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Wednesday, October 21, 1998
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Varsity posts in Punjab

  This has reference to the front-page news item "VCs' powers curtailed" (The Tribune, Oct 15). The decision of the Punjab government banning the filling of the posts — both teaching and non-teaching — in Punjabi and GND Universities is unfortunate.

The universities, though funded by the state government, are autonomous bodies with their own statutes enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the state for their self-governance. The ban imposed by the government on the appointments and promotions in these universities has no locus standi.

The Punjab Minister of Higher Education, Mr Manjit Singh is an enlightened politician and academically well qualified, having done his postgraduation from the prestigious Calcutta University. I am afraid he is not being properly advised by the administrative and legal experts in the government.

This issue falls within the perview of the highest governing body of the university — the syndicate. The minister has his DPI, Education Secretary, Finance Secretary, and three other syndics nominated by the government. It was not difficult to carry this item in the syndicate in accordance with the prevailing rightful procedure, especially with a view to first undertaking the exercise of assessment of the work load and the rationalisation of appointments.

For maintaining healthy trends for competence in higher education in the state, perfect understanding between the minister and the vice-chancellors is a must. This is not difficult to achieve.


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Polluting vehicles

The recent crackdown on 15-year-old commercial vehicles in Delhi, though well-intentioned, is undoubtedly ill-conceived and rather hastily implemented. Obviously, nobody likes to breathe polluted air. But how can we wash our hands off the right of the owners/drivers of these vehicles to earn their livelihood through honest means.

No one in ones senses will deny that there is an urgent need to ensure a clean environment. But surely the polluting vehicles can be renovated to conform to the required standards by a little bit of ingenuity and understanding. Then, like in the West, which we love to emulate in matters not so important, an MOT test done to certify the roadworthiness of such vehicles can be used to weed out the polluters. This will enable these people to continue to earn their livelihood the way they had been doing. If these still need to be taken off the road it can be done in a phased manner without suddenly depriving these people of their sole source of income.

First an alternative means of earning must be provided to them, if it is desired that they do not resort to a life of crime and begging for alms for their survival.

Will they be granted interest-free loans to buy new vehicles, so that they can keep earning to be able to live with dignity? I can't help but wonder if considerable thought is ever given to the welfare of an ordinary citizen and his problems by the wise men who sit in their ivory towers and churn out judgements to force these down the common man's gullet. How can it be expected by anyone with some common sense that a poor man will be able to afford a new vehicle every 15 years or so?

Later, I understand that plans are afoot to include other vehicles in the list of the vehicles that are to be taken off the road. What will be the fate of the vintage and classic cars? During my stay in England I came across many an old cars which were being put to daily use by their proud owners. Can anyone doubt the concern of the authorities in England to ensure a breathable future?


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Turmoil in Malaysia

I have read with interest the editorial "Turmoil in Malaysia" (The Tribune, September 25). It is not correct to say that Malaysia's premier, Dr Mahathir Mohammed (of Kerala origin), has been ruling like a dictator all these years.

If Dr Mahathir is hungry for power like a dictator, as the western media and former Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim portray him to be, why would he want to sack his deputy whom he brought into the ruling United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) making him senior to making leaders. All along the way, Mr Anwar was protected, to the point that earlier negative reports on him were disregarded.

Dr Mahathir gave Mr Anwar all the support — even left him to be acting Prime Minister for two months last year. Why would Dr Mahathir sack someone who is aware of all his secrets, knowing that the sacked person would use them later? This is certainly not the behaviour of a dictator or a man hungry for power.



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International perspective

I would like to express how much I enjoyed reading The Tribune, specially the editorial page, for the first time. I found it informative having an international perspective

Eindhoven (The Netherlands)

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Quality paper

I have always been a fan of The Tribune. My father introduced me and then encouraged me to read this newspaper. I love reading the editorials.

I lost touch with this wonderful publication in 1989 when I came to live in the UK. But now, with your online edition, that problem is over. The Tribune that I read in the past has not changed much in its appeal; if any thing, it has become better, qualitatively as well as quantitatively.

The presentation and the design of its online edition equals any online publication I have come across.

A marvellous effort. Congratulations!

London (UK)

Punish Salman

In The Tribune I read about actor Salman Khan's arrest (now released on bail). It is really disgusting to hear that people who are respected and popular are doing such things. No doubt, we all love his acting, but that does not necessarily mean that such a person's behaviour is also good.

He should be punished if the crime is proved.

Thanks for giving information.

Melbourne (Australia)

(Received in response to The Tribune's Internet edition.)


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