Letters to the editor

Preference for son Other

Nov 30, 2021

One of the findings of the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey showing improved sex ratio — 1,020 women for every 1,000 men — is indeed encouraging (‘Patriarchy still reigns’), but the gender ratio at birth for children born in the last five years — 929 girls for every 1,000 boys — suggests the prevalence of preference for son in society, which is worrisome and remains a matter of concern. Perhaps the implementation of the law under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act to ban and punish prenatal sex screening and female foeticide needs to be reviewed to ensure its strict enforcement.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal


Not any easier for women

Apropos of ‘Patriarchy still reigns’, on paper, men and women are equal in our country, but in practice we can see the age-old gender bias, marked by patriarchy, asserting itself. The precariousness of wives’ condition is the same as it was decades ago. Even today, the wife is subservient to her husband. Before being a husband, a man does all his chores, but the day he has a wife, he becomes a master, having every right to ‘control’ his wife and to hit and beat her. Due to patriarchy, the talent of educated wives is wasted. Her advice is never sought, because to the male mindset, women are imbecile.

RAJENDRA PRASAD SINGH, DELHI


State of J&K

Today’s three news items present a true picture of the men and minds behind the three mainstream political parties of the region (‘Restore statehood: Congress’; ‘BJP creating rift among parties, alleges Mehbooba’; and ‘Ready for Assembly poll: Omar’. The most prudent of the three who shows awareness of ground realities is National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah. He echoes the prudence of his father Farooq Abdullah and grandfather Sheikh Abdullah. This politically practical family is imbued with the Kashmiri spirit and not the separatist spirit of PDP president Mehbooba, who sees red in all actions of the administration. The Congress, as usual, seems to be lost in political wilderness. All terrorists behind civilian killings ‘neutralised’ shows the intent of the state and the defence authorities’concerns.

DV Sharma, Mukerian


Omicron shadow

Refer to the detection of the new Covid variant Omicron in South Africa and Botswana, and a few cases being reported from European countries; it is time to increase surveillance and strengthen testing that had gone down in the past few months. It is a must for timely detection and treatment. The government has already initiated various measures to contain the fast-spreading new variant, including screening of international passengers on arrival. It is a step in the right direction that the decision to resume all commercial international flights will be reviewed, as emphasised by the PM. People have become complacent and are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. It is imperative that strict measures are put in place to enforce government guidelines to prevent increased morbidity and mortality.

Dinesh Kumar Verma, Panchkula


Adhere to protocol

Refer to Omicron, the more virulent variant of the coronavirus; although it is heartening that the government is gearing up to tame it at airports itself, by carrying out intensive screening of passengers arriving from infected countries, the decision to restore international flights from December 15 needs to be revisited in view of the latest development. The elections are round the corner in five states. Obviously, every party would be desperate to hold election rallies in the states. Political leaders should not be complacent in following Covid-appropriate behaviour. The Election Commission should put a total ban on the rallies. There should be restrictions on mass gatherings in government and private functions. The public, too, should not lag behind in helping the government by following Covid protocols.

Maheshwer sharma, by mail


Avoid travel

The new variant has rung alarm bells across the world, forcing several nations to impose restrictions on flights (‘Omicron shadow on travel’). India needs to be circumspect and vigilant on resuming international flights. People, too, must put off non-essential travel. The main focus should be on enhancing vaccination drive, wearing masks and adhering to Covid-19 protocols. Adequate steps must be taken to put in place the requisite infrastructure, like hospital beds and supply of oxygen.

Gurpreet Singh, by mail


Spread the word

Apropos of ‘Promote simple solutions to curb farm fires’, it was an excellent piece, but the information is restricted to classes who read and understand English. The general population, sarpanches and other learned people in villages should be taught these methods.

Saranpal Singh, 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

Remembering Kurien Other

Nov 29, 2021

Apropos of ‘Jewel of India’, the 100th birth anniversary of Verghese Kurien, the father of the White Revolution in the country, did not witness any major celebration by any state government or NGOs. At least the Samyukt Kisan Morcha should have organised an event in memory of this great man who dedicated his whole life to the uplift of the rural economy. The concluding line, ‘Bharat Ratna deserves Kurien’, is the greatest tribute this nation can pay to him.

Naresh Johar, Amritsar


The milk miracle

Dr Verghese Kurien made India the world’s leading producer of milk, which is the largest component of our agricultural economy. He built the Indian dairy industry from scratch and rescued it from the clutches of the bureaucracy. Dr Kurien regarded himself as an employee of the farmers and was ever unfailing in his support for their cause.

SK SINGH, by mail


National icon

Apropos of the editorial ‘Jewel of India’, hats off to this icon who was always brimming with the milk of human kindness. Verghese Kurien deserves to be awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in recognition of his yeoman service in ushering the nation into the golden era of the White Revolution. If thousands of crores of rupees can be spent on the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, why can’t there be a memorial to Kurien in the state which was his karmabhoomi?

PK Sharma, Barnala


In a poor state

Refer to ‘Bihar, Jharkhand, UP emerge as poorest states in India: Niti Aayog’; the finding is not surprising. Earlier, in another report on fertility, it was noted that rates continue to be high i.e., above the national average in these states and it is well-known that rising population is a driver for poverty. Rising numbers with only a finite supply of resources will impact health and employment. It has led to mass migration to distant places in search of employment from these states, as the Covid pandemic lockdown proved. The national trend shows a decline in India’s fertility rate from 2.2 to 2 and lower in select states and urban areas, but fertility rates continue to be high and of concern in states like Rajasthan, UP, MP, Jharkhand, and Bihar, where it is still above the national TFR. Steps should be taken towards population stabilisation in these states and not waste resources on non-productive activities. It is crucial to meet developmental goals.

HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru


Shun Hindutva

At present, there are numerous threats to India’s unity and integrity. The doctrine of Hindutva is perilous as it enshrines fundamentalism, parochialism and cult hegemony, resulting in communal hatred, factionalism, intolerance and divisive politics. Hinduism, on the other hand, like all religious faiths, endures, sustains and elevates. It is replete with idealism, spiritualism and humanism, and promotes communal harmony, peaceful coexistence, brotherhood and tolerance. People must embrace and cultivate the high ideals, traditions and moral values of Hinduism and discard Hindutva in national interest.

JARNAIL SINGH BRAR, Bathinda


US-Iran deal

With reference to ‘Iran’s nuclear calculus of compellence’, the US Secretary of State earlier issued a warning to Tehran, saying that the window of diplomacy was closing. But the US is primarily responsible for the current situation. The US walked out of the 2015 deal. Biden is going the Obama way. Iran, too, is under the new leadership of Ebrahim Raisi, who seems to have a longer list of demands, and he may be justified in doing so as his country honoured the treaty but the US did not. Other countries were mute spectators. Tehran would now want an assurance not only from the US, but also from Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain that in case the US walks out again, Europe will have to do more to keep the treaty alive. For Iran this deal is a sign of global acceptance and a way to revive its economy. For the rest of the world the deal means peace, or at least the absence of war.

Tanya Dhillon, by mail


Protest unjustified now

Apropos of ‘Stir anniv: thousands join celebrations at Delhi borders’, on the one hand, there is all-round praise for the withdrawal of the three agricultural laws by the Modi government, while on the other, the agitation is hindering public movement. The decision to repeal the laws was taken in the interest of the nation and the farmers. The continuation of the agitation on Delhi’s borders is unjustified and irrational. Ultimately, the country and the citizens will have to bear the brunt of these protests.

Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad


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

Trinamool strategy flawed Other

Nov 27, 2021

THE article ‘Trinamool’s expansion plans face challenges’ has overlooked some inherent flaws in the TMC supremo’s rather hurried bid to emerge as the major opposition force. By repeatedly weaning away some disgruntled members of the Congress and other political outfits, she is basically weakening the opposition ranks and crippling them from within. Her much-touted ‘khela hobey’ (game on), announced with much fanfare a few months ago, has come a cropper, with no imminent signs of being able to forge a viable united opposition alternative to pose a serious challenge to the ruling dispensation in the poll-bound states. She should be wary of some of the new entrants who have joined the TMC bandwagon to wrest nominations to the Rajya Sabha and to ensure their own political survival. Even in Bengal, she should have been circumspect before allowing the recent deserters to rejoin her flock. Her strategy is bereft of any credible development blueprint. Mere electoral sops and populist handouts will only result in parlous condition of state finances and cannot be the harbingers of real change.

Amit Banerjee, New Delhi


Regain lost ground

The Modi government’s announcement to repeal the three farm laws and the civil society facilitating Friday prayers are healthy developments as these will bolster democracy and preserve the nation’s unity and integrity (‘The round goes to farmers’). Whether dictated by political compulsions or popular pressure, the BJP dispensation’s U-turn marks a decisive shift in its arrogant and inflexible attitude towards protest mobilisation. Hopefully, farmers will call of their agitation when these laws are formally withdrawn in Parliament and their other major demands are accepted. The Centre should also tolerate constructive criticism and refrain from the politics of hatred, to promote our long-cherished values of secularism, pluralism and individual and religious freedom in the country’s interests.

DS Kang, Hoshiarpur


Taming Tikait

Refer to ‘Farmers in hundreds descend on Delhi-UP border on protest anniversary’; it was intriguing that despite PM Modi himself announcing the repeal of the three farm laws and the Union Cabinet giving its nod for seeking parliamentary approval thereto, the farmers refuse to budge from their year-old position. What else could explain the fresh arrival of hundreds of farmers in tractors at Ghazipur, along with vegetables, sacks of flour and lentils, spices and cooking oil on tractor-trailers? Significantly, Rakesh Tikait, BKU leader, continues to behave in the most undesirable and autocratic manner by openly threatening the Modi government day in and day out.

Vinayak G, New Delhi


Resolve farm issues

Farmers of India have created history in the world by agitating peacefully for the past one year. Their major demand to repeal the three contentious farm laws has been principally agreed by the government. Now, the government and farm unions must sit together for a breakthrough in resolving other issues, like MSP guarantee, at the earliest. The loss of lives and the adverse affect on economy during the agitation have impacted the nation dearly. A positive approach will go a long way in resolving the issues.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali


Sukhbir charge baseless

Can Sukhbir Badal explain how his fleet of 200 buses was running without permit, or most of them on a single permit (‘CM controls illegal mining ops: Sukhbir’)? How can he raise a finger at CM Channi’s brother and make a baseless charge. Let Sukhbir first give proof that his buses were running with permit.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar


End freebie culture

When elections are round the corner, every party comes out with expansive manifestos, making huge promises which can neither be fulfilled nor implemented. How long, and till when, will the citizens of free India keep relying on the freebies and reservation offered by the government even after 70 years of Independence? People should pay for what they consume and use, and get a job on merit for India to move forward.

Harish Malhotra, Sangrur


Rising anaemia numbers

Apropos of ‘Over 50% women, kids anaemic in 14 states, UTs: Survey’, it is alarming that the numbers are rising. Instead of pulling up the health minister in light of the findings, the Prime Minister is seen laying the foundation stone of Jewar international airport in Uttar Pradesh. The people want a hale and hearty India more than anything else. The PM ought to address sensitive and burning issues and deliver on the ground rather than focusing on photo sessions of inauguration and foundation stone-laying ceremonies on a routine basis. This task can be passed on to either ministers or the BJP bigwigs, offering them also an opportunity to win kudos and cheers.

