Monday, March 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Decline and fall of Punjab’s universities

I am appalled by the decline of the three key universities of Punjab — Punjabi University, PAU and GND university. Each of these universities is engulfed in scandal and controversy. It is shameful that instead of earning laurels for education, development and academic excellence, the Vice-Chancellors of these universities are busy defending charges of corruption and scandal.

I cannot comment on the truth behind these charges, but can only lament at the sad state of affairs. Our children are witness to the sorry drama being enacted everyday in these universities. A sordid saga of unscrupulous behaviour is unfolding and we parents watch helplessly.

All three Vice-Chancellors were appointed by the Badal administration, and each appointment was under a cloud of suspicion and barrage of accusations. It seems those allegations of favouritism were true and we are witnessing the outcome of some poor appointments by the Akali government. As it is said, one reaps what one plants.

With the atmosphere of controversy in our institutes of higher learning, how can we expect to match other states in education? I dread to think of what the future holds in such a violated academic environment.

Prof AJIT SINGH GILL, Ludhiana

Save colleges

Apropos the editorial “PU in financial straits” (March 9), the Punjab Government has not only withdrawn its hand from its statutory financial obligation towards Panjab University but, as per reports, it has imposed a 10 per cent cut in grants per year on all universities and aided private colleges and wants these educational institutions to be financially self-dependent. This is a complete U-turn for the new Congress government which in its election manifesto had not only promised to implement the pension and gratuity scheme for the teaching and non-teaching staff of private colleges but had also promised to solve other problems of these colleges in the state.

Y.P. MAKKER, Malout


VCs in trouble

These are strange times that we live in. While the developed world is giving maximum importance to higher education by ensuring high quality of university education, we Indians are making a mockery of the system. The never ending controversy at Punjabi University is an indication of the importance we give to education. How shameful that a university VC has allegations of hooliganism against him. Is there any limit before we put an end to all this?

When the very people entrusted with the responsibility of moulding our future generation are embroiled in such controversy, I fear for our students. The case of the other universities is similar too. The Vice-Chancellor of PAU is also a controversial figure, with cases pending against him in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, for victimisation of an employee. His appointment as VC was questionable too, and there is a case pending against him on that account also.

The point is that we are entrusting our future generation to people who are unworthy of holding such offices. And all this is a result of politicisation of Punjab’s university system. We rake up these sensitive issues, but sadly, soon forget them. I hope the new government will be more careful about appointments, especially in educational institutions. We need some hard working and dynamic people at the helm of affairs, which is not what can be said of the present lot.

Prof SUNEETA DHIR, Chandigarh

Lt-Gen Arjun Ray

Lt-Gen Arjun Ray, Leh Corps Commander, has put in his papers seeking premature retirement. He is the second Commander of this crucial corps to do so. One fails to understand why a highly distinguished and decorated officer who was handpicked to lead the Leh Corps after the Kargil conflict should have felt the need to leave the Army. Is there something more to it — with regard to matters impinging on the security of the nation — apart from the run-of-the-mill reasons normally trotted out on such occasions? Or is the Lt-Gen merely looking for greener pastures outside after having reached his peak in the Army with no further scope for advancement? Where has the pride and commitment to the noble profession of soldiering of yesteryears gone? Why is it becoming increasingly difficult to attract/retain talent in the armed forces? What are we doing about it?

Wg Cdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida

Raw deal to martyrs

Major P.C. Thakur in his statement in the report “Kin of martyrs getting fair deal” has made claims which are false and ridiculous.

During battle casualties, officers get Rs 25,000, JCOs get Rs 15,000 and jawans only Rs 10,000. This is straight from the government table published in the USI Journal (pages 373-374 dated July to Sep., 2001). The government has not cared to deny this or put forward facts to the contrary.

Brig VEERINDER KHANNA (retd), Shimla

Austerity: Punjab style

The Punjab Government is facing a financial crunch and is not in a position to pay the salaries to its employees. But on the very outset, the new government took the royal austerity measures by appointing five DGPs, 11 Addl DGPs and a number of IGs. Punjab being a very small state, do we need so many top police officials? Why should the common man pay for their royal style of living when they are not required at all?

They live in fortified houses, move with 4-5 vehicles along with a battery of gunmen, have scant regards for the common citizen. Punjab officials’ style of living and working is like that of lords. See all the offices manned by gunmen who stop the common man from approaching these officers. One fails to understand what is the risk of life for them and their families moving with gunmen in bazars in government vehicles.

If there is no vacancy, why promote an official? The new government must look into it to prove its credibility for good governance.

G.S. BHULLAR, Jalandhar cantt

Indian Political Service?

Capt Amarinder Singh has transferred almost all senior police officers of Punjab. Does this mean that for the last five years, wrong and incompetent officers were holding key positions in the state? Or is there a need to change the abbreviation of the IPS to the Indian Political Service.


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