Thursday, January 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Senior citizens and airfares

The aged flyers are aggrieved to read the bad news in the papers that all domestic airlines in the country are planning to reduce the discount on airfares. Thus, the 50 per cent rebate on fares currently offered to senior citizens is planned to be cut. This will add insult to injury because of the already reduced interest on bank F/Ds and other investments which have made a heavy dent in the fixed income of most senior citizens.

On behalf of the senior citizens, I fervently appeal to the managements of all domestic airlines to take a very sympathetic view about senior citizens, who might discontinue flying and resort to rail journey which will cause discomfort to them and will have an adverse impact on the revenues of the airlines.

The airlines, by continuing the present discount, will at least recover a great deal of their cost of journey by senior citizens, and will stand to lose the same if there is a cut in the rebate on airfares. It is hoped that all the domestic airlines will make a public pronouncement that the current rebate on airfares to senior citizens will continue without any cut.

R.N. LAKHOTIA, New Delhi

Contractual jobs

Having read the article ďOf regular and contract teachers (Dec 29, 2002), one wonders at the grim truth highlighted by the author. It seems that commitment and motivation awaken oneself in a novel fashion as experienced by the committed teacher.


Since final year law students at the Law Faculty are taught only by practising lawyers who are engaged on a part-time basis, it was also my experience as a part-time lecturer that the contractual appointment always provoked and motivated my inner sense to be ever prepared for answers to possible questions which came up in evening teaching sessions where working students often spoke from experience from different walks of life. I now contrast these experiences from my student days in the same classrooms in the same Law Faculty where regular lectures by full-time teachers were only a routine for students meant to complete the requisite percentage of lectures necessary to sit in the examinations.

Does, then, a part-time or contractual engagement create and inbuilt awareness, self-consciousness and result-oriented approach? Somehow the thought that the contract appointment will not be available in the event of dissatisfactory results does create an inner fear of losing an engagement in which the moral disappointments seem to be much more than the financial losses. On the other hand, if there is no inbuilt accountability system, as is the situation prevailing in the conventional regular appointments, any non-performance or under-performance is unlikely to create a deterrent effect either on the teacher or the taught.

Does, therefore, the solution lie in injecting discipline and accountability by a complete change in the mode of teaching systems? Whether it is hospitals, public offices, teaching institutions or public functions, experience shows that a contractual or a part-time functionary performs much better with a better degree of responsibility and accountability. Should we, therefore, begin from where we started. Does our education system need revolutionary changes? Perhaps, the learned author seems to be looking for such answers.

ANIL MALHOTRA, Advocate, Chandigarh

Limited secularism

On the occasion of the 63rd Indian History Congress session at Guru Nanak Dev University, at Amritsar, Prof Irfan Habib justly claimed that it was a premier organisation of Indian historians quite a few of whom had produced classics of historical research.

In the last sentence of the write-up, (The Tribune, Dec 28) he speaks of the glimpse of Harmandar Sahib. He also talks of the demolition of the Babri Masjid but fails to mention that the Indian History Congress did not protest against the military action at the Golden Temple.

The Achillesí heel of the History Congress is that its secularism is confined to Congress secularism, which has its tragic limitations that was amply demonstrated in the Gujarat Assembly elections. Neither the Congress nor the Indian History Congress is likely to survive with its limited secularism.



JEE-2003 & PTU test

Punjab Technical University has fixed May 25 as the date for the entrance test for admission to its B.Tech./B.E./B.Arch, etc, courses. The same date has, however, been already fixed for the Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), 2003, for admission to the undergraduate programmes at the Indian Institutes of Technology.

I hope the PTU authorities have no intention of preventing students from appearing for the JEE-2003 of the IITís. It is, therefore, requested that the date may be so fixed as not to clash with the IITís JEE (Mains)-2003.

Er. A.P. GAHLAN, Pathankot.


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