PK Sharma, BARNALA


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

Comes at a price Other

Nov 26, 2021

Navjot Sidhu has been vocal about the economic viability of the freebies being promised by all political parties before the Punjab Assembly elections. His concerns should be taken as a challenge to be answered by the political leaders to reveal the source of income to meet the increased budget. He has not even spared his own CM by giving facts and figures about the debt and deficit the state is already burdened with. The aim of the parties is only to win the elections by giving allurements to the voters, leaving them in the lurch and disillusionment, as has happened in the past. CM Channi is making irrational and illogical announcements, which will adversely affect the state treasury which is said to be already empty.

Chaman Arora, Ferozepur


Hike traffic penalties

Reference to ‘Killer roads’; despite substantial enhancement in penalties for the wrongs committed on roads, the reduction in road accidents has not been proportionate. It reflects the callous behaviour of road users, resulting in the death of 1.5 lakh persons every year. Most important is driving discipline, patience and focus on the road. These qualities should be instilled during training and refresher stints on driving. Similarly, schools should educate students about good driving habits. Drivers should take advantage of modern technology for cautions about prevailing road and traffic conditions to avoid collisions. Those who do not comply with instructions should be handed stringent punishment. All possible efforts should be adopted to bring the accident rate to zero.

SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI


Digital currency

Apropos of ‘Cryptocurrency law’; it is expected that around Rs 40K crore is invested by Indians in these private digital currencies. It is a good step as these currencies are not backed by any sovereign regulatory bank. If the same money was routed through a sovereign bank, such huge amount of money could be used in enhancing the GDP of the country. Some legal digital currency backed by the RBI should be launched. Accumulated money can also be used for nefarious activities. The government should take stringent measures to also ban illegal betting in sports, especially cricket, and lotteries.

Rajesh Goyal, by mail


Ward attendants missing

‘No ward attendant at Civil Hospital, critical patients suffer’ speaks volumes about the sorry state of affairs at Government Hospitals in Punjab. Ward attendants are trained to perform their duties in the correct manner. Family members/relatives of patients cannot replace them as they may commit mistakes while moving a patient. The health minister should take cognisance of such incidents and take effective steps to mitigate the misery of patients.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail


Steps to curb pollution

Refer to ‘Immediate steps needed: SC on Delhi air pollution’; some drastic steps must be taken to curb pollution: shut industry for two days in a week, reintroduce odd-even scheme for cars, encourage car-pooling and two-wheeler sharing, autos should remain off the road on weekends, heavy vehicles should ply only at night, stubble burning should be banned effectively. Offenders must be heavily fined. Noise pollution is equally worrisome. Loudspeakers installed at religious places disturb the sick, the elderly and students.

WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR


Beyond blame game

Like every year, this year, too, has seen a spike in the cases of stubble burning, especially in Punjab and Haryana. Where the Central government continues to blame farmers for the rising pollution, the farmers are left with no choice because of inappropriate government policies. At this time, both need to cooperate and look for alternatives, such as an increase in subsidies, decomposing methods and conversion of stubble to biomass energy rather than turning the sky grey.

Deepanshi, Patiala


Low vulture count

Reference to the news report ‘Worried over dip in vulture count, Centre initiates study in Pong area’; there is an alarming decline in the population of vulture species not only in Himachal Pradesh, but also in Punjab and Haryana. Vultures are seen as the harbingers of death and disaster, as dirty and evil birds, but actually they are environment purifiers. They also play a significant role in checking the spread of dangerous diseases. The Environment and Forest Ministry should take concrete measures to save the vultures.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar


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

Right to privacy Other

Nov 25, 2021

Apropos of the editorial ‘Dissent over privacy law’, the JPC has finalised its report on the personal data protection Bill. With 900 million Indians expected to have Internet access by 2025, a law that safeguards data privacy is the need of the hour. The Opposition members have argued, rightly so, against the provision of blanket exemptions, more so without the creation of an oversight mechanism. If the Bill gets passed in its current form, it would undermine a landmark 2017 SC judgment that described privacy as a fundamental constitutional right.

SS Paul, Nadia


Exemptions a concern

Reference to the privacy law; the dissenting voices raised by several JPC members are valid. The most contentious parts relate to the extent to which government agencies have been exempted from it. Details such as definitions matter in drafting a law and the state does get exemptions to uphold sovereignty. State agencies are among the biggest collectors of personal data. Also, the committee has made a half-hearted attempt to tighten the screws on social media firms, which tap a huge quantum of personal data. They need to be held to the standard of publishers. This loophole and other shortcomings must be closed in the final version.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru


Data protection Bill

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill has finalised its recommendations, but it suffers from loose language and exemptions that practically keep government agencies outside the gambit of the legislation. The JPC has clubbed personal data and non-personal data, which expands the legislation’s scope. It should be avoided as non-personal data raises questions on protecting commercially critical data for firms. A regulator, dealing with both kinds of data, may have too much on its plate. The suggestion that data captured by electronic hardware should also come under the regulator’s purview needs a lot of explanation. Another grey area is the recommendation that the regulator can decide if individuals have to be alerted to a data breach as any individual can lobby the regulator to hold off on announcing the breach. The alerts have to be automatic and unconditional to help victims take precautions, such as changing passwords. It is a complicated issue and needs extensive debate in Parliament.

VANDANA, CHANDIGARH


MSP main issue

Apropos of the article ‘Far removed from reality’, the main hurdle in the whole issue is the MSP. As of now, it has no legal backing and in the absence of a robust MSP regime, farming will not be sustainable economic activity. Farmers should not be exposed to the onslaught of the market forces. Farmers’ leaders and the government should put their heads together to find a lasting solution to the issue. Knee-jerk reactions may not work. Time has come to consider giving a legal backing to the MSP. On their part, the farmers must understand that even the government has its limitations as huge amounts of money would be required to defray the MSP.

HMS NAGRA, FARIDABAD


Meetings meaningless

Pre-session meetings are held before the start of every Parliament session, and similarly for the forthcoming Winter Session, meetings are lined up. The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs has called an all-party meeting. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Chairman have also called meetings. These meetings are convened to conduct the smooth functioning of Parliament. But during the past many years, session after session — entailing huge public money — are washed out. The Monsoon Session also faced the same fate. Often, due to ruckus, Parliament sessions are adjourned sine die. There has been wastage of public money, energy and time on these meetings, which have proved futile. These customary pre-session meetings should either be stopped or Parliament sessions should be run in their true spirit by the ruling party as well as the Opposition, come what may. It is their joint responsibility.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh


Retail market

Refer to ‘Both e-commerce and physical retail need support’; if for convenience and the sake of saving time, online shopping is a boon, physical shopping is also indispensable. Retailing is one of the strongest pillars of our economy and the Indian retail market is one of the biggest such markets of the world by economic value. In India, at no cost, big sharks should be allowed to wipe away all the hatchlings. The rules and regulations should be unequivocal so that both exist and grow harmoniously.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana


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

Rajasthan reshuffle Other

Nov 24, 2021

Reference to ‘New faces in Rajasthan’; reshuffle in the Cabinet has been carried out to reconcile the Pilot-Gehlot factions and to attempt a more effective social engineering model. The Cabinet includes Pilot loyalists, Dalit and tribals, similar to the redesigning of the Punjab Cabinet where a Dalit Sikh is the CM. The Congress seems to have been making a strong play for an intense battle underway to win over the Dalit vote in several parts of the country. In Rajasthan, the induction of a Cabinet minister from the SC community, combined with the elevation of junior Dalit ministers, indicates the Congress’ priorities for the 2023 elections. To form the Rajasthan government once again in 2023, the party needs both Gehlot and Pilot delivering strong.

PS HANSPAUL, by mail


Impact on education

Apropos of ‘Covid impact on education’, the pandemic has adversely affected the social health of society more than economic. The prolonged closure of educational institutions has left thousands of students in the lurch. Efforts should have been made to schedule the exams of those who were finishing their courses, and thereby not hampering their career prospects. Closure of professional institutions also disturbed the social balance, the effects of which will be seen in the coming times.

PANKAJ MADAN, ZIRAKPUR


BFUHS decision

Refer to ‘Bona fide affidavit must for MBBS in Punjab’; indeed it is a much-awaited and big decision by the BFUHS for Punjab residents. Earlier, aspirants with dual domicile used to take away the seats. Consequently, Punjab domicile seat aspirants had to approach the court for justice, and because of delay in justice, they had to join some other courses or their whole academic year would go waste. The state government and BFUHS should be appreciated for this decision.

RAJESH SHARMA, Jalandhar Cantt


Punjab domicile

The statement of the Punjab Chief Minister on state domicile is praiseworthy, but it is a ticklish issue. Punjab has given several posts to those with domicile in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and HP. But Punjabis can’t get jobs in Rajasthan and HP. Even before scrapping Article 370, J&K never allowed such facilities. Even today, you can’t purchase land in HP as per an Act enacted since the state came into being. The Government of India should bring in uniformity throughout the country as to keep a congenial atmosphere and prevent discrimination.

Ghansham Dass, Talwara


Why waive challans?

The announcement by the Chief Minister of Punjab in Ludhiana that the challans issued by the traffic police to auto-drivers for committing traffic offences would be waived is an illegal action that would demoralise the police and further encourage lawlessness on roads. The high court must take suo motu notice and stop this waiver to protect laws in the country, otherwise the politicians can go to any extent to pardon criminals and release prisoners for votes.

O Prasada Rao, Hyderabad


Court to the rescue

Apropos of ‘Admit SC pupil who could not pay fee, IIT-B told’, the order of the apex court has come to the rescue of a Scheduled Caste student who was not able to deposit fees in time due to the non-functioning of his credit card. He was being penalised for circumstances beyond his control. He was being denied admission in spite of securing 864 all-India rank (SC category) in the IIT entrance exam. We should take a cue from this verdict and adopt a humanitarian approach.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail


Need better diet

Apropos of ‘Food for thought’, Punjab has failed to provide a nutritious diet to future sportspersons of the state and country. In the recent tests, the coaches discovered that the fitness level of the trainees has fallen drastically. Most trainees do not even have access to essentials such as hockey turf or athletics track. Adequate steps should be taken by the government to improve the situation. The trainees should be provided with a good diet and should get access to sports essentials. The authorities concerned need to look into it.

Anwita Dixit, Ludhiana


Prolonging stir

The farmers’ agitation is not ending despite the PM’s announcement to repeal the controversial farm laws (‘Won’t move, resume talks on MSP: Tikait to Centre’). Now, a letter has been sent to the Centre with a six-point agenda by farmers’ leaders. It seems that the agitation wasn’t against the laws, but for some other motive. They will keep raising one demand or another. The situation may take an alarming turn.

H/Capt Jagdish Verma (Retd), Narola


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

Wrap it up Other

Nov 23, 2021

The announcement by the PM to repeal the three controversial farm laws is welcome. It was on the same surprising lines as the previous ones — surgical strike and demonetisation. No one knew what the PM would do overnight. Kisan leaders have announced continuance of protest till all their demands are met. The government could have repealed it through a special ordinance to end the impasse instead of lingering on with the controversial issue. Timely decision would have saved hundreds of lives of brave farmers. Undoubtedly, the farmers have emerged as winners and have shown the nation that through peaceful and purposeful agitation, the mighty government could be forced to think before it does something contrary to the general good.

BR DHIMAN, HAMIRPUR


People’s movement

The announcement to close the chapter on the three contentious farm laws is appreciated by all, and now there is need to complete the required formalities as early as possible, so the agitating farmers on the Delhi borders and toll plazas can return to their homes. A full seasonal term has been completed by the agitators, facing winter, summer and monsoon, all in the open. It shall go down in the history of India as a people’s movement, where everything was managed peacefully, with the cooperation and coordination by a large number of varied groups belonging to different states. It also teaches a lesson to society on discipline, management, creative resources etc., without any support from the government and NGOs.

