should not be allowed to make election speeches.
SC DHALL, ZIRAKPUR
Laxity has set in
The idiom Savdhani hati, durghatna ghati perfectly fits the current Covid scenario. The present day-to-day activities and unlimited rush in market places, and that too without following preventive measures, give an impression that everything is well. Even the number of persons using masks is declining. It is in the interest of every individual/society to understand the gravity of the situation and follow the instructions strictly.
GOBIND AHUJA, Chandigarh
Celebrations can wait
It is frightening to observe how we have comfortably allowed the spirit of festivity to perambulate right in the middle of a pandemic. Developed nations are again witnessing a steep and sudden rise in Covid cases, whereas we in India have ensconced ourselves in a casual attitude. News of the third wave in the National Capital is not encouraging. What are we celebrating? We must think of fellow human beings around us with co-morbidities. A century ago, the world overcame the Spanish flu by adhering to simple preventive measures like wearing a mask, staying at home and social distancing. That’s all what it took! We can emulate this now, too, and rejoice together, later.
Bimal Martin, Palampur
It is a good decision by the administration of Chandigarh and some states to ban firecrackers. It was surprising that the ruling party itself requested to lift the ban as it would cause losses to those in this business. It seems to be worried about the losses to a minuscule of persons in the trade, which is not even their regular pursuit. It has forgotten the damage to the health of the majority if the ban is lifted.
PS Bhatti, Chandigarh
New trust laws
As per the Finance Act 2020, all existing charitable trusts have to get themselves re-registered with the IT department. The Income Tax Commissioner is authorised to grant them re-registration for five years only, or reject their application. Previously, registration was permanent. The procedure for new trusts has been made even more cumbersome and time consuming. They will be given only provisional registration for three years. Six months before the expiry of this three-year provisional registration, the trust may apply for regular or permanent registration, which again will be for five years only. The new move will neither be beneficial for the government nor the charitable trusts, but for the IT staff and will breed more corruption.
VINAY KUMAR MALHOTRA, Ambala Cantt
Refer to ‘Gender sensitivity’; in our democratic country, every woman has equal rights in terms of education, employment, social, economic and political leaderships. Despite all progress in art, literature, governance, science and technology, we have not been able to remove gender discrimination. Men still dominate women. Gender inequality fuels violence against women and results in power imbalance. Women should be treated with respect, bestowing on them equality and dignity as mothers and sisters. Both men and women are two sides of the coin of society.
Aditya Kamble, Chennai
Reference to ‘75% jobs for locals’; Haryana owes its economic progress to its ability to provide high-class streamlined infrastructure to national and global companies. By enacting a law to reserve jobs for locals, the government is creating barriers in Modi’s agenda of ease of doing business. This is a retrograde step and is an admission by the state of its inability to skill its youth and thereafter erect hurdles in labour mobility. It is also against the federal spirit of our Constitution. The country is moving towards unified fiscal and economic policies, while Haryana is turning the wheel in reverse. It should not be allowed to go ahead with the Byzantine law. Public employment cannot be given on the basis of domicile, then how can private jobs?
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Right to block movement
Our Constitution provides for a series of rights that can be exercised as and when the situation so warrants, but we fail to realise that no right is absolute. The right to protest in a peaceful way is taken as the right to block the movement of people or goods indefinitely. This was witnessed in Delhi in earlier days of the year and is being practiced in Punjab for the past couple of weeks. The government must ensure that the common man is not deprived of his right to movement.
SL Singhal, Noida
Apropos of the encyclopaedic piece on the journey of economics thought, ‘The perils of banking on business economics’; the writer has depicted important points of evolution of economic theory and policy. The world has become too complex and business economics alone cannot unravel the mysteries of unexplained phenomena. Pure economics will have to liberate itself from the unrealistic assumptions like well-behaved production functions or economic man as a calculating machine.
Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra
Decision too late
Some governments have banned the use of crackers to avoid air pollution, particularly during the pandemic. The decision is good but the intimation could have been given at least a month before Diwali. Many small shopkeepers have bought crackers from factories for selling. Retailers were already incurring losses due to the lockdown. Since Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India, strategic planning should have been done in the past months.
Raghav Singla, by mail
Refer to ‘Jan Manch programme to be resumed’, why is the HP Government in so much hurry to organise Jan Manch, while the Covid cases are still rising in the state? In the Jan Manch programme, there will be a gathering and maintaining social distancing won’t be an easy task. This will lead to rise in infection. The government should organise e-JanManch, in which MLAs, ministers or local officials concerned listen to the grievances of people through video-conferencing at a designated place.
Ritish Pandit, Dehra Gopipur
Refer to the arrest of a proclaimed offender and a Punjabi film producer, both reported to be connected to Bhola’s drug racket; the government must come out with a White Paper on this racket so that the public can know about those involved. Families have been ruined monetarily and have lost their sons to drugs. The involvement of people from Punjabi film industry is shocking, as was the reported involvement and investment of certain gangsters in the kabaddi league. The government has succeeded in breaking the supply chain, but large consignments of contraband drugs are still confiscated on the border regularly. Coordinated efforts by the Centre, state government and the people of the border state are a must.
BRIJ BHUSHAN GOYAL, LUDHIANA
Many new shops are selling tobacco in Kaithal district. These shops are run by jobless youths. Shops are situated mostly at village bus stops, crossings and tri-junctions. These shops are promoting tobacco use and providing hookahs. Many young people and students are seen smoking at these shops throughout the day. These shops have become open hookah bars. This is dangerous for our youth. The Haryana health authorities must take prompt action.
Kuldeep Kundu Titram, by mail
Golden writing tool
‘Love for the fountain pen’ brought back memories of schooldays. I won accolades from my Urdu teacher for the efforts put in by the golden pen with a metal nib. Smooth flow and a good handwriting were the hallmarks of these pens. It was on Gandhi’s insistence to make swadeshi products that jeweller Kasuri Venkat Ratnam, hailing from Andhra Pradesh, made an indigenous pen, ‘Ratnamson’, in 1933. Gandhi continued to use it until his last. From Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Ambedkar and Indira Gandhi to Modi, these locally developed pens have struck a chord.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Apropos of ‘Clash of civilisations’, it is hard to understand why anyone should deliberately caricature the Prophet and provoke the Muslims in the first instance. This is not to justify the savage retaliation by misguided Islamists in response to the cartoons, but to point to the absurdity as well as dangers inherent in inciting the Muslim ire. We need not turn to Samuel Huntington’s self-fulfilling prophecy of ‘clash of civilisations’, but to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of inter-religion tolerance and love to guide our lives.
BHUPINDER SINGH, Patiala
Break in power
Refer to ‘Nitish creates flutter with “last election” remark at poll rally’; he has taken a good decision. Continuous staying in power is not good, as observed in West Bengal. A very developed state scaled down in development matters during leftist rule as they banked upon one person as CM. Incidentally, his only son settled abroad as a big businessman. I had the opportunity to visit Bihar during Lalu Yadav’s rule, and also during Nitish’s term. Law and order was far better in the state during Nitish’s time.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
One who can lead
Apropos of ‘Contested election’, historic voter participation during the pandemic was unexpectedly mobilised in the form of mail-in ballots. It is on these that the next presidency hinges, with Trump launching legal challenges in battleground states, which Biden is looking to flip. The exigencies of the pandemic have combined with the federal spirit to introduce many new processes and guidelines for this election. What is indefensible is Trump accusing his opponents of ‘trying to steal the election’. The world is looking to the US to provide better leadership on issues ranging from climate changes to global security, so the winner has to be the choice of the electorate, and who can bridge the current domestic political divide in the US.
SK SINGH, by mail
Fix all old bridges
In reference to ‘Bridge on Pathankot-Mandi NH turns into death trap’; this is the story of not just one bridge, but many bridges that have outlived their lives, since most of them were constructed before Independence. There is no denying the fact that the Pathankot-Mandi highway is of strategic importance, especially when tensions are high on our borders. The matter needs to be addressed on priority and the construction of bridges should be taken up at the earliest since good roads are of no use without good bridges.
