Monday, September 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India



In defence of hiring management experts

This has reference to the editorial ‘PSEB: towards darkness’ (Sept 20). While reserving my comments on other issues, I would like to comment on one of the issues i.e. ‘hiring of management experts. In this regard, I would like to take you back to Jan 17, 2000 when I assumed the charge of this vast organisation.

What I observed was that, although we have marched into new millennium and the 21st century, the PSEB was frozen in the past. To try to take the organisation out of this state, I thought of exposing the same to outside management experts and picked up Mr Pran Nath in Delhi, former Director (Personnel), the National Thermal Power Corporation. I discussed the subject matter with him and requested him to organise a ‘workshop’. It was also decided to invite experts from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, who had been interacting with the NTPC on management issues.

I was shocked to know that for the last 30 years no such exercise had been carried out. For any vital organisation, it is necessary to know what is happening outside and thus update itself. Unfortunately, the condition was exactly the opposite.

The question is not that how much has been paid to the consultants. It is irrelevant because for a special subject, expertise is available and only those who had been dealing with power sector were invited. It was a three-day workshop and each expert was paid Rs 4000 per day plus usual facilities. The more experienced the consultant, the higher will be the consultancy fee. This is same as in the case of advocates, doctors and other professionals.

World renowned management expert like Dr Deepak Chopra charges Rs 1 lakh and above for a four-hour talk. Hence the observation that experts can be hired locally becomes irrelevant, inappropriate and misleading.

The whole exercise including the expenses incurred on the participants might have cost less than a lakh working out to less than a thousand rupees per participant per day. In my opinion, this is wise investment in the people and in the long-term interest of the organisation. There is already a perceptible change in the work culture and I wish the exercise could be continued.


Chairman, PSEB, (on leave) Chandigarh


BANKRUPT BODY: Apropos of the editorial PSEB towards darkness’ (Sept. 20), it has been rightly observed that the PSEB has been reduced to a bankrupt organisation due to lack of political will.

It is the competitive populism which is playing havoc with every state electricity board. At the time of elections, every political party pledges certain benefits for a section of consumers for its short-term gains, which in long-term proves disastrous for the organisation.

Political interference in the day-to-day working of any organisation not only saps the moral of staff but also make them inefficient. The need of the hour is that political leadership should rise to the occasion and allow the electricity board to run on commercial lines so that they become financial viable.

V.K. GUPTA, Ropar

A wrong proposal

Apropos the report “Teachers to work for 5 years in rural areas” (Sept 21), the Education Department of Haryana has given a wrong proposal to amend the State Education (School and Inspection Cadre) (Group B) Service Rules, 1998, by posting all selected school cadre lecturers by the direct method in a rural area for five years from the date of appointment.

My question to the department is: is this decision not “draconian” for the urban candidates who will be selected for this job? Why should they be punished by posting them in the rural areas far from the cities in which they live!

Dr. CHATTAR SINGH AHLAWAT, Julana (Haryana) 

Pakistan's one up?

You have rightly remarked in your editorial "Crushing terrorism globally" (Sept 14) that Pakistan has an optionless option. I think India too has no other option. It will be foolhardy to do otherwise. China is shrewd. It is asking for a price to give its nod. It has also advised Pakistan to do the same. Acceptance of all US demands by Pakistan indicates that a deal has, perhaps, been struck. The USA demanded support from Pakistan and has got it. India voluntarily offered support which the USA has still not sought. Implications are not far to seek.

It appears that American anger against terrorism is US specific. It may cold-shoulder India when it comes to dismantling terrorist network in Pakistan, PoK and Afghanistan which is spreading terror in Kashmir. The USA may politely decline to use facilities in India even for its specific targets in Afghanistan. That would mean that Pakistan has succeeded in isolating India instead of getting isolated itself. Is Pakistan one up over India?

Opposition by Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan to the government's move is clear and unambiguous. Whereas in India the support offered by some of the political parties is laced with warnings of caution which they can exploit when the time comes, as it happened after the Agra summit.

That way Gen Musharraf is better placed than Mr Vajpayee. He, there, at least knows the mind of his opponents.

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

Allama Iqbal

In his seventh P.N. Haksar memorial lecture at Chandigarh, Prof V.N. Datta said, inter alia, that poet Iqbal wrote poems eulogising Lord Rama (Sept 10).

Allama Iqbal wrote only one poem on Rama describing him as “Imaam-e-Hind” or a religious leader of India (“Aihl-e-nazar samajhtey hain is ko Imaam-e-Hind”). He called Guru Nanak “Mard-e-Kaamil”, or the Perfect Man (“Hind ko ik Mard-e-Kaamil ney jagaaya khaab sey”). On his poem “Aaftaab”, a loose rendering of the Gayatri mantra, a bigoted Muslim prepared a “fatva” (a religious edict) against him, but the well-meaning Islamic scholars did not endorse it. Islam forbids the worship of gods and goddesses. Yet the poet declared: “Khaak-e-vatan ka mujh ko har zarrah devta hai.”

In fact, Iqbal wrote many beautiful poems, which reflected his patriotic fervour and belief in communal harmony. But soon he became a strong propagator of Pan-Islamism and ardently wished the ascendancy of his faith. “Muslim” and “Islam” frequently featured in his poems. In suppression of Taraana-e-Hindi, not Hind (“Hindi hain ham vatan hai Hindustan hamaara), he wrote Taraana-e-Milli (“Muslim hain ham vatan hai saara jahaan hamaara”).

He took pride in being a highly enlightened Muslim despite being a scion of a Brahmin family (His ancestors were Sapru Brahmins of Kashmir). Instead of breathing his last on the Indian soil, he aspired to die in the area around Mecca and Medina (“Main maut dhoondta hoon zameen-e-Hijaaz mein”). The Muslims lost their case about Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj in Lahore, which they claimed as a mosque, in the Punjab High Court. Iqbal declared that if the All-India Muslim League resorted to direct action to regain the same, he would be the first to sacrifice his life. In his poem “Shikvah”, he expostulated with God on bestowing His favours on non-Muslims (“Raihmatein hain teri aghyaar key kaashaanon par/Barq girti hai to be-chaarey Musalmaanon par”).

Yet the fact remains that Iqbal was a great poet of unusual talents. He wrote many prophetic verses. His poetry is a great source of inspiration. The central message of his poetry is that man should fortify his will power (“Khudi”) for an honourable existance.

He said: “Teri zindagi isee sey teri aabroo isee sey/Jo rahi khudi to shaahi na rahi to roo-siyaahi” (“Roo-siyaahi” means disgrace). He is honoured as Shaair-Mashriq (Poet of the East).


Sensational item

Apropos the news item "Pannu's vehicle carried liquor bottles" (Sept. 11), one does not find any relation of the liquor bottles with the details of insurance and the versions of insurance people and SGPC officials. Your correspondent has mentioned liquor bottles to make this news of "insurance claim" sensational. I do not expect this from The Tribune.


Row among scientists

A row among top scientists at the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, has caused distress to all those associated with the institute. Reports of scientists' frustration hamper their performance. The Ministry of Human Resource Development or the ICAR need to check a sense of negativity prevailing in research institutes.


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