The Tribune India : Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Direct threat Other

Sep 30, 2022

Apropos of ‘Ban on PFI’; terrorism is a direct threat to the safety and security of citizens. To counter this serious challenge, the government must strengthen its policy of zero tolerance on terror by making surveillance and intelligence mechanisms more effective. Available force multipliers and technological advances may be utilised to the maximum to achieve positive results. Those who divide communities and fund terror activities should be sternly dealt with. Prominent personalities and leaders should make efforts to enhance mutual respect among multicultural societies. Peace and harmony must prevail for the stability and prosperity of India.

Subhash Vaid, by mail

School management

Refer to ‘In the interest of students’; it has become a regular feature to hear about protests by students and villagers regarding fewer teachers, which is largely not only because of rationalisation, but also wrong placements in transfer policy. The matter should be urgently considered to address the legitimate grievances of people. The NEP-2020 is seized of the problem of rationalisation and wants the administration to consider certain innovative solutions in the interest of fruitful learning outcomes. One suggestion is to decentralise administration in accordance with the types of schools, like model, general and Aarohi, to avoid ‘centralised concentrations of power’. The constitution of ‘school complexes’, as suggested by NEP, is another possible step that can ensure maximum utilisation of resources, including teachers.

S Kumar, Panchkula

Congress pangs

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is travelling across the country under his Bharat Jodo Yatra, but his own party seems to be like a house of cards. Ashok Gehlot doesn’t seem interested in contesting Congress presidential elections as he prefers to remain Rajasthan CM. Every political leader aspires to be a national convener of his/her party. But Gehlot’s preference to stick to the CM’s post manifests a seasoned Congress leader’s perception that either the party has no future or elected president will prove to be a puppet in the hands of the Gandhi family. The yatra may, momentarily, rouse the passions of the cadres, but eventually a strong organisational structure, grounded leaders and dedicated party workers will prove to be the party’s saviour.

Rajesh Goyal, by mail

Government’s call

Apropos of the article ‘Red herring of colonialism’, changing names of units and regiments will affect the regimental spirit which is a battle-winning factor at lower and basic levels. Rightly, indigenous doctrines can only be evolved or changed after we, as a nation, achieve a very high level of original research and military industrialisation. It may take more than a decade for that to happen. However, I have a small objection regarding the mention of Lt Gen CB Ponnappa, the Adjutant-General. The Adjutant-General is not an independent entity and in spite of whatever he may have recommend, the final word and decision are taken by the COAS. Moreover, the averments are based on some reports (not specified) and therefore speculative. Also, such major changes of names, as in the case of Rajpath, will be on the directions of the government, and beyond the purview of the Army.

Brig Surinder Singh (retd), by mail

Army regiments

Several regiments of the Army bear caste names, which is a legacy of British rule. They did so to exploit the sentiments of the local people, in line with the divide-and-rule policy. This policy made possible easy availability of manpower in place for recruitment in the Army. Further, since the caste- ridden Indian society was based on profession on inheritance basis, skilled manpower was readily available for induction into various trades and branches in the Army. However, after Independence, drastic changes have already taken place in the socio-economic conditions of society due to the spread of educational and industrial networks. The needs of the Army have been also undergoing transformation. Our Constitution does not advocate caste-based institutions. Soldiers should be recruited on the basis of parameters as per the needs of the Army, through open recruitments, and not on the basis of caste. Combat skills can be acquired through well-planned curriculum of training and courses. However, to maintain the bonding and cultural environment, regiments can have soldiers from specific regions with maximum similarities, such as Bihar and Madras regiments, Garhwal Rifles, and region-wise light infantry.

Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra

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Live-streaming of cases Other

Sep 29, 2022

Apropos of the editorial ‘Supreme Court goes live’, live-streaming of key cases is a praiseworthy step. The move marks a huge transformation in the functioning of the judiciary as live-streaming will directly bring the common man into conversation. This step will also ensure that court proceedings begin on time and judges give equal time to all parties concerned. This decision is an important step towards providing transparency, and will also help the judiciary win the confidence of the people of the country.

Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal

Virtual proceedings

It is a much-awaited move to make Supreme Court proceedings virtual. Being the guardian of the Constitution, and the citizens of the country, the court takes decisions of national importance. Thus, people have the right to be informed about how the system works. Live-streaming of cases, such as quota for EWS and the All India Bar exam, will pave the way to understand how hearings reach a verdict. It will also decongest courts. At the same time, it will increase the challenges for the SC. Insensitivity on sensitive matters will become a subject of debate. Technical glitches should be resolved timely and interpreters of the hearings should be trained accordingly because they are the main channel between viewers and lawyers. Virtual viewers’ suggestions should be taken into consideration.

Asha Rani, yamunanagar

Action against PFI

Refer to the news report ‘Fresh crackdown against PFI, over 170 held across 7 states’; the PFI and its associate outfits have been banned by the government for five years. The PFI is accused of promoting and abetting terrorism. The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was banned because of similar reasons. This underscores the need for prompt, fair and result-oriented action. Most importantly, to guard against any such organisation, belonging to any community or religion, succeeding in radicalising our young and vulnerable population, we, as a society, must ensure that there is no act that spreads discrimination, provocation or hatred by any individual or group, and especially by any politician or political outfit, whether in the ruling or in the opposition party.

Hira Sharma, by mail

All in the family

Refer to ‘Cong has made politics a family affair: Kashyap’; in almost every party, family members are in politics, therefore, it is unfair to point a finger at a particular family. The Congress is the oldest party and has been associated with India’s freedom struggle and nation-building, unlike some parties who had no role in our freedom movement. The Congress values people as its strength and not the party. Its ideology is about the welfare of the people and ‘unity in diversity’. It does not believe in divisive politics.

Roop Singh Negi, Solan

Tribute to Bhagat Singh

A grateful nation remembered the great revolutionary and freedom fighter, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, on his 115th birth anniversary. Rich tributes were paid by our political leaders on the occasion. Cycle rallies, candle marches, blood donation camps, etc., were organised. But the real tribute would be to follow his principles, policies and ideology and translate his cherished dream of a truly free lndia into reality. Sadly, even after 75 years of Independence, his dream remains unfulfilled. Removal of maladies afflicting our social, political and economic system would be a fitting tribute to this great personality. We all need to commit to stand by his ideals. Earnest efforts to eliminate poverty, provide adequate healthcare services, employment and social security to all lndians must be made.

NK Gosain,  Bathinda

Moonlighting rules

Apropos of the article ‘Fresh perspective on moonlighting needed’, the concept of moonlighting is vintage in the western world, but is burgeoning in India, particularly in the IT sector. Lately, the pandemic hardship forced professionals to opt for moonlighting because of layoffs. In the past, courts have permitted employers to terminate employment if an employee was found moonlighting. But this law doesn’t apply to IT industries in some states. By prioritising concerns of IT companies and making suitable amendments, such as protection from misuse of company’s resources and confidential information, it can favour both parties. People from IT backgrounds can opt for offshoot to sharpen skills and keep their motivation high with fringe benefits. Authorisation of moonlighting with clear-cut boundaries might even become an employment benefit in the future.

Tashi Baheti, by mail

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Power play Other

Sep 28, 2022

Refer to ‘Gehlot may pick CM post over Congress presidency’, it is evident from the message conveyed by the three ministers of Rajasthan to AICC observers on behalf of the rebel MLAs owing allegiance to Gehlot that they have flexed their muscles for a revolt against the high command. They have put forth conditions for a change of leadership in Rajasthan. Such dramatic power play by Gehlot is height of indiscipline and contravenes his previous assertions that he was willing to play any role assigned by the high command. Any leniency shown by Sonia Gandhi would encourage more rebellion in the party. She should take a firm stand.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Gehlot’s move

Apropos of ‘Rajasthan crisis’, it is apparent that realpolitik is at play. For a grounded and practising politician that Gehlot is, the post of party president can be an added feather to his chief ministerial crown, but it is in no way a bait luring enough to give up the plum post already in possession. The Congress high command should be aware of the limitations of its reach. State leaders are loyal to the party but not at the cost of their own existence. That is stretching loyalty too far. This development once again shows how alienated the top brass of the party is from the ground realities. The presidential elections are going to be a watershed in the Congress’ fortunes.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Deliver prompt justice

Reference to ‘Outrage in Uttarakhand’; such politicians should not be spared and given any vote in the near future. The accused should be punished. A message should go out to all politicians of the country that the law is supreme and equal for everyone. The Modi government should clean up the BJP and those with a criminal background should be shown the door permanently. Prompt justice should be given to the victim so that people can retain their faith in the judicial system of the country.


Uttarakhand murder

Refer to ‘Outrage in Uttarakhand’; Ankita’s murder again points to the issue of women’s safety. The possibility of such incidents in other places can’t be ruled out, but the fact that the son of a BJP leader was involved in the crime has ensured that the matter assumes greater importance. A close scrutiny of hotels and resorts will reveal the extent of the problem. The threat of violence, especially by politically powerful people, against women employees from economically weaker families is deplorable, as is the silence of the police.


