Thursday, December 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Political leadership lets down cotton growers

Apropos of the editorial “A collective failure”. the crop failure this year due to the attack of American bollworm coupled with lower prices of the produce has broken the back of farmers, who are already on the verge of bankruptcy due to successive crop failures. The political leadership has also not come forward to rescue these hapless farmers with compensation. Nor has it taken any initiative to check the crash of cotton prices in the domestic market due to imports.

To some extent, the farmers themselves are also responsible for their sorry state of affairs. Over the years the cotton farmers have been resorting to indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilisers in the hope of increasing the crop yields in total disregard to the scientific recommendations.

The excessive use of insecticides/pesticides resulted in the development of resistant in the pests against these agro-chemicals and the overuse of nitrogenous fertilisers has left the crop amenable to insect attacks. They relied more on the advice of insecticide sellers for the choice of insecticide for the control of a particular insect than on agricultural experts.

The biological crop protection measures being popularised by extension agencies did not find any takers. In pursuit of higher yields, the farmers also sowed some of those cotton varieties which had not been recommended for sowing in particular areas due to their proneness to insect/pest infestation.

Moreover, the scientific recommendation of keeping the land fellow for one crop season after every two cotton crops and destroying the crop stubbles and alternative hosts of the American bollwarm necessary to check the proliferation of the insect in the succeeding crop were often ignored.


The prevalence of hot-humid whether conditions due to the early onset of the monsoon this year further compounded the situation with the insect attacking the crop with vengeance.

Now in order to save the farmers from further ruin, the government and cotton experts may ponder over the suggestion of asking the farmers to stop the cultivation of this crop for at least two consecutive years so that the insect proliferation could be brought within manageable levels.

Dr M.L. KAMBOJ, Scientist (LPM), Nabha

State of polity

In his incisive analysis of the state of Indian polity, Bhim S. Dahiya has made a forceful plea for empowering the President, being “independent” of the powers that be. There is no shadow of doubt that the ruling elite and polity are deeply mired in corruption. It has been amply documented in the N.N. Vohra committee report that the democracy in India is really in distress. Moreover, according to the German-based Transparency International, India is at 72 among the 79 most corrupt nations in the world. This is attributable to the politician-bureaucrat-trader-criminal nexus.

I am afraid that the empowerment plea alone, as made by the author, may not be instrumental in getting the polity rid of the myriad malaises afflicting it. First, the presidential candidate will depend on one party or the other combination of political forces to fight the election. He would be part of the ruling elite, which is tainted, as it were. In these circumstances, I feel that only intellectuals, people who have held high positions in public services and are now retired and people’s organisations, all committed to the metamorphosis of the polity for a real democratic orientation can deliver the goods.

But for these to play their path-breaking role, it is assumed that (i) they should not seek any favour from the ruling elite (ii) should be committed to public causes selflessly and (iii) take “activist ” part in people’s movements in all walks of life. People should learn to empower themselves and be ready to bear the brunt of a struggle in a determined and peaceful way for a clean dispensation. Let India be peopled by thousands of Gandhis in the new millennium for a radical overhaul of the polity.


Army's problems

General Sandhu in his article "Problems that the Army faces" (Nov. 24) has appropriately highlighted some of the important aspects which deserve our serious attention.

The school of thought advocating elimination of the Central Ordnance Depots (COD) is apparently on the wrong track. If CODs are eliminated, then who would provide for the new units to be raised, items which are of necessity to be centrally stocked as well as conditioning and mending of general stores, clothing and equipment?

In case the regional depots are saddled with the responsibility of CODs and consequently expanded, then their basic function of retail issue of stores is bound to suffer which must not be accepted.

The concept of single window supply system introduced in the Mountain Div Ordnance units has amply proved itself. Hence, there is the essential need for introducing a similar system for the infantry divisions operating in the plains.

The role of every suborganisation within the Army is well defined to keep those focussed on it. However, sometimes aberrations tend to creep in which need to be removed. Thus, those who are responsible for providing stores should dwell on it. On the other hand, repair and maintenance organisations should concentrate on the same and not on procurement and storage of spares.

From time to time, attempts have been made to borrow logistic models from western countries. These are generally counter-productive in view of the aims and objectives of our country, geographical factors and the environment. Therefore, we need to develop our own system.

Maj-Gen S. K. KAR (retd), New DelhiTop


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