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Letters to the editor

Well-executed rescue operation

Nov 30, 2023

Refer to ‘17-day nightmare ends’; the Uttarakhand Chief Minister has announced a financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each for the 41 labourers. Members of the multi-agency rescue team, who worked tirelessly to save the trapped men, particularly the rat-hole miners, should also be appropriately rewarded. Additionally, the executing agency of the tunnel project should face significant penalties for substandard construction work. It appears its engineers either lacked the necessary expertise or showed blatant negligence, or possibly both.


Honour rescue team

It is a matter of great pride for the nation that thanks to the exceptional efforts of all engineers, officers and workers involved in the rescue operation, the stranded labourers were successfully pulled out of the death trap. The courage displayed by all 41 workers is commendable. The experts engaged in this evacuation exercise deserve all appreciation, and they also merit national recognition. Hats off to the Prime Minister and the Uttarakhand Chief Minister for keenly monitoring the operation. This has not only brought immense relief to the families of the workers but also to the entire nation.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Rein in miscreants

Refer to ‘Envoy targeted’; the hectoring of India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, by Khalistan supporters in a New York gurdwara is condemnable. Two months ago, a similar insult was meted out to the Indian envoy to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, by miscreants who prevented him from entering a gurdwara. The troublemakers must realise that by raising contentious issues in places of worship, they are tarnishing the image of the entire Sikh community. Instead of encouraging miscreants against India for the sake of votes, Western nations must prioritise better diplomatic ties with India. This would be possible if these nations crack down on anti-India elements on their soil without delay.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

Give peace a chance

Apropos of ‘Extended truce’; the decision by Israel and Hamas to extend their brief truce in the Gaza Strip has yielded short-term benefits for both sides but has created uncertainty about when, how and if Israel will resume its invasion of Gaza. To prevent a return to square one after the ceasefire extension, sustained diplomatic efforts and a two-state solution are necessary. While the extension offers hope for peace, the international community must help in showing the path forward. Resumption of hostilities after the end of the extended truce would perpetuate the cycle of violence and deepen the suffering of those affected by the conflict.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Jind school horror

Refer to ‘Haryana sacks Jind principal’; finally, the Haryana Government has meted out much-awaited punishment to the school principal, who is accused of committing a heinous crime against female students while misusing his official position. However, this punishment is deemed insufficient, and it is the duty of the state government to ensure that the accused is prosecuted under the most stringent laws of the land, resulting in the judiciary awarding him an exemplary punishment.

Ashok Kumar, by mail

Principal’s dismissal

The school principal’s dismissal should serve as a warning to individuals with similar tendencies, especially in the remote and interior schools of Haryana and its neighbouring states. However, the issue is not new, and the protective mechanism of society has resulted in significant delays and deficiencies. It raises questions about whether women’s commissions have effectively sensitised schools, teachers and their administrations about the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Specific ‘behavioural don’ts’ should be communicated to teachers. The complex nature of the teacher-student relationship often seems overlooked at various levels of modern teaching, leading to unfortunate consequences.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

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

Judicial independence

Nov 29, 2023

Refer to ‘Judicial service’; the proposed all-India judicial service, or a similar arrangement, has been the demand of almost every government, as none has been comfortable with an independent and active judiciary’s checks and balances. Brilliant and deserving youngsters are supposed to be selected for the IAS and IPS. However, what have politicians made of these elite services? Upright officers with impeccable credibility, it seems, are few and far between. Unless there is a system that guarantees the independence of the judiciary, the present collegium system must continue. The need is to spare the overburdened judiciary of ‘political interest’ litigation.

Hira Sharma, by mail

Streamline selection process

Apropos of ‘Judicial service’; the President has rightly opined that an all-India judicial service is the need of the hour to select youngsters and nurture their talent. The main reason for the falling standard of lawyers is that many of them have fake degrees. It is widely felt that the legal profession has experienced a shift from a commitment to ideals to a focus on financial gains. Without a doubt, there is a noticeable decline in every facet of this profession. Efforts should be made to streamline the selection process of judges.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Academic freedom a must

Refer to ‘Academic freedom in peril’; it is true that academic freedom is a must to protect democracy. Academic institutions’ main duty is to identify the individual inclination of a student, groom his inherent abilities, nurture his ideological thinking and prepare him to serve society as a good human and a perfect citizen to contribute to national and global progress in his own way. This is possible only if he is provided a safe and conducive environment to hold opinions about all subjects. Instead of keeping youngsters away from politics, we should inculcate in them patience and tolerance to listen to each other’s views and respect them, even though they are different from their own.

Sadhna Saini, by mail

Governor is just a titular head

Refer to ‘Governor-govt discord and the power of the unwritten word’; but for the timely and forceful intervention of the Supreme Court, Governors in Opposition-ruled states would have become parallel centres of power, aiming to subvert the public mandate with the intent of ousting duly elected governments sooner or later. In recent times, Governors have been keen to appease their appointing authorities and demonstrate loyalty to them, forgetting their primary responsibility to defend and preserve the Constitution. Our Constitution makes it abundantly clear that the Governor is just a titular head, and all executive powers rest with the elected representatives. The essence of the matter is that the Central Government aims to seize powers in Opposition-ruled states through the agency of the Governor.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Ambedkar’s statue

Apropos of ‘Not just Dalit leader, Ambedkar belongs to entire nation, says CJI’; Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud rightly asserted that BR Ambedkar was not just a Dalit leader; he was a part of the nation’s mainstream and belonged to all citizens of this country due to his efforts to mobilise people for social justice, which is not confined to the marginalised alone. He is remembered by the nation for his role in drafting the Constitution of India. His statue has been unveiled on the Supreme Court premises to underscore his efforts for justice.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Happiness is not readymade

Apropos of ‘Culture at the core of Mizo happiness’; the secret of happiness is not in belongings, but in belonging. The World Happiness Report declared Finland as the happiest country six times in a row. Mizoram is India’s happiest state, with 100 per cent literacy, a factor that brings one closer to compassion, universal brotherhood, equality, humanity and contentment. Mizoram’s social structure and cultural practices contribute significantly to the happiness of its youth. Happiness is not readymade; it springs from your thoughts and positive actions.

BM Singh, 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: [email protected]

Dismantle Pak terror infra

Nov 28, 2023

Refer to ‘Pak terror designs’; the world is facing a critical situation due to various wars and conflicts. Warring nations receive support from their allies. Given the political, diplomatic and strategic interests of other countries, India should not expect sustained cooperation from them. The Pakistani army’s old military doctrine, ‘Bleed India with a thousand cuts’, persists, with all resources dedicated to achieving this objective even at the expense of a weakened economy. The aim is to disrupt peace and harmony in India. We should spare no effort to dismantle Pakistani terror infrastructure at the borders and in the hinterland.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Farmers’ protest

Apropos of ‘Farmers start MSP stir on UT border’; the common man, who may not be directly involved in the issues faced by farmers, often becomes an unintended victim when rail/road thoroughfares are blocked, trains are cancelled, or businesses are disrupted due to protests. The Supreme Court's responsibility does not end with mere directives; it is obligated to enforce the constitutional order. No damage or disruption can be justified under the right to protest. Abdication of responsibility is the root cause of the unpleasant consequences faced by the people.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Inconvenience to commuters

Refer to ‘Farmers block road in Mohali’; it was disheartening to learn that a substantial police force had to be deployed on both sides of the border in Phase 11, Mohali. This deployment was a response to various farmers’ unions launching a protest under the banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, causing significant disruptions to vehicular traffic. Hundreds of protesters from across Punjab had lined up their tractor-trailers, SUVs and buses on both sides of this road. It is perplexing how they were permitted to cause inconvenience to others.

Vinayak G, New Delhi

Lack of preparedness

The past 15 days have been harrowing for the 41 workers trapped in the Uttarakhand tunnel. Finally, the Army has been called in for rescue operations. Credit goes to BSNL, which successfully established a two-way communication system between the trapped workers and their family members. Volunteers who have provided free food, water and woollen clothes to the families of the workers deserve appreciation. However, this crisis has exposed our lack of preparedness for such disasters. It should serve as a valuable lesson for our agencies. The Central government must collaborate with international organisations to acquire technical expertise and provide technological support to our agencies for more effective and timely rescue operations in future.

Bal Govind, Noida

Constitution Day address

The statements made by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud during the Constitution Day address seem disconnected from reality. Contrary to the proclaimed idea of the Supreme Court being a ‘people’s court’, it appears to function as a court primarily for the rich and influential who can afford prominent lawyers for their just or unjust litigation. Unfortunately, the poor and common people often find it financially tough to approach the SC. Even if they manage to do so, they are often burdened by the prolonged delays, with many cases lasting for years. Tragically, in many instances, individuals pass away before the judgment is delivered.

Brij Bhushan Mittal, Chandigarh

Stop freebies

The Punjab Government’s decision to offer freebies, such as the free tirath yatra, appears to be a political move aimed at garnering votes; it will put the state under greater economic strain. The timing of these initiatives — months before the General Election — raises questions about the government’s intentions. It is worth noting that the funds allocated for these popular schemes come from the taxpayers’ money. One suggestion is that Cabinet members should consider utilising their salaries and personal funds for such initiatives rather than relying on taxpayers.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

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: [email protected]

Emboldening terrorists

Nov 27, 2023

Refer to ‘Terrorism and Western asylum policy’ (Nous Indica); India has been grappling with Pak-sponsored terrorism, particularly in J&K and Punjab, over the decades. However, the US and other Western countries have not only been indifferent to India’s plight but have exacerbated the problem by providing asylum to the perpetrators of terrorism in their countries. Secessionists demanding Khalistan are pursuing their nefarious designs from Canada, the US, the UK, etc. What is more disconcerting and distressing is the sympathy displayed for these terrorists by the governments of these countries. Canada is crying foul over the murder of a designated terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, while the US is trying to shield Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Need to take tough stand

Apropos of ‘Terrorism and Western asylum policy’ (Nous Indica); Prime Minister Narendra Modi must realise that there is a need to take a tough stand similar to what then PM Indira Gandhi had taken in 1970. Then US President Richard Nixon was shown his worth. Why do the US and Canada allow these Khalistani terrorists to threaten Indian sovereignty? It appears that individuals like Gurpatwant Pannun are serving as ‘stage actors’ in the US and Canada, supported by agencies like the CIA, to secure the votes of anti-India elements.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Mahua Moitra row

Refer to ‘Moitra row fallout’; MPs cannot be expected to manage their parliamentary account on their own. They have many commitments besides attending Parliament sessions. Addressing people and their problems is an essential part of their job profile. Similarly, collecting authentic data on important issues concerning the country is also a significant aspect. By relying on their personal staff, they are essentially delegating this work to meet their other commitments. The Ethics Committee, which has recommended the disqualification of Mahua Moitra, seems to have jumped the gun.

Deepak Taak, Panchkula

Involve youth in positive activities

Apropos of ‘Bathinda admn holds kabaddi contest to wean youth off drugs’; it is the right approach to involve the youth in positive activities such as sports to keep them away from drugs. Organising a kabaddi and wrestling competition that engages young boys and girls in the area, as part of the ‘Nasha Mukt Punjab’ campaign launched by the state government against the drug menace, is a commendable initiative by the district civil and police administration. For the widespread impact and comprehensive success of the campaign, similar activities need to be organised at the block and panchayat levels in the state.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Don’t misrepresent buprenorphine

Refer to ‘Buprenorphine shortage, Gurdaspur’s de-addiction centre faces closure’; the characterisation of buprenorphine as an addictive substance in the report demands a response. Opioid addiction is a chronic condition similar to diabetes or hypertension and must be managed as such. Buprenorphine mitigates withdrawal and cravings, which are formidable obstacles to recovery. Misrepresenting buprenorphine ignores its proven efficacy in restoring personal and economic stability to individuals battling addiction. Disparaging buprenorphine also stigmatises those seeking help, hindering rehabilitation efforts. Instead, we should promote accessible, long-term treatment options and support individuals on their road to recovery.

Rupinder Kapur, by mail

Poor amenities in schools

Taking a grim view of poor amenities in Haryana schools, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh and summoned the Principal Secretary, Department of Education, and Director, Secondary Education. The court observed that government insensitivity is glaring, as government schools lack essential facilities such as rooms, electricity, toilets and drinking water. There have been repeated instances of girls being sexually harassed and assaulted in Haryana schools. This exposes the hollow slogan of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ given by the PM in Haryana upon coming to power in 2014.

Bhupinder Kochhar, Panchkula

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit.

These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Zero tolerance for terrorism

Nov 25, 2023

Apropos of ‘Upping the ante’; in another tragic incident, five Army personnel have been killed in an encounter in Rajouri. Although the intense gunfight also led to the killing of two terrorists, including a high-ranking Lashkar commander, questions are being raised about the Indian Government’s strategic moves against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. When the government says the situation in J&K is normal, why are our officers and jawans losing their lives? We must learn from the US and Europe to have zero tolerance for terrorism. The government must plan to flush out all terror outfits that dare to attack our country.

sanjay chopra, Mohali

Never-ending love for cricket

Refer to ‘Nothing unites India like its cricket team’; cricket is a religion in India and we treat our cricketers like demigods. Australian captain Pat Cummins understood the importance of the ‘12th man’ (Indian fans), and that’s why he famously said that nothing is more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent. Any home audience would be partisan, so Indian fans cannot be blamed. We rallied behind our team like a rock as it cruised to 10 wins on the trot. One poor day of cricket does not make it a bad team. The way Indian fans were back in the stadium for the T20 game at Visakhapatnam just four days after the sad loss shows our endless love for cricket and our players.

Bal Govind, Noida

Don’t ignore other games

Apropos of ‘Nothing unites India like its cricket team’; the ODI World Cup is over, but the cricket mania continues. Now, it’s the India-Australia T20 series. Too much of cricket is taking a toll on other sports. The glamour and monetary bonanza offered in cricket is pushing youngsters away from sports like hockey, football and athletics, which were once very popular among the masses. The government must curb corporatisation of cricket in order to save other games from being relegated to the sidelines.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

English in govt schools

Refer to ‘Come next session, all HP govt schools to turn English medium’; the decision of the Himachal Government to introduce English as a medium of instruction in all government schools will have far-reaching consequences. Without English education, we cannot compete at the international platforms. The decision, however, will obviously contradict the Centre’s National Education Policy. Besides, every school has been allowed to decide its own uniform, which is another progressive step. If these decisions are effectively implemented, the same can be adopted by other government schools across the country. Their ramifications will change the face of school education.

Jeevan VK, Pathankot

Welcome step by HP Govt

Apropos of ‘Come next session, all HP govt schools to turn English medium’; it is a long-awaited and welcome step indicating the progressive approach and wisdom of the government of the day. The state government has rightly taken the decision, rising above all possible criticism. In our country, the medium of instruction in medical, engineering, and law streams is English and a student taught in this medium at the school level definitely performs well in higher education. It is rightly pointed out that many students who are good in science do not opt for it after Class X due to English-phobia.

DS Bhullar, by mail

End of an era

Apropos of ‘Justice Fathima, SC’s 1st woman judge, dies at 96’; Justice Fathima Beevi was a pioneer and an iconic figure in Indian judiciary. Her recent demise marks the end of an era and leaves behind a legacy that will inspire generations to come. The indelible mark she left by becoming India’s first woman Supreme Court judge is a testament to her unwavering dedication, intellect and commitment to justice. As we mourn the loss of a legal luminary, it is crucial to recognise and celebrate Justice Fathima’s exceptional contributions to the field of law and her role as a trailblazer for women’s rights.

Maimul Safui, Howrah (wb)

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: [email protected]

Israel-Hamas truce

Nov 24, 2023

Apropos of ‘Welcome truce’; the peace-loving people of the world have hailed the four-day truce between Hamas and Israel. The dynamic efforts of Qatar, with a significant role played by the CIA and Mossad chiefs, along with Egypt, have brought a wave of respite and joy to the Arab world and West Asia. Under international pressure and growing domestic support for the families of the hostages, wisdom dawned upon Benjamin Netanyahu, leading to a shift in his hard stance in favour of the truce. Israel’s proposal to extend the truce by an extra day for every additional release of 10 hostages holds the potential to prolong the ceasefire or even bring an end to the war.

Balwinder Singh, Jalandhar

Business rivalry

Apropos of ‘False drug claims’; while the allopathy system relies on modern scientific findings and rigorous trials, ayurveda has prevailed since ancient times and earned public trust over the centuries. People choose their preferred medical systems based on personal trust, yet fraudulent claims exploiting sentimental faith are inhumane. The current situation appears more like a business rivalry for commercial gains rather than an ‘allopathy vs ayurveda’ debate.

KK Sood, Nangal

Deceiving public

Refer to ‘False drug claims’; it highlights how individuals, including self-proclaimed yoga gurus, are deceiving the public with exaggerated assertions about their ayurvedic medicines. Besides Ramdev, many other acharyas feature prominently on various TV channels, promoting medical products with false claims and vehemently criticising the allopathy system. These individuals have established branches across the country, raising concerns about the potential risks they pose to people’s lives.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

Adopt new ways to curb farm fires

Currently, there is no effective policy to incentivise farmers against burning crop residues. To address this, the state government should establish clusters at the block level to promptly collect paddy residue from farmers’ land after harvesting. A recorded weight should determine compensatory amounts. Simultaneously, the Centre should set up stockyards and ethanol plants at strategic locations for disposal. Once under government custody, the stock can be utilised efficiently, pyrolised as needed, and compressed or composed into pits if in excess. This approach ensures that farmers have no opportunity to set the fields afire before sowing wheat. Still, if any farm fires are observed, the culprits should be prohibited from sowing paddy for the next two seasons.

Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala

Reduce fossil fuel dependence

Apropos of ‘Net-zero emission goals are largely unattainable’; the article is timely and provides a factual assessment of the current situation. The ruling dispensation in our country appears to be in a state of confusion, especially regarding the allocation of mines. This uncertainty has provided ample opportunities for those who are known for expediting the exploitation of resources. The government’s efforts to promote alternative energy sources seem sluggish, possibly to favour a specific investor and create a monopoly in the field. A more effective approach would involve opening the field to various investors, encouraging competition and providing incentives. This could accelerate the transition to non-conventional energy, reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

AG Rajmohan, Anantapur (AP)

Cricket overkill

Days after the ODI World Cup got over, the India-Australia T20 series has begun. The question arises: why have we turned cricket into a year-round phenomenon? This abundance of cricket, while generating substantial revenue for the BCCI and immense wealth for cricketers, risks overshadowing other sports. The financial allure of cricket, with its glamour and fame, may divert the attention of our youth from other sports. This imbalance in exposure and financial incentives could contribute to a lack of interest in alternative sporting disciplines. As a consequence, the paucity of medals won by our country at the Olympics and other international competitions might persist.

HL Sharma, 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: [email protected]

Halt human intrusion

Nov 23, 2023

Refer to ‘Tunnel cave-in’; the authorities should address the root cause of the problem which they have ignored until now. Encroaching upon eco-sensitive zones prone to landslides and subsidence leads to man-made calamities. The Uttarakhand government should learn from past incidents in Kedarnath and Joshimath. Construction work should be avoided at all costs at places located in ecologically fragile areas. Tourism is adversely affecting the ecology of Uttarakhand, and those in power should take measures to halt the unprecedented human intrusion into the natural ecosystem.

Harshita, Jammu

Mend ties with China too

Refer to ‘India-Australia ties’; in the backdrop of global conflicts, the India-Australia 2+2 dialogue signifies the strengthening of strategic ties in defence, security and maritime domains. However, Australia’s failure to rein in anti-India elements on its soil raises concerns. While maintaining rapport with Australia, India must draw a lesson from the US-China talks and persuade China to address the border issue as a priority, fostering stronger ties between the two neighbours. Such a diplomatic approach can ensure stability and peace in the region.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

Praiseworthy initiative

Apropos of ‘Gurdaspur admn honours farmers staying away from fires’; the initiative taken by the Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner is praiseworthy, especially at a time when farmers are often presumed to be villains in the eyes of the public. If this welcome step is also initiated by other Deputy Commissioners, it could significantly address the problem. Moreover, there is a key difference between being blamed for a crisis and being honoured for making efforts to end it. The officer’s initiative will not only make the people happy but also contribute to environmental protection. However, besides stubble burning, there are other major factors that contribute to pollution.

Gurnam Singh Rathore, Chandigarh

Air pollution

Apropos of ‘Don’t make farmer the villain, but stop MSP to check fires: SC’; the fact that air pollution claims over a million lives annually in India and has severe implications for climate change is not being highlighted amid the current uproar. The recurring criticism of farmers benefits the pollution control authorities in several ways — it deflects attention from more significant sources of air pollution and allows those who should be scrutinised and held accountable to evade responsibility. Air pollution extends beyond stubble burning, encompassing industrial and vehicular emissions as well as construction dust.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Manipur conflict

Despite a double-engine government in Manipur, the conflict between the Meiteis and the Kukis-Zomis remains unresolved due to the studied indifference of the Central and state governments. They have not yet brought the warring factions to the negotiating table to find a solution. The prevailing anarchy in the state can be attributed to the cynical political expediency of the ruling dispensation. The PM has not visited the state after the outbreak of violence, and except during his speech on the no-confidence motion in Parliament, he has generally made no statements concerning Manipur.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Fix time limit for assent

Refer to ‘Bills hanging fire: SC notice to Centre, Kerala Guv’s office’; earlier, a similar notice was issued on the plea of the Tamil Nadu government. The SC has rightly expressed concern over the Bills pending before the Governors for long. Is there any time limit laid down in the Constitution for giving assent? If not, this is a loophole that needs to be addressed. The SC should establish a reasonable timeline, either independently or by urging the Centre to do so. With no prescribed time limit, how can states claim that Governors are delaying Bills? Moreover, Bills passed hastily without a discussion will evade scrutiny if Governors simply sign on the dotted line.


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: [email protected]

Sand mining menace

Nov 22, 2023

Refer to ‘Sand mining’; the extent of illegal sand mining is directly proportional to the rampant construction taking place across Punjab. With the emergence of large construction firms and multinational corporations, there is little hope of curbing illegal practices. The absence of legal repercussions has led to non-compliance with rules and regulations. As a result, corporations do not consider the conservation of resources as their moral responsibility. Furthermore, no measures have been implemented to limit the quantity of permissible mining in accordance with the laws protecting natural resources.

Rupinder Kaur, Ambala Cantt

Nature will retaliate

Apropos of ‘Sand mining’; as a nation, we tend to pay little attention to safeguarding our natural resources, leading to their organised exploitation by criminal entities. Activists working to halt such illegal activities are at risk of losing their lives. Breaking the nexus between the mining mafia, the police and the political class is essential to curb sand smuggling. Nature is likely to retaliate if it continues to be plundered and ravaged. Numerous places are already witnessing the consequences of nature’s wrath.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Challenge for India

Refer to ‘Myanmar crisis’; the crisis in Myanmar poses a challenge for India, given the volatility of the border and Chinese dominance in the region. India is concerned about the potential activity of anti-India elements in the North-East, taking advantage of the radical breakdown in Myanmar. While India emphasises the role of dialogue for the restoration of democracy, it must also consider the impact of the border situation leading to an influx of civilians, particularly in Mizoram. This influx has created a complex situation in the region, requiring New Delhi to approach the issue cautiously, especially with the civilian armed forces already taking control in the Chin state.

Shubham, Jammu

Positive shift

Apropos of ‘Writing off China is a hazardous option’; all world powers share two primary concerns that guide their national activities — ensuring a healthy, viable economy and maintaining an assured and confident defence setup. Both the US and China have a common strategy based on these factors, and their recent efforts suggest a convergence in their approach. This development is positive for global peace, and the activation of a hotline between these major nations is a significant step towards fostering lasting peace. Despite past differences, this move reflects a positive shift that can contribute to a more harmonious global environment, particularly given the current threats of conflict.

