February 14, 2018 09:10 PM

Chander Sharma

Chander Sharma
  A well-meaning move by Punjab technical education minister Charanjit Singh Channi has sparked a row and political parties were quick enough to "fish in troubled water".

A harmless and transparent exercise to decide vying teachers for posting was made to mean by national TV channels and print media as “appointments” being done through the toss of a coin without going into merit. In fact, what Channi did was to decide a simple posting between two aspirants to avoid allegations of favouritism. It was recorded on video by a TV journalist, present in Channi’s office on Monday.

The incident shows how over-enthusiastic media starts trial without gong into the details of the story. According to minister, he had called 37 lecturers — recently recruited through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) — to allot them stations of their choice. While he was able to decide postings of 35 candidates in this manner on the spot, two candidates had a dispute as both wanted Patiala. And, the best option he thought was to toss after both aspirants failed to resolve the issue amicably. Even, a child will say, it was best option.

Undoubtedly, ministers and MLAs are, often seen. as villains of an regular administrative exercise , and probably, its this mindset that oftens decide public perception of transfer. Chaani has become victim of this anyway.

Anyway, Toss is one of the oldest traditions in organized sport, right at the top of cricket’s rule book from 1744: “The pitching the first wicket is to be determined by the toss of a piece of money.”

So was born the pregame coin toss.

And since then. coins are tossed in lots of sports. But in football, the advantage of winning the pregame toss and receiving the ball first is negated by the other team’s receiving the ball to start the second half. As a corollary , the practice should be tried for choicest posting and transfer seeking employees by proving them equal opportunity. .

Theres is an interesting case of toss. On Thanksgiving 1998, a Steelers-Lions game went to overtime, and the Pittsburgh captain, seemed to call tails. But the referee, said the call was heads and awarded Detroit the ball. Three minutes later, the Lions kicked the winning field goal. The blunder led to a change in procedure: Players began calling heads or tails before the coin was in the air. And the feeling that the result of the overtime toss was too important led to a new rule in 2010 that a field goal on the first overtime drive would not immediately end the game.

On a snowy day in Philadelphia in 2013, the coin actually landed on an angle and had to be re-tossed.                                                         (Chander Sharma is a senior Journalist)

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