Keeping posts in suspended animation

The Punjab Government has passed a strange order to its departments. Various departments have been asked to reserve vacancies for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes even if none of them is eligible for promotion.

For instance, in the Punjab State Electricity Board, posts of Superintending Engineers and Executive Engineers have fallen vacant on retirement of seniors but are not being filled by promotion with the plea that these will be kept vacant and reserved till such time an SC/ST becomes eligible for promotion to these posts. This is ridiculous!

The rule should be such that whenever an SC/ST completes the minimum prescribed years of service and becomes eligible for promotion to the next higher step, whichever post falls vacant after his becoming eligible should be given to him. But here we are keeping the eligible persons “in waiting” and instead waiting for a SC/ST to become eligible. Certainly we are living in fools’ paradise! Will the Chief Minister look into this strange rule and get it amended?


  Neena Singh, Patiala

Musharraf’s ‘Khan market’

Apropos of the report Bush tears apart Khan’s N-network" (The Tribune, Feb 13), A.Q. Khan is just your next most obviously handy “fall-guy” facade for the shady dealings of Pakistan’s ruling powers. Pakistan’s “Khan market” was actually being run by General Musharraf and his cronies to raise funds for all sorts of overt and covert operations, including those in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Aren’t the apologies by Khan and the reciprocal clemency by General Musharraf ample proof of a convenient cover-up act choreographed by the General, the wily con-artist. The General clearly is playing up to the world gallery, especially the US. After all, isn't an applauding Bush in hand worth a “critical Khan” stuck in the throat? And if Bush and his cohorts were aware of the clandestine deals as they now claim that they had been supplying the Pakistanis with the intelligence, why did they not “hotly pursue” the rouge and the culprit state as obsessively as they did with certain other alleged states with weapons of mass destruction and rouge leaders?

Vivek Khanna, Panchkula

Confusing notice

The Public Notice issued by the Estate Officer, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), Ludhiana (The Tribune, Feb 1), is confusing. I am unable to figure out what PUDA wanted to say. Many sentences make no sense at all. Would such a notice stand in the court of law if someone does not comply with it? Are PUDA officers so casual that they allow such an important notice go unchecked?

The PUDA Chief needs to give a serious thought to the matter. Such notices project a very poor image of a department.

Priyanka Kedia, Chandigarh

Jaswant’s sops

Apropos of the editorial Pleasing the employees (Feb 4), Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh was under tremendous pressure from within the party and outside to make concessions for the salaried class to merge 50 per cent dearness allowance with the basic pay and so on. He has done this following the recommendation of the Fifth Pay Commission report.

At the time of the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission report, one of its members, Mr Tendulkar, had expressed fears that the entire economy of the country would be ruined. His fears seem to have come true now. Moreover, the states are unable to pay salaries to their employees because of empty exchequers. The revenue receipts are also not increasing. The Central government should give financial assistance to all the states for the 50 per cent DA merger.

M.L. Garg, Chandigarh

Gold palanquin

This refers to the news-item Gold palanquin donated to Golden Temple (Jan 6). The devotees make offerings with utmost humility and not donations at the Golden Temple and pray for divine favours. The report says that the old silver gates of “Darshani Deorhi” are said to be from the Somnath Temple, which were looted by Ahmad Shah Abdali, but the Sikh warriors got the same back. Neither Abdali led any Mughal army nor the latter looted the gates.

In fact, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni stormed the most celebrated temple in 1026 and carried off the massive silver gates besides a huge quantity of gold and jewels to Ghazni. The gates are said to have been brought back by Hari Singh Nalwa, a general of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, and installed at “Darshani Deorhi” of the Golden Temple.

On the other hand, Sir William Nott, a Commander of the British Army, who destroyed the town and fortifications of Ghazni in September 1842, is said to have taken away the gates of the Somnath Temple in accordance with the instructions of Lord Ellenborough, the then Governor-General of India. After the return of the British Army, Lord Ellenborough, in a proclamation, declared: “Our victorious Army bears the gates of the temple of Somnath in triumph from Afghanistan and the despoiled tomb of Sultan Mahomed looks upon the ruins of Ghaznee. The insult of 800 years is avenged”. Some students of history may throw light on this matter.


IIM fee cut

There has been quite a lot of hype about the autonomy and hence the quality of education being affected due to a drastic cut in the IIM fee by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry. The tuition fee will have to be related to the paying capacity of an average Indian. It is time to free the noble cause of education from the present excessive profiteering that has adversely affected merit and scholarship so essential for the country to shine.

Secondly, the education system would not have become so much money driven had the watchdog agencies not acted as lapdogs. There could be no more opportune time to rationalise the fee structure than the coming elections when the adversely affected common man would be in the reckoning once again.

Air-Cmde Raghubir Singh (retd), Pune


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