Santosh Jamwal, Hamirpur
The police have seized thousands of cases of illicit liquor near the Sonepat border, stored or loaded in trucks for smuggling in the recent past. Surprisingly, when all the movement of goods except the essentials, during lockdown were prohibited, the smuggling continued unhindered. Will someone in the police or the administration explain the lapses?
Vinay Gupta, Ambala Cantt
Himachali salt is back
It was nice to read about the re-emergence of Himachali namak, known as gumma namak. Decades ago, the availability and use of this salt in the form of big chunks was common in the state and adjoining areas. The salt was known for its therapeutic/medicinal properties. Hope that modern technology and processing like iodination of the salt will make it more beneficial and acceptable to people for daily use. Moreover, local people will benefit with job opportunities being created for excavation, processing and marketing of the salt. But caution should be exercised to make the excavation methodology/process environment-friendly and sustainable.
SS Verma, Longowal
Air pollution is the bane of Punjab and neighbouring states, more so during stubble burning and the festival season. Governments have taken many steps to check stubble burning, but to no avail. Modern machinery like Happy Seeders have been encouraged, but farmers can’t afford them. Most farmers have small landholdings. The SC had asked the government to give an incentive of Rs 100 per acre to desist farmers from stubble burning, but to little effect. Farmer cooperatives should be encouraged to use modern machinery to manage stubble burning, which can be used as a source of energy, as is being done by some entrepreneurs. People in cities like Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar should be encouraged to opt for car-pooling. Cycling should be encouraged, and crackers should be banned.
JS WADHWA, Kapurthala
Apropos of ‘Journalist’s arrest’, the political divide over Arnab Goswami’s conduct on television is manifest, but the timing and the abnormal swoop to arrest him in a closed case of abetment to suicide, do raise doubts, given the mounting acrimony between him and the Mumbai police. Alas! Khabar dene wale khabar ban gaye. His knock at the court door is intriguing. The police must not only shed being partisan, but also do it visibly, as of late, its vendetta is out in the open.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Height of autocracy
Attempts in some quarters to posit Arnab Goswami’s plight to his hyper-nationalist views that recklessly undermined others’ free speech and liberties aren’t helpful. Defending the right to free speech is also about safeguarding our own self-interest against excessive state action that can implicate anyone: activists, journalists, minorities and politicians who happen to be in the Opposition, even ordinary citizens expressing opinions on social media. The state’s power to arrest is a law and order tool, to be exercised with the greatest care. Often, arrests are made in cases not requiring custodial interrogation merely to deny bail. Emergency and ‘informal emergency’ find frequent mention in the political discourse, yet no side while holding public office, shelves the draconian laws to arrest and jail without bail.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Not about press freedom
In reference to ‘Journalist’s arrest’; the arrest of the Republic TV editor, Arnab Goswami, in connection with an abetment to suicide case, has no connection with his journalistic role. It is puzzling, then, why several senior Union ministers and BJP leaders have supported him and talked of the ‘freedom of the press’ since it doesn’t arise in this case. It is for the courts to decide if Goswami is guilty of the charge.
SS Paul, Nadia
Not true picture
Reference to ‘Pagri, Jatt and Punjab’; the writer has sought to trivialise the genuine concern of Punjab’s farmers about the recently enacted farm Acts. He thinks that Punjab’s farmers are agitating because of their anti-establishment nature and not due to the serious threat to their livelihood. He is totally off the mark. He should study the subject matter before linking it to bits and pieces of history.
