Letters to the editor
The Centre has claimed that the new farm legislation will free farmers from the arhtiyas, but has failed to explain how it will prevent the farmers from being exploited by big corporates, who have been taking over one sector after the other under NDA rule. The fight to retain the APMC, despite its shortcomings, is also a fight to extract a commitment from the government on maintaining state support to the agriculture sector. With government investment in agriculture declining in real terms, input costs rising and subsidy declining, farmers fear the withering away of their last instrument of state support of the MSP regime. Farmers’ anger is not just about restoring the primacy of the APMC mandis but also the manner in which these Bills were thrust upon them. Voices of dissent emanating from the farmers’ unions should have been heeded to by the government before hurriedly pushing these contentious Bills.
EL SINGH, by mail
The Bills passed in the name of agrarian reforms have led to insecurity and fear of exploitation among the farming community (‘Trust deficit’). The fears are genuine and based on bitter experience with the corporates in the past. Contract farming was tried in Punjab some three decades ago and failed miserably. I am a witness to the plight and exploitation of the poor farmers of Hoshiarpur district who entered into contract with a corporate to grow potato, chilli and tomato for the plant set up at Zahura village in Dasuya. After picking up the best produce, the corporate would leave the farmers to fend for themselves. Lack of storage facility and the perishable nature of the produce forced the farmers to dispose of surplus produce at throwaway prices that were less than even the cost of production. The farmers refuse to be cheated again and rightly so.
Aswant Kaur Gill, Tarn Taran
Apropos of ‘Trust deficit’, (Sept 29) when coalition partners are not consulted even over issues of great national import, it’s a single-party rule masqueraded as a coalition government. In a democracy, not only are the views of coalition partners accommodated but even those of Opposition parties have to be given due consideration. Farmers constitute a sizeable vote bank. Realising the role of agriculture in our economy, the concerns of the farming community must be addressed seriously and with alacrity to prevent the crisis from snowballing into a major national issue, disrupting our economy irredeemably.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
More must be done
The following points may help gain the confidence of farmers: MSP must be a law and purchasing produce below that price should be a criminal offence; the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Price Monitoring and Controlling must be reoriented with constitutional powers to look into price fluctuations and market problems in a way that farmers are not exploited at any stage; all stakeholders must be educated properly about the new laws and, if need be, necessary clarifications through amendments may be undertaken.
JC Dagar, Karnal
Triangle of confusion
‘The options before Punjab’ (Sept 28) escapes many ground realities. Farmers of MP, Punjab and Haryana are agitating over only one demand, that the new legislation should have a clause ensuring full procurement of their wheat and rice by the FCI or private agencies. The government only gives verbal assurance that MSP will stay. Last year, the FCI procured 92 MT of wheat and rice and its stocks are overflowing. The FCI has to distribute 50 per cent of wheat and rice at Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kg, respectively, through PDS. The government wants to replace this system with direct cash transfer to beneficiaries. This will compel the FCI to procure wheat and rice by half. Private traders can’t afford to procure the other half at MSP because of glut in the market. This is how the new laws, reduced procurement by the FCI and failure of the government to clarify the doubts of farmers have added to the confusion.
RN Malik, by mail
No bills for a year
Since I had not received domestic water and sewerage charges bill for over a year, I went to the office to enquire about it and deposit it. I was informed that the bills had not been generated yet. I fail to understand the logic behind issuing the bill when water and sewerage charges are fixed as per the size of the residence. Like property tax, it should be mandatory to pay it quarterly or biannually or annually with a rebate. This way, the department would be saving money to print and deliver bills. On the one hand, government departments complain about shortage of resources, and on the other, they don't issue bills for over a year.
Naresh Johar, 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
Reference to the editorial ‘India's place in UN’ (Sept 28), given the archaic veto-wielding powers of the permanent members of the Security Council, where China is not favourably disposed towards us, India will have to focus more on reforms for empowering the UNGA to override the veto power. While doing so, it will have to remain conscious of and sensitive to the concerns of the members. The mandate of the UN is to encourage ‘liberal democracy’ in the world. Therefore, disregard of Parliament, rule of law and civil society is not well received by it. Pakistan has consistently opposed India’s quest for a permanent seat on the grounds that it will manoeuvre UN resolutions on Kashmir. The world is watching India. The present situation in the country on account of the CAA, farmers’ agitation, disregard of parliamentary institutions and treatment being meted out to members of the civil society etc, is not conducive to the realisation of India’s aspirations at the world forum. Furthermore, India will have to strengthen its diplomatic corps to avail of the benefits of multilateralism of UN institutions.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
Modi at UN
Apropos of ‘India’s place in UN’, hats off to PM Modi for daring to put his viewpoint strongly enough and asking for UN’s performance and role. Asking for a more prominent role in the UN certainly establishes the global statesmanship which Modi has, and is required in today’s leaders. And urging the world leaders to join hands in fighting the pandemic reveals India’s humane attitude.
PANKAJ MADAN, ZIRAKPUR
Bihar set for polls
Apropos of ‘Poll-bound Bihar’, exceptional circumstances will make these elections challenging. This will be the first Assembly election since Covid disrupted normal life. The performance of the government on the health and economic front will be a poll issue. The BJP is defensive on the question of border security, economic stagnation and farmers’ backlash. These issues should serve as easy pickings for any rival party, but the RJD-Congress alliance has not been able to raise them convincingly so far.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandar
Not what teachers do
Refer to ‘Vehicles torched, property vandalised in Dungarpur’ (Sept 28); all this is being done by candidates who wish to be teachers! Is this the behaviour we expect from teachers? What will they teach students? Burning, damaging private and public property and creating violence is not a teacher-like quality. The Rajasthan government is also to blame. Why is there so much delay in announcing the results?
Ravinder kwatra, Shahabad Markanda
Worthy of admiration
Paying tributes to a departed public figure is customary. Praises are showered by the President, PM, leaders of the Opposition etc, which are routine. But the real honour is the one which comes from an unknown source (‘A soldier-statesman departs’). The piece reveals his humility and humane nature. He always remained a soldier. Though I do not subscribe to the BJP’s ideology, more so of the present dispensation, but every party has some admirable persons. Like Vajpayee and Sushma, Jaswant Singh was a shining star of Indian politics.
Gurdev Singh, Mohali
The decision by the Punjab government to appoint nodal officers to check stubble burning in rural areas is not practical. It will not control stubble burning, as some of them may be corrupt. Moreover, farmers often protest in large numbers in case of the filing of any case against them, thereby forcing the government to take back the action. The government should come out with a permanent solution, or deal with such cases with an iron hand, by ignoring vote-bank politics.
NAVNEET SETH, DHURI
New education policy
Apropos of NEP-2020, instead of pushing forward blindly the agenda of reforms, the policy should have suggested the action plan to rectify the aberration of the old system of education. Lightening and lowering of the cognitive load would be a step in the wrong direction, at a time when students need to compete with technically proficient foreign peers like those in the US and China. Instead of promoting high-profile philosophic practices of ancient period, the focus should have been on promoting knowledge and skills to handle heights of technology of the modern times, so that the future generation may not miss the opportunity of being on a par with anybody else in every field or anywhere else.
ASHOK PRASHAR, 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
Pictures and videos are doing the rounds in social media, ostensibly provoking farmers to pick up guns. Punjab has already suffered from the mad rush of AK-47 in the previous decades. In a sensitive state with deeply emotive people, such mindless utterances can put the hard-earned peace in jeopardy. Peaceful protests are the only way. Singers are welcome to join the protests, but they should refrain from saying things beyond their ken. Farmers, especially the younger lot, must not be swayed by provocative statements.
Harmanjeet Singh Sidhu, Sirsa
Blocking Army convoy
Apropos of ‘Army convoy stalled in Ambala’ (Sept 26), it is unfortunate that the convoy on emergency duty was not allowed to move during the Bharat Bandh. Nobody questions the right of any individual or organisation to protest peacefully, but blocking an Army cavalcade and shouting pro-Khalistan slogans raises questions about the credentials of the participants and also dilutes the legitimacy of the agitation. The leaders of the bandh and the police owe an explanation to the country as to how and why such an unsavoury situation was allowed to develop in their presence? The government and the protesting leaders must ensure that the agitation is not hijacked by anti-social anti-national elements.
SK Dua, Mansdi Dabwali
Arrogance of power
The ongoing protests against the farm Bills do well to underscore the collective anguish of not just our farmers, but every Indian who has been blindsided by the government’s rushed, often rash, decisions on many occasions. Demonetisation, CAA/NRC, the lockdown (sans any thought for migrant labourers), refusal to pay up the states’ GST share, are just a few of the many actions that prove how powers at the Centre take the majority mandate bestowed upon them for granted. The manner in which these ordinances were brought into being without following the due process mandated by the Constitution sets a bad precedent. Following the Centre’s lead, if state governments, too, begin following a similar pattern of making a mockery of democratic ideas through arbitrary decision-making, the country will be in disarray. At a time when we are fighting off Chinese efforts to usurp our territory, can we afford to have internal strife and discontent? By belittling public confidence through unilateral decision-making, the government risks losing all goodwill.
Ruchi Pathania, Nurpur
Apropos of ‘MCI to NMC’, the void can only be filled when a fair method is adopted while screening would-be doctors. The arrest of the MCI chief in 2010 for taking a bribe speaks about the prevailing unethical practices in medical education. Selling medical seats for Rs 50-80 lakh each points to the rotten practices. It is certainly a black spot on the system. Medical education is nothing more than a product to be sold in stores duly approved by the MCI. Hope now good sense prevails upon the NMC and it succeeds in eradicating such practices to bring back the lost glory in this field.
Pankaj Madan, Zirakpur
Apropos of ‘Stink of witch hunt’, journalism has touched a new low. From what the media is discussing, it seems other than Bollywood, nothing more important is happening in the country. Similarly, appeasing their political bosses, the investigating agencies appear to be confused or killing time till people lose interest. The probe has become multidirectional.
RC Garg, KotKapura
Introspection a necessity
Refer to ‘Need the inward gaze; we have become so busy in our lives that we forget to make time for ourselves. It is important for us to introspect and talk to ourselves. No one can understand us and our feelings like we do, especially in times like these, when we are confined to our homes and don’t have anyone by our side. This is a wonderful opportunity to introspect.
Ishika Mittal, Bengaluru
The passing away of legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam has saddened his fans across the globe. His voice was melodious and soothing. His rendition of songs in Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Maine Pyar Kiya and other films will remain in the hearts of fans. The nation has lost a fine singer.
Ramesh Gupta, Narwana
Loss of a music icon
SPB’s untimely demise has come as a shock (‘His soulful voice captured hearts of millions’). He was a multi-talented person, having worked as a singer, actor, music director, dubbing artist and film producer in multiple languages. In his career spanning five decades, he recorded over 40,000 songs in 16 languages, winning several awards and accolades for his mellifluous voice. The loss suffered through the death of this iconic singer will be difficult to overcome.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, 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
Refer to ‘Hubris as policy’ (Nous Indica, Sept 25); politics apart, it is unfortunate that the most important yet vulnerable agriculture sector has been hastily, and strangely, subjected to the ‘vagaries of the market’ which are unlikely to be hunky-dory for the crop producers, especially where oversupply conditions generally arise. Not only will it go against the grain of the FCI’s policy of procurement, storage and distribution of grains, but also the situation will automatically turn to favour capitalists having ample storage facilities. Short of time, money and space, farmers will be compelled to sell the yields at lesser price.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Apropos of ‘Hubris as policy’ (Nous Indica), the farm Bills should not be seen in isolation. Almost the entire public sector is being sold/opened to the private sector. Agriculture, the backbone of our economy, and the only sector that grew despite the Covid scourge, is also being corporatised. The already distressed farmers are being made to feel more insecure. Jobless labourers are being given anti-labour laws. Why is all this being done as a priority even during the pandemic and the LAC standoff? Two forces have joined hands in their sole quest for monopoly and laissez-faire — in business and in the business of politics. This crony capitalism, shrewd exploitation of our ethnic/religious diversity, intimidation and misuse of government agencies and sustained efforts to damage constitutional bodies may lead us to a totalitarian regime.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Dassault aviation was obliged to transfer 30% high technology of Rafale jet engine to the DRDO by 2015 but no transfer has been done till now. These tech-savvy foreign vendors often deceive after the money is paid. They don’t want nations with potential, like India, to develop, so that they don't compete with them in the international market for price race and better product. This matter should be taken up by the MoD, as India is paying a hefty amount and is obliged to get its share of technology transfer.
Mehul Monga, Amritsar
Capt Amarinder Singh, while answering questions on his #askcaptain programme in July, promised to increase the upper-age cap for DSP and SI from the current 28 to 32. He even assured the candidates that the notification for the same will be issued in two-three working days. But more than two months have passed and the CM has still to fulfil his promise.
The NCB and the police seem to be wasting time and resources by going after Bollywood stars, players and politicians to reach the depth of drug abuse. It has been highlighted in Punjab for the past many years and ultimately the nexus of drug abuse involves the police, politicians and people. High-level drugs are the trademarks of ‘high’ society which comes with status, money and protection from law. Ultimately, the NCB will find itself in a net with no escape or the final outcome and the inquiry will be put under the carpet.
SS Verma, Longowal
Reference to ‘It’s not just about the farmer’ (Sept 24), what is more important is the timing of these reforms, which is creating more paranoia and apprehensions among farmers about their future incomes, when the overall national economy is already facing a massive demand compression due to the pandemic. Instead of addressing the infirmities of the arhtiya system, dismantling the same without an alternative would be painful to all stakeholders. It is also feared that big corporate sharks will create an artificial scarcity and sell at exorbitant rates later, hitting the average consumer the hardest.
HARGUNPREET SINGH, Patiala
Merely an act
Apropos of ‘De-escalation or deception’, there seems to be no element of urgency among the Chinese to de- fuse tensions on the LAC. The Chinese attitude is outright deceptive, aimed at wearing out India’s patience. Outwardly, China professes to solve the boundary dispute through friendly and peaceful consultations, but inwardly, it has a hidden agenda. It is deliberately prolonging the tense situation. India cannot lower its guard against Chinese machinations.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
States can create SC sub-quota to ensure the benefit reaches the lowest strata. After so many years of reservation, there are sections among the marginalised communities that have seen economic empowerment and upward social mobility. But this also tends to create inequity within. Sub-quotas can, therefore, help get some relief. Also, the names of families with income above par can be deleted making the quota based on income.
TIRATH CHAND, Mohali
Back-to-back articles speak volumes about the degradation of democracy in India. Dialogue is giving way to a monologue. Discussion is being replaced by dictatorship. The legislative and judiciary wings are being weakened by the executive. Electronic media appears to be sold out. Non-violent resistance is being suppressed. Democracy is being reduced to just holding elections and celebrating national days. Debate and dissent are no more symbolic of the vibrant democracy our nation was once proud of.
Anita Kataria, Patiala
Jinnah best forgotten
Apropos of the Sept 20 Sunday Tribune piece on Jinnah; it is unfortunate to recall the most critical person in the history of undivided India. He ignited communal riots by delivering hateful speeches. Lakhs were killed. Those who could not leave Pakistan were trapped and forced to follow Islam. Jinnah might have cooperated with freedom fighters, but only to establish himself as the leader of Muslims. Our leaders could not recognise his intent early on. He was responsible for the massacre in 1947. He fed the Muslims with a poisonous ideology due to which both the countries have suffered a lot since Partition. Let him remain buried in the dark history of undivided India.
Ravinder kwatra, Shahabad
Referring to the news ‘LS clears 3 Bills and RS clears 7 Bills’; a quorum must pass a Bill in both Houses, but it looks like the ruling party doesn’t care about it. Debates, discussions and approvals comprise the process to implement a new Bill. Are we following the rule book? Why is it that due to political conspiracies, the common person suffers? If this continues, no one will even care to listen to the public and its opinion. Our democracy will be in danger then.
Simiran choudhary, Gurugram
Element of human error
Refer to ‘Who watches the watchmen’; the umpire is also a human being and can commit a mistake, but when technology is present, and can be used, why not use it to give the decision? Is the TV umpire only to give a decision when asked for by the field umpires? These things have been going on in all sports. When human errors happen, it is the responsibility of the TV umpire to tell them and ask to change their decision. Only then can there be transparency in sports.
Varun kohli, Jammu
Keeping farmers in dark
Refer to ‘Support grows for Pb farmers’; why were the farmers not explained what decision the government was taking for them? If the administration claims that these Bills will benefit the agricultural base of our country, why were they not told how everything would work? Why did the action-packed Rajya Sabha proceedings go off-air for some time? Why were the cameras off and mics muted? Everything is questionable. Do the farmers not deserve an explanation?
Geeta Thakur, Shimla
Apropos of ‘CM: Violation of Covid protocols worrying’ (Sept 23), we need Covid safety protocols and public awareness campaigns because we can see how masks are being treated as helmets by the people. People are not understanding the seriousness of the situation and are wearing a mask when they spot police personnel. Moreover, people have started ignoring social distancing norms and are prioritising their interests over safety. Rather than just wait for the government to take steps, we should do our best to ensure sour safety.
Ayushi Bisht, Dehradun
Oppn misbehaving too
Apropos of ‘Brazen abuse of power’ (Sept 23), a hawk-eye is being kept on the follies of the government, but the ruckus created by the Opposition in Parliament is being overlooked. Instead of protesting peacefully, they went on to threaten the presiding officer. Such a condemnable act is not part of Gandhi’s philosophy to protest. The Opposition must realise that the onus lies not only on the government but also on the Opposition to maintain the dignity of Parliament.
Harshita Sharma, Sonepat
The answer to every question and the solution to every problem lies in the wisdom of our forefathers, which we rarely utilise. The same is with healthcare. We call ayurveda non-science or semi-science, without weighing it on the scale of rationality, but it has the potential to make healthcare delivery system potent. Sufficient money for higher education and research should be poured into ayurveda0 too.
Naresh Dalal, Jhajjar
Reference to ‘Hopes and fears arising out of agriculture Bills’ (Sept 23), farmers should follow the path shown by the milkman of India, Dr Verghese Kurien. They should start a cooperative movement to sell farm products like vegetables on the pattern of Amul products. Milk is more perishable than vegetables. While directly selling the farm products to the consumer, both the seller and purchaser would be benefited and this would open the export market to them. Amul products are being exported to 60 countries.
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Salve to patients
Apropos of ‘Visiting hours opened’; it augurs well that the Rajasthan health department has permitted family members of the corona patients to visit hospitals by using masks, PPE kits and hand gloves. This will soothe the prolonged painful experience of the patients. Other states can also follow suit. It will create a positive feeling and help in the recovery of the patients.
KK Mittal, Bathinda
Woman pilot & Rafale
The recent news that Rafale would soon get its first woman pilot has captured the imagination of the nation. A start has been made by women to free themselves from the shackles created by our male-dominated society. A woman is no longer a second-rate being, a weaker sex, to be relegated to the background. Parents need not shudder at the thought of a girl child being born. Women are proving their mettle in every field. They should continue to march ahead for only then will freedom embrace them.
Riya Malhotra, Fazilka
Essentials of secularism
Reference to the article ‘New meaning of secularism’ published in these columns. The word secularism does not find any mention in the body of the Constitution. It is incorporated in the Preamble that India is a secular state and it shall continue to remain as such. Articles 25-28 guarantee full freedom to every citizen to choose and follow his/her faith. These basic elements will remain intact, and therefore, searching for any new meaning is futile, with no practical implication. The framers of the Constitution did not close their eyes to the fact that no social order has ever been built by obliterating religion. The writer has invoked the Mahatma, who wanted to build a composite society. He also proposed that both the Quran and the Gita should be recited alongside. But the Muslim clergy rejected it. Our Constitution contains all the essentials of secularism and these can neither be modified nor diluted.
HS SINHA, Kurukshetra
China’s regular indulgence in aggressive activities on the LAC is indicative of its ulterior motives. It is appreciable that the Indian Army, despite grave provocation, has exercised restraint to avoid further acceleration of tension. China cannot be trusted. It may repeat a Galwan-like attack. We must remain extremely vigilant.
SANTOKH SINGH, Jalandhar
A teacher to remember
Apropos of ‘A principled principal’, DAV College, Lahore, was shifted to Ambala city in 1948. I was one of the first science students in the college (1948). I was fortunate to know Prof Trilok Nath, who taught Arts. He was a man of stellar qualities, few words and simple living. He raised a small Sabha of students from the rural area of Pahari Ellaqa. Monthly meetings of students were held. In one such meeting, he asked the students to sing patriotic and other songs. When my turn came, I sang a popular film song by Nur Jahan. Some started dancing while he burst into laughter and patted me on the shoulder. He will be remembered for long.
MOHAL LAL GUPTA, Rampur
Let’s choose ‘rahbars’
They are ‘rahzans’ — Tu idhar udhar ki na baat kar/ ye bata ki qafila kyun luta/mujhe rahzanon se gila nahin/teri rahbari ka sawal hai. In Haryana, 42 lawmakers; in Himachal, 49; and in Punjab, 35 MPs and MLAs, and in total over 4,000 criminal cases are pending against our lawmakers in various courts of the country. What an achievement! For this downfall, I blame gullible voters like me. We are responsible for this mess. Lawmakers play with innocent lives of the people and loot public money. It is we who can change the destiny of the country by electing honest and selfless people and throwing these criminals out of the system. Let us choose ‘rahbars’ and not ‘rahzans’.
NARESH RAJ, Patiala
From within syllabus
The physics paper and also questions of other subjects in the NEET were of the class XII level, which every student, who has studied sincerely, can attempt to solve. There is no need for bearing the extra financial load of coaching centres. Many students yield under this pressure. The NTA should ask the examiners to set questions based only on class XII syllabus, testing the basic knowledge of students.
SC Bhatia, Panipat
Apropos of the editorial, ‘Disdainful haste’ (Sept 22), our Parliament has had an uneven history, sometimes rising to its democratic mandate and at other times, debasing itself, as has happened in the last few days. There are parliamentary procedures, which are cornerstones of democracy but have been ignored. One of them is the suspension of Question Hour, and the second is the refusal to refer the Bills to committees, which is a good practice to suggest amendments. The third important one is the division of votes, which needs to be granted by the Speaker if the House asks for it. On Sunday, the farm bills were debated, but the Deputy Chairman refused the division. This is a travesty of Parliament. The Opposition’s heckling of the Deputy Chairman also was self-defeating. Parliament must serve to reassure the people, uphold due process and serve as an oasis of calm and reasoned debate amid a worsening economic crisis.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
Refer to ‘Ruckus as eight MPs suspended’ (Sept 22), the conduct of lawmakers in the Upper House of Parliament is unprecedented and highly condemnable. Abusing the presiding officer and a threat of physical harm is not in any way the Gandhian style of protest and does not behove a parliamentarian. This needs censure instead of justifying it by blaming the Chair. It was a black day in Rajya Sabha.
Ashok Kumar, Jalandhar
Teaching in times of Covid
My mother is a teacher in a government school and has been assigned one duty or the other every day. One of the teachers in her school tested positive for Covid-19. But the admission process and exams were all conducted the way they used to be in a pre-pandemic world. Even after all standard operating procedures have been followed, it still does not guarantee that a student or teacher won’t contract the virus. The student-teacher ratio is so disproportionate that it becomes quite a task for a teacher — sanitising hands, maintaining proper distance and keeping things in order, all done wearing a mask. Teaching online has also been a trouble since many students do not have the resources. We might be near the end of 2020 but we are nowhere near the end of Covid-19.
Yashudha Pande, Paonta Sahib
Right to protest
The news item ‘Can’t claim absolute right to protest’ came as a pleasant surprise. Hope this valuable opinion of the court would pave the way for a permanent end to needless drama in the garb of protests that cause damage to national as well as private property and result in loss of manhours, inflicting agony on the common man. No right is limitless, every right is bound by a Lakshman Rekha, which should not be crossed.
AK Sharma, Chandigarh
MEA official in China talks
The inclusion of an official from the MEA in military commanders’ dialogue between India and China is the right thing to do. Whereas one hopes for the success of the talks to disengage and deescalate as early as possible, preferably, before the onset of winter, one of the reasons for the failure of talks so far has been the disconnect between the armies and the diplomatic corps on both sides. Hopefully, this is adequately bridged this time.
Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali
Negligence in hospitals
Refer to the editorial, ‘No room for laxity’, Punjab’s fatality rate continues to be amongst the highest in the country. No doubt, the focus currently is on the farmers’ protest, but how can the government overlook the utter negligence by the hospitals? There is no denying that the state badly needs to improve its healthcare infrastructure to meet the unprecedented challenge. The government at this point of time should be accountable to the people whenever there is such an act of negligence in the hospitals.
Amitoj Kaur, Patiala
Treat non-Covid patients
Tackling the coronavirus is the most challenging task, efficiently performed by the paramedical staff, but the concern is over the treatment of other ailments. Patients of chronic ailments are being ignored because of the Covid surge. Doctors are life savers and when it is a question of survival, they cannot pick and choose patients. Treatment of every ailment is equally important. At the same time, the government needs to focus on people’s welfare by making investments in the health sector, maintaining sound infrastructure and increasing budget expenditure. Let’s say more through action than words.
Ankita Prasher, Bundala
IT is the duty of the government to address the grievances and apprehensions of farmers. Simply making statements in favour of the Bills is not sufficient. All the provisions in the Bills favouring the farmers should be brought out in the public domain. Farmers must be convinced how they are going to be benefited. The foremost question is, how is a farmer free to sell his produce anywhere in India? What is the purchase mechanism envisaged in these Bills? Who will purchase and fix the rates? How will the MSP be protected? If the government answers these questions, it will be able to tackle the situation.
Darshan Singh Bhathal, Nangal
Bedlam in RS
Refer to ‘RS clears 2 farm Bills amid bedlam’; there is little doubt that the process was undermined and reflects poorly on India’s democracy. The reforms are significant, but they have also generated a political backlash. By bulldozing the Opposition, the government has done disservice to the reforms and Parliament. The Opposition was also wrong in being disruptive, creating a din and tearing documents. The responsibility for what happened in the RS rests with both sides, though the Bills do not merit the fears they appear to have stoked among the farmers, as only the monopoly of the APMCs is sought to be dismantled, not the MSP regime. The Opposition’s demand for sending the Bills to a select committee was quite reasonable. If it had been acceded to by the government, the ugly situation in the Upper House might have been averted.
PL SINGH, by mail
Reconsider farm Bills
Agriculture is a state subject. These farm ordinances are against the federal spirit of the Constitution. There is no assurance of MSP outside APMCs. So, corporates can easily dominate the market. If any dispute arises, the SDM has the power to resolve the issue within 30 days. Civil servants are always under the ascendency of governments and government under corporate tycoons. Farmers have no option but to go to courts for justice. These Bills must be reconsidered and the government should listen to farmers.
PAWANPREET SINGH, by mail
Abolition of middlemen
Instead of agitating, the introduction of three APMC ordinances should be appreciated by the farmers, as it would be beneficial to them in the long run. In the paddy season, rice millers purchase farmers’ produce on behalf of government agencies. The millers purchase paddy at least Rs 250-300 less per quintal, citing one reason or another, generally excess moisture content. Arhtiyas and market committee officials are always in league and force farmers to sell their produce on low rates. The same is with bajra and sarson. The arhtiyas purchase these crops in bulk in the beginning, and later sell it to government agencies at MSP. This practice has been going on since decades. It’s good if this kind of loot can be stopped with this APMC Act.
RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA
Refer to ‘Pupils applying under govt quota to pay same fee till further orders: HC’ (Sept 21); it is an unfortunate decision without considering the fact that government quota students are high-merit students who generally get economical seats. With this decision, there will be uncertainty about the fee. In such a scenario, the government quota seat aspirants will be at a disadvantage and face uncertain prospects and choices. The court’s decision will affect hundreds of students who were relieved with the government’s decision to decrease the fee.
Vitull K Gupta, Bathinda
Divert MPLAD funds
Refer to the editorial ‘MPs take a pay cut’ (Sept 21); it was mere tokenism to announce a pay cut when the pandemic has broken the back of the common people due to loss of jobs and harsh pay cuts in salaries. Surely they realised that getting full salaries even after six months of lockdown would look criminal, and they opted for small pay cuts. The government must not restore the MPLAD funds because it is mostly used for arbitrary benefits and hardly reaches the intended recipients. Moreover, with Parliament hardly in session and looking at the MPs’ dismal attendance, this fund needs to be frozen for this year. It should be used for Covid-related treatment.
Ashok Goswami, New York
In favour of patients
Apropos of the editorial ‘Visiting hours opened’, the step of letting the kin meet patients has been rightly taken by the Rajasthan health department. Relatives provide an indispensable mental and emotional support to the patient during illness. This step should be implemented at other places also but with proper precautionary measures to make the patient feel better.
SAMANTHA, by mail
Apropos of the Sept 19 editorial ‘Harsimrat Badal’s resignation’, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill will destroy the decades of hard work put in by various governments and farmers to build the agriculture sector. The Bills are going to affect 62 crore farmers. If the Akali Dal has some concern for the farmers, it must snap ties with the BJP at the Centre and in the state too.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Politics of opportunism
The farm Bills introduced recently are necessary. The government should also scrap anti-farmer laws and departments like the Chakbandi Act, Land Ceiling Act, Ownership to Bataidar Act and Land Acquisition Act. The government should give pension to every farmer. They should be given reservation in jobs and education. Leaders should stop indulging in petty politics with the farmers. Opposition leaders want to spread anarchy and riots in the country as they did during anti-CAA/NRC protests. SAD quitting from the Modi Cabinet is a stunt to assuage the feelings of farmers, a strong vote bank in Punjab. They could have done this when the ordinances were promulgated in June itself.
CK SUBRAMANIAM, NAVI Mumbai
Refer to ‘Harsimrat Badal’s resignation’; her resignation from the union Cabinet is a drama to gain sympathy of the farming community in Punjab. If she was really against the Bills, she should have opposed the drafting and passage of the Bills. If she was so concerned about the plight of the farmers, she should have resigned from the MP’s post. Why did the Akali Dal favour the Bill in the first place?
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
Apropos of ‘The letter and its aftermath’, the case under discussion is symptomatic of the deep malaise afflicting our polity as DGPs, in their desire to sit firmly in their seats and expecting plum post-retirement jobs, crawl before their political masters, subject to honourable exceptions. The arrests being made in the Delhi riots case appear to a layman to be partisan as the instigators with connection to the ruling dispensation have not been touched. The writer’s suggestions are fair and I hope that the CP will file the chargesheets in all FIRs quickly, so that the chargesheets are tested judicially and also the people are not kept under detention for too long without trial.
SC Chabba, Panchkula
Martyrs in their own right
Doctors and paramedical staff on Covid-19 duty are coming in direct contact with the disease. Over 300 doctors have sacrificed their life. The doctors fighting corona and the sewerage man entering a sewer pit, all must be treated as martyrs (‘Treat docs who died of Covid as martyrs: IMA’). The Punjab government should publish the names of doctors and paramedical staff who have sacrificed their life, in leading newspapers and must treat their service as full for pension and other benefits, besides extending financial help to their family members.
OP GARG, PATIALA
Cut political tenure
The democratic system of India, once known for its vast and unmatchable benefits for the common people, has now been transformed. The political system itself needs a constructive change. The elected government tenure requires a cut from five years to three years. This will encourage more competitive governance in our polity.
Gagandeep singh, Jalandhar
Subject to political will
‘A quintessential teacher’ is a well-deserved homage to a great and dedicated teacher, Dr Amrik Singh, who was very keen to implement reforms in the field of higher education. Unfortunately, his stint as VC had not been pleasant because of political interference. The reality is that in the present scenario, too, even the most capable academician can’t be a successful VC unless one has expertise in diplomacy and strong political connections.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
HP ready for visitors
Refer to ‘Himachal opens borders’ (Sept 18); keeping borders closed indefinitely along with strict curbs on movement is not a viable option. People cannot stay locked up at home for a long time and life will soon start falling back in place. The economy has to get back on track. Therefore, it is very important for us to take all precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. By staying apart and following precautions, we can break the chain of the infection.
Amandeep kaur, Anandpur Sahib
The NDA government has amended the agriculture crop sale pattern by passing Bills amid strong protests. The new slogan of enabling the farmers to sell their produce to anyone anywhere, at any price, sounds good, but it is difficult in practice, especially for small farmers who form 40-45% of the farming community. Our farmers are simple and not literate with limited resources. The farmers should be protected from the big buyers coming to procure their crops. He is already burdened with the vagaries of nature. The biggies are sure to exploit him.
NPS Sohal, Chandigarh
Himachal opens its doors
This refers to ‘No quarantine for visitors’; it is a good move as the tourism industry needs to be revived, especially in states like Himachal, where 80% revenue comes from the hospitality sector. During the lockdown, the state’s revenue fell from Rs 400 crore to Rs 40 crore. From taxi drivers to small businesses or luxury hotel chains, all earned nothing for almost four months, which made their condition more fragile. Now the whole world is unlocking and we can’t just wait for the vaccine. At the same time, proper SOPs need to be taken by the government to avoid any major spurt.
Mehul Monga, Amritsar
With reference to the article ‘Entrance exams part of testing business’; where does all money earned through various exams held throughout the year go? There is no accountability and answerability to anyone. It is a mere process of earning profits in the name of set standards to clear different sorts of entrance and eligibility tests by lakhs of aspirants every year. The government should reduce the fees of all these tests and ensure transparency in the earnings of testing agencies. The money should be used for improving the overall network to impart quality education.
Gurjeet kaur, by mail
No gratitude for doctors
Apropos of ‘Treat doctors who died of Covid as martyrs’ (Sept 17), I was wondering how times have changed! Doctors are dying in the line of duty and there is no one to thank them, rather the whole world is ranting about ‘money-making hospitals’ and ‘cruel’ doctors. We are living in a thankless world that understands only one language, that of money power. Doctors will have to blow their own trumpet, and that is exactly what the IMA has been forced to do. Not even a single politician, bureaucrat, eminent sportsperson, actor or singer has come forward to praise the medical community.
Sandeep Chaudhri, Karnal
Refer to ‘Restraining rabid shows’ (Sept 17); there is nothing more essential to a democracy than a free media. But the way in which the electronic media works pollutes debates and defeats the very purpose of freedom of media which is considered as the fourth pillar of democracy. There should be some check by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, the regulator for private news channels.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Long wait for verdict
Refer to ‘After 28 years, widow gets dues with interest’ and ‘Babri demolition verdict on Sept 30’; both reveal the pathetic long wait to get justice. It is unfortunate that our judicial system is very slow and indifferent to the harmful effects of delayed justice. One can imagine the oceanic changes in the world’s progress in all fields during these 30 years, but there is no change in the speed of our judicial system. People go to the court for all kinds of social, economic, religious, political and family disputes but many die without a verdict. There should be a PIL petition for the time limit for a verdict in a case. There are many weaknesses in our judicial system, which should be rectified.
Ravinder Kwatra, Shahabad Markanda
Apropos of the editorial ‘Stocking medical oxygen’ (Sept 17), people are being denied proper treatment as the rates of private hospitals have hit the roof. And also, these items are being sold on the black market, causing shortage, which is shameful. Punjab and the other states should keep a check on such people and must assure the public of adequate supply of every commodity required. It is a good step by the Punjab government to appoint nodal officers that have tied up with oxygen cylinder manufacturers as it will help in ensuring a regular supply of affordable cylinders. As citizens, we should also play a positive role in supporting the government and work under its guidelines.
Utkarsh Kapoor, Rajpura
I was taken aback to read that the UT administration has asked the Centre to depute a team for advice to control the spread of Covid. Making a request at this stage, after six months, when the situation in Chandigarh has deteriorated to the second worst, is strange. Learned doctors from the PGI, GMCH and the battery of bureaucrats could not visualise, understand and implement the ways to control Covid. It required a two-member team from the Centre to tell them that they need to have better coordination among the MC, estate office, administration, doctors and the ground staff; and must have more beds and to go for focused contact tracing. I wonder what was being discussed in the ‘war room’ meetings. A Smart City like Chandigarh, having its own IT hub, needs to be told to improve its real-time data management. Further, Covid has given an excuse to some to skip their duties. Bureaucrats, who are authorised to decide public cases, have not held court for months, giving scant attention to public inconvenience.
Kanwartej Singh, by mail
Faith in government
Refer to ‘Why public opinion isn’t turning against govt’; brings out the effort of a specific cabal to divulge false equivalences between the Manmohan Singh-led government and a current dispensation keen on delivering results. Innumerable lives lost every other day owing to terror attacks in various parts of the country are now a thing of the past. The exasperation over the economy probably stems from the lack of ability to comprehend the economies globally. There is no economy which has been left untouched by the pandemic and India is no different. The anti-CAA protests were seen by the entire country wherein protesters were not able to spell out the reason for the protest against the legislation, including its full form.
Abhivadya Sood, Patiala
Too busy to think
Refer to ‘Why public opinion isn’t turning against govt’; the GDP has shown an incredible slide. The economy is in the doldrums. The government is selling even profit-making assets to make up for day-to-day expenditure, but the people of the country are still at peace. The reasons are many. Millions of jobs have been lost and people are looking for avenues to earn their livelihood. Movements in the recent past have been crushed either by force or by declaring them anti-national forces. The media is being used to divide public opinion.
Col Kuldip S Grewal (Retd) Patiala
More to it
The police have arrested Umar Khalid over allegations of anti-CAA protests in Delhi University colleges, but the relevant video makes it hard to believe what is true. Transparency in this case is nil and Umar’s accusations against the police are quite serious, where he starts the video by saying, ‘If you are watching this video, that means I’m arrested by the police.’ It is a fact that politics does have an influence over the police department.
Padma Dolma, Leh
Protest by farmers
Punjab and Haryana farmers are out on the streets protesting against the farm Bills. These laws will destroy the small farmers and cause losses to other farmers. The government should not only think of its profit but also keep in mind the well-being of the farmers. There are already many small and marginal farmers who have committing suicide due to lack of money and other farming-related problems. The government should listen to their pleas as their lives are at stake. Moreover, gatherings in the times of Covid-19 are dangerous and can worsen things.
Khushnaseeb Kaur, Patiala
Restore MPLAD funds
Apropos of ‘Take away our salary, but restore MPLAD funds, say Oppn MPs’ (Sept 16), the proposal deserves support from all as it is public money and should be given back to the people. The decision on suspending the fund is not wise as the money reaches every nook and corner in the country for development works or other requirements as per the need of the locals. It is prudent for the BJP government to give it a second thought and restore the funds to the MPs, so that they can get work done in their constituencies.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Refer to ‘Stocking medical oxygen’ (Sept 17); with Covid cases surging, people are feeling the need to stock up medical supplies. But unscrupulous dealers have jacked up the prices and are selling these commodities on the black market. There is a shortage of oxygen cylinders. The state and Central governments should keep an eye and ensure a cap on the prices.
Amitoj Kaur, Patiala
Reference to ‘Politicisation of administration’ (Sept 15); the pillar of democracy entrusted with implementing social welfare schemes is not so experienced. It also lacks the will to take the schemes to those in need. The day-to-day interference in its working is another problem. The time has come to inculcate social values like honesty, work culture and integrity in all pillars of democracy, apart from adopting a sympathetic attitude toward the downtrodden.
Kulbhushan S Thakur, Dhaliara
‘Politicisation of administration’ offers timely advice to the political class. Our politicians seem to be reading from scripts of films or TV serials while playing to the gallery. In contrast, lectures such as the one from which this article has been excerpted make us think.
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
Apropos of the editorial ‘Death without data’ (Sept 16), all Indians are aware of their responsibility toward our brave soldiers. This pious concern was revealed during the wars of 1962, 1965 and 1971, when many Indians donated even tons of gold to the National Defence Fund. But what about the soldiers of the unorganised sector, working as skilled and unskilled labourers? Millions of such helpless individuals and families had to leave their workplace and proceed to their ancestral villages on foot under the most inhuman and pitiable conditions. Many died of hunger, fatigue and accidents. Surprisingly, our government has no data about these unfortunate people, who in the real sense are ‘Bharat nirmata’.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Question Hour goes
Apropos of ‘Death without data,’ (Sept 16), Question Hour keeps the government on its toes. If it had not been scrapped during this session of Parliament, the government wouldn’t have dared to give in writing that it doesn’t have any data of deaths of migrant labourers due to the lockdown. In reality, the government has tactically removed Question Hour as it does not have the courage to face the ire of the Opposition. National interest demanded a series of clarifications from the government on various issues such as the dwindling economy, loss of jobs in millions during the lockdown, tension at the border, loss of property and the number of deaths during floods, etc. But the government has deprived the Opposition the right to ask questions related to the aspirations of the people.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Need jobs, not wisdom
Refer to the NEP; we educate our wards not to become wise but to earn their bread and butter, and to get jobs on a purely merit basis. How can we remove the marksheet pressure? Jobs are given to the best performers. The five Cs — critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, curiosity and communication — need to be improved not just among students, but among teachers and others, too. Our national and regional languages are not known in any part of the world, or even the whole country. It is a blunder if we do not go with English language at an early stage. Nothing is new in this policy. When I was in school in the ’70s, these 5Cs were there, but we now do not have good critical thinkers or even thinkers.
PK Patpatia, Ambala
Rights in danger
Apropos of ‘Delhi cops seek 10-day custody of Umar Khalid’, it is evident that the Delhi Police have been doing a one-sided investigation. Had the police been impartial, they would have registered a case against Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma. There is more video evidence against them for directly instigating violence rather than JNU students and women activists who were holding a peaceful protest. It seems that there is an invisible force which is directing police action. The people of the nation should worry about this, as Acts like UAPA and NSA have been misused by the authorities to suppress the democratic voices rising against them. We have already seen it in the case of Dr Kafeel Khan, where these Acts were used to put him in jail for a long time. We should guard our democratic rights.
Ishan Hastir, Gurdaspur
Joy of letters
Refer to ‘Original deliverer of message’; the post office had its own joy, which the millennials don’t know. Being a kid of the ’80s, I have experienced the transition from letter writing and sending greeting cards by post to emails, WhatsApp and SMSes. Letters had emotions attached to them, as they were written by hand and preserved by the receiver. Stamp collection used to be a hobby. In today’s fast-paced world, everything existing on paper is getting replaced by digital versions and are also sent and received in a few seconds across the globe through the Internet.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
‘Politicisation of administration’ (Sept 15) depicts the true aspect of the political atmosphere prevailing in the country. Corruption is the result of unfettered powers. Democratic values take a back seat. Corruption has, in fact, crept into our blood and can be compared to a horizon — the further you go, the farther it goes. Under such circumstances, the workforce has to abide by the pulls and pressures of the masters. No improvement in our system/administration can be given shape unless there is accountability of the performance of all functionaries from top to bottom. India can rise from the overall sagging situation if the government shrugs off its authoritarian approach and conceives constructive policy changes for the betterment of the country and its citizenry.
SARDUL SINGH DHAWAN, Chandigarh
Who appointed them?
Refer to ‘65 ineligible extension lecturers dismissed’ (Sept 15); who recruited the ineligible lecturers in violation of the Haryana Government policy and the UGC guidelines? Responsibility should be fixed on those brazen officials who allowed such illegal and irregular appointments, thereby causing a huge loss to the public exchequer. Salary paid to these ineligible lecturers should be recovered from the delinquent officials. Unfortunately, the State Education Department follows a flip-flop policy. There is no coordination and uniformity between the department and state universities. Both have failed to implement the mandatory provisions of the Haryana Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service Act) 1979 in private-aided colleges to the detriment of teachers. Several non-government recognised and 95% aided colleges are functioning without validly constituted governing bodies. The authorities are not only mute spectators but also party to such irregularities. In 1988, the government decided that teachers of non-government colleges can’t be transferred in the absence of any common cadre and joint seniority. However, the government allows arbitrary, malafide transfers in 13 recalcitrant DAV Colleges due to the clout of non-statutory DAV management in Delhi. The apex court has held that society does not acquire a corporate status.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
A political stand
Apropos of the Sept 15 editorial “Naomi’s masked statement”, sportspersons have taken a political stand earlier, too, but it hasn’t been easy, as international sports federations discourage it. Elsewhere, Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas displayed support for Black Lives Matter in his attire. Earlier, Moeen Ali, who plays cricket for England, had run into trouble for sporting a wristband with ‘Free Palestine’ message on it. This surge in political consciousness and desire to use sports for politics is welcome and can also bring about a change in the attitude of sports federations.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
The recent statement by the government in Parliament regarding not maintaining any record of the actual number of deaths of migrant labourers during the lockdown is immature and illogical. On the one hand, the government announced a package of Rs 20 lakh crore to meet the losses that occurred during the lockdown and for giving infinite advertisements regarding the financial package, and on the other, it has denied sharing the actual position of the labourers. The labour class, like farmers, is the backbone of the economy, and if this class remains unemployed, the GDP of the nation will never recover. The government must seriously consider the situation as the GDP is at an all-time low. The government must maintain actual data which would help make economic policies and budget.
NAVNEET SETH, DHURI
The Punjab Government’s decision to augment oxygen supply chain is a delayed response, as it was known from the beginning of the epidemic that the mainstay of the treatment is oxygen supply to affected patients, whether by mask, nasal twangs, non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, high flow nasal oxygen or by ventilators. At least all district hospitals should have had their own oxygen plants functioning by now to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply to patients. All efforts were made to project that my district/state is the best in taking care of the pandemic, but in reality, no concrete steps were taken at the ground level to augment healthcare facilities.
Sanjeev Jindal, Sangrur
Refer to ‘Congress at crossroads’; owing to the pandemic-driven crisis, the economy has nose-dived, business and industrial production has touched its lowest ebb. Shunting of workforce is further increasing unemployment. Though limping, the Congress has failed to use the situation to refurbish its image. Its house is not in order. A party which is unable to elect its permanent president is doomed to meet its Waterloo.
KARNAIL SINGH, Kharar
Apropos of the editorial ‘Medical oxygen supply’ (Sept 14), not only is the supply of medical oxygen of utmost importance, it is also imperative that this uninterrupted supply is maintained at high quality and a reasonable price. It is often seen that when the word ‘medical’ or ‘health’ is added to a commodity, its price is scaled up manifold. Quality check must be maintained. During this pandemic, the demand for masks and sanitisers was taken as an opportunity by the business community to supply low quality products at high cost for sheer profiteering.
Sandeep Chaudhri, Karnal
The brutal thrashing of a veteran by Shiv Sainiks in broad daylight, for forwarding an innocuous, humorous WhatsApp message, is condemnable. The arrogant outfit has no tolerance for dissenting views and unabashedly employs violence to curb the same. The blatant aggression with impunity to settle scores with the opponents is not unprecedented. During the CPM rule in West Bengal, their cadre often caused unprovoked mayhem with backing from their mentors. Now, the TMC members too are not lagging behind. During the SP rule in UP, incidents happened, notably the slaying of a DSP, at the bidding of a notorious political leader. The latest is the Unnao case involving a BJP leader. We, hapless citizens, have to put up with the nexus of khadi, khaki and apraadhi.
Bakhshi Gurprit Singh, Jalandhar
Refer to ‘Six accused of assaulting Navy veteran get bail’; it is shameful that a senior citizen, who happens to be a retired Navy officer, was attacked and recorded on camera by alleged Shiv Sena workers who got bail within hours of their arrest. This speaks volumes of the high-handedness of the political party in power, misusing of its position to silent the voice of dissent. Even if Sharma had broken some law, there was a legal remedy to follow instead of taking law into their own hands.
Ashok kumar, Jalandhar
India is working on three fronts with respect to China: giving a befitting reply on the border; breaking the supply chain; and helping contain China with the cooperation of the Indo-Pacific region. While Pakistan will never become friends with India, Nepal is an immediate concern because it is increasingly playing into the hands of China. India must undertake constructive cultural, spiritual and historical measures so that Nepal continues to support India.
Jatinder Masoun, Ludhiana
Real role models
‘Breaking barriers during tough times’ (Sept 11) is inspiring and motivating. Doing the job supposed to be done by men, these women are real-life heroines who are earning the bread and butter for their families even during this time of the pandemic. Girls are now knocking down stereotypes and taking up path-breaking jobs across sectors that many might term unconventional choices. They may face challenges such as high stress and anxiety, lesser wages, social prejudices and sexual harassment at the workplace, but kudos to them that they are still working. Let us support and encourage women who are working in an age-old patriarchal society. They are role models for others.
Janak Raj Sarangal, Gurdaspur
My eyes filled with tears after reading the middle ‘Mother’s touch and surmedaani’. Learn to live with the new realities is what we are told. But what about the old realities? Weren’t they for real? A daughter visits her own ‘home’ as a guest, tries to find old memories (of realities of a bygone era), but can’t find much. Perhaps we live in an unreal world, where the real is absent all the time. Parents, when they are gone, continue to live in our thoughts. Small nuances of the times spent together bring back joy and pain. Strange are the ways of this world!
Deepak Taak, Panchkula
No sense of law
It is appalling to read that a large number of peoples’ representatives in Punjab are involved in criminal acts (‘Why cases pending against politicians for 36 years, asks SC’, Sept 11). Cases against them are pending for decades. They have no fear of the law. Those responsible for such a state of affairs must be identified and taken to task for misusing the process of law. The judiciary has been raising issues from time to time on the pendency of cases, well-connected criminals dodging the law and so on, but little has been done to improve the situation. Innocent litigants continue to suffer for no fault of theirs.
Refer to ‘Talking and fighting’ (Nous Indica, Sept 12); while India struggles with Covid, and the flattening of the curve not in sight, even a ‘limited war’ with China will do severe damage to the already nose-diving GDP and rising unemployment. The Dragon, however, knows how to exploit a vulnerable situation. It would be in our better interest to try to find ways and strategies, including counter or counterfeited aggression, to avoid any warlike likelihood, for war during pandemic times and hostile neighbours could prove far more destructive and unaffordable. The ‘Chinese dream’ is not likely to be stopped by mere banning of its apps or celebrating five Rafales.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Apropos of Nous Indica (Sept 12), China is answerable to none in world politics, not even to the established world bodies. Nearly one million people worldwide have succumbed to Covid-19, which originated in China, and yet the latter cares two hoots about any investigation. India, on the other hand, practises democracy and is answerable at every step. In a short period of time, China has become a superpower economically and militarily. It wants to displace the US from the top spot and considers India to be a big obstacle.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Stick to guidelines
During these testing times, we as responsible citizens must adhere to MHA guidelines and take preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus. Many institutions, organisations and departments, especially private entities, are not properly adhering to the guidelines. Laxity and deliberate ignorance of the guidelines is putting the lives of many at stake.
Karan Singh Vinayak, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Vaccine trial paused’ (Sept 11); the possibility of finding a vaccine soon seems unlikely. People cannot stay locked up at home for a long time and life will soon start falling back in place. Therefore, it is very important for us to undertake all precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Together, by staying apart, we can break the chain of the infection.
Ishika Mittal, Bengaluru
Apropos of ‘Epidemic of bad behaviour’, people are defying Covid safety measures because of fake information being spread on social media platforms. There are many WhatsApp rumours doing the rounds about the virus. So, instead of getting the real story, they are just relying on the propaganda of vested interests, which needs to be addressed through cyber security. To win the fight against Covid, we first have to win the trust of the people.
Gurinder singh, Moga
A Swami to remember
Refer to ‘Sanyasi who fought for social causes’; I remember a night I spent alone in Swami Agnivesh’s room in 1986, when he was abroad on a mission. As a playwright, I needed to have a close look at the sufferings of bonded labour. I contacted a friend of mine, who, along with Kailash Satyarthi (Nobel laureate), was associated with the sanyasi. He took me around stone quarries behind the glitter of Delhi and Faridabad. I noticed how reverently the labourers talked about the hard work put in by him for their emancipation. At night, I was put up at his single-room accommodation at Jantar Mantar. The room was packed with books, particularly on political and social struggles. I picked up a few and found pages pencil-lined here and there. I was fascinated by his erudition and commitment to fight for social causes with great zeal.
Amritlal Madan, Kaithal
Not the same now
Apropos of ‘Masterji’s slap a lesson in punctuality’, if some teacher teaches a lesson in this manner, it certainly will upset the applecart of our nation. Masterji’s effigies will be burnt on streets, school property will be vandalised and an investigation will be ordered to find out the motive behind the slap. Depression stories of the slap ‘survivor’ would be everywhere. Child rights activists may block roads to seek expeditious justice for the child. As a society, we no longer endorse behaviour potent enough to positively transform a child’s life.
Shivani Jain, Ludhiana
All deserve a fair chance
‘A science fair that changed life’ is a vivid expression of life of thousands of students of rural India, who rarely get opportunities to compete with their ‘twice born’ urban counterparts. The education system in rural India, especially Government schools, needs a thorough revamp.
KK Singla, New Delhi
Refer to the article ‘Sushant saga to make or mar NDA prospects’ (Sept 11); India is dealing with the pandemic and the stand-off at the LAC. In such difficult times, the importance of mass media platforms helps to bring the reality into light. But these days, several news channels have turned into more of entertainment platforms. Parallel media trials running in order to provide justice have significantly impacted the decisions of the government and have led to more injustice. Seeing the condition of the majority of biased news channels and manipulation of parliamentary sessions raises concern. It is leading to an authoritarian government from that of a representative, democratic government. The government must be cautious as such manipulations and curtailment of rights do not last forever.
Daksh Solanki, New Delhi
Teachers who motivate
Refer to ‘A science fair that changed life’ (Sept 8); the writer has narrated the true story of his school days. Teachers like Mohinder Pal are quintessential for a modern society. It reminds me of such a teacher during my school time, who always encouraged all students, without any prejudice, especially those who were poor at studies. Because of that motivation, the writer excelled in his academic career and reached the position of a university professor.
Goverdhan Sharma, Ludhiana
‘A tragic farce’ (Sept 10) should be an eye-opener for investigating agencies. Rhea Chakraborty has been declared ‘guilty until proven otherwise’. These agencies have failed in ascertaining the real cause of Sushant’s death. One thing is clear: either the agencies are incompetent, which is unlikely, or they don’t want to come out with the facts for reasons best known to them. The old dictum ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ appears to be true.
RC Garg, Kotkapura
Unfair deal to farmers
The brutal lathicharge on farmers protesting for preserving their rights is condemnable. The voice of farmers is being muffled by slapping charges under the epidemic Act for exercising their democratic rights, even while the BJP organises rallies. It was painful to see blood-stained clothes of hard-working yeomen of the ‘granary of India’. Government attitude towards food providers is unsympathetic and contemptuous. The farm sector is already reeling under severe distress. The tribulations are further compounded by new ordinances, which will render the MSP regime irrelevant and push them towards the complexities of e-trade and commercial technicalities. The government must take cognisance of the anxieties of farmers and remove doubts and misconceptions about the ordinances by fortifying MSP and assured marketing. A fourth ordinance guaranteeing the farmer that the crop would be procured not below MSP calculated on the C-2 formula is needed.
Harmanjeet Singh Sidhu, Sirsa
Let off easily
Refer to ‘Courts should learn to shrug off tweets' (Sept 11); Prashant Bhushan was shaped by the 1975 Emergency, and later the anti-Congress activism, and his being part of the PIL lobby. The senior lawyer has been let off lightly by the Supreme Court. He has been trying to portray himself as a martyr like Gandhi and Mandela, and continues to slander the judiciary, by calling it as an impediment to his right to free speech and the right to dissent. The Supreme Court should reject outright the review petition, as the institution, per se, has been taken head-on, and not an individual judge or a particular case. The magnanimity of the Re 1 fine was unwanted.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Apropos of ‘Courts should learn to shrug off tweets’, the courts need to be careful while dealing with such cases. Tweets should state the truth, backed with evidence, but who cares while making such statements these days! Another thing we need to understand is that whenever we belittle any institution, which is the bedrock of justice in society, society as a whole suffers. It is here that criticism coupled with responsibility becomes all the more vital. However, much dust has gathered on the subject and it is better to rest it now and learn from the episode, and hope that such occurrences are not repeated and everyone learns the importance of maintaining ‘restraint’.
Rajiv Joshi, Chandigarh
That a CEO has been appointed in place of a chairman is a baby step to improve the Railways (‘A hesitant step forward’, Sept 10). The Centre clubbed various independent railways into a single department in 1948. Then, the Railways used to bear 85% loads. Now, it transports 20% needs only. The government should divide it into independent PSUs for competition, quality, speed and progress.
Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula
Refer to the editorial ‘Offensive edge’ (Sept 10); China seems to be more adamant on altering the LAC to suit its designs for the BRI. Its earlier tactics not to use firearms but spears and machetes backfired because this time our Army was well prepared to tackle a wily China. China’s other purpose is to engage India in unproductive military pursuits to divert its attention from economic and industrial initiatives which could make India an alternative to the world for supply chain requirements. It is a well-thought-out strategy and if India remains the underdog in this game, China may continue to arm-twist nations who want to shift to India. India will have to up its ante to beat China at its game. With such a long and porous border, the perils of safety can never be compromised, whatever cost it may entail.
Ashok Goswami, by mail
Refer to ‘Offensive edge’ (Sept 10); it was a matter of ‘national pride’ when our soldiers sacrificed their lives in the defence of the nation. The words ‘managed to’ were inappropriate for the well-executed, tactical manoeuvres undertaken by the armed forces in accordance with their plan to preempt PLA’s move. The present tactical advantage on the ground provides improved defensive positions to our forces. Reassessing our settled view on Tibet at this juncture is ill-advised as it would nullify our years of effort. The solution lies in following a spirit of accommodation and ramping up the talks to the level of a political summit, as is being articulated by the External Affairs Minister.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
Why no potable water?
Apropos of ‘73 years on, Dehra villagers without potable water’, why isn’t the local administration working for the uplift of backward areas? Why aren’t politicians bothered about remote villages? Why aren’t they able to provide basic facilities to the citizens? It is sad that in this time and age, not everyone is getting potable water. This shows lack of professionalism in the local administration of the area. The leaders of this region come only to beg for votes and go underground after winning and enjoy their salary, power and prestige.
Ritish Pandit, Dehra Gopipur
Dirty politics, again
Apropos of the editorial ‘A tragic farce’ (Sept 10), since the BJP does not have any agenda, it is playing dirty politics in the forthcoming Bihar elections by putting up posters of the Sushant case. The BJP is diverting the attention of the people to cover its failures to rule the state. The people of Bihar have woken up and are waiting for an opportunity to overthrow them along with the JD(U) for making a mess in every sector. The BJP must prepare for serious political consequences.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Politics at its worst
Refer to ‘A tragic farce’; our probing agencies have lost the trust of the people. Their findings, in politically sensitive/rewarding cases, are believed to be the diktats of their political bosses. In settling scores with the Shiv Sena, and securing some electoral gains in the coming Bihar elections, some innocents could be proved guilty and vice versa. Politicians, blinded by even their small electoral gains, fail to see the colossal damage that their kind of politics does to our institutions. The Maharatshtra Police is being made to look incompetent; Shiv Sena, a trusted ally of the BJP for decades, has been projected as a bunch of terrorists from whom an actor can be protected only by giving Y+security. Don’t make people lose their trust in law and order, justice delivery system and democratic processes. The consequences could be disastrous. Perform to win elections.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Homage to doctors
Doctors are in the line of fire of Covid throughout India. Till September 4, over 570 doctors have made the supreme sacrifice to defend the citizens of India. These doctors belonged to different social sections, age groups, specialities, caste and religion. Do we have any platform to pay homage to them? Does anyone know their name? What happens to the widows and the families of doctors who spent 30 years in learning and training themselves and died because they stood between you and the disease? The country is losing medical professionals who are selected through perhaps the toughest exams and trained by the longest course in any field.
Surendra kaushik, by mail
Abuse of state machinery
The action taken by the BMC against actor Kangana Ranaut by bulldozing her office is an example of the ruling party’s goondaism. There may be thousands of illegal constructions, but the way the BMC has reacted shows the involvement of the government machinery. A senior Shiv Sena leader abusing her publicly shows their scant respect towards women. Criticism is healthy, but abusing state machinery for selfish means and intimidation cannot be justified.
Anshumali Shukla, Patiala
Reference to the Sept 9 editorial ‘Covid epicentre’; though India has been reporting the most daily cases since early August, the most important figure in any pandemic is the number of lives lost. In this respect, India’s case fatality rate is significantly better than the global average. This is the primary driver of the Centre’s claim that India has handled the pandemic better than the other countries. But despite that, over 70,000 people have died of Covid-19. It begs the question, if the government could have done more to prevent the loss of lives. Now, when there are over eight lakh active cases, a majority of economic activities have started. As the daily cases mount, the health infrastructure will be truly tested. India is in talks with Russia to develop, supply and co-produce Russian vaccine, but should not rush till its efficacy is proved. A cautious approach is needed.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
‘Sarv dharam sambhav’
The writer is mistaking Nehruvian secularism, which Nehru had picked up from the streets of the West, with the ancient Sanatani thought of ‘Sarv dharam sambhav’ (‘New meaning of secularism’, Sept 8). Ironically, after Independence, the Congress (mis)used the idea of Nehruvian secularism to strengthen its dubious policy of appeasement of so-called minorities, mainly Muslims and Christians, for political gains, and quite successfully, too. ‘Sarv dharam sambhav’, which is the real idea of secularism, is integral to Indian philosophy and ethos. It is embedded in our thinking and needs no special mention.
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
India no pushover
The ongoing Indo-China conflict in eastern Ladakh remains unresolved. Despite talks at various levels, no satisfactory agreement has emerged so far. China is not backing off. Now it is calling Arunachal as south Tibet. India, besides defending its own territory, should grab Chinese territory. India is being taken lightly by China, Nepal and Pakistan. India needs a strong, aggressive approach towards its neighbours.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Saving the girl child
Refer to the editorial Beti bachao (Sept 9); when a woman herself becomes the killer of a girl child, only God can save foeticide in our country. Our women have started flying fighter jets in the Air Force and are on the verge of joining combat roles in the Army and Navy. Killing a child is shameful and cruel. The government’s campaign of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao has remained useless. It needs to be enforced. Indians will have to change their mentality. Strict punishment in such cases would go a long way in saving the girl child.
Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali
Mustard for Bihar
Refer to ‘Objections to Centre’s new farm ordinances’; the suggestion that Haryana farmers should sell their mustard in Bihar is ludicrous. The transportation cost alone would cost Rs 1,000 per quintal, and the difference in the sale price of mustard in the two states is not so much as to make the deal profitable. Secondly, no farmer has one truckload of mustard to sell. If a trader decides to collect mustard from a group of farmers to make one truckload, the profit margin will not be passed on to the farmers. This is besides other risks involved in the transportation. Haryana BJP chief OP Dhankar should do his homework before making such statements.
RN Malik, Gurugram
The dance number ‘Tujhe dekh ke goriya, Beyonce sharma jayegi’ has not gone down well with people and has received lakhs of ‘dislikes’ on YouTube. Twitter users rightly pointed out how the song was regressive and racist. The normalisation of words like ‘gori’, ‘goriya’, ‘gora’ largely accounts for this problem. While ‘gori’ essentially alludes to a light-skinned woman, it also denotes that she is pretty. In this context, one can see that there is an annihilation of both beauty and femininity for darker-skinned women.
Don’t limit science
Apropos of the middle ‘A science fair that changed life’, as a student of class X, science was always the most disliked subject for me. However, the experiments and questions were fascinating. Once, a classmate asked a question and was snubbed immediately, ‘This isn’t related to the topic or syllabus.’ Perhaps the main reason for the disinterest of pupils in science is its confinement to the hardcover of textbooks.
SAMANTHA, by mail
Apropos of ‘Reforms can bolster global value chains’ (Sept 8), with due regard to his age and status, I would request the writer to throw his weight behind burning issues of his own state, Punjab, where he is at the helm of affairs. To prosper once again, the state is required to get rid of various mafias. What happened, and has been happening, during Covid-19 is known to everyone, and best known to the writer. Tax evasion, drug trade and loot of public money have been added to the long list. There is hardly anyone to incur risk against these mafias. As SDM, during the previous government, whenever I undertook raids against the sand mafia, I was transferred within hours. The present regime has only one-and-a-half years to deliver. We need fearless and honest officers who can deliver without caring for frequent transfers. Drug addiction is a chronic problem which can be partly tackled through employment generation. All types of contracts can be thrown open for the unemployed youth by formulating effective policies instead of giving these to elite groups. Corruption is the root cause of all these evils. Therefore, the writer while thinking globally, must act locally, which is the need of the hour.
VK Syal, Sangrur
I regularly read Julio Ribeiro’s excellent, forthright and revealing columns. In ‘Why police are partisan’ (Sept 5), he has rightly praised Tejinder Khanna’s record as an outstanding and upright administrator. However, after retirement, he blotted his copybook when he accepted the chairmanship of the Ranbaxy pharma company. He was chairing a Board meeting when a whistleblower exposed the fraudulent dealings that Ranbaxy was then committing. Those dealings have been exposed in detail by the investigative writer, Katherine Eban, in her book, Bottle of Lies: Ranbaxy and the Dark Side of Indian Pharma, which I covered in my column. When I tried to question Khanna about that meeting, he was unavailable for comment.
Rahul Singh, Mumbai
Congress lacks strategy
The recent happenings in the Congress have done more damage than help improve the image of the party which still doesn’t have a full-time president after its chief quit following the 2019 elections. Experienced leaders are trying to strengthen the party by asking the leadership to evolve a suitable strategy. No party can survive if their members have no right to speak their minds. They should chalk out a plan to put forth their views democratically in Parliament and avoid disrupting its proceedings by holding protests. Since the proceedings are telecast live, a wrong message goes out to the public. They should utilise the opportunity to present the mishandling of the situation in the country by the government. If they continue to disrupt the proceedings, the Congress will not be able to win the confidence of the people.
MUKAND LAL KAUSHIK, BY MAIL
Cong existential crisis
Apropos of ‘Congress at crossroads' (Sept 8), with PM Modi having gained a tenacious grip over the common masses, the Congress is facing an existential crisis. It needs to introspect what has gone awry, resulting in fiasco in two successive elections. It needs to shed a personality-centric approach and choose a viable and visible leader to rescue the sinking ship. It is only by redesigning the idea of the party high command that the party can be resuscitated. Our country is in dire need of a strong Opposition.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
Real teachers missing
Reference to ‘A good teacher educates for lifetime’ (Sept 8), a teacher is a performer, motivator, an awakener and a pedagogic leader who leads from the front by raising his/her own bar of teaching methods, morals and manners, to be a role model for students. William Arthur Ward said, ‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. A great teacher inspires.’ Sadly, the tribe of such teachers is dwindling. If there is decline in teaching-learning standards, we, the teachers, are also to blame. Earlier, teaching was a profession and a mission. But the spirit is wanting these days. An Urdu couplet says it beautifully, ‘Jo ek nigah se karte the khaak ko aqseer, Kahan gaye woh muyallam woh meharban ustaad (Where have gone those teachers who transformed dust into elixir with a single glance)?’
Jaswant Singh Gandam, Phagwara
A rarity now
Refer to ‘A principled principal’ (Sept 7); principals like Triloki Nath are a rarity now, and this has led to a steep decline in the quality of higher education as well as the lack of discipline among students and teachers. Injecting work culture among teachers and staff is possible only through example. Nation builders, as they are called, must depict virtues of dedication, truthfulness and industriousness.
Ashok chaudhary, by mail
Patients who are being treated at government hospitals have been complaining of lack of facilities which has been ratified by an MLA, as reported in The Tribune dated September 7. The poor and unhygienic facilities at government hospitals have been exposed by MLA Nirmal Singh, who opted for Government Rajindra Hospital for treatment of Covid after testing positive. Just in a day, he got himself shifted to a private hospital because of lack of cleanliness. We can imagine the fate of the common man who has no such alternative, and are also unable to raise their voice. That is the reason why those who can afford to, do not go to government hospitals. With huge amount being spent on these hospitals, the government cannot run away from its accountability of providing best facilities in all government hospitals, and make it mandatory for all government officials to get treatment only at these hospitals.
BD Sharma, AMRITSAR
Fake degree scams
Refer to ‘Detecting fake degrees’ (Sept 7); fake degree rackets are flourishing everywhere in India. It devalues the grand thought of shiksha. The government seems to be in no mood to check the spread of private universities which don’t hesitate from supplying fake degrees. The question of verifying the degrees is raised after one has joined a particular post. These should have been examined much earlier. The UGC should set such norms that put stringent checks on private universities. There should be a clear identification between a real and fake degree so that even a layman can distinguish between the two.
Kapil sharma, Kaithal
Attributes of a principal
Apropos of ‘A principled principal’ (Sept 7), I too had the privilege of serving under principals who were contemporary of revered Principal Nath and were cast in the same mould: GC Jain and his successor RN Monga of SA Jain College (Ambala City), and Dr HR Juneja and his successor Dr HR Jindal of MM Modi College, Patiala. One endearing quality of these gems of the teaching fraternity was that they were masters of their subjects and teachers par excellence. They led the faculty with their classroom performance and had a common belief that ‘a principal is a teacher first, administrator afterwards’.
Surindra Lal, Patiala
It was a treat to read the middle ‘A principled principal’ (Sept 7). Principal Nath, a towering personality, was a karmayogi whose dream was to see DAV College, Chandigarh, as the most ideal educational institution in our country. I remember an interesting incident, when a procession of angry students reached the college. Principal Nath was at the entry gate with folded hands. The protesters asked him to allow students to join the procession. He politely said, ‘I have no objection; you may request the students to join the procession.’ Unbelievable, but not a single student came out of the college premises. He had such a hold on the student community.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
No laws for netas
Reference to ‘Covid norms: cops more harsh on activists than netas’ (Sept 6); though Article 14 gives equal protection of law to all, and equality before law, but that does not happen on the ground. Incarcerations are for the common people who are breaking the rules. If netas are arrested, it would make a tawdry campaign, claiming ‘public leaders offering help were arrested on alleged pressure by the ruling party’, which would be a bigger conundrum.
ABHISHEK PERIWAL, FAZILKA
Indian Army’s gesture
Apropos of ‘Three Chinese motorists stray into Sikkim, rescued by Army’ (Sept 6), the Government of India should highlight this internationally, and in China, through print, social media, etc. People across the world can understand that Indians, including Indian Army personnel, are friendly to all, even if they belong to hostile nations. It is unfortunate that the leaders of China are aggressive in nature and indulge in land-grabbing. If they don’t change, the world community will teach them a lesson.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
The resumption of Delhi Metro services has been taken in the interest of the general public, but the running of Metro rail at this stage may become a source of another upsurge in the number of Covid cases. As per the history of various unlocking phases, the cases have jumped up with opening up of each activity. With the running of Metro rail, the chances have increased multifold.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Refer to ‘Why police are partisan’ (Sept 5); what the writer has written applies to all government departments. Day-to-day working is increasingly at the behest of dominant political interests and will get worse as competing vested interests simply crowd out any space for the idea of law and rules to take a hold. What the writer doesn’t mention is that in the police, perhaps more than elsewhere, corruption is endemic.
Vinay Tandon, Kasauli
Over to civil society
Apropos of ‘Why police are partisan’ (Sept 5), the functioning of the police in our country is not in accordance with the rule of law. Further, the writer longs for and aspires that the police force should function in compliance with the Constitution and as per law, irrespective of what the ruling government desires. Civil society should raise its voice to ensure that the true spirit of law prevails and the police functions without any pressure from ruling parties and other lobbies.
Parminder Singh Gill, Mohali
FB meddling in politics
Refer to ‘Facebook acts, finally’ (Sept 5); Indian politics is in danger. It is a blot on our democracy, where people do not have the right to express themselves. As per reports, Facebook tries to delete all those pages which have a right-of-centre ideology. How a person who is casting his/her vote trust such politicians who indulge in suppressing the voice of the public? It also points a finger on the credibility of a trusted social media platform. Facebook is meddling in politics through modern technology. The only way to tackle such problems is to keep a tight vigilance on all these social platforms and take recourse to legal action. Such reports are a step forward to curb these attempts but now this should not be left only to the papers, without any certain action.
Jashan Goyal, Bathinda
Harsimrat Kaur Badal has sought help from the Railways to make arrangements for the supply of kinnow crop of Punjab to other states. This is a good idea and can solve many problems. Kinnow is a perishable fruit. The crop yield is much more than what can be consumed in Punjab. The extra quantity goes waste, resulting in losses to farmers. Every other day, we hear news of farmers committing suicide. In Kolkata, bogies are loaded with fish for supply to other places. Since fish is also a perishable commodity, thousands of workers are engaged in loading it along with ice for preservation. It has solved the problem of unemployment and is also improving the economic condition of fish farmers. Similarly, Punjab will engage labour for handling this crop. It will solve unemployment among youth. The Railways, too, will gain profit. It will be worthwhile if kinnows are graded in the manner of apples of Himachal Pradesh.
Gursharan Singh Narula, by mail
Reference to ‘Shinzo’s resignation an act of humility, dignity’ (Sept 5); Indian politicians, who always wish to cling to power, should learn a lesson from the message in disguise left by Abe, who voluntarily resigned on August 28 on health grounds. Earlier, too, he had tendered his resignation in 2007 and had again assumed the office after a gap of five years, in 2012, for the second time. This gesture of nobility and greatness should be followed by present-day politicians.
Shadi Lal, by mail
Be a true guru
With regard to Teacher’s Day celebrations, though school, college and university teachers, serving as well as retired, are facing problems concerning jobs, salary, perks and pension, this is the day for all teachers to pledge and re-dedicate themselves to guide, shape and transform the lives and careers of their students with utmost diligence and dedication. Teachers must rise above their personal problems to impart education in its true sense to students to make them efficient professionals and fine human beings. This new resolve would be a true tribute to the great teacher, the late Dr Radhakrishnan.
NK Gosain, Bathinda
No gender bias in IAF
Refer to ‘HC refuses to stay Gunjan Saxena streaming’ (Sept 3), an otherwise good film, depicting the bravery of a woman pilot in the Kargil war, the film was mired in controversy for showing gender bias in the IAF. Earlier war movies like Haqeeqat or Border had largely steered clear of controversies. Now that the movie has been aired, ignoring Air Force objections, the IAF pursuing the matter any further would be a futile exercise. Similarly, the unseemly row between two women pilots over who entered the Kargil combat zone first was uncalled for. We have many women officers in various branches in the IAF. A woman pilot has even risen to command a helicopter unit. The gender bias shown in the movie, therefore, is misconceived. The IAF is proud of its women officers.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
A propos of the editorial ‘Upholding civil rights’ (Sept 3), not only the Opposition parties, but also every sane citizen would have rejoiced at the release of Dr Khan as they might have been disheartened by his ‘illegal’ arrest followed by incarceration for a long period in jail. But there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. The doctor still apprehends his arrest on some similar pretext. What a pity that ‘independent Indians’ are still ruled by British laws enacted during the 18th and 19th centuries. The illegal detention of a doctor, particularly during the days of Covid-19, is a national loss, as he might have saved precious lives if out of jail. Some legal luminary may shed light on the legal provision, if any, that empowers the learned judge to direct the government to bring such an erring police officer effectively to book, or the aggrieved person may sue him for defamation, etc. Otherwise, more and more people would continue to go the Kafeel way.
Swaran Singh Sanehi, Phillaur
War of a different kind
Refer to the editorial ‘Good riddance’ (Sept 4); PUBG’s popularity had triggered apprehensions about its impact on children’s studies as well as their mental health. China has been dominating gaming apps on social media for a long time. Kudos to the government for banning these apps. This digital hit on Chinese business will break the backbone of that country’s cyber economy. Also, with the innovation in science and technology in our country, very good and challenging apps are coming in the market. China will be forced to move away from the digital market in a phased manner.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
What is there to hide?
What and why is the government afraid of that it has suspended Question Hour during the monsoon session of Parliament? If it indeed has nothing to hide from Parliament or public exposure, why undertake such a move? Does this not expose the government to the justifiable charge that something sinister is brewing and that the country is moving towards authoritarianism or elected autocracy, as observed recently by Justice Shah, a retired Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court? And does this also not act against the democratic principles, to deny Opposition parties the chance to question the government about its acts of omission and commission, on the floor of Parliament?
Refer to ‘FB says no bias, bans Telangana BJP MLA’; in what can be called damage control, Facebook has banned T Raja Singh from its platform for spreading hate speech and is now claiming that it is neutral. The Congress was continuously accusing Facebook of ‘helping’ the BJP, and alleged that no action was being taken against BJP-supporting accounts.
Varun Kohli, Jammu
Inspiration to young girls
Reference to the news report ‘Teenager gives snatchers a tough fight’ (Sept 1); Kusum’s courage has made us all very proud. Despite being attacked with a sharp-edged weapon, she gave a tough fight to the snatchers. Here is a lesson. Young girls should take self-defence classes to protect themselves from miscreants like eve-teasers and snatchers. Martial arts are as important as studies and co-curricular activities. The Centre and the state government should acknowledge her bravery by conferring her with an award.
Jaspreet Kaur Gill Sidhu, Ludhiana
A larger racket
Apropos of the editorial ‘Fighting for her phone’ (Sept 4); hats off to 15-year-old Kusum for showing exemplary courage. But not all victims are brave enough to fight back. As many as 23 snatching incidents have been reported in Chandigarh since July (Chandigarh Tribune, Sept 4). The snatchers are aware that there is no police patrol anywhere these days, and they cover their faces with masks and cover or twist the number plates of their bikes before committing crimes. Why does the police not keep an eye on goldsmiths? After all, the snatchers sell the gold at jewellery shops. If the police are not hand in glove with snatchers and jewellers, snatching incidents can come to a halt in a day!
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
Refer to the article ‘Agriculture comes up trumps’ (Sept 4); the agriculture sector has proved its mettle. Despite the fact that the economic policies of the government are directed towards incentivising the manufacturing sector, and sidelining agriculture, it has saved our economy from plunging into an abyss. Agriculture has proved to be the backbone of our country. The government must provide maximum incentives to agriculture and agro-based industry to revive the economy.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Refer to ‘No Question Hour in monsoon session’ (Sept 3); Question Hour is an integral part of a sitting session of the Lok Sabha, exclusively devoted to questions that MPs raise about any aspect of administrative activities of the government. The ministers concerned are duty bound to answer to Parliament either orally or in writing, depending on the nature of the questions. Questions raised are one of the ways by which Parliament can hold the executive accountable. The cancellation of Question Hour has generated resentment among Opposition MPs, because they see it as a ploy to muzzle their voice. It is a must for dynamic parliamentary democracy. Zero Hour cannot be a substitute, as it is held after Question Hour. Moreover, Question Hour is mentioned in the rule of procedure, Zero Hour is not.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Violation of rights
Apropos of the editorial ‘Upholding civil rights’ (Sept 3), picking up anybody and putting them in jail, denying even bail, in the name of UAPA, scuttles the constitutional idea of freedom, equality, justice and law. Misuse of such draconian Acts to settle political scores is not a new thing in our country. It marks an authoritarian regime, which terrifies its citizens in the garb of peace and normalcy. The Blackstone’s ratio that it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffers is no more a guiding principle with the police or politicians. Rather, the regime’s revengefulness is engulfing many innocent activists.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Refer to ‘Upholding civil rights’; the grounds for detention under the NSA provided nothing that indicated any attempt by Dr Khan to disturb peace. He was kept under detention in violation of his rights. Does it not threaten secularism? The administration is liable and must be held accountable.
Geeta Thakur, Shimla
Punjabi left out
Refer to ‘Hindi, Dogri among 5 official languages in J&K’ (Sept 3); it is strange that Punjabi is not being included as another official language, though most of the people there speak Punjabi. I visited Jammu to attend a conference on Indian languages organised by the National Translation Commission in January and found that a majority of Jammu residents were speaking in Punjabi. Dogri has since been considered as a dialect of Punjabi in Punjabi literature, but now if it has been considered as one of the Indian languages, the translation of books must also be discussed.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
PUBG ban a boon
The ban on PUBG was long awaited, and hence a good decision. The eighth most successful mobile game in the world, it had become a morbid obsession with both children and adults. The showcasing of violence and spending money lavishly to be a pro-player has been put to an end by this ban. This might hurt the players, but in the long run, it is only for their well-being!
Mandeep Kaur, Jalandhar
HAU entrance test
CCSHAU-Hisar has decided to hold the entrance test for PG courses in basic sciences on September 9. All state universities of Haryana are conducting final-year graduation exams from September 4, under special instructions from the UGC and the state government. Aspiring students will be deprived of a golden opportunity to appear in the HAU entrance test, owing to the clash of exams and admission counselling dates of the HAU. The authorities should look into the matter and postpone the PG entrance test to October, as has been done by Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Sayujya Sharma, Hisar
India high on innovation
Apropos of ‘Global Innovation Index’, gone are the days when India used to be known as a nation of snake-charmers. It is now making inroads into several significant domains. India’s position in the top 50 nations on the index bears testimony to the fact that it is leading in innovation also. It is hearting to acknowledge that India ranked first among Central and Southeast Asian countries. Compared to last year, India climbed four spots to reach 48 from 52. India is now the third-most innovative lower middle-income economy in the world.
Rahul Chouhan, by mail
It was very satisfying and heartening to read the news report, ‘Dad toiled hard...’ (Sept 3). A 15-year-old girl bravely took on two snatchers and saved her mobile phone and herself. She fought resolutely. This should be a lesson to our youth, especially girls. Martial arts helped her. Let the winds of change blow. Girls should start taking self-defence classes.
Mohinder Singh, Patiala
Apropos of the editorial ‘Lockdown contraction’ (Sept 2), India’s GDP contracted by 23.9% for the first quarter of the current fiscal, but the government is trying to distract the public by calling for the boycott of Chinese goods etc. An important point to be noted is as to how China’s GDP contracted only by 6.8%. Why is the government not discussing how China has absorbed the blow, despite the ban on major business companies by the other nations?
Ritish Pandit, Dehra Gopipur
LIC credo inspires
Refer to ‘Ramp up infrastructure to revive economy’ (Sept 2); the boost in demand needs review of certain decisions like freezing of the dearness allowance for employees which have to be withdrawn. DA is compensation for inflation and cannot be denied, and must be paid, the earlier the best, for reviving demand. To revive the economy, there is a strong case for adopting consumer-friendly ‘NAW’ (need, affordability and worth) approach of marketing of the goods and services. We should adopt the principle of ‘needonomics’, based on the credo of LIC of India — ‘Yogakshemam vahamyaham’ (your welfare is our responsibility). For bringing socio-economic transformation, we need to propagate righteous income after paying taxes.
MM Goel, Kurukshetra
Vacant PG seats
The report ‘12% PG seats vacant in med colleges’ (Sept 1) was worrying. Recently, BFUHS announced that 86 PG seats couldn’t be filled in seven medical colleges of Punjab. A country like India that has an acute shortage of specialist doctors, letting PG seats (may be of non-clinical subjects) go vacant is indeed criminal. This is a national loss and that too in these challenging times. It is the duty of the MCI and the Ministry of Health to make doctors aware of the importance of non-clinical or basic subjects, and in any case, if there are no aspirants for these specialities, the cut-off condition should be waived for these subjects. Some prestigious private colleges charge heavily even for non-clinical courses.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
The sentence awarded to Prashant Bhushan by the SC is unfortunate. Imposing a fine of Re 1 on him is not only ridiculous in itself, but also smacks of stubbornness and vindictiveness, as it has been stated that in case of non-payment of this fine, he will undergo three months’ imprisonment along with a ban on practising law for three years. Keeping in view the hard facts of the case, people were expecting juristic consideration and magnanimity from the Bench. Not to speak of the cogent reply by the accused and the forceful arguments of the defence lawyer, who taking cognisance of the meritorious contribution of Bhushan to the delivery of justice so far, had pleaded not to penalise him. It has eroded the esteem of the highest court.
Yadwinder Dirba, Sangrur
Probe would be in order
The contempt case against Prashant Bhushan has been disposed of by the Supreme Court by awarding him Re 1 as fine. Failing to comply with the verdict will evoke three-month imprisonment. Bhushan very respectfully agreed to pay the fine but would avail the option of filing a review petition against the punishment. Now, the whole episode has shifted to the main issue of prevailing corruption among judicial officials. It needs to be proceeded with by appointing a commission armed with comprehensive terms of reference to probe the cases of those allegedly involved in corrupt practices while wielding immense judicial powers, and suggest ways and means to eliminate corruption in the higher echelon of judiciary. This will restore the unstinted public faith in our unbiased and incorruptible judicial system.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
Reference to the notification issued by the Centre on the periodic review of government employees for strengthening administration. It has been mentioned that the government may, at any time after an employee has attained the age of 50/55 years or completed 30 years of service, retire him prematurely in public interest, based on broad criteria to be followed by the review committee. One of the conditions is doubtful integrity. Also, those found to be ineffective shall be retired. This infers that those below 50 years are not corrupt, or have the licence to indulge in corruption. It will be the easiest tool to get rid of any government servant from service if one is not working according to the wish of his or her bosses. The government should reconsider the notification.
Brij Bhushan, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Ex-Prez Pranabda passes away at 84’ (Sept 1); Bharat has lost its Ratna in the form of Pranab Mukherjee. He was a patriot first, a politician later. He stood for the welfare of the country, whether he was in the government or in the Opposition. In 2014, when he was the President, Mukherjee did not use his vote, saying that he was the President and could not favour anyone because all were equal in his eyes. It is rightly said that to live in the hearts of others is to never die. India will always miss Pranab Mukherjee.
MOHIT MOR, JIND
Would’ve made a good PM
Our country has lost a highly prudent, dexterous administrator and a respected statesman. The loss is irreparable. A non-controversial personality, Pranab Mukherjee was respected even by his opponents. He was a man of principles and the perfect material to run the country’s highest executive post, that of the Prime Minister. However, dynastic considerations superseded democratic norms. Had he got the chance, he would have led the country with innovative ideas in every field of development, whether economy, infrastructure, defence or foreign policy.
Deepak, by mail
Fined for contempt
By awarding a meagre amount of Re 1 as punishment for contempt of court, the Supreme Court Bench seems to have approved the viewpoint of Prashant Bhushan. It justified the decision by highlighting the contribution of Bhushan towards strengthening the rule of law. In the larger interest of the survival of democracy, the court was expected to address the issue of citizens’ right to subject the judiciary to scrutiny and criticism in a democracy, raised in the ‘culprit’s’ tweets.
NK Rana, Kurukshetra
Fine too meagre
If there was, indeed, contempt of court, then Prashant Bhushan should have been aptly punished. A Re 1 fine is a mockery of the judicial system. The common man is punished for so many purported acts of omission; fined for not wearing a mask, helmet, seat belt, for late payment, for need-based change in one’s own house...the list is endless. Why a just paltry fine for contempt of the highest court of the land? The Supreme Court should enlighten us.
Ashutosh Vermani, by mail
SC must review order
Apropos of the editorial ‘Bhushan fined Re 1’ (Sept 1), the sentence does not, in any way, mitigate the original order, through which the court has restricted the space for criticism. A victory for those who believe in free speech would have been a review of the order itself. Bhushan has respectfully accepted the punishment. He should now seek a review so that the court has the option to strike down the conviction and erase this blot.
SS Paul, Nadia
An unpredictable China has done it again. But for the vigilance of Indian troops, China would have been able to move forward and succeeded in changing the status quo. China cannot be trusted. All plans must be made keeping this fact in view. There is a need to augment our defence mechanism, even if we have to curtail the expenditure on other fronts.
Santosh Jamwal, Hamirpur
SGPC order on masks
The SGPC has made it mandatory for visitors to wear mask at the Golden Temple. However, it is disappointing to see pilgrims and even the sewadars without masks. If sewadars can keep vigil and do not permit anyone from entering the complex without covering one’s head, why can’t the same vigil be kept on the mask as well? In fact, the SGPC should start distributing masks free of cost among visitors.
GURPREET S MALHOTRA, KANSAl
The Himachal CM visited the Atal tunnel recently and directed the BRO to expedite its completion. The CM’s anxiety is understandable because the inauguration is to be done by the PM. The BRO is a reliable Central organisation. The CM’s suggestion on digging 13, 15 and 7-km-long tunnels below Baralacha, Lachlung and Taklangla passes, respectively, for making the Manali-Serchu-Upshi approach to Ladakh easier, is welcome. However, he may be glad to know that instead of the aforesaid expensive 35-km tunneling, the BRO is concentrating more on building a 4.5 km tunnel below Shinkula, 15 km east of Darcha in Lahaul. Kargil is about 300 km from Shinkula — all downhill along the Padam-Zanskar plains. A highway along this alignment will be much easier to keep open round the year.
KL Noatay, UK
Apropos of ‘Putsch by petitioning’ (Nous Indica, Aug 29); it is wrong to dub it as a rebellion without a leader. The letter written by the 23 Congressmen offers a stimulus for re-think against the factors that have weakened the party. This is clear from the debacle that the Congress has suffered in the last two Lok Sabha elections. It has shown that the Gandhis have shown no genius for the organisation of late. It is important to revitalise and rejuvenate the party which has played a significant role in nation-building. The rebels are not to be dismissed as mere disgruntled opportunists. That a section does not want any change in leadership only shows an ideological vacuum which can be removed only by a change in leadership in the Congress.
Krishan Malhotra, Ambala Cantt
Sanctity of Parliament
Refer to the editorial ‘Speaker’s directive’ (Aug 31); Parliament represents the will of the people. The Bill on judicial appointments is an example which was rejected by the Supreme Court but passed by Parliament. The business of the government should be transacted taking into account a higher perspective of matters at hand.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
In reference to ‘Quota within quota’; the apex court has rightly observed that reservation benefits must go to the poorest and not be limited only to the listed sections of society. But the court should also strictly put a limit on maximum of 50% reservation, which has been exceeded in many states. The unbridled expansion of reservation militates against the very idea of modern India, where all communities should have access to opportunities. Besides, had reservation truly worked, there would have been no need to extend them. Many states have breached the ceiling because of governments having failed to generate jobs for the youth, which in turn has fuelled the demand for jobs going only to the locals.
PS Kaur, by mail
Common electoral rolls
To bring about uniformity in any programme, it is important to ensure transparency. If the exercise of preparing common electoral rolls for the Lok Sabha, Assembly and local body elections is given effect to, it may help in bringing about uniformity and also unburden the states financially. The money saved can be used for development, healthcare and improving the education system.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Row over GST
The crisis in fiscal federalism is due to the universal guarantee given to the states by the Centre to compensate them for five years from 2017, in the event that tax collections stay below the threshold. The options given to the states to bridge the gap follow a narrow legal view, and will be a big setback for the political economy. The proposed solutions will increase the trust deficit between the Centre and the states, and could spill over to other areas beyond petroleum, alcohol and stamp duty, which were subsumed under GST. The states are required to do the heavy lifting, and hence, they need a sympathetic Centre, which can bridge the revenue gap and ease the severe strain on the pandemic-induced economic scenario.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Thousands of Indian soldiers were enlisted in the British-Indian Army and served to the best of their ability. They were used by the British Empire to maintain its hold on the colonies. They fought against odds, sometimes without the necessary amenities in faraway lands even as the colonial power sought to subjugate their own territory and plunder it. Despite this, the Indian Army has remained depoliticised which differentiates it from Pakistan where the army has held sway over the civilian government.
Balbir Chander Nahar, by mail
An unnecessary controversy over the NEET and JEE exams has been created. There is no knowing how long the pandemic will continue. To keep these qualifying examinations in abeyance is not in the interests of the aspirants. The focus should be on making sure that the exams are held with the necessary safeguards against the spread of Covid-19 infections. The Centre and states must arrange for the transport service to enable the students reach their examination centres without any difficulty.
Parkash Hanspaul, by mail
World Coconut Day
World Coconut Day is observed on September 2 every year to create awareness about the importance of the fruit. Coconut is referred to in India as kalpavriksha, which means a tree which will fulfill all the necessities of life and is regarded as holy. Coconut has a lot of significance in rituals and ceremonies. It is also called the ‘Tree of life’.
Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai