Monday, February 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Israeli experience and dairy potential in Punjab

On the basis of my life-long involvement in the design of agricultural developments and my intimate knowledge of the soil and climatic conditions in Punjab, I am convinced that, also in the global context, the state of Punjab has an excellent potential for the development of milk, meat, vegetable and horticulture.

As a well-wisher of the Punjab farmers, I strongly feel that they should switch over to these enterprises as quickly as possible. However, in order to be able to exploit the available potential to its fullest extent, it will be necessary to introduce state level and regional planning, modern farming systems, production technologies and innovative marketing systems.

I have visited Punjab a number of times before and after the visit of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, in July 1997 along with a delegation to Israel. As a consequence, an Israeli expert team, including myself, visited Punjab in September 1997 and on behalf of the Israeli Dairy Board (IDB) furnished a detailed project report in November 1997 for the development of dairy farming and industry in Punjab along proven and scientific lines.

It was recommended that the proposed Punjab Dairy Development programme needed a very special approach, because of its large size, huge scope and complicated nature.


Accordingly, it had to be initiated at the state level with the establishment of an autonomous Punjab Dairy Development Board, with full powers for defining the dairy-related policies and future outlook of the dairy industry in Punjab.

The emphasis was on improving the production environment which would enable the Punjabi farmers to utilise their own capabilities and the genetic potential of Punjab cows by introducing universally accepted technologies and systems in the dairy sector which is at the moment in a state of utter neglect.

In the development of the modern dairy sector, special attention is necessary for improvement of the collection, processing and marketing of milk and milk products. Such a development will minimise the exploitation of the farmers, raise their standard of living and thereby also improve the overall economy of the state.

For the highly genetic potential cows and especially our Israeli Rolls Royce cows, presently the Punjab lacks arrangements for appropriate animal housing, countering heat stress during summer, efficient and effective health cover, proper management practices etc. Moreover, the feeding practices and the level of nutrition are far from adequate.

We made specific recommendations to deal with these problems and are still hoping that a final decision will be taken soon. Punjab peasantry expects an undertaking and commitment from the government to be more decisive, well-meaning and farmer-friendly.


Managing traffic

Vehicular traffic is burgeoning in Chandigarh and all major towns of Punjab. Of late one witnesses heightened traffic police activity at traffic-light crossings in Ludhiana and Chandigarh, mostly engaged in gleefully nabbing traffic-light “jumpers”. While this is welcome and likely to discourage the unruly drivers, one does wish focussed attention is also given by the traffic police to the following points in this regard.

First, traffic lights are and should be designed to facilitate the flow of traffic and not to block the traffic. One instance of the lights becoming counter-productive is that there are seven traffic-lights on the Ferozepur road between the canal and Rajguru Nagar in Ludhiana in a stretch of less than 2 km. Deployment of such lights should be rationalised as these are unnecessary on mundane “T” junctions like Aggar Nagar and only slow down the traffic flow.

Secondly, traffic lights can actually facilitate the flow of traffic if a motorist finds all lights green down the road once he gets the first one green. This programmed timing is visible in all developed countries and even in Mumbai, courtesy Mr Pasricha, the Traffic Commissioner.

Thirdly, it is pathetic to see the fine “self-regulating” traffic round-abouts disappearing in favour of the ugly traffic lights in Chandigarh and other towns of Punjab. One wishes the public are educated using all media, indeed “forced” by police action at each traffic round about, to give way to the traffic coming from the right. This single action can most effectively regulate the traffic flow. It is painful to see ill-educated/ill-mannered motorists giving dirty looks to traffic coming from the right. No one seems to know the meaning of the “right of way”. Every one is just shoving one’s vehicle in front of the other’s. The bigger the vehicle, the greater the right to do so.

And finally, one of the commonest causes of drivers getting jittery at the traffic lights is the cyclists and rickshaw-pullers weaving their way and coming to stand in front of motorists. Upon green signal, they slow down the entire traffic, leading to frequent accidents at the crossings as everyone wants to “clear” the light while green. Either the MV Act does not apply to the cyclists/rickshaws, or the police do not care to regulate them for reasons unknown. Such slow traffic should be forced to stand and move at the left or right margins of the road so that they do not block the motorists during the short duration of green.

Dr GPI SINGH, Ludhiana

Report on Tohra

Sarbjit Dhaliwal’s report “A handful of families ruling Punjab” and Manjit Shergill’s letter are not only factually incorrect but also rubbish as far as Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra is concerned. Mr Tohra has not acquired even a single inch of land, commercial or residential property since his coming into politics. Everyone knows that he is living in his old ancestral house and owns only 8 acres of land in Tohra village inherited by him. The writers should have verified the factual position before writing such dirty things.


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