Letters to the editor
Apropos of ‘Minority rights’; religious bigotry and frenzy is ruling the roost, especially in South Asian countries. In countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, minorities are perceived to be under attack. In India, the policy of majoritarianism which was almost non-existent during the Nehruvian era, has come to prevail in a virulent way now. Cases of lynching have escalated. The perception is gaining ground that the minorities are not safe in India either. Since the policy of majoritarianism pays rich political dividends, polarisation of society along communal lines has become a major poll plank of the current political dispensation.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Attack on federalism
Apropos of ‘Jurisdiction row’, it is shocking to know that the Home Ministry has authorised the BSF to undertake search, seizure, etc., within 50 km from the international border in Punjab and West Bengal whereas the area for Gujarat has been reduced. This is an attack on the principle of federalism. The BSF is a Central paramilitary force which reports to the Union government whereas the police is a state subject. The duty of the BSF is to ensure the security of the borders and to prevent smuggling and other illegal activities. In the modern era of improved communication, the BSF can contact the police immediately after it makes an arrest or seizure and the police can reach them quickly. It is hard to reconcile the arguments for increasing the border area for Punjab and Bengal with the simultaneous reduction in Gujarat where 3,000 kg of heroin was seized from a port.
RS SEMBHI, Ludhiana
Acid test for Congress
The Congress has decided to continue under the current president till the formal party polls are held next year. It must realise that if it slips further electorally next year, its political recovery could be more uphill. The first task of its president is to unify its upper echelons by tasking a broad representative group to hear out different views and drive a general consensus. She needs to empower an enlarged team, which should crystallise the party manifesto for Assembly elections next year. A third group needs to have a dialogue with other Opposition parties with earnestness and pragmatism. The Congress must think beyond retaining political relevance and resolve to win. An acid test awaits the party.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
The recent step taken by the new Punjab transport minister against private bus operators who were running their buses without valid permits and road taxes is a welcome move. This has led to the non-plying of a number of private buses. But the question arises as to why was action not taken since the formation of the new government? Had former transport ministers intentionally helped them or were they unaware about the fact? Even transport department officials seem to be on good terms with the transport mafia. The new Cabinet should fix the responsibility for the loss to state exchequer and deal with such people with an iron hand.
NAVNEET SETH, DHURI
Food for thought
On April 20, 2020, we had a stock of 524.5 million tonnes of foodgrain, but despite such a buffer stock, India ranked 94 among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index report. This year, our position has further deteriorated, where India has moved down to the 101st position. The claims of the government that it has given foodgrains to 80 crore stand belied since there have been continuous media reports about starvation deaths across the nation. Our food systems need to be re-designed for equity, sustainability and nutrition, which is not possible in a corporatised world.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Apropos of ‘Hunger index ignominy’, India dropping low on the index is not new. The rapid economic growth over the past three decades has witnessed persistence of hunger and malnourishment, especially among children.Our problem is not the lack of food but the lack of access to food for millions. To overcome the problem, food distribution needs to be decentralised with a political will.
Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai
Refer to ‘Power trip gone too far’; it does not view the nation’s scenario with a broad-based perspective but with a limited outlook. Dark days may be ahead for our democracy, but the moot question is where are our veteran Margdarshak Mandal stalwarts? Why have they been mum on the hardships faced by the masses? Why just UP, the BJP’s downfall is imminent across the nation.
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
It is unfortunate to note India’s ranking in the Global Hunger Index report. All our neighbouring countries like China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh are better placed than us. The right to food is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. It is a pity that even after more than seven decades of Independence, we have not been able to provide adequate food to our people. The passing of buck to previous governments won’t help resolve this problem. After over seven years in power, it is high time for the present government to formulate a pragmatic policy to get out of this ignominy.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Reference to ‘Hunger index ignominy’; the low rank made the government cry foul about the methodology of the index. The government is given to highlighting ordinary facts and figures as special ones; it must digest this index, too, with the same spirit. To depict in a bad light the observations of the Food and Agriculture Organisation reflects the poor spirit of our policymakers. Healthy criticism must be welcomed.
Rakesh Sudan, by mail
The fact that India has slipped to the 101st rank is a matter of serious concern and needs to be addressed urgently (‘Hunger index ignominy’). The calculation done on four indicators — undernourishment, child wasting, child-stunting and child mortality — clearly indicates that hunger has struck India. Every possible effort should be made by the government to make the country hunger-free.
Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal
It was shocking to read about the chilling lynching of a man, allegedly by Nihangs, at the Singhu border. His body was found hanging, with the legs broken and a hand chopped off. The incident is a gruesome repeat of the medieval justice system but has no place in present-day modern society.
Abhash Simba, Panchkula
Call off agitation
Refer to ‘Man’s mutilated body found at Singhu border’; the brutal murder has brought a bad name to the farmers’ agitation. There is no place for violence, be it Lakhimpur or Singhu protest site. The stir seems to have been hijacked by some bad elements and is no more under the control of the kisan unions. The Kisan Morcha disowning the killers is not enough. It should call off the agitation since it has taken an ugly turn now. The government and the farmers should meet midway to resolve the issue. Call off the agitation. The farmers should know that they are fast losing the sympathy of the people.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Qualities of a leader
Apropos of ‘Power trip gone too far’, an insecure and indecisive leader can neither inspire nor lead the masses. Overconfidence, self-indulgence, superiority and a know-it-all attitude suppress the virtues of compassion and empathy that befit a leader. A successful and effective leader is one who maintains a balance between a healthy sense of self and modesty.
Anita Kataria, Patiala
Overdependence on coal
Refer to ‘Power pangs’; the current precarious power situation, triggered by the apparent shortage of coal at thermal power-generating plants across the country, is being lamented citing several reasons. Undoubtedly, it has now become imperative to devise ways, means and methodologies to reduce overdependence on coal for power generation (about 52% of total power generation in India is coal based). Two aspects need to be looked into: First, the reluctance to optimally tap sources of renewable energy has to be shed. Generation of hydro-power, tidal power, solar power, wind power, etc. should be encouraged. Second, mandatory provision of the use of alternative fossil fuel for providing necessary heat energy required for boilers to produce steam in thermal power generating plants has to be considered seriously.
Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal
Why the delay?
Covaxin will eventually be ready to be administered to the children falling under the 2-18 age group after getting the final approval from the DCGI. What is surprising is that Bharat Biotech has not yet been able to get the Emergency Use Authorisation from the WHO. Is the WHO biased against us, or is there some nasty play going on, which India is unaware of? We bear testimony to the fact that Covaxin may not be the world’s best vaccine, but it’s definitely one of the best. India also needs to bolster procedures for vaccinating children as they have started going to school. Don’t delay kids’ vaccination drive.
Anushka Panwar, 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
‘Listen to Farooq Abdullah’ rightly places the onus on arriving at a solution for the settlement of the J&K problem on those who struggle to see the reality through the ‘Hindutva goggles’. It is time that these learned men grab the opportunity to resolve the issues, whilst the leadership in the Valley is amenable to talks and is prepared to endorse the accession of the state to India and subsequent developments. Sheikh Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah have been the main architects of the arrangement that exists. No one denies that Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the only ruler who could oust the 300-year Afghan reign over the Valley and incorporate the area with his empire in Punjab. The ‘goggles’ need to be cast aside to get a correct perspective and move forward to restore the status of the state. This would calm the agitated Kashmiris. The entire region is in a state of turmoil and we need to complete the settlement within our areas of geopolitical interest at the earliest.