Brig Gurinder Singh (retd), by mail
Sacrifice by flight crew
‘When the PM’s plane went missing’ was an interesting narrative of events, but the writer failed to make any mention of the supreme sacrifice made by the aircrew of the ill-fated IAF plane to save the life of PM Morarji Desai. As the crash seemed imminent, the pilot decided to noseland the aircraft in a field near Jorhat. While the PM, seated in the rear, escaped unhurt, the pilot and four other aircrew members were killed. They sacrificed their own lives to save the PM’s life.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Make it easy for pensioners
Every year, pensioners are asked to submit life certificates in November to banks. Private pensioners, who are required to provide finger/iris prints, face problems. Since many banks have only fingerprint scanners, most of them can’t read the faded fingerprints of very senior citizens. In the absence of iris readers, they are asked to go to EPF offices for verification. Funnily, it is being advertised by the government that one can submit these certificates online from home. For that, one needs a scanner. I get a princely sum of Rs 1,835 per month as pension, and it seems wasteful to spend thousands of rupees on scanners. Why are the scanners not made mandatory for banks so as to save senior citizens from physical harassment?
RB SINGH, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Gender sensitivity needed’; in our democratic country, every woman has equal rights in terms of education, employment, social, economic and political leadership. Despite all progress in art, literature, governance, science and technology, we have not been able to remove gender discrimination. Men still dominate women. Gender inequality fuels violence against women and results in power imbalance. There is no creation of man without a woman. Women should be treated with respect, bestowing on them equality and dignity as mothers and sisters. Both men and women are two sides of the same coin called society.
Aditya Kamble, Chennai
Refer to ‘Court rap for Election Commission’; the questionable acts and pliability towards the ruling party by the EC is having an adverse bearing on the integrity of the institution. All premier institutions such as the ED, CBI and EC doing the government’s bidding does not augur well for democracy. The court reprimanding the EC for revoking star campaigner status to veteran political leader Kamal Nath may have no bearing on the outcome of the elections, but it speaks volumes about the selective and biased approach of the institution.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Partisan Election Commission
Reference to ‘Court rap for EC’; the apex court has observed the partisan attitude of the EC while giving its decision on BJP’s complaint against the Congress leader, the former CM of MP. The Election Commissioner and several other heads of various commissions are appointed by the President on the advice of the PM. As such, the PM is the boss and the EC will do his bidding. Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton regime, had observed that the PM of India has vast powers (though not constitutionally) and he can get any decision in his favour through any commission of enquiry or the tax department. Such a trend is going on in almost all countries. In these circumstances, how can we expect the Election Commission of India to be impartial?
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Hope in youth
‘Youth on political landscape’ is a good sign for our democracy, but the vast knowledge of our country's culture, religions, castes, languages and political manoeuvrings is a must to succeed in politics. Nothing is permanent in politics. Friends turn foes and vice versa. Just grabbing power won’t do much as in this we are liable to lose our ethics. Political discourse is tough. Education is the best tool to fight fanaticism. Make your conscience uplift you to such a height from where the dream of Ram Rajya will become a reality. India needs the youth which will lead it to true ‘tryst with destiny’.
Jasvinder S Humsafar, Maloudh
Kabul University attack
In reference to ‘Kabul varsity attack: 20 feared dead’, at a time when the US is negotiating a withdrawal from Afghanistan with the Taliban, the Kabul University attack aggravates the matter. At the time of the attack, a book exhibition was going on in the presence of the Iranian ambassador, who was saved. The Taliban seemed to be behind this act, with an aim to assert its position. But the terror outfit has denied responsibility. What will happen when the US withdraws from Afghanistan?
Bhumika Dodiya, Ujjain
Punjab belongs to all
The middle ‘Pagri, Jatt & Punjab’ seems to take the Jatt community as synonymous with Punjab. Pagri, in itself, isn’t worn only by Sikhs, let alone Jatts. It is an essential part of the culture of Punjabis. Also, Jatts alone do not form the farming community. Agricultural farming is a profession of the people of Punjab. It is our responsibility to acknowledge the contribution of all communities, religions and castes in its growth and development.
