Punjab should raise the age of retirement

The Punjab Government has been dilly-dallying on the issue of raising the retirement age of its employees from 58 to 60 years. When it issued a statement in this regard early last year (The Tribune, January 28, 2004), it maintained that the decision would not impose additional financial burden on the government as it would give relief to the state exchequer for two years giving enough time for the economy to recover. Surprisingly, however, this has not yet been done.

It has also gone back on its assurance that the retirement age would be raised soon after the ban on new postings was lifted. Months ago, this ban was lifted, but no announcement on retirement age yet.

The employees' demand for age parity with those in the Central Government is being ignored on frivolous grounds. In this context, the recommendation of the Fifth Pay Commission came as a whiff of fresh air for Punjab employees. Apparently, this has been put to cold storage.

The Centre raised the retirement age of its employees in 1999. Rajasthan followed suit in 2003. Assam sanctioned it from this year. Uttar Pradesh went a step further by raising the retirement age for teachers from 60 to 62 years. The Chandigarh UT employees are also bearing the brunt of the government's unending vacillation as their future is linked with those in the Punjab government. A favourable decision brooks no delay.

Dr H.M. SAROJ, Chandigarh



War veterans

In response to the news-item "BBC feature on Indian World War-II Soldiers", I had the privilege of serving on Burma Front during 1942-44 in 604 E&M company as NCO (Head Clerk). The unit was responsible for supplying water and electricity to units, formation headquarters, hospitals and building airfield at Imphal. The unit was commanded by Major T.C. Hutchinson and Capt C.F. Waters was its 2 I/C. Lt W.G. Bald was another officer.

During this period, as we were surrounded by the enemy, we were cut off from the rest of the Army for three months. Lord Lousi Mount Batten was the SEAC Commander. I wish to add that I am holding the following medals for this operation: Burma Star, 1939-45 War Star, and War Medal.

Capt BRAHM DUTT SHARMA (retd), Sidhpur (Dharamshala), HP

DAV colleges

In all, 12 DAV colleges of Haryana, with due university affiliation, get 95 per cent grant-in-aid from the Haryana government. Thus, the control of both the state government and the university over these colleges is deep and pervasive.

DAV colleges are duty bound to follow the directives the state government and university statutes in the matter of recruitment and other service conditions of teachers.

Rules and regulations are not a matter of pick and choose. Even the Punjab and Haryana High Court directives cannot go contrary to the university statutes as held by the Supreme Court in a number of cases.

The authorities should streamline the administration of DAV colleges and save the teachers from the highhandedness of the autocratic overlords of DAV management, New Delhi, by strictly enforcing the rule of law.


Quality education

It is heartening to observe that the Punjab Government has accelerated privatisation of education at all levels. This would reduce the financial burden on the government and generate healthy competition in the private sector.

However, rigid regulatory controls have to be applied on private institutions; mushrooming of educational shops has to be stopped.

It is well known that large number of seats in many engineering colleges have remained vacant during the current session. The same would be the fate of B. Ed and M. Ed colleges. The government must ensure effective utilisation of the existing facilities as also quality education. The regulatory mechanism needs to be activated.

For the poor meritorious students, financial help may be extended through proper schemes. The interest of genuine teachers shall have to be protected by fixing minimum pay and allowances and other benefits. Quality education would definitely lead to progress, prosperity and welfare of the people.

BALVINDER SINGH, IFS (retd), Malhipur (Ludhiana)

A drain on the exchequer

There seems to be no need for a municipal corporation for Chandigarh. The corporation is like a fifth wheel of the coach. When the Union Territory Administration is already taking care of the upkeep and general maintenance of Chandigarh city, why is there a municipal corporation?

This has resulted in increasing the burden on the exchequer. The result: the people of Chandigarh are taxed to the hilt. The water and electricity charges, bus fares, parking fee for vehicles and even two-wheelers have all been hiked. The latest is the property tax hike for commercial houses.

The Centre contributes crores of rupees for the city's upkeep. The Member of Parliament also spends Rs 2 crore from his Local Area Development Scheme. As more funds imply more corruption, it should be checked. Municipal corporations may be justified for cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala but certainly not for Chandigarh. It is time the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh was abolished.

Lt-Col P.S. SARANG (retd), Chandigarh


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |