Tuesday, April 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


When PM, CM say they are helpless

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says, “We know that the situation in Gujarat is quite serious. But, we are helpless. Narendra Modi cannot be removed.” Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says, “We know that Vice-Chancellor Ahluwalia is morally corrupt. But, we are helpless, we cannot remove him.”

The Chief Minister further says, “We know that PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu is involved in large-scale corruption and has amassed a huge amount of money. But we are helpless, we cannot remove him.”

Such is the helpless state of affairs in the largest democracy of the world today. Within 50 years, we have reached a point where we let the negative forces take charge of us. We have reached the edge of the cliff where there is not a crack, not a crevice but a deep chasm between our expectations of good governance and reality, our responsibility and actions, our realisations of a malady and its redressal.

The gory bloodshed in Gujarat, the outrageous assault on the honour and dignity of the girl students in a high seat of learning and the fleecing of people of their hard-earned money by one of the high government officials, all these have failed to stir the souls of those who are at the helm of the affairs.



Yes! There is some consolation. Mr Amarinder Singh, immediately after taking over, announced that those government officials who had utilised the services of daily wagers in their “kitchens” will be identified and the salaries of those daily wagers will be recovered from the officers.

“We are helpless” has become the catch-word today; rather it is the new mantra to squeeze yourself out of a volatile situation, to turn your face away from responsibility.

I feel like saying “May God save our country!” But I think in this case, even God seems to be “helpless”.


Domestic Violence Bill

Your editorial ‘Domestic Violence Bill’ (April 3) is highly laudable as it aims at mobilising public opinion and pricking the law-makers’ mind and soul against domestic violence, physical as well as mental, meted out to women in the male-dominated society. Men are bugged with displaying male chauvinism and establishing their cruel authority in the name of “domestic harmony”.

It is painful to see women being treated cruelly and callously just to bring them round to “adjust to the domestic requirements” as if they were not made of flesh and blood and were devoid of any individual independent thinking. The pending ‘Domestic Violence Bill’ with the lawmakers at the Centre needs to be re-examined and re-drafted so as to help suffering women lead a life of grace and dignity and save them from abuse, insult and humiliation inflicted on them by the so-called superior gender.

C. L. ARORA, Ferozepore City

Cut overbridge charges

The Punjab and Haryana High Court needs to be commended for having directed the Punjab Government to open the overbridge on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Bhankarpur railway-crossing on April 13 to coincide with Baisakhi.

However, the use of the overbridge has put an extra financial burden on the people of Dera Bassi and surrounding villages. The toll tax, being charged by the authorities, is exorbitant.

A four-wheeler owner will have to pay Rs 20 for one trip (to and fro). The authorities should reduce the toll tax by 50 per cent for each trip. The validity of the slip issued should be for a minimum period of 12 hours. The charges of monthly passes should also be reduced. Preferably, commercial vehicles alone should be charged.


VC’s selection

The Punjab Government will soon face the problem of choosing a suitable person as the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University. Although there is no substitute for the Chief Minister’s own considered judgement in this regard, there are words of caution in the report of the University Education Commission (1948-49) headed by S. Radhakrishnan.

According to this report, the person to be chosen as a Vice-Chancellor “must have the strength of character to resist unflinchingly the many forms of pressure to relax standards of all sorts, which are being applied to universities today.” As an important check against inappropriate selection, the commission suggests that “ a man’s declared intention of seeking the Vice-Chancellorship” be deemed “as prima facie evidence of his unfitness for the post.”

There is also a significant observation in the report of the Education Commission (1964-66) headed by D.S. Kothari that “When the appointment of Vice-Chancellors becomes a matter of prestige and power politics, the battle may well be taken as lost.” The Kothari Commission is firmly of view that “the Vice-Chancellor should be a distinguished educationist or eminent scholar in any of the disciplines or professions, with a high standing in his field and adequate administrative experience” and is not “in favour of appointment of persons who have retired from other fields.”

As for the conditions of service, the Kothari Commission has recommended “that the retirement age for Vice-Chancellors should be fixed at 65 years” except in the case of “exceptionally qualified persons of all-India eminence”.

This has to be seen against the widely held view of life scientists that a man’s creativity stops growing about the time he reaches his middle age. As for pre-requisites, the Kothari Commission’s recommendation is that these “should not be qualitatively different from what apply to professors and other staff of the university.” Excluded from pre-requisites are all such benefits as “free house, free electricity and water”.

The crisis in Punjabi University has provided the government an excellent opportunity to tidy up the whole system. Will the government rise to the occasion?

H. K. MANMOHAN SINGH, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala.

PU exam

We, the following six candidates, were to appear in the B.A. I compartment English paper in this annual examination of Panjab University. When we arrived at the centre on April 2, we were told that the exam had already been held on Ist April. There must have been a communication gap. We request the Vice-Chancellor to give us a chance in the supplementary exam in Sept 2002.



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |