Vox Populi

The news of Dr JG Jolly’s demise has given a jolt to us blood donors as his very presence was a motivating factor to continue giving the ‘gift of life’.

Published: October 13, 2013 1:06:50 am

Dr Jolly’s demise a shocker for blood donors

The news of Dr JG Jolly’s demise has given a jolt to us blood donors as his very presence was a motivating factor to continue giving the ‘gift of life’. In December 1971 (Indo –Pak war),Mrs Saroop Krishen and Dr Jolly went from class to class in DAV college Chandigarh and asked for volunteers to join the blood donation movement. We students from various colleges became the backbone of this noble movement. It is thanks to Dr Jolly,the “father of transfusion medicine in India”,that the Blood Bank Society took deep roots in Chandigarh in the 70s and 80s. Till Dr Jolly,and Mrs Saroop Krishen came on the scene,sale and purchase of blood by professional donors was rampant. The main sufferers were the poor people who could not pay. Precious lives were lost for want of safe blood. Dr Jolly was instrumental in giving shape to the National Blood Policy 2002 that recognised only voluntary blood donation,which led to the banning of professional selling by a Supreme Court judgement. It was again Dr Jolly who started the first MD programme in transfusion medicine in the country at Medical College Lucknow. Thanks to his vision,that the Tricity today is 90 per cent self sufficient in terms of safe blood.

Col R D Singh ( retd),AMBALA CANTT

Need to scrap ward development fund for MLAs,councillors

Ever since the introduction of MPLADS in 1993,following the demand by MLAs and Councillors for ward development,it has remained controversial. The objective behind the scheme was to ensure that councillors would not have to depend on the authorities for development of their ward. Now the demand by the councillors of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC),recommending the Administration raise their ward development fund from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1 crore,is highly irrational as a majority of the councillors are way behind as far as utilisation of funds is concerned. According to MC records,five councillors have spent less than Rs 10 lakh out of their allotted fund till 30 September 2013. There have been strong reservations over this scheme even from some government agencies. Though money is spent on various developmental purposes under this scheme,there is not much to be seen. And then in February-March,there will be a haste to spend the pending amount. In the last financial year,Chandigarh Administration had ordered to spend Rs 17 crore within four days – from March 27 to 31. Under these circumstances,to make use of taxpayers’ money judiciously,the scheme should be scrapped altogether,so that money can be utilised for actual development purposes on the basis of allocation of funds out of the annual budget of the corporation.

S K Khosla,CHANDIGARH

Councillors only eager to inaugurate projects,completion not an agenda

A recent news item elaborated that at the end of six months of the current financial year,only 8 out of the 26 councillors of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) have been able to spend more than Rs 30 lakh (from the allotted Rs 40 lakh) for their area development. This happens year after year. A sudden spate of development works in next six months,to catch up with the lost time,invariably leads to deficient supervision resulting in substandard and shoddy work by the contractors. Even the works implemented till now are generally unsystematic and substandard. Road carpeting does not last even one season of monsoon and winter rains. The cleaning and repair of storm water gullies,started before the onset of the monsoons,are yet to be completed. The covers of gullies lay on the road sides,waiting to be placed to cover the accident-causing holes. The councillors are overly eager to inaugurate projects with fan-fare; the contractors and the MC’s supervisory staff oblige with initial frantic activity,and then for no explicable reason,the work stops. The solution to the above method of MC work culture and the shoddy quality of work lies in involving the end users in the audit of the work/facility. Resident associations can play an important role in the planning and monitoring the quality control of the project/facility. After all it is their tax money being spent on the project.

Col K D Pathak (Retd),CHANDIGARH

Petty politics at play in Punjab University

The disallowing an extension to a teacher’s post in Panjab University’s Department of Music,which reportedly is already under-staffed,by its Syndicate,smells of nothing but petty politics. The teacher in question is none other than the wife of the vice-chancellor. It is high time that the dated pattern of forming the university’s governing bodies is changed at the earliest,so that the institution’s academic interests do not suffer. There is a strong need to make some students an active part of the varsity’s decision making process also.

Balvinder, CHANDIGARH

Cattle menace is far from over in city

I am writing this letter out of frustration due to the daily stray cattle menace in Sector 46. Every morning,just before day break,herds of 6 to 10 cows come in the park enclosed by house no 3504 to 3508; 3516 to 3524; 3568 to 3571 and 3615 to 3622. They graze in the park and then sit there for hours,making it difficult for the children to play there,and for morning walkers too. Neither the Administration nor the municipal corporation bother to stop this. Some people also throw strotis to these animals from their balconies,creating a scare for the passersby. Same is the case with the park in front of the Government High School,Sector 46-C. Both the parks are full or cow-dung,which emits a foul smell whenever it rains. No “safai karamchari” engaged by the MC is seen cleaning the area. Surprisingly,they appear on the roads with long brooms and start cleaning the roads on the days of festivals and then ask for bakshish. After this,they leave heaps of rubbish by the roadside,telling people that a Pick-up truck will come for the garbage. But as the days pass by,no truck comes and the heaps are spread all along the roads,making the conditions much worse than what they were earlier.

R K Kapoor,CHANDIGARH

Officers defy Central govt’s restrictions on foreign tours

The Accountant General (Audit) has raised objections and asked the UT Administration to recover Rs 4 lakh spent for a foreign tour by the chief engineer,public health and superintending engineer of the Chandigarh MC . The Administration had ignored the Union Finance Ministry’s restrictions for the foreign tours and sent the officers on a seven-day tour to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand for a study of infrastructure,by spending Rs 4 lakh. Such tours are generally for the enjoyment and the reports of such tour are never implemented. The Engineers Development Council,an autonomous body of engineers that had organised the trip,has refused to refund the amount.

Sahil Garg,CHANDIGARH

There should be detailed scrutiny of affidavits given by poll candidates

Amidst a spate of bold rulings by the Supreme Court in the recent months aimed at ensuring electoral reforms,on September 13 it has been directed by the Apex Court that no columns in the Affidavits accompanying the nomination papers of candidates be left blank lest it would be a ground for rejection of the latter. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has immediately swung into action for strict compliance of the same. But there is another grey area which hitherto has not received the attention it requires. Since June, 2002 when the ECI issued a set of instructions making it mandatory for all prospective candidates to furnish by way of duly sworn-in attested affidavits details regarding their assets (movable and immovable),liabilities towards the public authorities,educational qualifications,pending cases in courts and criminal antecedents etc,”which were to be verified by the returning officers by way of a summary inquiry at the time of scrutiny of nomination papers”. In the case of wrong or incomplete information or suppression of facts,as per 2002 instructions it was to become a ground for the rejection of nomination papers apart from inviting penal provisions. But the ECI in its revised instructions issued in March,2003,did away with the provision of such an inquiry by the Returning Officer to assess the authenticity of information. It is strange. There is no rationale in making filing of affidavits mandatory unless these are to be duly scrutinized. It is another aspect all counter affidavits (duly notarized) filed by any person against the statements in the affidavit filed by the candidate are also to be disseminated/uploaded on the website alongwith the candidates’ affidavits concerned. Be that as it may, the provision for holding a summary inquiry by the Returning Officer so as to assess the authenticity of information given in concerned affidavits and in the event of such being information being misleading/wrong the rejection of nomination papers is amust. Currently,under section 125 A of Representation of Peoples’ Act giving such wrong information or concealing something just provides for imprisonment for a period upto six months or fine or both but it does not results in rejection of nomination forms. This aspect ought to be addressed by the Supreme Court too.

Hemant Kumar,AMBALA CITY

RTI Act should be used judiciously,and not to settle personal scores

The Right to Information Act,enacted in October 2005,has been the most significant legal provision in India in the matter of transparency in the public domain. It has turned out to be the prized tool in the hands of a common citizen of the country to extract information of public interest,to seek accountability of public institutions and to expose the menace of corruption wherever suspected in the country. It is pertinent to note that the Central Information Commissioner has also extended timely help to obtain vital information in the matter of getting the details of tax returns of various political parties and in many more other cases. At the same time,it may also be mentioned that while the provisions of RTI Act have largely been utilised for serving the public interest and for the good of the nation,there have been instances when the information sought smacked of personal vengeance or was meant to settle personal scores or not intended to serve any public interest. Such instances only result in avoidable waste of time,energy and money apart from bringing a bad name to the Act itself.

S K Gupta,CHANDIGARH

Soon,tourists will need to carry tents for want of budget hotels

With reference to the letter by Narinder Singh of Chandigarh which appeared in Chandigarh Newsline October 6 — City needs budget hotels,not tourist centres – I agree with his views on the need for low-budget accommodation in Chandigarh. I myself found it impossible to find a reasonably priced room in the city. I have heard the same complaint from several other tourists,whom I have met during my stay in India. Most of the western tourists travelling in India are young people on a limited budget. The prices of hotel rooms in the city are nowhere near what these people can afford. A tent and a campsite would be an ideal solution for me and certainly for many others as well.

Harri Vainio,Nordhorn (Germany)

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