BM Singh, Amritsar

Eighth parole in three years

Refer to ‘Ram Rahim given 21-day furlough’; Sirsa dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, currently serving a 20-year jail term, has again been granted temporary release. This marks his third parole in 2023 and eighth in the past three years. The frequent grant of parole to a convict has raised concerns about the Haryana Government’s decisions. The timing of most paroles, coinciding with elections in Haryana or neighbouring states, such as the upcoming Assembly polls in Rajasthan, where he has a sizeable following, raises questions about the government’s intentions. While there is a legal provision for granting parole, the timing, especially in Ram Rahim’s case, indicates that the move is politically motivated.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

Combating climate change

Refer to ‘Time to recall Schumacher’s Buddhist economics’; the article reflects the growing concern about the rapidly deteriorating climate. Climate change results from various factors, and excessive consumption is just one aspect. Advocating for reduced consumption seems incongruent with the prevailing trajectory. Modulating consumption alone may not achieve the desired change. Globally, there is a trend towards adopting a capitalist economic order, characterised by the pursuit of unlimited profit. This system prioritises production based on profit rather than actual need.

AG Rajmohan, Anantapur (AP)

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: [email protected]

All is not lost

Nov 21, 2023

The Men in Blue have learned the hard way the vast difference between scoring 10/10 and the ultimate 11/11. Nevertheless, the nation takes pride in their ability to transform individual excellence into team success. All is not lost, as it is a little-known fact that the International Cricket Council pays $4 million to the champions and $2 million to the runners-up, in addition to $40,000 for every league match won by a team. In sports, as in politics, nothing is over until it is over, and there is no room for complacency or despair. The sporting spirit must continue to endure.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Time for introspection

The unexpected defeat of Team India in the final of the ODI World Cup at the hands of the Aussies can be attributed to two factors: one, the hype created by the Indian media prior to the summit clash; two, the ‘law of averages’ that finally caught up with Rohit Sharma and his ambitious teammates. While the Kangaroos are thoroughly enjoying their splendid victory, it is time for Rohit & Co to engage in honest introspection. Let the BCCI also undertake soul-searching.

Vinayak G, New Delhi

Don’t mix politics with economics

Refer to ‘Job quota quashed’; the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision is welcome. While reservation in government jobs can be justified as it creates equal opportunities for the underprivileged sections of society, the Haryana government’s decision to reserve certain posts up to a salary of Rs 30,000 per month in the private sector for its residents is considered a misstep. In the private sector, where skills, experience and performance are crucial criteria for candidate selection, such reservation is seen as problematic. Mixing politics with economics in this manner may have far-reaching and potentially dangerous consequences.

Bal Govind, Noida

Ensure parity

Refer to ‘Job quota quashed’; while quashing the Haryana law that provided for 75 per cent reservation for locals in private jobs, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has overlooked the existing precedent of reserving positions for the states’ own population in government jobs, particularly for Class III and IV posts, across the country. If reservation for locals is deemed justifiable in the government sector, a similar approach should not be denied in the private sector. Ensuring consistency and fairness in both sectors is crucial. States should consider providing reservation for economically disadvantaged local youth in the private sector as well, aiming to achieve parity while simultaneously enhancing their job skills.

CS Mann, Una

Take decisive action

Refer to ‘Punjab’s realty bites’; it is a matter of grave concern that thousands of people from Punjab, who have invested their hard-earned money in the real estate sector, find themselves cheated. Many have purchased land with the expectation of owning their homes, only to discover that builders have misappropriated significant amounts and failed to deliver the promised properties. The builders appear obstinate and continue to deceive the victims with impunity. The Punjab government should not take this matter lightly and must take decisive action to alleviate the suffering of the buyers who are eagerly awaiting possession of their plots.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Defaulting developers

Apropos of ‘Punjab’s realty bites’; realtors in Punjab owe Rs 700 crore to the state government, which is now poised to take decisive measures to compel them to settle their dues. This proactive approach is a welcome step and is expected to significantly help the government in recovering outstanding payments. Realtors have collected funds from investors as external development charges, but have failed to remit this amount to PUDA for the intended project development. The anticipated action will not only provide relief to the government in terms of debt recovery but also be a source of reassurance for investors. It is hoped that the AAP government will continue to take strict action against defaulting developers.

Sanjiv Bansal, Panchkula

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

Betrayal of trust

Nov 20, 2023

Apropos of ‘A predator & conspiracy of silence’ (Nous Indica); the alleged sexual harassment of about 50 children by the head of a senior secondary school in Jind is a profound betrayal of the trust reposed by the parents and the community. Traditionally considered a safe space, schools should have an environment where children are protected. However, data from the National Crime Records Bureau reveals a disturbing reality: children are not safe either at home or in school. Instances of rape perpetrated by siblings, cousins or even fathers are shamefully increasing year after year. Schools frequently witness cases of sexual misconduct by teachers. Such incidents need to be curbed with stringent punishment to restore society’s faith.

KR Bharti, Shimla

Silence is a sin

Apropos of ‘A predator & conspiracy of silence’ (Nous Indica); in some countries in the Gulf, in the old days or perhaps even today, such culprits would be beheaded in full public view. The rule of law in a democracy like ours does not allow for such extreme measures, but can’t the cases be decided expeditiously? Moreover, the silence on the part of the parents and the victims themselves, driven by the fear of stigma, is undesirable. Were the other teachers, some of whom may be women, unaware of the incidents in the school? Or were they also silent due to fear of ill-treatment at the hands of the principal? Silence by the victims, parents, teachers and society at large in such cases is a sin, if not a crime.


Politicians mum on issue

It is an indisputable fact that Jind is a hub of Haryana politics, being a favourite place for major political rallies for decades (Nous Indica). However, it is an irony that leaders of both the ruling and Opposition parties have maintained silence over the Jind horror, involving the sexual exploitation of girl students by their principal. The Janwadi Mahila Samiti, khap panchayats and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha are demanding a thorough investigation, but political leaders have not uttered a word on the issue.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Israel-Hamas conflict

Apropos of ‘Gaza needs aid’; it is not far from the truth that Israel, backed by its ally the US, is determined to defy international humanitarian law and is engaging with impunity in actions perceived as war crimes. By indiscriminately equating all Palestinians with Hamas terrorists, Israel is conducting bombardment without restraint, sparing neither hospitals nor refugee camps. The unfolding events suggest that the entire international regulatory system is either compromised or paralysed. The ongoing conflict has resulted in the death of over 12,000 people, including children, women and UN personnel, with millions displaced. Despite an international outcry, the situation is worrisome as the conflict continues to claim more lives in a vicious cycle of vengeance.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

BN Goswamy’s demise

All those familiar with Dr BN Goswamy are shocked and saddened to learn of the demise of this eminent art historian. Seeing his robust health just three months ago, when I met him at his residence in Chandigarh, I can’t help but feel that his death is untimely, even though he lived to the age of 90. His column in the Sunday Tribune provided insights into the history of India and the world through art. The authorship of 26 books attests to the depth of his expertise. Beyond his vast knowledge, what struck me most was his humility and the absence of intellectual arrogance, a rare trait among highly educated individuals.

RN Malik, Gurugram

Toilet is a basic amenity

Apropos of ‘Toilets in schools’; it is a grave situation that many schools in our country are still devoid of toilets. Toilets are basic amenities that should be provided to every individual. The government asserts that the Right to Education is every child’s right. Shouldn’t the availability of toilets be included in this right? Furthermore, there should be separate toilets for boys and girls in schools to make the latter feel at ease; otherwise, there is a risk of increased dropouts every year. The right to education is incomplete without proper toilet facilities.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

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Manipulative diplomacy

Nov 18, 2023

Apropos of ‘Biden-Xi meeting’; the manipulative diplomacy demonstrated by Xi Jinping and Joe Biden to safeguard their respective interests is noteworthy. Recognising that healthy competition is inevitable and even necessary, the global community, including India, aspires for peace between these two superpowers. It is crucial to note that neither country has deviated from their stated positions. This meeting should serve as an encouragement for India to engage with China in similar diplomatic ways, protecting its interests for the sake of a stable and peaceful South Asia.

Deepak Taak, Panchkula

Lack of washrooms

Refer to ‘Toilets in schools’; menstruation is a biological process, and every girl/woman has the right to menstrual hygiene. Research indicates that at least 71 per cent of the girls in India lack knowledge of menstruation before their first period. Mothers and teachers should educate girls to manage menstruation sensibly and in a healthy manner. A survey has revealed that 30 per cent of the girls drop out of school after they start menstruating. Despite the apex court’s ruling, a sad state of affairs persists as schools lack adequate toilet facilities for girls and boys. Various school authorities must upgrade sanitation infrastructure.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Sanitation infrastructure crucial

Apropos of ‘Toilets in schools’; sanitation infrastructure is crucial for maintaining a conducive environment in educational institutions, particularly for girls. The Supreme Court’s directive aligns with the right approach regarding the draft national policy on menstrual hygiene. These provisions were already mandated by the SC, incorporating them into the Right to Education Act. Numerous institutional-level studies emphasise that there is enhanced resource development when schools ensure proper toilet and drinking water facilities. Maintaining these facilities requires careful policy planning and implementation with sincere commitment from every stakeholder.

Shubham, Jammu

Immigration to Canada

It is no secret that immigration to Canada is popular because it is easier to get into America from Canada than from most other places. Unlike India, Canada doesn’t seem too concerned about demographic changes. Currently, the relations between the two nations have soured, but there is no reason to believe that this will last long. Once the Khalistani irritant is removed, it will likely become business as usual for the people of both countries. The ever-increasing number of Indians in Canada must be seen in the perspective of limited opportunities in India, prompting young people to opt for greener pastures.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Poor air quality

Refer to ‘Centre, states working at cross-purposes’; the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas has failed to produce tangible results. People traveling on NCR roads, especially asthma patients, bear the brunt of poor air quality. Vote-bank politics has rendered parties in power ineffective when it comes to implementing decisions. Stubble was not burnt two decades ago and was instead used as fodder for animals. The problem emerged with the introduction of combines for harvesting. Stubble has various practical uses, such as fertiliser, fuel for electricity generation and biofuel.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Fatal mishap

Apropos of ‘39 dead, 17 injured as bus rolls down 300-foot gorge in Doda’; India is grappling with a high number of road accidents. According to the World Health Organisation, at least one out of every 10 people killed in road accidents worldwide is from India. The hilly regions of northern India, in particular, are prone to road accidents due to poorly maintained roads, inadequate infrastructure, unattended hazard zones with no means to prevent vehicles from falling into gorges, heavy traffic, the prevalence of unfit vehicles and unsafe driving habits such as overspeeding. It is imperative to address these issues seriously, giving top priority to safety.

O Prasada Rao, Hyderabad

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Jind school horror

Nov 17, 2023

Apropos of ‘Predator Principal’; the sexual harassment of girl students at a Jind school is deeply distressing and raises questions about the effectiveness of the school administration in a state where girls are not even safe within the confines of educational institutions. The incident undermines the highly publicised ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme, which is ostensibly aimed at promoting the welfare of the girl child. The Jind case starkly exposes the failure of the government scheme in instilling confidence and a sense of security among girls.

Ramphal Kataria, Kurukshetra

Take action against guilty

Refer to ‘Predator Principal’; the Uchana school incident is shocking, more so because the constituency is represented by Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala. The Principal’s audacity in engaging in inappropriate behaviour went unchecked for an extended period, with no intervention of officials of the Education Department. With the matter now garnering national attention, it is imperative that all individuals involved, including staff members, face severe consequences for their actions. To ensure a supportive environment for the girls and prevent disruption of their studies, it is recommended that competent female teachers be promptly assigned to the school.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Honour commitments

Refer to ‘Global emissions’; the UN report forecasting emission reduction at a mere 2 per cent by 2030 — significantly below the targeted 43 per cent — is a wakeup call. The unresolved issue of compensation to poorer nations adds to the complexity of the situation. The reluctance of developed nations to make substantial cuts to their own emissions while urging others to do so is regrettable. As COP28 approaches, it is crucial for member nations to confront these inadequacies head-on. Wealthier nations must fulfil their commitments to address climate change, not only for the sake of global cooperation but also to avert the impending catastrophe facing our planet.

CS Mann, Una

Exceptional performance

India’s consecutive victories in the World Cup underscore the team’s ability to thrive under pressure. The collective prowess displayed in bowling, batting and fielding reflects India’s dominance in cricket. In a convincing performance, India secured a spot in the World Cup final by defeating New Zealand by 70 runs. The match was marked by Virat Kohli’s remarkable achievement of scoring a record 50th ODI century and Mohammed Shami’s match-winning seven-wicket haul. India’s exceptional performance was a testament to fantastic batting and effective bowling which secured victory in an emphatic fashion. Undoubtedly, credit goes to Indian team members who are dedicatedly striving to bring home the Cup.

Rukma Sharma, Jalandhar

Atta at the doorstep

Apropos of ‘1.4 crore beneficiaries to get atta on doorstep from Dec’; it is yet another populist measure whose electoral impact remains uncertain. However, the act of delivering atta directly to the beneficiary raises concerns, as it denies them the opportunity to witness the wheat-grinding process from a chosen source, adding unnecessary costs to the financially strained state. Considering the prevalent work culture within the government machinery responsible for handling foodgrains, as evidenced by various recent scams, the shift from delivering wheat to providing atta at the doorstep warrants a thoughtful re-evaluation. Largesse in policies must align with available resources to ensure sustainable implementation.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Rail coach restaurant

Apropos of ‘Punjab gets first rail coach restaurant’; by establishing a restaurant under the concept of ‘restaurant on wheels’, the Railways has provided an innovative example. This approach suggests a strategic way for other departments to repurpose old and abandoned equipment like workshop hangars, trailers, tanks, helicopters, airplanes, buses, etc, rather than disposing of them. This could lead to additional earnings without the need for extensive litigation for acquiring additional land.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

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Provocative threat

Nov 16, 2023

Apropos of ‘India talks tough’; the video clip of designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun warning people against flying via Air India on November 19 — the day of the ODI World Cup final and Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary — marks another provocative act by Khalistan supporters. Unfortunately, the Canadian government appears to be refraining from taking deterrent action against such activities. While it is acknowledged that the Trudeau government relies on the support of Canadian Sikh politician Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party for its political stability, this should not justify turning a blind eye to the actions of Khalistanis that harm Indian interests.

V Jayaraman, Chennai

Dog-bite cases

Refer to ‘Stray animals’; the menace of wild and stray animals is escalating day by day, resulting in human fatalities and suffering. Dog-bite cases have surged, with an average of 550 reported daily in Punjab. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has imposed measures to compel state governments to tackle the problem seriously, emphasising the need for effective control to ensure public safety. Mere financial compensation to victims or their families is not a sustainable solution; the issue requires comprehensive eradication.

Ashok Kumar, by mail

Clean air a necessity

It seems that when addressing the issue of air pollution, Indians express diverse perspectives and opinions. The Supreme Court believes we should have clean air; liberals are fighting to ensure that the cracker ban is enforced; the right wing perceives the ban as an affront to Sanatan Dharma; and many citizens are fine with burning crackers because, after all, Diwali comes only once a year. Those of us who have visited the US, the UK, Canada and Europe and admired the clean air and blue skies often wonder why we can’t have the same in India. The reason is that the average Indian doesn’t seem to care two hoots about the air he/she breathes. He/she doesn’t mind if the AQI is 400 or 700.

Sarika Verma, by mail

Pioneer of hospitality industry

Refer to ‘Biki Oberoi, who ushered in uber-luxury hotel era, passes away’; Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi, affectionately known as Biki, was not merely a builder of hotels; he infused magic into the lives of travellers. Credited with placing Oberoi hotels on the global luxury travel map, he revolutionised the outlook of the hotel business in India. As a stalwart of the hospitality industry, he rightfully regarded people as the most valuable asset. In addition to receiving India’s second-highest civilian award, he was honoured with the lifetime achievement award by several organisations.