Sumeet Gill, Chandigarh
The Centre has shown its seriousness to combat pollution in Delhi-NCR. Earlier the Centre had committed to the SC about establishing a statutory body to oversee efforts to check pollution. Though state governments have tried to counter this dip in air quality, success has not been achieved. The main contributors are the burning of stubble, dust and the density of vehicular traffic. Investing in better public transport infrastructure and giving farmers an economic incentive to stop burning stubble will provide more durable solutions. The 18-member commission to monitor air quality needs to devise ways to address the underlying economic causes. NCR’s poor air quality needs more economic solutions rather than regulatory diktats. The commission will have to keep in mind that since five states are ruled by different political parties, politics will have a say in the outcome. A coordinated approach has to be adopted.
LAL SINGH, AMRITSAR
Maintain recovery rate
Apropos of ‘India tops global recoveries; active cases fall from 21% to 7% in 2 mths’, it is a triumph of India over other countries to tackle the outbreak with such efficiency. Although we’ve come to grips with this difficulty, still people shouldn’t take it leniently, especially during the festive season. The festivities should be commemorated with utmost precautions with the intent of preventing a second wave of the virus.
Agam Garg, Jalandhar
A propos of the news report ‘India tops global recoveries (Nov 3),’ our country is mainly agricultural and a majority lives in the villages. They work hard and generally lead a healthy lifestyle with strong immunity. That is why our country tops in global recoveries and the death rate is low compared to the density of population. But people have a tendency to become negligent, especially because of the festive season. Respiratory problems are common during winter. So, people need to take precautionary measures to prevent a recurrence of the coronavirus infection.
Ravinder Kwatra, Shahabad Markanda
This refers to the editorial ‘GST fillip (Nov 3)’. The rising GST collection is primarily on the back of pent-up demand, festive season and the performance of the rural economy. Any spurt now in Covid caseload or exacerbating of geopolitical tensions shall have an adverse bearing on the economy. It is important that the government does not indulge in a lockdown rerun or steps that are detrimental to the revival of the economy. The situation is fluid and how the economy performs in the foreseeable future is anybody’s guess. What is noticeable, however, is that the disposable income of the common man is declining, and poverty and unemployment are rising while the government continues to maintain silence on these issues.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Path of agitation
Present-day rulers appear to be far removed from the ground realities. Carelessness, callousness and corruption are evident and proving to be an impediment in good governance. It is the frustration that is manifest. It may be justified, but will prove to be detrimental for everyone, if it gets prolonged. The Gurjars in Rajasthan have also now taken to blocking rail traffic while demanding reservation. While it is everyone’s right to air his grievances and demand resolution, damage to public property should be avoided.
Bakshi Gurprit Singh, Jalandhar
In reference to ‘Dushyant for separate capitals for Pb, Hry’, changing the existing set-up can prove to be an unaffordable burden on the depleting coffers of these states. The need of the hour is to have a common governor for small adjoining states as also new norms for the economy and other benefits. To maintain our unity in diversity, creation of states with concentration of ethnic or other loyalties should be discouraged.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
US presidential elections
Refer to the ‘Battle for US presidency set for close finish (Nov 2)’, it’s remarkable that the US, possibly the most diverse nation, is choosing between two elderly white men to lead it out of the tailspin that the Covid-19 has caused. This is the time America and the rest of the world need leadership, and if America doesn’t choose wisely, China is waiting to dictate a new world order. Should the US vote for a man who has been divisive and broken ethical and moral values, even though he did correctly call out China’s hypocrisy? Or should the US vote for a man who by all accounts is a nice guy, but has clear signs of age-related degeneration? American voters are caught between the devil and deep sea. It’s electoral system is deeply flawed because of the concept of electoral college, where a candidate can lose the plurality of the nationwide vote by a massive margin and yet win the right to sit in the White House.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
The decision to hand over the UT electricity departments to private players, even if they are in profit, may lead to chaos and monopoly. Private entities are bothered only about profit. It is feared that hefty electricity tariffs will be imposed and the end user will suffer. It should be ensured that the rights and salaries of the staff are protected.
Karan Singh Vinayak, Chandigarh
Apropos of the article ‘Youth on political landscape (Nov 3)’, the issues in Bihar are numerous, but this time the elections seem to be centred on CM Nitish Kumar, who is under scrutiny despite his claims of having undertaken unprecedented development works. Also, post-poll alliances are not ruled out in case no party emerges a clear winner.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Development work is in full swing in Batala. Storm sewers are being laid, but all this is creating problems too. The roads have been dug up to lay sewer pipes, but the dust on the roads and the traffic are polluting the air in the town. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities should take steps to keep the situation under control.
Kulbir Saggu, Batala
The US could be in an electoral mess, yet again. To each nation its election laws, architecture of control and supervision. But what is inviolate is that every vote cast within the parameters is sacrosanct and accounted for. This is where the US is found wanting. The efficacy of centrality of an EC should have been more relevant to the US after the fracas in the Bush-Gore faceoff, and now to perhaps revisit in 2020. With varying election methodology and rulings practically in the ambit of each state and a federal election agency without teeth, the lower judiciary acts as an arbiter with contrasting directives. In a close election, this is inviting disaster. In India, the empowered EC, with its state wings, stands out in professional excellence. But given its hubris of being the ultimate in democracy, the US election architecture may never reform.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Can go either way
Apropos of ‘Battle for US presidency set for close finish’, the opinion polls show that Biden is holding on to a firm lead. However, an analysis of politics since 2017 reveals how voters might regard Trump’s performance, disregarding what they may have said in response to opinion surveys. He came to power on what was essentially a nativist call to put ‘America First’, to fight for middle-class workers losing jobs to foreigners or immigrants. The divisive rhetoric that his 2016 campaign employed continued to yield rich political dividends for him. However, it changed with the onset of the pandemic. Trump may have won voter sympathy, perhaps because some appreciated his desire to reopen the economy. Given that the Republican-controlled Senate recently rushed to fill an empty seat with conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett, the 6-3 majority favouring the conservatives may well have a bearing in such an eventuality. Only a strong performance by Biden on the election day will obviate this possibility.
For the record
The Pakistan government’s sensational admission that it succeeded in the Pulwama attack which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel has unmasked its face before the world. This is the first time a Pakistan minister has admitted what India has long maintained — that the country directly and indirectly supports terror groups that target India. But, it’s neither shocking nor befuddling to hear it from the horse’s mouth. It’s a terrific challenge before the country to deal with such a notorious neighbour.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Perils of straw burning
Refer to ‘Tackling straw burning’; instead of educating farmers about the ill-effects of smoke emanating from straw burning, the government has been busy in enacting Acts to deter farmers. The need of the hour is to inform farmers, through various means, to desist from burning residue. Straw burning is not the only cause of pollution in Delhi-NCR. Vehicles and construction are the other major sources, which need to be examined before putting the entire blame on farmers. The cities of Punjab, from where the smoke is generated, as per the government, are not as polluted. Scientific solutions must be found to get respite from the cascading effects of smoke during winter.
Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali
Air quality is deteriorating at a fast pace, which is contributing to health risks for the public. The government must come up with effective measures as farmers are left with no hope, except to set paddy straw ablaze. Not all farmers can afford Happy Seeder machines and also subsidised equipment does not cover all peasants. The government must come up with imaginative ideas to check the rise in cases of stubble burning that is leading to poor air quality.
AKASH BHAKRI, PHILLAUR
Refer to ‘PM Modi mocks double yuvraj’; it’s proved that parties are their best while pointing the flaws in other leaders. It’s a pity to see how in Bihar, elections are being fought on the basis of being the least worst rather than on the pre-eminence of skills. Certainly, the failures of other parties turn out to be the grounds for decision-making, but laying out a practical strategy by the potential government is more crucial than just mocking the other parties and leaders.
Agam Garg, by mail
Being a woman
Refer to ‘Touchstones’ (Sunday Tribune, Nov 1); it’s difficult to achieve a balance between one’s passionate profession and responsibilities towards family, especially in Indian society that is unfortunately male dominated, and then, managing a smile at the end of the day without any grudge. Undoubtedly, nature has made women highly capable of taking on this role. The kind remembrance of the dazzling smile of Karuna Goswamy was touching.