JAGDISH SINGH JASSAL, PATIALA


Victory of truth

The Central government has withdrawn the three agricultural laws, doubling the happiness of farmers on Gurpurb. This shows that if the intention is clear and honest, and there is passion, we can achieve the biggest goal. The souls of the farmers who lost their lives during this fight must have finally found peace. In the end, truth has prevailed.

Jasmine Kaur, Chandigarh


Clear agitation sites

Now that the farmers’ demand has been accepted, they should call off their agitation and not prolong it on any flimsy ground. They should go back to their homes and allow the return of normal life for people at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders. In Punjab, the government should ensure that the vitiated atmosphere of dharnas, gheraos, jams and lawlessness is brought to an amicable end. Some people, in the garb of agitation, have been scuttling the writ of law, courts and orders of the government. Officials were threatened with impunity against checking ‘parali’ burning, against installing smart meters, and the tehsildars from executing court orders for banks. The state has suffered economically.

KC Sharma, New Delhi


Farm industry

The withdrawal of the farm laws is a good thing. Now, it is the time to ensure that our agriculture industry grows and improves, making the lives and livelihood of our farmers easier, better, and far more productive. We must ensure that agriculture improves through effective policy and actions, such as seed development and a better crop insurance system, among other things. The agricultural community must also avoid getting involved in politics.

Benika Gaira, Chandigarh


Little headway

Apropos of ‘Biden-Xi summit aftermath’, as expected, not much came out of the meeting held between the two leaders. The economic cold war with China that started during the Trump era still exists. However, it will not impact India much as both the US and India still maintain economic ties with China, despite serious confrontations in other sectors of their relationship. Regardless of the Chinese aggression along the LAC and strong Indian response to it, trade has been moving on a positive note. Though America has supported India’s response to Chinese move along the LoC and LAC, it should be cautious while taking aggressive steps against China.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai


Himachal does well

Refer to ‘State ninth in smart policing survey’; in the last two days, at the national level, two surveys of the states were conducted. One on cleanliness, and the other about the smart service of police. When it comes to the annual cleanliness survey of the country, the performance of Himachal is second among 10 Himalayan states. It is a matter of pride for all the people of Himachal. It also secured the ninth position in the second smart police survey, which is the first place in the northern states. The strengthening of any system is impossible without awareness among people. This success is continuously seen through the education system and public awareness campaigns. Today, along with their rights, people are discharging their duties very well.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla


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

Back to square one Other

Nov 22, 2021

IN a tug of war between the government and farmers spanning almost a year, it is hard to conclude which side has prevailed, but in hindsight, our nation has witnessed a huge loss in the bargain. The decision to repeal the three farm laws sparked celebrations among farmers, who, ironically, now have to continue with agrarian practices under decades-old laws that have given them nothing more than outdated technology, lesser yields, more poverty and a huge debt. For some years now, no new farming laws are likely to make way into legislation to uplift the downtrodden sections of our ‘annadata’ who have struggled to earn two square meals for their own families. Besides publicly confessing to its inability to convince the protesting farmers about the long-term benefits of the new laws, the government, too, has been unable to keep a check on the opportunist fringe elements who tried to destabilise religious unity and, to some extent, succeeded in polarising the agitation at composite levels. Would the unexpected announcement by the PM to annul the laws bring much-needed truce between the two factions?

Upant Sharma, Panchkula


Work together now

The announcement to repeal the three agriculture laws by the PM on Gurpurb is a welcome move. Forgetting the past bitterness generated during the course of the agitation, now is the time to move ahead. It is not the victory or defeat of any side. Democracy has won. All stakeholders should work in tandem to resolve the pending issues and demands of the farmers. To achieve positive results, positive attitude and mutual faith is essential. The need of the hour is to make earnest efforts to strengthen the agriculture sector and ameliorate the living and financial conditions of the marginal farmers.

NK Gosain, Bathinda


Victory of people

The scrapping of the three farm laws is historic and a result of sustained and a largely peaceful agitation by the farmers. Their success has once again reaffirmed the power of using Gandhian methods to wage a protest against repressive laws. The farmers deserved to be commended for running a prolonged agitation unitedly, despite all kinds of provocations and unsuccessful attempts to communalise the agitation by a certain section of the media. The success of the agitation marks another glorious chapter in the world’s largest democracy, wherein the will of the people prevailed over the arrogance of the ruling elite. It also reaffirms the need to consult all stakeholders before a law is passed in Parliament.

Shivam Jain, Bathinda


Won’t be forgotten soon

The poll-dictated U-turn of the Modi government is just another instance of how shallow our leaders are. We saw a year of farmers braving the cold, rain and heat, 700 losing their lives and not a single statement by the PM, even when foreign support kept pouring in. Can we ever forget how the government forced our parents and grandparents out on the roads? This revolution will echo forever in the history of Indian politics. ‘Majoritarian’ governments can be removed, too. All eyes on the elections now!

Navreet Kaur, Abohar


Remove ‘ditto’

Refer to the war memorial at Rezang La; it is strange to observe that the martyrs holding similar ranks and winning similar decorations have been engraved with ‘ditto’ on the epitaph, which is not appropriate. A soldier is known by his rank and the decoration is an award for the services rendered against fierce odds and sacrificing one’s life for the motherland. Any substitution is disrespectful. The authorities concerned would do well to re-engrave the ranks and decorations of each soldier appropriately, as per Army conventions and traditions.

Col Mahesh Chadha (retd), by mail


Quality education

Refer to ‘Virus’ effects on education’; this catastrophe should be turned into a game-changer in respect of quality education in government schools by in-depth training to teachers in pedagogy and also meaningful training in leadership to heads of school. Two major reforms need to be introduced — Indian education service should be created for better administration; and the government should raise the provision of budget to the tune of 6%, as recommended by NEP 2020.

S KUMAR, PANCHKULA


Use space for silos

Some years ago, the Supreme Court had directed the Government of India to utilise agricultural produce in a specific manner, since sufficient silos were not available. Open space under numerous flyovers across India can be utilised as silos, with minor additions to store the produce instead of keeping it in the open. The FCI may go for a lease agreement with the NHAI. The Panipat flyover is 11 km long. Since the open space is not meant for parking, the government may consider it.

Babu Ram Dhiman, Pinjore


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

No winner, no loser Other

Nov 20, 2021

THE announcement by PM Modi to repeal the farm laws in the Winter Session is a step forward and a big relief to the agitating farmers. In defence of the three laws, Modi termed it as a boon for small and marginal farmers, yet conceded failure in allaying the fear of the minuscule farmer community spearheading the current anti-law movement. As the major demand of the farmers has been met, they should call off the protest. Political parties should refrain from overplaying the issue for electoral gains. None is victor or loser. It is the victory of the democratic rights of the people.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar


Victory at last

The belief that electoral considerations govern every political decision in India today stands vindicated. The decision to repeal the contentious farm laws, though taken with crucial state elections in mind, must be welcomed as a victory of the peaceful and sustained agitation of farmers who braved all odds and provocations. It must dawn upon every ruling dispensation that public opinion matters and cannot be ignored for long. Democracy is strengthened by rapprochement. An agitation, for any cause and by any section of society, can succeed only if it is carried out peacefully and patiently. You cannot always destroy a movement by dividing people on communal lines or by maligning it. Now, the government must ensure that MSP is there for as many crops as possible to enable the farmers, especially of Punjab and Haryana, to come out of the water-guzzling paddy and wheat circle that threatens to turn our land barren in a few decades. Farmer unions should also adopt a mechanism to guide their members as to what to sow and how much in a region/state so that there is a balance in demand and supply to rule out losses.

HL Sharma, Amritsar


On expected lines

There were murmurs that before the elections in Punjab and UP, some concrete declaration may appear regarding the contentious agriculture laws. Farmer leaders should welcome the gesture of PM Modi, and also be wary of self-styled activists who seem to be motivated more by their animus against the government rather than the welfare of the farmers. The farmers should quit when the going is good.

Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar


Pressure on NGOs

The NDA dispensation’s crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs is unfortunate and undemocratic (‘Targeting civil society’). Unlike successive Indian governments, it regards these organisations with deeper suspicion and has tried to curb their activities on one pretext or the other for their criticism of its unjust policies and lackadaisical performance, particularly on human rights and global warming. From time to time, the saffron regime has been framing rules, placing more discretionary powers in the hands of bureaucrats. The passage of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, has increased compliance burden on such civil society bodies and is hampering their work. The government and its agencies should uphold the spirit of the Constitution as it is vital to individual freedom and holistic development of the country.

DS Kang, Hoshiarpur


Another lead by Sikhs

Once again, Sikh religion has risen to the occasion, offering gurdwara premises for ‘ibadat’. Various gurdwaras had swiftly set up ‘oxygen langar’ during the second Covid wave. Examples of Sikh ‘sewa’ are spread across the world. The Gurugram committee has reminded us that no one has to show Aadhaar card to partake of langar and neither will anybody have to show it to offer namaz. Gurdwara leaders have said giving a shoulder to harassed religious minorities is about uniting the nation. What the state should have provided is being offered by gurdwaras.

SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI


The mighty pen

It is true that great thoughts have been penned down on paper rather than in print (‘Not just a pen, but a blessing’). Hand-written letters of Gandhi and Nehru added a new dimension to writing. Without these lofty ideas, the world would have lost a repository of precious knowledge. Past and present are intertwined in our lives, like a letter and an envelope. Writing is an art that helps realise our imaginative skills to the fullest. I remember writing with a fountain pen to relatives and friends, thereby strengthening our emotional and personal bonds. But, it changed with technology invasion. Although life is fast, it is lifeless. It can never match the joy of preserving a hand-written letter. Even now, when I go through the contents of my letters, it evokes nostalgia and emotional satisfaction which no other medium of communication can replicate. The pen should remain mightier even in this age of electronic surfeit.

Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital


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

Pollution trouble Other

Nov 19, 2021

Every year, November comes and the pollution problem caused by stubble burning takes the centre stage of media reports. A multi-team match starts with foul points that can be categorised as lame excuses, passing the bucks, claims, counter-claims, allegations, ‘steps taken by government but not monitored’, ‘orders passed by court but not executed in letter and spirit’, etc., but none is result oriented. The cause of this incessant phenomenon is lack of political will. No drastic action is taken. Pollution ill-effects caused by stubble burning on the health of the public at large are often irreversible and warrant life-long medical treatment involving huge expenditure and poor quality of life, thereby violating Article 21 of the Constitution.

Rajiv Ohri, Patiala


Poverty data

Apropos of ‘Just how poor we are’, no reliable data regarding population living below the poverty line is available with the government, or the government intentionally does not want to release it. But the undeniable fact is that poverty has increased during the past two decades and no tangible efforts have been made to stop it. Rather the poor have become more poor and the rich have become more rich. Till today, whatsoever measures or policies that have been adopted by the government of the day have not yielded any positive results.

Shadi Lal, by mail


Digital currencies

Apropos of ‘Cryptocurrency fears’, the Indian government has not been able to make up its mind on how to tackle the growing popularity of unregulated digital currencies. While the country’s central bank has been clear on its stand on cryptocurrencies that they are a threat to financial stability, the government seems to be unsure. The message coming out from the high-level meeting chaired by the PM is that the Centre is looking for a middle path. The government is unlikely to ban cryptocurrencies as it believes these are evolving technology with many positive utilities in future. Many countries are slowly legitimising these currencies, which are based on the much talked-about blockchain technology. The US has a Bitcoin Futures ETF trading on exchanges; El Salvador has even allowed bitcoin as a legal tender. The question, though, is to what extent the GOI may like to rein in digital currencies without hurting millions of enterprising investors who have already bet on them. The much-awaited cryptocurrency Bill likely to be tabled in the Winter Session may give some answers.

Vandana, Chandigarh


Fly ash disposal

Reference to ‘Illegal fly ash dumping in BBN belt’; why are companies not adhering to the scientific disposal of fly ash? Why don’t they care about pollution by their method of disposal? This way of disposal of fly ash is a health hazard in the area and may create major health issues for residents of the area. The local authorities must take stringent action against the defaulters and make a provision of proper and scientific disposal of such waste.

Ritish Pandit, Sunhet


Talks more, does little

Refer to ‘Make STF report on drugs public: Sidhu’; while the report must be made public without any further delay, why Sidhu, the de facto CM of Punjab who can get officers of his choice appointed at top positions, cannot get the much-maligned report made public? Being the president of the PCC, his foremost job is to strengthen the party and to make concrete plans to fight the 2022 Assembly elections. But he intrudes into the domain of the government to obstruct its functioning. He talks big, but delivers little. He may be an asset to the Congress in Punjab, but condemning and criticising his own party in public does not behove him. He should discharge his duty by subordinating his personal desires and agenda in favour of the welfare of the state. Only then can he receive the endorsement of the people.

Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala


Nothing has changed

As soon as the face of the Chief Minister changed in Punjab, many promises were made to the people. It was said that Capt Amarinder Singh did not resolve the problems of the people, due to which a resolution was passed and he was asked to resign from the post of Chief Minister. If the Cabinet could pass a resolution against him, it could have got the party to work together. Second, a change of face does not change the government or its policies. Even now, the Punjab Government is formulating new policies, but the problems of the people remain and are not being addressed. Young and old, even children, are sitting on dharnas, demanding their rights. But no attention is being paid to their grievances.

Jasdeep kaur, Ludhiana


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

Act fast on climate pact Other

Nov 18, 2021

Refer to the Glasgow climate pact; India may be facing a lot of criticism for pushing through revision in the deal, but it is a success for India. But overall, COP26 has failed to live up to being the ‘last, best hope’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The blame game against this backdrop is poor in climate finance and rich in hypocrisy. As their lion’s share of emissions indicates, rich countries grew rich on fossil fuels and they are also more comfortably placed to transition to renewables. We don’t have the luxury of waiting around for outside help. India’s commitments, including meeting 50% of the electricity requirements through renewable sources by 2030, reflect one of the most rapid de-carbonisation of the sector in the world, but we can do much more, for our own sake. How much COP26 finally delivers depends on how different governments fulfil their pledges.

SK SINGH, by mail


Ban for good

Educational institutions being shut by the Supreme Court in Delhi due to poor air quality is a temporary solution for the present scenario. The court should pass orders to put a complete ban on firecrackers and stubble burning across the nation to reduce air pollution and improve air quality. Heavy fine and strict punishment should be imposed on the violators. The court should order state governments to coordinate and come up with an alternative method to handle paddy stubble to maintain the desirable Air Quality Index.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali


Incentivise EVs

To tackle air pollution, persistent and comprehensive measures are required. Abrupt shutdowns are not a viable solution. Such steps add to the hardships of people as their economic activities get badly affected. There must be stringent weekend lockdowns with advance intimation to the public. All state governments, in their respective jurisdiction, should provide easy finances and adequate incentives so that people can switch over to electric vehicles (EVs), particularly two-wheelers. Phasing out petrol and diesel as a fuel is an arduous task, requiring huge resources and technological innovations. However, since several automobile companies have come out with EVs, the government must extend incentives to buyers. All educational institutions should be asked to observe five-day week.

Ravi bhushan, Kurukshetra


Give pollution-free air

Apropos of ‘As Delhi chokes’ and ‘Tackling pollution’, firm policy and year-round efforts are indeed needed to control the severe pollution levels in the NCR. Reprimanding the Delhi government, the SC has rightly said people are suffering and the government is not bothered. The court has depicted a true picture of the working of the government on the public health crisis. The Delhi CM, who is known to offer freebies to voters, must endeavour to give pollution-free air quality to the residents.

RK Arora, Mohali


Cop or not, follow rules

Reference to ‘Masked identity and the cops’; the writer mentions the cops as telling him that had he not been wearing a mask, they would never have stopped him, being an ex-commissioner of police. I feel this attitude and culture must get out of India if we are to progress. British cops address a beggar as ‘sir’ and have the courage to give a ticket to the home minister. In the US, a President’s daughter was booked for under-age consumption of alcohol. Here, the writer feels he was let off though he was first asked to stop.

Brig Jagtar S grewal (retd), by mail


Nehruvian era

The hard reality is that a span of less than 75 years — November 14, 1889, to May 27, 1964, on any scale, does qualify to be labelled as Nehruvian era (‘Standing tall, and apart’). Nehru’s contributions to modern India doesn’t need to be highlighted as these have become personified with what India is today. The latest tendency to find faults with his policies are negated by the fact that any person is ‘evaluated on the scale of totality of qualities and traits’ and Nehru qualifies to be called a real statesman.

VK Anand, Chandigarh


Different breed

Refer to ‘Standing tall, and apart’; in the backdrop of current political scenario, Nehru’s glorious contribution to building a modern India can never be fully appreciated. By abstaining from the function organised in Parliament to pay tributes to him, the presiding officers of Parliament and senior leaders of the ruling party, including the PM, have belittled themselves, and not the tall leader. It is a discourtesy of grave nature. Now, power is concentrated in the hands of ideologues, demagogues and rabble-rousers, not real nationalists.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa


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

Air quality plunges Other

Nov 17, 2021

Reference to ‘As Delhi chokes’; the apex court has rightly reprimanded the inefficient and apathetic Delhi government for failing to check pollution in the capital. The Delhi CM is in the habit of passing the buck by blaming the neighbouring states for all the ills. We have wreaked havoc on our beautiful and bountiful nature without any care for the consequences. The appalling conditions of slums stand testimony to the price man is paying for urbanisation. Air pollution is a direct result of industrialisation. Delhi is among the most polluted cities. Increase in pollution has only added to problems making life difficult for the common man. This can be checked by conforming to norms to reduce emissions and take measures to preserve the natural surroundings. Industries should strictly adhere to safety levels.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar


A lesson to keep

Refer to ‘Memories & trauma of ’47’; a vast majority of Indians were born long after Partition tore apart the Indian subcontinent. They must indeed remember the agony of a million people losing their lives in communal riots. But the salient point is what they should remember and what lessons they should draw from remembering Partition horrors. We should remember that the most tragic victims of the violence were women. We should also remember the thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who risked their lives to save their neighbours from people of their own community. Indians must never forget the torment and horrors of the Partition. We must remember it so that we never allow hate to partition our land and our hearts. We must remember what hate does to people. Society heals and progresses through cohesion and certainly not by propagating divisiveness.

Prakash Hanspaul, by mail


Nehru won’t be forgotten

‘Nehru’s birth anniversary’ gives voice to the ideas and sentiments of millions of Indians. Nehru had spent nearly a decade in British jails during our freedom struggle. He revamped agriculture, laid the foundation of heavy industries and stood for the sovereignty of our country in its modern phase. We should not grudge honour and admiration to our great men who have guided us through turbulent times and taught us to march ahead with dignity as a nation. In the modern history of India, we may criticise Nehru on policy matters, yet we cannot, and should not, ignore him in our vital national interest. Nehru is an indivisible part of our collective history, culture and tradition.

Raj Bahadur, Fatehabad


Breach of protocol

Refer to ‘Nehru’s birth anniversary’; it is discourtesy officially shown to the memory of the country’s first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, who is credited with guiding the foundation of democratic institutional practice in India. On his birth anniversary, the absence of the Lok Sabha Speaker, Rajya Sabha Chairman, PM and other senior ministers at a function in Parliament House sends out a bleak message. The contributions of Nehru towards building a secular nation after Independence cannot be discounted so easily by making contrived allegations and twisting facts of history. Nation’s icons, who took part valiantly in the freedom struggle, should be remembered.

SS Paul, Nadia


Supreme Court rap

Refer to ‘Winds of change’; it is sad that the SC had to interfere in the inefficient functioning of the governments, be it at the Centre or states, even for small issues. The court is the repository of the Constitution and has to undertake more tasks and onerous responsibilities. It had to intervene with regard to the grant of permanent commission to women officers and to hold NDA exams for women. It had to take a hard stance in case of failure to comply with its orders. Also, it has had to intervene in matters concerning aid to Covid orphans, granting ex-gratia to kin of Covid victims, farmers’ protests and clearing of routes, stubble burning and tackling of air pollution in Delhi and nearby areas. The political leadership aided by an indifferent bureaucracy forms a formidable team to thwart all endeavours to achieve good governance.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar


Onus on all Indians

The article ‘Hindutva vs Hinduism’ rightly warns the nation against ‘collective suicide’ towards which we are heading with our toxic obsession for Hindutva hegemony. Instead of cultivating all-inclusive, compassionate notion of nationalism, the present day atmosphere of hatred is bound to affect the spiritual health of our great civilisation. But why should we put the onus of resisting boldly only on the shoulders of Rahul Gandhi? It is the duty of every Indian, every writer, journalist or artist to stand up and resist the onslaught of the divisive politics of Hindutva, without hurting the ennobling and enlightening sentiments of liberal Hinduism.

Amrit Lal Madan, Kaithal


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

Punjab domicile Other

Nov 16, 2021

In reference to CM Channi proposing a domicile-based quota for jobs, this is the need of the hour as the recent past has witnessed many non-Punjab domicile candidates getting jobs in different government departments. In many esteemed universities of Punjab, the number of local employees, especially professors, is small, creating a communication gap with students. A similar situation is seen when in a government office, a non-Punjab domicile struggles to work under the Punjabi script. It is easy to get a job with the basic knowledge of language, but is difficult to work in it. As it is in the admission criterion for graduation, an 85-15 per cent split must be established to accommodate Punjab domiciles. Government jobs involve public dealing, a local is more aware about the area, the language and the challenges of the public, and hence can bring optimum output in the working.

Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala


‘Yellow’ shines

Refer to ‘Kingaroos’; Team Australia finally got their hands on their first-ever T20 World Cup trophy. In fact, Australia was nowhere close to the tag of ‘favourites’ to win the tournament this year. However, known for their indomitable spirit and never-say-die attitude, the Aussies proved everyone wrong as they gave back-to-back brilliant performances to win their maiden T20 World Cup. There is something that supplements and energises the Australians, especially in knockout games, which encourage them to rise above themselves to unearth heroes for each stage and each event. Finally, it seems ‘yellow’ has a special affinity with T20 tournaments in Dubai, as within a month, two yellow brigades (CSK and Australia) won two different titles here.

Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai


Well played, Australia

Apropos of ‘Finch’s men break T20 World Cup duck’, kudos to the Australian team for emerging victorious in the seventh edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Having won the 50-over World Cup five times and the Champions Trophy twice, this was their only unclaimed title. The victory is also a general reminder how the team quickly shifted from the legendary era of Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath to Finch’s and Starc’s without losing even a bit of lustre. For India which faced a pathetic setback in the tournament, there are lessons to learn. A well-composed squad with a fearless approach plays a decisive role in T20 cricket. Faith in the players by the board is paramount as well. These are noteworthy for a strong comeback.

