|M A I L B A G||
Saturday, March 20, 1999
Degeneration of a great university
THE pristine glory which Panjab University once enjoyed has got badly eroded. Gone are the days when a visit to the campus at Chandigarh filled one with a unique sense of pride. Today it gives the impression of a decadent institution afflicted with maladies like student indiscipline, all-round corruption, inefficiency, lack of any devotion to duty, fair-play, and absence of any clear objectives. Rather than pursuing the twin objectives of spread of education, removal and eradication of ignorance and illiteracy it is caught in a quagmire of political intrigue, unabashed nepotism and money spinning. Bedevilled by a bloated bureaucracy and a vast majority of merry-making staff, it today stands amidst the debris of its own old, dream existence. But for a few honourable exceptions, polygamies have replaced stalwarts and by and large venality has given a go-by to veracity and honesty of purpose.
Recently, I came across a concrete instance of how the university fills its coffers taking advantage of its own acts of malfeasance and misfeasance. A number of examinees in the examination for a bachelors degree applied for re-evaluation of one or two of their papers. The re-evaluation led to an increase of 10 to 20 per cent marks in a large number of cases, but the university failed to refund the re-evaluation fee (Rs 100 per paper) and the price of the re-evaluation form (Rs. 20). Nor did it chastise the original examiner/evaluator who faltered badly and made a mess of his assignment. Needless to emphasise that the CBSE refunds all such charges if the request for re-evaluation leads to an increase in marks irrespective of the quantum of increase.
But Panjab University has no qualms to suffer on this score even if the increase in marks is of the order of 10 to 20%. It sets its own autocratic agenda and pursues it with a vengeance without any regard to decency, fair-play, efficiency or devotion to duty.
Beset with rank opportunism, its in-campus or local teaching luminaries try to hog all the limelight by trying to garner most of the top positions in various exams for their kith and kin. This is the latest and the gravest of all the degenerations that plague PU today. There is need for utmost vigilance to ensure fairplay and a level playing-field for all to enable it to regain its old resplendent reputation. Otherwise this once great seat of learning will go down in the annals of education as one more venal establishment in the string of institutions that dot the length and breadth of this country and distribute testimonials and degrees like paper-napkins.
Prof S.P.S. RAZ
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It has been experienced that road cuts for crossing telephone cables, electrical cables and water pipes etc are made here and there but are not properly repaired, making the road bumpy. Similarly the road surfacing over the decks of bridges and approaches leave much to be desired. It leads to continuous over straining of the suspension system of vehicles and unnecessary continuous hammering over bridges day and night. This might cause slow damage to the bridges and the vehicles. If the loss on these account is calculated, it will amount to a huge sum.
There is a well organised lineup of engineers from Junior Engineer to Chief Engineer in every department. Does it mean that none of them is competent to tackle this problem? Or are they just negligent? Whereas it is the duty of Junior Engineer to execute the work properly, the seniors are supposed to ensure implementation. The Superintending Engineer and the Chief Engineer, as the designation indicates, cannot escape their responsibility of overall supervision. A little care in executing the work can save a great loss to the life of vehicles and bridges at no extra cost. No import of technology is needed for this minor but important item. Our engineers are fully competent. It is to be seen how they meet this challenge.
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Strikes and banks
Apropos of M.R. Pais letter Strikes and Banks (March 15) you may not be able to cry against just anyone but you are certainly having a right to cry against your wife. Similarly you may not be able to cry against the irregularities of just any govt department but not Mr Pai any one can cry against banks.
Criticising bankers and writing against bankmen is the easiest thing one can do in these days. If the reporter has nothing for the news columns he has only to tear into the working of some bank. Such stories can be written without even leaving the cosy comfort of home.
One reason why anyone can get away with saying anything about. Banks is that bankers are without defending godfathers. Banks are staffed by overloaded babus who do, in fact, have to put in good deal of work in comparison to babus of other Government departments. Timid bank officers are always worried about postings and transfers. Why dont people cry when they have to stand for hours in queue for rail reservations? Why dont they grumble when they have to wait endlessly for doctors who may or may not turn up at the dispensaries and when they have a tendency to leave much before closing time.
Banking is a game of money, other peoples money and the banker is mighty cautious that nothing goes amiss. Caution certainly takes a time and hence those who have to wait a while grumble.
Would they not more than grumble if a hasty banker made a mistake to their cost. A bank is not like a shop selling commodities.
Mr Pai, being President of Depositors Association criticising bankers have become a religious ritual with you. Over years you have been spitting against the bankers. Dont forget if banks are there only then there are depositors and enjoying multifaceted facilities.
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Budget proposals made by the Finance Minister have no meaning for the common man. The 10% surcharge levied on personal tax is the most hated part of the budget.
Salaried groups are the biggest victims of this budget. When in Opposition the BJP always demanded the raising of limit of income tax to Rs. 60,000. But the BJP government disappointed salaried persons by imposing the surcharge. The Finance Minister should reconsider his proposal.
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