Mohanpal Singh, by mail
More powers to BSF
The decision of the Centre to extend BSF powers up to 50 km from 15 km at present from the international boundary (zero line) has been necessitated by latest technical advances being used by trans-border criminals. The most prominent is drone operations in border areas by such elements. The earlier limit of 15 km was guided by the fact that crimes were committed mostly on foot or by using vehicles in areas adjacent to the border belt only. Instances of a drone dropping weapons or narcotics or fake currency quite deep into the hinterland are recent happenings. This is an effective and timely response to meet these challenges to safeguard national security. But this extension in limit is no alternative to development of anti-drone technology which should get higher priority. Its effective use by our border men with proper training is another issue which needs immediate planning and implementation. The BSF can be in a better position to meet such challenges with the effective cooperation of residents of the border areas and other agencies, including the state police.
Jagir S Sran, DIG (retd), BSF, Faridkot
Refer to promises made to the voters about sops. Didn’t we hear about promises made in the previous elections: providing jobs, eliminating the drug menace and much more? There should be a process of recall for those who do not keep their promises. Voters have the right to expect governance and fulfilment of promises, and not mere slogans.
GS Kingra, by mail
Bereft of logic
Based chiefly on another popular columnist’s sayings, ‘More than meets the eye’ does not have much meat in it. The writer’s attack on the media for highlighting a popular actor’s son in a drug-related case than on the huge quantum of drug seizure at a privately owned port is misplaced. The media, now a commercial venture, has to sell only what is saleable. And his illogical effort to exonerate drug consumers is laughable. Because without these so-called small-time consumers, the large-scale unlawful drug trade cannot survive even for a day.
Fall in medical ethics
‘Regulate private hospitals’ is timely. One of the first questions a patient’s relatives are asked, at the time of admission, is whether the payment will be in cash, or by the insurance company, and in case of the latter, the amount of coverage available. Thereafter, none can question the hospital on the line of treatment followed, or whether a test or scan is necessary. During the peak of the pandemic, life-saving injections Remdesivir and Tocilizumab were reportedly sold on the black market, with the connivance of some hospitals, doctors and pharmacists. When an institution is answerable to none, arbitrariness is inevitable. While private hospitals don’t work for charity, to extract their pound of flesh from patients speaks poorly of medical ethics. Another fallout of this is the steep annual hike in insurance premium. Unless the government steps in to effectively stem the rot, there is no hope for patients, especially the senior citizens of India.
V Jayaraman, Chennai
Long wait for approval
Covaxin for kids should be a great relief for parents who are scared of sending their children to school due to the forebodings of a possible third wave of Covid. But the long wait for its approval from the WHO is still a stumbling block for international travel. When public figures like our PM and many eminent doctors of a prestigious institute like the AIIMS went for the Covaxin jab, no one thought that it would take so long to be recognised. Approval delayed, further delayed are the repeated headlines that have been keeping the public on tenterhooks.
Sadhna Saini, 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
Refer to ‘Giving BSF more powers attack on federalism, claim leaders’, it can’t be refuted that the youth of Punjab has been ruined by drugs being smuggled from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The police and politicians are running this racket. Why is there such a hue and cry if the BSF has extended its jurisdiction 50 km from the international border? Drugs and weapons are dropped by drones in border areas and the police lack the will to check it due to high-level corruption. Whenever there is a crisis, don’t the states call the Army to help? The state police is not doing its duty well. Illegal mining is going on, tippers loaded with sand are seen everywhere, private buses are being operated without permit. Giving more powers to the BSF should be seen as a temporary arrangement to deal with an explosive situation.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
Heart to heart
When the heart speaks, the truth lying buried in a person’s heart comes out (‘Kashmir will remain part of India: Farooq Abdullah’). He echoes a true Kashmiri spirit, devoid of political colours and compulsions. The Abdullahs have been nationalists. This trait sets them apart from the other political players in the troubled state. Abdullah is a leader of the Kashmiri people whose good offices can be made better use of, if the present dispensation earnestly desires a practically viable solution to Kashmir’s ailments. Problems can be better diagnosed by physicians rooted in the ground.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Appointment of Pro-VCs
It appears that the Haryana government is contemplating to appoint Pro-VCs to ‘help’ VCs in administrative work. In all probability, these posts will be filled by middle-ranking bureaucrats who may undermine the position of VCs by becoming an alternative centre of power. Such an arrangement does not exist anywhere. It may be disastrous for the university system as there may not be cohesiveness between the two top functionaries of the university and thus will create confusion. An alternative suggestion may be to have a Pro-VC appointed by the VC whose position may be co-terminus.
SP SINGH, KURUKSHETRA
Refer to ‘Covaxin for kids’; a major problem that has not been addressed is the credibility of Covaxin. Those who intend to travel abroad prefer Covishield because of global acceptance. It is a surprising that Bharat Biotech has not yet been able to get emergency use authorisation from the WHO. If Covaxin for adults has not been authorised by the WHO, when will the vaccine receive authorisation for use among children? How many trials were conducted on children before Covaxin was cleared as a first step for administering the vaccine to children. It is incumbent on the Indian State to convince agencies like the WHO on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. It is expected from the government that qualitative approach will be adopted and not quantitative while giving the final clearance.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
Cut fuel tax
Apropos of ‘Cut taxes on fuel, traders urge govt’; petrol and diesel are on the verge of becoming a luxury than a necessity. According to data, the Centre collects a levy of Rs 33 per litre compared to the state’s levy of Rs 20. In a situation of distress and panic, where people are losing jobs and businesses overnight, and where farmers are protesting for basic rights, isn’t it the duty of the state governments to take some load off? Filling up road pits, delivering promising speeches, and holding rallies won’t prevent burning a hole in people’s pockets. Relief is much needed.
Dhriti Anand, Ludhiana
Apropos of ‘Gati Shakti plan’, India has witnessed many reforms after Independence. Gati Shakti is a great initiative to reach the height of development. By making it available to corroborate interdepartmental projects on a single platform, this plan is going to be a milestone to resuscitate many department workforce and make liaison with one another, to execute the plan in a time-bound manner and reduce the logistic costs. The most important thing is that it would constitute panchayat-level plans. It will save time as well as taxpayers’ money, and will result in more development projects.
Prabhash kumar, Dharamsala
In the recently concluded ISSF Junior World Shooting Championship at Lima, the Indian team has done wonders. Not only has our country topped the medals tally, but also it has routed the mighty US. This is possibly a first in any international competition. Kudos to the youngsters who have performed this miracle. We need to build on this feat and prepare them to take on bigger challenges in future. They need to be suitably honoured and rewarded.
