Waive loans of farm labour too

The Punjab State Farmers’ Commission deserves credit for getting a study conducted on the “Status of local agriculture labour”. It is also heartening that such studies now are focussing on the plight of rural agricultural labour. These would certainly help the state government in formulating comprehensive plans for them.

Let me add that the plight of women in the agriculture sector is very distressing, especially of Dalit women. They have to do domestic chores, daily casual labour, look after children, get fodder for domesticated animals, face onslaughts of land-owners and sometimes get beaten up, raped and paraded naked for various reasons.

I have seen in some villages, they are carried in tractor-trailers in the early morning to the fields for daily labour and let free in the evening. Farm labour families, mainly Dalits, are under debt, which is taken to meet household expenses, healthcare needs and social commitments.

The state governments, since Independence, have not come out with any special package or scheme to help them engage in non-farm work/jobs nor have offered any loan waiver. The loans they take from big farmers turn them into bonded labourers.

G.S. BAL, Jalandhar


Malwa lifeline

A Tribune report “Malwa lifeline runs today” (February 23) states that “It is a 148 feet wide & 12 feet deep canal and 4-5 feet silt had to be removed from its bed.” This appears to be rather misleading because the canal systems are designed to have non-scouring, non-silting velocities and, as such, there should be no occasion of any desilting operation worth the name in the Patiala feeder or the Kotla branch.

The Sirhind canal system has been running for more than 125 years now and it will be very instructive to know as to how many times in the past 125 years, the first Patiala feeder and the Kotla branch of this system had to be cleared of silt before as is being claimed now and at what cost.

H.S. ROSHA, Chief Engineer (retd), Chandigarh

Himachal budget

I read your editorial “Please-all budget: Himachal overlooks growing debt” (March 10). Bluntly speaking, there is not much to gloat over the budget. In fact, the budget overlooks several grey areas – the mounting debt liability of the state, for example. The much-abused MLAs’ local area development fund should have been scrapped rather than hiked as the editorial rightly observes.

Looking at the recent 25 per cent hike in the bus fares, it seems a misnomer to call it a “tax-free budget”. In fact, it seems a blatant exercise in hoodwinking the gullible.

All in all, it is a populist budget designed with an eye on the impending parliamentary poll. The larger interest of the state seems to have been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. How sad!

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

It’s wonderful

No words are enough to praise the hard work done by Subhash Ghai in making “Black and White”. He has beautifully explored the psyche of a suicide bomber.

How beautifully Ghai has handled the script and direction. It is simply matchless and fantastic. Missing in this film are larger-than life protagonists. But we find down-to-earth characters.

How Islam is misunderstood by the wayward youth is shown perhaps for the first time on the Indian screen. It is also a fact that if our society takes a vow to smoothen the hurt psyche of misguided youth, there is no reason that they do not shun the path of violence.

Habib Tanveer, a doyen of Indian theatre, is at his best. Only three-film-old, Shefali Shah was a treat to watch. Anurag Sinha is tremendous. Anil Kapoor leaves an indelible mark. Well done Ghai, Black and White is the need of the hour.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Save Punjabi

Well-known journalist Kuldip Nayar’s concern for Pujabi language and culture is appreciable. He is right in saying that the Punjabi language is fading and some steps need to be taken to save it.

The Chandigarh-Ambala-Karnal portion, once a hub of Punjabi culture, no longer seems so now. Sant Fateh Singh, the Akali morcha leader, did not take all Punjabis with him to have the present Punjab. People would like to see a revival of Punjabi language and culture in this region.

P.P. SINGH, Mohali

‘Chhad de India’

I have gone through your editorial “ ‘Chak de’ was only a flicker” (March 11). Needless to stress, the slogan “Chak de India” should soon give way to “Chhad de India” as far as hockey is concerned.

Besides, it can be safely said that Jab tak Gill IHF chief rahega, Hockey ka yehi hall rahega.

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar


Ill-treated at airport

I am a Canada-based social activist, drug therapist and newspaper columnist. Out of love for my homeland, I visit India every year. This time my wife and I travelled from Vancouver to Amritsar on Singapore Airlines reaching Rajasansi airport on October 3, 2007. A wheelchair was booked for my ailing wife (75). When we were 50 metres away from the main door of the airport, the wheelchair puller asked for $20. I declined and he angrily left, leaving us in the lurch.

To my surprise, the luggage was scattered and I had to spend 15 minutes to locate my suitcases. A porter offered to locate my luggage for $20. I complained to an officer on duty and also to Singapore Airlines, but nothing happened.

  On our return journey on March 2, 2008, the Singapore Airline staff did not allow us to carry our laptops with our carry-on luggage and insisted that we put them in cargo. This could damage the sensitive laptops. As we resisted, we were not allowed to travel on March 2.

We had to spend the night outside the airport in the open as we did not have the Indian currency at that time. A complaint was made to the Singapore, Indian and Canadian governments on March 3. Then we were allowed to carry our laptops in the carry-on luggage and we left our country in dismay on March 5.

Dr Raghbir Singh Bains, Surrey, B.C. (Canada)



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