Bal Govind, Noida

Break stereotypes

Apropos of ‘Need to question officially sanctified narratives of failure’; in an era where we are exploring multiple dimensions through virtual reality, our education system remains unidimensional. Practical experience is the richest learning curve for a student, but we are stuck with monotonous curricula. These may help a student solve complex equations like robots but do not give them the freedom to think about entrepreneurship or other aspects of life. The need of the hour is to break these stereotypes and create an ecosystem in which students are exposed to experiential learning rather than just cramming bookish knowledge.

Himanshu Chopra, Chandigarh

Unveiling one’s true self

Refer to ‘Enlightenment after retirement’; it is a whimsical narrative that delves into the realm of self-awareness beyond professional success. Through the allegorical journey of a donkey mistakenly associating respect for idols with personal admiration, the story cleverly communicates the idea that accolades during one’s career are often tied to the positions rather than one’s authentic self. Consequently, it suggests that instead of succumbing to despondency, a shift in perspective after retirement is essential. This shift involves embracing tranquillity, savouring freedom from supervisors, and immersing oneself in the pursuit of hobbies and social activities. It advocates allocating time to prioritise health.

K Kumar, Panchkula

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

Stringent measures needed

Nov 15, 2023

Refer to ‘Ban firecrackers’; to effectively prevent the bursting of banned firecrackers, a multi-pronged approach must be adopted. Firstly, it is imperative to crack down on the manufacturing units producing prohibited firecrackers. Stringent measures, including regular raids and seizures, need to be implemented to curtail their production. While the legal route is essential, the success of any ban hinges on the active cooperation of the public. Furthermore, tackling the demand for firecrackers is equally critical. Initiating an extensive awareness campaign is the key to influencing public behaviour. Children, in particular, are susceptible to the allure of firecrackers, and efforts should be directed at educating them about the detrimental environmental effects associated with their use.

Prateek Bansal, by mail

Launch portal for complaints

Apropos of ‘Ban firecrackers’; the SC’s order on crackers went up in smoke, resulting in poor air quality index (AQI) and smog in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and other places. Those involved in manufacturing and selling crackers should be penalised. There should be a ban on the export of crackers from China. Brand ambassadors should endorse green crackers. If someone is found burning crackers, immediate and stringent action must be taken. A portal should be launched to allow concerned individuals to lodge complaints against those burning crackers excessively. Enforcing a strict ban on crackers can effectively contribute to improving the AQI in various cities.

Arpita Anand, Chandigarh

Spurious liquor

The tragic death of 20 people due to the consumption of spurious liquor in Yamunanagar and Ambala is shocking. This incident highlights the nexus between liquor vendors and illicit liquor suppliers. Moreover, it exposes the laxity and negligence of the police and excise departments in monitoring the supply of counterfeit liquor. The possibility of collusion between these departments cannot be ruled out. Regrettably, similar incidents have occurred in various parts of the country in the past, yet it appears that no lessons have been learnt.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Can’t depend on US

Refer to ‘Despite India-US 2+2, a long and solitary haul’; the institution of the 2+2 dialogue at the defence-foreign minister level bears testimony to the progressively strengthening relations between the two countries; this is indicative of the relevance of the strategic partnership for containing China’s policy of aggressive expansionism that poses a threat to both nations. However, India cannot rely upon America to come to its rescue if a sort of rapprochement is reached between the US and China. India’s dependence on America’s friendship has never stood the test of time, as America is always driven by its interests.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Redefine success

Apropos of ‘Need to question officially sanctified narrative of failure’; ours is a generation that worships success, often defined by a high-paying job, residence in a prestigious locality and annual foreign vacations. However, we must redefine success to include all those who do not fit the traditional idea of successful people. Nevertheless, basic education is essential for everyone; it serves as a foundation for earning a living. While empathy is warranted for those who may not enjoy the conventional school environment, there seems to be no alternative. Education is vital for our well-being, just as vaccination is needed to protect us from diseases.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Adopt neutral stance in B’desh

Apropos of ‘India putting all its eggs in one basket in Bangladesh’; in the context of Bangladesh’s political arena, marked by the rivalry between PM Sheikh Hasina and formidable opposition leader Khaleda Zia, parallels can be drawn with India’s NDA and Opposition bloc INDIA. In this complex scenario, India must adopt a neutral and amicable stance towards both leaders. As Bangladesh is India’s closest neighbour in the East, a wise approach is essential, regardless of who is in power. Hasina is noted for her secular approach, including efforts to safeguard the interests of the Hindu minority in Bangladesh. In contrast, Khaleda and her party lean towards Islamic hardliners, potentially diverging from India’s stance.

Sudershan Walia, Amritsar

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Dirty politics

Nov 14, 2023

Refer to ‘David and Goliath with the same sling’ (Nous Indica); the write-up sheds light on the intricate dynamics of dirty politics. The pre-election attacks on political opponents over corruption charges, resulting in an overnight shifting of loyalties, should make the decision-making process for fatigued and disillusioned voters somewhat straightforward in the upcoming elections. The question arises: Whom does the voter look up to? This becomes particularly relevant in a scenario marked by grave contradictions, confusion and expediency. The Mahua Moitra ‘cash-for-query’ episode serves as a fitting example of the rot in contemporary politics.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Culture of hypocrisy

Apropos of ‘David and Goliath with the same sling’ (Nous Indica); the misuse of public funds for private gains is alarmingly prevalent, reflecting a culture where the abuse of power, position and privilege is widespread. Corruption appears to be an undeniable reality that permeates all strata of society. Power and hypocrisy seem to go hand in hand, as those in positions of influence often feel entitled. This culture of entitlement engenders double standards, with one set of principles applied to themselves, their family and friends, and another to the people at large. The adoption of divergent values and principles by those in powerful positions contributes to a culture of hypocrisy.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Shift from paddy to other crops

A sudden shift from paddy to other crops poses challenges, particularly without expert opinion on soil strength and quality, essential factors to assess the feasibility of such a transition (‘Formulate strategy to move away from paddy’). Waterlogged areas, for instance, are generally suitable for paddy cultivation. The author’s suggestion to diversify from paddy acknowledges the need for careful planning. It is crucial to explore viable alternatives and engage in constructive discussions to address the complex issues surrounding agriculture and air quality.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Poisonous air

As soon as the winter season arrives in Delhi, the capital of India starts suffocating. The air becomes so poisonous that serious respiratory problems begin to occur. However, it seems that the governments are not doing much to control it. They perform the formalities of making rules, and it is surprising that these rules are enforced reluctantly. The steps taken by the AAP government to deal with the serious problem of Delhi’s air pollution are unscientific and unproven. The Supreme Court has aptly described Delhi’s air crisis as the ‘murder of public health’.

RK Arora, Mohali

Clean your own mess

While state governments take measures to ensure a pollution-free Diwali, it is the public that often contributes to pollution after the festival, disregarding both court directives and the authorities. Mitigating pollution requires proactive efforts, particularly in cleaning up after the Diwali festivities. This festival leaves behind a significant amount of garbage, with streets filled with plastic, paper and other types of waste. It is imperative that individuals take the initiative to clean the streets and surroundings after the celebrations. Each person should be responsible for cleaning up his or her own mess.

SC Dhall, Zirakpur

Onlookers must act

Refer to ‘Keeping Good Samaritan culture alive’; it is common to observe bystanders and witnesses remaining indifferent to a victim in distress, refraining from offering any assistance. In a harrowing incident in May, a Delhi girl was stabbed multiple times and stoned to death while numerous people stood nearby, and others simply passed by. The failure of onlookers to act collectively in aiding those in need is not only ethically troubling but also poses a serious threat to public safety. There is a pressing need for educational institutions to teach how to respond in such situations, fostering a Samaritan culture that encourages individuals to intervene. It is crucial to ensure that no good Samaritan faces harassment during the subsequent investigation.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

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Stubble burning crisis

Nov 11, 2023

Refer to ‘Not penalty, but policy change need of hour to check fires, say agri experts’; the menace of stubble burning has worsened in the last few years due to the shift from manual harvesting to mechanical harvesting using combine harvesters, which leave crop residue in the field. In manual harvesting, crop residue was used as fodder, and farmers could immediately plough their fields for the next crop. The uproar over stubble burning causing pollution has become a yearly phenomenon. Instead of comprehending the compulsion of farmers to burn the stubble, the government resorts to penalising them.

Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa

Mahua Moitra controversy

Apropos of ‘More trouble for Moitra’; it is certainly unbecoming of a Member of Parliament to misuse the country’s highest forum, meant for informed debates and the lawmaking process, for vested interests. Industrialist Darshan Hiranandani, in a signed affidavit, claimed that Mahua Moitra ‘made frequent demands, including expensive luxury items and logistical help for her holidays’. Such mala fide actions of parliamentarians dent the credibility of Parliament, and the public loses faith in the legislative functioning.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Bihar CM’s comment insensitive

Refer to ‘Gender insensitivity’; the way in which the Bihar CM has attempted to enlighten people on birth control is utterly despicable. Was he oblivious to the fact that women representatives were also present there? Such behaviour is unprecedented in the history of legal deliberations and proceedings within an esteemed body like the state Assembly. It causes every Indian citizen to hang his or her head in shame. What’s ironic is that this individual is projecting himself as a future Prime Minister. Any apology or attempt at atonement by politicians is often an afterthought and a mere firefighting exercise when things appear to be spiralling out of control to their detriment. If this man is genuinely regretful, he should consider bidding farewell to his political career.

HMS Nagra, Faridabad

Nitish embarrassed all

Apropos of ‘Gender insensitivity’, it was unbecoming of Nitish Kumar, an outstanding leader in Indian polity, to use obscene language to elaborate on how educated women have played a significant role in bringing down the fertility rate. This embarrassed women and the MLAs present in the Bihar Assembly. Realising the lewdness of his well-meaning views, he tendered an unqualified apology and withdrew his words. While he undoubtedly committed an act of social impropriety and indiscretion, his apology should assuage the offended sensibilities, and the matter should stand closed.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Maratha reservation

Refer to ‘Maratha or Kunbi — the quota conundrum’; it is astonishing to observe that the Maratha caste, one of the most powerful and resourceful communities, is pressing hard for a reserved category status. They are akin to the Jats of Punjab and Haryana and the Reddys of Andhra Pradesh, desiring to be included in the reserved category. I believe good sense should prevail, and the Marathas of Maharashtra must reconsider their demand, as it could create a wrong impression for other dominant castes seeking similar benefits.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Why theatre commands?

Refer to ‘Hurdles delaying formation of integrated theatre commands’; the theatre commands may have received government approval, but the IAF’s apprehensions that this may divide its already limited air assets should not be ignored. Were the forces disintegrated when we fought and won wars in 1965 and 1971? If and when theatre commands come up, the three services chiefs will reportedly have no operational role but only logistical and administrative functions. The commanders of the theatre commands, as in the case of the CDS, will perhaps always be from the Army. Are there no capable Air Marshals or Admirals? Keeping in view the IAF reservations and other aspects, there is a need to have a relook at the issue of theatre commands.

WG CDR CL Sehgal (RETD), Jalandhar

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Intentional under-reporting

Nov 10, 2023

Refer to ‘Glaring mismatch’; farm fires are intentionally being under-reported. Even the directives of the Supreme Court have been disregarded, resulting in minimal reporting of stubble fires. While data can be manipulated, the poor air quality after stubble burning cannot be ignored. Farmers have resorted to the easiest way of disposing of residual waste and preparing their field for the next crop. The pollution caused by farm fires has endangered the lives of asthma and heart patients. Fatal accidents on the roads have increased due to smog and smoke. Farmers must consider the well-being of other citizens, including their own family members, before resorting to stubble burning.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Stubble burning menace

It is unfortunate that despite the Supreme Court issuing strict orders to ban stubble burning, this menace continues unabated, and farm fire incidents are increasing exponentially. It is regrettable that the apex court has to intervene in matters that should ideally be resolved by the states at their own level. Courts are already burdened with significant responsibilities and judicial tasks. The polluted air is a consequence of government inefficiency and convoluted policies of the political leadership. As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine. If an adequate number of machines and manpower had been available in the fields, this unhealthy situation might have been prevented.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Deepfake videos

Deepfake videos featuring actors Rashmika Mandanna and Katrina Kaif have underscored our vulnerability as unwitting targets of artificial intelligence manipulation. It is alarming to witness the misuse of technology. Even celebrities are not immune, which raises concern about the potential impact on ordinary individuals. The cyber agencies should adopt a more proactive stance, and cybercrime policies need to be more stringent. Social media platforms should implement stricter content filtering to prevent these threats from posing a danger to people, businesses and governments.

Karan Singh, Chennai

Misuse of artificial intelligence

The viral deepfake video featuring actor Rashmika Mandanna has again raised concerns about the potential misuse of artificial intelligence. The clip garnered numerous reactions and prompted the IT Ministry to write to social media firms, reminding them of deepfake regulations. However, much like ChatGPT, deepfake technology has positive applications in various fields, including education, art and healthcare. What tech companies need to do is closely monitor the content generated using deepfake technology and help distinguish between real and manipulated videos. The authorities should also emphasise the importance of consent and ensure legal action against those who use deepfakes to harm others.

Aamaan Alam Khan, Jammu

Bihar CM’s birth control remark

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s explicit and blatantly disrespectful remark on birth control is not only absurd but also unbecoming of his position. The obscene comment has transgressed all boundaries of political decorum. While Nitish has issued an apology for his regrettable statement, the shamefulness of his remark remains unforgivable. It may be that repentance and redemption can only be achieved by stepping down from the prestigious and constitutional post of Chief Minister.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Enjoy every moment

Refer to ‘Never miss the little moments of joy’; life is a gift from the Almighty. It all depends on individuals to lead their lives with meaning and purpose. Enjoying every moment and every small act or activity should be the right approach to move forward in life. Happiness is not a commodity that can be bought from the market or acquired with money. One has to discover it within oneself. Just as for a child, birthday gifts bring immense joy and exhilaration, for both the young and the elderly, pursuing their goals with sincerity and dedication can bring them many happy moments. Happiness is essentially a state of mind and is not connected to poverty or wealth.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

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Uphold cooperative federalism

Nov 09, 2023

Amid the ongoing dispute between the Punjab Governor and the Chief Minister, the Supreme Court has appropriately reminded Governors that they are not elected representatives and should proactively act on Bills passed by the Assembly. The court has also criticised the Punjab Government for reconvening the Assembly after it was adjourned sine die. However, Governors’ political assertiveness in Opposition-ruled states is detrimental to the integrity of parliamentary democracy. Instead of being in conflict, both Governors and Chief Ministers should pay heed to the court’s advice and work together for the benefit of the people, upholding the spirit of cooperative federalism in the country.

CS Mann, Una

CM, Guv must follow SC’s advice

Apropos of ‘CM-Governor discord’; when political has-beens are appointed to gubernatorial posts, it often leads to unsavoury controversies, as seen in many states, including Punjab. The comments from the Supreme Court provide a sensible piece of advice, emphasising the importance of adhering to the constitutional obligations by both the elected Chief Minister and the Central government-appointed Governor. Constitutional federalism requires political prudence from both sides to ensure the smooth functioning of the state administration.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Sexual abuse in Jind school

Refer to ‘Girls having phones were soft targets’; the Jind incident highlights some of the prevailing deficiencies in our education system and society. The fact that a large number of girls faced molestation by the Principal underscores the absence of an effective grievance redressal system in the education sector. The District Education Officer should establish a robust system to address complaints against the school management. Furthermore, the delayed discovery of such wrongdoing reveals a communication gap between parents and children. Had there been communication, the misconduct of the Principal could have been detected and stopped at the outset.

Prateek Bansal, by mail

Take steps to end stubble burning

Apropos of ‘Put an end to stubble burning, it’s your job: SC slams states’; the SC Bench agreed with a suggestion to gradually phase out paddy cultivation, urging the Centre to explore alternatives for providing minimum support price for crops such as millets. Another proposed measure is for state agencies to stop purchasing paddy from farmers, particularly those who continue to burn stubble despite repeated requests. Hopefully, these steps may improve living conditions not only for humans but also for Mother Earth. The government must diligently work for this noble cause, and the citizens, including farmers, should support these efforts.

