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Failure on food policy front

Dr S S Johl in his article “Jolts to food policy” (July 28) has rightly emphasised the need for proper food policy to stop the spoilage of foodgrains in storage and to feed the whole country.

The decision over imports and exports of foodgrains should not be taken in a haphazard way and all the policy jerks related to this should be kept away. Going panicky due to one or the other reason to sell the foodgrains in the international market at low prices as compared to the domestic prices not only pushes the country into losses but also brings a bad name for a country as a foodgrain supplier when around one-fourth of the country’s population is not even able to meet its demand for food.

This situation can be averted by timely action of procurement agencies and putting in all attention to the storage and scientific handling of foodgrains. To prevent self-created shortages of food, a healthy policy is to be maintained and sustained investment is to be made by experts to keep every grain worth going to the needy people.

RANJODH SINGH,Army School, Bathinda



The article clearly reflects failure on part of the government on the food policy front, whereas our farmers and our agricultural scientists have done their role. The “food policy makers” and “food stock managers” of the country have failed miserably. Punjab, the food bowl of the country, should have been provided with “temperature and moisture” controlled silos in sufficient capacity at approachable locations so as to check unbelievable high spoilage in storage.

Feeding the nation is never a temporary phenomenon. Therefore, investment in high quality silos is urgently required. For Punjab silos are as important as roads and other infrastructure.

Gursharan Singh Dhiman, President (Agri Business), LAKSHMI ENERGY & FOOD, LUDHIANA

Power crisis

Your write-up on how malls consume electricity equivalent to 10 to 12 villages (July 29) gives us an idea about the urban-rural divide. By the time Mr Manmohan Singh’s nuclear power struggles bear fruit the consumption/production gap will further increase.

So we are short of power. This fact needs to be accepted. Let’s divide what we have intelligently and judiciously. Food production needs priority over conspicuous consumption, especially in the summer months.

Grains are becoming increasingly important for India as international surpluses are non-existent due to bio-fuel production. India also plans as an alternate to oil to increase its ethanol production from 5 per cent to 10 per cent by October 2008. The downward trend of sugarcane production has to be reversed.

Quality uninterrupted agricultural supply is the only thing which can keep India’s large population away from hunger. Then only can we dream of becoming an economic power to reckon with.

Rana P S Mahal, Hangoli

Saving Indian hockey

Indian hockey lately has seen many ups and downs, often mercurial movements. The biggest humiliation, of course, is not being able to make it for the first time to the Olympics. But, the recent win in Asian junior championship brings back some hope where Diwakar Ram, a drag flicker, proved an emerging star nearly equalling Dhan Raj Pillay.

We need to hone our skill in four ‘S’, namely, strategy, stamina, skill (technique) and speed. There is no dearth of talent, but needs only toning and tuning by experts and good financial backup like cricket by sports lovers. Dhan Raj’s videos should be compulsory ‘exhibits’ to budding players who had the lightening speed, stamina and stick work, one of the best in recent times.

B.M.SINGH, Brockville,Canada

No coverage

The teachers of Panjab University have been demanding the Central University status and you are giving good coverage. Besides this, there is also the legal battle that is being fought by the PU teachers in the Punjab and Haryana High court for the past 10 years contesting that the PU is a Central University and therefore the teachers must get all the benefits applicable to the Central Universities, including the enhanced age of retirement as allowed to them. There has also been a reference from the Supreme Court of India to decide the pending writ petitions by July 31, 2008.

After this direction of the apex court the matter has been considered by the High Court twice or thrice in the month of July, 2008. It is heard that each time some new documents are presented in the court and a new date is fixed after some discussion. What are these documents and what are their implications on the merit of the case as also what were the arguments that took place is never published in your newspaper.

PROF RAJESHWAR SHARMA (retd), Chandigarh



Train robbery

What an experience! A few days back, I was travelling from Delhi to Howrah in one of the superfast trains that takes less than a day to cover the journey. Everything was going hunky-dory till 9.15 pm when the train passed Mughalsarai station. A few minutes later, the train suddenly came to a haut. As I was sitting on the emergency window seat, I pushed it up and started gazing outside. Somebody had pulled the chain (this has now become a common incident in trains).

A tall man stepped down with a huge black bag. The TTE remained standing at the exit and watched the person fleeing. The RPF (Railway Protection Force) security guard stepped down (but to my horror) just walked 15 metres and came back. What was shocking and mysterious about that was that the RPF guard lit up the sideways track (on which the person was running) with the help of his torch, bowed down, took some valuable item, put it in his pocket, adjusted the valve (which was opened due to pulling of chain) and stepped back into the train.

After another five minutes the train started the journey again with everyone soon forgetting the incident (but it still haunts me). That’s how RPF men make hay while thieves make their way.

ROHIT DHIR, Bathinda



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