Saturday, September 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Need to increase intake in
dental colleges

THIS has reference to the report “Candidates shaken over BDS fee hike” (Sept. 20). Of 280 seats sanctioned for private dental colleges of the state by the Ministry of Health, Government of India, 140 have been reserved for domicile students of Himachal Pradesh on CPMT merit and at a very reasonable fee of Rs 20,000 a seat.

It is the responsibility of the government to provide healthcare to those living in the villages, whose per capita income is very low and villages scattered in difficult hilly terrain. They are also part of society and need not be ignored. According to DCI, there should be one dentist for every 20,000 people. Effective planning is required to allow increase in the seats in the existing dental institutions and opening of new dental colleges. Otherwise, there will be employment problem in the state.

The government’s policy on admissions is laudable. All the seats are to be filled on CPMT merit and left over seats by outsiders on merit after giving priority to the Himachalis.

Dental education is costly. Each student has to be provided one dental unit for training costing about Rs 1 lakh. In addition, huge funds are needed for dental laboratories. Further, to establish a dental college in hilly villages, it costs double the amount on buildings, etc. coupled with the problems of teaching faculty as per the DCI norms.


To finance 20 seats in the Government College, Shimla for teaching only 10 dental subjects (eight medical subjects for dental students are taught by IGMS, Shimla), the state is spending more than Rs 2 crore a year. Thus, it is not possible for Himachal, with meagre resources, to provide costly dental education.

Managements of dental colleges in the state are eagerly waiting for a state committee to rationalise the fee structure and the management quota in accordance with the law of land. If the existing fee structure is reduced by the state government, the managements will not be able to meet the DCI standards and produce substandard dental surgeons.

Maj Gen P.N. AWASTHI (retd), Principal, MNDAV Dental College, Solan

Correcting market failures

This has reference to the Union Government’s proposal to reimpose steel price control. Former US President Ronald Reagan once said, “Whenever you go to bed with the government, you are going to get more than a mere good night sleep”. This saying seems to apply word by word to the steel price hike controversy in our country.

Right from July this year, all the steel majors have been revising prices of steel products, and more importantly, to a new peak level each time. A slump has been indicated in domestic steel consumption by many user segments due to high prices. Secondly, it caused steel scrips to flare up on the bourse circuits, driven by a relentless volume push. The steel producers are linking price hike to market forces but the government smells, and rightly so, some sort of arbitrariness and inconsistency in the matter. It thought that this (steel majors’) cat has long been roaming free which should be belled and the current threat to reimpose steel price control is the natural outcome of this thought process.

Prior to this decision, when SEBI wanted the steel industry to inform the regulator (SEBI) about prospective price changes before actually giving effect to them, steel majors tried hard to remind SEBI of its limited role in this context. If it is informal cartelisation among steel producers, then it should be treated as a market failure particularly on the supply side.

To a certain extent, the fundamental theorem of welfare economics (i.e., a free market efficiently allocate resources without government intervention) is violated here. So, I think, the government did right by flexing its muscles to correct such market failures.

DR SANJEEV BANSAL, Lecturer, Economics, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Amarmani’s arrest

The arrest of UP politician Amarmani Tripathi in the infamous Madhumita Shukla murder case raises many questions about our collapsing criminal justice system (as rightly termed by Attorney General Soli J. Sorabjee). The failure of UP police and CB-CID in proper investigation involving the powerful politician needs a thorough probe.

The illness-drama enacted by Amarmani Tripathi after his arrest was, certainly, an attempt by him to escape speedy trial. The changing version of the mother of the deceased highlights pressure on the witnesses.

The episode also exposes the criminal virus in politics when Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, in a hurry to be crowned as Chief Minister, did not hesitate to include such a politician in his coalition. The media deserves praise for an effective vigilant eye to get ultimate justice. But what about the numerous ordinary cases where there is nothing but injustice because cases not involving VVIPs go unreported in media?


Unjustified Act

During a visit to Chandigarh last Sunday, BJP leader Pramod Mahajan lent a patient ear to the protesting traders of the city. I would like to remind him that the then Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, had formed a special fund with a corpus of Rs. 500 crore (later proposed to enhance this fund to Rs. 1,000 crore) for the states who took the initiative to repeal draconian laws like the Rent Control Act.

The Chandigarh Administration has even received the first instalment of its share in this Fund because of its move to dilute the clauses of this unjustified Act. The Administration, however, fell short of repealing it altogether. Against this background, Mr Mahajan’s meeting with the traders shows the contrarian view on this issue.


The saving grace

The courts have sealed the fate of those who had burnt to death the Christian missionary, Graham Stuart Staines (58) and his two sons, Philip (10) and Timothy (6). Justice was necessary and it has been done. The trial that began on March 1, 2001, will go down in the annals of India's judicial history as one of the most high-profile cases.

Staines’ widow, Gladys and his only surviving child, Esther, deserve praise for declaring thus: “We have neither hatred nor bitterness against Dara and his accomplices. We have only forgiveness for them”.

In God’s court, the fate of Rajendra Pal (popularly known as Dara Singh) and his partners-in-crime is not closed. The convicted murderers need to accept the forgiveness available to them from God. The saving grace in their lives is that it is not too late yet for them to be converted from hardcore criminals to law-abiding citizens and be filled with (God’s) love.


Audhya & Ayodhya

The news-item “Vajpayee visits Turkey’s Babri mosque” (Sept 20) is quite interesting and informative. I suggest that during his next visit to South East Asia, the Prime Minister may also like to visit Thailand’s Audhya (Ayodhya), situated at a distance of about 50 km from Bangkok, and ruled by Ram dynasty, the present ruler being Ram XII. And the place is listed as a tourist spot by the Thai Tourism Department.

While a Babri mosque could be found at a number of places, one wonders how Ayodhya, claimed to be Ram Janambhoomi (Ram's birth place) by the Sangh Parivar, could exist in two different countries. Could some eminent historian enlighten the readers?



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