Colonial footprints

Apropos of the article ‘ Red herring of colonialism’, doing away with the colonial vestiges in the Indian military would be a skin-deep ritual unless something substantial is done in all other spheres where colonial footprints are still existing. We fought two wars with Pakistan with utmost Indianness and Indian ethos — Jat Regiment with the war cry ‘Jat Balwan, Jai Bhagwan’; Sikh Regiment with ‘Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal’; Gurkha Regiment with ‘Jai Maa Kali, Aayo Gorkhali’, and so on. We emerged victorious and many gallantry awards were awarded to our officers and soldiers. In 1971, we forced the surrender of 90,000 Pakistani soldiers. We need to wipe out colonial imprints from bureaucracy and must do away with the black laws of sedition.

HMS NAGRA, Faridabad

Don’t rush to change

‘Royalty redux at NDA’ brings to mind the wise words of Heraclitus — ‘The only constant in life is change’. One should be ready to accept change as time progresses. However, caution is to be exercised while hastening to unload our past, as the men in the Army fight for the honour of the regiment. The regimental spirit is one of the finest traditions as it fosters camaraderie and brotherhood among people from disparate communities and background in the armed forces. It is a legacy that needs to be nurtured. Any change must be implemented seamlessly inside the existing system to avoid scenarios where our decisions come to haunt us in the future. The defence forces are already a test-bed for the Agniveer experiment. Shedding colonial baggage may disrupt routine functioning.

PS Sodhi, Bengaluru

No need for quotas

There should be no need for quota for SC/ST/OBC categories. Is the general caste more capable than a ‘lower caste’ person for admission or a job? This is discrimination against a general-category person. There should be quality education in villages and small towns if the government wants to provide other castes equal opportunities. In fact, nowadays, the other castes are richer than, or at least as well-off as the general caste.

Neetika Anand, Mohali

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Canada turns blind eye Other

Sep 27, 2022

With regard to ‘Message to Canada’; in the name of ‘liberty and freedom’ accorded to its citizens, the Canadian government has always shown a lukewarm approach to sternly deal with terrorists of Punjabi origin. Khalistan referendum, held at Brampton, and allowed to go on as a normal event is akin to supporting it. The government’s silence and inaction is intriguing. Giving a long rope to terror organisations is a serious matter for any nation. During a visit to Vancouver in 2015, I was shown a gurdwara with a Khalistan flag. There was a life-size portrait of Bhindranwale at a Toronto gurdwara, along with a gallery of portraits of slain terrorists.

BM Singh, Amritsar

NGT ineffective

Refer to ‘Waste mismanagement’; unfortunately, the NGT has not been very effective in monitoring the implementation of its policies, resulting in the discharge of untreated effluents by industries. Generation of solid and liquid waste is going up every year, which is an indicator of development and a strong economy, but large quantities are left unprocessed, increasing the level of greenhouse gases and environment pollution. Recently the government had ordered a ban on the use of single-use plastic, but the war against plastic has been going on for decades. We have the rules, but there is no implementation. The polluters continue to pollute. In order to minimise environmental impact, the NGT needs a much bigger push in speedy disposal of cases relating to waste management. The government should create awareness. Enforcement is the key for the ban to be effective.

Raminder Bhatti, Chandigarh

Quota only for poor

Apropos of ‘No quota for EWS’; only the poor should be helped financially. The SCs and STs have been enjoying quotas without any time frame, even if they are wealthy. In case of OBCs, their hefty annual income from salary or agriculture is not taken into account to exclude them from quota. The non-creamy layer rules are vague and can be circumvented easily. How can people with Rs 8 lakh annual income be called poor and included in the EWS category, when crores of poor people are struggling to make both ends meet? The government should help only the poor to raise their socio-economic status, without any caste or class consideration, for the sake of equality.

CS Mann, Una

Governor’s nod

The decision of the Governor is perplexing and ambiguous (‘Session tomorrow, Guv gives nod’). What prompted the Governor to first refuse and then allow the session? A clarification is needed. A Governor is required to follow the Constitution rather than overriding healthy practices and creating controversies. The AAP got absolute majority. Let it function to complete its full term and fulfil the hopes of people.

Kundan Lal sharma, Mohali

Seatbelt alert

Refer to ‘Draft amendment for rear seatbelt alert’; along with the proposed amendment, an audio and visual warning system directly connected with the nearest traffic control room for issuance of challan as deterrent should be provided when a vehicle overtakes from the wrong side. Physical control of this menace is not feasible. Once operational, two-wheelers would also automatically fall in line. Public awareness regarding the rule of overtaking from the right, even in multiple lanes, is missing. Constant advisory by the traffic police and NH authorities is essential to reduce road accidents. Careless drivers are killers who deserve severe punishment.

Babu Ram Dhiman, Pinjore

Crop failure

Apropos of the news report ‘Yet to be paid for earlier crop failures...’, even as incessant rains for three consecutive days have flattened the paddy crop in Punjab and other parts of the country, harried farmers are crying hoarse over the non-payment of earlier compensation. This is not the first time crops have been extensively damaged due to untimely rains and gusty winds, giving sleepless nights to the farming community. In 2021, rainwater had damaged standing crops in the state. The government should order the immediate release of the financial aid already announced to the farmers on account of the damage caused by the rain. It should also order special girdawari to assess the extent of crop loss and expedite compensation to the farmers, who are already under debt because of back-to-back crop failures owing to natural calamities. The government should adopt a liberal stance when it comes to disbursing the ‘sanctioned’ financial aid so that farmers are not driven to suicide.


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:

Internet ecosystem Other

Sep 26, 2022

Apropos of ‘Draft telecom Bill’, it must be kept in mind that if the OTT services are asked to obtain licences, just as telecoms have to, India’s attraction as a global digital hub may suffer. As for regulating the apps, there are enough laws to deal with them. As such, licensing is not desirable, not because these apps deserve special treatment, but because allowing an Internet ecosystem to flourish is in India’s economic interest. If the draft says that state agencies will have wide powers to intercept messages for national security, will these be different from those already in place? If so, what will happen to personal privacy and what are the guardrails?

MS KHOKHAR, by mail

Khalistan issue dead

Reference to ‘India reacts sharply to Khalistan referendum’; if Sikhs in Canada do not support it, why haven’t they come out against it? This issue erupts every now and then in Canada and the UK. Some areas in those countries have large Sikh presence. Why don’t they demand Khalistan there if they want one? The Khalistan issue in Punjab is long dead and it is pointless raising it. Sikhs hold a place of pride in India. They have held many top positions, like the President of India and IAF Chief. Punjab is a border state with an unfriendly neighbour. If by any quirk of fate, Khalistan does become a reality, it will be run over by Pakistan the very next day. Also, Canada’s attitude on anti-India activities is dismal. It should curb such activities swiftly. At the same time, India seems to have overreacted by issuing an advisory to those travelling to Canada.


Hate crime in Canada

The report ‘Canada unable to check hate crime, says miffed MEA’ is disturbing. It is unfortunate that both countries could not effectively use their diplomatic channels to defuse the situation. Canada’s lukewarm response to India’s legitimate concerns is suspicious and India’s move to issue an advisory appears to be taken in undue haste. Immediate steps are required to be taken by both countries to salvage the situation from deteriorating further.


Water harvesting

Refer to ‘Widespread rain disrupts life in Karnal, Faridabad’; the situation is the worst in Gurugram. But it is not torrential rain and so the drainage system can deal with it, provided the drains were cleaned before the onset of monsoon. The MC has spent Rs 100 crore over three years for cleaning drains and sewer lines and still the problem remains. With this amount, several cleaning machines could have been purchased that would have cleaned drains in one go every year before the rainy season. The best way out is to ensure water harvesting structures in all residential, non-residential buildings, open spaces and parks. This is not difficult. The government only has to pass an order and implement it strictly. All towns will continue to have drainage problems till this happens.

RN Malik, Gurugram

Reckless MLAs

Apropos of ‘Two Jalandhar MLAs court controversy, apologise later’, AAP MLAs Raman Arora and Sheetal Angural are just doing what Arvind Kejriwal did during his initial stunt in politics, facing a number of defamation cases. They must understand that all officers possess degrees and have cleared tests and interviews before joining government service. The Bhagwant Mann government has committed a blunder by transferring DCP Naresh Dogra without a probe.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Understanding, not pact

Refer to ‘approval of Sikh body must’; the SGPC chief refers to the Nehru-Tara Singh pact inked in April 1959, but it was just a meeting between the two, and an understanding that the Akali Dal will look after religion and the Congress politics, because the Akali Dal’s political wing was merged with the Congress in 1956. There was no written agreement. Now when the Supreme Court has decided, the SAD or the SGPC cannot do anything except make public noise.

Baldev Singh, Kapurthala

Food wastage

Recently, my family and I visited Jaipur, where we went to a popular restaurant. A number of items from the local cuisine were served in a thali. Most people are unable to eat all items, resulting in a huge wastage of food. The government should do something about it. We are talking of not wasting even a single grain, but tonnes of cooked food is wasted daily at such eateries.

Rajesh Goyal, by mail

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

Responsible media Other

Sep 24, 2022

Apropos of ‘SC steps in, thankfully’, media often plays in the hands of those who are responsible for governance of the system as per the rulebook. This damages democracy and has long-term consequences. The apex court must uphold the democratic tradition of being the last resort of the common man who needs to be kept at centre stage by the judiciary if something goes amiss in a democratic setup. It has every right to be a precursor to design a just line for both the legislature and executive, if they fail in their duties. Journalism is meant to generate awareness among the public by reporting ethically sans any prejudice. If journalists cannot discharge their duty with integrity, they should opt for other means of livelihood.

Malkiat Singh Aulakh, Ludhiana

Feeding hate

Consistent with its earlier efforts, the apex court’s recent condemnation of the escalating level of hate speeches on TV news channels and the government’s silence is welcome (‘SC steps in, thankfully’). No doubt, provocative debates and discussions help the mainstream electronic media and social media platforms to increase their TRP ratings and politicians to serve their ulterior motives. But these poison our social fabric, lead to communal violence, erode constitutional ideals and hamper national development. In the prevailing political environment, the Centre should enact a law providing for a proper regulatory mechanism to deal with online extremism. The anchors as well as owners should also behave responsibly, maintain professional ethics and ensure that their shows do not devolve into a flurry of hate speech. People and political parties should not give any importance to such sensational content.

DS Kang, Hoshiarpur

Russian mobilisation

With reference to ‘Russia calls for mobilisation’; Putin should understand that his country has lost 50,000 troops. What message does he want to convey to other countries? Russians have a right to live with dignity and the President cannot force them to die when they are not trained militarily. The UN should broker peace between Russia and Ukraine so that the lives of innocent people of both countries can be saved.


Bhagwat’s outreach

Apropos of ‘In outreach bid, Bhagwat visits Delhi mosque’, it is heartening that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visited the chief of the All India Imam Organisation in his office. Those familiar with the traditions of the RSS are aware that it is a routine exercise for them and they have equal respect for all sections of society. Efforts of some vested interests in political parties to launch a false propaganda against the RSS have proved counterproductive. This is evident from the words ‘rashtra pita’ and ‘rashtra rishi’ used for Bhagwat by the chief of the Imam organisation.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

AAP high-handedness

Reference to ‘Jalandhar DCP shifted after spat with legislator over petty issue’; since the AAP came to power in Punjab with a thumping majority, there have been instances of highhandedness and misbehaviour of its workers and lawmakers with officials on duty. Earlier, a renowned surgeon and head of a government medical college had to resign after he was ill-treated by the health minister. Now, a DCP has been manhandled and made to sit on the floor during a spat with an AAP MLA over a petty issue, resulting in the transfer of the ‘erring’ officer. Such incidents will only tarnish the image of the party.

Ashok Kumar, by mail

Colonial footprints

The Central government is obsessed with deleting colonial footprints by changing the names of roads, etc. In fact, the entire ‘steel frame’ is British legacy. Any employment under the government — civil or military — has a colonial context. It makes no sense to tinker with the legacy just because someone in power is ambitious enough to leave his footprints, thinking that it would make him immortal.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar

UNSC seat

India’s population, territorial size, GDP, economic potential, political system, past and ongoing contributions to UN activities make India’s demand for a permanent seat in the UNSC completely rational. India has been the third-largest contribution in peacekeeping mechanisms. But there is huge powerplay in the UNSC. International security relations are ruled by an elite class of certain countries and deep polarisation within the members delays the decision. It is necessary to make the council more democratic so that the principles of peace, security and order are respected universally.

Tashi Baheti, by mail

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

Military traditions Other

Sep 23, 2022

Apropos of ‘Colonial burden’, the editorial seems to follow the government line on the issue of colonial military traditions which are a testimonial to our glorious victories. Of late, the government, as a matter of routine, is changing the names of cities, railway stations, airports and even roads, in the name of weeding out traces of our colonial past. Now, the MoD has been asked to review not only military traditions, but also uniform and names of regiments that are a non-issue as far as the military’s functional capabilities are concerned. The names of fighting units like Sikhs, Rajputs and Marathas instil pride among the troops. Identity is an important factor in cohesiveness and the fighting spirit of the troops. As far as uniform is concerned, it was introduced keeping in view personal ease and requirement of the prevailing weather conditions in the country. The government is trying to divert the nation’s attention from the real and significant issues.


Communal tension

Refer to ‘Leicester violence’; the unrest which erupted was the culmination of several weeks of growing tension between Hindu and Muslim communities in the English city. The authorities are now trying to find out whether the recent cricket match between India and Pakistan in Dubai inflamed existing tensions or served as an opportunity for outside elements to stoke a fire. Going by the wave of communal riots fast tearing apart an otherwise peaceful hotpot of cultures, Leicester, anything is possible when rioters run amok. Community Hindu, Muslim and Sikh leaders need to work together to prevent the poison of communalism from further infecting the diaspora.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Governor’s snub

Reference to ‘Guv withdraws assent for special Assembly session’, the decision of the Governor, though debatable, is a timely snub to the AAP government which was apparently indulging in theatrics over the alleged issue of poaching attempt with regard to its MLAs in Punjab. The tug of war is not amiss between the BJP and the AAP in view of the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The allegations demand due investigation and legal action, and not calling of a special Assembly session. The AAP government should have confidence in the ideological integrity of its legislators and concentrate on fulfilling its promises to the people of Punjab. The government needs to act and react responsibly by remaining on the right side of the Constitution and avoid courting unnecessary confrontation with the Governor.


Needless exercise

Refer to ‘Guv withdraws assent for special Assembly session’; it is a step in the right direction. Kudos to the Governor for breaking the myth that a Governor is a rubber stamp and simply follows Cabinet decisions. The special session can only be summoned under special circumstances concerning people’s interests. Neither an opposition party nor the Governor has asked for a floor test. With 92 MLAs in tow, there is no justification in calling for a special session to prove majority in a House of 117 MLAs. The august House is not the right place to fight political wars. The Governor has maintained the constitutional dignity and saved taxpayers’ money. It would have been a needless exercise.

Anil vinayak, Amritsar

Legacy of laughter

Reference to the obit ‘Gajodhar bhaiya leaves the legacy of laughter’; Raju Srivastava’s success in Mumbai’s mayanagari was not only a common man’s success, but also the quintessential humour of the vernacular. The imagination and ability to bring life to the mundane and inanimate things in a comedy made him stand out. His style was remarkable and his comedy was based on the life of the common man.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Family entertainer

The demise of celebrated mimicry artiste Raju Srivastava has left millions of his admirers heartbroken. Known for his clean comedy, Raju was a family entertainer for almost three decades. Unlike present-day comedians, he never used double-meaning words/dialogues. His acts were mostly based on real-life situations and were enjoyed by one and all, irrespective of the age group. They delivered a message of positivity. The void created by his death in the world of entertainment is too huge to be filled. His style was unique and inimitable. He will be missed by his fans.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

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Unethical tool Other

Sep 22, 2022

In reference to ‘CBI overreach’, Central agencies like the CBI, NIA and ED work under the control of the government. Their heads are appointed selectively, as claimed by the Opposition. If the government uses them to gag the media and opposition parties, it might set a wrong tradition and prove to be Frankenstein. Deliberate tactics and unethical tools are being used to achieve certain objectives, which should be avoided. If any of the four pillars of democracy is weakened, democracy will lose its true spirit.

Dilwar Ali Meerak, TOHANA

On death row

Refer to ‘Death penalty’; in India, death row prisoners are executed for ‘rarest of rare’ crimes like Delhi’s Nirbhaya gangrape, even though trial courts hand out many more death penalties. The Supreme Court’s decision to entrust to a Constitution Bench the job of evolving a uniform norm for hearing arguments on the finality of death penalty is a welcome intervention. With the Criminal Procedure Code not detailed on sentence hearing, the SC guidance will help trial court judges. But the apex court must ensure that its guidelines are not ignored by the trial courts. For example, despite the SC reading down sedition decades ago, many lower courts refused to grant bail to the accused, even if the charges were absurd.

SK Panesar, by mail

Cyber safety

The recent incident of a leaked MMS video at Chandigarh University has again brought us face to face with the challenges of living in the cyber world. With cameras that can be hidden in the head of a screw, privacy is becoming a big challenge, especially in public toilets, changing rooms, hostels, PG accommodations, hotel rooms, etc. There are websites that are ready to buy such photos and videos. Being aware and cautious can reduce these incidents. Before using public utilities, it is important to check that the place is secure and look around for any hidden devices. At societal level, there should be a third-party audit of such utilities to ensure compliance to safety. A beginning should be made in this direction.

Parveen K Bangotra, by mail

In guise of religion

Refer to ‘Bilkis and Joseph’; Indian forces can win battles against dreaded enemies, but the masses have been losing street battles against criminals committing crimes in the guise of religion. Religion is not a problem, but criminality in the name of religion has been a burning issue which can only be resolved with an iron hand. Justice must be delivered and law of the land must prevail to build faith among people.


Congress yatra

Whatever cynics say, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is an audacious political-ideological initiative that has elicited a huge response from intellectuals, civil society groups and the common people (‘It’s more than a walk’). Despite Congress claims to the contrary, this campaign is aimed at brightening the party’s electoral prospects. The beleaguered party attempts to raise national consciousness about the core issues of economy, social and religious polarisation, political centralisation and increasing authoritarianism of the ruling dispensation. Also, the party hopes to shrug off its baggage of anti-democratic and dynastic credentials, regain public trust and boost its image. How successfully the party takes on the might of the BJP at the national level in 2024, only time will tell.

