The Tribune India : Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Judicial appointments Other

Nov 30, 2022

THE Centre has deliberately delayed the process of judicial appointments by returning 20 files relating to the appointment of high court judges, nine of which were reiteration, to the Collegium over ‘differences’. The government has expressed ‘strong reservations’ over the names of the recommended judges at a time when crores of cases are pending across the nation. One of the recommended names is of advocate Saurabh Kirpal, who has spoken about his homosexuality. Not only is this indicative of the Central Government’s homophobia, but also a sign of the growing rift between the Supreme Court and the government.

Prateek Sachdeva, Mohali

Credibility dented

Refer to ‘Anguish over NJAC order behind posting delays: SC’; it is underwhelming that the government is leaving no opportunity to interfere in the decisions of the judiciary. This only highlights the insecurity and desperation for absolute power. Judiciary is autonomous and the government is unabashedly hampering its seamless working. The government should understand that it cannot direct each and every institution and these institutions will not work on the terms set by the government. The government is already infamous for unleashing Central agencies such as the ED and CBI for political reasons. This action further dents its credibility.

Aanya Singhal, Noida

People know better

Refer to ‘Kharge hits back: “Sacrificed two PMs in fight against terrorism”’; our politics is now more polluted than our environment. To win elections, politicians holding high posts are blaming the former UPA government for going soft on terrorism. People know well how the BJP released dreaded terrorist Azhar. The then defence minister Jaswant Singh accompanied Azhar in a special light to deliver him in Kabul. People are aware and will not fall in the trap of propaganda.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Withdraw order

Reference to ‘Farmers upbeat, officials upset over “amnesty” farm fire cases’; this is what happens when an order issued by the government is withdrawn, making a mockery of laws enacted in the interest of the whole population of the state. It is distressing to note that about 50,000 cases of burning of crop residue were recorded by pollution control officials, which will not be taken up now. Punjab and Delhi are ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party and stubble burning in the former is badly affecting the Air Quality Index of the latter. At least on this account, the Punjab Government should not have withdrawn the red entries made in the revenue records of the farmers indulging in the burning of paddy stubble. Pollution affects everybody, including the perpetrators of stubble burning. Vote bank politics should not be played over environment. In the interest of people living in northern India, it is desirable to revoke the withdrawal order.


Prepaid meters

A sum of Rs 2,000 crore is pending against non-payment of bills towards state departments, including public health, police stations and residential colonies (‘Soon, prepaid power meters at govt offices’). No doubt, the only solution is prepaid meters. The government must allot timely required funds to all departments for the payment of electricity bills. Pending dues directly affect lowering tariffs and increase burden on the consumer.


NGT must take note

Apropos of ‘Farmers upbeat, officials upset over “amnesty” in farm fire cases’; it is unfortunate that CM Bhagwant Mann has issued two contradictory orders within a short time, emboldening a section of kisan leaders and demoralising upright officials in Punjab. This gesture of the government is being termed by the leaders as ‘rollback emanating from power and strength’ of the leaders. Officials faced the wrath of erring farmers in the first phase and would face humiliation now for performing their normal duties. The revised order would also create problems for elderly persons suffering from respiratory problems and shortage of dry fodder in Punjab. Keeping in view the impact of this order on the AQI, the NGT should take suo motu notice of the order to initiate action against the government for extending support to persons polluting air in the region.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

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Take a stand Other

Nov 29, 2022

‘26/11 anniversary’ and ‘India’s abstention on Iran vote’ depict lndia’s ambiguous stand on terrorism and human rights violations. The former shows India lamenting over the international community’s tepid response, not leading to a crackdown on terrorists in Pakistan. India has criticised the 26/11 attackers going unpunished and the decision of the FATF to take Pakistan off the grey list. At the same time, India justifies its abstention on Iran vote, on a UNHRC resolution seeking a probe into the ongoing crackdown on protesters in the name of pragmatism and diplomacy. If hijab and violation of human rights are wrong in India, aren’t they wrong in Iran and China as well? India must shun this ‘running with the hare and hunting with the hounds’ policy and unequivocally condemn terrorism and human rights violations everywhere.


Iran vote

Apropos of ‘India’s abstention on Iran vote’, India and Iran have friendly relations in many areas. Iran’s military posture has led to an increase in arms purchases by its neighbours, and a nuclear-armed Iran would likely spark an arms race in the Middle East. This would further destabilise the volatile and vital region. Whether it is abstaining against Iran vote, or Russia’s special operations in Ukraine, India’s decisions have been based on its security and economic interests.

Tashi Baheti, by mail

Hope from yatra

Refer to ‘Rahul’s yatra ticking all the right boxes’; while the Congress has its own internal conflicts, the clash of ideologies is at its peak in the country. In the present circumstances, not only in India, but also an atmosphere of hatred is being generated across the whole world. This means that the majority of people in every country want their ideology to be respected within the country and others to follow it. In the midst of all the challenges and struggles, Rahul Gandhi has set out on his journey, but will he really be able to unite India and the Congress? The party may benefit from the yatra, provided this journey is not limited to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Cyber fraud

Apropos of the middle ‘Look before you leap online’, while the mode of online transactions does offer speed and convenience, there are also dangers far beyond the imagination of most people. The government’s push for digitisation has forgotten to take the safety aspect into consideration, and, as a result, there are hundreds of cases of cyber crooks cleaning up bank accounts without a trace. Constant emails and messages are sent, requesting the user to click on a link. Some of them may be genuine, but such is the fear of being duped that all are dumped into the virtual bin. With crooks using more sophisticated tools, bank accounts are going to be sitting ducks for those operating with impunity.


Extravagant expenditure

It is unfortunate that hardly any day goes when there is no advertisement of the Punjab Government in newspapers, especially with photographs of the CM with folded hands. Bhagwant Mann has surpassed all previous records of advertisements in the media, besides big hoardings in cities and towns, listing his achievements. Preaching and teachings of the Gurus and other legends or martyrs are never published in such advertisements. Crores of rupees are being spent from the depleting state coffers on political drama and vanity. Such huge amounts could be utilised for development works and the welfare of people. Free electricity is no achievement as the scheme is effecting otherwise for the credit is accumulated. Further, this is happening perhaps for the first time that a majority of Cabinet ministers and MLAs are in other states for campaigns, putting another burden on the state treasury. The CM should pay attention to the state and serious issues like drug menace, violence and crime, which have become a matter of routine.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Himachal polls

Reference to the Himachal elections; as the date of results are approaching, the BJP has started claiming that it will retain power in the state. Overconfidence of the government is not good. The Congress is also powerful in Himachal Pradesh and has worked hard to win the elections. However, it seems difficult for the AAP to win as the two traditional parties have been in the game for long and have been winning polls. The result of the Himachal elections may also give an idea where the parties are headed in the Gujarat elections.

Sanat Laul, Shimla

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Accountability missing Other

Nov 28, 2022

It is easier said than done that ‘Greed can’t be our creed’ (Nous Indica). The business houses, including the industry, have to cater to the ‘needs’ of the officialdom and various regulators. This complicity of vested interests drives the ubiquitous greed and hampers a fair investigation to dig out lapses and scandals. That which should be everybody’s business is nobody’s business — all authority, no accountability! The urgent need of the hour is that different regulators synergise, with intra- and inter-departmental controls under one roof, paving the way for dealing with the government as a single entity for the smooth operation of any business — a sine qua non to improve employment figures and the GDP.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Villains now heroes

Apropos of ‘Greed can’t be our creed’ (Nous Indica); the making and selling of spurious drugs in our country are not new phenomena. Popular Hindi movie Anari (1959), which was remade in Tamil as Pasamum Neesamum, dealt with this theme. However, in that film, the villain, unlike today’s real villains, was jailed. Of late, most villains of the day are enjoying blatant political patronage and have become worthy of being garlanded and praised. In such a sad scenario, can one hope of getting rid of this ‘creed’?


Power struggle

Refer to ‘Gehlot vs Pilot’; the power struggle between Gehlot and his bete noire Pilot does not augur well for the already weak political fortunes of the Congress. This assumes greater significance as Rahul Gandhi is set to enter the state as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra. Rahul should have warned them against their street fighting. Kharge, the recently crowned party president, too, has failed to rein in both leaders. It would have far-reaching consequences for the party.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

Encourage young leaders

Apropos of ‘Gehlot vs Pilot’; Gehlot’s outburst seems to have taken the acrimony and bitterness over the power tussle in Rajasthan to a point of no return. The Congress is in a Catch-22 situation, attempting a turnaround in its political fortunes through the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Gehlot, an astute politician, should have been more discreet in the choice of words, accusation or time as Pilot, a young and dynamic face, is also not a pushover. Right moves could have been made to buy peace as the sterling role of Pilot as president in the Rajasthan Congress, ascending to power in 2018, can’t be wished away. Younger leadership has to be given space and charge sooner or later. Why can’t such grace and niceties be expected from senior leadership? Is the attachment to power too strong to have any room for such sentiments?


Japanese lesson

Apropos of ‘Japanese win hearts'; Japanese cleaning operations after every match are heartwarming. Instead of celebrating their victory or feeling dejected after the match, they turn to cleaning the place. Politeness and humility are their hallmark. Japanese conduct at the FIFA World Cup is a lesson for us to accord primacy to cleanliness.


Women’s rightful place

Reference to ‘Curbing crime against women needs iron will’; a society that is unable to respect, protect and nurture its women loses its moral moorings and runs adrift. In Indian society, a woman occupies a vital and venerable place. The Vedas glorified her as the creator, one who gave life and worshipped her as a devi or goddess. At the same time, however, she found herself suppressed and subjugated in a patriarchal society. Serious efforts are needed to combat heinous crimes; and if it does occur, society must not further victimise the victim. Whenever something goes wrong, women are blamed for transgressing social norms, and thereby jeopardising their safety. We also need to stop the commodification of women.


What’s the cause?

Reference to the article ‘Dread of conversions’; the motive behind the PIL is to avoid the real cause of conversions. We speak about more laws against conversions and terrorism, but never try to find out the real cause behind these things. The masses want the Constitution to prevail in the true spirit and as intended by the founding fathers. However, it has not happened since Independence. Every time we talk about more laws, we fail to think of ways to implement the existing ones.

Purshotam Kumar, Kurukshetra

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Sceptical of Pak army Other

Nov 26, 2022

Refer to ‘New chief for Pak army’; the post of army chief is considered to be the most powerful office in a country that has seen multiple coups, and where the military influences the government and policy even when not formally in power. Political analysts are sceptical of the army’s promises that it will no longer interfere in politics. But the weakness of Pakistan’s institutions leaves an opening for the army to assert itself. Pakistan’s history shows that even after the army faces political setbacks, it is able to bounce back as a result of bitter divisions among political parties, especially as there are always politicians looking for military support to achieve their political objectives. There has been extraordinary interest in the appointment of Bajwa’s successor as many believe ousted Imran Khan’s long march is linked to the change of army chief.


Bajwa on ’71 War

It has been proved beyond an iota of doubt that Pakistan does not wish to maintain cordial relations with Delhi (‘New chief for Pak army’). It has appointed Lt Gen Munir, who is a spy master and took an active part in the Pulwama attack, as the army chief. There can hardly be any peace at the border and firing will go on as before. Bajwa’s role is questionable as he has termed the 1971 defeat as a political and not a military debacle.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

With pinch of salt

Apropos of ‘New chief for Pak army’; appointing Munir, former ISI chief, as army chief will be of no better consequence for India. Despite admission, though hesitatingly, by the outgoing army chief Bajwa about the Pakistan army’s outsized role in the country’s domestic and foreign policies and pretending to be apolitical, it cannot be believed. Considering the past 75 years’ enmity, the Pakistan army cannot afford to be friendly with India.

Kundu sajjan, by mail

Imran vs army

Refer to ‘New chief for Pak army’; Munir’s stint begins at a time when Pakistan is facing a precarious economic scenario. Though not much is known about his foreign policy views, he is considered close to the outgoing chief Bajwa. Hopefully, he would continue with repairing the frosty ties with the US and ceasefire with India. But his immediate challenge would be to restore public trust in the army. It has never happened in the last three decades that a political leader has directly taken on the army. Imran Khan is threatening to unleash anarchy by taking on the military establishment. And there is no love lost between Khan and Munir. But it looks like checkmate to Khan by the army. Our security establishment, meanwhile, needs to be on its toes.

Bal Govind, Noida

Mind language

Apropos of ‘Pilot traitor, can’t be CM: Gehlot’; it does not behove the Chief Minister to use derogatory language against his former deputy, Sachin Pilot, especially on the eve of Bharat Jodo Yatra’s entry into Rajasthan. If the party cannot unite two leaders of the state, it would be a daydream to unite the whole country. Gehlot may also be termed a traitor as he failed to check the boycott of a CLP meeting on September 25.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Spurious drugs

Refer to the menace of fake drugs, this goes to prove that the factory owners are either fraudsters or careless and negligent. Negligence is no excuse. The authorities concerned should take strict action against the defaulters. The consequences of fake drugs can well be imagined. The administration should punish the factory owners along with the retailers who help them sell the drugs. Erring drug inspectors, who may be colluding with the fraudsters, deserve strict punishment in equal measure.

NPS Sohal, by mail

Death for raping daughter

A Sirsa Additional District Judge giving death penalty to a man under POCSO Act for raping his 12-year-old daughter should set the trend to keep the conscience of society alive. But it is moot whether superior courts too will uphold it as the ‘rarest of rare case’ and not dilute the sentence. The purpose of setting up fast-track special courts will stand defeated and deterrence lost if execution of sentence lingers on for years. Only summary trials in stages that the case would henceforth pass through, till its logical conclusion, is imperative to deter repeats. It is wisely said, ‘Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen’.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

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Probe appointments Other

Nov 25, 2022

Appointment of various Chief Election Commissioners (CECs) and Election Commissioners (ECs) by various governments in the absence of a law governing their appointments raises doubts. This unconstitutional practice adopted by various union governments, and their intention not to enact a law governing the appointment of CECs and ECs certainly calls for a probe by the apex court. Failure in doing so may endanger our democracy. The court’s opinion for inclusion of the CJI in the appointment process is essential for the independence of the Election Commission.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

Appoint with care

Apropos of ‘What was mechanism to pick EC Goel, produce appointment file: SC to Govt’ and ‘Poll officers’ appointments’; it is of vital importance that immediate remedial steps are taken so that the democratic setup is not undermined. Besides the judiciary, the civil society, intellectuals and the fourth pillar of democracy, the print and electronic media also have to be vigilant in this matter. But care should be taken against overzealousness. We should have faith in the wisdom of the founding fathers of the Constitution who, after thorough deliberations, had ensured flexibility in the framework of the sacrosanct document.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

EC needs reforms

The apex court has rightly said that Article 324 of the Constitution talks about the appointment of CECs and ECs, but does not provide for the procedure for such appointments and it left it to Parliament to enact a law for the purpose. The independence and integrity of the institution of Election Commission cannot be allowed to be eroded by any government. In the absence of constitutional provisions for selection of CECs/ECs, it has become the prerogative of the executive. But the selection of Election Commissioners must be done by a committee, which includes the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Secondly, after retirement, the CECs/ECs should be barred from taking up any official position or nomination to become a member of Parliament or legislature.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Dubious drugs

Reference to ‘Pharma hub ailing’; the authorities must pull out all stops to end the menace of dubious drug making, which is a serious criminal act. In this regard, it is also important to find, through a high-level probe, for how long these fake medicines have been sold in the market and which agencies are the chief buyers of such drugs for profit that have been risking the lives of hundreds of gullible patients.

Balvinder, Chandigarh

Border dispute

Apropos of the news report ‘Assam forest office torched, cars burnt in Meghalaya’; Assam and Meghalaya have a longstanding dispute in 12 stretches of their 884-km shared border. The two states had signed a pact in March to resolve the dispute in six out of the 12 areas. In August, they decided to form regional committees. The second round of discussions for the remaining six phases was to commence by the end of this month. The pact was seen as a major achievement, as Assam’s border disputes with other states in the Northeast have remained unresolved despite multiple rounds of talks. But the recent incident will derail the upcoming talks.

Rohan Chandra, Zirakpur

Irresponsible remark

Refer to ‘Chd needn’t consult Punjab on Assembly land: Speaker’; it is shocking that the Speaker of the Haryana Assembly has said there is no obligation to consult Punjab for the allotment of land for a new Haryana Vidhan Sabha building. As Punjab’s claim regarding Chandigarh is in the political, social and public domain of the region, it is not right to make such irresponsible statements. Leaders must exercise restraint in making such thoughtless statements to maintain the hard-earned peace and brotherhood in the region.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Language barrier

Refer to the middle ‘Let language be no barrier’; national or cultural pride is incontrovertible, but linguistic chauvinism is regressive. Whether Tamil Nadu or Vietnam, one’s native tongue and international language, like English, can easily solve the problem of communication. The Punjab Government’s proposal to feature all signboards in the mother tongue for the sake of cultural pride is right. However, to facilitate people who are not familiar with Punjabi, the signboards must be written in English as well.


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Realty sharks Other

Nov 24, 2022

Apropos of ‘Realty check’; the intention behind the legislation and the establishment of an adjudicatory body to safeguard the interest of home buyers and other real estate assets stand diluted, courtesy dishonest builders and their wily legal advisers. Advertisements for non-existent properties, exaggerated features, amenities and incentives trick gullible buyers, leading to frustration and protracted legal battle. The delay for compensation by Chintels India Pvt Ltd and the woes of homeowners is a testimony to the state of affairs on the ground. The regulatory mechanism needs to be one step ahead as realty sharks can’t be tamed without proactive and firm action by RERA , backed by strong political will.


Dodgy deals

Apropos of ‘Realty check’; it is shocking that residents of Gurugram’s Paradiso society had to approach courts to get justice. It’s no secret that the edifice of corruption in urban India rests on the foundation of dodgy deals contracted between builders, politicians and sarkari babus. These include officials of state authorities, engineers, site inspectors and real estate agents. At the top of pyramid is the political party that controls the levers of power. This system has infected every urban township and Chintels Paradiso is no exception.


SC’s anguish

The anguish expressed by the Supreme Court on the appointment of Election Commissioners is genuine and disturbing (‘Silence of Constitution exploited: SC on appointment of CEC, ECs’). It is also true about appointments in other constitutional bodies. Taking advantage of the silence of the Constitution on such points, governments tend to exploit the situation to their advantage. Resultantly, these bodies, which are expected to work independently of government’s influence, lose their independence. Most of the time, it is apparent that their decisions are unduly influenced by the government of the day and that defeats the very purpose of constituting such bodies by our Constitution founders. The Supreme Court should constitute a body/committee comprising of top legal and constitutional experts under its direct control to suggest changes/clarify the ambiguities so as to remove them. These recommendations should be ratified by Parliament so that these become the law of the land and no government can exploit these for its political benefits.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

A long shot

Reference to ‘Indian Army ready to execute orders on taking back POK, says top General’; notwithstanding the Army’s readiness, such a possibility does not exist, at least for now. In fact, one has to read between the lines the statement made of the Northern Army Commander that ‘the military is always ready to make sure that ceasefire understanding is never broken as it is in the interest of both nations’ to draw some worthy conclusion. Even Pakistan may be aware of the immediate fallout of such a misadventure. No wonder it has been taking recourse to proxy war instead of indulging in any direct confrontation with India.

Vinayak G, by mail

Treat doctors better

Reference to the news report ‘Punjab Govt to upgrade health centres’; it is a good move, but the health centres need good doctors and specialists, which the government lacks. The present doctors are not treated well and are not paid salaries for months together. The doctors under the Ludhiana zila parishad have not been paid arrears since 2011. Most of the experienced doctors have left government service out of frustration. For better medical facilities to the public, better treatment to doctors is imperative.

SS Bhathal, by mail

Climate summit

Though it may not be easy to gauge the outcome of the COP27 Summit held recently in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, because of the lack of consensus among countries on various crucial issues, the setting up of the Loss and Damage Fund is promising. The fund will provide monetary assistance to the poor and developing countries for the damage caused due to environmental and climate changes. It is high time to keep a tight rein on developed countries and hold them accountable, for they are responsible for extra release of carbon in the atmosphere, which is a major reason for global warming.

Ravinder Kumar Thakur, Kishtwar

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Carbon targets Other

Nov 23, 2022

Developing countries were pinning their hopes on the COP27 Summit, but it left them in the lurch due to the lack of clarity on funds. Developed countries have agreed to set up a ‘loss and damage’ fund for countries suffering from natural calamities, but what is the benefit of a fund when rules about its recipients, donors and other mandates are not clear? What is the benefit of an annual summit when no nation really cares about its goals? All nations should come forward to address climate change. Rich nations should provide payouts to developing countries coping with extreme weather conditions. All countries should devise an alternative to coal and fossils. Trans-boundary trade of products responsible for greenhouse gas emissions should be prohibited. Carbon emission targets should be taken seriously and every country should try to accomplish them on time.

Asha Rani, Yamunanagar

Ends with promise

With reference to 'Patchy COP27'; there is no denying the fact that the two-week summit ended on a happy note as member countries agreed to set up a global fund to compensate developing countries which are suffering irreversible damage from climate change. This has been a longstanding demand of the smaller, developing countries. This makes for a good first step and will contribute to tackling climate change.

Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal

Wrong move

Refer to ‘Qatar disappoints’; a preacher who incites terrorism, justifies suicidal bombings, forcible conversions and indulges in money laundering cannot be a true religious guide. It is not understood why he has been given the opportunity to be at the venue of the universally respected game of football. The international community must forcefully oppose the home country’s insensitive move. India must accelerate efforts to extradite Zakir Naik, who makes provocative hate speeches.

Subhash Vaid, by mail

Poor enrolment

Apropos of ‘School enrolment in state third lowest...’; the drastically dwindling count has sounded a clarion call for those at the helm of affairs. Reasons for the downward trend are many. The government’s lack of drive and determination to give a push to improve enrolment in schools is among the reasons. Another factor is the low pupil-teacher ratio. Some schools in the state have an abysmally low ratio compared to other states. The mushrooming of private schools is yet another reason for the below average enrolment in government schools. The government must shun political gimmickry and tokenism and come up with concrete initiatives to ensure that the right to education reaches every home. It needs to ramp up infrastructure and recruit more teachers against posts lying vacant for years.


Trauma centres

Refer to ‘4,500 road deaths a year in Punjab but all 5 trauma centres non-functional’; it is an irony that trauma centres set up at Fazilka, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Khanna and Pathankot a decade ago are non-functional. They were opened at civil or district hospitals, instead of highways as per norms, and remained non-starters as the medical set-up is without a surgeon. Punjab should emulate the TN model.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Healthcare digitalisation

Numerous tools and resources have been created as a result of the digitalisation of healthcare, including software that encrypts patients’ data in one place and facilitates access to health information. Due to software like Electronic Health Records used by healthcare professionals, patients no longer have to wait for test results. They can now receive information about medical history and bills on phones. Doctor-patient interaction has also changed as a result of digitalisation. The use of information technology and specialised software has improved the healthcare sector.

Harsimran Kaur, Patiala

Drug challenge

Daily, there are stories pertaining to drugs and related news. Drug menace is at its peak and there is no let-up in such cases, efforts of the state governments and agencies notwithstanding. If this goes on unabated, the repercussions will be hard to heal. The state and Union governments must make multi-pronged efforts to save India and its youth.

Santosh Jamwal, HAMIRPUR

Remove toll plaza

The Ladhowal toll plaza between Ludhiana and Jalandhar charges more compared to other toll plazas in Punjab. The authorities charge

Rs 225 as toll for one side. It has been three months that all expenses of this toll plaza have been completed. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had announced in Ludhiana on Vishwakarma Day that the toll plaza would be removed soon. The government should proceed further.


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Case pendency Other

Nov 22, 2022

After asking lower courts to have live-streaming of proceedings, the apex court should be applauded for taking a lead in clearing huge backlogs in matrimonial and bail plea cases (‘Tackling case pendency’). Hope the lower courts will take a cue and come up with some out-of-the-box solutions to reduce the massive backlogs. As far as PIL petitions are concerned, they are not going to slow down anytime soon, so it boils down to bridging the gulf between the requirement of judges and vacant posts.

Bal Govind, Noida

Rule of Law Index

Reference to ‘Tackling case pendency’; the Supreme Court’s decision to provide expeditious justice to litigants is commendable. The judiciary in India does believe that justice delayed is justice denied, yet it has failed to act upon it. India ranks 79th on the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, which indicates the sad reality of judicial proceedings in our country. The exhausting and cumbersome process of the courts is intimidating. The pile of pending cases is alarming. Concrete measures will have to be taken to reinstate the faith of the people in the judicial system.

Rishika Kriti, Jalandhar

Recognition motivates

Reference to the article ‘Downsizing of awards a disservice to science’; recognition and appreciation go a long way in encouraging scientists to work with more dedication, resulting in inventions and innovations. We realised it long back in 1990, when my NRI friend, the late Ram S Goyal established Goyal Prizes. There are 75 Goyal awardees, all of them are elected Fellows of INSA and other national academies and six Fellows of the Royal Society. During my interaction with these scientists in the award ceremonies, I realised how motivated they felt after getting recognition. Such prizes must continue for the cause of science.


Pricing of medicines

Apropos of ‘The curious case of how medicines are priced’; of the total out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, over 50 per cent is spent on purchasing medicines. Their affordability is a crucial element in availing medical treatment by all sections of people, particularly the poor. It is shocking that only 17.7% drugs in the market are on the list of ‘essential medicines’ and come under price control. The rest are non-scheduled drugs and out of the price control ambit. Understandably, pharmaceutical companies are more interested in promoting non-scheduled drugs, as their profit margins are more. Whenever the issue of high prices is raised, the companies claim that any price control in this segment will adversely affect R&D. However, the harsh reality is that ever since its inception, not even a single drug has been developed by Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

The good doctor

‘Restoring lives, courtesy the good doctor’ took me to 1986, when Dr Chari was a young doctor in the department of plastic surgery at the PGI, Chandigarh. My brother met with a major accident at Kurukshetra and doctors advised us to shift him to AIIMS, Delhi, or the PGI because of the extent of his horrific injuries. Dr Jung Bahadur Dilawari of the PGI was contacted for help and we were told to reach the PGI at the earliest. Not finding Dr Chari at home, Dr Dilawari rushed to find him at a dinner party. Dr Chari left for the PGI immediately as a pillion-rider on a scooter, knowing well that this was prohibited at night on account of strict security protocols due to militancy. Both young doctors dodged security barriers to reach the PGI. Dr Chari performed a major surgery on my brother the same night, saving his life and allowing him to regain much of his leg functions. Such doctors are true to their professional oath and must be honoured with the highest award.

Vijay Sabharwal, Kurukshetra

Selection of VC

Refer to ‘Selection of PTU VC delayed’; unfortunately, in the universities of Punjab and Haryana, VCs have been appointed on political and extraneous considerations, giving a go-by to merit and statutory rules. The Governor as Chancellor, being the competent appointing authority, has no role in the appointment of a VC. Lately, while quashing the appointment of some VCs, the apex court has held that the appointment must be as per the UGC regulations. Surprisingly, in Haryana, even retired bureaucrats and Army generals have been appointed as VC. The post is important and sensitive, being the academic and executive head of the institution. A VC should be a true leader and a passionate visionary. A VC should be one who inspires students and ensures that high quality teachers are brought into the university system.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar

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Justice for citizens Other

Nov 21, 2022

‘Calling out Tamil politicians’ (Nous Indica) delves deep into the causative factors behind the celebrations that followed the release of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins. Courts have sometimes been found wanting in delivering justice in high-profile cases. Review petitioning is cumbersome, and sadly, the damage done is often irreparable. The Supreme Court should proactively look beyond the presented evidence and thwart the deification of killers that renders a blow to the Constitution.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Review decision

Reference to the article ‘Calling out Tamil politicians’ (Nous Indica); Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination had stunned the nation. Many people were seen sobbing bitterly in the streets, as if they had lost a close friend or a family member. Decades later, it is shocking to find the conspirators of his murder being offered sweets in public view on social media. It is hoped that the Supreme Court will accept the request for a review of its earlier judgment releasing Nalini and other assassins who had been sentenced to imprisonment for life. A wrong message will go out to the public if the killers are allowed to roam freely and celebrate their premature release.


Launch of Vikram-S

Apropos of ‘New dawn in space’; the commercial launch of Vikram-S marks a new beginning for the sector in India. The danger of a private satellite being misused cannot be underestimated, and hopefully, the government has factored in all kinds of eventualities. It would be terrible if these private satellites are hacked by enemy forces. Who would be held liable for damages if the satellite does not function properly and crashes into human settlements, causing damage to life and property? These issues need to be resolved at the earliest by the stakeholders.


Rotting wheat

Every year, thousands of tonnes of foodgrains are wasted (‘Rotting wheat stocks’). About 45,000 metric tonnes of wheat in Kaithal, Karnal and Kurukshetra was found stocked in the open. Rains and weather conditions rendered the stocks unfit for consumption. Farmers toil hard to produce foodgrains. The government pays huge money from the public exchequer to procure wheat. Once the produce is in government domain, corrupt officials conspire to hit the jackpot. Storing the grains in the open and letting them rot is a naked dance of corruption. The Haryana Government has done well to order the recovery of the money from officials responsible for the loss. If such a precedent is set, no official would dare indulge in corruption.


Permanent commission

Reference to the news report ‘Consider 32 retired women SSC officers for permanent commission, IAF told’; we have Short Service Commission (SSC) officers in all three services under the 10+4 scheme, where they are initially inducted for 10 years, extendable by four years. Their qualification, selection procedure, training and job after getting commission are on a par with permanent commission (PC) officers, but SSC officers don’t get pension like PC officers. This is discriminatory. The forces use the services of SSC officers to meet shortages, and then, they are relieved without any pension benefit. This is not justified. These officers should either be granted permanent commission or given pension on the completion of their tenure. In fact, it will be better if we do away with the provision of SSC officers and appoint only PC officers.


Overhaul education

Reference to ‘Must decolonise education, says JNU VC;’ it is a dire need of the country and society that the educational system is radically overhauled and done away with the remnants of the British-era education paradigms and benchmarks that are responsible for the stunted growth of Indian students. India has had a rich tradition of Indic narratives that the British rulers destroyed for their ulterior motives and we need not go into them. JNU Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit’s call to decolonise education is an expression of national sentiments. Let us work in right earnest to free our academicians and intellectuals from the ‘everything-English-is-the-best’ mentality and repose faith in Oriental wisdom.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

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Fitting tribute Other

Nov 19, 2022

Refer to ‘Bharat Ratna for martyrs’; the Punjab CM’s demand to confer the long-overdue Bharat Ratna on Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Lala Lajpat Rai and other freedom fighters is highly commendable. The Centre has done the right thing by naming the Chandigarh-Mohali airport after Bhagat Singh during the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. Now, to truly complete the commemoration of 75 years of Independence, the Centre must confer the Bharat Ratna on these lions, who ungrudgingly laid down their lives for the freedom of their motherland. This alone will be a fitting tribute to these ever-inspiring heroes.

CS Mann, Una

Can’t repay their debt

Laying down your life for your country is the ultimate sacrifice and the country can never repay this debt. Even if the government does not confer the Bharat Ratna on our freedom fighters, their contribution to our freedom will not become any less significant. But, it is the least the government can do to send a positive message to their families that their sacrifices meant everything for the country and its people. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann must be applauded for this suggestion.

Bal Govind, Noida

Bharat Ratna too small

Reference to editorial ‘Bharat Ratna for martyrs’; the names of freedom fighters suggested for the Bharat Ratna are icons and every Indian is indebted to their sacrifices. The Bharat Ratna is too small for their stature. A large number of patriots were hanged and many more imprisoned. Sacrifices of Mangal Pandey, Khudiram Bose, Lokmanya Tilak, Ram Prasad Bismil and Gopal Krishna Gokhale can’t be forgotten. Many sacrificed their lives, but there is no mention of them in history books. Giving the Bharat Ratna to a few would open the Pandora’s box. There are better ways to show indebtedness to these great souls who sacrificed everything without any greed.

Yoginder Singhal, by mail

App-based cabs

Refer to ‘Chandigarh: Cab surge price can’t exceed 1.5 times base fare’; it was interesting to learn that the UT administration has implemented the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines-2020 to regulate fares of app-based cabs. While the report reveals that the taxis’ fare indexed by the wholesale price index for the current year will be the base cost chargeable to customers availing of the aggregator service, one also wishes that the exact quantum of base fare, as also other relevant details, were simultaneously put in the ‘public domain’ so as to avoid any confusion at any stage.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

Collegium system

Reference to ‘SC agrees to list petition against Collegium system’; if the Collegium system is without corruption, why the same has not been justified in selections for all other services in the country, including IAS, PCS, military personnel, engineers, doctors etc? Pending court cases have increased from 3 to 4 crores in the past 10 years. There is never any advertisement for judiciary departments in the media for the lowest to the highest posts. The judiciary has not become independent for the public despite 75 years of India’s Independence.

Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula

Raking up the past

Refer to ‘Savarkar helped British, claims Rahul; BJP hits back, targets Nehru’; Nehru is being denigrated by the BJP for political gains only. The fact is that the Congress led by Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Patel and a host of other leaders were in the forefront of the freedom movement and built the nation from scratch. On the other hand, there were some people who had no contribution towards the freedom struggle and had no history of nationalism, but might have worked for the interest of the British. There is no denying the fact that the people of India — across all religions — fought and made sacrifices for the nation’s freedom. It is meaningless to dig the graves of departed souls.


G20 opportunity

With the baton of G20 presidency passing over to India, the group of 19 countries plus the European Union has shown overwhelming acceptance of the Indian theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’. For India, the G20 grouping is not merely a platform for discussions on the economies of the member-nations, but also it is an opportunity to rein in the growing conflicts. For India, G20 presidency is a chance to explore extradition treaties to bring perpetrators back to the Indian justice system. The economy of G20 nations cannot grow amid terrorism. Member-nations must mull extradition treaties for handing over economic fugitives and terrorists operating from their shores, as all are equally affected by the growth of terrorism.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

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Help end war Other

Nov 18, 2022

Apropos of ‘G20 declaration’; powerful leaders of the world must rise to the occasion and use their diplomatic skills to bring the Russia-Ukraine war to an end, restoring normalcy in the region. Not only does Ukraine stand ravaged, but also disruptions of global supply chains of food and energy have sent the global economic order into a tailspin. Relegating all other considerations into the background, the only concern of the global agencies should be to break the stalemate and end the war. All other issues can be resolved subsequently through the mediation of the UN. Mere platitudes will not cut ice. It is unfortunate that the G20 declaration indicates the hardening of battle lines.

