Haryana must enforce RTI Act properly

The editorial “Thumbs up for RTI” and the lackadaisical attitude of the bureaucracy towards the Act is most unfortunate. The officials do not want to disseminate information. The notification (No. 5/4/2002/IAR, October 28, 2005) of Haryana’s Administrative Reforms Department is so ambiguous that effective implementation of the RTI Act seems very difficult. The rule in Para 3 stipulates that the applicant should deposit fee for any information admissible under this Act by applying in Form A to the State Information Officer or Assistant Information Officer as specified.

Nowhere it is mentioned whether the office of the Public Information Officer or Assistant Public Information Officer will be located at Chandigarh only. As no PIO has been appointed at the district level, those applying under Form A are asked to submit the forms to the same department form which the information is required.

The in-charge of the department, for obvious reasons, neither informs the number of the challan nor signs the challan nor accepts the money is cash. I request that the implementation of the RTI Act should be made open, transparent and effective by appointing or designating officers at every district as Public Information Officers.

This is, in fact, as prescribed in the Act. The Haryana government should help people get the required information in tune with the letter and spirit of the RTI Act.

D.P. MAHINDRA, Jagadhari


School books

There has been, of late, a revolutionary improvement in the way school books are composed, printed, stitched and bound. Multicolour illustrations printed on glossy paper tempt even a casual reader and they have a special feel on the hand. In fact, some hi-tech automatic cutting, threading, stitching and binding machines used in the international market are now made in India, particularly in Punjab.

Unfortunately, however, the quality of some books produced by the Punjab School Education Board, Mohali, leaves much to be desired. Numerous mistakes abound even in Mathematics textbooks (Class VIII) and English (Class IX). But that is an old story now.

Nowadays, the Board books are not available in the market at the start of the session; they are stapled in a shoddy manner. After they reach the market, they are unnecessarily hard-bound just to exploit hapless students.

Why no action is taken against those responsible for illegal binding? Why can’t the Board itself bind the books, if so required? Now that Dr Upinderjit Kaur is the new Education Minister, she should streamline the system and improve things.

Prof MOHAN SINGH, Amritsar


Remembering Naushad

This day last year, departed the noble soul Naushad, the legendary music director, from the world (Jhoota Nagar), Chhor babul ka ghar…leaving his aging fans in tears. Now the imaginary call to him Awaz de Kahan Hai echoes with Yeh zindgi ke mele duniya mein kam na honge, afsos, hum no honge.

Leaving his Lucknow home in youth in pursuit of music, Naushad rose to become Bollywood’s most popular music director in Mumbai. Be it solo, duet, chorus, ghazal, bhajan, naat, he chiseled every genre with masterly touch sending the listeners into a trance. Soft rhythm harmoniously mingled with sweet melody in his compositions.

Professional to the core, Naushad was a hard task master of singers, musicians and lyrists. His songs popularised dialect and folk music of Avadh (UP). Such was the intensity of his music that the story of the film would revolve around his songs (Deedar, Baiju Bawra, Shabab).

The late Uma Devi alias Tun Tun got entry into film industry through her debut song Afsana likh rahi hoon… for the film Dard sung under Naushad’s baton. On his first death anniversary, one cannot but hum Tera khiyal dil se bhulaya na jayga…

S.S. BENIWAL, Chandigarh

Review decision

The decision by Kurukshetra University and MDU Rohtak not to allow their faculty members to supervise the work of students pursuing M. Phil from other universities will adversely affect the interest of students, teachers and the university system as a whole.

The universities are created to disseminate ideas and information cutting across geographical boundaries. The UGC exempts candidates from qualifying NET if they posses M. Phil degree. Against this background, the decision will hamper the career prospects of those belonging to Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and other states.

Further, our university system is passing through a nascent stage and needs the cooperation of other universities. It has generated internal resources through the distance education mode. Besides M Phil, many other examinations and faculty development programmes are carried out in a collaborative and interdependent manner. The Chancellor, the Haryana government and universities should review the decision and help students.

Dr RAJ KUMAR SIWACH, Ch. Devi Lal University, Sirsa

A family affair

India adopted the Constitution in 1950 to lay the foundation of democracy. Sadly, there has been fast deterioration of democratic norms over the years. From top to bottom, corruption has flourished with remarkable speed. What Abraham Lincoln said about democracy in the 19th century has undergone a drastic change. Now democracy is actually for the rich and for the politicians, their relatives and friends. Politics has become a family affair.

Most chief ministers are now bothered about the political career of their kith and kin. They use every trick to ensure that their progeny rule the states and the country after their stint.

People in general are sick and tired of these politicians. Will our country ever produce selfless and dedicated persons who can save the country from further deterioration?

V. P. SHARMA, Chandigarh



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