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Water is precious, save it

This has reference to the editorial “Going down the drain” (July 2). It is a matter of deep concern that a large amount of drinking water is being wasted daily due to leaking pipelines, overflowing overhead tanks, defective leaking taps and so on. Water is our lifeline, but we care little for it. We pollute it, we misuse it and we waste it due to our carelessness.

In remote rural areas, women have to carry water on their head. They have to travel more than 5 to 7 km for bringing water. There is need for a strict water discipline and water audit.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar, SAS Nagar


Slogans like “Water is scare, use it judiciously” seem to be hollow unless met by actual performance by officials. As aptly you have said, there should also be a Water Security Act to prevent wastage as also misuse by people, who recklessly waste water on washing cars, etc. All this is possible only if there is a strong will on the part of the authorities concerned for which they need to be sensitised.

For want of adequate availability of water, the starved earth is developing clefts for the control of which excessive groundwater is required. So, let there be harsh penalties for those who misuse water. Harvesting should also be given priority.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali


I fully endorse the views expressed in the editorial “Going down the drain” that a Water Security Act should be introduced to have better management of the water resources. Strict economy in the use of natural resources has not been practised.

For many of us, water simply flows from a tap and we think little about it beyond this point of contact.

Food and water are two basic human needs. The availability of water for irrigation is thus more important for producing food. Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of earth as water scarcity is going to hamper economic development and human health and wellbeing.

Mana Ferozepuri, Feozepur City

Evaluating teachers

This has reference to your editorial “Raising the bar” (July 1). I fully agree with the view that there is little correlation between a good teacher and a good researcher. Teaching and research both are very different skills and require different faculties of mind to be suitably trained. Some of my colleagues who are not research oriented are wonderful teachers nonetheless.

But excellent teaching in classrooms is not as tangible as research activity is. Research can be quantified but teaching is not easily amenable to quantification. Thus, a mechanism to evaluate teaching effectiveness should be evolved and marks allotted on a par with research contribution.

A teacher’s assessment by students can be one such mechanism. However, as teachers do not like (or fear) to be assessed by their students, they have opposed this criterion. Thus, the idea of evaluation by the students has been dropped.

My alternative proposal is that of evaluation/assessment by a peer group. A group of colleges in a particular area can make such a team for independent and unbiased evaluation. One member will make an unsolicited visit to a teacher’s class and listen to the lecture while sitting on a back bench, without disturbing normal proceedings of the class. At the end of the lecture he will fill a prescribed assessment form.

A teacher should be evaluated by three different members during one academic session. Total score and comments for improvement in the future should be conveyed to the teacher at the end of the session. The confidentiality of the scores given by an individual member should be preserved.

Another remarkable point noted in the editorial is that “quantity should not outweigh quality”. This, however, is precisely what is most likely to happen in the present scenario. Allotting marks for publication is likely to lead to the mushrooming of substandard research papers in third-rate journals. In fact, the relative ease with which anyone can start publication of a print or online journal and get ISSN number has led to the growth of such journals that allow dishonest authors to cheat their way to publication. These journals seriously flout the established research standards. Some even declare themselves to be peer-reviewed without actually doing so. Most Indian journals, with a few celebrated exceptions, fall in this category.

My suggestion in this regard is that an independent national agency should be established to evaluate and scrutinise national journals in various disciplines. This agency/commission will see whether publication in a particular journal shall be considered for the purpose of evaluation of the research activity of a teacher or not. This will discourage unscrupulous elements from entering into the business of academic publication. 

Chanchal Kumar Sharma, Asst. Professor, M.A. College, Jagadhri


The Ministry of HRD as well as the UGC is taking bold and efficient steps to improve the standard of higher education in the country, but the policies framed by the government must be followed in toto by the respective state governments and universities. There should be uniform policy throughout the country.

On the one side the HRD Ministry is encouraging the teachers to take up research activities, on the other side the universities are not allowing the UG teachers and even PG teachers of colleges to supervise Ph.D theses. In my opinion, all the teachers, whether of universities or colleges, should be allowed to get involved in research activities.

Now that the salaries of teachers have been enhanced to a respectable level, it is time for them to show that they deserve this salary. They should prove that they can change the scenario of the country by imparting good education as well as promoting research work.

Harinder Singh Kang, Yamunanagar

No respite from price rise

The UPA-II government does not seem to be very concerned about the burning problems of the people. The way the prices of essential commodities (vegetables and pulses) have been steadily going up holds little promise for the future.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent statement that even the price of diesel has to be set free is quite disappointing. He seems to be miles away from his earlier promise of providing socio-economic justice to the “aam adami”. The increase in fuel prices has once again sent the prices of essential commodities soaring, making life quite hard for the lower middle classes, agriculture and construction workers and many other categories of people.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad



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