How poverty scuttles merit

As many as 195 SC/BC and 94 General Category meritorious students have surrendered their MBBS seats because of their inability to pay fees in private colleges (The Tribune, Sept 6).

This follows the Punjab government’s decision to hike the fee for 50 per cent government quota MBBS seats to 1.15 lakh from Rs 1 lakh per annum and 35 per cent management quota seats to Rs 3 lakh from Rs 1 lakh per annum. For 15 per cent NRI seats, the fee has been raised to Rs 38 lakh for all courses. The fees have also been raised for BDS courses.

Quality school education, good coaching for PMT and examination and counseling fees charged by the universities alone cost a child not less than Rs 1.5 lakh, which parents manage by raising loans and selling or mortgaging their assets like land and houses.

When their wards reach summit of the ladder of a bright professional course, the wolf of heavy fees and funds, with its mouth wide open stands ready to devour them in full. Finding no alternative, in surrendering their seats they seek solace. This is how merit in the country is scuttled at the hands of poverty.


The best course lies in declaring poor but meritorious students as state students and helping them pursue professional studies at the state expense. This will encourage merit and it sounds good for a developing nation. Otherwise, merit will never get a square dealing in democracies like India.

Dr T. R. SHARMA, Patiala

Threat to crops

Monkeys, wild boars, stray cattle, deer, sambar and the like have made the plight of farmers miserable. As these beasts have destroyed the crops, the farmers have abandoned their fertile land. They seem unable to protect their crops from these animals.

The government should allot adequate funds to gram panchayats which can appoint jobless youth on part-time basis to guard the crops. Hunger often compels the animals to encroach into the human territory. The incidents of attacks on humans by leopards, bears and elephants are a matter of great concern. The so-called friends of animals should come forward with a constructive solution to tackle this menace.

B. R. KAMAL, Chabutra (Hamirpur)

No shortage

Much hue and cry is being raised regarding shortage of officers in the Indian Army. If there is indeed a dearth of officers, why are they being posted in Military Engineering Service, Border Roads Organisation, ASC, Ordnance, EME where civilian officers are working with them? In fact, their promotions are held up and they are stagnating.

Sadly, the services of officers are not being properly utilised. They can be posted in units where there is shortage. Civilians can work more efficiently than Army officers as they have to carry out the same duty everywhere in field, high altitude and difficult terrain areas except Siachen Glacier. Army officers are Jack of all trades but civilian officers are masters in their job.

Consequently, Army officers should be withdrawn from MES, GREF, ASC, Ordnance, EME and intelligence units. The budget is also increasing due to Army officers who draw more allowances.

H. S. SODHI, Mohali


Egoistic leaders

A.J. PHILIP’s middle, Snub for CM (Sept 18) made some points crystal clear. Political leaders can go to any extent for having their way. When the late E.K. Nayanar was the chief minister of Kerala, he played childish pranks with the governor going to the ludicrous extent of closing a toilet and declaring the toilet seat an antiquated piece.

The present Chief Minister, Mr V.S. Achuthanandan, forced Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob to resign by admonishing her on a trivial issue. Both chief ministers did not realise the fact that they were dealing with ladies — one the constitutional head of the state and the other a senior IAS officer. Disturbingly, these incidents happened in a state that boasts of the country’s highest literacy rate. Hats off to the Chief Secretary who preferred to resign rather than being kicked around.

Dr B.R. SOOD, Bahadurpur (Hoshiarpur)


Power crisis

As there is no immediate solution to power shortage in the country, the Indo-US nuclear agreement, if implemented, will help the country only marginally. We cannot overlook the subsequent stage in which electric power is to substitute petroleum products.

At present, about 40,000 MW is consumed only in transmission, distribution and pilferage. We can reduce the present transmission and distribution loss of 35-40 per cent by half if necessary steps are taken in right earnest. The energy so saved shall be more than the one to be generated by nuclear reactors.

Self-help and self-reliance are always preferred though outside help may be needed in certain situations. We need to accelerate our efforts to generate more power from hydel, solar, wind and other conventional sources. Conservation of energy and reduction of transmission and distribution losses should be taken seriously.

S. L DUGGAL, Solan

HPSC affairs

The Haryana government has excluded only Class II posts from the purview of the Haryana Public Service Commission as it was not expecting a fair deal from the present set up of the commission. The reason behind this move has been the ongoing CBI inquiry against the members of the commission in cases related to recruitment during the previous INLD regime. The state government has forwarded its recommendations to the President of India for the removal of the Chairman and members of the commission on grounds of misconduct.

Recruitment to various posts will have to be made to run the state government departments efficiently. In such a scenario, the government has to entrust the job of recruitment to another body. A former chairman of the HPSC during the previous regime, Mr L.D. Mehta had filed a PIL in this regard in the Supreme Court in 2005. Now, it is for the apex court to decide the fate of such recruitments made by bodies other than the PSC.




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