Friday, October 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



CM caught in a web of competitive politics

HARI Jaisingh’s article (Oct 4) has stirred the debate on the politics of the new economic agenda in Punjab. Politicians still carry out their dubious doctoring of an ailing economy and catching the Chief Minister in a web of competitive politics, but their prescriptions are now being questioned.

Farmers have slid several steps down the ladder due to the paddy crisis. Raising the paddy MSP after a dharna leaves a bad taste. It is as bad as the demand to know why prices are so low, questioning the farmers’ economic existence.

The economic woes of farmers are unending. The prices of farm commodities farmers get are quite unproportionate to the expenses incurred on them. How will the farmers make their both ends meet without a subsidy and an increase in the prices of their produce? Due to the involvement of a large proportion of the workforce in farming, it has become sick.

The sustained campaign of Capt Amarinder Singh to get the prices of paddy raised by staging a dharna outside the PM’s house and to make the bureaucracy accountable and transparent shows his determination to ensure development harmoniously in all fields. It is high time the Centre appointed a working group to suggest wide-ranging changes in all fields.



Sick politics: Hari Jaisingh has rightly stated the economic problems of Punjab. The most important problems are of agricultural policy and unemployment.

The policies of the government about agriculture, power supply, employment, education, industry, the small-scale sector are sick. Everything is caught in the web of politics. We hear only promises from our politicians, not results. They are serving their own interests, totally ignoring the public. They hold dharnas and make statements but for their political career only. There is no dearth of resources, both human and monetary, but the need is to ensure proper utilisation of these for the welfare of Punjab. Unproductive expenses should be checked and eliminated.

The rulers of Punjab must hear the voice of the public and fulfill the promises made. There is need to change their mindset and stern action should be taken for the overall growth of Punjab.

VINOD K. VERMA, Ferozepore


Fiscal anarchy: Once leading the nation with its rich natural resources and an exceptional sense of initiative and adventure of its people, Punjab today stands impoverished and robbed of its material assets and positive attitude of its people. Today dismay and frustration seem writ large in all spheres and on all faces as everything is caught in the vicious web of dirty politics. Every political party and leader has expressed serious concern at the state’s growing poverty and fiscal anarchy, and has raised slogans for fast and healthy development, but none has moved beyond his vote-bank strategies.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh stands overawed by the political gimmicks of the seasoned players and practises the show of “rhetoric and dharnas” more than devoting his time and energy to develop the state’s agriculture-based industry or build a stronger infrastructure or even attempt to cut down the unproductive and wasteful expenditure. His assurances of fighting corruption and punishing the guilty in the PPSC scam (now even the list of scams exposed during his regime is becoming larger by the day) appear to be no better than a mirage.

No doubt Capt Amarinder Singh is a well-meaning, dynamic and sincere person who understands the problems of Punjab, but blaming every failure and lapse on the messy legacy of financial bankruptcy left by the previous Akali government will not solve any problem.


Political battles: During elections Capt Amarinder Singh made various promises, including one to improve the dilapidated economy of Punjab. Till now no such step taken by the Punjab Government is in sight.

It is not strange that Capt Amarinder Singh is busy taming his political rivals. All political persons do so on assuming power. While engaged in political battles, the Chief Minister should not forget that his prime responsibility is to work for the interests of this financially starved state. Instead of making repeated rounds to New Delhi, he should remain in Punjab, looking after its problems and finding solutions.


Beyond the MSP

INSTEAD of playing MSP politics, the political leaders should try to find out a long lasting solution to the paddy crisis keeping in view the ground realities. Already we have huge surplus stocks of rice and our rice is not cost competitive in the international market. We are heavily subsidising the exports of rice from our country to get rid of the problem of surplus stocks. Any further increase in the MSP of paddy will directly increase the cost of production of rice, making its exports more unviable.

Therefore we need to look into some solution beyond the MSP. We need to see how we can improve the realisation to paddy growers and at the same time cut down the cost of production of rice. This objective can be achieved only by cutting down the costs of inputs for paddy and encouraging value-addition from the derivatives of rice.

A small country like Japan which produces just 2 per cent of the total world production of paddy, produces dozens of high value neutraceuticals and bio-chemicals from the derivatives of rice, whereas this concept is almost non-existent in our country, which is the second largest producer of paddy in the world after China. It is only the production of such value-added products which can ensure remunerative prices of paddy to the farmers without raising the cost of production of rice.

A.R. SHARMA, Dhuri


The new page entitled “Perspective” published every Sunday has added another feature in your cap. Congratulations.

Another topic that can be considered for this page is: our engineering heritage projects. For example, the Sirhind Canal was the first canal built by the British and commissioned in 1872. It is still the largest canal not only in the region, but also in the country.

G.S. DHILLON, Chandigarh

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