PM High On Water Rhetoric
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi was high on jingoism at a poll rally at Charkhi Dadri in Haryana. Playing to the gallery, He said, “For 70 years, water that belonged to Haryana farmers and to us flowed to Pakistan; but we will stop that. I have already started working on it. The water belongs to India and farmers of Haryana… That is why Modi is fighting this for you.” The waters of the Indus system of rivers originate mainly in Tibet and Himalayan mountains in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The rivers meander through Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Sindh (Pakistan) before emptying into the Arabian Sea, south of Karachi and Kori creek in Gujarat. The Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and former Pakistan president Ayub Khan. As per the mandate of the Indus Waters Treaty, India shares its water with Pakistan. For many decades, India has allowed its share of water also to go to its neighbour. But in the aftermath of the 2016 Uri attack, India threatened to abandon the Indus Waters Treaty. Modi declared, “Blood and water cannot flow together.” Such jingoistic rhetoric goes against the grain of the treaty. The Modi government wants to stop water flowing to Pakistan and divert it to Haryana as it rightfully belongs to the country and its farmers. But if we weigh in the pros and cons of the issue then we will realise that water is an elixir of life, and that Modi’s provocative statements will arouse the otherwise sleeping enemy. There is already a miasma of hostile attitude between the two neighbours and Modi’s statement could estrange the relations further. However, India can bully Pakistan into accepting our legitimate demands by warning it that we will stop flowing water to Pakistan.
T K NANDANAN, KOCHI
Keep A Tab On NGO Funding
A report of the Intelligence Bureau has indicated that there could misuse of Indian NGOs by foreign funders. It has been revealed that India’s GDP has been adversely affected – to the extent of 2-3 per cent – due to such foreign funding to NGOs. Many NGOs are said to have been funded for portraying negative aspects of Indian culture. Foreign-funded NGOs spend in rupees and receive funds in dollars: they send these foreign contributors misconstruing photographs and videos of events that take place in the country. Many NGOs have become tools for diverting foreign funds. Siphoning of government funds to NGOs run by influential people should be prevented. The government must stop any kind of direct or indirect funding to NGOs at public expense including the funds which are at the disposal and discretion of parliamentarians and legislators. The NGOs pay lucrative salaries and perks to their employees, who are either relatives of politicians and bureaucrats, or of persons running the NGOs. Buildings built on the land allotted on concessional rates to NGOs should become government property. According to a study report, India has an NGO for every 400 citizens; these NGOs are mainly used as business establishments. Any provision of tax exemption for donations made to NGOs should be abolished. All NGOs must be brought under the purview of the Right To Information Act and also of the Lokpal.
MADHU AGRAWAL, DELHI
Truckers Dislike Tarpaulin
TRUCKS carrying construction materials are supposed to use tarpaulin to cover the material. However, uncovered material is transported through the trucks in the state, posing dangers to other motorists. If a truck carrying uncovered construction material overturns or tilts to one side then there is every possibility of material tumbling down the truck and falling onto other motorists and pedestrians. The concerned authorities should take a note of this serious matter and take to task the truck drivers who transport the materials without covering it with tarpaulin.
PRAVIN U SARDESSAI, ADPAI
Bullfight Means Animal Cruelty
UNDER the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, ‘dhirio’ or bullfight is illegal and prohibited in Goa. One of the cruelest forms of entertainment, the bulls pitted against each other are provoked to a state of murderous rage before they lock horns with each other until one remains standing or both are mortally wounded. The ‘sport’, as many would like to call it, is not only abusive to the mute animals, but also pose a great threat to public safety. One can well imagine the havoc that can be wreaked by an out of control bull on a rampage! People have been grievously injured and many have even lost their lives. Yet the craze continues! Locals have shown a great fondness for this ‘amusing’ pastime and quite often organisers do manage to stage such shows on the sly. Enthralling enthusiastic audiences, bullfights attract a good following to the venue. As an important aspect of the activity, the heavy betting involved too has been another big draw. The ruckus on the outskirts of Saligao-Nagoa, where attempts to a stage ‘dhirio’ Sunday early morning was foiled by the police by resorting to a mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd, is yet another example of an obsession getting the better of prudence! Last week there were reports about a bullfight organised in Salcete that nearly cost a youth his life. There have been several such incidents where, gored by the enraged bulls, people have been maimed for life. Not to speak of the battered and bruised animals. Even then, locals are known to take umbrage against the ‘unusual’ rigidness shown by the administration against the sport. Claiming it to be a legacy of the state, many are quick to compare it with ‘Jallikattu’ of Tamil Nadu and the more famous ‘Corrida De Toros’ of Spain both of which have all along been accepted as traditions of the respective regions. The manner in which politicians have rallied behind ‘Dhirio’ promising its legalisation is an indication of the proclivity the Goans have shown for bullfights all through the years. But should the bulls be facing cruel exploitation just for the sake of entertainment! Other than sadistic pleasure, the pain and suffering of the animals can never amuse anyone.
PACHU MENON, Margao