Thursday, June 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



PTV reports and India

OUR army is fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in Kashmir, and thousands of our boys (officers and jawans) are engaged in the fight. Although we get the coverage of the day-to-day operations in The Tribune and on the TV channels, there are some reports which we get exclusively on Pakistan TV. For instance, the PTV report on the death of 10 Indian soldiers, including a Captain, in an encounter with the so-called Mujahideen on 14-6-2000. The news was repeated on 16-6-2000 also.

To substantiate its reports, PTV gives names and ranks of those killed sometimes, but from our side there is hardly any reaction to such reports which can be shocking to the families of those posted in J&K with the same rank and even similar names. We find no such report on our TV channels and in the print media next day. No denial or confirmation of the report.

Earlier it has been seen that the killing of Indian soldiers reported by PTV was not entirely incorrect, and some of them have been so correct that the reference somewhere in the print media was seen after three-four weeks. Imagine the effect of such casualness of our government and the Press on the parents and the families of those posted in J&K with the same rank and similar names. As soon as they hear such a report on PTV, they are shaken and shocked to the core. Till they get into touch with the units of their loved ones and are assured of their being alive and safe, the food is not cooked in all those homes. It produces a strong demoralising effect on the troops and their families in the absence of a quick denial or confirmation of the PTV report.

I think the person/persons reported killed should be shown alive on the national TV channels, and a quick denial or confirmation should be given to end the confusion and mental torture of the families of the troops in the valley.


Why blame the surgeon?

“Go to camp, get blinded!” Such melodramatic and often misleading headlines are not worthy of a newspaper as prestigious as The Tribune.

Medical camps are held as a relief measure for the needy and if any tragedy — loss of vision—inadvertently occurs, an enquiry should be held.

Post-operative care is as important as surgery, and if any mishap occurs the entire onus should not be laid at the surgeon’s door.

No person can be forced to undergo an operation without his or her consent. Gone are the days of the Emergency when a person could be forcibly put on the operating table and be tampered with.

Medical camps have helped innumerable people. Misleading statements generalising an isolated event should be avoided.


This is not cricket

In the editorial “This is not cricket” (June 17) you have treated the game of cricket in a befitting manner.

Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton are foreign to cricket and as such she had to yield to him when he threatened to affirm on oath that he cannot lie down his office till his vice is approved as President by the US Senate.

During the regime of Maharaja Bhupindra Singh in the erstwhile state of Patiala, the umpire in the cricket game had to declare Maharaja “not out” during the match against inhospitable and unfriendly ball of the baller/bowler.

Cricket is a game of friendship and hospitality, match-fixing is by chance to enhance or save the honour of the team at home and abroad at moments when both teams are reluctant to show their sheen. It is not illegal in some countries.

Members of the BCCI and the Minister of Sports have not relished properly this game during their visits abroad. It may be that Mr Dhindsa, Union Sports Minister, has not so far visited any Commonwealth country as Sports Minister.

Many cricket players in India have already availed themselves of VDS and as such there is no point to disturb the taste of cricket-players and spectators.

The Ministry of Sports may spare the CBI and other agencies for some patent problems of the country and allow cricket players to devote full time to the game instead of defending themselves in such courts as treat the game of cricket differently.

The game of the cricket is loved more in the Commonwealth countries, and others have no business to blow it out of proportions which may be detrimental to the health of cricket.


Laudable decision

The decision of the Punjab School Education Board regarding granting 37 grace marks to failed students in Class X is not only laudable but also pragmatic (June 13).

It is not only the students who get low marks are necessarily duffer. Excepting a few generally they face a crisis of confidence. A few also develop phobias.

The decision of the Punjab Board will give a sigh of relief to students and to their parents for whom children’s education becomes a cause of worry. They lose monetarily also. The CBSE is making a study for introducing a grading system abolishing the fail / pass criteria. Definitely, it will be a welcome step.

The grading system will take care of automatically both excellent and poor performance of students. These days it is the most prevalent education system of the world, particularly the developed countries.

The students who have failed in one or more subjects should be granted grace marks to make them to qualify the class X examination held recently on the pattern of the Punjab School Education Board.



Markfed’s plunder

The Tribune’s investigative report (July 7, page 5) revealed a crisis of character, commitment and conscience in the cooperative movement of Punjab. The proposition that the Minister for Cooperation, the Financial Commissioner for Cooperation, the MD, Markfed, along with the minister’s son and his Political Secretary may travel to Canada, the USA and the UK to promote the sale of “Sarson ka sag” and assess other marketing possibilities is preposterous and vulgar too.

The oath of their offices and the bylaws of Markfed do not cast any duty on them to undertake any such work. All of them are least qualified or experienced in such specialised fields.

Only last month or so the Chairman of Markfed, a transporter who had not been selling even an acre’s paddy produce through a marketing society, visited Korea and Japan to study their rice polish oil processing practices. How was his team qualified to do that? In 1990 or so a Markfed team had visited the USA on such a trip and got machines for preparing edible rice bran oil, and the experiment had failed because the percentage of husk in our rice bran was higher and it had not been possible to expect high standards of efficiency and honesty in our operations. The US company closed its shop and Markfed suffered losses.

The Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, cannot approve of misdirection of funds of the farmers’ apex body for entertaining the wishes of the Minister and the Financial Commissioner for free travel to foreign countries when they are not duty-bound under the law to perform any such job for society under any contract. If the Registrar is overawed, it shall be a fit case for reference to the Vigilance Commission and the Lok Pal for gaining through the misuse of authority.

Surinder Singh Dhillon
Additional Registrar, Cooperatives (retd)

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