HARJAS BAINS, BASSI PATHANA
Apropos of ‘State varsities to get Pro- VCs now’; it is a political decision to adjust incompetent, superannuated cronies. The post would create an unnecessary burden on the exchequer without making any improvement in the quality of higher education and university administration. Unfortunately, the illusions of power that go with administrative positions have spread to the universities. There are few learned men in our seats of learning who do not yearn for any administrative status. And outside the universities, the hierarchical pattern, with the bureaucratic administrator at the apex, prevails in all areas of education. The VCs should be proud men who depart while they are still being pressed to stay. A university grows through new ideas and through interaction among academics, unhampered by thoughts of hierarchy. No true academic community can be other than democratic. Even the coveted post of VC has lost its sanctity and dignity due to undue political and bureaucratic interference.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
Ban pre-poll promises
Ahead of the elections in half a dozen states across the country, the Prime Minister, chief ministers, ministers and other MPs/MLAs have started taking the public for a ride by making promises of free electricity, loan waiver, distribution of laptops, etc. This practice is wrong. Some time back, the Punjab CM had also announced that those living within lal dora would be allotted land in their names. It is not even legal. There are several cases for this in various courts. How can they provide facilities they promise without providing budget for the same? The Election Commission and the SC should take notice of such announcements and ban them. Further, the PM should not be allowed for election rallies since he is meant for the country, not for one party alone.
SC Dhall, Zirakpur
The Performance Grading Index measuring the performance of states in school education places Punjab in Grade 1 with 929 points followed by Chandigarh with a score of 912. Haryana is behind with 862. Governance is a major area in evaluation. NEP-2020 has spoken enough about it. Haryana should lead with a necessary shift in the administrative paradigm. The head of a school has a significant role in governance. The leadership cell in SCERT should be strengthened to initiate induction courses and in-service training courses of longer duration in collaboration with NIEPA. Leadership in governance and management should be upgraded in pre-service teacher education courses. Other parameters should also be implemented.
S KUMAR, PANCHKULA
The so-called power crisis seems to be due to lack of coordination between the Centre and state power utilities, as the Central government has been repeatedly denying any coal or power shortage. The Centre should take command and handle it, as done in the past for oxygen cylinders and vaccination during the pandemic, so that consumers do not suffer. After all, we have an integrated national power grid.
NK SINGHAL, NOIDA
Our security forces have been facing a challenging task for long, with Pakistan relentlessly promoting cross-border terrorism as state policy. The Pakistan army is fighting a proxy war which is low cost, but more effective. We are still sticking to a defensive approach for countering threats. We fail to take a proactive and preemptive approach towards state-sponsored threat that is actually an open war. Our security forces must be provided with state-of-the-art weapons, drones and surveillance equipment to check infiltration across the LoC. There should be zero tolerance towards terrorism.
Deepak Mehra, by mail
Law not same for all
The Lakhimpur Kheri incident has exposed the mindset of those in power. Previously, we witnessed the Hathras incident, where a rape victim was murdered and the body cremated without the consent of her family. And now, peaceful protesters are trodden upon by a powerful person. Facts are clear but the justice process starts days later. Does this happen with the common man? Salman Khan allegedly ran over people under his car, but he couldn’t be proved guilty. Law should be the same for all, whether he is a king or a courtier.
SAROJ BANYAL, HAMIRPUR
Tracking pvt buses
Apropos of ‘Tracking system to cover private buses: Warring’, he deserves kudos for introducing the tracking system in state-owned buses and extending it to private buses in Punjab. I had to travel in an AC coach from Faridkot to Ludhiana. After Moga, the AC was switched off and the driver started plying the vehicle like a passenger bus. AC coaches of even PR/PUNBUS stop for a longer period and then drivers indulge in rash driving.
Upendra Sharma, by mail
Apropos of ‘Local goon Mehran under lens for selective killings’, our system was caught napping, both on the civil and defence fronts, which clearly indicates that everything was taken as a matter of routine, resulting in the loss of many lives. Meaningful intelligence inputs were found lacking. It is high time for the people sitting at the helm of affairs to introspect and shun the attitude ‘let it happen, then act’ and blame it on the neighbouring country. The security of the country and the safety of its citizens are first and foremost.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Villain of the world
Refer to ‘India-China impasse’, China has border/territorial disputes with many of its neighbouring countries, including India, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. The Dragon is responsible for the South China Sea crisis, emerging from conflicts with several countries. It is also embroiled in territorial disputes with India, resulting in casualties on both sides. The situation is still tense on the borders because China is resorting to hypocritical tactics despite bilateral talks on border disputes. Due to its policy of expansionism, China has become the biggest villain of the world.
RK Arora, Mohali
Apropos of ‘Out of coal, Goindwal Sahib power plant shuts’, coal and electricity consumption will be increasing at faster rates than generation from solar and wind energy in India. Electricity generation from coal energy involves a large amount of coal burning and exponential wastage of energy. It also causes pollution. To reduce consumption, the government should supply power by metering every consumer and all electricity subsidies should be in cash by DBT without linking to individual consumption, including water supply to agriculture. About 30% consumption can be saved by DBT.
Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula
State governments say that the situation created by coal shortage is critical (‘Ramping up supply to build enough coal stock: Ministry’). Punjab had to buy 1,500 MW of power at a whopping Rs 14.62 per unit. The Power Ministry says there is no coal shortage. The real problem lies in the transportation of coal daily as freight trains move at slow speed. The long-term solution lies in creating alternative sources of power generation to replace the ageing and far-off thermal power stations (from coalfields). A quick alternative source of power could be to set up solar plants of equivalent capacities in Rajasthan and rooftop panels in institutional, commercial and factory buildings. Developing hydropower in hill states and the Brahmaputra river valley will help. This valley has the potential to develop 1 lakh MW.
RN Malik, Gurugram
How will farm laws help?
Analysing the new farm laws, one wonders how these are going to help. Mandis are not going to be closed down and direct sales will be there in case there is none, like in Bihar. The proposed contract law is a suggested procedure which is not binding. Storage facilities were being built since 2007 and additional ones by corporate houses will not cause any hoarding as the government holds enough to take care of it. The government should answer what was the purpose of enacting these laws, except for one-upmanship vis-a-vis the earlier government which could not do so due to lack of numbers. Except for numerous deaths, causing harassment to common people, and developing hostility towards trade and industry, it has achieved nothing. The solution lies in guidelines and leaving it to the states to alter, amend, implement or reject them.
Col PK Kapoor (retd), by mail
Apropos of ‘Losing sight of blessings’, robust health is the greatest gift of God. Wealth and material possessions lose their meaning in the absence of this vital gift. Material possessions do not bring lasting peace and happiness, though they do make life a little easy. We need to count our blessings instead of cribbing about what we do not have. Having a positive mindset, even in the face of adversity, works better for early healing. Sooner this realisation dawns, the better it would be for all.
RAVI SHARMA, DHARIWAL
Plastic is one of the greatest products in our hands. Its usage and versatility cannot be denied. Banning polythene bags will not be practical. We should find ways to recycle it. The best solution is to mix plastic waste with bitumen to use it for surfacing roads. This will improve the life of roads. The anti-litter law for the disposal of plastic waste should be enforced. Plastic waste should be collected periodically. Ragpickers are already playing a key role. Give them better incentives.
Sateesh Dadwal, Chandigarh
A perennially sick airline has returned to its roots and is waiting to be nursed back to good health by its founders (‘Tatas to pilot Air India’). The highlight is the pragmatism shown by the government. Opposition to privatisation is often from the employees, but here a sensible deal seems to have been struck. While the sale of Air India is a boost to the disinvestment drive, whether the investment, at a time when the aviation sector is in the doldrums, makes a sound business sense only time will tell. Air India was the toughest entity to privatise. Now that this milestone has been crossed, the government must press the accelerator on other PSEs like the BPCL.
LAL SINGH, Amritsar
For the Tatas, nothing can be a greater delight than bringing back the debt-ridden, yet the nation’s prestigious air carrier into its fold (‘Air India back with Tatas after 68 years’). It is said Tata group employees used to complain that JRD Tata spent more time worrying about Air India than the Tata group when he was heading both entities. Nevertheless, they knew that it was a labour of love for him. While the AI’s homecoming is a moment of exuberance, it remains to be seen how the Tatas are going to chart the future of their airline business, given the fact that the aviation industry, which is paralysed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, is still to recover. From having said ‘goodbye’ to AI 68 years ago, the Tatas have made a ‘good-buy’ of the same now.
RANGANATHAN SIVAKUMAR, Chennai
More in line
Apropos of ‘Tatas to pilot Air India’, though it is unfortunate to see the ‘Maharaja’ bid us goodbye after so many years of service, it was important for the government to sell it off as it was reeling under heavy losses, mainly due to mismanagement and exorbitant overheads. The government should also sell off other loss-making PSUs like BPCL, CCI, SCI and THDCIL and invest the amount in important areas like medical infrastructure and industrial development.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
The void stays
In reference to ‘A thread of love through generations’; grandparents are a blessing. Their life teachings, sense of security and support, no matter how old they are, are indispensable. Their comforting words are a balm and all that they expect is love. With grandparents around, young parents are stress-free when they leave for their jobs. The surprise snacks, gifts and feasts prepared by them during vacations are special. A void is created by their passing away and is felt for a long time by their grandchildren.
Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala
The dwindling coal in thermal plants has threatened our lives with power cuts and blackout. Rather than tackling the current crisis, the government is blaming its predecessors. Instead of an erratic free supply of electricity, the people need sustainable, cheap and clean energy. The fast penetration of renewal resources in power production is needed. However, the infrastructure for these energy resources is not adequate to quickly converge them with the grid. The obsolete methods of determining electricity generation cause inaccurate demand predictions. Electricity is an essential commodity for the success of any nation. The government should focus on it.
Varinder pal Singh, by mail
There is coal shortage in thermal plants. The officers concerned should be held accountable for it. Managing coal stock is the responsibility of the electricity board and the power minister. They should step down if they can’t manage to supply electricity to consumers.
IPS Saini, Patiala
The Lakhimpur Kheri incident should be condemned in strong words and the culprits must be given the harshest punishment. Unfortunately, we have chosen a PM who is setting a record of sorts with his apathetic attitude to incidents that are bound to shame humanity. His deafening silence is ominous. He has not spoken a single word of condolence. He has shown that he does not possess an iota of empathy. Surely, he will use this incident in future and juggle words to twist them to his advantage but the incident warranted that he be forthcoming. The Supreme Court has been vocal on the ways of the government. We hope that our PM too will be equally vocal in his stand on the tragic incident in the days ahead.
Amit Kumar, Mohali
Joy of sharing
Apropos of ‘Why we share personal stories in public spaces’ (Spectrum), sharing comes naturally to humans. It is a universal instinct and makes life worth living. Small acts of sharing hold the potential to turn a whole life around. It also makes one feel positive about oneself. Truly said, joy multiplies when shared and grief diminishes.
KAPIl SHARMA, KAITHAL
APROPOS of ‘Medieval barbarism’, Indian democracy has been brought to a crossroads by our politicians, who don’t care two hoots for the law of the land, ethics of public life and sentiments of people. Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra, was finally arrested almost a week after the horrific incident. The minister has not been told to resign, and surprisingly, he was the chief guest at a jail reform function, addressing prisoners. People’s faith in democracy has been shaken. There is not much difference between the governance of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Talibanised democracy of India. The nation can only look up to the Supreme Court to bring the culprits to book.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
All eyes on CJI, PM
The onus is on the CJI and the PM to ensure justice is done (‘Medieval barbarism’; Nous Indica). The doctrine of ‘res ipsa loquitur’ applies. Given the perplexing procedural wrangles, the common man is groaning under the mounting disorder. There is no greater tyranny than one perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice. It is imperative that there is no impediment to justice. Lawmakers wielding power blatantly subvert law and the system remains helplessly dormant. Justice demands that the Union Minister of State, whose son faces charges under Section 302 of the IPC, is divested of his portfolio to ensure a fair investigation.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Heed ‘raj dharma’
The UP Police took their time before summoning and then arresting the main suspect, Ashish Mishra, son of MoS Ajay Mishra whose vehicle was involved in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. The senior Mishra is shielding his son despite clear evidence. He is also involved in an old murder case, which is awaiting HC verdict. Lawmakers need to learn about ‘raj dharma’, as enunciated by the late PM Vajpayee.
Sqn Ldr KK Sharma (retd), Nangal
‘Medieval barbarism’ is a telling commentary on the tragic incident at Lakhimpur Kheri. The ghastly attack deserves to be condemned vehemently. The BJP government claims to be a party with a difference. It should sack the minister concerned so as not to let the investigation be influenced by his being in power. Rather, his son and others should be kept behind bars, sending out the message of fairness and objectivity.
Chaman Arora, Ferozepur City
Refer to ‘Air India back with Tatas after 68 years’; the repossession of India’s largest airlines by the Tatas is a tribute to the Tata legacy of excellence in business and commerce. JRD Tata’s vision and business acumen, based on commercial viability and national interests, was not in consonance with the notion of pseudo public welfare of the post-Independence leadership of the country. But the times have shown both sides of the coin. It is now hoped that the ‘Maharaja’ will regain its glory in international skies and will be a harbinger of better tidings in the country’s upward surge in the economic skies.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Killings in the Valley
Five murders in three days in Kashmir beg the question: what was the fault of those people (‘Teachers lined up, 2 of them shot’)? The answer: their religion. Terrorists are targeting those who did not give up their land even in at the height of militancy. Even the Nadimarg massacre could not break the spirit of these people. Over the past few days, Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and non-Kashmiri Hindus are being selectively targeted. There is an atmosphere of panic among the people. The killings have raised questions on the administration of the state police.
Pulkit Jain, Banur
Circle of life
Reference to ‘A thread of love through generations’; grandparents teach and pass on life skills effortlessly. We realise our fortune of having lived with our grandparents much later. By their labour of love, they carry the thread of pedagogy through generations. Life, like history, seems to repeat itself. The child begins his life on the crib, grabs a milk bottle, blabbers, wears a bib, takes baby steps, uses diapers, loses teeth, struggles with laces and is possessive about prized possessions. The same cycle is repeated when grandpa returns to bed during the last lap of his life’s race.
TVA RAM, Gurugram
Exit of Punjab Kings
The exit of Punjab Kings from the IPL playoff this season was a foregone conclusion due to many factors. They have to revise their strategy and replace the non-performers. They lost some matches due to their own mistakes. We cannot expect lethargy from players on the field in T20 matches. KL Rahul should give up wicketkeeping and concentrate only on batting and captaincy.