DS Kang, Hoshiarpur

Legalised bribes

Come elections, politicians dole out freebies and impractical promises to enrich their votebank. The AAP has been at the forefront of this trend. After Punjab, the next in line are Himachal Pradesh, with a debt of around Rs 63,000 crore, and Gujarat, which, according to CAG, has to repay Rs 1.87 lakh crore by 2028 to bear the extra burden of freebies being generously disbursed by the so-called custodians to the common public. It is nothing but ‘legalised’ bribe. This dangerous trend of influencing results by blatantly misusing public funds can be stopped only if prospective leaders are directed to pay for the freebies from their own accounts, and not from the exchequer.

Upant Sharma, Panchkula

‘Colonial baggage’

Apropos of ‘Army to shed colonial baggage...’, the Army has proved its might in many post-Independence wars and skirmishes in spite of the so-called colonial baggage. More than anything else, a soldier fights for ‘Naam, Namak and Nishan’. Doing away with unit names and regiment-specific accoutrements like lanyard, etc., shall amount to removing ‘Naam’ and ‘Nishan’, which have been a great motivational factor, both during peace and war. Views of veterans and detailed discussions on the subject are a must before taking any final decision on the matter.

Lt Col Harbinder Dullat (Retd), Patiala

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Counsel students Other

Sep 21, 2022

Refer to ‘Student rage’; it is indeed a matter of concern that objectionable videos are being made and circulated on social media causing irreparable damage to the victims, both socially as well as emotionally. What is even more alarming is the fact that youngsters are not even aware of the dreadful consequences of their thoughtless actions. Stringent measures need to be taken by institutions and the authorities concerned to generate awareness among youngsters. Counsellors must cater to the victims and enable them to overcome the stigma of such incidents and stay emotionally and mentally strong. Orientation sessions should be organised for students to help them perceive the possible cyber threats as well as their remedies so that such incidents do not take place in future.

Sumita Kanwar, Yamunanagar

Prize in itself

Apropos of ‘It’s time we aim for a Nobel in medicine’, aiming for an award will not take you anywhere, but hard work may get you the prize. Awards are an acknowledgment of success and come with name, fame, money and power. They cannot be the goal for your work. Often, the Peace prize is given not for genuine efforts to bring about world peace, but to suit political aims of powerful countries. When the world was reeling under Covid, India, with a huge population and poor infrastructure, was able to research, manufacture and vaccinate people, and also keep a digital record in a flawless manner. This is a huge success story in itself and its outcome is better than any prize.


Capital punishment

Provision for capital punishment is necessary as a deterrent to heinous crimes (‘Death penalty: Constitution Bench to frame rules on mitigating circumstances’). It is surprising that neither the apex court hitherto raised the issue of statutory definition of ‘rarest of rare’ nor the Union Law Ministry cared to formulate it. The need for the same is being felt now by the Supreme Court. The court has dealt with heinous cases on the basis of available facts and circumstances, and relevant statutory provisions should be in place for ready reference.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

Not a deterrent

Reference to ‘Death penalty: Constitution Bench to frame rules on mitigating circumstances’; over 170 nations have abolished the death penalty, but India continues to award it in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases. It is not a deterrent and does not prevent barbaric crimes. It should be replaced with life term, till a person breathes his last. Society, reformers and legal luminaries should reconsider measures which nip horrific criminal acts in the bud.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Amarinder joins BJP

Having run out of options, Capt Amarinder Singh could have ideally chosen to bid goodbye to political life. However, Indian politicians are not known to voluntarily give up the perks and advantages of politics. Therefore, he has aligned with the BJP and must now wait for the crumbs the party has to offer. Amarinder Singh is a spent force in Punjab and not likely to offer the BJP much value. The most he can expect is a gubernatorial post, most likely in a Congress-ruled state.


Farmer suicide

Apropos of ‘Under Rs 9L debt, farmer ends life’, majority of such victims are small and marginal farmers or agricultural labourers. This is because of the liberal loan facility to farmers. Perhaps no big farmer has committed suicide due to loan default. Banks are under pressure for loaning as they have to achieve targets for maintaining the credit and deposit ratio. The government should fix a limit of loan amount so that the money is utilised only for agricultural purposes.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Congress deserters

Congress leaders are deserting the party in droves and it seems that the party will meet its Waterloo sooner than anticipated (‘8 of 11 Cong MLAs join BJP in Goa’). Most of the top leaders have left the party as they felt ignored and sidelined. The top brass has failed to take a decision over a full-fledged president. The Gandhi family is determined to keep the reins of the party in their hands at any cost. Inept and inefficient leadership is causing havoc to the party which is fast losing contact with the masses. Despite the repeated drubbings, the arrogant leadership is refusing to learn a lesson. With its strong setup, the BJP is firing on all cylinders, making the Congress lose its ground. For selfish reasons, the Congress is being sacrificed to be lost in oblivion.


A word of advice Other

Sep 20, 2022

Refer to the editorial ‘PM’s homily to Putin’; PM Narendra Modi’s calculated advice to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “today’s era is not of war”, appears to have received widespread appreciation across the world. Even Putin appears to have responded by saying that Russia is aware of the Indian stand on war and peace, which is encouraging. India’s ability to contribute to peace and prosperity in Eurasia is entirely dependent on overcoming the lack of direct connectivity to the region. India must devote full attention to its SCO presidency to push through new connectivity initiatives with Eurasia.

SS Paul, Nadia

True statesman

Refer to ‘PM’s homily to Putin’; during the bilateral talks on the sidelines of the SCO summit at Samarkand, PM Narendra Modi told the Russian President that today’s era was not of war. Nevertheless, he valued the unbreakable friendship with Russia as well. In this era of globalisation and interdependence on one another, by emphasising the process of dialogue to solve the problems, he has displayed remarkable statesmanship. We are proud to have such a visionary leader as our PM.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Punish the corrupt

Apropos of ‘Paddy purchase scam’, corruption is ‘Corporation of cooperative nexus’ between politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen. If the top is cleansed, which though is an uphill task, the lower levels will automatically line up for righteousness out of fear. When President Xi Jinping took over the reign of China, he sent one lakh corrupt people to jail. There is no corruption in the UAE because of harsher punishments. The AAP’s claim to eradicate corruption with sledgehammer has some evidence as Punjab CM Bhagwant Singh Mann sent his own Health Minister to jail on corruption charges. The paddy purchase scam, prima facie, looks to be a saturated and solid case of corruption involving the top brass.

BM Singh, Amritsar

Promise betrayed

Reference to ‘No complete pullback for now’; history has been witness to the fact that the People’s Republic of China has always played wise to de-escalation or demilitarisation. The administration has, ever since its foundation, adopted the maxim of ‘Yes means no, and no doesn’t mean anything’. This is similar to the Korean War of 1950 when 1.5 million Chinese troops invaded the Korean Peninsula when the Americans, British and the Indians least expected them to do so. Even our military is now accustomed to these ‘surprises’, taking into reference the Kargil War of 1999. It is imperative that the Indian Government does not take this betrayal of promise lightly and deal diplomatically with it so as to prevent another Kargil.

Aditya PS Phogat, Faridabad

CU row an eye-opener

The objectionable video leak row at Chandigarh University has sparked indignation. What needs to be probed is that how it was possible to film such videos inside the hostel? Obviously, there was a scope for such a mischief on the university campus and why didn’t the university take pre-emptive action. There has to be a larger angle to the scandal. The material could be used to blackmail the victims. The episode should serve as an eye-opener for one and all.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Misleading name

Reference to ‘Protests erupt at CU over objectionable videos’; it is time to draw attention to the misleading name of Chandigarh University, which has nothing to do with Chandigarh, but has been named so with a mala fide intention to trap gullible students from other states who mistake it for Panjab University situated in Chandigarh. This confusion and ensuing hassles for students are exploitative. Panjab University could do nothing to get the name changed except putting a disclaimer on its own website, as CU was established by an Act of the Punjab State Legislature. There should be a public movement to stop the CU management from using this name as it is not only cheating hundreds of students, but also creating a dent on the perception of Panjab University and the city of Chandigarh.

Jayanti Dutta, Chandigarh

Respect for other’s religions

Referring to report ‘Kept in gurdwara for 75 years, Quran handed over to mosque’; it should be taken as a lesson by all those who practice religious bigotry. No religion preaches hatred towards other’s religious beliefs. After the Babri Masjid demolition and resulting riots, another ‘masjid over mandir’ issue is threatening our religious harmony. Resolution of all these religious disputes is possible only if it is left to the sane people of both communities. Taking sensitive religious matters to courts by petitioners of religious bigots from both sides should be avoided as it will keep the issue hanging fire for decades.