Roshan Lal Goel, by mail

Return to dialogue

Reference to ‘G20 declaration’; the G20 conference at Bali ended with fruitful talks. Most countries strongly condemned the war in Ukraine, stressing that it was causing enormous human suffering and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in the global economy. The best way is to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy. The G20 members will have to create a vision document; the purpose of which will be to condemn the dangers of using nuclear weapons in wars, highlight the human suffering caused by war and the impact of war on the global economy.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Matter of pride

It is a special moment for India to have received the G20 presidency. It is a matter of pride for all Indians. Underlining the relevance of visionary thoughts of the likes of Swami Vivekananda in today’s world, PM Modi, before leaving for the G20 Summit, had said, ‘India’s G20 presidency will be grounded in the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, which underlines the message of equitable growth and shared future for all.’ Be wishful, hopeful and confident that under the leadership of Modi, India will show the righteous path to the world for peaceful coexistence, even with deep differences of opinions and diversities of the group’s member-countries.

KK Sood, Nangal

Cold-blooded murder

The gruesome Mehrauli murder is a wake-up call to gullible girls. Despite stringent rape laws, there has not been a drop is such diabolical crimes. Rather, such crimes have, of late, become common. Pre-mature release of convicts involved in heinous crimes, more often than not, embolden criminal elements to commit crimes without any fear of law. Laws pertaining to the premature release of convicts, including those on death row, should be revisited.

Maheshwer Sharma, by mail

Will drain finances

Apropos of a recent report on the 64-km Metro system for Chandigarh and adjoining satellite towns to decongest traffic; in the wake of the not-so-successful Metro projects in cities like Jaipur, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, created with huge borrowings and less income with huge operating costs, the administration must think twice before planning a Metro for a small city like Chandigarh. The estimated project cost is enormous which will drain Chandigarh’s finances.

Sunil Vohra, Zirakpur

Chinese goods

Reference to ‘Curb under-invoicing of imports from China’; due to ‘selfish’ interests of Indian traders, the trade balance between China and India is 75:25. Malpractices like under-invoicing cause huge tax losses to India. This undesirable practice must be strictly checked by the authorities concerned to prevent revenue loss. The mindset of people need to be changed so that they stop using Chinese goods, which are cheaper, but substandard. The Chinese exporters are making huge money by such deceitful methods. Our entrepreneurs should work more hard towards providing quality goods to Indian consumers and reverse the charm of Chinese items.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Rotting grains

Apropos of ‘Rotting wheat stocks’; having been in the foodgrain and warehousing business for over four decades, I have observed minutely how officials of HAFED, HAIC, HWC, F&S, FCI, etc., in routine deliberately destroyed wheat stocks by storing in an unscientific way and sprinkling water frequently on it. When it rained, they removed tarpaulins so that the stocks remained drenched. Sometimes, covered godowns remained dehired, but all open plinths were always utilised to full capacity. I often complained to senior officials, but no action was taken against erring staff.


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Wheat wastage Other

Nov 17, 2022

THE news that nearly 45,000 MT of wheat was found rotten in open storage in several districts of Haryana is disturbing. The government’s decision to recover the losses from errant officials, however, is a welcome step. As per an estimate, food wastage in India every year exceeds 68 million tonnes, amounting to Rs 50,000 crore that works out to be 1% of GDP. Wheat alone contributes to the tune of 21 million MT. This wastage largely occurs at the storage phase due to inadequate and inappropriate facilities. A country like India, where 80 crore people depend on government supply of 5-kg food grains each month and a large number of people go hungry, can’t afford this gigantic wastage. Also, rotten grains emit greenhouse gases, mainly methane. It is easy to penalise the officials, but who will penalise the government — both state and Union?

LN Dahiya, Rohtak

Recruitment scam

The naib tehsildar recruitment scam has put a big question mark on the management of the Punjab Public Service Commission. A thorough investigation is needed regarding the possible role of the PPSC management, along with others who cheated during the recruitment process. This scam has brought to the fore the malpractices in recruitment that has plagued the functioning of the PPSC. The 2002 multi-crore recruitment scam under the then PPSC chairman is still fresh in public memory. Reforms are necessary in such important institutions to restore public confidence.

Manjit Singh Saini, Mohali

Hate speech

The Supreme Court’s suggestion to Parliament for a new law to curb hateful and offensive statements by public functionaries like MPs and MLAs is commendable. The rise in hate speeches by politicians is at an all-time high. Having a law will ensure that they do not use hate speech for polarisation and vote politics. Due to the lack of detailed laws, people misuse their right to freedom of speech. Strict action should be taken against those who make provocative speeches.

Bhrigu Chopra, Panchkula

Appoint doctors

Punjab is reeling under a serious medical crisis. Officials can only inform the authorities about the shortage of doctors, but the recruitment has to be carried out by the ministry concerned. Punjab has a good hospital infrastructure in place. What is required is immediate recruitment of doctors who are paid competitive salaries and other incentives so that they prefer working in the government setup. The government is on a spree of renaming and upgrading PHCs as aam aadmi clinics. What good are these buildings sans doctors? Patiala has no gynaecologists in its rural blocks and 50 posts are vacant in the Phagwara Civil Hospital, and many doctors are being pushed into non-medical work. The Government Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, is perpetually understaffed and patients are forced to buy medicines and get tests done from private facilities. Big private hospitals are cropping up and medical expenditure is getting out of the reach of the common man.

Tarika Narula, Patiala

Culture of guns

The Punjab Government’s decision to ban the public display of weapons, songs promoting gun culture and violence, and to review arms licences deserves praise. It is an important step in controlling the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. In a state like Punjab, where there is a yearning and fascination for weapons and power, promoting a gun-free culture will be a challenge for the government. Though reforms take time, administrative action taken and implemented in letter and spirit, and in partnership with other leaders in the campaign, can have a lasting impact.

Shivani Sharma, Panchkula

Go for Metro

Thousands of people commute to Chandigarh daily from adjoining areas and the roads are bursting at their seams due to the tremendous increase in vehicular traffic, causing jams, delays and accidents. It is a major cause of vehicular and dust pollution. The AQI is deteriorating by the day. The tricity should make way for Metro, which will save millions of rupees and offer fast, comfortable and uninterrupted commuting. Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh will benefit. The future of Metro is very bright if we visualise the scenario 20-30 years hence. Additionally, it should link Dera Bassi, Ramgarh, Pinjore, New Chandigarh, Baddi, Ropar, International Airport, Patiala, etc. The pressure of vehicular traffic and pollution in Chandigarh will be greatly reduced as people will use the Metro.

Sateesh Dadwal, Chandigarh

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Leading G20 Other

Nov 16, 2022

Apropos of ‘India’s G20 presidency’; it is a matter of pride for India that it is going to take over the presidency of G20 from Indonesia. ‘One World, One Family’ is the only way forward to mitigate and combat problems confronting the world today. India firmly believes in taking all countries along in meeting the myriad challenges. The Ukraine war and climate change are the biggest challenges. India has good ties with both Russia and the US. Hopefully, India would continue to have good relations with all nations and be able to contribute effectively and positively towards the achievement of goals set during its presidency.

RAVI SHARMA, by mail

G20 goals

Apropos of ‘India’s G20 presidency’; as the Bali summit is in progress, it is hoped that India would be able to make a positive difference during its presidency — from ‘recovering together’ to ‘recovering stronger’ to Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. The challenges include China’s expansion; hardships as a result of the Ukraine war, namely food and fuel shortages; and climate crisis. India’s point of convergence should be on solving the crises which have deeply polarised the world.

Tashi Baheti, by mail

Make plans work

Making India carbon-neutral by 2070 may sound good, but the government must ensure that it implement the plans effectively. The government launches many programmes and schemes, but implementation is lax, thereby rendering them ineffective. Electric vehicles won’t make any difference if electricity is provided through coal. How will India’s forest cover increase by 2030 if we are making plans that require deforestation?

Varneet Singh, Ludhiana

Is ban possible?

Reference to ‘Gun-free culture’; the notification is appreciated by a majority of Punjabis, but is it possible to actually implement the orders? The security scenario of the state has changed over the last few months. Gangsters have been indulging in targeted killings and issuing extortion calls even from jails. Glorifying guns and gangsters in songs cannot be justified. But can the government ban all songs in the market? Gangsters have been using firearms smuggled from across the border. Licenced arms are hardly used for such crimes. The ban cannot be implemented without serious homework. Police protection is also seen as a waste of manpower.

Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali

Straw as fuel

Reference to the news report ‘Punjab makes mandatory to use 20 per cent straw as fuel for brick-kilns’; the idea is admirable but it raises certain questions. Even the lowest quality brick cannot be fired at a temperature less than 800 degrees C. A temperature of around 1,100 degrees C is needed to produce strong brick. Straw, or any grass, ignites at about 400 degrees C. If the fire gets going in a large pile of straw and burns for some minutes, the temperature of the flame usually reaches about 600 degrees C, although higher temperatures can be reached for short periods - assuming that brick-kiln owners continue to use conventional kilns. Does the government's new paddy straw order mean that kilns will produce bricks of lower quality? If the bricks are of lower quality, will kiln owners reduce the prices of bricks? Will the building specifications required for Grade A bricks be amended? Or, is the government promoting some new kind of kiln that will produce temperatures of around 1,100 degrees C even though the fuel is cut with straw?


Electoral corruption

Seizures worth Rs 60 crore have been made in terms of cash, gold, liquor, drugs etc. in the recent Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections as compared to seizures worth Rs 10 crore in the elections of 2017. Such reports keep pouring in from all states in the fray. Is it only economic poverty or also moral and ethical poverty of people that lures voters to cast their votes for a few bucks? It was expected that money power will wither away with increased literacy. Alas, it has not. Surveillance teams of the Election Commission come into action only after the announcement of elections while candidates start distributing cash and other freebies much in advance. No agency of the government is able to check this. It goes without saying that those who come to power by spending huge amounts of money will recover the same from the hard-earned money of the taxpayers.

KR Bharti, Shimla

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SC’s displeasure Other

Nov 15, 2022

Reference to ‘Fill posts of judge’; the apex court’s displeasure over inordinate delay in appointing Collegium-cleared judges’ appointment should be taken by the Centre seriously. This long-simmering issue needs to be resolved at the earliest. When the Collegium has cleared the 11 judges’ appointment, why is the Centre indulging in delaying tactics on one pretext or the other? Such delays will result in the judiciary losing the services of talented judges, who may lose their patience after a while. Since the law authorises the Collegium to propose judicial appointments, there must not be any delay in appointing judges recommended by this body. If the government has any objection, it should express it quickly. But the Centre is neither appointing the judges nor communicating its reservation. The GOI is free to enact the National Judicial Appointment Commission, but until then, both the Collegium and the Centre must adhere to set timelines.

MONA SINGH, by mail

Justice delivery

Apropos of ‘Fill posts of judge’; the judiciary in our country needs to be revamped to expedite the delivery of justice. There are not enough judges in the higher courts and dissension between the recommending agency and appointing authorities has further aggravated the problem. Huge pendency of cases is depriving litigants of access to prompt justice. The appointment of judges on the recommendations of the Collegium is a time-tested process and is prevalent in many countries. The government should focus on improving the delivery of services to the citizens, including quick and easy justice.

Shubham Mahajan, by mail

Gun culture in songs

The decision of the Bhagwant Mann government to impose a ban on songs promoting gun culture and violence, prohibiting flaunting of weapons at public events, social gatherings, wedding ceremonies and religious places and also to review all existing arms licences, are appreciable steps. This step has been necessitated due to the deteriorating law and order situation and back-to-back targeted killings in the state recently. Moreover, the decision to register a police case against those who indulge in hate speech is also commendable. The government should ensure that these orders, issued with the intent to restore public confidence in the state administration and effective policing, are implemented in letter and spirit. Any dilution would defeat the purpose of issuing them.


Glorifying weapons

Kudos to the Punjab Government for banning the display of weapons in songs. These songs, showing expensive cars, foreign locations, farmhouses, alcohol, women and weapons, have a negative impact on youth as they identify it with real life and work towards achieving them. Let us hope that our regional songs change for the better.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

Victory for England

Apropos of ‘Undisputed kings’; England edged Pakistan to secure the historic title victory and become cricket’s first dual white-ball champions, holding both the 50 and 20-over titles. Aside from a ‘blip’ against Ireland, England have been superb in this form of the game over the past couple of years. But let us not forget the role that Pakistan played. They had two narrow defeats in their opening two games, but later surged through to the final off the back of the best pace attack in world T20 cricket. England, though, have taken the spoils and are now the standard bearers for white-ball cricket. It is time for other teams to step up and match them now.


Liquor thief

The middle ‘Liquor thief in the house’ rekindled memories. Our son did one better. He and his cousin would add boiled light tea decoction to keep the level in the bottle. Unknowingly, I served such decoction to my visiting friends and/or relatives. They didn’t complain. On the contrary, they would ask me about the brand! My son would reverse the process by adding ‘whiskey’ to a full tumbler of water.


Rise in crime

Apropos of ‘Out on bail, dera man shot in Kotkapura’; hardly a day passes when there is no incident of killing, loot or extortion in the state. Where are the police? Full-page advertisements by the government have failed to win the confidence of the people. Attractive slogans mean nothing to people. They want to know what is actually being done for good governance. Why spend crores of rupees from the exchequer to flaunt welfare schemes?


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Brain drain, too Other

Nov 14, 2022

Refer to ‘Punjab’s cash drain’ (Nous Indica); not only money, but also talent from Punjab is migrating at a great pace to foreign lands in search of greener pastures. There is a dire need to curb the malpractices of unscrupulous travel agents who dupe innocent parents as well as students. Parents take hefty loans to send their children abroad and in many cases they are pushed into indebtedness. If our children get respectable jobs with a decent salary in India, they would never want to do menial jobs in other countries. Their only aim is to get permanent residency abroad. There is a need to regulate foreign education. The government must make sincere efforts to provide decent jobs to our youth; this is the only way to deter them from going abroad.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur

Caught in a trap

These days, it is a common trend among the youth of Punjab and Haryana to take the IELTS exam and apply for visa to study in Canada or Australia. Lower middle-class families, small farmers and salaried people seem to be caught in this trap to ensure a bright future for their jobless sons. Some of them are ready to sell their agricultural lands and residential plots for this purpose. The government must do something to help our youth, including medical students, stay back in India and realise their dreams.


Migration policy

Advocating a migration policy for students, the article ‘Punjab’s cash drain’ is timely and thought-provoking. Two things must be implemented on priority. First is the formation of a regulatory authority for monitoring the migration of students abroad. Second, the eligibility criterion for students seeking loan for studies in foreign countries needs to be revisited in the light of job prospects for the proposed degrees and courses.


Rajiv’s assassins

Reference to the premature release of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins; heinous crimes such as rape or murder have a very serious impact on the lives of the victims and destroy families. Recently, 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case were also released prematurely. They were given a hero’s welcome publicly by BJP supporters. The aim of releasing such criminals does not seem social, but political.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Collegium to decide

Apropos of ‘Centre sitting over names recommended by Collegium...’; independence and credibility of judiciary implies its isolation from bureaucratic interference or overreach at the behest of political masters. It is unfortunate that the SC is forced to threaten contempt proceedings. Selection of judges is the Collegium’s prerogative and the role of the ministry is limited to financial concurrence. The Constitution overrides any legislation, even if attributed to public mandate, that violates any of its stipulations and the final power to interpret it is vested with the apex court. The vital pillars supporting the huge edifice of our polity should not collide, but must display synergy.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Obligatory guidelines

Reference to ‘New I&B Ministry guidelines’; the government’s decision to promote public service and national interest is welcome. Now, TV channels will have to telecast content on eight themes like education, health and agriculture. However, the misuse of obligatory telecast by the ruling dispensation cannot be ruled out. Honest channels might be targeted for not falling in line to promote the political agenda of the party in power. The telecast should be advisory in nature.


Insurance products

Refer to ‘Mis-selling of insurance products by banks on increase’; all banks are selling insurance products of private companies through their branches to increase ‘non-interest income’. Special counters or space has been provided to insurance people to approach and deal with prospective customers. Pensioners are persuaded to take one or the other policy, the terms of which are not easily comprehensible. Resultantly, due to non-payment of timely premium, the policy gets lapsed and the holder is deprived of the deposited money due to the term of the policy. Often, the final claims are withheld for some reason, and even the maturity amount is released after protracted correspondence with the company. The Ombudsman at Chandigarh receiving about 4,000 complaints in a year speaks volumes of wrongly designed products and unethical selling techniques. The banks should devise their own products, keeping in view the requirements of urban and rural customers. However, the primary object should be to provide general banking facilities to the people, as envisaged in the Banking Regulation Act.

GS MANN, by mail

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Get young players Other

Nov 12, 2022

Refer to the Indian cricket team’s pathetic performance during the World Cup semi-final; they did their best. It just happens that the so-called ‘best’ was thrashed by their past ‘worst’. If it was not enough, the coach not only defends them, but ends up defending himself. It is time that senior players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin are handed ‘Thank you’ notes. Learning from the armed forces, if a unit does not perform, the unit’s Commanding Officer pays a heavy price. Rahul Dravid should face the music. If we are looking for younger players, we also need to have a younger, self-motivated coach.


Need new team

It was an international shame for the Indian team to timidly lose to England in a knockout match. The team was washed out and lost their face for playing a deciding match so irresponsibly. The team needs overhauling. Younger, energetic and settled players should be roped in. Older players are a spent force and should call it a day. Even replacing the captain and coach with more talented ones is the need of the hour.

Maheshwer Sharma, by mail

Not our heroes

The zeal in our cricket team was missing, and as such, the team of money-minting cricketing ‘heroes’ selected by the world’s richest cricketing board, BCCI, has been outplayed and defeated embarrassingly by the maximum possible margin of 10 wickets by England. They cannot be our heroes in the real sense. Our heroes are the soldiers defending our borders, even at the cost of their life.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Shameful defeat

It was indeed pathetic to witness the helplessness of Indian fielders in the match against England. The annihilation should jolt Indian selectors. The aura of invincibility surrounding Indian cricketers took a severe beating as the English batsmen simply thrashed the Indian bowling outfit. Nobody had thought that India could lose so badly.


Get to the root of it

Stubble burning has indeed created a complex situation (‘Need political will to curb stubble burning’). The root cause of the menace must be traced and eliminated. No amount of force and political will can solve it. It is not a political problem, it is a problem of ignorance. By burning stubble every season, farmers are causing an irreparable loss to their fields. The heat generated penetrates deeply, destroying moisture and beneficial microbes present in the soil. The aim should be to teach them repeatedly that what they are doing with impunity has devastating effects not only on the fruitfulness of their soil but also everyone’s health and environment.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Ineffective measures

Refer to ‘Need political will to curb stubble burning’; the state government has only two ineffective solution to control the problem. First, it will spend a lot of taxpayers’ money on advertisements to make people aware about the ill-effects of stubble burning. And second, government officials will issue challans to farmers for disobeying instructions. But stubble burning will go on as usual. It is like issuing a challan to a rider not wearing a helmet. He continues his journey after paying a fine. Instead, the government should understand that the farmers are not burning stubble willingly, it is a compulsion in the absence of a cost-effective alternative. The government had announced Rs 2,500 per acre incentive to farmers for not burning stubble, but it was not given. As reported in The Tribune, a 90-year-old farmer managed stubble without burning, but such farmers are never encouraged.

Naresh Johar, Amritsar

Affiliated colleges

Both Punjab and Haryana enacted the Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service) Act in 1974 and 1979, respectively, and framed service rules thereunder. The purpose was to save the teachers of 95% govt-aided private colleges from the high-handedness of autocratic private managements. However, some powerful private managements, like DAV and SGPC, continue to violate government and university rules to the detriment of teachers. Despite pervasive control over such errant colleges, the authorities concerned are mute spectators, and, consequently, frivolous litigations abound. Lately, in a DAV case, the apex court held that when the Act provides a particular body to act in a particular manner, the act must be done by that body in that manner only or not at all. This is a salutary principle of administrative law. There cannot be any waiver or estoppel against a statute. Stern action must be taken against recalcitrant colleges by either stopping their grant-in-aid or disaffiliating them.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar

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Exorbitant fees Other

Nov 11, 2022

Refer to ‘Education not biz’; private premier schools and colleges in India are run by promoters who either overtly or covertly enjoy political patronage. The sole objective is to mint money by burning holes in the pockets of parents who have to cough up exorbitant fees. Therefore, to expect a student-friendly fee structure is unlikely. To accomplish their objective, dubious ranking of colleges by NIRF is in vogue and is being released every year. Unfortunately, the colleges which are not up to the mark are unduly rated. The country has a huge potential of becoming the world’s educational hub, but sadly, students are migrating to countries like Ukraine for higher education.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Coaching centres

Apropos of ‘Education not biz’; commercialisation of medical education has changed the quintessence of this noble profession. Earlier, genuine people used to enter this profession with a clear motive to serve humankind. Nowadays, parents are hell-bent on making their children doctors by fair or unfair means. Another hurdle in the way of genuine aspirants is the coaching industry that is flourishing by exploiting this desire of parents. These academies are making education a profitable business. As they do not require any government approval, there is no authority to regulate their financial activities.

Sunil Kumar Mahajan, Ghumarwin

EC must intervene

Apropos of ‘Wooing Himachal voters’; tall poll promises made by the parties have no mention of revenue sources to fulfil them. There is no mention of how parties will increase the revenue of the state to save it from the increasing burden of loans and overdraft raised by the previous governments. Many a time, it is hard to pay salaries to government employees. Good governance, control on inflation and generation of job opportunities can help the common man. The Election Commission should take note of poll freebies and stop parties from announcing these.

Virender Sharma, Shimla

Combating climate change

Climate change and frequent degradation in the Air Quality Index is a matter of concern. It is time for the country to start implementing sustainable methods to attain growth. Science and technology are two tools which can accelerate this process. All nations should work together to maintain a balance in environment and economic growth. Electric vehicles should be promoted in a big way and solar energy generation should be boosted.

Ayushi Upadhyay, Chandigarh

PhD courses

The UGC’s new regulations for PhD degree courses is a step in the right direction. At present, one has to spend many years to pursue a doctorate degree in philosophy, involving cumbersome research parameters and evaluation procedures. Doing away with publishing of research work in journals and mandatory MPhil before submission of thesis for adjudication will go a long way in attracting students towards academic research. The sweeping changes from admissions to evaluations were long due keeping in view the lull in Nobel prizes. The ease of doing PhD may fill this gap in future.

Anil vinayak, Amritsar

Lost leverage

Apropos of ‘Remembering heroes of Rezang La, Gurung Hill’; it makes one proud to know about our heroes who fought the Chinese till their last breath in 1962. We pay homage to our martyred soldiers. Decades later, our soldiers occupied Kailash Range and threatened PLA’s strategic garrison of Maldo. This action unnerved the Chinese and compelled them to come on the negotiating table for disengagement. During the disengagement process, we vacated Kailash Range without insisting that the PLA vacate areas of Dungti-Demchok due to reasons best known to the negotiating team. We should be more careful in future and negotiate with strength.

Col Sajjan Kundu (retd), Hisar

Practical thinking

Think tanks must keep the practicability aspect while tinkering with already-settled defence decisions. The initiative of making most defence items indigenously is commendable. However, the recent decisions — Agnipath recruitment scheme and selection of CDS — need introspection. China and Pakistan cannot be fought with ‘Agniveers’ having 34-month effective duty period. The CDS is not a political post, but the government amended the rules for the appointment, adversely affecting the morale of the forces. A soldier is always ready to face the enemy. His suggestions should not be ignored.

Babu Ram Dhiman, Pinjore

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Explain revenue source Other

Nov 10, 2022

Refer to ‘Wooing Himachal voters’; political parties for the purpose of garnering votes make promises that can strain the state’s economy. They should explain how they would fulfil their promises and publicise the explanation on social media and other platforms. As this trend of making lofty announcements is increasing, the Election Commission should form an independent body to examine these claims. While India is a welfare state and some welfare measures enshrined in the directive principles of the state policy are needed, it must be ensured that these schemes do not have ramifications for the economy in the long term.

Prateek Bansal, by mail

Affordable education

The SC has quashed the seven-fold hike in MBBS fee announced by the Andhra Pradesh Government a few years ago. The fee for professional courses should be affordable. To help society progress and prosper, education and health are essential elements. Exorbitant fee for medical education is bound to make healthcare beyond the reach of most of the people in India. Already, corporatisation of the healthcare system has led to a steep increase in costs. In a similar vein, the Haryana bond policy for medical education in government colleges is irrational. When jobs for doctors are not guaranteed, why such a policy? It should be withdrawn by the Haryana Government and be replaced by a national bond policy framed in consultation with all stakeholders.

Prem Singh Dahiya, Rohtak

Squeezing taxpayers

The proposal by the Chairman, Economic Advisory Council, to the PM regarding elimination of tax exemptions is irrational and insensitive. It will be demotivating for a small section of direct taxpayers — mostly employees - who shell out more than one-third of their income as taxes, whereas a humongous section of those working as professionals, business people, traders, unorganised sector operators, etc., whose incomes escape proper computation, would be let off the hook. Instead of wringing the necks of honest taxpayers to expand government coffer, the tax base needs to be widened by correctly identifying a large number of economic players generating substantial incomes without corresponding tax contribution. Bibek Debroy himself has written on corruption in India. Let him identify the reprobates in the system, particularly in the tax collection machinery, and winch up tax revenue collection by penalising such unscrupulous elements.

Vikram Chadha, Amritsar

Lower income criterion

Reference to ‘3-2 verdict, SC upholds 10% EWS quota law’; the limit of Rs 8 lakh per annum is much higher than the per capita income of Rs1.5 lakh per annum and the national median salary of Rs 28,400 per month. The limit needs to be reduced to benefit the real poor. Families having Rs 8 lakh per annum income come under middle class and are better educated than poor people, and so have more chances of getting jobs under the EWS quota. Total income of all members in a family should be considered for EWS reservation. Many poor are self-employed or work in unorganised sectors. Who will give them income certificate? Caste-based reservation system being followed for decades has improved the socio-economic status of many families, but they continue to enjoy reservation, depriving the really needy people. Hence, the creamy layer among them needs to be excluded from reservation benefit.


Modify policy

Since reservation was envisaged for a limited period, there is a dire need for redefining it in accordance with the current social realities. Allowing reservation on the basis of caste, creed and community to perpetuate is not justifiable. We need to address the problems of those people under the reserved category whose plight has remained the same. Requisite modifications in reservation policy can also go a long way in overcoming the problem of brain drain, as brilliant youths from the general category will get jobs on merit.

Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala

EWS quota

The Supreme Court’s judgment on the constitutional validity of the103rd Amendment, excluding SCs/STs/OBCs from the EWS category, may be juristically correct, but for a layperson, it is discriminatory to the excluded sections. The financially better-off in these castes enjoy the benefits of reservation, but others remain where they were decades ago. I remember when an average General Category candidate was selected over a brilliant SC candidate, who happened to be the son of a poor farmer, for the post of a lecturer in DU. The argument given was that he could avail of his quota seat. This logic makes social mobility impossible for these communities, and for all practical purposes, ‘reserves’ 50 per cent seats for ‘forward’ castes!

Kusum Chadda, Mohali

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Reframe policy Other

Nov 09, 2022

Apropos of ‘3-2 verdict, SC upholds 10% EWS quota law’; with this, the space for the general category has further shrunk to 40 per cent. A cap of Rs 8 lakh gross annual income is the criterion for EWS reservation for the general category. Why is there no such condition for SC/ST/OBC category? Many well-to-do families continue to enjoy the fruits of reservation for generations. One judge has said reservation cannot go on indefinitely and that there is a need to revisit the policy. A dissenting judge has stated that the economically weaker among SCs/STs/OBCs should also be given the benefit. Let us do away with the existing caste-based reservation and introduce a new reservation policy based only on economic criterion and merit for all categories.


Need-based quota

Refer to ‘EWS reservation’; it is nice to learn that the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the enactment of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, which provides for 10 per cent reservation for EWS in admissions and government jobs within the general category by observing that it does not violate the essential features of the Constitution. It is an onerous task for students and job aspirants to pursue their goals in the face of poor financial conditions. Reservation should be realistic and need-based, but endlessly persisting with it may prove counterproductive for the nation in the long run.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

Will benefit poor

The Supreme Court’s decision to grant 10 per cent reservation to EWS is praiseworthy and will help empower the poor among the ‘upper’ castes also. The split verdict points to our nation’s complex socio-economic composition in which providing equal opportunities to common people is a challenge. Though reservation is no panacea to the high rate of unemployment in a huge country like ours, it helps the poor fight extreme levels of poverty and educational backwardness. The judges have tried to strike a balance in the old reservation system. It is hoped that this landmark judgment will help the EWS in getting social justice without affecting the upward mobility of the Dalits, BCs and OBCs.


BJP marching ahead

Reference to ‘BJP’s dominance’; there is no denying the fact that the results of the seven recently held bypolls across six states make it clear that the Congress is unable to pose any challenge to the BJP. Though it is difficult to reach any conclusion from these results, the Congress seems to be getting weaker by the day in terms of gaining its lost political ground. None of the failures of the BJP seems to be causing any political dent. Not much has changed at the ground level. Inflation is high, unemployment and poverty are on the rise and people are still awaiting ‘achhe din’. But one thing is clear: the BJP is marching forward and the Congress is lagging.

Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal

Morbi liability

Refer to ‘Morbi tragedy & liability of State’ (Spectrum); the delay in justice delivery actually punishes the victims rather than the perpetrators. Both the government and the company maintaining the bridge must be held liable for the lapse. Both should pay compensation to the victims’ families. The delay in the disposal of such cases defeats the very purpose of justice system. The government should set up special fast-track courts to deal with man-made disasters to give prompt relief to the victims.


Keep guard up

The article ‘Without fear or favour’ points at the laxity to frame a China-specific strategy. A retired General had claimed that India was short of weapons in case of an emergency. Belligerent China under Xi has to be watched cautiously, even as we keep our forces ready for any eventuality. Our intelligence forces have also been found wanting, be it the Kargil hills or Chinese incursion into Indian territory. All our attempts to go back to the earlier position at the border have yielded nothing. A large chunk of land still remains under China’s control.

Harish Malhotra, Sangrur

Cattle starvation

‘Cattle starving to death...’ speaks volumes about the wanton neglect of animals at the cattle pound facility. It is shocking that cattle are left to die due to the lack of fodder and the unhygienic conditions at the facility, leading to an avoidable loss of 30 heads of cattle a day. The government should do something about it.


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Helping working mothers Other

Nov 08, 2022

Apropos of ‘Working moms’; cognisance about hardships being faced by working women is a good step. In a civilised society, it should be the moral duty of all concerned to ensure comfort and amenities to working mothers at the workplace. A child has a special place and deserves personalised intimate care from the mother, irrespective of her position in society. But restriction of these ‘amenities’ to bureaucrats or government employees will not be fair to the majority of mothers who works in various unorganised sectors or construction sites. It is common to see women carrying their children on the back while performing physical work for their livelihood.

Neelam Mahajan, by mail

Set up creches

Reference to ‘Working moms’; it is pathetic how some men are criticising the woman IAS officer. She should rather be complimented for discharging her duties in right earnest. Women can multitask and men cannot match them in this aspect of life. Kudos to Kerala that it has understood the agony of women and their little children and opened creches across the state. Indeed, it should be a nationwide mission to open as many creches as possible if we want to bridge the gulf between working men and women in our country.

Bal Govind, Noida

AAP’s appeasement

Arvind Kejriwal’s running-with-the-hare-and-hunting-with-the-hounds approach is adversely impacting the health of the citizens of north India. The Punjab Government’s inaction against errant farmers who are burning stubble may appease the small section of the farmers’ fraternity, but growing resentment and backlash against the AAP for the alarming pollution levels cannot be wished away by it when it is trying to spread its wings across India. The BJP, which is pulling out all stops to clip its wings, shall continue to confront the AAP on the pollution front in Delhi and the adjoining areas. Seemingly, the AAP is trying to punch above its weight and the mandate for governance in Delhi and Punjab is being frittered away.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

People will decide

Reference to ‘BJP banks on Modi factor in Gujarat yet again’; every person and party in any contest puts their best foot forward. Economic and emotional ties forge life force as an organic whole in society. Gujarat is not the sole example of this phenomenon. Other states have shown this proclivity many a time. Right-wing or left-wing politics has nothing to do with the masses. These terms are intellectuals’ acrobatics to which the electoral outcomes are immune. People in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat have their own immediate concerns to attend to, and that will decide the fate of the political parties and individuals.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Modi factor

Apropos of ‘BJP banks on Modi factor in Gujarat yet again’; Modi is the Pied Piper, despite his shortcomings. Modi has a theatrical and charismatic aura due to his gift of the gab and honing the art of quid pro quo in politics. He is equally at ease in the company of a pauper or a king. The 2002 Gujarat pogrom consolidated his political status as a ‘true Hindu’. So, to dislodge him from Gujarat is an uphill task. Kejriwal, though an intelligent politician, is an outsider. The AAP may have a piece of the cake, but the lion’s share is likely to go the BJP and the Congress.


Poor air quality

Refer to ‘Stop blame game’; winter in the NCR is always stalked by a fatally poor quality of air. Worse, this matter of grave concern is being politicised instead of a pragmatic strategy sought to cope with this annual nuisance. The chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi should take the responsibility for the poor air quality stemming from farm fires and find ways to improve the air quality on a war footing.


Blurred misgivings

Refer to the middle ‘Colonialism comes full circle’; the picture painted at the end somehow seems a little misplaced. It has overtones of some personal experiences or concocted versions shared, resulting in some blurred misgivings. Be they our relatives or friends, who decide to settle in European countries, have to effect behavioural changes in themselves and not ‘them’. Indians who have transformed/moulded themselves to ‘their’ culture seldom have any major complaint(s). To get accepted by ‘them’, we must at least show efforts being made to learn and adjust.


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