Thursday, January 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Need to change cropping pattern in Punjab

While the central districts of Punjab have contributed substantially to the central pool of foodgrains, the south-western zone comprising Bathinda, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Moga and Mansa districts produce cotton mostly. The central part is fast emptying its sweet water reserves due to the water-intensive paddy-wheat rotation. The south-western zone is facing the problem of rising watertable which is brackish/alkaline/saline, neither fit for drinking nor for irrigation.

There is an apprehension that the unwanted salinity affected/brackish water with its rising trend may penetrate into the low sweet water central zone. This is likely to plunge Punjab into a still deeper crisis in the years to come.

To check this, farmers in the central part should stop growing paddy and switch over to crops like maize, oilseeds, pulses, fruits, vegetables, groundnut and fodder. Besides, soil and water conservation measures need to be taken to enhance the recharging of the sub-surface watertable along with the propagation of furrow, sprinkler & drip irrigation.

An altogether different approach will have to be adopted for arresting the rising trend of brackish/salinity affected watertable in the south-western zone by taking recourse to paddy, sugarcane and wheat and trees like eucalyptus and poplars.

The cultivation of horticulture crops, which are not only eco-friendly but also remunerative, needs to be encouraged. Similarly, fisheries can also work wonders in the area as there are species of fish which can better flourish in the saline/brackish waters. Besides, other occupations like dairy, poultry, beekeeping, floriculture etc can also pay rich dividends to farmers of this area, provided their marketing is ensured.

G. S. AUJLA, Mohali


Air crash

In yet another air crash, now that of a Cheetah Helicopter a couple of days back, in the Turtuk area of the Siachen sector, two bright and young lives have been snuffed out, two young ladies widowed and their children rendered fatherless. One of the victims was Major Mahal, a Chandigarh-based officer who was a topper in all fields of endeavour.

Why do our aircraft drop out of the sky with such a sickening regularity? While one of the causes of the crashes of fighter jets is supposed to be the lack of “Advanced Jet Trainer” (AJT), what about the crashes of helicopters? In the last about two years five helicopters have crashed. One thing common to all was that they were “manufactured in India” under the licence from the original French manufacturer and all of them allegedly crashed due to “control failure”.

The French made helicopters of the same type are relatively crash free even though some of them are over 30 years old. Can there be any linkage between the two?

Earlier the “quality control” was vested in an agency not linked with the manufacturing of military equipment. Over the years due to someone’s “divine wisdom” the manufacturing and “quality control” (under the high sounding name of “Quality Assurance”) have become “sister organisations” under the larger umbrella of the same organisation, the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation).

Common sense (which is highly uncommon) dictates that “quality control” must rest with someone who is absolutely free from the influence of the manufacturer. If a manufacturer is involved even in a very small manner with “quality control”, then it would not more be “quality control” but “quality manipulation”. Perhaps the recent crash is due to this factor.

The crash could not have been due to “human error” as the late Major Mahal had stood first in the training course winning the prestigious “Silver Cheetah” award and he had vast experience of flying in such areas. In addition, as he had flown the Corps Commander, he must have been a real “top-notch”, as only such pilots fly VIPs like a Corps Commander.

Will the authorities that be do some soul (if they have any) searching and drastically improve these “widow and orphan manufacturing” factories, please?

A teaching job has been promised to the widow of Major Mahal whereas the widows of Indian Police Service officers who died in service were given PCS jobs. Why this discrimination? As per the Punjab Govt rules, the ward is supposed to be given a job one step lower in the warrant of precedence. As the PCS entrants are lower than the defence commissioned officers, why not give their wards PCS jobs if they are qualified?



Q: Guess what is common between LoC & LIC?

A: Both make you think of the danger ahead!

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |