Wednesday, March 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



PSEB money misused in name of computerisation

Apropos of the news item “PSEB mess: what officials failed to mention”, I would like to mention a few other points that how in the name of computerisation, PSEB money is being wasted.

The PSEB purchased hundreds of PCs and its allied equipment worth crores of rupees. These PCs were distributed to all stenos/PAs of the department where these are being used only for the purpose of typing. Efficiency and productivity of any organisation can only be increased by identifying the areas in which computerisation can be done, and then computerising that area/field. But perhaps in the dictionary of the PSEB management typing letters on computers is computerisation.

Moreover, recently the HRD Department of the PSEB approved the names of 30 officials for specialised computer training in Visual Basic and MS-Access. Ironically, 22 of the 30 officials selected for the training are either accounts officers or electrical engineers. One can understand the meaning of training in say power sector reforms to electrical engineers. Similarly a training/seminar on financial accounting will be beneficial primarily to accounts officers. What purpose the specialised computer training to accounts officers and electrical engineers will serve is anybody’s guess.

It has become a fashion among influential low-ranking officials to first get PCs by using their links, then after two months, these officials declare that a snag has developed because the room in which their PC is placed is not air-conditioned. And these officials get air-conditioners sanctioned for their rooms. Otherwise, only very high-ranking officials (of SE rank and above) are eligible for ACs in their rooms.


It is high time that the PSEB management should stop misutilising money in the name of computerisation.

A. K. SINGLA, Patiala


This refers to my statement on the Arundhati Roy controversy (March 11). I am concerned here to point out one major alteration made in the statement, which misrepresented my argument.

Here is paragraph 5 of the published statement: “The critique of the state, including its courts, is not born out of hubris, power-seeking or similar other motives. It is indeed ennobling as it enlarges the scope of individual freedom and moves the human society towards self-rule and seek reform.”

This statement can be interpreted as implying that the critique of the state is “always” ennobling or that it is “never” born out of hubris etc. This was not my intent. My original statement was: “The critique of the state, including its courts, if not born out of hubris, power-seeking, or similar other motives, is indeed ennobling as it enlarges the scope of individual freedom and moves the human society towards self-rule and self-reform.”

I believe such important statements ought not to be tampered with on any pretext whatsoever. A newspaper has the right not to publish a statement, but not the right to change its form or content without taking the author into confidence.


Technical education

Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Minister for Technical Education, has rightly said that during the past five years Punjab has suffered a lot on the technical education front. Education lacks quality, emergence and direction. Emphasis is on the collection of money. So much so it has already gone beyond the reach of even the upper middle class.

Drastic steps are required to restructure and bring it within the reach of meritorious youth with whatever economic background. Producing tradition-ridden manpower will cut no ice. Emerging technologies have to be introduced with sufficient shop floor training for ready acceptance. Faculty with updated knowledge and experience supplemented by experts’ help is the need of the hour. No student should pass out without appropriate knowledge. The proposed revamping is laudable.

Dr RBL. BEDI, ex-Principal, Regional Engg. College, Jalandhar

Witty comments

Witty remarks written behind some trucks have been mentioned under the title “Tailpiece” from time to time.

Some years ago I saw the Punjabi quip “Rab ney dittiyaan gaajaraan vich ranba rakh” inscribed on the back of a truck at Rawalpindi (Pakistan). Literally it means: God has given you (a field of) carrots. Keep (your) hoe in them.

Idiomatically, it connotes: make hay while the sun shines. Someone told me that it was a sharp satire on the country’s corrupt leaders and officials who exploited every opportunity in a ruthless way for self-aggrandisement. Ms Benazir Bhutto was then Pakistan’s Premier.

At Lahore I saw “Taangey waala khair mangda” (Tonga driver prays for the safety/welfare of all) written on the front side of a beautiful Peshawari tonga. Its owner remarked that it was an exordial line of a popular Punjabi song: Taangey waala khair mangda/Taanga bhaavein Lahore da hovey tey bhaavein Jhang da. “Who will board my carriage unless I pray for the safety of the passengers?” he added. Instead of flogging the horse, he just touched its back with the whip and urged the animal on with the words “Chheti chheti pair put ghar saada door nahin”.

He did not know that it was an appropriate rhythmical Punjabi translation of Allama Iqbal’s Persian verse: Teiz tark gaam zan manzil-e-ma door neist (Walk apace. Our destination is not far away).


Scientist maltreated

It is painful to listen to the news about Dr Amarjit Singh Grewal, a scientist of international repute, running from pillar to post demanding justice. It was a former Vice-Chancellor of P.A.U., Dr Sukhdev Singh, who had invited this great son of soil to do entrepreneurial work in the field of veterinary immunology and produce a theileria vaccine. A large number of cross-bred calves used to succumb to this protozoal disease which has almost no cheap cure to be made available to the farmers once the animals get this malady. His work was really path-breaking and at last there was a vaccine which once given to the calves would make them immune to this virulent disease. Now in the name of budgetary cuts, not only his research is being shown the garbage bin but he has been made jobless. This is all due to the vested interests and dirty games being played by the authorities.

Dr AMRITPAL SINGH, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Iowa State Uni., USA

What a way to die!

Apropos of the editorial "What a way to die!" (March 15), it is a matter of anguish that the 22 young men who came to serve the nation met their grave in the septic tank. This exercise in the name of recruitment is a total farce. The nexus between agents and those in charge of recruitment is so strong that the long hands of the law can't reach them. This calls for a CBI inquiry.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), MohaliTop

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