Thursday, June 21, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



HP order on vehicles

A lot has been written about the discriminatory order of the Himachal Government regarding privatisation of vehicles for certain officers. A careful study of the order brings home the age-old adage in Hindi: andha baante rewari, apno ko hi de.

The order is by the IAS, for the IAS and of the IAS. Discarding all principles of fair-play and natural justice and salary-linked allowances, the wizards of the Finance Department have given a new varna system for its burgeoning babudom. If you belong to the IAS or the HAS you take away hefty packets, but if you belong to the IPS or IFS or PWD, IPH or any other department, you have to be content with a measily package.

The problem is with a group classified as "Heads of Departments" who have been allowed Rs 3,500 irrespective of their basic salary There are a large number of these Heads whose basic salary is less than the next group of administrative officers who must have a minimum basic salary of Rs 13,500 to draw Rs 2,500. The intentions of the babus become doubtful because they have taken into account only the pay-scales of the IAS and the HAS and have allowed liberal package to their own ilk.

The order is cleverly worded to pass on the benefit to over 150 Under Secretaries or Deputy Secretaries, naturally belonging to the HAS or the IAS who were authorised only an occasional use of the general pool car. But under the new dispensation, these babus with a basic of Rs 10,025 have been assured a minimum sum of Rs 1,500 per month. This is rank plundering of the finances of a poor state like Himachal Pradesh.


One dreads where this journey will stop. By passing such an order, the government seems to be paving the way for preferential treatment to babus in other allowances also, including TA, DA, LTC, etc. If the perks are not to be linked with salary, they smack of discrimination and pecuniary bias.

The financial wizards of the Dhumal government call it a "reimbursement package", which they claim cannot be taxable. It is naive on their part as all such perks come under the Income Tax Act. It is not clear whether the officers who opt for a government vehicle will get a free perk or the value of the perk will count towards their salaries for income tax purposes? If not, those who opt for the allowance will suffer doubly as the allowance attracts income tax.

Earlier all officers from the Chief Secretary downwards, who were based in Shimla, were getting 75 litres of petrol for their local official use. There was no discrimination in that order. The cost of 75 litres of petrol works out to about Rs 2,100. But by providing different slabs ranging from Rs 7,550 to Rs 1,500 the government has not catered for the POL, depreciation and maintenance of vehicles to a large number of officers who do not belong to the IAS and the HAS.

All IAS officers under the new dispensation will get a minimum allowance of Rs 3,500 whereas officers belonging to other all India services with service of over 16 years will get only Rs 2500. If the earlier order was based on equanimity, there is no justification for twisting the scheme to suit the pockets of the IAS and the HAS.

The order needs to be reviewed by involving officers from all services so that transparency can be ensured. The BJP governments are known to fall for tinkering with the interest of the employees. This time they have decided to take on all officers, other than those of the IAS and the HAS. The dissatisfaction among the officers will not make things easy for the Dhumal government. He should learn to steer clear of the designs of the babus whose advice to the "Mantriji" has ruined the financial health of the state and created a chasm between the government and its officers.

Vipin Chandel, Sanjouli (Shimla)

Passengers overcharged

A journey from Delhi to Chandigarh in a Haryana Roadways bus shows how rules are violated with impunity and passengers exploited. The moment the bus comes out of the ISBT, it picks up speed as it is participating in a race. At the Pipli bus stand a free royal treat awaits the driver and the conductor. They take their time to savour the free delicacies offered by the contractor, leaving passengers to be exploited, overcharged for substandard and inedible food stuff.

This happens in spite of displayed price lists approved by the General Manager, Haryana Roadways. The price list mentions "aloo pakora" and "sabji pakora" for Rs 3 but it actually costs Rs 4 or three are available for Rs 10. "Nimbu pani" priced at Rs 5 is sold for Rs 10. God help you if you point these discrepancies in the rates to the shopkeeper, you are showered with an impolite verbal assault.

Does the job of the GM end with the approval of the rate list? Is its implementation not his responsibility? The GM should make a journey from Delhi to Chandigarh in an ordinary bus to appreciate the hardships a common man has to face.

Harinder Mohan Singh, Chandigarh



Haryana college teachers

I want to draw the attention of the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, the Financial Commissioner and Secretary Education (Haryana) and the Commissioner of Higher Education, Haryana Ms Anuradha Gupta, regarding the award of senior/selection grades to college teachers of Haryana.

The new pay scale notification was notified on 8.12.2000 and it states that the awards of grades will not be held up on account of refresher/orientation courses but these must be completed by 2000. It is beyond our imagination that within 22 days (of December, 2000) a teacher will fulfil the conditions.

Does not this mean that teachers who are eligible for the award of selection grade by December 2000, be given their due. Unfortunately, it is not being done.

The Commissioner's letter dated 27.2.2001 deleted one condition for placement in the selection grade. According to this condition, the teacher was required to show his mark in the area of scholarship and research, which is expected from a college/university teacher but it seems that this condition was relaxed to give a chance of promotion to certain "influential" teachers who could do refresher courses but are unable to write any articles, what to say about a research paper.

May I request the authorities that the condition of refresher course be relaxed to those teachers who have shown scholarship. If that is not possible, all teachers be dealt with equally and all four conditions be applied for their promotion from the senior to selection grade.

The para (vi) of the pay revision notification dated 8.12.2000 and DHE letter of 27.2.01 gives benefit of ad hoc (continuous) service of more than one year but the same was withdrawn due to the Supreme Court verdict published on 2.3.2001. The teachers were informed by the CHE letter dated 4.4.2001 that the withdrawal of the benefit is subject to the UGC clarification. The UGC on May 15 clearly asked the Haryana Government to give the benefit of ad hoc service. But even after one month of the UGC clarification, the authorities are keeping mum.

The feeder cadre benefit, too, is being misinterpreted. According to this benefit, a teacher is to be placed in the selection grade after 13, 15 or 16 years of service or 5, 11 years whichever is earlier as promotion periods in the new pay scale case are smaller ones. The rule is to give the benefit to teachers who entered the job before 1996. But whereas teachers with 13, 15, 16 years are being dealt with under the 8.3.89 notification rules, (exempted) from refresher courses), teachers seeking benefit of years in service - i.e after 5/11 years, are being axed with conditions of refresher courses. This misinterpretation simply means that if you had done R/C you are entitled for benefit of years in service, otherwise not.

I request the Government of India to set up a commission to see if Academic Staff Colleges have been of any use in giving impetus to higher education. Actually, these are burdens on the national exchequer and have been set up to employ so-called resource persons-cum-retirees, who are of no use otherwise.

M. M. Singla, Kurukshetra

Not Nigerians

Apropos the Chandigarh Calling item titled "Addicted Nigerians" (June 18), the persons shown in the said photograph are not at all Nigerians as reported by you. There are at least six African countries whose nationals reside in the city. Nigeria is just one of them. The proper thing would have been to address such people as foreigners/Africans when unsure of their identity.

Dave Otokhine, General Secretary, Nigerian Students and Community
Association, Chandigarh

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