Wednesday, December 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Need to check misuse of law by police

Congratulations on the incisive analysis of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (Nov 21). I think the core of the problem has been diagnosed in the observation that when we send our security forces into a battle, it is for us to decide whether they should be well-equipped or whether they should go ahead with their hands tied behind their back.

In many countries there are laws far tougher than POTO. And these are applied when necessary with an iron hand.

While it is true that the police indulges in several perversities, our administrative focus ought to be to ensure that the police does not misuse the law. There is no point in blaming the law.

The havoc that Jaish-e-Mohammad and other terrorist outfits have wreaked in the Kashmir valley needs to be obliterated through draconian legislation, if necessary, and by executing the laws so enacted.

Imagine the cost and expenditure involved during the past 53 years in unnecessarily pandering to the people of Kashmir, to the great detriment of the national exchequer on the one hand and defending the Line of Control on the other. Truly we should have had Sardar Vallabhai Patel,who could have marched our armed forces into the valley and liberated Kashmir long ago. I am afraid the Nehruvian formulae have proved ineffective.

ROBIN GUPTA, IAS, Chandigarh


Health scenario

This refers to the news item “Punjab: 80% of infants hit by anaemia” (Nov 27). The findings of the National Health Survey II (1998-99) in respect of Punjab are quite disturbing despite the fact that huge investments have been made by the state government and the Punjab Health Systems Corporation in the past few years for strengthening the health care delivery system at various levels.

And it is painful to be informed that still 80 per cent of the children below three years are anaemic and 29 per cent are malnourished. Other health indicators, as revealed by the survey report, are also not encouraging except the downward trend observed in the fertility level.

The reasons for this state of affairs are not far to seek. The people in the rural areas, especially women and children of weaker sections of society, have lower health status compared to those in the urban areas. Moreover, in spite of the quantitative expansion of health care facilities in the rural areas, the quality of services remain poor as most of the institutions lack health manpower and inputs.

Simply put, now the people in the countryside have an access to a health care system which has miserably failed to meet their health needs. In a way, this situation has helped unqualified “doctors” to flourish without making any contribution to raise the level of community health.

Unless the state government makes serious efforts to bring about a qualitative improvement in the existing health care system and also stop its further expansion for some time, the picture in the future health surveys will be no better.

Dr S. S. SOOCH, Jalandhar

Communalising crafts

This refers to the editorial "Communalising crafts" (Nov. 27) in which the tiny issue of labels of "minority handicrafts" has been discussed with toxic overtones. The writer has inadvertently taken more into account the letter than the spirit. Well, in spite of all efforts of market economy and globalisation, India is still a welfare state. And to abide by the dictates of welfare, the successive governments after Independence have been adopting measures on various lines to serve the people of the country.

For example, there is reservation for SC, ST, OBC (it is a very long list) on the bases of caste, tribe and weaker section — just to promote those who have lagged behind, and not to create wedges.

There is Article 370 for a particular region perhaps only to encourage the path of prosperity. There are certain facts which are beyond any debate. For instance, the Muslim community is a minority community in India. By merely closing the eyes to this fact doesn't mean it is not there. There are so many other minority communities for that matter. The irony of the situation is that we have commissions, organisations, societies, groupings for the minorities but no eyebrows are raised. And now that some craftsmen of the minority communities have been labeled as such, there is a heated talk.


B.Ed selection

For the B.Ed seats at Jammu University more than 10,000 candidates applied from different parts of the country and faced a cumbersome system. Had the authorities answered queries on the phone correctly, I would have been saved four 12-hour journeys to the university, besides money and physical torture.

On October 31 candidates were shown a local newspaper report stating that the course is not recognised. It quoted Dr Devinder Singh, Convener of the B.Ed selection committee, saying that the course being under Article 370 is not recognised by the National Counsel of Teachers Education under the U.G.C. norms.

This was nowhere mentioned in the prospectus. Why did the university then go on collecting money from candidates, apart from wasting their time on counselling?


Pension for teachers

The Punjab Government is giving pension to non-government aided school teachers and school employees. Why is the approved pension scheme denied to the non-government college teachers? Most of the retired non-government college teachers have not been paid their due provident fund because P.F. is to be deposited in the Teachers Corpus Fund from which pension is to be given.

Many college managements have not paid gratuity to teachers on retirement on the plea that gratuity is included in the non-implemented pension-gratuity scheme. The retired college teachers are suffering. Even their own old colleagues, the leaders of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union have stabbed them in the back by advancing the date of implementation of the pension scheme, which is 1.4.1992.

The Punjab government must honour its pledges and implement the law with effect from 1.4.1992 immediately. Otherwise the retired college teachers will sit in indefinite dharna in Mr Badal's constituency.

B. S. PANNU, SamralaTop

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