The crumbling healthcare system

The state of healthcare in the country is disturbing indeed. Successive governments have looked at public hospitals as white elephants which are a huge burden on the state exchequer. Years of systemic neglect and ever increasing costs of operation have made the system virtually irreparable leading to a mass exodus of doctors and health professionals from the system from the country.

The governments are just waiting for convenient exit opportunities by either declaring these hospitals “sick, beyond repair” or irrelevant anyway. Institutions like AIIMS and PGI which have been trying to work as oasis in a huge desert would automatically crumble under pressure.

True, posh corporate hospitals cannot mask and hide the crumbling public healthcare system. We may have entered a select elite class of countries with sophisticated space technology but we are clubbed as one of the most impoverished nations in our health parameters.

We should learn from the US healthcare system and its fallout. Admission of guilt is often the first important barrier and once the governments are ready to go past it, strategies to revamp the system can be devised. Winning back the confidence of the workforce should be the next logical step.

Dr HIMANSHU GARG, Melbourne (Australia)


Leave IIMs alone

I read the editorial, “Govt attempting to control IITs, IIMs” (Oct 25). It is quite shocking that politicians and bureaucrats, having failed to manage government-owned institutions, are trying to control IIMs. Why does the Union HRD Minister fail to appreciate that neither politicians nor bureaucrats are of integrity and competence to run these institutions?

The Centre’s policies and vision never go beyond the ruling party’s vote bank politics. This has brought down the standard of the professional institutions.

When there is competition in all walks of life and the government does not find men of competence, it should not interfere with institutes of higher learning which are well managed and producing men of excellence acknowledged all over the world.

M. L. KASHYAP, Kalka

BSNL numbers

The BSNL has since introduced a system of allotment of choice mobile telephone numbers through auction whether the demanded number is important, attractive, VIP or not. The aspirants of new mobile connections are asked to bid for the desired number in the forthcoming auction even for odd and least important numbers.

The subscribers can’t get new connections with choice numbers instantly. The have to wait. The new system is thus unwarranted and time-consuming. This is an indirect way of loot by the BSNL. In all fairness, it should shortlist the special numbers meant for auction and the rest should be allotted on demand without charging extra.

The BSNL should liberalise its policy to instantly allot the desired numbers whose number should be maximised. Otherwise, the subscribers would go in for connections from private cellular operators. It should duly advertise the dates of auctions of numbers in public interest.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

India or Bharat

It is sad to hear our senior leaders, government officials and even ministers refer to our country as “Hindustan” in their public speeches or while meeting international dignitaries.

The constitutionally accepted name for our country is “India” or “Bharat”. The name “Hindustan” is not widely accepted throughout India. It mainly connotes the Hindi-speaking provinces of India. Even in good old Punjab, the areas beyond the river Yamuna were referred to as “Hindustan” and the people living there as “Hindustanis”.

Our leaders and officers should refer to our country by the constitutionally accepted name, i.e. India or Bharat.

Dr T.S. WALIA, Chandigarh

Tribute to a tea vendor

I like the middle, “Memories linger on” by Sanjeev Singh Bariana (Oct 16) both for its simplicity of style and warmth of feeling. The new Vice-Chancellor, who was an old student of one of Punjab’s leading universities some 30 years ago, has an urge to visit the tea vendor whom he frequently visited as a student, suppresses the urge.

However, when a visitor, the Vice-Chancellor’s old classmate, takes him to the vendor for a cup of tea, the vendor recognises both. The Vice-Chancellor says, “ Why did you not come to see me in my office?” The vendor says, “I never came to see even earlier. It was always you who came here. Why didn’t you come?” replies the vendor.

This shows that in this flattering world there are still some people, however lowly placed, who command self-respect. I feel that the middle could have been named “The tea vendor” as an eloquent tribute to the poor man.

M. K. KOHLI, Gurgaon


Loot on the highway

In a stretch of 150 km from Jalandhar to Chandigarh, three toll tax barriers are harassing the common car owners to pay for using the road. Why and how are they collecting road tax which is in principle collected at the time of registration of vehicles. The road tax is utilised for maintenance of road. Collection of road tax by these barriers is an open loot on the highway.

To add insult to the injury, the common man is burdened with hike in power tariff. By adopting these taxation measures, Punjab’s Akali Dal-BJP government is losing the people’s faith. It should reverse its taxation proposals and win the public confidence.

T.R. BAJAJ, Jalandhar

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