Tuesday, July 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



PM deserves credit for the Lokpal Bill

Apropos of the editorial “Another Lokpal Bill'' (July 2), Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee deserves credit for perserving with the new Bill as also for including his office under the jurisdiction of the proposed Lokpal. Admittedly, the institution of Ombudsman will be of little consequence if it has no teeth. In fact, this is what has been happening in the states in the name of Lokayuktas. These institutions have become rehabilitation centres for retired judges, punishment postings for police officials and a drain on the state exchequer.

The intellectuals should try to mould public opinion in favour of a strong and effective Lokpal. They should put pressure on the political class and the bureaucracy to incorporate stringent and deterrent provisions into the new Bill so that it becomes an effective tool to dispense speedy justice against the corrupt people in high places.

The Lokpal should have absolute powers to requisition investigative personnel from any Central agency who should be answerable to the former alone. There should be no undue conditions on complainants like filing of affidavits declaring that if the case is not established prima facie, the complainant shall be liable for punishment. Who will then come forward to file petitions? And how can a lay man establish a case without engaging a lawyer after giving a hefty fee?

The onus of accepting and investigating a complaint or rejecting it should lie on the Lokpal. He should have the power to prosecute, not just the power to recommend prosecution to the government as is the case now in the states. The government should not exercise discretion in the matter of adjudication by the Lokpal.



A meaty question

The editorial “Corruption — a meaty question” (July 16) was thought provoking. I wonder why corrupt officers do not feel small in front of honest officers. The reason is simple — the more corrupt you are, the more efficient officer you are considered by your political masters.

It is sad that corruption has been "institutionalised" in our country. In this whole murky system, the sufferer is the common man. Any one thinking about him?


Betrayal of farmers

Media reports create an erroneous impression that the Kaljharani Demonstration Rural Project has been abandoned because of it being a “step child” of the present government. However, the Badal Government itself had shelved this project in 1999 as reported in The Tribune (July 29,1999). This episode requires an in-depth probe to ferret out the truth.

Having visited Israel in 1994, I was instrumental in motivating the then Chief Minister to visit Israel in 1997. The delegation was impressed by the agro technologies and systems responsible for giving Israel the most modern, successful and sustainable agricultural sector.

Israeli agriculture is concentrated in the form of settlements: (a) the Kibbutz's — a collective settlement in which the members owned the means of production as the land belongs to the Government and work for the benefit of all; (b) Moshava — A cooperative settlement of individual family farms which maintain and operate mutual economic and social services; and (c) the Moshav — a group of private farmers who organise themselves locally for the marketing of the produce and purchase of inputs. Israeli cows now have a lactational milk yield (in 305 days) with the national average of over 11,000 litres. These results have been achieved in spite of the harsh climate and acute shortage of water and land. These constraints were removed through innovations like cooling the cows, the Total Mixed Ration (TMR) system based on the utilisation of unconventional byproducts of agro-based processing industry and conventional concentrates. Milk production has been adjusted in the agriculture sector by carefully comparing the alternative values obtainable from their extremely limited land and water resources.

The Badal government decided to implement the Israeli systems on panchayat lands in Kaljharani village but vested interests sabotaged the project which was shelved on June 25, 2001. Unles the ruling party has the political will, discipline its officials and introduce accountability, we shall remain deprived of new technologies.

Punjab needs dynamic leaders like the late S. Pratap Singh Kairon. Great projects need visionary leaders who can command and achieve targets.

DR G.B.S. KAHLON, Former Milk Commissioner (Punjab), Chandigarh

No English teachers

Despite opposition from educationists, teachers and writers, the Punjab Government has made English compulsory from Standard One onwards i n government schools. But the problem is that in primary schools, there is no provision for subject teacher and one teacher teaches all the subjects including English. Without qualified English teachers, the new policy may not succeed.

Surprisingly, there are no English teachers for students up to Standard Tenth. Though there are subject teachers for Hindi, Punjabi, Mathematics, Science and Music, there is no post of English teacher. If the Punjab government is eager to make English attractive and effective, a post of English Teacher in the Master cadre should be sanctioned immediately. The minimum qualification for English teacher should be at least B.A with English Literature/Effective Subject (not compulsory English) and B.Ed and English as teaching subject i.e teaching of English and M.A English may be preferred.

The Punjab Education Minister (Schools), Principal Secretary (School Education), DPI (Secondary), Chairman, Punjab School Education Board and other authorities should examine this issue and act accordingly. The Director, Regional Institute of English, Chandigarh, may also be consulted for policy inputs. But the practice of teaching English without English teacher should be discontinued as early as possible.

Dr HARNEK SINGH KOMAL, DAV College, Bathinda

CBI on the mat

Apropos of the report “CBI fails to trace the girl’s murderer” (June 22), the confidence of the common man in the CBI will get eroded after reading the judgement of the Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The case relates to the rape and strangulation of a minor eight years back.

While refusing to accept the CBI report in the case, the Bench asserted, “the glaring unfairness in the investigation doesn’t permit the court to accept the report as it offends the basic claims and canons of criminal investigation and jurisprudence”. It further said, “the investigation was directed towards sheltering the suspects. Mr Prem Kumar, whose statement was the main plank for letting off the culprits, is stated to be the stock witness of the CBI”.

Not only this, sometimes, to help the accused, the challan is not submitted by the investigating agencies in the stipulated period to enable the accused to get bail which otherwise is not possible. In some cases, the rich accused can get anticipatory bail. Everything is possible in our country and with the exception of a few we all are vying with each other to make empires. No government has done anything to contain corruption. The result: in a recent global survey, our country has been placed second in the list of the corrupt nations of the world.

MAJ. NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Kapurthala


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