Tushar Anand, Patna


Dealing with pollution

Air pollution has been troubling us for years, but this year it is alarmingly high. Delhi and the NCR cities are on the top of this scourge. It is a big health hazard and the people are suffering. Hospitals are full of patients with breathing problems. We must encourage electric vehicles and cycles, generate electricity through solar energy rather than coal-firing thermal power stations and stop paddy stubble burning. Stubble can be collected and transported to factories using stubble as raw material. Startups can be encouraged in this regard.

K Lakshman Rao, Gurugram


Look for solutions

Pollution is all around us, in the air, water and land, but we always put the onus on others. Farmers are blamed the most for air pollution. Recently, the Supreme Court expressed its views that farmers alone are not responsible for pollution. Air and other types of pollution are due to many man-made activities. The government, instead of indulging in farmer-bashing on air pollution, must come up with some innovative pollution control strategies. People also will have to sacrifice their comforts for pollution control. The major culprits are construction activity, industry, transport, power and vehicular traffic, apart from stubble burning in some parts. The court has asked the Centre to call for an emergency meeting to take measures like stopping non-essential construction and implementing work from home.

SS verma, Longowal


Curse of overpopulation

Refer to ‘A thought for the balloon boy’; these days childhood has lost the sheen of innocence and is bereft of the basic requirements of basic amenities of food, education and medical facilities. Children are suffering from malnutrition, hunger and diseases. Families below the BPL are mainly responsible for this. They need more hands to earn livelihood, so they have many children who they cannot bring up properly. Educated families are more aware and have small families. The government should take steps to educate the lower strata to have fewer children. Population should be brought under control so that benefits of government schemes yield results for the needy. Overpopulation is eating into development activities.

Surinder Kumar Mahna, Karnal


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

First, national security Other

Nov 15, 2021

Refer to ‘Highway to the border’; the matter relating to highways to the border requires serious consideration. The strategic importance of roads cannot be ignored because of constant threats from our belligerent neighbour who is hell-bent upon altering the LAC in its favour. No doubt, disturbing the ecological setup while widening the roads can bring uncalculated risks, but still it is vital to transport arsenal to border areas. Advice by experts should be considered to reach a balanced settlement, and where national security is not compromised at any cost.

PANKAJ MADAN, ZIRAKPUR


May cause friction

You have endorsed the need for preparations to be made for the defence forces, in terms of infrastructure and modern equipment, to be able to meet any contingency that may arise at the borders. It is a priority, but the observation about the extension of zone for BSF operations up to 50 km from the border is pertinent as a joint coordinated approach would have worked best. The police in our border states (particularly in Punjab) have been operating under difficult conditions. Friction may be inevitable due to double jurisdiction between the BSF and Punjab Police in the border areas. It needs to be handled with great care and strong leadership training for all personnel involved.

Mohanpal Singh, by mail


Permanent commission

Apropos of ‘Army agrees to permanent commission for eligible women officers after SC rap’, it is unfortunate that in the times of women’s empowerment, the armed forces are not emulating the same spirit. In spite of the instructions of the apex court, the Army failed to comply with the orders. And now, only after the contempt of court threat it has risen to the call. If such a highly reputed institution of our country displays a lackadaisical attitude towards diversity and inclusion, the Indian woman has a long way to go to break the glass ceiling.

Gunjeet, Chandigarh


Face the truth

Apropos of ‘Get around to the truth’, those at the helm of affairs must realise that denial mode by evading truth is not in our national interest. Stark realities cannot be pushed under the carpet for too long. The ruling dispensation must display broad-mindedness and magnanimity by facing the truth in all its hues. Does it behove a Prime Minister to escape truth too often? Should not Modi guide the masses on the path of truth, first himself going that way?

PK Sharma, Barnala


AAP doing it wrong

The way the party’s two MLAs switched over to the ruling party within a week, there is a dire need of introspection by the party high command (‘Ahead of polls, AAP fritters away gains’). The leadership must look into the reasons why its leaders are shifting, and that too when there are only less than three months for the Assembly polls. Kejriwal had opined that the party would announce the CM face well in time, but till now, it has not even announced its candidates from various seats. It is only in a hurry that it released a list of 10 candidates to plug the exit route for its MLAs, many of whom were ready to jump over to the Congress. Till you do not give autonomy to state leaders, they cannot work freely. Unnecessary interference in all state matters is costing the party dear. The state leaders are experienced enough to run the affairs. They know the ground realities and can act accordingly. The bitter truth is that the leaders of the AAP, be it central or state, are fast following the footsteps of the leaders of other parties. It no longer seems to be ‘aam aadmi’s’ party.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur


Quotas no good

Refer to the Haryana law of reserving 75% jobs for locals; during these times, when India is aiming to become self-sufficient, increasing job services is a better option than quotas. This would not only lead to better employment services, but also more deserving people would enter industrial and tech services, thereby enhancing the growth of the country. If there are restrictions on companies and reservation quotas keep coming out, it would lead to talent crunch in the state. This would lead to an industrial hub and advanced city like Gurugram to lose its industrial and economical value.

Kawalmeet Saluja, by mail


Too polluted

It is high time to tackle the air pollution in Delhi on a war-footing as the AQI has crossed 400 in almost areas (‘Air quality “severe” in Delhi; stay indoors’). Patients of respiratory diseases are gasping rather than breathing and more and more cases of skin as well as nasal allergies are being reported. Bad air cuts short our lifespan. A blanket ban should be imposed on manufacturing crackers and stubble burning should be made a cognisable offence in the country as it significantly affects the lungs.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana


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

Bankrupting PSPCL Other

Nov 13, 2021

Power incentives worth Rs 10,000 crore given by the Channi government in Punjab will definitely bankrupt PSPCL. At present, PSPCL is among the best power utilities in India. Such political sops on electricity, the most expensive kind of power, will ruin the department built in the last 40 years. This single decision of CM Channi will be responsible for killing PSPCL and will result in privatisation of power in the future. Making power free will decelerate Punjab like Venezuela.

Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula


Afghan link

Even though India has long historical, cultural and trade ties with Afghanistan, it is sad that it has been rendered a helpless spectator in the unfolding crisis in that country. The aim of the Regional Dialogue on Afghanistan was to reclaim relevance. Have we been successful in achieving that? We may have, to some extent, on issues like terrorism, drugs and misgovernance, but there was no concrete action plan on the ground to ameliorate the sufferings of the Afghan people. India should send wheat stocks by sea, through Iran and other Central Asian countries and by air, bypassing Pakistan. It is time to issue visas on arrival to ailing Afghans. Such actions will go a long way in establishing people-to-people contacts. In the absence of the above, such a dialogue remains meaningless. Ways and means must be found to neutralise Pakistan who has been playing a spoilsport, along with China, to let any meaningful relationship to evolve between the Taliban and India. As there are no permanent enemies or friends in politics, India, in its own interest, should evolve a working relationship with the Taliban.

Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali


Delhi Declaration

The declaration has rightly objected to the use of Afghan soil for terror activities (‘Regional NSAs’ meeting in Delhi’). The non-participation of Pakistan and China was another proof that they will continue to undermine Indian interests. Shaping the agenda in Afghanistan demands a presence on the ground. It is unfortunate that China, whose security concerns over Afghanistan are no different than those of other countries in the region, chose to stay away. India needs defensive and proactive strategies. It must shore up domestic security and work with both the US and Russia.

MS KHOKHAR, by mail


Another row

Apropos of ‘Row over Kangana’s azadi in 2014 remark’, she gave this controversial statement which was liked by the BJP government at the Centre. She had also given statements against the farmers’ agitation, amounting to an insult to the farming community and sprinkling salt on their wounds. Probably this is why she has been given the prestigious Padma Shri award.

Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala


Book for treason

This happens when any person like Kangana, supported by the government, propagates a political agenda to tarnish the image of the nation and to disgrace our freedom fighters and soldiers who sacrificed their lives to get the nation liberated from the British (‘Row over Kangana’s azadi in 2014 remark’). Liberation is never given or taken as bheekh. In democracy, people give power to politicians as bheekh because they beg for votes, go to their doorstep like beggars, making lofty promises and betraying them. It is a national shame to award the Padma Shri to her. The President should take back her award, and a case under treason must be slapped on her.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali


Shame on Kangana

One is appalled that an ordinary cine artiste, Kangana Ranaut, has the temerity to state ‘1947 freedom was bheekh’! Some among the audience clapped for her. No one, other than Varun Gandhi, from the ruling party, had the moral courage to question her audacity. How dare she overlook the sacrifices of our freedom fighters, armed forces, nationalists, displaced citizens, widows, orphans? Her utterances are tantamount to treason. Unfortunately, she has come a step closer to be nominated to Parliament. Shame on her and her sponsors for honouring her with the highest civil award.

SPS NARANG, NEW DELHI


BJP’s identity politics

Refer to ‘In UP, BJP’s welfare model, Hindutva go in tandem’; no other party can emulate the BJP in the idea of spreading identity politics. It is known all over India for this political gimmick. It makes every possible effort to divide society on the ground of religious identities. The quality of education is falling. Covid-19 has exposed the hidden frailties of the healthcare system. Rising prices have made it tough for everyone, particularly the labour class. Corruption and red tape plagues the nation’s growth. Transparency and ethics are missing. The danger of economic meltdown is still hovering. Insecurity and fear are prevalent. In such a scenario, if a political party talks of religion, the nation is unfortunate and its decay and deterioration is certain.

Kapil sharma, Kaithal


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

Need transparency Other

Nov 12, 2021

The editorial ‘Control of varsities’ rightly states that added responsibility is required. Unfortunately, in our country, a teacher at every level is an odd cog in the machinery of education. He does only what the government wants him to do. If the Haryana Government is so serious about streamlining the administration of ailing universities and the standard of higher education, a committee of highly competent and upright teachers, headed by a VC, should select teachers. A great deal of the mischief is due to the secrecy in which the procedures for choosing academics are shrouded. A sound policy would be to let the entire academic community know about the procedure, and the persons available. Over the last two decades, the standard of education in Haryana and its neighbouring states has already gone down due to poor quality of teaching and undue political and bureaucratic interference in our educational institutions. There are no statutory substitutes for the will to insist on right standards. Universities could be well managed, and yet be poorly led.

Muskan Popli, Hisar


Integrity, above all

Several of the recent proposals/decisions of the Haryana Government vis-a-vis higher education are ill-advised, like the proposed transfer of colleges in Panchkula and Ambala districts to Panjab University, appointment of senior IAS officers as Pro VCs, formation of search committee for appointment of Registrars, and recruitment of teachers and senior officers through the HPSC. The later three will be in violation of UGC guidelines. It seems the Higher Education Council is not providing proper advice to the government. It is paradoxical that the government appoints VCs through the search committees, and then doesn’t trust them to make appointments. Efforts should be made to find VCs of very high academic standing and impeccable integrity, and then trust them. All well-established universities and institutions do so. In addition, procedures followed by NITs and IITs can be adopted for appointment of faculty.

Hari Singh, Kurukshetra


More & more sops

Apropos of ‘Pre-poll power sops bleed exchequer’, the doles of the state government have put PSPCL in a precarious financial position. Already it is facing power theft worth Rs 1,200 crore annually. The fresh announcements by the Channi government are to cost cash-strapped Punjab Rs 4,966 crore. To add to the woes of PSPCL, the latest announcement of reduction in power tariff by Rs 3 per unit will put an additional burden of Rs 3,316 crore on the exchequer. Moreover, the payment of power bills amounting to around Rs 2,000 crore of government departments is also pending. Consequently, PSPCL is unable to discharge its obligations properly towards its employees, pensioners and consumers. With an eye on the polls, Channi is making such announcements, but unfortunately, there is no roadmap for making up these losses. Before doling out concessions, the government must chalk out a plan to compensate the department concerned for its survival and smooth functioning.

