Tuesday, February 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Why not new universities?

APROPOS of the January 18 letter by Dr Sukhdev Singh on the establishment of new universities by the Government of Punjab, I feel the two universities (Punjab Technical University and Punjab University of Health Sciences) have been established with well thought-out objectives and meticulous planning. However, if in implementing these projects things have gone wrong, it is because of the bureaucratic control and the scarcity of financial resources.

The management structure of Punjab Technical University has been conceived on the pattern of the corporate world where a board of directors is entrusted with the responsibility of managing and monitoring the working of a company. Similarly, for managing the affairs of Punjab Technical University, a board of management was recommended to be constituted with a prominent industrialist as its chairman. The Government of Punjab, over a period of more than two years, has not been able to identify even one industrialist to be nominated as the chairman of the board with the result that the Secretary-in-charge, Technical Education, has become the chairman, incapacitating the Vice-Chancellor to take any worthwhile decision.

  This was a departure from the normal practice of the Vice-Chancellor being the Chairman of the Board of Management in central universities. Why and how a bureaucrat is continuing as the Acting Vice-Chancellor for the past more than one year in contravention to the university Act could be anybody’s guess.

It is also essential that the Vice-Chancellors are given a five-year non-extendable term on the pattern of central universities so that they devote themselves fully to the establishment of the universities rather than get into the problem of managing their extension during the last six months of their tenure.


Population policy: suggestions

This refers to the editorial “Gaps in population policy” (Feb 17). You have rightly said that increasing population packs a greater destructive power than what Pakistan can cause by hurling a few nuclear bomblets. I think to combat the threat of growing population we should adopt a two-tier policy. As you have pointed out, education is the single most effective channel to spread the family planning message. This should be adopted as a long-term policy. But to get immediately results, I suggest the following measures.

As we say, charity begins at home, first the government should decide that no promotion will be given to the state or central government employees who would cross the two-child family norm. Those who have more than two children should be barred from filing nomination papers for any election like that for Parliament, an assembly, a corporation, a municipality, a zila parishad or a panchayat. A person having more than two children should not be nominated for the post of chairman/member of any board, corporation, etc.

And for other people like businessmen and the unemployed there should be a provision that the person who will opt for the birth of a third child in his family will have to be deprived of either his LPG connection, power supply or water supply.

By taking these types of strict measures only we can overcome the problem of population. A cut-off date should be decided to put these measures into practice.


Refreshing contrast

I liked the editorial “Pilot shows the way” (February 10), giving Mr Rajesh Pilot, an eminent Congress leader, a pat on his back for showing the “courage of conviction” by keeping his daughter’s marriage a conspicuously low-key family affair and thus setting a much needed healthy precedent.

What a refreshing contrast to the “wedding extravaganza” being brazen-facedly indulged in by VVIPs! Indeed a laudable example for the country’s politicians to emulate!

Would the so-called VVIPs take the requisite cue and give the wasteful extravaganza vis-a-vis marriages a go-by once and for all? Alas, it seems altogether a moot point, candidly speaking. How sad!

Sunam (Sangrur)


Taking back occupied Kashmir

Addressing election rallies at Darbhanga (Bihar) and Panipat (Haryana), Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ruled out a dialogue with Pakistan on any issue other than the occupied Kashmir (PoK) and that too after it asked the militant groups to eschew violence in the valley.

A couple of weeks earlier too, addressing a function organised by the Hind Samachar group of newspapers at Jalandhar, he declared that talks between the two countries could be held only after Pakistan established its credibility and these would be over taking back of PoK. He said India would not bow to any international pressure on the issue of PoK.

It is believed that Mr Vajpayee really meant business when he made these statements.

Incidentally, in his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort in 1994, reacting to the then Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto’s statement that Kashmir was an unfinished task for her country, the then Prime Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, warned that it should complete the same by undoing the aggression of 1947. However, so far neither Pakistan has vacated the occupied Kashmir nor has India made any honest attempt to fulfil its unfinished task of regaining it.

Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan has no locus standi on it. Yet it has illegally and forcibly occupied about 78,000 sq km of Jammu and Kashmir. It is from this side that Pakistan-trained terrorists sneak into the valley and shed innocent blood. The whimsical and lackadaisical handling of the Kashmir issue by the Centre during the past more than 50 years has created an alarming situation in the valley.



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