Monday, April 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Teachers’ performance

THIS refers to the report ‘Seven principals reverted as lecturers’, published on March 27.

The promotion policy of the state government regarding college lecturers needs to be given a second thought. The existing ACR proforma leaves much to be desired in the matter of objective and qualitative judgement. Except the “results” column the entries are subjective, based on general impression and are often made on extraneous considerations. The current criterion of getting 15 marks out of 20 helps neither the system nor the cause of education. It only promotes the culture of sycophancy or arm-twisting. The criterion demands that those writing the ACRs should be more principled than the principals, which seems to be a tall order.

A teacher’s performance should first be quantified on a rating scale which can be converted into a qualitative appraisal.

In the present system the line between merit and non-merit is rather hazy. Seniority-cum-merit will be more logical till a fool-proof criterion is evolved.



CNG deadline

Thousands, perhaps lakhs of commuters, office and school goers, and visitors will be the helpless victims of the Government’s inability to provide facilities to convert vehicles to CNG. Why and how the Government has failed to solve the problem when the issue was before it all the time, is beyond comprehension. Obviously it is the negligence of the Government of India and the State Government. There can be any number of excuses but these will not solve the problems of the people. Even now the government should take purposeful steps to ensure that road transport users in Delhi are not penalised for no fault of theirs.


Reducing pollution

The decision to put buses and auto- rickshaws of Delhi on CNG will reduce air pollution in the capital greatly. People have all along been complaining of pollution and according to one estimate 25 per cent of the population of Delhi suffers from pollution-related diseases.

Foreigners as well as domestic visitors to the capital feel suffocated on landing. Those who have to live in the city are trapped in this situation and have learnt to live with it.

The government should also stop the plying of auto-rickshaws, buses, trucks, taxis, etc. one day in a week so as to keep pollution to a low level. Moreover, such pollution-reducing measures as CNG vehicles should also be introduced in other cities which have high levels of pollution.


NPA withdrawal

The decision of the Himachal Pradesh Government to withdraw the non-practising allowance of Medical Officers, Dental Surgeons, Ayurvedacharyas and Veterinary Officers will push the objective of “Health For All” beyond our reach.

The prices of medicines are already sky-rocketing and the general unavailability of medicines in state hospitals has put treatment beyond the reach of many. The people, however, had the benefit of free medical advice available to them. The withdrawal of this facility can endanger many lives. The doctors will now devote the best part of their energies to private practice.

The government has also decided that people bringing their animals to veterinary hospitals will pay for the medicines administered to their animals.

These decisions deserve to be reconsidered since these are likely to hurt the welfare character of the state.

The policy-makers should remember that they are entitled to free medical services and reimbursement of the cost of medicines and tests if these are not available in government hospitals. The common man is already at a disadvantage in this regard.

L.R. SHARMA, Solan

Smoking hazards

The Union Cabinet has approved the enactment of new law to ban tobacco advertisements of any kind, smoking in public places or sale of tobacco products to minors. But how such legislation can be enforced is a moot point.

More important than legislation is health education to adolescents in schools. Those who start smoking in their adolescent age, have a 50 per cent chance of dying of tobacco-related diseases. Half of them will die in middle age, thereby losing 22 years of their expected life span.

We should encourage young smokers to quit and non-smokers not to start. Anti-smoking programmes should be introduced in schools and colleges.

Issues like the health hazards of tobacco cannot be solved by legislation alone. These require a grand alliance of the people, the policy-makers, the professionals and the media.

R. S. BEDI, Patiala

Custodial deaths

This refers to the report “Custodial deaths at Ellanabad (March 27). This barbaric and inhuman crime will continue unabated unless the top echelons of the police force ensure proper compliance of the Supreme Court’s directions. The supervisory officer of a police station should be held responsible for custodial deaths. Further, there is need to educate the lower ranks about the implications of custodial deaths which entail suspension, prosecution and finally conviction.

Rough and tough policemen usually start beating a person without ascertaining facts and they do not realise that torturing a suspect is illegal. The deceased’s heirs should be paid compensation and the amount should be realised from the accused police officers on conviction. The NHRC should order an enquiry and suitable compensation should be paid to the bereaved family, pending further action against these malcontents of the police force.

H. L. KAPOOR, New Delhi

Beautifying Shimla

Every now and then meetings are held to beautify Shimla but hardly anything concrete emerges from them. Now there is a report about a plan to beautify The Mall. The authorities should first clean and beautify Shimla’s entrance. The spill-over of motor mechanics on the National Highway, the dumping of condemned vehicles and haphazard parking in Kachhighati and the Barrier, are all virtual eye sores. Previously, sacks of seed potato used to greet the tourist.

Visitors to Shimla are dissatisfied and tourism is Himachal’s major revenue-earner.

Only the Tourism Information Centre provides a welcome relief, though it fails to serve its purpose. The sight of policemen at the centre, is enough to scare the tourist away.



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