NK Gosain, BATHINDA


Mafias in Punjab

Reference to the transport mafia in Punjab that could be the major cause of the empty treasury of Punjab. Thousands of farmers committed suicide due to indebtedness, employees were not paid DA and the younger lot did not get jobs. The treasury remained empty because the revenue went into the pockets of the mafia like transport, sand and liquor, for the past 14 years, due to the dubious attitude of both the SAD and the Congress. Politicians are responsible for the woes of the people and will bear the brunt of their deeds.

Jaswant singh, Chandigarh


Political disloyalty

Since elections are due next year in five states, political leaders have started shifting loyalty from one party to another. In order to join a new party, they must praise its ideology and pro-people policies. Such leaders are cheating and playing with the sentiments of the common people who supported them during their previous tenure. They have enjoyed it at the cost of the people. They have no regard for them, but only their personal interests as a leader.

SOHAN LAL BHUMBAK, CHANDIGARH


Change perspective

Refer to ‘Taking stock of security’; more than China’s unprecedented rise, economically and militarily, the real worry is its intentions and attitude towards the world at large. It wants to become the number one power. India is an obstruction in its implementation, and, therefore, it wants to keep the ‘pot boiling’. Keeping in mind the 1.80 billion world Muslim population, we have to refurbish our policy towards Pakistan and other Islamic states, as in the event of an open conflict they will not stand by India. We have limited options. No amount of permutation and combination theory with other distant nations can help, except the immediate neighbours.

SUDERSHAN WALIA, AMRITSAR


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

Afghanistan dialogue Other

Nov 11, 2021

The Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan in New Delhi is a positive initiative to find ways for achieving peace in the trouble-torn country. While NSAs from Central Asian countries, Iran and Russia are participating, representatives from China and Pakistan declined to attend, citing flimsy reasons. The volatile situation in Afghanistan has many implications for its people as well for the countries in the region. Drug trafficking, terrorism and extremism are serious challenges to be tackled. Due to the undemocratic, brutal and medieval mindset of the Taliban, people are leaving for safe areas. The deteriorating economic, social and political slide can be arrested by a people-friendly inclusive regime which includes women and ethnic groups. Priority should be to ameliorate the sufferings of the common people by extending humanitarian assistance. Good sense should prevail upon China and Pakistan and they must join the collective efforts for peace in Afghanistan and the region.

SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI


Padma awards

Refer to ‘Padma awards conferred on state achievers’; these awards motivate civilians to do better in every field and encourage the public to support one another. These prestigious awards make us feel proud about our country and people. We should take these awards as a stimulus for improvement and innovation in different domains. An individual should try to be a better and responsible citizen.

NIKITA BHATI, Bikaner


Chamba ‘chappal’

The GI tag to ‘Chamba chappal’is a great initiative by the government. This will prevent its cheap copying. Small towns like Chamba would get recognition across the nation and the people of the city would benefit from it due to more tourists buying the ‘chappals’, thereby raising the living standards of the local people.

Harshita Sagar, Yamunanagar


E-voting system

The system of voting through smartphones has reached India as it is going to be adopted in Telangana. This system will help the elderly and the disabled to cast their vote without any hindrance. It may lead to an increase in the ratio of voters and the selection of the right representatives. Moreover, it may help modernise our country in several ways.

Bhavya Vig, Ambala City


Channi gives in

Apropos of ‘Govt accepts AG Deol’s resignation’, bowing to pressure, the Punjab Government has removed APS Deol as Advocate General. This has come just a few days after CM Channi asserted that ‘I may be poor but not weak’. It is clear that the CM is not strong and assertive, but bends to pressure. PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu is egotistic and adamant and comes in the way of better coordination and smooth functioning of both the government and the Congress. As the Assembly elections are fast approaching, there will be a greater need for unanimity among the CM and the party chief on crucial decisions, but it looks elusive at this moment. The gamble played out by the Congress to replace the CM and party president in Punjab, mainly to ward off anti-incumbency, has opened the gates for fresh problems.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru


Uphaar case

This refers to ‘Uphaar sentence’. Justice has finally prevailed after several attempts by the accused to escape punishment. A seven-year jail term has been awarded to the real estate barons for tampering with evidence in the case which claimed 59 lives. It is a classic case depicting how criminals can roam with impunity by tampering with evidence. The original crime was committed in 1997, but they are finally being punished in 2021. A time frame should be fixed so that investigation can be concluded within a specific time.

Kenisha Jain, by mail


Appointing faculty

The decision of the Haryana government to control the appointment of the teaching faculty in state universities is inappropriate. Previously, there was a move to appoint bureaucrats as Pro VCs. It is expected that the VCs, after due consideration of their academic and administrative capabilities, will be able to provide academic leadership as well as directions to the institutions for further growth. Why not trust them for making appropriate appointments to the faculty? If it is felt that faculty selections are being made on the basis of considerations other than the academic capabilities of the candidates, a committee may be appointed to consider the selection process being followed at IITs, IIMs and IISERs. And then, follow the recommendations of the committee.

SP SINGH, KURUKSHETRA


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

Back to nature Other

Nov 10, 2021

Apropos of ‘COP26 & Hindu belief system’, the Indian way of life has been an integral and organic part of nature as an entity. The Indian culture is called ‘aranya sanskriti’ (‘aranya’ means forest). In the Indian context, ‘man’ also comprises animals and nature. All native cultures are rooted in nature of their respective lands. The Sangli sentiments of the common people have fallen prey to capitalist greed. Balance between need and greed will have to be found by taking into consideration the realities of the day. Unless the real culprits are made to understand the gravity of the crisis in a language that they understand, no tangible results can be expected: the polluted Yamuna is an example.

DV Sharma, Mukerian


AAG’s appointment

Apropos of the report ‘Punjab Dy CM’s son-in-law appointed Additional AG, Oppn calls it nepotism’, Tarun Vir Singh Lehal was rejected earlier for this post with the remark ‘experience criteria not met’. Has he acquired the requisite experience now? The appointment was based on the recommendation of the ‘interim’ Advocate-General APS Deol. Much hue and cry was raised over the appointments of the kin of Fatehjung Singh Bajwa, Gurpreet Kangar and Rakesh Pandey. The same rule applies now.

Upendra Sharma, by mail


Long wait for salary

Apropos of the report that the Punjab health staff is sans salary for five months, it appears that liberty to work from home during the Covid pandemic had caused the hardship. But that reason (or excuse) has ceased to be valid for quite some time now. It is good that the state health minister has assured early disbursement. However, in the past also, government employees in Punjab had not been getting their salaries on time for long spells. Lack of funds, in the absence of Central assistance to the state, has generally been cited as reason. Under the circumstances, while the Centre should not starve the state for its share of finance and revenue, the state government should, on its part, cut expenditure where not required. That is possible only if the ministers abstain from lavish spending on feel-good hoardings for self-eulogy.

KL Noatay, Kangra


Populist quota

The Haryana Government has taken a wrong decision to reserve 75% jobs for locals in the state and private sector. It is a populist step to please young voters to win their votes for electoral benefits. It is neither going to boost job prospects nor stimulate industrial progress. It is a regressive step because Haryana will not be able to hire talented persons from other states. It will also discourage foreign investors in the state. Haryana has tried to follow the policy of the Andhra Government which is facing legal hurdles in implementing its industrial policy. Moreover, the policy runs counter to the right to equality of opportunity. It will lead to constitutional difficulties. Haryana should reverse its decision as it is not going to benefit the stakeholders.

KRISHAN MALHOTRA, by mail


Falling short

Pakistan and New Zealand cricket teams had done their homework well against the Indian team and exploited the conditions to their advantage. The captaincy of Virat Kohli was also found wanting as his selection of players for a particular match and shuffle of the batting line-up affected the confidence of our players. Needless to say, it was unfortunate that the Indian cricket team failed miserably when it mattered the most.

Harish Malhotra, Sangrur


Not well played

It was a severe jolt to see India lose their first two matches of the ongoing T-20 World Cup, first to arch-rival Pakistan, and then to New Zealand. It became a matter of interest for Indian cricket lovers, whether Afghanistan could defeat New Zealand, thus paving the way for India to secure a semi-final berth. But this did not happen, leaving fans deeply disappointed. In the inconsequential match against Namibia, the Indian team management could have given a chance to those players who had not been given a chance to play. It was hurtful to see an experienced player like Bhuvneshwar Kumar sitting in the pavilion and watching the proceedings of the match like a spectator. The selectors should ensure that whenever a player is selected for a tournament, he should be given a chance to prove his worth, otherwise it is of no use to select players only to make them sit outside the ground.

Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana


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Bring fuel under GST Other

Nov 09, 2021

Finally, the Union government has decided to relent by cutting the excise duty on petrol and diesel. It was followed by reduction in VAT by several state governments. Earlier, the Centre was not willing to reduce the excise duty, citing free Covid vaccination, free ration to 80 crore people and several development projects. The political significance of its timing was hard to overlook, coming a day after the ruling BJP suffered electoral reverses in some elections and also sensing debacle in the coming Assembly elections in five states. The reduction in piecemeal excise duty is not a solution as India imports 85 per cent of crude, and excise duty will continue to be paid in future also. The solution lies in that the recent trend of depending upon fuel taxes to fill coffers of the government must be checked and fuel should be brought under GST, which would give relief to the masses.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh


Fuel price relief

Refer to the report about Punjab Government reducing fuel prices; it is good to know that the Centre has slashed the prices of petrol and diesel by reducing the excise duty. Subsequently, 22 states and union territories also chose to cut VAT on petrol and diesel. Reduced fuel prices would give the common man some respite from the ever rising fuel costs. Fruit and vegetable sellers who sell their produce in far off states would have to pay less as transportation cost would be lesser.

Devendra Khurana, Bhopal


Haryana quota

Refer to ‘Upset over quota...’; the Haryana Government’s order capping 75% job reservation for locals in the private sector is a political gamble and may prove counterproductive in the long run for the ruling BJP alliance. The phenomenal growth of industry in Haryana, along the NCR region, is due to easy availability of skilled manpower from adjoining states. The quota system will impact the working of the industrial and service sector as local talent may not be able to fill the gap of skilled workforce. The fear of industries moving out of Haryana is looming large among the business community. The move would not only impact state revenue source, but also the economics of local residents. The government should roll back the order to save the flight of industry from the state.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar


Pegasus probe

Apropos of ‘Troubled notion of privacy in modern age’, the Pegasus scam was like installing remotely controlled CCTV cameras in peoples’ rooms. How can agencies violate an individual’s privacy? The manner in which the software was procured, used and targeted shows the insensitivity of people in power towards the abuse of people’s fundamental right. The initiative by the SC to probe the incident has come as a relief. The exemplary judgment in this case by the court will go a long way in restricting people in power from functioning unconstitutionally. The writer has given a befitting example of CAA protest and the abuse of political power in Uttar Pradesh. Better would be to change the Constitution for the suitability of people in thirst of power than abusing it at regular intervals.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali


Bypoll results

Refer to ‘Bypoll verdict’; the results may not be indicative of larger political trends, but they highlight some interesting sub-plots. TMC’s clean sweep in four Assembly seats in Bengal; and in Himachal Pradesh, it was the Congress that led the sweep, winning three bypolls as well as the Mandi Lok Sabha seat. The party also gained a seat in Rajasthan. The BJP, however, continues to maintain its dominance in the Northeast. While the BJP remains the dominant political force in the country, Opposition parties hold considerable sway in states. But for these disparate state political forces to come together and form a grand national coalition remains an uphill task, given their political agenda. Only the Congress has a pan-India presence to challenge the BJP, but given the listless state of affairs in the party, the BJP, as of now, is sitting pretty.

PL SINGH, by mail


Arrogant Sidhu

Apropos of ‘Justice is blind, Pb isn’t: Sidhu hits back at Deol’, Navjot Sidhu himself got relief from the judiciary in a road rage case in which a person had died after a clash with him in Patiala over three decades ago. Now, he is questioning Deol on the sacrilege case. The Punjab Congress chief is sabotaging the functioning of the state government over one issue or the other for his personal interests. Sidhu has exposed himself as arrogant and selfish.

Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula


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

Circle of hate Other

Nov 08, 2021

Apropos of ‘Legitimising hatred’ (Nous Indica), our politicians of all hues understand that hatred, violence and mistrust among sections of society render the country incapacitated to face any external threat, besides impeding national productivity. They still propagate divisive hatred as they have stopped seeing beyond their electoral gains. They keep destroying the future of the nation by misguiding the masses with an overdose of religious fanaticism and fake patriotism. Only the watchdogs of our democracy, like the SC and the EC, can help by acting against those who propagate hatred and violence, especially during elections.

HL Sharma, Amritsar


Secular principles

Refer to ‘Legitimising hatred’; while the bigoted elements have historically plagued our society, what seems even more disheartening is the weakening of institutions to uphold the secular principles in the present era. Hatred is fuelled with social media’s unregulated use. It is imperative for media houses to insulate biased propaganda from facts and opinions they present, or else we may be heading towards the vicious cycle of hatred and violence amongst communities.

Akul Singla, Bathinda


With eyes on polls

The cut in the Central excise duty on fuel and the subsequent additional cuts in local taxes (VAT) have come as a reprieve (‘Fall in fuel prices’). However, 12 opposition-ruled states are yet to announce any cut. While the country’s dependence on crude oil import makes it vulnerable to volatility in the international market, the government never thought of reducing the fuel prices even when global crude was as low as $30-35 a barrel. By offering ‘peanuts’ on Diwali eve, the government could be aiming to gain the good will of the masses, with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Vinayak G, New Delhi


Mindless bursting

Refer to ‘Day later, toxic smog across North’; violating the NGT and SC orders and government restrictions, crackers were burst rampantly on Diwali. While lighting firecrackers, it was not taken into account that only a few months back we had faced the horrors of Covid, when hundreds of people died due to lack of oxygen. The government has described it as the worst pandemic of the century. Despite this, firecrackers were not shunned. Smoke is not only harmful to children and the elderly, but also to those with weak lungs following contraction of the Covid virus. Unless society is aware of the environment and human health, things are not going to change.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla


Lofty promises

The ‘severe’ AQI across Delhi, the NCR and Haryana does not come as a surprise. With the ban on crackers and stubble burning going up in smoke, the ritual of citizens waking up to smog after Diwali continues. Poor air quality impacts not only the already ailing, but also healthy people. We may be making lofty pledges in the COP26 summit, but the need of the hour is for a commitment to a mindset shift. Unless we dedicate ourselves to green measures and lifestyle, all these environmental summit plans would remain on paper.

Gunjeet Trehan, Chandigarh


Vulnerable buildings

Refer to the Shimla building collapse in October; the local municipal authorities must take cognisance and act accordingly. Similar is the case of buildings constructed in Dharamsala during the recent years. They are structurally unsafe. Some months ago, heavy rainwater in upper Dharamsala played havoc due to such illegal buildings. It is a matter of concern that the municipal authorities are not taking any precautions to prevent mishaps due to the construction of illegal buildings, which have been raised against prescribed norms and rules. The MC and the country and town planning department must act against the violators. This problem is clearly visible. It appears that political patronage enjoyed by the violators is preventing the authorities from taking action.

Capt Puran Bahadur (Retd), by mail


Quasi-judicial bodies

Reference to ‘Quasi-judicial bodies’; the state government has not bothered to fill vacancies in such bodies, despite the Supreme Court verdict in 2021. The Punjab Government held an interview for members of the District Consumer Commission in August 2021, but no decision has been taken on the appointments.

DIVYANSHU NAGPAL, Ludhiana


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Communal angle Other

Nov 06, 2021

Apropos of ‘Gurugram namaz’, although the Constitution declares India as a secular and democratic republic, in recent years secular credentials have become suspect in the eyes of the world, particularly Muslim world. Even minor communal issues like Gurugram namaz need to be handled carefully. No doubt, using public space for religious affairs is a debatable issue, but it is likely to assume a communal hue. With BJP’s Hindutva agenda in the air, these minor incidents get magnified. If justice, social security and gainful employment could be provided in this very world by man-made institutions, it would be possible to wean people away from dogma, and even religion. But these targets are a far cry in India, at least at this juncture.

Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali


Congress infighting

Refer to ‘Discord in Punjab Cong’; it is unfortunate that infighting has divided the party. There appears no ray of hope for any compromise in the near future because of the haughty attitude of PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu. To revive the glory of the party, it is necessary that the CM and PPCC chief should work together, failing which the CM will not be able to deliver in the true sense. Sidhu is not a good team player and neither has he proved to be a good politician who is always at the service of people. He cannot be trusted in political circles. Sonia Gandhi should sort out the issue. Instead of making the CM shuttle from Chandigarh to Delhi, he should be given a free hand to attend to the state’s duties.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar


Irresponsible behaviour

With reference to the severe AQI in Delhi and other cities, this is a matter of worry how educated masses fail to consider the consequences of bursting crackers. Why do we lighten our houses when we are not enlightened ourselves? People are ready to blame the government for everything but they never rationalise their own deeds. Pollution caused by transport and commercial activities is mostly unavoidable, but bursting crackers is the biggest folly one can do in the current scenario.

Laxmita Miglani, Kaithal


Bursting at seams

People gasped for breath as the AQI crossed the hazardous level at many places, besides birds and animals were terrified as the SC order on firecrackers was defied with impunity. Though crackers added to the mood and festivities, it acquired a vulgar display of affluence to the detriment and distress of others. Environment friendly and reusable electronic crackers are a better alternative. Despite ‘Supreme’ diktats, rampant mob hooliganism, disruption of public utility services, and even violence and damage to property, in the name of protest, continue as a bane of our electoral democracy.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula


Carbon emissions

Refer to ‘Chasing mirage of net-zero carbon emissions’; the net-zero stage is reached when addition of GHGs into the environment due to the burning of fossil fuels/hydrocarbons and other activities is neutralised by the absorption of an equivalent amount of GHGs by forests, crops, carbon dioxide sinks and nascent technologies of GHG sequestering. Calculation of GHG additions is comparatively easy but calculation of absorption of GHGs is cumbersome and fraught with inaccuracies. The World Energy Outlook 2021 document prepared by the International Energy Agency revolves around the concept of net zero, but it does not describe the procedure to calculate the amount of GHGs being added and absorbed by various sources. The better way to fight climate change would be to fix the targets of phasing out thermal power plants and limiting the use of crude oil and cooking gas on annual basis for top 20 countries that make use of 60% of crude oil and 89% of coal. China alone uses 53% of the total annual output of coal.

RN Malik, Gurugram


Relevance of Sanskrit

Apropos of ‘The many uses of abuses’, I am presenting a Sanskrit sentence to repudiate the assertion that there are no abuses in Sanskrit: ‘Bho shatha, ihaagachchh’ (you depraved one, come here). There are many such words in Sanskrit that are classified as abuses, such as ‘chandaal’, ‘dhoort’, ‘paapishth’, ‘naraadham’ etc. Many languages, much younger to Sanskrit, have become dysfunctional whereas Sanskrit has not waned to that degree. It is still used in our religious rituals with devotion. There are many proverbs and idioms in Sanskrit that are used in their original form in Hindi and other Indian languages. Every language has its own character and flavour. We ought not to compare one with another.

LR Sharma, Sundernagar


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

Bypoll results Other

Nov 04, 2021

Reference to ‘Shock defeat for BJP in HP, Congress wins all four seats; INLD retains Ellenabad’; it is a proof of what the well-wishers of the Grand Old Party have been trying to make the Congress party realise: united and concerted efforts only can make the party what it is, that is, the voice of the common man, concerned with the issues of day-to-day hardships of life. In these elections, the central leadership has had no tangible role. The state leaders have proved that it is their ground-level attachment that swings the winds of victory in their favour. The results from other parts of the country bear out the same fact. It is a tribute also to the sagacity of the Indian voter who has matured politically and does not get swayed by jingoistic clamour.

DV Sharma, Mukerian


A clear message

Apropos of ‘Bypoll verdict’, the hill state has given a clear indication that it may again follow a set pattern of change of government every alternate term if the outcome is to be believed. The Opposition party will now be in an upbeat mood, putting the ruling party on the defensive. Contrary to claims by the ruling party, it is not purely a sympathy vote, but also dissatisfaction of the people with the handling of mundane but vital issues concerning people. The verdict also emphasises that the electorate is still not ready to accept the new entrants, preferring the age-old tested family ties. Tokenism, sloganeering, hype and reliance on the Centre for everything, including electoral success, have only limited utility and may give diminishing returns beyond a point.

GP Capt JS Boparai, Bhadsali


Emission targets

PM Modi’s climate combat plans seem quite realistic, given India’s imperatives, but need plenty of governmental and political efforts. Modi’s speech at Glasgow climate summit has put India in a leadership role. The final goal of net-zero emissions by 2070, when the emission of greenhouse gases by human activity are offset to neutralise it, seems quite a doable deadline. Modi made some big-ticket announcements. But electoral politics like slashing power tariffs to unviable levels will make many reforms hard. If India is to meet its 2030 target, power distribution reforms need an all party consensus on backing away from the over competitive race of offering freebies and lower power tariffs. India’s political class needs to find a common ground.

SK Singh, by email


Rising costs

With inflation surging, real returns are close to nil. This is hitting the economic well-being of senior citizens hard. There are green shoots in the economy for sure, but the rising costs of daily goods have pegged down middle-income households. Their in-store buying behaviour has changed, more Indian shoppers are now seeking discounts and promotions. That’s also a reflection of the strain that the pandemic has cast on household budgets.

SC Dhall, Zirakpur


Playground spirit

Apropos of ‘Manufacturing fear’, a picture of intolerant India is sought to be painted. But is there an answer to the query as to why the sportsman spirit gets kindled only when Pakistan defeats India? Pakistan has won against other countries also, but do such celebrations take place? Such selective display of sportsman spirit should not be encouraged.

AK Sharma, Chandigarh


Capt Amarinder’s party

The assumption that relations between the PPCC chief and CM Channi are not cordial and that populist actions of the CM may affect the Congress are unfounded doubts. Amarinder’s new party, Punjab Lok Congress, is in fact ‘Punjab Locked Congress’, and will not cause any threat to the Congress because this party is not formally born and lacks maturity. Besides, the Congress is on a roll, having done well in the bypolls in HP and Rajasthan. A major factor in the state elections in 2022 will be the farmers, who will not vote for the BJP and its allies.