PANKAJ MADAN, ZIRAKPUR
Considering the movement of coal for thermal plants, raw material and fertilisers, farmers have cleared the rail track. However, some private sidings of private thermal plants are yet to be cleared by them. The Railways has stopped goods train services to Punjab for operational reasons. Private power plants should not be targeted. As per the power supply agreement, PSPCL has to pay the fixed charges even if no power is drawn. Such charges are ultimately passed on to consumers. This may not be known to the farmers and their representatives. The government may depute domain experts for explaining such fine points for the restoration of goods traffic. Political parties are expected to play a constructive role in the interest of the already suffering economy and in the interest of future investments in the state.
Harjit Singh, by mail
Unfair to depositors
It is a fact that the Centre is compensating businessmen at the cost of depositors. The UPA reduced the rate of interest on PPF drastically from 12% to 8% whereas PPF is like a TDR for 15 years, on which terms cannot be altered arbitrarily before the expiry of the contract. The NDA also followed the same trend because none of us dragged them to the court of law. Better sense should prevail over the officials concerned and they should learn to respect the depositors providing money for lending to the banks at a rate lower than that of institutions.
Upendra sharma, by mail
Manufacturing the key
Manufacturing has been the backbone of all nations. In India, too, manufacturing has been given higher importance than the services and agricultural sectors. ‘Make in India’ initiative is designed to take manufacturing to 25% of the GDP. For this, the manufacturing industry must play not just a significant role, but a leading one. For India to become a manufacturing powerhouse, it needs to concentrate on sectors that have contributed greatly to the success of manufacturing and still hold immense growth potential. These sectors include chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics, steel and automobiles. With proper government support, these sectors can drive manufacturing growth and provide employment to millions in future.
Khushboo ved, Gurugram
According to the Central Pollution Control Board, Faridabad is listed among the most polluted cities in the country. The Faridabad administration had cancelled the burning of the effigies of the Ravana on Dasehra in the wake of pollution. This has helped to improve the air quality. Increasing plantation and tightening regulations to prevent smoke emission from vehicles is the need of the hour. In addition, it is necessary for industrial establishments to follow rules so that the emission of toxic gases can be controlled.
Criminal in uniform
Refer to ‘DSP held for sexually exploiting women’; no girl is safe from being a victim if the police force too has such rogues in it. Where will a victim or family go to file a complaint? And if a victim proceeds to do so, she may again suffer exploitation at the hands of these so-called protectors of society. Boys should be taught about the values of respecting women, and people like the DSP should be punished.
Parul Gupta, Bassi Pathana
Refer to ‘Raking up Ayodhya’; when the PM of a secular democratic country, with a multi-ethnic population, can lay the foundation stone of Ram Mandir, why won’t he use it for electoral dividends as long as he can? The UP CM made a cruel joke of Bihar voters — a large number of whom are without jobs/means of livelihood — by telling them that they can now buy land in J&K. And, the FM does not mind using the fear of the pandemic for electoral gains by offering a free vaccine, which is still out of sight. Migrant labourers’ caravan of misfortune during the lockdown was the result of the irresponsible attitude of the BJP that ruled both at the Centre and in Bihar. The BJP’s attempt to distract the voters from real issues and the hollowness of its slogans is a ploy to exploit them.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
At present, there is no treatment of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis (MS). Alzheimer’s is not covered under the 21 diseases of the Disability Act 2016, whereas the other two are covered. Every MS patient expects certain facilities from the government: coverage under Ayushman Bharat Scheme without hospitalisation; stem cell therapy should be covered under the scheme; making issuance of the disability certificate a smooth process; and since MS medicines are very costly, there should be a system, whereby one can get them cheaper. As there is no treatment, MS patients have to take information under the RTI Act. There should be a concession in the RTI fee for them.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar