Monday, October 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Non-recovery of loans: have the banks not learnt any lessons?

The All India Bank Employees Association has published a list of bank loan defaulters of Punjab and Chandigarh. The names of public sector, private and foreign banks and financial institutions have been given from where the loans were taken. The bad loans up to March 31, 2001, have been estimated at more than Rs 80,000 crore. The public sector banks have a major portion of such loans. These are called non-performing assets (NPAs). If the interest is added then the loan amount becomes more than Rs 1,50,000 crore.

Most of these loans were taken by corporate houses. Instead of repaying the loans, they have asked BIFR to declare their companies as sick units.

The banks have surplus money and they are in a race to provide loans to persons under various schemes. The recovery of such loans is very slow. Most of the banks have started providing credit card facilities to individuals. They give them incentives such as interest-free credit up to 50 days, free accident insurance, no transaction fee on petrol pumps, low annual fee, lower rate of interest etc. Thousands of persons who have taken credit cards do not make payments and banks cannot take any action. Ultimately, they post letters for recovery, but the credit card holders do not bother to return the money.

It is not known why the banks are going in for such policies when they put crores of public money in such a gamble. Have the banks not learnt any lessons?

M.L. GARG, Chandigarh


Organ trading

This refers to the letter by Mr Satya Pal Dang (Oct 21). Leftist politicians, specially of Mr Dang’s generation, are known for their finesse. The type of language used by him to tarnish the entire community of doctors is really surprising.

It is well known that in the Human Organ Transplant Act, 1994, mechanisms exist to check any malpractice. Copies of the Act are freely available. When the Punjab Assembly adopted this Act, Mr Dang or his colleagues must have been MLAs. If they had performed their duties seriously, they could have suggested amendments to the Act to plug loopholes, if any.

Even now it is also the duty of politicians to get any modifications introduced in the Act, if required. It will be appreciated if Mr Dang spends his energy in this direction. Rabble-rousing and maligning a community does not behave a man of his stature.

From the manner in which this controversy is being handled, it seems that some people want the police to bypass the legal procedures to get some confessions concocted with the sole purpose of harassing some doctors.

It is for the public and the media to guide the doctors as to how they can give the benefits of their skill to the needy patients. Our job is only to treat patients and we are neither interested in, nor have any time for, organ trading.



Travelling woes

The bus service from Chandigarh to Ludhiana after 8 p.m. is really pathetic or almost non-existent. As per the conductors on the counter, there is a bus at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. 00 hrs, 2 a.m. But it has been a major concern for me and other regular travellers as other than the 2 a.m. bus, there is no surety about the plying of the other buses. The roadways staff at the counter don’t usually entertain enquiries about the missing buses.

The Punjab Roadways enquiry is closed at this time although the adjoining Himachal Roadways enquiry window is open for assistance during the same hours. Further, at the ticket counter for Ludhiana bound buses a writing on the wall reads “Contact in room no. 11 for any complaints”. But the room no. 11 was also locked whenever I checked it out.


Roads in rural areas

Apropos of the news item “Bajwa promises wider highways” (Oct 18), I wish to draw the attention of the minister towards the need for proper maintenance of smaller roads linking rural and semi-urban areas of the state. For example, the condition of the road linking Morinda and Chamkaur Sahib is very poor. There are many potholes and some stretches are very dusty.

Although the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board has undertaken the work of widening and strengthening the state highways, the roads in the rural and semi-urban areas also need timely repair and maintenance.

DWARKA DASS, Makrauna Kalan (Ropar)

Training for teachers

This refers to Mr K.C. Sharma’s letter “Why appoint untrained school lecturers” (Oct 12). In Himachal the motive behind teachers’ recruitment is to provide jobs only. It has nothing to do with teachers’ pre-service and in service training. Most of the DIETs are run by untrained principals and lecturers. There is no teacher training institute to cater to the needs of Hindi, Sanskrit, drawing and physical education teachers in the state. At the primary level the qualification for ETT is 10+2 but matriculates are being recruited in Himachal. Four years back middle standard qualification was notified for primary teachers but it was withdrawn hastily due to criticism.

Trained JBTs are agitating for jobs (hunger strike at Nahan) but the posts meant for them have already been filled with the government appointing untrained “Vidya-upaskas”. Fifty per cent posts of lecturer at the school level are filled through promotion from the TGT cadre. But the H.P. government promotes only English, Social Science, Math and Physical Science teachers to the posts of Hindi and Sanskrit lecturer.


Ludhiana road

The condition of the Ludhiana-Ferozepur road is very deplorable, especially the patch from Baddowal cantt to Mullanpur Dakha. There are many potholes. A lot of damage is caused to the vehicles passing over this highway. This road had always been the pride of the state for being in good shape. But for the last few months is has become an ugly patch.

Dr D.S. DEOL, Dakha

Repair of chaupals

This pertains to the announcement by the Chief Minister of Haryana that all chaupals in villages will be repaired and converted into rest houses within a year. Most of the chaupal buildings were constructed in the traditional Indian style of architecture and opened for community use in the late 19th and early 20th century . The masons and artists who constructed and decorated them with wall-paintings etc took enough care to make these buildings very impressive. Today these have become objects of academic study by architects and artists.

The chaupals repaired in recent years by the village communities have been transformed into ugly buildings. The material used for repair was not suitable for undertaking the restoration work. The guiding principles for the conservation of community chaupals have to be prepared in consultation with the State Department of Archaeology, the Department of Culture and the NGOs specialising in such work. Otherwise the precious and last vestiges of our cultural heritage will be lost of ever.


Lesson from Salman

Apropos “A lesson to learn for Salman” (Profile by Harihar Swarup, Oct 13), I think the heading should have been “A lesson to learn from Salman”. And the contents should have been put on the business page in the form of an advertisement like this: “Kill one, injure a few, hire a pen pusher to extol your virtues, pay 19 lakh, and you will be an angel once again”.


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