Capt Amar Jeet, Mohali


Stage fright

Reference to ‘Being the butt of a joke’, it is understandable that a child so small could have acted that way. One is reminded of an incident when Mahatma Gandhi had hosted a party for his friends at his home before he was to leave South Africa. He had drafted a speech to deliver at the end of the party. When Mahatma Gandhi stood up to speak, his throat choked. He could only say to his guests, “Thank you”. Probably it is the fear of stage in the initial stages which people overcome in due course and come out as successful orators.

SK Takyar, Panchkula


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Target hard to achieve Other

Nov 03, 2021

Reference to ‘PM Modi sets 2070 net- zero target, demands $1 trillion climate finance’; Modi made five commitments, ‘Panchamrit’, at the ongoing COP26 on climate change that include increase in non-fossil power generation capacity and reduction in carbon emissions in less than 10 years. It appears to be difficult to achieve under the present economic crisis due to the pandemic. It may be possible to meet 50% of the energy requirements of the country, from the present 40%, provided the entire new addition is from renewable energy only. Coal-based power generation and transport sector are the major contributors of carbon emissions and they have to be replaced based on renewable energy to fulfil the commitment of net-zero carbon emission by 2070. Except solar, the potential of renewable energy in the country is inadequate to replace fossil fuel power generation completely.

O Prasada Rao, by mail


Dignity to go in peace

‘For how long one must suffer?’ opened up some old wounds. Having nursed my terminally ill mother for two years, I often got to hear from her ‘there should be an option for people like us to exit gracefully’. In hindsight, I endorse what she said, having lived gracefully, once afflicted with an incurable disease; other than being a financial and emotional burden, the patient suffers a lot of pain, too. I bat for euthanasia for people with terminal diseases, or vegetative existence following accidents. Why should one suffer endlessly just because the heart won’t stop? There should be a medical board which should give permission to such patients.

Manveen Mann, Jalandhar


Too much pollution

Refer to ‘Let’s breathe easy this Diwali’; a festival of colourful lights, sweets, savouries and gifts, Diwali is a symbol of brotherhood and national integration as it is celebrated by all communities. Any type of air and noise pollution is both undesirable and intolerable. Smokes and fumes emitted from the crackers cause pollution, which has resulted in global warming. Noise pollution has been reported to be the cause of metabolic and hearing disorders. The authorities concerned should take stringent measures to check pollution by taking stern action against the defaulters. Recently, the apex court directed all car manufacturers to conform to Euro 1 and Euro II emission norms to curb pollution. Any kind of air, noise, water and electronic pollution is detrimental for general health. The more man is developing mentally, the more he is ignoring the ill-effects of pollution and ecological imbalance.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar


Ban all crackers

The apex court was not convinced by the Calcutta HC ruling that there is practical difficulty in ensuring that firecrackers in the market are indeed green and therefore overturned its order. The reality is that under the guise of green crackers, the toxic and conventional ones are sold overtly and covertly. Assuming green crackers are burst, even then the disadvantages outweigh the merits. Outright ban on crackers across India is the need of the hour.

Deepak Singhal, Noida


Rising prices

The pick-up in energy prices have been indicative of a growing economy. They were as high in 2007-09, and so were the global economy and trade indices. An abating pandemic has simultaneously animated every economy and thus for quite a while, coal supply will lag, globally. Every nation must bear with its rising cost. The government has already tweaked oil prices to a record high. With elections due in six months and the rising spectre of inflation, it has not only to reduce oil prices, but also absorb any coal price increase to keep power charges from becoming an election issue.

R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai


Alienating farmers

Refer to ‘Farmer suicides’; the escalating number of suicides by farmers, or for that matter by any person, is the blackest spot on the socio-economic order of our country. Suicide is an extreme step. Farmers largely commit suicide due to indebtedness and a meagre income. The suicides expose the hollowness of the claims being made by the ruling dispensation about having ameliorated the economic plight of farmers by undertaking revolutionary measures. Frustration among farmers will keep mounting if the government does not withdraw the three arbitrary and contentious new farm laws. The mighty power of the ruling dispensation may compel the protesting farmers to call off the agitation, but it will be a victory of the callousness and hubris of the government. If the government is concerned about addressing the concerns of the farmers, it must take them on board, and only a consensus, through wide-ranging deliberations, should the government enact the farm laws. Our economy can never be robust if agriculture is rendered subservient to the interests of a few corporate houses.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa


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

Glasgow summit Other

Nov 02, 2021

Refer to ‘Climate summit begins in Glasgow’, it is hoped that the meet will achieve something meaningful, though it appears a tough task. Nations can’t even agree on the most important baselines like net-zero emissions or when or how much of green financing is required. Different groups of nations have different priorities, understandably. For example, the UK’s proposal on phasing out coal in a short time looks to be difficult for large coal-dependent economies like India and China. India exemplifies the bewildering complexity of climate mitigation efforts. It has a large number of people dependent on the coal economy for jobs and dependence on coal for energy needs. Developed countries have a poor track record on climate action. The pressure on developing countries to do more and declare a similar net-zero pledge is nothing but shifting the burden of climate action onto the backs of the world’s poor populations.

EL Singh, by email


Tackling climate change

Leaders of the world’s 20 big economy have shown a lukewarm attitude towards tackling climate change effectively. They seem to be more concerned about mutual vaccine recognition. In India, cities, water bodies and open spaces are used to release toxic and dangerous effluents which contaminate the groundwater and food chains of humans as well as cattle. India is among the most forest-deficit nations. The endangered environment will be a threat bigger than the one at our borders. Coal-based power plants have to be phased out and the use of solar energy should be made mandatory gradually.

Capt Amar Jeet, Mohali


Drug racket

Refer to ‘Aryan Khan walks out of prison’, though Aryan Khan has been released on bail, it may not be the end of his woes. When the case reaches the trial court, he may be let off if found innocent or may be convicted and face punishment. Let the law take its own course. Allegations against NCB zonal head Sameer Wankhede are perhaps intended to derail the investigation. But undeterred, the NCB should get to the bottom of the drug racket. In Punjab also, drugs are wreaking havoc but the probe is tardy. Could the NCB send its team to Punjab to unearth the drug racket and save our youths from getting ruined?

Wg Cdr CL Sehgal, Jalandhar


Farmer suicides

Apropos of ‘Farmer suicides’; suicide is the ultimate sign of distress. It is painful to know about the National Crime Records Bureau’s data on farmers who died by committing suicide. The jump from 10,281 in 2019 to 10,667 in 2020 points to an increasing impoverishment of the rural areas and deprivation of the rural folks. One commits suicide only when one is utterly helpless. We should try to reach out to farmers and help them in every possible manner. They feed the nation and we must be sensible and sympathetic towards them.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad


Judicial service

The greatest regret of many judicial officers on retiring is that they didn’t make it to the High Court or Supreme Court. Similar is the apprehension of a young law graduate on joining the subordinate judiciary. Their anguish is understandable. The idea of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) offers a reprieve in this regard. With the recommendations of the Law Commission and constitutional amendment in place, it is an idea whose time has come. Parliament needs to enact a law in this regard soon. The service will infuse young blood, energy and new life into the tired and exhausted old judiciary at the district level. State governments can continue to recruit the judicial officers as earlier while providing them an opportunity for lateral induction into the AIJS. With fast tracking of the cases, people will be the ultimate gainer. Hopefully, the forthcoming law conference will take a positive decision in this regard.

Lt Col G S Bedi (retd), Mohali


Parole for prisoners

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that a prisoner cannot be denied of the need to attend a family function owing to the fact that immediate relatives usually take care of the family members of the person under incarceration. It has been reported that the petitioner who has been undergoing imprisonment for the offences under Section 392, 397, 302 and 120B of the IPC and 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act had requested the jail superintendent for permission in writing to allow him to attend a domestic function. The court has rightly taken a lenient view and observed that a prisoner cannot be deprived of permission to attend the family function.

KV Seetharamaiah, Bengaluru


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 big bully Other

Nov 01, 2021

Apropos of ‘New law won’t affect boundary pacts: China’, a quick but cryptic response by China cannot be taken on its face value. The recent failure of military-level conferences highlights the refusal of China to restore the status quo ante. The PLA has succeeded in creating buffer zones in Galwan, Gogra and Pangong Tso in the Indian territory, thereby blocking patrolling in the shadow of the Karakoram pass. Deep intrusion in Depsang bulge, incursions in Demchok and tenaciously hardened defences convert the LAC into LoC, practically shutting peace doors on the Himalayan border. China's recent forays in Bhutan, its hobnobbing with Nepal and our other small neighbours are aimed at ingress into our core security concerns. The Centre needs to stop denying the obvious, take the nation into confidence, build a consensus and follow a unified strategy. How can a 1.4 billion-strong nation be made to live under the shadow of blackmail and bullying? Our recurring failure may cost us dearly if we don’t put our act together in time.

GP CAPT JS BOPARAI (RETD), BHADSALI


Pegasus investigation

The SC decision to appoint a technical committee to probe allegations about violations of citizens’ privacy using spyware Pegasus is the proper way to proceed. In giving a clear direction to an expert technical committee constituted by it to probe the issue, the court has upheld the right to privacy. It has rightly disagreed with Centre’s arguments that sought exemption from judicial review by citing ‘national security’, as the government couldn’t explain how answering questions on Pegasus would endanger security. The development is welcome because the SC has underscored that individual rights aren’t extinguished merely because the state claims national security threats. The right to privacy has been read into the Constitution’s fundamental rights by the court.

SK SINGH, by mail


Second dose

India has delivered over a billion vaccine doses, making it the second-highest dispenser of Covid-19 vaccines globally but the gap between the proportion of population that has got at least one dose and two doses is the widest in India, which is worrying (‘Dragging feet on 2nd dose’). The key factor is the gap between the two doses of Covishield. The spacing of 12-16 weeks is among the longest in the world. Although experts say that there is no evidence of vaccine hesitancy in India and the discrepancy in the first and second shots are better explained in the gap between scheduled doses. However, experience with previous vaccination showed that covering the last 10-15% of any population, anywhere in the world, was challenging. The government must educate people that vaccination is incomplete without the second dose and could lead to relapse.

SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI


Climate targets

In its pursuit to live a comfortable life, humankind has stretched the limits too far, disturbing the ecological balance of nature (‘COPing with climate change’). Inequalities are galore as 36.44 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide is being emitted in the air by the global population, of which over 50% is emitted by developed nations, namely, China, the US and the EU, while Africa and India contribute just 4% and 7%, respectively. About a million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. It’s time for humankind to wake up and fix new targets to live in harmony with nature.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal


In nature’s lap

‘The motley walk of life’ reminds me of Baradari Gardens, Patiala, where parents often take their little ones on a picnic. The artificial rainhouse would fascinate the kids and adults alike. The evening scenes have a different vibe with lights creating a soothing landscape and ice-cream sellers being an attraction for kids. Morning bhangra classes and self-defence sessions are also a good time for some fun and fitness. However, it sometimes gets awkward when families witness young boys and girls getting cosy and the guard whistling them away. Then there are some elderly people who come there for a round and sit to kill their monotony, enjoying nature and having a chat. The trees of this bagh have, and will, witness people from all walks of life enjoying time in the lap of nature.

Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala


Adopt ‘green tape’

Refer to ‘Bureaucratic green tape’; bureaucrats have a major role in the governance of the country. They are public servants and should keep the prosperity of the nation and its people on top of their mind while discharging their responsibilities. They are skilled in the fields of administration and management and their positive attitude can achieve success in progressive projects. Red tape may create hurdles in India’s smooth sailing. ‘Green tape’ will accelerate the pace of development of the nation, which is the need of the hour in prevailing turmoil.

SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI


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