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IITs, IIMs: Minister’s remarks unfair

Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's remarks about the faculty of the IIMs and the IITs, which have naturally invited the wrath of faculty members, are totally unjustified and uncalled for. The way every society has good as well as bad citizens and every political system has good and bad politicians, educational institutions also have good and bad teachers. If Mr Ramesh as an important alumni of the IIT, Mumbai, does not consider the faculty of that institute world class, the impression gathered there cannot be generalised.

Judging the efficiency of teachers on the parameters of quality research work alone is not justified. A teacher is supposed to be a spark plug and not just a fuel pipe in this whole mechanism. A good and quality teacher is one who can ignite minds, and if IIMs and IITs get already ignited minds, to keep them ignited or to keep that spark alive is the primary responsibility of a good teacher. A teacher is required to sharpen the creative instincts, to polish the analytical traits and to inject in students the much-required confidence to think and act afresh, to be out of traditional grooves.

I think the faculty in these prestigious institutes is successfully doing the job of producing world-class professionals. A good teacher, irrespective of the reputation and stature of the institute in which he is working, is one who can intelligently adjust himself according to the calibre of students. Thus, if students are from an academically backward background a good teacher is one who first comes to their level and then slowly and steadily brings them up. To face world-class students and satisfy them and to keep their desire to excel burning, one naturally has to be world class.

Mr Ramesh might be talking of his personal experiences and impressions, but to generalise them is totally unwarranted and is bound to generate furore, especially among good and dedicated teachers. If students are good, you cannot take the credit of that away from teachers. And if teachers are fine, only students make them so.

SANJEEV TRIKHA, M.M. (PG) College, Fatehabad

Jubilant driver

It was a treat to read the “middle”, “Babe di full kirpa” by V.K. Kapoor (May 24). I fully endorse the views expressed by the writer with regards to truck drivers. I had a chance to accompany a truck driver from Kapurthala to Neembahera (Rajasthan) in 1978-1979. It was supposed to bring a truckload of cement from a Birla cement factory against foreign exchange (Cement was a controllable item those days).

All my earlier assumptions about truck drivers were gone after remaining with him for more than three days. The jubilant “Punjabi Truck Driver” was optimistic about everything which happen to come his way. His moustaches were at 5 min to 1 in the morning, 10 min to 2 in the noon, and 15 min to 3 in evening. I never saw his moustaches at 20 min to 4. He was always in an upbeat mood of “Chardi Kala”.

To the congregation of the drivers, co-drivers, cleaner-conductors at the roadside dhaba, he used to address them as “Sat Sri Akal and Copy to All”. He did not show any sign of pessimism during this long and arduous journey. On his truck it was conspicuously written, “Sau vichon ninyanve baimaan, phir bhi Mera Bharat Mahaan”. (Ninetynine per cent people of India are dishonest, even then our country is great). He was hospitable, accommodating and non-abusive in his conversation even with others.

At the end of my journey, I blessed him by saying, “May you achieve what you aspire for in your life”. His reply was, “Babe de Kirpa Bani Rahe” (May the blessing of God continue showering on me). On the basis of my experience, I can safely say that appearances are deceptive.

“Seerat ke hum ghulam hain, surat hui to kya,/ Surkho sufed mitti kee moorat hui to kya.”

(So, what if a man is handsome but without human values). May his tribe Increase.

Principal Shyam Sunder Airi (retd), Kapurthala

PU appointments

This refers to the news item that appeared in Chandigarh Tribune on May 25, "PU Chancellor backs Syndicate". The report was about the forthcoming key appointments in Panjab University.

I have to state that appointments of officers of Class A, including the Registrar, are made as per the regulations in Chapter II A (i) and (ii) of the Panjab University Calendar, Volume I, framed under Section 31(2) (e) of the Panjab University Act, 1947. Regulation 8 (b) of Chapter II (A) (ii) empowers the Syndicate to consider and make recommendations to the Senate with respect to the appointment of officers of Class A.

As per Regulation 10.1 (b) of Chapter II (A) (i), the Senate shall consider and take decisions on the recommendations of the Syndicate regarding the appointment of officers of Class A. The appointment of the Registrar is governed further by the regulations in Chapter III, also framed under Section 31(2) (e) of the Act.

As it is the normal practice, the Vice-Chancellor had sought an audience with the Chancellor for briefing him about the academic developments in the university at the end of the academic session. He was not called to Delhi to discuss the issue of university appointments nor was the matter on the agenda of the meeting.

Dr Mohanmeet Khosla, DPR, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Insurance hassles

Most of the general insurance companies, particularly those dealing with medical and hospitalisation insurance, have appointed TPAs (third-party adjudicators) for an early, easy and correct settlement of claims of their policy-holders. Unfortunately, instead of being a help, they are proving to be a source of harassment for the gullible policy-holders. Though these TAPs claim to be “without prejudice” (as they boldly portray these words on their letterheads), their decisions certainly prove that they are biased in favour of their insurance company. This is but natural as these TPAs are appointed and paid by the company concerned. Moreover, these TAPs have no obligation towards the policy-holders.

These TPAs generally delay the settlement claims by sending frivolous queries to the claimants. In spite of getting the replies to their queries, these TPAs keep on sending reminders just to delay the matter. To add insult to injury, these TPAs make unreasonable and unexplainable deductions in the claims. The appeals and reasoning given by the claimants simply fall on deaf ears and these TPAs act just as unchallengeable dictators.

So, it will be in the fitness of things that insurance companies scrap the appointment of TPAs and directly deal with their customers.

Prof. Y.P. MAKKER, Malout



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