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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Declare J&K Floods National Calamity
UNPRECEDENTED heavy rains that beat all records and the ensuing floods have devastated the state of Jammu and Kashmir, a great tourist haven that has enthralled thousands from all over the world for decades. Today this state is in a terrible shape, isolated from the rest of the country, with roads washed out, bridges collapsed, houses big and small flattened, hundreds of people trapped in landslides and the whole of humanity marooned and shocked. The saddest thing is 175 precious human lives have been lost, apart from the loss of cattle, not counting the destruction of flora and fauna. The beautiful state on the northern tip of India is subjected to terrible devastation under the nature’s fury. Thankfully, the rescue operations are in full swing and the military has been deployed to rescue the trapped people. The army chief has echoed that the army would not return to the barracks till the last man is brought to safety. As fellow citizens what can be our contribution to this colossal tragedy? Everyone has to think in this regard for what has happened to our fellow country-men could have happened to any one of us. The fact that we are spared of such trauma, it becomes our filial duty to reach out to the afflicted by extending financial aid to them. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the state has announced an aid of Rs 1000 crore. That would not be sufficient to rebuild the state from the devastated condition. The calamity that has struck Jammu and Kashmir should be treated as a national disaster. Every person should be asked to contribute a day’s salary/pension/earning for the rehabilitation of the state. Obviously nothing in a democratic setup can be forced on the citizens but most of the good-hearted people would rise to the occasion to salvage the embattled state through voluntary contribution. It is equally important that every Tom, Dick and Harry do not get into the task of collecting the money. In such case people do not know where to donate and neither is it certain where the money would ultimately go. The simple task is to make the banks collect the donation from the people, by assigning a separate account number for the fund and give wide publicity. We need to rise to the occasion.
MICHAEL VAZ, Merces

Help Girls Get Higher Education
THE news report that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to set priority on educating girls is welcome. With various schemes like free textbooks till Class VIII, cyberage scheme for those completing HSSCE etc, the dropout rate has come down. However, girls taking up degree courses are few as the fees are very exorbitant, especially in renowned private colleges. The loan schemes also don’t prove to be helpful as after taking the loan and completing the course getting a job is very difficult and ultimately it’s the parents who have to bear the brunt and clear off the loans. So parents prefer sending girls to earn a small amount and add to the family income. Even girls belonging to the middle class families are denied this education due to the high fees. Modi should help and encourage girls interested in pursuing higher education by reducing the fee amount they have to pay. This could be achieved by letting the girl students pay half of the fees while the government paying the remaining half. This will allow the girls to fulfill their dreams and not be left out.
ESTHER MONTEIRO, Assolna

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