Punjab schools cry for attention

Primary school education in Punjab has been neglected for long. Of the 12,000 primary schools, nearly 1,000 are closed on account of non-availability of teachers, a little over 2,000 schools have been reduced to single-teacher institutions and more than 7,000 are merely two-teacher-two room schools.

Deficiencies in buildings, playgrounds, boundary walls, toilets, electric connections, drinking water etc are appalling. Over 12,000 posts of teacher have been lying vacant. The supervision and inspection machinery is defunct because all the 228 education blocks are without regular BEOs. Over 60 per cent schools are without heads.

According to a World Bank report, 36 per cent primary school teachers abstain from schools daily and of the remaining 64 per cent, only 49 per cent take classes.


Between class II and VII, nearly 40 per cent students are illiterate. As a result, the number of children in government primary schools has come down from 18 lakh in 1998 to 13.7 lakh in 2005; the dropout rate has risen from 22 to 42. The budget on education too is sliding down progressively. Yet, Punjab is the best state in the country!

Dr T.R. SHARMA, Patiala

A step forward

The concept of Laundromat (Oct 22) is a forward step in community services. Karnataka Governor T.N. Chaturvedi first suggested this when he was Chandigarh’s Chief Commissioner. Pune’s Thermax India has agreed to provide laundry equipment on lease. A qualified laundry engineer for proper maintenance is a must.

The cost of processing linen can be reduced by 30-40 per cent if properly managed. PGI’s laundry and linen bank manual (1972) is a good guide. A city laundry can process all hospital/clinics linen with drycleaning, disinfecting facilities saving space in hospitals.

Two specialist services can be organised with 40 per cent savings on a cooperative, self-financing basis. One, mobile workshop for hospital equipment repairs should cover all private hospitals/clinics to ensure savings. And two, a Central agency should process and supply all items to hospitals and clinics. Chandigarh will be a pacesetter for Indian cities as in UK, Germany, Australia and the Gulf.

Er (Dr) J.C. MEHTA, National President, Institute of Hospital Engineering, Chandigarh

Catch the criminal

The editorial “Shahabuddin’s antics” (Oct 17) flayed the Bihar government for sheltering, shielding and patronising Shahabuddin, the Siwan MP. No less than eight non-bailable warrants have been issued against him and 40 odd criminal cases are pending against him. Still he is at large because of his clout.

If he is not a criminal like Malkhan Singh, why should he not surrender and prove his innocence in the court? In one breath he asserts his faith in law and judiciary and in the other he openly defies all that is lawful. It would be a slur on the Bihar government if it fails to haul up the MP.


Help quake victims

The editorial “India Inc. can do more” (Oct 13) aptly says that the agony and pain of the people of Kashmir are to be shared by the entire country. The death toll has risen to 73,000 in the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and over 3,000 in Jammu and Kashmir. All the citizens should donate liberally for the early rehabilitation of the earthquake victims. As winter will set in soon, the victims need warm clothes, housing and food.

YUGAL KISHORE SHARMA, Khambi (Faridabad)

Mulayam in the dock

The recent communal violence at Mau confirms the disturbing law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. It is a blot on the ruling Samajwadi Party and it exposes the inefficiency of the district administration.

Poor and the innocent Muslims have suffered terribly. Worse, instead of ordering a judicial inquiry, the Chief Minister has appointed an inquiry committee headed by a tainted bureaucrat against whom the Supreme Court had passed serious strictures. This has, undoubtedly, put the Mulayam Singh government in the dock.

Dr M. HASHIM KIDWAI, Former MP, New Delhi

Interlinking rivers

This has reference to the news-item “IIPA Award for Sirsa lecturer” (Oct 11). Dr Raj Kumar Siwach’s thesis that the project of linking of rivers “if implemented, will give a big boost to the economy” is hypothetical, even far-fetched. The plan to interlink rivers is ill-conceived.

With a whopping cost of Rs 6 lakh crore, the mega project is financially unviable and technically untenable. Aren’t there other judicious alternatives to this scheme?

Every river has its own unique marine and ecosystem evolved over millions of years. Rivers are the arteries of nature. Any attempt to divert their course or disturb their natural flow will disturb the natural system.


Ploy to buy time

Referring the cases of 1984 riots against Jagdish Tylter, Sajjan Kumar and others to the CBI (Oct 28) seems to be another ploy of the government to buy time and delay the matter further. Even this has been done after recommendations of so many commissions, people’s agitation and under pressure from the Opposition. In all fairness, the matter should have been sorted out much earlier.

M.P.S. RANDHWA, Dhapai (Kapurthala)


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