2021: A year of hope
There's no doubt that 2020 will be judged as one of the worst years in all over the world. We have seen that millions of people were badly infected by the life threatening coronavirus and with this, the number of people who died due to COVID- 19 is also increasing. But until the vaccine of COVID-19 is available in the market, all of us will have to take precautions. While the one point focus on containing the spread of the contagious pathogen during the near total lockdown from March-end to mid-May did help exclusively concentrate medical facilities towards handling the new disease and brought about public awareness about managing the virus, it worryingly came at a huge cost to non-COVID treatments and interventions. Exacerbating the situation was the resultant tottering economy marked by huge job and income losses that followed the extreme shutdown. The subsequent unlocking in a phased manner did attempt to undo the setbacks, but it is felt that the pre-COVID levels are still some time away. The scattered pieces need to be gathered in right earnest. If the start of 2020 did not offer the slightest glimpse of the catastrophe that would envelope the world within no time, a year later having endured a collective nightmarish experience that still lurks that same world is more aware than ever of its fallibility and vulnerability. 2021 can be different on one elementary level though hope. The only is that the vaccine will victoriously work its way through the flu, that the voice of dissent is heard for the message it seeks to convey and not dismissed as disruptive noise, that love disarms the state sponsored inspector, that religion inspires harmony and not discord, that the majority-minority balloon is deflated. And the fervent hope that the world around us will be less intolerant and more circumspect. The wish list is long and ambitious, but then, hope is what sustains life.
It's true that the biggest lesson derived from 2020 is the significance of health and immunization. Thus, it is fitting that the efforts to plug the holes in the public health sector be prioritized. Since healthy children are the gateway to the nation's progress, the ongoing immunization drive that was jeopardized because many kids could not receive the vaccine jabs on time needs to be brought back on track. An intensive inoculation programme is needed for children whose doses were deferred as they run risk of contacting diphtheria, tetanus, polio, cholera and typhoid. Over the years, India has made huge strides towards making the country free from these vaccine preventable diseases. Prevention of any fresh outbreaks is no less important than containing COVID-19. Similarly, unattended and neglected patients of cancer, TB and other serious ailments need to be provided adequate care. These gaps underscore the need for injecting a higher budget in healthcare and strengthening of the medical infrastructure.
Chandan Kumar Nath,
Beware of vaccine rumours
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has requested people not to pay attention to the rumours against the much-awaited vaccine to prevent COVID-19. He stated that our prime criteria in the vaccine trial are safety and efficacy and nothing will be compromised. The objective of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine launching is to measure the operational possibility in the use of Co-WIN application in a field environment, to test the linkages between planning and execution, and to identify the challenges and lead the way forward prior to actual implementation. The vaccine, which is worldwide recognized as AZD1222 will be the first silver bullet for the country. People need to be cautious of rumours and wait for a few months.
Amit Singh Kushwaha,
Redevelopment-work in Chandni Chowk
Historical Chandni Chowk is being redeveloped for last some years having been slowdown mainly because of complete stop of work during lockdown and sometime thereafter. But now almost complete redevelopment having been finished, some bottlenecks are left for reasons best known to authorities concerned. Entry and exit points at Red Fort crossing connecting Chandni Chowk are not yet given finishing touch as yet making only one side of two-sided road usable for both entry and exit that too with several road blocks and a temporary gate which is usually closed even between 9 pm and 9 am when vehicular traffic is allowed in Chandni Chowk. Connecting streets and roads like to Dariba and Bhagirath Palace are yet to be properly linked to redeveloped Chandni Chowk with road blocks put at entry point to Dariba.
Redevelopment must also include encroachment-free connecting markets like Bhagirath Palace and Esplanade Road. Bhagirath Palace which used to be a posh residential locality of Old Delhi till about half-century back, has turned to be the biggest wholesale markets of Asia for so many commodities like medicines, surgical goods, electricity and electronic items. But over-crowded and congested market has become a heaven for squatters and encroachers. Likewise only one side of wide two-sided Esplanade Road is used because of shopkeepers and transporters encroaching upon not only complete footpaths but also major part of the road. A joint drive by civic authorities and local police under supervision of the authority responsible for redevelopment of Chandni Chowk should be launched to make Bhagirath Palace and Esplanade Road completely free from squatters and encroachers directing shopkeepers to keep their goods within their shops making footpaths and roads clear for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Love is fundamental right of citizens. Things like religion, caste, creed, status, etc shouldn't be barrier for the lovers. For the last decade or more a dangerous conspiracy plot is being run by a section of people from religious minority where they hide their original identify and pose themselves as the person of same religion that of the girl. After the marriage when the girl comes to know about the truth she is tortured or forced to change her religion. The concept of Love Jihad was going on for many many years in India. Many innocent Hindu girls have become victims to criminal-minded boys. Now that many States including ours have framed laws against Love Jihad which is most welcome. At least a few will think twice before doing so but it doesn't mean that the law will wipe out the love jihad completely. The so called secular brigade has always pretended to be blind in regards to love jihad, so that it doesn't hurt 'their people'. In Assam it has often come in news that people of suspected nationality or the Muslims of Bangladesh origin who have crossed the border illegally and registered their name in India fraudulently are the main people who have targeted specifically the Hindu girls by posing themselves as Hindu and prey on the girls. In today's age inter-caste or inter-religion is accepted by the society and this writer is also in support.
Wastage of funds by Union Bank of India
Union Bank of India in tune with practice of employing social media team by corporates of public and private sector for goods and services of use to commoners, has also made provision of having message-box on its Facebook page where prompt replies are given by employed social media team. But this is a totally wasteful provision for Facebook page of Union Bank of India where members of its social media team have two replies (a) contact branch manager (b) lodge complaint on 18002082244 or 1800222244 without any resolution of the problem. It is noteworthy that such message boxes provided by other companies ensure resolution of the problem. Customers go to Facebook page only after problem is not solved at branch level, and requires back end resolution by concerned ones at Union Bank of India like linking of PPF accounts of erstwhile Corporation Bank not being linked in website of Union Bank of India after merger of Corporation Bank with Union Bank of India.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal,