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Do not influence VC’s selection

To the news report “Now, PAU on politicians’ radar” (Apr 1) I would like to add that the appointment of a search committee by the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, to consider the extension of the term of Dr MS Kang, the current Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, is a normal procedure. The position of the VC requires immense acumen. It is not easy to manage the leading agricultural university of India. Indeed, PAU, its staff and successive VC’s have been instrumental in creating food security in the country.

However, it is regrettable that Mr Harish Raj Dhanda, with no background in agricultural education and research is trying to create political pressure on the CM with the flimsy argument of vote bank.

This smacks of cheap opportunism to seek membership to the PAU board of management and influence the selection of VC. It is a shame that a responsible politician almost the rank of minister should try to bend rules for his personal gains and interfere in the normal procedures and protocols in the appointment of VC of PAU.

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As for the credentials of Dr. Kang, he has an outstanding academic background and a wide international experience of teaching, research, and extension. In his present tenure as VC, he has proved to be a highly competent administrator, an excellent communicator with the staff and students and the international community of scientists worldwide.

Many international universities and institutions have signed MOU’s with PAU during his tenure as the VC of PAU. His participation in kisan melas is highly appreciated by the farmers of the state. At every such event, he gathers first-hand information on the problems of the farmers of Punjab and deploys resources of the university to solve them.

Ex-Staff Member, Joint Division,
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations


I am appalled at the gall of Mr Dhanda, in his selfish desire to be associated with the selection of Vice Chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University. This esteemed organisation does not need a politician’s association, especially when it comes to the selection of the highest post of the university. The position of the Vice-Chancellor is one of dignity and competence. If Mr Dhanda is allowed to participate in the process it will indicate that there is no room for meritocracy and that potential candidates need to be on the right side of politicians with vested interests.

We are playing with the future of our educational system by allowing unnecessary involvement of local politicians. It is the fervent appeal of academicians and university employees to the Chief Minister to put an end to this travesty immediately.


Ban on books

In a democratic country, it is shameful to ban a book (editorial, “Brooking no dissent”, Apr 1), especially when no one has read it. Banning a book means banning ideas and thoughts.

At the same time, it must be remembered that Mahatma Gandhi is a role model many world leaders including the US President Barack Obama. However, certain people play cheap tricks to malign the image of the Father of the Nation. Earlier, also a book “A Curse for Bharat” written by Anand Prakash Madan of Panchkula was banned by Haryana Government for “derogatory and objectionable” remarks made in it about the Father of the Nation which is an offence under Section 153-A of the IPC.

In fact, it has become a fashion to tarnish the image of great Indian leaders for self-publicity and for boosting the sale of books.



It is quite natural for the Indian intelligentsia to feel sorry for the ban. The furore over the ban of the book was sparked by the Indian media by publishing reviews carried in the US and UK. Some of these reviews emphasised passages in the book that suggested Gandhi had an intimate relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach.


Corruption virus

“Ill got is ill spent”—-my elders taught me so. But today it is not true any more. Corrupt people are progressing and prospering. Many remedies to curb corruption have been proposed and advocated. None of these have cut an ice so far. The honest Prime Minister seems to be helpless and hapless. There is no magic wand to get rid of corruption which is deep rooted.


Ensure Sukhna’s life

The High Court has stayed the building activity in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake. This places a great responsibility on the managers of the lake to see that the lake does not become extinct due to its so-called problems of excess of silt and shortage of water. There is mistaken belief that the silt heaps on the bed of this lake are a curse and need to be removed. Learning a lesson from the “Crow and Pebble” story, their removal will lower the water level in the lake and adversely affect its boating activity.

This lesson was forgotten in the year 2010 when 108.16 lakh ft. of silt was removed at a cost of Rs 2.14 crore. Action should be taken to prevent the entry of any fresh silt in the lake with the help of a device costing less than Rs 50 lakh. This is necessary to avoid reducing the water holding capacity or the boating area of the lake.

The water management of this 50-year-old lake has left much to be desired. It is a victim of man-made mistake and not of any natural calamity. Its water was allowed to be routed through 190 check dams to relieve it of its silt, but the same is being detained in them permanently.

S.P. SHARMA, Panchkula



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