Manjit Singh, LUDHIANA
PM Modi is very active on social media and is particular about conveying his greetings to the public on social, cultural and national festivals, as he did on the beginning of the Navratras. He doesn’t slip to express his elation on the victory of our sportspersons and is also quick to condole the demise of a public personality. Recent example being his kind words on the death of veteran actor Arvind Trivedi, which shows compassion. It is expected of an elected head. But strangely, Modi is conspicuous by his silence when hair-raising incidents of violence shake the secular fabric of the nation, whether it happens in UP, Delhi, West Bengal or Kashmir. Does he wait for the chance to speak about these incidents at election rallies, putting all blame on the Opposition? A common man is baffled by his indifference to such ghastly tragedies.
Sadhna Saini, by mail
Refer to ‘Targeted killings in Valley’; the cold-blooded killings of civilians in Srinagar is wrenching. The message of terrorists is clear: either leave the Valley or succumb to bullets. As usual, the government machinery has cited Pakistan’s handiwork in dastardly killings of innocent persons. Will doing that inspire confidence in the minority community? This also demonstrates that heavy deployment of the armed forces is not deterring terrorists, who are having a free run. Restoring normalcy in Kashmir seems intractable. The abrogation of Article 370 is not yielding dividends. By hounding the local mainstream parties, the Centre has lost their confidence and cooperation. It should mend its flawed strategy.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Train civil society
The recent targeted killings in the Valley are indicative of the lack of preparedness on the part of our political leadership and the security forces. Inadequacy of intelligence infrastructure is again under the lens. It is inexplicable that terrorists could strike in well-populated old localities with such impunity and regularity. Even the security grid of the Army, CRPF and police has failed to prevent the killings. Something radical will have to be done. Civil society will have to be trained even as the security forces get their act together. In the meanwhile, the EC and the Supreme Court must prohibit political parties from mentioning these incidents during poll campaigns.
Gursharan Bedi, by mail
Targeted killings of innocent people in the Valley are a serious concern. Killing people who have nothing to do with policy formulation shows the frustration of terrorist groups and their patrons over the abrogation of Article 370. Picking out certain communities will definitely lead to communal disharmony and may lead to their exodus. Since the terrorists know their surroundings and live among locals, it is challenging for the security forces to trace them. The Valley was known for its vibrant culture and peace. Pakistan-sponsored terrorism wants to damage this harmony, but they will never succeed.
Prabhash kumar, Dharamsala
Global tax reforms
Refer to ‘Plug loopholes in law to check tax evasion’; the leaked Pandora Papers unveil how the world’s ultra-rich conceal their fortunes from the tax authorities. Routing funds through tax havens involves operating within the letter, but not following the spirit of the law. Using a complex network of shell companies to move around money and assets is the perfect way to hide ill-gotten gains. There is need for global tax reforms in determination of residential status, cross-border sharing of spontaneous exchange of information, reporting of foreign assets, review of tax treaties, implementation of international standards on tax transparency, etc. There should be global minimum tax rate and norms for dealing with this menace.
Sagar Gambhir, Ludhiana
Apropos of ‘Sidhu, MLAs head to Lakhimpur after detention’, it is an irony that ministers, an MP and several MLAs of Punjab went to ‘disturb’ the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. Are they on leave? Sidhu’s tantrums are known to all. Salaries and perks of politicians are paid out of public money. They are answerable to the people. They should shun such excursions and gimmicks.
Upendra Sharma, Ludhiana
Apropos of ‘Farm fires are back’, looking at the prevailing scenario, it seems difficult, if not impossible, to stop this adamant and politicised farming community from burning paddy stubble. No amount of fine or punishment can be a deterrent for them. Farmers understand their vote power. No political party would dare to take any action. It is an annual feature and we don’t have any option but to bear it.
RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA
The front-page editorial ‘Mowing down protest’ is a timely reminder to the government to take cognisance of the viral video clip. The government ought to come out of the denial mode and arrest the culprits. Our politicians are averse to criticism. Ruling politicians are surrounded by sycophants and are cut off from ground reality. They are trying to tar all the protesting farmers with the same brush and by doing so they are alienating the farming community. The guilty in the case should be brought to book immediately. Law ought to be equal for all.
Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur
Talk to farmers
The Kirti Kisan Forum raises its voice against the inaction of the UP government and the silence of the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. We endorse the view in the front-page editorial that the perpetrators of this ghastly crime should be arrested forthwith. The forum hopes that good sense would prevail over the government and that it engages the farmers in a meaningful dialogue to resolve the issue in a democratic manner.
SS Boparai, Chandigarh
Will action be taken?
The Lakhimpur Kheri incident is highly condemnable. Precious lives were lost. The whole act needs to be probed and the culprits should be brought to book. Is this democracy? The present dispensation wants to silence every voice that will criticise it. Prompt action should be taken and justice should prevail. But hope is bleak.
Manjit Singh, Ludhiana
Mundra drug haul
The apparent bias towards drug addicts and dealers in the Mumbai cruise rave party, simply because one of the accused is the son of a celebrity, is baffling (‘Catch the big fish’). All are equal before the law. The Mundra port drug haul did not get due attention either by the media or the public or the government simply because it is a blind case. But in the cruise rave party case, culprits have been caught red-handed on the basis of a tip-off. No doubt, the port haul case should be investigated with similar zeal, but since it is a blind case, it would take time to crack it. The NIA has already taken over the case. But yes, there should be zero tolerance in all drug cases.
AK Sharma, Chandigarh
Bell the cat
Apropos of ‘Catch the big fish’, the cruise case has been highlighted in such a manipulated way so as to deflect attention from the 3,000-kg heroin seizure at the Mundra port. Trafficking of such a huge quantity of a banned drug, that too through the port of a politically favoured businessman, has put a question mark on the government. Who will bell the cat, that also a pet cat? What a shame on our security and intelligence forces that they give priority to a case in which barely 50-gm drugs were seized! God save this nation from modern East India companies.
Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali
Mental health of children
According to a survey of thousands of children in 21 countries, youngsters aged 15 to 24 are passing through depression. In India, one among seven children is suffering from depression. It is a serious problem. The pandemic has adversely affected our lives, especially those of children. Schools remained closed and children were imprisoned in homes. They had no physically activity. Parents must counsel their children. Also, children need to change their lifestyle. They should follow a routine and remain busy in reading and physical activities.
Narendra Sharma, Joginder Nagar
Reference to the article ‘Seize the moment’; China and Pakistan have been conniving with each other to create hurdles in the growth and development of India. And they will continue to do so, as it is their state policy. There are elements in various sectors like commerce, IT, trade and even in political circles that are giving support to China’s designs. They need to be identified and isolated. India should enhance cooperation with friendly neighbours for regional peace and at the international level to contain China and Pakistan. Only then will India be stable and strong. Common citizens must contribute in whatever way they can to strengthen our nation, so that it can continue the unhindered march on the path of prosperity.
Subhash Vaid, New Delhi
Reference to ‘Pact on agri-tech inked with Maha’; farmers with small landholdings have been facing economic as well as technological stress for long. Diversification is seen as a feasible option to enhance soil productivity and maintain a decent income for farmers. There is a hope that this agreement might bring the farmers good returns, and will get implemented without any trace of corruption and greed. The farmers are the backbone of our country, and yet, they are still fighting for quality living. The government should prioritise the development of farmers and farm-related activities.
