VCs can find a way to protect varsity autonomy

THIS is with reference to the news item “The VC who didn’t toe govt line” (August 25). Dr M.S. Thimmappa, Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, deserves appreciation from all those who claim to care or feel concerned about higher education, for his fearless act of rejecting five out of six names sent by the state government for nomination to the university syndicate.

Attempts to bring universities under the control of non-academics or under the political control of a party or ideology have hindered their growth and eroded standards. The public accountability of our higher education institutions is an appropriate concern for all of us, but so is their independence and integrity. To prescribe the IAS tonic through remote control in university management would prove fatal.

The Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor has shown that one can still resist government pressure to maintain the ideal of university autonomy. Let us hope that others also act in a spirit of emulation.

Dr I.M. JOSHI, Ex-member Senate,
Panjab University, Chandigarh


A problem drain

I am a resident of Shimla and on the 16th of August I was a mute witness to the fully fury of a leaking drain (of a lavatory of the inspection bungalow of MES near the Victory Tunnel) being let out on a couple of hapless foreign tourists standing below, who were waiting to board the H.P. Tourism luxury coach.

I too have suffered there silently on many occasions. And we talk of Shimla being the queen of hills or a mini Switzerland. What intrigues me is that the problem requires neither a “drain brain” nor an engineering genius to get it fixed. Why then has it been ignored for all these years?


Teachers’ Day

Here comes another Teachers’ Day (Sep 5). But has anything changed for a teacher? Teachers are still poorly paid. They are still being exploited by private institutes and coaching centres. And teaching still remains at the tail end of career options. Mostly, it is taken up as a part time job or to augment the husband’s pay, as a teacher can’t run his house with the present pay.

I am a teacher. I started with Rs 1200. After 20 years, I am still getting only Rs 7500. And that is only thanks to the Army school. Had I been in a private school, my pay wouldn’t have been more than Rs 5000. Can a teacher run a house with this pay? Despite our low pay, and the general indifference of society, most of us teachers give our best. People call us the builders of the nation. They also say that ours is the noblest profession. Then why this apathy towards us? It is high time the teachers are given their due in terms of pay and dignity.

Madhu R D Singh, Ambala Cantt.


Hockey eves’ triumph

This is with reference to a news item captioned ‘Hockey eves win title' (September 1). Heartiest congratulations to the Indian Captain Helen Mary and her team mates for the remarkable victory in the four nation tournament in Singapore. The Indians registered a 2-0 win over Singapore in the first match and drew 3-3 with Malaysia in the next encounter. In the final, India shocked the fancied South-Korea 3-0. Sanggai Chanu scored two goals while Mamta Kharab netted one goal. The Indian women’s hockey federation (IWHF) should reward each player of the winning team adequately so as to raise their morale for future competitions.


Woes of Apni Mandi

The concept of Apni Mandis in Chandigarh and surrounding areas introduced about a decade back was to make a direct link between the producers and the consumers so as to save the consumers from the clutches of middlemen. But with the passage of time, this facility has belied the faith of the consumers.

I quote the example of the Sector 39 mandi. Besides farmers there are many unauthorized persons selling articles like groceries, clothing etc under the patronage of the police and the mandi people, who are fleecing the public. There is always only one notice board where the rates are displayed, and that is hardly visible as it is generally put up in one corner of the mandi site. Since the rates are not prominently displayed, there is no uniformity in the rates and the vendors charge rates at their will. There should be at least four signboards displaying the rates on four sides of the mandi so that people while entering can go through the rates before making purchases.

The weights and measures department should inspect these mandis to check the weights and scales being used by the farmers/vendors, as many of them use unstamped weights, further cheating buyers.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Check pollution

Garbage dumps along roadsides have become an increasingly frequent sore sight for the eyes. There is a huge garbage dump on the outskirts of Yamunanagar, just along the Jagadhri-Ambala road, which is one such example. Disposal of garbage is a serious matter and needs to be handled in a proper and planned way. The use of polythene bags should be banned as these are non-biodegradable and hence pose a danger to the environment. Similarly, most of the factories here are dumping their effluents in rivers like the Yamuna and other waterways, which is a major health and environmental concern. The Health and Pollution officials should take a stern view of the matter.

RANDEEP MAHAL, Yamunanagar

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