Rajesh Chander Bali, Jalandhar

Marvellous Maxwell

Refer to ‘Mr Maximum’; Glenn Maxwell overcame cramps to score an astonishing, unbeaten 201 off 128 balls, leading Australia to an unlikely three-wicket victory over Afghanistan in a World Cup match and clinching the team’s place in the semifinals. Other batsmen were dismissed cheaply, and at 91/7, Australia seemingly had no chance of victory. Maxwell didn’t celebrate his hundred but raised his arms only when the win was achieved. His exceptional performance left everyone in awe. Australia has produced numerous highly skilled cricket players who have performed exceptionally well in World Cup matches. Maxwell is right up there among the best.

Puneet Mehta, Patiala

Quota system

Refer to ‘Bihar Cabinet okays 75% quota proposal’; politicians are engaging in risky games and the direction in which the country is headed remains uncertain. The issue of identifying the true beneficiaries of the quota system has become a topic of public debate. The remaining 25 per cent (general category) is at risk of feeling marginalised, and emigration might seem like the only solution for them. Ultimately, there is growing apprehension that the country may predominantly comprise quota beneficiaries, while the so-called ‘rich upper general category’ individuals may form a political group to fight for their interests. Such a scenario may not be too distant in the future.

Jeevan VK, Pathankot

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: [email protected]

Mend strained relations

Nov 08, 2023

Refer to ‘India-Canada impasse’; the cordial relations between the two democracies have deteriorated since Canadian PM Trudeau made allegations regarding the involvement of Indian agents in Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing. Citing freedom of speech, Trudeau has allowed Canadian citizens significant leeway to engage in activities that are of concern to India. Canada should ensure that its soil is not used for activities that harm India’s interests. India has sought concrete and credible evidence regarding these allegations, but to no avail. It would be in Trudeau’s interests to rise above selfish political considerations and make efforts to repair the strained relations between the two nations.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

India-Canada dispute

The India-Canada impasse has created uncertainty among NRIs in Canada and prospective migrants to Canada. It was a huge shock for India when PM Justin Trudeau alleged the involvement of Indian agencies in Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder. The reduction in diplomatic staff has led to the suspension of visa services in Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bengaluru. This dispute between the two nations has resulted in a substantial loss for students intending to migrate to Canada, particularly those from Punjab. It is imperative for the Canadian government to substantiate the accusations and strive to maintain amicable diplomatic relations with the Indian government.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Redefine Governors’ role

Apropos of ‘Governors must act before states turn to courts: SC on Punjab’s plea’; the role of Governors needs to be redefined. The way some Governors, particularly in non-BJP-ruled states, behave shows their lack of respect for the Constitution and the democratically elected governments of those respective states. For instance, in Tamil Nadu, where online games have claimed precious lives, the government introduced a Bill to address the issue, and it was sent for approval by the Governor. However, the Bill was returned for reconsideration. Unfortunately, even such Bills are kept pending for an extended period by the Governor. Similar grievances have been raised by Kerala and Punjab. It is a matter of shame that the aggrieved states had to seek the intervention of the apex court.

AG Rajmohan, Anantapur (AP)

Delhi’s poor air quality

The air pollution crisis in Delhi requires the implementation of stringent regulations. Instead of blaming other states, forming committees, conducting meetings or enforcing the odd-even car rule, there is a need to delve into the root causes of air quality deterioration. The authorities must encourage the use of public transportation. Nowadays, nearly every middle-class family owns at least two cars, resulting in a higher number of vehicles on the roads. This not only contributes to pollution but also leads to road congestion. Delhi has numerous Central government offices. Consideration should be given to the possibility of relocating some of these offices to other cities.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

Beneficial for pilgrims

Apropos of ‘Finally, Amarnath cave shrine gets motorable road’; it is heartening to note that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has achieved a rare distinction by enabling a truck and a small pickup to reach the Amarnath cave shrine, which is situated at a height of 3,888 m above sea level, as part of the 110-km-long Amarnath Marg. The road-widening has been completed for nearly 13 km from the Sangam base to the cave. This road, constructed at a cost of Rs 5,300 crore, will be highly beneficial for pilgrims.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Don’t overexert yourself

Refer to ‘Regulate physical activity to reduce risk of sudden death’; the present generation wants instant results, but it’s important to recognise that there have been numerous incidents of fatalities in gyms while exercising, indicating that some individuals may be pushing their bodies beyond their limits. A sudden and intense desire to become fit or achieve a ‘six-pack’ physique has led many young men to overexert themselves. It’s essential to understand that worthwhile achievements in fitness and health take time, and a sudden surge in physical activity can do more harm than good.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

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: [email protected]

Anti-humanitarian step

Nov 07, 2023

Refer to ‘Pak expels Afghans’; amid the Israel-Palestine conflict, Pakistan’s decision to expel Afghan refugees appears to be anti-humanitarian. Pakistan is grappling with political unrest, with former PM Imran Khan being behind bars. Moreover, it is facing a major economic crisis, the most severe in recent years. Deporting undocumented Afghans is likely to lead to an international backlash, particularly in the United Nations. Given the volatile situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban in power, the country is ill-equipped to accommodate a large number of refugees being deported from Pakistan.

Harshita, Jammu

Frequent adjournments

Apropos of ‘Choked courts’; the serious concern expressed by the Chief Justice of India regarding frequent adjournments as a cause of delay in the delivery of justice assumes immense significance, given the substantial backlog of court cases at all levels. Hopefully, the CJI’s assertion will have a positive impact on all stakeholders, leading to the implementation of necessary restrictions on frequent adjournments. These should be reserved for the most urgent cases. Addressing delays is imperative to instil confidence in the public, especially litigants, about the efficient functioning of the judicial system.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

Overwhelming caseload

Refer to ‘Choked courts’; just like his predecessors, the CJI has shown concern for the stressed litigants. While adjournments may indeed contribute to delays, it is important to acknowledge that more than adjournments, there are factors outside the judicial system that are responsible for the overwhelming caseload. The judicial system must safeguard itself against manipulations and machinations intended to exploit vulnerable situations, conditions or institutions. Adjournments can be a valuable tool for managing cases and delivering justice, provided they are used responsibly.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Kohli a true legend

Refer to ‘Matchless: Kohli’s 49th ton, India’s 8th win’; the greatest cricketer of the current era, Virat Kohli, is still yearning for more runs and centuries. By scoring his 49th ODI century, he has equalled the record held by his and the nation’s hero, Sachin Tendulkar. From playing the day after losing his father at the young age of 18 to achieving this milestone, he has dedicated himself to cricket. He has inspired us all to strive for excellence and defy all odds. Kohli is a true legend in the world of cricket.

Himanshu Chopra, Chandigarh

People must know everything

Refer to ‘Electoral bonds and the menace of money power’; in a democracy, whether it’s referred to as ‘Lok Tantra’ or ‘Praja Tantra’, ‘Lok’ or ‘Praja’ (the people) must be paramount. Since it is the people who are entrusted with the responsibility of electing suitable representatives to form a democratic government, they must have access to every aspect of the credentials of the candidates and the political parties. Most importantly, they should know where, how, how much, and what kind of money these candidates and parties receive to fund their election campaigns. The people’s right to this vital and opinion-shaping information cannot be compromised due to donors seeking secrecy. Donations should be made without any expectation of favours.

Hira Sharma, by mail

Violation of election code

Apropos of ‘Free ration to poor for 5 more years: Modi’; is the Prime Minister exempt from the model code of conduct? In democratic countries, leaders are expected to adhere to the model code to ensure fairness and transparency during elections. The PM announced the extension of free ration recently. However, the fact that he chose to make this announcement during an election rally suggests a level of desperation, possibly due to the fear of losing. This amounts to potential violation of the code. Should the ECI not consider taking action to ensure a fair election, as it did in the case of Rahul Gandhi?

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

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: [email protected]