Friday, November 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mittal to meet Shanta
Shifting of rice to deficit states
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 2 — As another crisis looms over Punjab pertaining to paddy and rice, the state government will again knock at the door of the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr Shanta Kumar.

The Punjab Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, will go to Delhi to meet Mr Shanta Kumar on November 8. “The date and time of the meeting have been confirmed and I will be going along with the official concerned of my department to Delhi to discuss the issue of the milling of paddy and storage of rice”, Mr Mittal said.

Punjab wanted that the Union Government should expedite the shifting of rice to the deficit states to create adequate covered space for the storage of rice to be converted from the paddy procured by the government agencies during the past six weeks. Mr Mittal will request Mr Shanta Kumar to make a special provision in this connection and to allocate the maximum number of special trains to Punjab for this purpose.

Millers, who convert paddy into rice on behalf of the government agencies, have already started delivering levy rice obtained from the current crop to the central pool. As much as 1,18,370 tonnes of rice has been delivered to the central pool till date. Mr Mittal said he wanted speedy milling of paddy and delivery of rice to the central pool. He said a delay in the milling of paddy could lead to a deterioration in its quality, creating problems in its delivery to the central pool.

Punjab will deliver about 75 lakh tonnes of rice to the central pool during the current milling season. It is expecting the procurement of 115 lakh tonnes of paddy till the end of the season.

After making the relevant calculations, including the current movement of rice to other states from Punjab, the state Food and Supplies Department has estimated a shortfall of space to stack about 30 lakh tonnes of rice. The entire levy rice stocks are delivered to the FCI, which has the responsibility to store it. In the absence of adequate space available with the FCI, the state government authorities apprehend that the FCI will delay the acceptance of levy rice for the central pool, which will result in the slowing down of milling. The Punjab Government procurement agencies had collectively provided covered space to stack about 22 lakh tonnes of rice to the FCI last year as it did not have enough space for this purpose.

The state government wanted that there should be movement of about 15 lakh tonnes of rice and wheat from Punjab every month for the next one year. About 100 lakh tonnes of wheat is lying stacked in Punjab. While new levy rice has started arriving, old stocks are still lying in the state. Last month, about 5.50 lakh tonnes of wheat and paddy had been shifted to other states from Punjab. Though 316 special trains were planned to be loaded to shift the wheat and rice, only 260 could be despatched.

Informed sources said the FCI planned to despatch 400 special trains loaded with rice to deficit states from Punjab during November. The state agencies have a quota of 90 special trains to move wheat to other states during this month.

Another issue which will come up at the meeting is about the acceptance of rice prepared from last year’s paddy. About 4.5 lakh tonnes of paddy is lying with the state agencies from the old stocks. The state government wanted that the Centre should extend the date to December 31 to accept rice shelled from these stocks.


Ordinance on selection panel soon
From K.G. Dutt
Tribune News Service

KARNAL, Nov 2 — The Haryana Government is likely to soon issue an ordinance to constitute the universities and colleges selection commission. According to sources, the draft of the proposed ordinance is almost ready.

Highly placed official sources told TNS that the Selection Commission would make selections for recruitment to the posts of Lecturer, Readers, Principal and Professor in the universities of the state as well as government and non-government colleges.

These sources explained that the state government had been contemplating such a move for quite some time. The idea was to streamline the recruitment process in educational institutions and universities.

It is reported that the state government has received reports on selections in universities and colleges on “extraneous” considerations. There have been doubts in the minds of the powers that be that selections normally are not fair in the universities and colleges.

Often, favourites of the management, professors and the Vice-Chancellors in the universities are selected, those with merit are left out. Although in the colleges and universities norms for the selection of teachers have been laid down by the U.G.C., the constitution of the selection committees was so manoeuvred at the local level that favourites of the authorities were selected.

The government feels since it meets up to 95 per cent of the salary bill of non-government colleges and provides lumpsum aid worth crores of rupees to the universities, it has the right to make selections to such posts in the educational sphere as per its choice.

It is learnt that the proposal has been cleared by the Education and the Law Departments.

However, the government has not so far considered the reaction it would generate among the universities, the UGC and the teaching faculty. For one, the selection of the teaching staff is likely to further erode the autonomy of the universities. After the enforcement of the proposed ordinance, there is every possibility that these would function like any other department of the government.

Even now much of the autonomy of the universities has been taken away by the government. For every new post created by the universities, the sanction and approval of the government is a must.

In such a situation, to expand educational spheres and departments in the universities has become well-nigh impossible for the Vice-Chancellors. With the enforcement of the new ordinance, the selection process in the universities would be almost centralised.

The Commission, like any other commission of the state government, would have to listen to the political powers that be. As of now, there is very little chance of candidates bribing selection committee members because all come from different fields — nominees of the university, the Department of Higher Education, the College Management and experts.

But with the setting up of the Commission, the power would be concentrated in the hands of the chairman and members who would be nominees of political powers or the government of the day, say educational experts.

Another fear in the minds of the academicians is that persons selected at the commission’s level and sent to various universities and colleges will not be amenable to the discipline of the college and the universities.

Therefore, educationists opine that if this is done, it would mean more indiscipline in the universities and colleges.

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