Prakash Hanspaul, by mail

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Sentinels of society Other

Sep 19, 2022

Apropos of ‘Bilkis and Joseph’ (Nous Indica), the poser — Are we doing right by them? — is a challenge to the sentinels of the moral-social fabric to rise to the occasion and not only neutralise radical action and reaction but also make the delivery of justice impervious to crafty tactics. After capital punishment was limited to ‘rarest of the rare’ cases, life imprisonment (with or without the stipulation ‘till death’) remained the only stringent deterrent to heinous crimes. Sadly, vote-bank manoeuvres and procedural wrangles take the sting out of it, to the detriment of many a hapless Bilkis Bano and TJ Joseph. The apex court is obliged to be a proactive custodian of the law in letter and spirit, and that too tangibly and quickly.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Religious bias

Bilkis Bano’s horrible tale has put all sane and civilised people to the test (‘Bilkis and Joseph’; Nous Indica). We have to rise above our ideological angularities if we claim to be sensible and civilised. Murderers and rapists being honoured in full public view is grotesque and disturbing. It was shocking to see people garlanding them and touching their feet. Whether we claim to be rightists or leftists, we should not be so blinded by religious zeal that we support individuals involved in heinous crimes. Criminals are neither Muslims nor Hindus. They are a serious threat to any civilised society and social order.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad

‘GOAT’ of tennis

Apropos of ‘End of the Federer era’, though Federer has officially announced his retirement, the Swiss star is always going to be in conversation. With 20 Grand Slam titles to his name, few can boast of a better profile than Federer, who will be greatly missed when he leaves the court. He has been the ‘GOAT’ of tennis. His life away from the court has been exemplary, too, with no controversies. His genius can be measured by the fact that greats from other sports, like Tiger Woods and Sachin Tendulkar, loved to watch his matches, calling him a true legend. Federer once described Rafael Nadal as his greatest rival and friend, showing that there can be respect between fierce competitors.

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

Jungle raj prevails

Refer to the editorial ‘Dalit sisters’ rape-murder’; it belies the claims by CM Yogi Adityanath that the era of jungle raj marked by heinous crimes prevailing in previous regimes is over now. People have not forgotten the horrific Hathras gangrape case. A similar crime has taken place at Lakhimpur Kheri. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the highest number of rape cases among states are pending in UP courts. That the state administration is biased against Muslims is brought out by the fact that the rapists — being Muslims — were arrested with alacrity, but in the Hathras case, efforts were made to hush up the case. Discriminatory approach in dispensing justice is not right.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

No real ideology

Reference to the ‘Captain Amarinder Singh to join BJP’; it is shocking that the veteran leader is going to join a party against whom he had been spewing venom for decades. A leader of his stature and repute should have gracefully accepted the decision of the party which made him CM twice and waited for the right time to bounce back. Defection proves that no one believes in the ideology they profess. They are in politics only for their personal interest. Where are the leaders who perished for ideology? One admires former Congress minister Ashwani Kumar for not joining any party after quitting the Congress.

Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Deceiving public

How stunning and disgusting it is to read the news report ‘More trouble for Ashu...’! Have we become accustomed to such loot by the custodians of the state? They commit open loot, get arrested, are bailed out, and eventually get released. They go scot-free and get garlanded, as if they have returned after winning an Olympic medal, or as war heroes! Is this the only ‘punishment’? How long will the public continue to be deceived and looted like this?

SP Sharma, Bathinda

Scrap freebies

Reference to the freebies strain on Punjab’s economy; this policy of political parties is going to make the nation weak. A person owning a car, a house, sleeping in AC’s comfort, children settled abroad, is given free electricity, ration at home, a blue card, free bus travel and Rs 1,000 monthly allowance. This concept is not viable and will ruin the economy and hinder development. It is better to improve the education system, health services and provide basic civic amenities.

Col GS Bhullar (retd), Jalandhar

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Opposition unity Other

Sep 17, 2022

Refer to ‘The Oppn’s dark horse’; the writer lays bare the ambitions of many hopefuls like Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar. No Opposition unity is possible unless there is a consensus on the Prime Ministerial candidate. The 2024 election is still far. PM Modi has many admirers and vast support of people. Do we have an Opposition leader to match his stature? It will be difficult to dislodge him even if the Opposition unites. One does hope that the opposition parties put up a good fight and get enough seats to act as a strong Opposition, which will be good for the country and the democracy.


Deportation of youths

Reference to ‘40 Punjabi youths face deportation’; it is a matter of shame that Canada has decided to deport 40 youths to Punjab for misbehaving with the police. This is not a first such incident. Several incidents of Punjabi students creating ruckus on roads and in parties have been reported. Canada is not like India where you can go scotfree after damaging public property or disrespecting the law. Parents of students take loans on higher rates to send their children abroad for a better future. Due to a few students, the whole community faces humiliation and hatred. Those aspiring to settle in Canada must learn from this incident.


AAP’s publicity drive

The AAP government in Punjab has inserted full-page advertisements in various national and vernacular newspapers highlighting its achievements of six months. It is a sheer wastage of taxpayers’ money to get publicity not just confined to Punjab, but as far as Gujarat and the Andamans. The state is reeling under a burgeoning debt burden and has been unable to even square off the salary bill of employees. Such misuse of the state’s meagre resources should be stopped. The money should be utilised for the servicing of the debt portfolio and urgent development works. The Comptroller General should take cognisance and restrain the DIPR from using treasury for publicity purposes.

Anil vinayak, Amritsar

Burden of freebies

Apropos of ‘Freebies strain Punjab’s financial resources’; promising freebies by political parties nullifies election regulations as the parties overstep the prescribed election expenditure using public money instead of their respective party funds. Promising the moon if they come to power, and leaving it to the public to test its efficacy is a mockery of democracy. When a party announces, say, that it will waive farmers’ debt, it is a violation of banking regulations. The Election Commission has left it to the public to judge. How can it be left to prospective beneficiaries? The commission and judiciary should intervene.

Gaurav Badhwar, Rohtak

Hijab row

The best way out for the apex court is to refer the matter to its Constitution Bench for a final verdict on the issue (‘We aren’t interpreters of Quran: SC on hijab row’). Muslim women wear hijab for privacy. Hitherto, the issue of wearing hijab in educational institutions was never raised. How come the need to ban it has suddenly arisen? The issue is nothing but a result of Hindu-Muslim rivalry. If hijab is considered risky from the security point of view, questions could be raised about ‘ghunghat’ as well. Sentiments of all religions should be respected for maintaining communal harmony.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

Quota crutch

Refer to ‘Hattee community of HP gets ST status’; it brings to an end the 20-year struggle of this community living in the remotest corner of Himachal. Reservation to SC/ST have been continuing since 1950s. Has this brought a tangible change in the quality of their life? Only politicians of every hue have reaped electoral harvest in elections. Just for this reason, they are continuing with this lopsided policy. The right thing would be to provide these communities with good education and financial help in academics. After this, they should be left to compete in whatever field they wish to pursue. Otherwise, they will always bear a life-long stigma of ‘reserved category’, even if most of them may prove to be competent. The quota crutch should be done away with.

LR Sharma, Sundernagar

Federer bids adieu

The tennis world has suffered a blow after Roger Federer, an icon who transcended the sport, announced his retirement. While it is a sad development, there is much to celebrate about his career. He built a stunning tennis profile with eight Wimbledon titles, 20 Grand Slam singles titles and not having retired mid-match in over 1,500 career matches. His constant quest for improvement took him to insurmountable heights. His demeanour, humility and elegance made him popular. He is also known for philanthropic activities.

Aaditya Singh, Karnal

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Chinese designs Other

Sep 16, 2022

Apropos of ‘Ladakh disengagement’, China is in the expansion mode and it will be an uphill task to handle it. It does not care for global opinion and its huge border build-up is a serious matter. All border disputes need to be resolved politically, and not militarily. India should continue to strive for peace, but at the same time, be ready for any eventuality, as China wants to stall our progress. Why India is going in for trade with a hostile state, with more imports and less exports, is not clear.


Hospital management

Apropos of ‘Fatal second wave errors’, we must be prepared for any such eventuality in future. It is a lesson in hospital management and governance. There is need to fix accountability for the chaos that ensued during the second wave. Shortage of oxygen and hospital beds caused a large number of deaths. There is a need to establish mandatory provisions for any health emergency. Mismanagement and lack of timely assistance also took their toll. Emergency protocols should be in place to prevent such chaos.

Guneet Kaur, Yamunanagar

Anti-cancer drugs

Four new anti-cancer drugs have been added to the National List of Essential Medicines, making several antibiotics and vaccines cheaper and more affordable to the public. It is a good initiative by the government, considering the increase in the number of cancer patients in the country. Let us hope that the government expedites the process to make these medicines available at the ground for the needy as soon as possible.

Rohan Chandra, Zirakpur

Rethink punishment

Reference to the article ‘Construct more prisons to prevent overcrowding’; while new prison construction and adding to capacity is essential to improve prison conditions, expanding the capacity of prisons is not a viable and long-term solution to reduce overcrowding. The world over, new prisons get filled as soon as they are constructed. It requires both front and back-end solutions. Reducing incarceration through the use of alternatives to imprisonment is a better solution, both in terms of crime control and offender management. There is a strong need to reform policies and laws. The arrest rate in India continues to be high, despite Sec 41 A, IPC, which calls for an appearance order. This can be used for matrimonial and property disputes and other minor offences. The process of arrest and custody itself becomes the punishment. Alternatives to imprisonment, like probation, are not used much. Community sentence is yet to be introduced as a sentencing option. It is time to rethink punishment and put in better sentencing strategies.

Upneet Lalli, by mail

Aadhaar-PAN link

It is a good thing that more than 131 crore Aadhaar cards have been issued in the country, but till now, only about 44 crore PAN holders have linked their PAN card with Aadhaar, which is disappointing. Income Tax Department figures show that till September 11, 2022, only over 6 crore ITRs have been filed. The government should make it mandatory for all adult Aadhaar card holders to file their income and expenditure details in a simple ITR form.

Shakti Singh, Karnal

Hasina’s visit

Reference to ‘Hand in hand with Dhaka’; India should request Bangladesh to provide a direct railway corridor to connect India’s domestic logistics supply to Mizoram through Bangladesh. Indian industry should increase FDI inflows to Bangladesh. The agreement will be an asset to both countries economically. Collaboration in the IT system used by the Railways for goods that are carried from Bangladesh to India will also be helpful. The treaty on river waters will boost economic and infrastructural growth by resolving differences. India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural and social. We should further deepen the ties.

Tithi Trivedi, Ujjain

Make poll-promise binding

Come election, it is a common practice for political parties to blame and counter-blame one another, and highlight achievements through every form of media, which otherwise remains dormant. The money spent on this could be utilised for better purposes and public welfare. It is unfortunate that no party has a concrete programme in their manifesto that depicts commitment towards strengthening the unity of the nation. A pre-election commitment should be made a legal document to keep a check on the parties from misleading the general public.

RS Kishtwaria, Palampur

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Healthcare funds Other

Sep 15, 2022

IN reference to ‘India’s healthcare spending’, the healthcare sector needs attention in the current socio-economic scenario of rural India. State governments have been providing healthcare services according to their resources, but it is a matter of concern that fund allocation has been decreasing. Big private hospitals are out of the reach of the common man. Primary health centres in rural areas lack sufficient staff. The Centre has started many schemes for the lower strata of society without achieving the desired objectives. Every citizen should be covered under health insurance by creating a mechanism with suitable funds in the budget. Every employee, whether in the private or public sector, should contribute towards mandatory insurance. Rest of the citizens may be covered by the government. Private hospitals should not be allowed to charge very high fees. At the same time, funds and infrastructure equipped with doctors, ANMs and staff should be managed on priority to check the erosion of health services.

Dilwar Ali Meerak, TOHANA

Poor bill of health

Refer to ‘India’s healthcare spending’; though the government has opened PHCs and CHCs, the service in villages is far from satisfactory. At some health centres, there are no doctors. At other centres, where a doctor is available, he has to look after two or three centres at different locations on rotation. Also, there are no diagnostic facilities there. In the name of treatment, some paramedics can be seen dispensing medicines to patients as per their limited knowledge. Serious patients have to rush to hospitals in cities and many die on the way.

CS Mann, Una

Medical education

The medical education network has come a long way in terms of quantity. Currently, there are nearly 600 medical colleges or institutions where MBBS courses are being conducted, producing about 92,000 doctors a year. In addition, hundreds of aspirants go abroad for medical studies. But we should not lose focus on the quality of the courses otherwise it may lead to a huge numbers of qualified doctors with no jobs. At the same time, seats in specialisation courses must be enhanced so that specialists are available in all branches of medical education.

Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra

Cheaper drugs

It is heartening that the Centre has awakened to the sky-rocketing prices of some essential medicines used in routine, especially in the treatment of malignancies (‘Cancer drugs to get cheaper’). Certain other drugs, like zolgensma injection used in spinal muscular atrophy, are also very expensive and beyond the reach of even the rich. A single shot of this injection costs nearly Rs 16 crore. The government should offer highly expensive medicines free of cost, at least to the poor and middle-class people.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

No price relief

In response to the article ‘Fuelling the oil war’, the global crude prices are down, but there is no relief for the common man. Due to geopolitical reasons, there has been a continuous drop in crude prices for months, but the government has not taken any steps to give relief to the masses. There has been no revision in retail petrol and diesel prices. The basket of crude oil that India imports averaged $88 per barrel on September 8. It averaged $102 in April before rising to $116 in June 2022. Consequent to this fall in price, and filling of the coffers of the government — at the cost of the masses — the government should share the savings with the public.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Another jolt for AAP

Apropos of ‘Just two months into Cabinet, leaked audio puts Sarari in fix’, it is evident that the AAP did not learn any lesson from a rap by Anna Hazare after the liquor scam surfaced in Delhi. Perhaps ministers in the Bhagwant Mann Cabinet are not sure about their continuance for long. Therefore, they are trying to make a quick buck. After the recent sacking of the state health minister, Fauja Singh Sarari is now embroiled in a controversy.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Furniture scam

Reference to ‘Rs 13-cr furniture scam rocks health dept, top officials under scanner’; it is unfortunate that the ghost of corruption continues to haunt the Bhagwant Mann Cabinet during its short period of existence. First, it was health minister Vijay Singla who was sacked for corruption. Now Sarari is facing charges. After the mask and sanitiser scam, this Rs 13-crore scam related to the procurement of hospital furniture has surfaced. In spite of the tall claims of clean administration, members of the Mann government are indulging in corrupt practices.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

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Hate won’t get us far Other

Sep 14, 2022

Reference to ‘Gyanvapi suit maintainable...’; unfortunately, such headlines may be a frequent affair in future. There would be winners or losers in such litigation, but our society, and eventually our nation, will be the biggest loser. We were taught in schools that ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. Do they still teach it in schools? Self-styled champions of religion, castes or sub-castes work non-stop to divide us. No true Indian can ignore the harsh reality that a divided and hate-filled society cannot make a strong nation, or a strong army, a strong leader notwithstanding. How can we ignore the fact that we have two hostile neighbours?

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Gyanvapi row

It seems that the Varanasi district court’s decision on the right to worship at the Gyanvapi Masjid will lead to another long-drawn-out battle, like the Babri Masjid case. No religion propagates war, but many wars have been fought over religion. All Indians have a right to practice their chosen religion. But of late, whenever any signs of a temple are found under a masjid, a war of words among religious radicals is started, which is then exploited by politicians. These matters are taken to courts by petitioners from both religions, and the cases linger on for long. Both communities must learn to live and worship in harmony. In any masjid, where the remains of a temple are found, both communities should be allowed to worship in separate areas, but on the same premises. In Punjab, there are many such instances where both mandirs and masjids have co-existed with gurdwaras.

SK SINGH, by mail

Weight of history

The expression ‘feeling the weight of history’ fits in the prevalent communal situation in our country. It was perhaps to get rid of this cumbersome weight that the Places of Worship Act was enacted, with the hope that there would be no further polarisation of society on religious grounds. But, sadly, we don’t believe in creating history anew keeping in view the dawn of democracy, secularism, and a new value system based on the all-inclusive Constitution, free from the shackles of our nightmarish past. It is time we woke up in an enlightened dawn forgetting the bitter memories.

Amritlal Madan, Kaithal

UNSC permanent seat

Apropos of ‘EAM: India deserves permanent UNSC seat’, it doesn’t behove India to solicit support for permanent membership of the Security Council from various countries, least of all from dictatorial regimes sponsoring internecine wars in various parts of the world. India deserves a seat on its own merit and heft. Let the world offer it to India. In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in Syria and Yemen, the Security Council in its present form has lost its moorings. It has failed in its mission to maintain peace and security in the world. It is crying for reforms. Veto power must go and expansion with more permanent members should take place immediately. India needs to concentrate on strengthening its democracy and economy. That alone will win it a permanent seat.

Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali

Bose’s secularism

Subhas Chandra Bose’s idea to liberate India was different from Gandhi’s, he was an ardent supporter of Gandhi’s secular views. He knew that India had a compound structure of different communities, cultures, and languages. He gave the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs equal respect in his Azad Hind Fauj. He also supported Gandhi in the freedom movement. So, we all should root for secularism and seek communal harmony. Only as a united nation do we stand strong.

SP Singh, Ferozepur Cantt

CBI overburdened

The Delhi Lt Governor has accorded his approval for CBI probe into ‘irregularities’ in the purchase of DTC buses. It is surprising that the premier investigating agency — primarily constituted to investigate multi-state organised crimes and international cases of complex nature — has been told to examine a simple case of purchase of buses. Merely an audit by any reputed firm or government agency could bring out any irregularities. Roping in the CBI, which is already overburdened, is not understandable.

VK Anand, Chandigarh

Free for lawmakers

It is a fact that the Shatabdi train fare remains high, but various onboard facilities, including concession to senior citizens, stand withdrawn by the Railways terming them as non-feasible. How come that our lawmakers still continue to enjoy ‘free’ train journey for themselves and their spouse, etc? Why is the ‘feasibility’ norm not applied to their case too?

Kumar Gupt, by mail

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

Food inflation Other

Sep 13, 2022

Reference to the editorial ‘Securing supplies’, not long ago, the PM had claimed that India could feed the world. But there has been a dramatic U-turn within a few weeks, with the government either disincentivising or banning the export of agricultural produce like broken rice. The threat of food shortage looms large, and therefore, the government is desperately trying to keep food prices under control. Food inflation is hitting the common man and nutritional intake has gone down considerably. It would be impossible for the government to ride out any more food inflation without hurting its electoral prospects.


Preparing for trek

Apropos of ‘Trekking tragedies’, some important things need to be kept in mind while trekking. First of all, get a medical test done to see whether you are medically fit to go for a trek. Prepare yourself mentally as well as physically. Before leaving, make sure that you have all the things related to trekking, which can be useful and a life-saver. The forest and tourism departments also need to work with increased diligence in this direction.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Nitish’s unity proposal

Refer to ‘Why Nitish is emerging as Opposition spearhead’; Nitish is right in saying that the ruling party can be diminished to a size of 50, for at the end of the day, acquiring power is a number game. The Opposition loses because of fragmentation of votes as it doesn’t put up a united front. Even if two-three parties do not agree to stand behind Nitish, the unity proposal is worth trying. The people have tried the BJP. Nothing remarkable has happened — just a rattled economy in the aftermath of demonetisation, flawed GST implementation, inflation, unemployment and a polarised society. The masses do not have interest in changes like Kartavya Path that do not ameliorate their economic lot. Nitish sparks hope for a change.

HMS NAGRA, Faridabad

Core banking a must

Refer to ‘A warning on loose talk about bank privatisation’; since a large number of social welfare beneficiaries have accounts in PSBs, a knee-jerk privatisation would create a void. The common man would suffer as social objectives would be jeopardised. Doling out benefits to the people takes precedence over GDP growth when it comes to elections. Instead of large-scale privatisation of PSBs, a separate bank should be set up by the government to achieve ‘important social objectives of financial inclusion and monetary transmission’, as stated vide the RBI research paper. It would come as a relief for PSBs which are reeling under severe pressure due to a large number of accounts of beneficiaries, thereby obstructing core banking. Without such constraints, the PSBs may outperform private sector banks. In times of slump, only PSBs have come to the rescue of people.

GS ANAND, Panchkula

Check on drug sale

‘Unapproved antibiotics’ has touched the gravity of the situation. It is strange that 47 per cent of antibiotics were consumed by patients in private hospitals. Apart from these hospitals, there is no check on chemists selling unapproved antibiotics and without prescription. A proper surveillance system to monitor antibiotic usage should be evolved. The drug regulator should adopt a strict system to check spurious production and sale of antibiotics and other medicines.


Quite a flop show

Refer to ‘Bollywood on the flop track’ (The Sunday Tribune); these days, a star-studded cast does not guarantee the success of a film. The audience is looking for good content. People are also less willing to spend on the ‘theatre experience’, having realised that they can watch many movies for the price of one ticket on OTT. Consuming movies fresh out of the oven, so to say, isn’t necessary.

Tushar Kohli, Mohali

Shatabdi charm missing

I recently travelled by Shatabdi from Delhi to Chandigarh and back. The normal fare is Rs 470 for chair car, but due to the flexifare system, I had to pay Rs 700. If you get a seat booked after 90 per cent occupation of seats, you have to pay 50 per cent extra. The total charges were Rs 920, including Rs 185 for dinner and Rs 35 GST. During the morning journey, serving tea at the start has been withdrawn. Jam, too, is not served in breakfast. Tea and snacks at the start of the evening journey stand withdrawn. Soup is not served before dinner. The ice cream was smelling of a high dose of preservatives. Also, The toilets were stinking. And, fare concession for senior citizens has not been restored. The charm of travelling by the Shatabdi was missing and passengers were feeling cheated. It seems as if the Railways is facing huge losses, due to which normal facilities have been withdrawn. The only good feature was that the train was running on time.

RN Malik, Gurugram

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American largesse Other

Sep 12, 2022

Reference to ‘F-16 package’; Pakistan already has 85 F-16s and 463 other fighter jets of different categories. Many of these aircraft are of US or China origin. Whatever military aid Pakistan gets from other countries, it is used in achieving ulterior motives through terror outfits. When effective counterterrorism measures were not taken, the frustrated Trump administration suspended military aid to Pakistan. It is not understood what forced President Biden to sanction $450 million aid to Pakistan. Pakistan is adamant and its policies will not change. With more resources at its disposal, the terror risks to international community will be heightened. Indirectly, China and the US are also responsible for violence by terrorists. India must watch the situation closely and remain alert to thwart the nefarious designs of the hostile neighbour.

Subhash Vaid, by mail

Be wary of US

Apropos of the editorial ‘F-16 package’, the resumption of major security assistance to Pakistan appears to be a US counter to India’s independent stand on the Russia-Ukraine war. Otherwise what explains US arrogance when Pakistan is still struggling to get out of FATF’s grey list? Where and how will the upgraded F-16s be handy in Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism? In its present state of economy and facing unprecedented floods, Pakistan needs urgent humanitarian assistance and not weapons. The US’s duplicity and sinister design in using India as a counter to China, but at the same time, keeping it tied with Pakistan is intriguing. India needs to be wary of America’s self-serving policies.


Icon of grace

Reference to ‘People’s Queen’; her extraordinary service demonstrates her unflinching devotion and dedication to constitutional monarchy for nearly 70 years. She had tremendous resilience, adaptability to changes and was an icon of continuity, unity, grace and fortitude when the sun finally set on the horizon of the British Empire. She was, indeed, a people’s Queen who was accessible to all. She has left huge footprints on the sands of time, and history would anoint her as one of the greatest constitutional monarchs. It would be difficult for her successor to live up to her greatness.


A true royal

With reference to the editorial ‘People’s Queen’; the Queen’s public remarks were always words of wisdom, and never politically motivated. She never brought any disrespect or caused embarrassment to the British government. She always remembered that she was anointed, and not appointed to reign. She did her best to maintain the glory and significance of the institution of royalty. Her reign was significant not only for the United Kingdom, but also for the Commonwealth countries.

Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal

Ties with Bangladesh

PM Sheikh Hasina’s visit will help strengthen the ties between India and Bangladesh as they have signed several MoUs for cooperation in areas like IT, space and water-sharing. India will also benefit as its neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka are under the grip of political and economic crises. China already has influence on Pakistan and Sri Lanka as they are under its debt. In such circumstances, India needs to take every measure to improve its relationship with other countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal to maintain a regional power balance.

Kishik Sehrawat, Mohali

Financial harakiri

The recent decision of the Himachal Cabinet regarding the wholesale opening of new institutions will burn a hole in the exchequer. With scant regard for taxpayers’ money and little cost-benefit analysis, opening of new subdivisions, blocks, tehsils, divisions of PWD, IPH, HPSEBL and educational institutions will jeopardise the already precarious financial health of the state. The state is in the red with a skewed debt/GDP ratio, and implementation of the new pay commission has worsened the imbalance. The government should mull over the new schemes (for example, the HP Homestay Scheme) to provide employment as well as earn money for the exchequer. This financial harakiri should be stopped.

Gurjyot Singh, Shimla

‘Kartavya niti’

The present government has a special liking for changing and renaming old nomenclatures. It should rename ‘rajniti’ and call it ‘kartavya niti’ and abolish all perks and pensions of those doing their ‘kartavya’ of ‘janta ki sewa’. This will surely not go down well with the people walking on the so-called Kartavya Path.

Ashutosh Vermani, by mail

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Use of antibiotics Other

Sep 10, 2022

It is startling that the antibiotics we take for better health are actually making it resistant to drugs (‘Unapproved antibiotics’). The fact that the drugs being used for treatment in the private sector did not have the nod of the drug regulator is alarming. Who is at fault? The government is turning a blind eye to public health. A stricter system of controls and checks should be established at the earliest. The formulations can be checked at the manufacturing sites. Labelling should be done as consumers have the right to be informed about the authorisation of medicines. India is a leading producer of generic drugs, but their quality should not be compromised.

Asha Rani, Yamunanagar

Banned drugs

In reference to ‘Unapproved antibiotics’; many banned medicines are easily available in the market. Banned antibiotics may have serious side effects. It seems that there is a nexus between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare authorities. Recently, the Dolo scam was unearthed, wherein gigantic commissions were given to doctors for recommendation. Sometimes, avoidable tests are prescribed by doctors. The healthcare sector needs close attention of the governments to protect citizens from these pharmaceutical giants.

Dilwar Ali Meerak, Tohana

F-16s for Pakistan

Apropos of ‘US okays $450mn F-16 package to Pakistan’, the common man in flood-hit Pakistan needs foodgrains, vegetables and life-saving drugs at affordable rates, and not F-16s. It is apparent that Biden’s US is killing several birds with its F-16 stone. It is keeping its fighter aircraft industry alive and earning and encouraging Pakistan to maintain its anti-India stance — a divide-and-rule strategy. It is also trying to suppress India’s global march. The excuse that the US is trying to help Pakistan in countering terrorism lacks credibility. Former President Donald Trump had stopped all aid to Pakistan on the ground that it was not sincere in its fight against terror.

KL Noatay, Kangra

On path of Kartavya

Refer to ‘Chapter on slavery ends...’; it is a case of better late than never. The renaming of Rajpath to Kartavya Path is righteous and in sync with the prevalent system, wherein people elect their representatives to run the country. The leaders, in turn, ought to tread on the path of discharging their kartavya with responsibility and responsiveness towards the needs and aspirations of the people. Hopefully, Kartavya Path will be an inspiration and a reminder for elected representatives to work for the progress of the country.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Don’t bargain with poor

Refer to the middle ‘The daily struggle for survival’; the facts quoted by the writer are an eye-opener for all, especially government agencies. Though the situation might have improved to some extent over the years, but it may still be similar in other areas. As privileged members of society, we can adopt a policy of ‘no bargaining’ with street vendors. By doing this, we will eliminate the need to go to centres for slum/underprivileged children for charity.

Narendra Singhal, Panchkula

Flaws in ‘Bharat Jodo’

After the Bharat Yatra of Rajiv Gandhi in 1990, ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is the biggest mass programme by the Congress. But there are some issues. Excluding states like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh from the yatra path, despite the upcoming elections, makes little sense. Secondly, not including the name, symbol or tagline of the party that is organising the yatra in the pamphlets being circulated is an unintelligent move. Rahul Gandhi as the face of the yatra, even when the selection of the party’s new president will be underway, may not be appropriate. ‘Bharat Jodo’ is too obtuse as there is an indication that there is no other prominent leader who could possibly lead the yatra, or the party.

Kritika Thakur, Rajpura

Restrict tractor-trailers

Reference to ‘For your own sake’; no tractor-trailer loaded with fodder, sugarcane, turi, etc., should be allowed to ply on the GT Road from 6 pm to 7 am. Also, no tractor-trailer should be allowed on the road from December 15 to January 31 as fog reduces visibility. Tractor-trailer owners often don’t use reflectors, which is a serious hazard. Tractors meant for agricultural purposes should not be used for commercial purposes. The licence of tractor-trailer drivers should be checked by the police. In case they require training, efforts should be made to make them aware of traffic rules.

kk mittal, Bathinda

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Cordial ties Other

Sep 09, 2022

Refer to ‘Sheikh Hasina in India’; India and Bangladesh have common political alignments and ideals of democracy, secularism, human rights, rule of law, equality and freedom for all citizens. Both countries live like good neighbours. Except for few stray incidents of religious feuds, there is cordiality between the people of both nations. India played a crucial role in Bangladesh’s liberation. All irritants can be resolved across the table since both nations are on the same page. One hopes that the Modi-Hasina meeting shall bring prosperity to people of both countries having a common language and cultural bonds.

BM Singh, Amritsar

Character makes a nation

‘People value monuments above men, and signs above works.’ Central Vista is being inaugurated, which is a grand project for building what will be the power corridor of India, and at a whopping cost of Rs 13,350 crore. We have built a world-class temple of democracy, but its working needs drastic improvement. During the whole year, the working of Parliament is confined to three sessions, spanning about 70 days. These are often marred by frequent disruptions and boycotts by incumbent as well as opposition parties. Only six MPs attended all the sessions last year. For many MPs, attendance was below 6%, and some prominent leaders of the ruling as well as opposition parties marked less than 50% attendance. A nation is built by character, not by vast concrete structures. Even pyramids in Egypt have forgotten for whom and by whom they were built. We must change rules regarding the number of working days and compulsory attendance of elected representatives. Taxpayers’ money should not be wasted.

Rajesh Goyal, by mail

Domestic violence

Refer to ‘A slap reverberates’; it is disturbing to watch the video being circulated in which the woman legislator is hit publicly by her husband during an argument. More strange is to see how the incident, which took place two months ago, is being highlighted by the media. The victim of domestic violence is not an illiterate and helpless woman who does not know how to exercise her rights. If she has chosen not to complain and seek action against her husband, her wish should be respected. Instead of politicising the ugly incident, let us hope that they have made amends and would contribute towards the progress of the state.

Aswant Kaur, Amritsar

Unapproved antibiotics

Reference to the news report ‘Study: 47% antibiotics in India unapproved’; it is alarming that a large number of antibiotics used in India are unapproved. There are no proper surveillance systems monitoring antibiotic usage in our country and irrational antibiotic consumption is rampant. The problem is compounded due to the free availability of antibiotics at chemist shops without a doctor’s prescription. Its irrational usage by quacks and even many qualified doctors is resulting in antibiotic resistance. The drug authorities should take appropriate and necessary steps to restrict the rampant sale of antibiotics at drug stores without prescription.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

Focus on Far East

Apropos of ‘Keen to strengthen ties with Russian Far East, says PM’, despite the continuing western pressure, PM Modi has spelt out India’s desire to expand trade connectivity and investments with Russia. India wants to shore up partnership on Arctic subjects and has already offered Russia a $1 billion line of credit for developing infrastructure in the Far East. The government’s main focus is investment and connectivity. The talent and professionalism of Indians can bring about rapid development in the Far East.

Anwita Dixit, Ludhiana

Creative learning

The middle ‘The hand that held the cane’ is a clear reflection of the teacher-student relations which were very cordial then. Students and their parents praised the teachers despite their harsh attitude against the students, especially in the classroom. I know of an ad-hoc drawing teacher who used to decorate his room every week without any extra expenditure. He would call students of primary classes to his room by turn during his free periods. He supplied them with colours and brushes and would ask them to paint as per their choice. He would correct them, as and when necessary. The school was often visited by foreign dignitaries and the drawing room was a must see. They used to appreciate the so-called modern art. Creativity among those teachers was inherent and they would enhance innovative skills among students. There were many such examples in those days.

S Kumar,  Panchkula

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Play it like a sport Other

Sep 08, 2022

Apropos of ‘Online hatred for a drop’, there are no bilateral tours between India and Pakistan in sports. Both countries mostly play hockey and cricket in international tournaments. Unlike other teams, they don’t play it as a sport, but as war. The priority is not winning the Cup, but victory over the other. The losing country reacts violently, both in words and acts. Unfortunately, Pakistan has started bringing religion and politics into it. When they won the T20 World Cup match against India, they said it was ‘victory of Islam’, and two days ago when Arshdeep Singh dropped a catch, they called him ‘Khalistani’. The matches between India and Pakistan have become unpleasant. In such a situation, it is better to play without spectators and live telecast. Only the result and score card should be made public at the end of the match.

O Prasada Rao, Hayderabad

Well handled

Reference to ‘Online hatred for a drop’; Arshdeep became the victim of Pakistani trolls just because he dropped a catch. Nobody saw the dedication of this young Indian fast bowler in the last over. Pakistan needed seven runs to win the match in six balls and he cornered Pakistani players by his fast yorkers. Misusing social platforms, Pakistani fans tried to tarnish his image. Kudos to Arshdeep for brushing aside the trolls and also the Indian Government for summoning Wikipedia executives.

Virender Sharma, Shimla

Hate posts

The editorial ‘Online hatred for a drop’ points to the dangerous trend of hate posts in social media. The recent posts involving a young and promising cricketer bodes ill for the social fabric and the already inflamed political situation in our democracy. Those who initiate and spread ill feelings against any caste, sect, region or religion should be identified and dealt with the firmly.

Ashwani Kumar Malhotra, by mail

Pitch issue

In the Asia Cup T20 format in Dubai, the die is cast against the team batting first. In all matches played so far, only the team batting second has won the matches, except Hong Kong. Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India won crucial matches batting second. Bangladesh lost to Sri Lanka, despite posting a fighting total. The pitch in Dubai helps the team batting second. The toss is making all the difference between a winning and losing side. The ICC should see to it that the pitch gives equal opportunity to both teams.

Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur

Silence on violence

Refer to ‘A slap reverberates’; the scourge of domestic violence is highly condemnable and needs to be dealt with legal proceedings. But the stony silence being observed by the MLA and head of the women’s wing of the party is disheartening. It affects the psyche of other such victims who will not muster courage to lodge a complaint against their men. An MLA’s conduct is, and should be, a source of inspiration to others to fight cruelty and injustice. As a public figure, she is expected to be a brave fighter. If she has decided to remain tight-lipped over the shameful episode and swallow the humiliation, the court should take suo motu notice of the incident.

Chaman Arora, Ferozepur City

Ropeway better

Apropos of ‘Malana residents refuse road link to village’, remote villages in Himachal have their deities and villagers seek their guidance whenever there is a serious problem. The deity speaks through a worshipper when he goes into a trance at the temple. One may or may not believe in such spiritual practices, but speaking from the point of view of environment, this decision is appreciable. Rampant construction of roads in the fragile Himalayas have caused unprecedented destruction by way of landslides. This is a matter of grave concern and needs to be checked. As suggested by the villagers, a ropeway link is a better option.

Ashok bahl, Kangra

Vocational training

Refer to ‘Teaching as vocation needs to be valued’; since unemployment is rampant, the writer has rightly laid emphasis on including vocational training in the syllabus so that the mindset of children may change from marks-oriented education and obtaining degrees to attaining trade skills. Educational institutions can play an important role in building the present and future generations. The modern education system should also focus on character moulding. Teachers should assess the mindset of students who come from different socio-economic backgrounds. Education is not just something to add to qualifications or a degree, but also makes a big difference in an individual.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

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