Why is Punjab lagging behind?

IN his article “What hinders Punjab’s growth” (June 27), Dr S.S. Johl has rightly pointed out the lack of good roads, power supply, responsive governance and increasing corruption as the main hindrances in Punjab’s growth. In fact, the position is becoming dismal because of degrading socio-politico-bureaucratic service and economic structures and institutions at every level.

Our agro-economic system as a whole seems to be collapsing under the escalating costs of production and declining farm-profitability, emerging quality-conscious market competition, decreasing public/private investment and increasing on-farm and off-farm unemployment.

Corruption is infecting even our genes (hence our generation) and only drastic steps will control this. Most institutions including universities, whose standards have fallen because of mediocrity, must be revitalised. The building of “speed-way” and development/ repairs of existing pathetically bad roads must go together.

The illiteracy-removal systems should generate skilled human resource for gainful employment in agro-industry. Participatory approach in planning and effective implementation is imperative.

Dr M.S. BAJWA, Ludhiana

Letters to the Editor

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— Editor-in-Chief



Ironically, Punjab suffers from neglect though its human resources are highly enterprising. Its strategic location as a border state has been continuously drummed up to bar it from having heavy industries. Punjab helped the country to meet its food requirements, but it didn’t receive help to boost food processing industries.

To tackle power shortage, thermal plants were introduced which depend on import of raw materials from a long haul, making their operation cumbersome and lethargic. Setting up new industries has become an enigma for Punjab. There is continuous flight of small and medium industries to a neighbouring state due to the largesse of incentives by the previous government. The Punjab Chief Minister’s appeals for such a package have fallen on deaf ears.

Unemployment problem in Punjab has become acute. The socio-economic profile is cause for alarm. Moreover, about 80,000 Army retirees are without jobs and our repeated demand to implement their lateral induction has not been accepted.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana

Storage dam must at Wangtu

THE flash flood in the Sutlej river on June 25 caused huge loss to property and infrastructure (particularly NH 22). The closure of the Nathpa Jhakri Power Plant following the increase in the concentration of silt runs into crores of rupees during the rainy season.

The Himachal Government or the Centre can avoid this loss by constructing a 700-ft high dam (with a storage capacity of 1.5 billion cubic meter) at Wangtu. This dam will compensate the project cost of Rs 5,000 crore in five years and ensure the following benefits: (i) generate 800-MW power at Wangtu and an additional 2,500 million units at downstream projects (ii) provide silt-free water to the Nathpa Jhakri project throughout the year and (iii) silt retention at this dam will increase the Kol Dam reservoir’s life by 10 years and that of the Bhakra reservoir by five years.



Delimitation in HP

Delimitation Commission Chairman Justice Kuldip Singh visited Shimla last week and held discussions with the State Election Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners and other top officers on delimitation of some constituencies in the state.

However, it is not clear whether Gagret Assembly constituency in Una district would continue to fall under the “reserved” category or would it be de-reserved this time. Suffice it to mention that this constituency has been reeling under a continuous spell of reservation ever since it was carved out several decades ago.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Timely warning

In his article “Water loss by grain exports” (June 18), Dr S.S. Johl has sounded warning to our policymakers to take into account the social costs of grain exports in terms of water loss. The huge water input of 1,300 litres for every kg of wheat produced on evapo-transpiration basis and the annual estimate of 11,00,000 crore gallons will exhaust any aquifer in a few years.

Ironically, such heavy and precious inputs are fed for producing grain for export. I will call it exporting water. This doesn’t include the harm to the environment for producing electricity which goes into running the tube wells.

Sadly, our state leadership doesn’t seem to be sensitised. There is no water policy. Thousands of new tubewells are sunk daily. Meanwhile, global warming is increasing daily and glaciers are fast liquefying and receding with an illusory picture of ‘plenty’ because the dams get filled up during flash floods. The government should examine these issues on priority and involve the people in development.

Prof MOHAN SINGH, Amritsar

NET exam marks

This refers to the news-item “UGC asked to disclose marks of NET exam” (June 23). Any entrance test of national importance, be it CAT, IIT-JEE, BITSAT, AIEEE or examinations like IAS preliminary/mains, UGC-NET need to be totally transparent. We hear about paper leakage and tampering of results in most examinations. The authorities must disclose the marks (or grades) scored by the candidate in all the subjects, Group Discussion and Personal Interview; allow him/her to carry the question papers home and reveal the evaluation mechanism to make themselves credible.

Equally important, the UGC should declare NET results well in time so that the candidates do not suffer. It is a pity that the apex educational policymaking body should dither and make excuses.

Dr SUSHIL KANSAL, Ambala Cantonment

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