Dhriti Anand, Ludhiana
The Lakhimpur Kheri incident is reprehensible (‘Mowing down protest’). Opposition parties are fishing in troubled waters and striving to draw maximum political mileage. Politicians are shedding crocodile tears. This issue shall also blow over with time like the floating corpses in the Ganga. The Yogi government is notorious for extra-judicial killings, enacting regressive laws to create communal disharmony, mishandling of the pandemic and no perceptible and tangible development in the state. The Opposition has so far been a mute spectator and could not close ranks to take on the Yogi government. It needed a Lakhimpur-type macabre incident to corner the current dispensation. Congress scions are likely to go on a holiday after the clamour. The Opposition should not be selective but consistent.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Punish the guilty
The government should shed the obsession of a megalomaniac bent upon crushing the voice of the people who, as per the Constitution, are citizens of a federal republic and not the subjects of a dictatorial regime. If the Centre fails to take this incident seriously and does not punish the culprits, it will give rise to anarchy. Self-delusion of the government seems to have been born out of the majority in Parliament. The voice of a weak and divided Opposition goes unheard. The survival of the government will be at stake if it does not mend its way.
Col Kuldip S Grewal (Retd)
PM must apologise
If speaking the truth is called sedition, let it be so. Poor and innocent people are murdered in broad daylight and the government is fabricating things, whereas everything is clearly seen in the video gone viral. What else is needed to punish the culprits? Can money bring back the loved ones? The accused should be behind bars without any delay. The PM must talk to the agitating farmers to end the stir and apologise to the nation. We want justice.
Harkawal Jeet Kaur, Mohali
Like Jallianwala Bagh
It sometimes arouses suspicion — are we really living in our own independent country or under subjugation to tyrannical medieval or colonial rulers? What transpired at Lakhimpur Kheri appeared pre-meditated and is a throwback to the Jallianwala Bagh incident. The gruesome incident reflects the poisoned, polluted and criminal mindset of the malefactors, regardless of the exalted offices they occupy. If we take pride in being citizens of a country that talks of being ‘vishwaguru’, certainly the Lakhimpur spectacle does not bode well for our democracy and civilisation.
EPSA Prashar, Dharamsala
Equality before law
Apropos of ‘Mowing down protest’; the sentence, “Ita fiat esto; we remain yours seditiously” speaks volumes of the resolve to be a votary of fair play and justice, calling a spade a spade. Unfortunately, the needless escalation of violence in Lakhimpur Kheri raises many searching questions at the polity’s dereliction of its duties and responsibilities to honour as well as protect the Constitution, the law of the land, democratic norms and time-honoured values. The moot question remains if everyone is equal before the law? Silence on the issue and inability to pinpoint the accused and ensure justice to the victims and those killed will only add to the already tense situation.
PK Sharma, Barnala
Apropos of ‘Seychelles connection’, it is a matter of concern that a senior Army officer’s name figures in the Seychelles offshore accounts. Tax havens have been used for quite some time to open offshore accounts for laundering ill-gotten gains. Corrupt bureaucrats and politicians have used tax havens like Seychelles in view of its ‘very favourable’ treatment of offshore companies. India needs to curb this tax evasion by investigating the information provided in these papers. This can act as a major deterrent to the accumulation and concealment of wealth. Coordinated efforts of the income tax department, the ED, RBI and the financial intelligence unit would be worthwhile to expedite the investigation.
Gurpreet Singh, Mohali
In education business
Refer to ‘Churning in tech education’; private colleges have mushroomed in the past two decades only for minting money. The owners are businessmen not social workers, and are least worried about quality education. Thousands of third-division engineers are doing menial jobs. These colleges have ruined the value of engineers. The directorates of higher education and universities should think before affiliating with such institutions.
Ravinder kwatra, Shahabad Markanda
Refer to ‘Lakhimpur Kheri violence’; the death of eight people, four of whom were mowed down by a vehicle that was part of the convoy of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra marks an escalation of violence in a movement that has tried to remain peaceful. The incident has worsened the chances of a rapprochement between the farmers protesting against the farm laws and the Union government. There has been little headway since January this year. The distrust between the farmer unions and the government remained high, with the farmers refusing to budge from their maximalist position seeking a repeal of the three laws passed last year. A court-appointed committee submitted its report on the laws but it is yet to be made public. The UP government must impartially investigate the incident but it is also imperative for the Centre to bridge the trust deficit by restarting talks with the farmer unions.
SS Paul, Chakdaha (Nadia)
SC poser to farmers
Apropos of ‘Is protest allowed when matter is sub judice? SC to examine’; the observation of the top court of the country is a legitimate question to the protesting farmers. Why protest when the legislation is not in force at all is a right poser. The adamant attitude in denying free movement on highways to citizens and ruining the business and property of the common man by indulging in violence is not going to help the andolan in any way. On the contrary, it has lost public sympathy in a big way. Political ambitions of the protesting farmers are a big hurdle in the way of achieving their goal.
Ashok Kumar, by mail
Tone down rhetoric
The Lakhimpur Kheri tragedy is the result of escalation of provocative rhetoric in recent weeks. The strategy of the farm unions of agitating in Delhi/UP and the social boycott of BJP leaders leaves the Centre with one option, of repealing the farm laws. But the first approach must be to eschew inflammatory statements like those from Haryana CM ML Khattar and MoS Ajay Mishra. Antagonistic rhetoric allows farm leaders to don the mantle of victims. The BJP government’s response seems to be of letting the issue fester and trying to tire out the protesters, while actively seeking to delegitimise them by labelling them anti-national. But a standoff is dangerous with both UP and Punjab slated to go to polls.
SK Singh, by email
The death of eight persons at Lakhimpur Kheri is unfortunate. It is one of the severe outcomes of the farmers’ agitation next to the Republic Day protest in Delhi this year. The nation has seen great loss to life and property due to the protests over farm laws. The government ought to look after the welfare of not only the farmers but the public in general. On the other hand, the farmers should also see that the Supreme Court stays the laws and they are not in force. The general public should not be inconvenienced by dharnas?
R Kwatra, Shahabad Markanda
Tough times for Cong
The handling of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident by the UP government has dented the administrative abilities of the UP CM. His popularity has certainly nose-dived. It is not only the BJP, but also the other political parties, which are now placed in a difficult situation. Because of the internal strife
within the Congress, the party has already taken a severe beating in Punjab. In other states too, they are not far behind from witnessing a similar fate if the situation is allowed to drift.
SPS Narang, Dwarka
Posting of officers
It is the practice in India that if a chief minister is not happy with any bureaucrat, then he/she is given an insignificant assignment even if there is no requirement for posting such an officer there. In most of the cases, the officers are superseded by the juniors, and in such cases, the senior officers are designated equal to their juniors. In the recent case in Punjab, the present chief secretary has superseded seven seniors and all have been given the rank of chief secretary. Even when there is no requirement of posting senior officers to such posts, it is done. In bureaucratic parlance, it is called a punishment posting.
Sohan Lal Bhumbak, Chandigarh
The approach road to Bhamian Kalan village in Ludhiana district is in a bad condition. Neither the residents nor the local shopkeepers protest. Local political leaders also have failed to raise the issue or visit the place, resulting in hardships for the residents.
Ravinder Dhand, by mail
In order to consolidate their vote bank, political parties offer free electricity, water and loan waivers, besides other freebies. Is it not tantamount to bribing the voters? You cannot induce any voter to cast ballot in your favour by doing so. The taxpayers are fed up with all this. Taxpayers want their hard-earned money not to be used to allure the voters by offering such freebies. Public money must be used for the welfare of the people without consideration of caste, creed, community or religion.
RK Arora, Jharmari (Mohali)
The resignation offer of PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu reflects poorly on the party high command. The Punjab mess has now evolved to a stage where it’s no longer about the ineptitude of the Congress leadership. The problem is more serious than is apparent and it’s about the shortcomings of the entire political process in a border state which has suffered on account of secessionist violence. The outsized role played by Navjot Sidhu in Punjab, and the free rein apparently given to him by the party high command seems to have backfired. The political class should be mindful of the risks at the current juncture and tailor messages keeping in mind the seriousness of the situation.
EL Singh, by mail
Air Force Day
The Air Force Day on October 8 has a special significance this year. The IAF is set to receive 56 new transport planes from Airbus, 16 in flyaway condition and 40 to be manufactured in India, to replace the ageing Avros. The Air Force also plans to procure another 350 aircraft, over the next two decades, many from the local industry, including 83 Tejas fighter jets built by HAL. A medium-range surface-to-air missile system developed by the DRDO in collaboration with Israel Aerospace has just been inducted. A push for indigenous products is clearly visible. And, by a strange coincidence, the three service chiefs, Gen Naravane, Admiral Nijjer and Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria, who retired on September 30, besides being NDA course mates, are all sons of IAF officers. This is a matter of pride. Let us celebrate this Air Force Day with greater fervour and enthusiasm.
Wg Cdr CL Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar
After the Swachchh Bharat and Clean Ganga missions, the PM launching flagship schemes looks better only on paper. Cities and towns are as dirty as before. The government and leaders are more interested in elections, letting down each other and covering up their political failure. It will spell disaster if nature is damaged, environment is not protected and rejuvenated , pollution is not controlled and garbage managed properly.
Capt Amar Jeet, Greater Mohali
The alleged statement made by the CM of Haryana, ML Khattar, inciting the BJP’s Kisan Morcha workers to pick up sticks to chase away the protesting farmers is extremely irresponsible, provocative, puerile and condemnable in the strongest terms. It does not behove the CM of a state to take recourse to such language. Earlier, the SDM of Karnal was in the news for inciting the cops to take action against the protestors. Senior leaders and officers should be more responsible and circumspect in their speech and action.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
The huge win of Mamata Banerjee from the Bhabanipur Assembly seat is immensely satisfying. It has helped her retain the status of currently being the only woman CM of any state in India. But this win makes us ponder over the opportunities available for them. We say that the Constitution gives equal rights to men and women. But does our society give equal opportunities to women? Political parties must field women as chief ministerial candidates and end this gender bias when it comes to politics.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Gandhi and Shastri
Apropos of ‘Differences amid togetherness’ (Spectrum); it wouldn’t be an understatement if we call Mahatma Gandhi the sole maker of the Indian national movement. His stature was largely confirmed by his successful non-violent movement against the British rule in India. But what makes him so relevant even today is his political legacy along with his deep concern for the moral growth of the human race. Politics and spirituality went hand in hand for Gandhi. But sad to say, we seldom talk of the creator of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ slogan, Lal Bahadur Shastri, who shares his birthday with Gandhi. His contribution must also be held in high esteem along with that of Gandhi.
Kapil Sharma, by mail
The policy of reciprocity in quarantine for flyers from the UK is an example of not applying the mind in policy formulation which is becoming all-pervasive in government circles these days . Will it not be highly discriminatory when the UK nationals will be segregated for quarantine from the Indian nationals on arrival ? In that case, this tit for tat will make a mockery of India in the international arena and cause unnecessary wrinkles in the India-UK relations. The policy must be withdrawn immediately.
Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali
SC to farmers
The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the farmers over blocking of roads, resulting in inconvenience to the public. The top court also made the comment that citizens have a right to move freely. The farmers have obstructed the movement of vehicles carrying defence personnel and heckled them, stopped trains, blocked highways and then say that their protests are peaceful. The bench wanted to know whether they are protesting against the judicial system, when the matter is already sub judice in the court and the implementation of the laws have been put on hold for a year and half by the SC in January this year to bring the farmers to the negotiating table.
Abhash Simba, Panchkula
Inconvenience to people
It is understandable that the farmers have the right to protest against the laws they perceive as harmful to them. At the same time, the common man also has the right to free movement. There may be many who need to travel to Delhi-NCR for treatment, sickness of some dear ones or the death of close relatives. One can understand the frustration, helplessness and dejection a person may face during such a situation. The government, farmers, common citizens and courts, all are responsible to ensure that the rights of individuals should be equally protected, otherwise it will lead to anarchy.
Ashwani Bakhshi, by mail
Seven years after launching his government’s key programme, PM Modi has announced the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), with a fresh promise to make India’s cities clean. The current model of issuing mega contracts to big corporations — as against decentralised community-level operations has left waste segregation at source a non-starter. On sanitation, the claim of exceeding the targets for household, community and public toilets is far from reality as without water connections, many of them are unusable. State and municipal governments, which do the heavy lifting on waste and sanitation issues, should work to increase community ownership of the system. Also, the ambition of achieving 100% tap water supply in about 4,700 urban local bodies and sewerage in 500 AMRUT cities depends on making good public housing accessible to millions of people.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
Apropos of the editorial, ‘Competitive freebies’, the political parties trying to entice the voters in Punjab ahead of the 2022 state elections is dismal. All parties know the fiscal position of the state well. Wherefrom will this money pour in? The politicians do not delineate this ever. These populist announcements in the state’s existing fluid fiscal position are also a big dampener for fresh industrial entrepreneurship in Punjab which is being allured by other states to invest there.
Brij B Goyal, Ludhiana
The AUKUS alliance in the Indo-Pacific for security in the region will be a landmark partnership for many reasons. In the aftermath of the Afghanistan rout, it is a powerful and strong signal from the US that it is still in the game, which is bound to rattle China. For India, Australia’s willingness to take on the role of the US/UK’s sword arm in the region is a welcome development to contain China.
PL Singh, by email
Simplicity for leaders
October 2 is celebrated to honour the memory of our great leaders MK Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri who led people by their personal standards of high orders. They preached what they practiced. Now, it is high time for our leaders from all walks of life to practice in their life what they preach or expect from the people. Gestures of simplicity will save crores, which in turn, can be utilised for improving healthcare infrastructure. Such initiatives would be a befitting tribute to these great leaders.
Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra
The presence of CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s son during his meeting with high-ranking police officials in Chandigarh was in bad taste, as it violated the dignity and protocol of the august office (‘Process on to trim CM’s security’). It can be seen as yet another attempt at political grooming to perpetuate dynastic rule which has become a recurring paradox of India’s political scenario over the decades. Lured by power and fame, children of politicians make a foray into politics to often adversely impact the functioning of the government. Radical change in the minds of voters and party practices can insulate politics from dynastic ambitions and promote the egalitarian essence of our vibrant democracy. Rather than promoting dynastic formation, Channi should focus on resolving dissensions within the PPCC and address the core problems confronting the state.
