Varsity hasn’t changed in four decades!

In his front-page editorial, “Carry on Professor: The nation will be with you” (Jan 1), H.K. Dua made a courageous and critical analysis of the state of affairs in Lucknow University. I am reminded of my stint as a Research Fellow in Lucknow’s Central Drug Research Institute (a CSIR laboratory) during 1964-69.

At that time, I was witness to pitched battles between the university’s students’ union leaders and the state police during the union elections. Students were injured and valuable university property was destroyed. This was a regular annual feature. Politicians of all parties used to pump in funds and muscle power liberally to various factions of the students.

Only those students who had a track record of criminal activity were sponsored for presidency and other posts of the students’ union. It looked as if the Assembly elections were being fought where active participation of known criminals and tainted persons along with others was a conspicuous feature. Not surprisingly, there are more than a hundred criminals who are lawmakers in the state today.

Vice-Chancellor R.P. Singh’s tough stand to bring in reforms in the muddied electoral system in his university is most laudable. It’s shameful that Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, not known for clean politics, had the temerity to oppose the reform system tooth and nail.

In fact, in UP, students’ unions have become factories where gullible students are brainwashed, nurtured and nourished into young criminals and later given tickets to fight Assembly and parliamentary elections. Hope some sane persons will try to stem the rot.

Dr I.S. KALRA,Ludhiana


Prof R. P. Singh had the guts to do what he did because he is neither a light weight academic nor a time-serving opportunist who has just grabbed the chair through a back door. The brave man deserves all-out support from every quarter.

But then, the question arises: who will come forward with the type of support he needs? Only a few fearless right-thinking people at best. And, of course, the media that has recently been the most vocal supporter of every just cause.

NIDHI MALHOTRA Lecturer in English, IB College, Panipat


Power from the sun

Solar heating has become mandatory in Haryana. However, using it just for heating water is outdated. Now sunlight can be converted into electricity for use in homes, offices, businesses etc.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity and are made of semiconducting material such as silicon. When sunlight is absorbed by these material, the solar energy knocks protons loose from their atoms, allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. The process of converting light-photons-to-electricity-voltage is called photovoltaic effect.
In the US, the idea of converting solar energy into electricity has been catching up fast. California state passed the Million Solar Roof Bill — a landmark initiative that created the world’s another big solar programme, next to Japan and Germany. It amounts to 3,000 MW of solar power on 1 million rooftop panels — the equivalent of six large power plants. New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities approved a new regulation that require solar photovoltaic power to provide 2 per cent of the state’s electricity needs by 2020. The state gives rebates that can slash the cost of solar power by 70 per cent. India has plenty of sunshine all year. It must exploit this renewable energy to meet its ever-growing demand for electricity without building any expensive and environment polluting power plants.


Pensioners’ plea

Almost two decades ago, the Third Punjab Pay Commission had recommended old age allowance for octogenarian pensioners. However, it has not been implemented so far. The Punjab government should give this concession to them as it does not involve huge financial implication. Hardly five per cent of pensioners survive for a short period beyond the age of 80 years.


Tax on transactions

I read the editorial Phasing out CST (Jan 6). The actual position is that the CST Act authorises the state concerned to levy tax on all inter-state transactions of taxable goods originating from that state and appropriate the proceeds. However, the editorial gives an impression that the proceeds are
distributed among the two states involved in the transaction, one exporting the goods and the other importing those goods.

Though Parliament enacted this Act, the state collects and appropriates the proceeds from which the movement of goods starts. It is only the collection of tax from the Union Territories that goes to the Centre’s coffers.

The Union Government has no control over the collections made by the states except that Parliament fixes the rate of tax on the transactions made between two registered dealers.

K.S.ARORA, Additional Excise & Taxation Commissioner (retd), Panchkula




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