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Merit must guide PPSC appointments

The editorial “MLA as PPSC head” (July 13) wrongly seeks to equate the appointment of the PPSC chairmen which I made during my tenure as the Chief Minister of Punjab with that done by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

I have appointed people of high integrity as the chairmen to the commission. Three chairmen were appointed during my tenure. They included Lt-Gen Surinder Singh, a former GOC-in-C, Central Command; Lt-Gen T.S. Shergil, a former Commandant of the Indian Military Academy, and Mr S.K. Sinha, a senior IAS officer. Their integrity was acknowledged by everyone as above board and all the appointments during their term were based only on merit. No one can point a finger on the genuineness of the appointments made during their term.

It is absolutely unfair to club everyone within the same bracket. It was during my tenure when we started the process of cleansing the PPSC by taking action against Mr Ravi Sidhu, a thoroughly corrupt chairman the PPSC had so far. Interestingly, Mr Badal had recommended his (Sidhu’s) nomination for the chairmanship of the Union Public Service Commission during the Prime Ministership of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

We are opposing the appointment of Mr Harish Rai Dhanda as a matter of principle as he is capable of subverting the law to please his political master, Mr Badal. As your editorial has also mentioned, given his past, there is no guarantee that he may not do the bidding of his political master as the chairman of the PPSC and that is why we are opposed to his appointment.

Mr Dhanda is a man with a dubious past. He has been mentioned in various land grab cases and one case of moral turpitude, and his name was mentioned in various FIRs though his name disappeared mysteriously from these FIRs in later stages. The people are well aware of his past.

We can be assured that merit will once again become a thing of the past and all the appointments by the PPSC will be vitiated with political interference. Those being selected by the PPSC now will be running various departments of the state for the next 35 years, and it will be a tragedy if people of merit are left out.

Capt Amarinder Singh, former  Punjab Chief Minister, Chandigarh

Respect sportspersons

It is true that laws alone cannot solve India’s problems (the editorial, “Law alone won’t help”, July 13). We have to grow as citizens. If rules are made, we should remember that they are for our own good. In order to live in a society, we need to have a system that works. For a system to work we need rules. If I break a certain rule and feel elated, I forget that someone might have noticed me and would perhaps be tempted to emulate me. Who knows I might become a victim of my own doing one day. It is truly amazing how in a system, one person’s wrongdoing affects one and all. The person himself will be affected in the long run.

In the context of Indian sports, it is relevant to ask why do our players succumb to the temptation of using performance-inducing drugs? While we keep blaming them for their action, we do not try to understand the reasons.

Indian educational institutions do not encourage sports quite the same way it is done in the US and other countries. It is true that they are far ahead of us. But this only shows our lazy approach. We feel contented by telling ourselves that we are a poor country. Our parents ended up believing that India is a poor country and we should not compete with the developed countries. India is not a poor country. We have monetary, physical and intellectual resources to match the capabilities of any other country. We are hurt by our inability to think beyond our selfish motives. This has not helped Indian sports at all.

It is not necessary to think of our former athletes in terms of how many medals they could win. They have paved the way for others to follow and progress. Athletes like PT Usha have inspired a generation of budding athletes, both boys and girls. It is not enough for us to think of winning medals. The effort should be to identify talented boys and girls, and provide them the requisite infrastructure. The results will take time to come.

Sportspersons feel the need to perform and win medals at any cost and by any means because they know that if they fail to do so, their future will be ruined. Only the medal winners are looked upon with respect in India. Others are totally forgotten. It is shameful that we do not treat our sportspersons with respect. All of them are not going to win medals. Does that mean that they are not worthy of our respect? If we support our sportspersons now, I am certain, they will regain their confidence. Our respect and support will induce them to work harder.


The ‘threat’ of airconditioners

I fully agree with the views of the writer that “the omnipresence of air-conditioning in the modern era is very off-putting” (the middle, “Blowing hot and very cold”, July 13). Airconditioners chase us everywhere. The chill is not just what one gets. There are other adverse effects also. One starts sneezing in no time. The throat invariably becomes sore and sometimes one develops chest congestion. This is followed by mild fever which, if untreated, can become complicated. Then one has to go to a doctor. Medicines are recommended and after taking them one feels drowsy throughout the day. Appetite may go down in certain cases.

Then there are persons who are susceptible to cold. They might develop serious ailments. Some will suffer cramps.

But the problems are hardly the same for everybody. While the old hate airconditioners, the young love them. The only way out is to be adequately dressed. It does not matter what the season is. I have experienced it while taking a ride on the Shatabdi Express, and I can sympathise with the writer!


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed in double space, should not exceed the 150-word limit. These can be sent by post to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030. Letters can also be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com

— Editor-in-Chief



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