Harmohit Singh, Hoshiarpur
Refer to ‘Captain meets Shah’; during discussions at the meeting, Capt Amarinder Singh pressed for the repeal of the contentious farm laws to end the agitation of farmers. The recent political developments in Punjab could be an opportunity for the BJP as well as Amarinder. At present, the BJP has no stronghold in Punjab. Amarinder is an experienced politician and will not join the BJP, as he will invite the wrath of farmers. But if the BJP repeals the laws, the people of Punjab will welcome the alliance with open arms. The Amarinder-BJP alliance can be a game changer.
HMS NAGRA, FARIDABAD
Taking people for a ride
Apropos of ‘Cabinet clears the power dues of defaulters’, I think the people who pays power bills on time are fools. Politicians, again and again, one way or another, keep giving a clear-cut message that they have been chosen by fools. Will politicians give Rs 1,200 crore from their pocket, or will it come from the pocket of the people who are already paying the bills?
Dhiraj Kumar, Nabha
Hunt for power
We have a wrong notion that some of our leaders are not power hungry and are better than the others in terms of morals and ethics. Nobody is a saint in politics now. The revolting way in which the current Punjab episode unfolded should be an eye-opener. Indian politics is no more driven by ideology but by political opportunism. Whenever their self interest is hit, they show their true colours. The role model type politicians vanished long ago. Majority of politicians are for power and pelf rather than serving the people. We need to bring in a system of fixing accountability. Our people and media will have to build pressure against wrongdoings, if they want good governance.
K Kumar, Panchkula
Shoes too big to fill
Refer to ‘Kairon, the unhailed hero of Punjab’; perhaps no political leader in post-Kairon era can match his stature. The visionary leader was instrumental in bringing the best medical fraternity in the PGI and was also at the forefront to gift Panjab University with Dr AC Joshi. Kairon had passion to select and retain the best talent in reputed institutions. Once, when the PGI reported to him that Dr BN Aikat, a pathologist of international repute, was planning to quit, Kairon immediately invited him to his office and convinced him to stay on his own terms. Kairon was personally present at the Secretariat entrance to receive Dr Aikat.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Building on hills
Refer to ‘Defying building bylaws’; it is harrowing to read about the collapse of a seven-storey building at Ghora Chowki near Shimla. The collapse triggered panic among residents in the vicinity as a large number of multi-storey buildings have come up in the fragile hill. As the popular name of the hill ‘Kachi Ghati’ suggests that it is fragile in nature, then how such buildings were allowed to come up? Officers and contractors seem to be hand in glove with each other. No building bylaws are followed in the area, thereby putting the lives of the residents at risk. The erring officials and contractors must be booked. It is time that we should learn a lesson and heed to the warning bells which are ringing loudly otherwise the results would be catastrophic.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
It is surprising that banks are bringing down interest rates on loans in all categories, but interest on deposits and FDs remain unchanged at the bottom level. The banks must increase the interest rates on FDs and savings accounts as prices of everything have increased manifold. Salaries, pensions and wages of government staff increased, but the pension for bank staff has not been changed for the past 26 years. It seems like a betrayal of bank pensioners by trade unions and the Indian banks association and the Ministry of Finance.
SC DHALL, ZIRAKPUR
Refer to ‘Punjab Congress tangle’; the Congress has landed itself in a difficult situation. If Navjot Singh Sidhu comes back to his position on his terms, the party would be seen as weak and appeasing a leader of unreliable nature and dubious loyalty, who put himself above the party. If he goes his way, the gamble the party made on him, sacrificing a leader of long standing, would have failed at a crucial time. All the caste balancing and calculations that went into the new arrangement would also go haywire. Sidhu’s revolt is a slap for the party high command which practically is the combination of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi whose moral and political claim to leadership and judgement of men and matters will again be questioned.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
The present situation in the state is the doing of the Congress high command. Things were going on smoothly in the tenure of Capt Amarinder Singh until Navjot Sidhu was made president of the state Congress. His ultimate dream is to be CM. The high command should have called him with a list of legislators supporting him. But this did not happen. On assuming charge, Sidhu started interfering in the day-to-day working, hampering government work. The image of the Congress has taken a beating, with elections a few months away. The crisis should be resolved at the earliest otherwise the party that ruled the Centre for over 54 years will become extinct due to infighting.
Rupinder Vir Singh, Ludhiana
It has been rightly pointed out in ‘Punjab Congress tangle’ that the party high command failed to understand the political ground realties of Punjab. The team of Capt Amarinder Singh and associates, instrumental in winning nine of the 13 Lok Sabha seats, and almost 90 per cent of the local bodies elections, was discarded and humiliated. The chances of the Congress were bright, but the poor handling of the state affairs has made the political situation uncertain. The ground workers are in a dilemma over the mess prevailing in the party. Even a senior Congress leader termed the situation as advantage Pakistan and the ISI. The Captain has the capability to pull the party out of the created mess and win the election. The high command still has time to make peace and steer the party out of this mire.
GS MANN, NAYA NANGAL
Tainted leaders back
Apropos of ‘Why take tainted leaders, asks Sidhu’; not just Sidhu, but every right-thinking person of Punjab asks this loud and clear from CM Channi and the Congress high command why tainted leaders and officials are being inducted again into governance? With what face will the party go to people and ask for votes? Channi is trying to extinguish fire with fire. The high command seems unconcerned to sort out the issue. For the betterment of Punjab, the high command must intervene and respect the sentiments of people and remove all newly appointed tainted people and bring Sidhu back in action.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
The day the Congress inducted Navjot Sidhu into the party, it committed harakiri and the fall of the Punjab Congress began. The high command is now in a catch-22 situation. The Congress had failed to read his antecedents of being a temperamental prima donna even while he was in the BJP. Sidhu must know that politics is different from a cricket pitch and theatrical skills. The issue of divesting corrupt politicians of their portfolios in the new Cabinet by CM Channi could have been taken up with the party high command and settled. Also, the unceremonious exit of Amarinder Singh could have been better handled. He could have been elevated to the party’s organisational setup. The Captain is a leader to reckon with. Sidhu has queered the Congress pitch much before the 2022 elections.
EPSA PRASHAR, Dharamsala
When the sailor himself is bent upon making a ship sink, nobody can save it. When immature leadership takes decisions without thinking of the pros and cons, the results are suicidal. The humiliating exit of Capt Amarinder Singh at a time when the elections are round the corner and a comfortable win had been predicted by poll pundits, why was a change in leadership effected? The Congress, unfortunately, has been reduced to a regional party around the Gandhi pariwar. Punjab is burning as a consequence of the ulterior motives of small leaders.
Deepak mehra, by mail
Blowback to Congress
CM Channi may be a gentleman, but what was the logic to disturb the present status quo is beyond comprehension, particularly when the elections are round the corner? All this shows lack of far-sightedness and maturity on the part of the central leadership, for which it may have to pay a heavy price at the hustings. It should have tested the waters before plunging into it.
Maheshwer Sharma, by mail