Clear the mist about private college grants

The Parkash Singh Badal government deserves kudos for making clear its policy regarding filling of vacant posts in government schools and pensionary benefits to the staff of private aided schools in Punjab.

However, so far as grants, release of frozen posts of teachers and pensionary advantage to the lecturers of private colleges which cater to four times the number of students in government colleges are concerned, the situation is vague and misty.

It is necessary that like policies with respect to other educational institutions, the state government’s stand regarding private aided colleges may be made known clearly so that colleges are enabled to decide the course of their future activities and programmes accordingly, well in time.

Moreover, as a large number of unaided colleges have come up and the transfer of +1 and +2 classes from colleges has gone down considerably, the condition of a minimum enrollment of 1400 must be lowered to 1000 students to help colleges earn 95 per cent grant-in-aid.

Dr T. R. SHARMA, Patiala


In India’s interest

In his article “From OIC To IPI” (April 18), Pran Chopra states, “India is also opposed, as is America too and much of the rest of the world for Iran opting for the nuclear bomb.” These may be the writer’s patriotic views to defend his country but they are not factual as India has always helped Iran in its quest for making a nuclear bomb.

The reason is that Indian policy has been to counter balance Pakistan’s nuclear capability with Iran’s equal dominance in the Islamic world, as Iran is a Shia country and Pakistan a Sunni Islamic power. It helps India militarily if both the Shia and Sunni powers are daggers drawn with one another.

Then Pakistan seeks strategic depth in Afghanistan and Iran wants to nibble at it too. Therefore, strategically it’s in India’s interest to support Iran to keep Pakistan engaged on its western frontier, so as to deprive Kashmir of its UN right to a plebiscite. India also knows that what it did to East Pakistan with the creation of Bangladesh rankles with the Pakistanis, and lest they encourage secessionist movements within India, they’d be better occupied by strong Iranian look east policy.

In times of Indo-Pak military stress, I wonder how the gas pipeline would deliver the gas to India as it would pass through thousands of miles of Pakistan territory, some of which isn’t in control of the Pakistan federal government, where militant Islamists and hostile and rebellious tribals rule the roost? Even America, the greatest military power, in occupation of Iraq, can’t provide security to the oil pipelines there.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Quilla S. Harnam Singh


Greening Punjab

I was surprised to read a Tribune report that Punjab has only 6.13 per cent area under forests. During a Vanmahotsava function, the then Forest Minister Hans Raj said that Punjab had 7.8 per cent forest area. The forest department should find out how and why the area has dwindled.

One fails to know why this has been happening in spite of afforestation works under the JBIC Project. No doubt, tree plantation was undertaken in most areas along the canals and roads, but the survival rate is poor due to various reasons — acute shortage of staff (especially forest guards); and non-cooperation from public.

There are presently 400 vacancies of forest guards. No wonder, the present strength is unable to protect the forests. Moreover, forest guards have no cell phones or motorcycles. If the Punjab government is keen on extending the forest cover, all vacancies must be filled soon.

S.L. CHAWLA, Kotkapura

Onion’s tale

Satish K. Kapoor’s middle “Onion’s tale” was interesting. The wonder many-coated bulb called piyaaz also finds a mention in Urdu and Persian verses.

Instances: “Tar aankhein to ho jaatee hain par lazzat kya is roney mein/Jab khoon-e-jigar kee aamezish sey ashk piyaazi ban na saka” (Although the eyes become moist, there is no depth of feeling in weeping unless the tears become piyaazi (pink like onion) with the blood of the liver.

Dar sukhan guftan ba-aayad choon piyaaz/Boo-e-kibr-o boo-e-hirs-o boo-e-aaz” (When you speak, your utterances give the smell of arrogance, prurience and greed, as the onion emits an unpleasant odour).




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