Thursday, February 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Initiative for peace

THE Vajpayee Government may be criticised for extending the ceasefire in Kashmir by another month, but this step can yield results. No doubt the situation in Kashmir is volatile, but India’s latest move has exposed General Musharraf’s hypocrisy and has placed him in a dilemma.

By continuing to support militancy in Kashmir, Pakistan is bound to lose diplomatically and invite a frown from the USA. Its economy which is already in bad shape will further suffer if the USA takes a hard stance on this issue. The intelligentsia in Pakistan is already raising its voice against the dominance of fundamentalist elements in its domestic policy.

On this side of the border, there are positive signs in favour of a lasting peace. An impressive turn-out in the local elections in Kashmir, even in its disturbed areas, shows public disillusionment with violence and religious fanaticism. This sentiment will grow with active administrative and political support.

No doubt, this initiative has cost us some innocent lives. But this sacrifice should not be allowed to go waste and we must persist with the peace initiative even if it has to be unilateral at this stage.



Majitha poll

The news about by-election in Majitha is a bolt from the blue. There are only 10 months left for the Punjab Legislative Assembly to expire and the ruling party is in absolute majority. Holding a by-election at this stage will only amount to wasting money and effort. The Chief Election Commissioner should give a second thought to the decision to hold this by-election.


Selling vegetarianism

It cannot be denied that vegetarianism is spreading in the West, particularly the UK where various Indian vegetarian snacks are attracting Britons in large numbers. It is a fact that Indian vegetarian cuisine offers a variety of delectable dishes to suit all tastes. This, together with the increasing menace of diseases stemming from non-vegetarian food, has created the opinion that vegetarian food is more nutritious and healthy.

Time is now ripe for the Indian Government and businessmen to market Indian vegetarian food in the world by setting up chains of vegetarian restaurants and also by exporting such vegetarian snacks that can have a long shelf life. Western celebrities who are vegetarian by choice can be approached for signing up a marketing campaign.

R. N. LAKHOTIA, New Delhi

GJU Registrar

The appointment of a college lecturer as Registrar of Guru Jhambeshwar University, Hisar, is a welcome step. But the appointment has been made on political considerations without following the prescribed procedure.

Under the GJU Act and statutes, read with the Haryana Government’s notification No 1/1/99-Edu. I (i) dated 8.12.2000, the post of a university registrar is a ‘selection post’ to be filled by direct recruitment on the basis of an all-India advertisement. The appointment of some IAS officers as registrars of some universities is already under consideration of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The office of a university registrar is a public office and in matters relating to public appointments, whether by promotion or by direct recruitment, the requirement to be complied with is the mandate of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. There should be equality of opportunity and no discrimination. The Haryana Government continues to undermine university autonomy by acting in an illegal and arbitrary manner.


Misleading ads

Most of the manufacturers, and dealers mislead the consumer with misleading advertisements. The customer is attracted by the affordable price of the product without seeing the bottom line with an asterisk which says something different in small print. Such lines are generally overlooked by the customer and he never gets the product at the advertised price.

The Government should make rules to stop such misleading advertisements and ban such business tactics.

S. S. UTREJA, Nangal Township


Injustice to PCMS doctors

Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, is holding an entrance test for its post-graduate courses on March 4. According to the prospectus, 25% of the seats will be filled on an all-India basis through an all-India competitive entrance test to be held by the Government of India. The remaining seats will be filled through the postgraduate entrance test (PGET). Of these, 60% will be filled from among the eligible Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) in-service doctors and 40% will be open to all eligible medical graduates who are residents of Punjab.

The Government, for the first time, has mentioned in the prospectus that PCMS doctors who get admission to the post-graduate courses under the sanctioned quota will be given extraordinary leave without pay for the period of the course and will be paid stipend at the same rate as is paid to the others. Previously, PCMS doctors who used to get admission under this quota were allowed full salary and were treated as on duty.

The decision to deny PCMS doctors their salary and not to treat them on duty during the course of the study is most unfortunate. A serving doctor, who is the sole bread winner of his family, will never be able to do post-graduation. It is worth mentioning that post-graduate students have to pay Rs 21,000 during the first year, Rs 24,500 during the second year and Rs 27,500 during the third year. Only a few years ago, the annual fee was less than Rs 1,000.

The Government first increased the annual fee tremendously and now it has decided to withdraw the doctors’ salaries. Thus, only persons belonging to the privileged sections of society will have access to post-graduate medical courses. The Government of Punjab should withdraw this unjust decision.

AJAY BAGGA, Hoshiarpur

Quake-hit animals

More time is required to assess the exact magnitude of the tragedy in Gujarat. But the agony of animals trapped under the debris, dead, alive or injured, is still to be realised. The biggest ever relief operation in the history of independent India is conspicuous by the absence of any relief to animals in the disaster-hit area. Relief work will remain inadequate if due attention is not paid to the animals in distress. Teams of vets should be included in this relief effort.

Gujarat has been facing a drought for the past three years and now after the earthquake the need for fodder and medicines for animals will become all the more acute. Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are in a position to send fodder to Gujarat. The Railways should allow free transport of fodder to the state in distress. Animal welfare organisations under the Animal Welfare Board of India should arrange fodder and medicines for the affected animals.



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