Thursday, February 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



From college to school

Apropos the news items relating to the changes in the educational setup initiated by Mr Khushal Behl, we wish to point out some glaring weak points which may not be in public knowledge but which need to be addressed in the right earnest in the broad interest of the student community and our society as a whole.

Reforming ourselves is not bad, rather it is a sign of awareness of the changing needs of society. But of late some decisions of the government, particularly the one regarding the decentralisation of the 10+1 examination, have done more harm than good to the academic structure of the state. 10+1 is a class where students are prepared for the 10+2 level and it is an essential step. The intriguing reality is that when the board stopped conducting examination for 10+1, its result was hardly 37 per cent which too was pushed up from a meagre 17 per cent. One simply wonders how this pass percentage has now improved in schools and colleges.

We agree that the Punjab School Education Board found it quite taxing to conduct the examination. That is why the responsibility was diluted and shifted to unwilling schools and colleges. Now the planners are trying to shift the classes from colleges to schools which don’t have the necessary academic structure. And the available resources in colleges will simply remain unutilised.


The governments single point policy at present is to rule without making any financial commitments and backtrack from all commitments it has already made. It is a pity it can’t privatise the entire school administration. But the government must see reason. No doubt, money makes the mare go, but we have to see whether the mare that goes with money is worth going or not.

N.K. GOSAIN & others

Custodial death of ex-serviceman

It is quite shocking to learn about the alleged torture of an ex-serviceman, Sadhu Ram, by the Kharar police resulting in his death in police custody on the night of February 24-25.

Though the accused have reportedly been booked under the relevant provisions of the law, the authorities must conduct the investigations speedily and impartially so that the culprits are given an exemplary punishment. It should be treated as a “special case” and not a “routine” one since an ex-serviceman is involved.

What is most reprehensible is that the victim of the police brutality was a former soldier who staked his life in vain for the sake of his killers so that they could sleep in comfort of their home while he was guarding the border in most exacting conditions, extreme adverse weather and possibly under enemy fire. What a disgrace my countrymen! Hang your head in shame.

Brig HARWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali


HPU delays counselling

We are doctors in government service who have qualified the P.G. entrance exam for admission to the MS/MD courses at Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla. The P.G. courses for the session 2002 were supposed to begin in July or August going by the past records of IGMC. But the exam for the course was held on December 29, 2002, and the result was declared on January 6, 2003. As per the prospectus, counselling was supposed to held on January 22, but we are still waiting.

When we try to get information from H.P. University, all they say is that there is a court case impeding the counselling. There is litigation, but at no stage has the court given a stay for counselling.

Our query to H.P. University is: why was the entrance exam held so late? The university is hell bent on destroying our future.


Language controversy

This is in reference to the ill-logical debate initiated by some sections that the decision of Punjabi University to give appointments to non-Punjabi pass candidates is wrong.

While Punjabi is to be promoted by all of us, we should have rational views. Teachers of pure and applied sciences like astro-physics, human genetics, bio-chemistry and the like can be exempted from having the knowledge of Punjabi.

Appointing a Punjabi-knowing person and denying a job to a scholar and a merit holder would do more harm than good to the standards of teaching in the university. The decision to reduce the number of holidays in the university is also a welcome step and should be followed by all the universities of the country. Congratulations to the new VC.

J.S. BRAR, Bathinda

Why for women only?

The Haryana Government’s reported announcement that the state is planning to have separate health centres for women only is strange, if not inane and ludicrous. One can understand separate wards, separate OPDs and maybe even separate units within the same premises, but going in for new health facilities for women only will be a sheer waste of scarce resources.

If the purpose is to provide free medical aid to women, then the same can be done through an executive order in the facilities that already exist Zenana hospitals were in vogue in the early part of the last century, but in a progressive and open society, that we claim to have now, gender-specific hospitals are certainly out of place.

Instead of incurring a huge expenditure on the creation of new health centres, the powers-that-be would be well advised to invest in the infrastructure that is already in place by bringing about much needed improvement in terms of better quality of services, ensuring the availability of latest and affordable diagnostic aids that remain in working order, better supply of medicines, service with a human touch, and above all checking chronic absenteeism that is more pronounced in the rural areas of the state.

M.K. BAJAJ, Yamunanagar

PSUs & golden eggs

While going through one of the old yet interesting news items regarding disinvestment, the story that came to my mind was of a hen delivering a golden egg every day. Unfortunately, the hen was killed by its owner in order to get all the golden eggs at once.

Now the government has many such hens. To name a few, these are HPCL, BPCL, EIL, ONGC, VSNL, BSNL, MTNL etc. Nevertheless, the government, instead of receiving one golden egg daily (in the form of profit) from these hens (PSUs) has planned to hand over the hens to other private parties, who may profit from it in future. And the government will be left with nothing in hand.

Instead of disinvesting departments like the ones mentioned above which contribute a lot to the exchequer, the government should go in for privatisation of organisations like the Delhi Police, Post Offices, CPWD, NDMC and the like.


Are soft drinks safe?

Of late a storm of sorts has been brewing in mineral water bottles in our country, what with high levels of pesticides having been detected in these. If such is the case with a supposedly highly purified commodity that is being marketed (water shouldn’t need to be sold in the first place) at ridiculously high price, one shudders to think of the scenario pertaining the ordinary tap water! And if mineral water has pesticides, can soft drinks be far behind?


Fast track? Hardly

After losing in lower courts, the affected parties go in for appeal and succeed in frustrating the beneficiary by involving them in protracted litigation by getting a stay on one or other pretext. Realising the slow movement of civil suits, the Supreme Court came to the help of Senior Citizens and authorised high courts to place such appeals, when requested, on a separate “fast track” for early hearing.

Even after putting appeals on the fast track, the cases get listed and de-listed on the changing roster of judges and there is no certainty as to when the actual date of hearing will fall. Some such cases have been in the waiting for more than two years.

Will the Punjab & Haryana High Court evolve a simple administrative way to make the fast track for the Senior Citizens effective?

V.K. KAURA, Panchkula

Politics of sants

The Tribune report “Sants to gherao Parliament today” (Feb 24) makes a gloomy reading. Apparently “santhood” no longer means renunciation of the world and its pleasures and seeking abode in the hoary Himalayas in search of tranquility and enlightenment. The neo-sants seem to have opted for the path of crass “militancy” for the “mankind’s salvation” and seem to wallow in worldly pleasures, gleefully relishing the glare of publicity, unlike the sants of yore who preferred total of obscurity.

Has “santhood” been “democratised” or are the so-called sants just practising politicians who have donned the “holy garb” simply to hoodwink the gullible masses?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Dead wood in judiciary

Nearly five dozen judicial officers were removed during the period of Mr A.B. Saharaya, former Chief Justice, and the process of withdrawal of work by stages under the present Chief Justice is continuing. Litigants seem to be very happy with this development. Efforts are being made to root out the dead wood. Of course, some vested interests do feel sorry on account of this change.

The shunting out of certain judicial officers and withdrawal of work from others has an adverse effect also. Generally against five to six posts of subordinate judge there is one post of District and Sessions Judge or Addl District & Sessions Judge. At present in Kapurthala there is only one subordinate judge but sitting over him are four officers with the powers of District and Sessions Judge.

There is not much work with these four posts but the work of four subordinate judges, which is being handled by a single subordinate judge, is rather impossible to manage.

There was surplus supporting staff in the judiciary and there were posts which were just sine cure. With the removal of judges and with withdrawal of work from subordinate judges, almost half the judicial supporting staff is rendered idle. Surprisingly the retired supporting staff has been recalled to help in the working of fast track courts.



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