In defence of India’s oil diplomacy

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has shown maturity, deep thought and appreciation of world affairs. Our oil diplomacy has been superb. We also have to prepare ourselves for the world scarcity of crude. The deal with Iran and Pakistan for piping of gas from Iran to India across Pakistan has to be pursued vigorously. A gas pipeline to Iran has us knocking on the immense crude and gas production in Central Asia.

The US’ suspicion of Iran’s nuclear plans is natural. But India’s role is very important since it can vigorously show its faith in Iran’s protestations of intention to faithfully adhere to IAEA requirements once Iran is not thwarted from pursuing its national objective of freely carrying on research and production linked to peaceful uses of atomic energy.

Most of Asia has seen Iran as a bastion of art and culture that has enriched the world. Pakistan has won the US government by its alliance against terrorism and age-old loyalty in the struggle with the Soviet Union. The proposed pipeline will benefit the whole of Eurasia and Pakistan which is also starved of energy. Globalisation will provide alternative routes also for the pipeline across China and Kashmir to bring India closer to Central Asian crude and gas.

Prof J.N. NANDA, New Delhi



No pay for doctors

All doctors working as House Surgeons in Punjab’s government medical colleges have been working without pay since January. The Director, Research and Medical Education, does not seem to have the time to sanction the salary.

Another notable fact is that a House Surgeon’s job in government hospitals in New Delhi fetches one Rs 21,400 a month. However, a House Surgeon in Punjab gets only Rs 4,800 a month!


Flawed notification

The recent notification by the Punjab Finance Department regarding rationalisation of pension/ family pension of pre-1996 retirees is flawed. It has virtually nullified the Punjab Cabinet’s decision (July 27) providing Rs 40-58 crore towards payment of arrears to the pre-96 retirees.

This notification is silent on pay fixation on notional basis for refixation of pension/family pension as it was mentioned in the previous notifications. The Fourth Punjab Pay Commission had also made a recommendation to this effect.

The government should insert the words “Pay fixation on notional basis” in the notification and issue a corrigendum to this effect.


A waste of time

I read R.C. Sobti’s piece, “A college for teachers” (Education Page, Sept 13). The Academic Staff Colleges have lost their significance today. The teachers attend the workshops just for getting the benefit of senior scale or selection grade and enhancement of their emoluments.

According to the UGC guidelines, a teacher should have completed 2-3 refresher or orientation courses for becoming eligible for the senior scale or selection grade. So, the teachers attend these courses just for fulfilling the requirement and getting the certificate. On completion of their course, they submit the certificates for pay benefits. There is no other purpose of these colleges. It is a waste of time and money by the university through the HRD Ministry.

VIJAY SHARMA, Chandigarh

A matter of faith

This has reference to Chaman Ahuja’s middle “Matter of changing faith” (Sept 17). Science and spirituality complement each other. Like Ahuja’s teacher, many of us rationalise our beliefs after proper scrutiny and observation. Pseudo-rationalists must not ridicule people’s faith.

It is a treat to watch the devotees singing with gay abandon the praises of God at congregational singing, spreading joy of love all around through the spiritual currents and vibrations it generates.

True Naam-Sankirtan emanates from a pure heart, impelling us to lead a regulated life — a life conducive to sublime thoughts fed on satvic food and satvic pursuits, taking care that this holy exercise does not disturb the sleep of neighbours.

Prof S.K. SHARMA, Jalandhar

Model villages

This refers to the news-item on the Himachal Pradesh Government’s decision to direct the Planning department to formulate plans for villages also (Sept 14). It is a laudable decision as it will ensure growth of the villages and reduce population pressure on the cities.

Besides, the proposed model villages will attract tourists from all over the country. Consequently, the local unemployment youth will be able to earn their livelihood at their home towns. It will also improve the quality of life in the villages.

Prof. PARVEEN RANA, Hoshiarpur

Checking corruption

Nawanshahr Deputy Commissioner Krishan Kumar Garg has taken effective steps to check corruption is government offices, encroachments, pollution, and drug addiction. Corrupt officials and irresponsible people of the district feeling uneasy because of his determination to stem the rot. We should appreciate and extend all cooperation to such bureaucrats who dare to improve the present system against heavy odds.


After a break

I read the edit “Loo and behold: Bush asks for a toilet break” (Sept 17). It is impossible to go against the call of nature. The best way to tackle such emergencies is to say, politely, “Please hold on, we shall meet after a break”.

S.K. HANS, Jalandhar

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