Saturday, August 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Don’t blame Fifth Pay Commission

Every other day some write-up or the other keeps appearing in the press blaming the Fifth Pay Commission for all economic ills of the country. The commission has become a fond whipping boy. Its recommendations are labelled as unjustified and excessive. The commission sits once in 10 years as per the terms and conditions of government service. How is it unjustified then? And the recommended pay increase fails to neutralise the price rise fully. How is it excessive then?

If the conditions of service of the government staff are so attractive, why then it fails to attract the brilliant people who keep turning to the private sector?

Whenever there is talk of downsizing the government machinery, the axe falls on the employees alone. Why not downsize the bloated ministries which are mere white elephants? Why not curtail the expenditure on the perks and freebies enjoyed by the MLAs, the MPs and the ministers?

Poor pensioners are also not spared who earn their pension after putting in over 30 years of service unlike the MPs who get the pension for rendering hardly any service worth the name. The long life span of pensioners has also become an eye-sore.

The VRS was devised as a way out. Now it is being alleged that it benefits the employees more than the government. Why is there no VRS for the politicians? Must they die in harness and well past seventies or eighties?

For goodness sake lay the blame where it lies, not the Fifth Pay Commission.

WG Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar


Physical profile of our leaders

The physical profile of our top leaders is rather embarrassing. The President remains sick like his predecessor who used to wobble around awkwardly. On one occasion, Dr S.D. Sharma even sank on his weak legs during a public function — a spectacle photographs of which some uncharitable journalists published in the media. It was a pathetic presentation of the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the largest democracy in the world.

Admitted to RR Hospital, President Narayanan could not attend Vijay Divas in the Capital. Even our PM gives the look of a tired and sick man. He struck such a poor comparison with President Musharraf. Contrast this with the profiles of the heads of other countries.

K. D. SHARMA, Santoshgarh (Una)

Still in Pak jails

After the war is over, sacrifices made by military men are forgotten. Their widows and orphaned children are allowed to suffer endless ordeals of harsh social environments. Wounds of the 1971 war are still causing pains to the family members of those who were taken prisoners or declared missing.

Did the successive governments initiate any move to secure the release of those unfortunate PoWs? No complaints, no grudging, no heartburn, life looks to be going smooth for men in uniform. But their affected families are clamouring to seek release of their dear ones from Pakistani jails. Pakistan has vehemently denied the presence of any PoW under detention in their country, even though relatives and human rights organisations have clinching evidence to that effect.

Did we ever analyse as to why Pakistan has stuck to such a stand? Pakistan has very bad human rights record against Indian security forces. In the light of this, we can well imagine the physical and mental condition of those languishing in their jails. In such circumstances Pakistan cannot afford to release them and earn worldwide criticism. The Government of India, therefore, must put to use high class diplomacy and exert world power pressure on Pakistan to get the release of PoWs.

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala

PTU counselling

The second counselling for admissions to various engineering colleges held by Punjab Technical University should be cancelled and a fresh date announced giving a clear cut number of vacancies. My daughter was one of the candidates at the second counselling on July 30. REC seats were being offered without giving the name of the branch.

We asked for computer science in Government College, Forezepore. I was told that “status of the Ferozepore college is not available since the fax message sent by them is not legible”. I told them to get the status confirmed on the telephone but they said “it is not possible at this time”.

Certainly, they wanted to favour somebody with a lower rank. Can PTU clarify why the second counselling was held when they had no clear information about their own colleges, what to talk of RECs, and why the candidates were made to pay second time the counselling fee of Rs 2,500?

Further, it is clearly mentioned in the prospectus of PTU that “he/she will have to surrender 10% of his/her tuition fee to the institute in which he/she was admitted after first counselling and the balance 90% tuition fee and funds will be transferred to the other institution/university.”

But we were again made to pay a full fee of Rs 45,500 though we had already paid the same after first counselling in another PTU college. Then again there was third counselling. How can a common man be expected to pay thrice for a single seat in PTU colleges? Why cannot PTU accept full fee at the time of first counselling and transfer the same (after deducting 10%) to the college concerned.


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