What should be done to avert food crisis

In their two-part article “A food crisis ahead” (Feb 10 and Feb 11), Mr Mohan Guruswami and Mr Abhishek Kaul rightly feel concerned at the declining investment in the agricultural sector. The minor irrigation projects are getting a short shrift and the subsidy on agriculture has been considerably slashed.

We cannot overlook the fact that 69 per cent of our people depend on agriculture for survival. They earn less than their city counterparts as most of the jobs in towns and cities are highly paid. The purchasing power of at least 260 million people who are below the poverty line is very low. Our godowns are full of foodgrains but many people don’t have enough to eat. To a large number of poor people, India is not “shining”.

The interests of the peasantry and of agriculture cannot be protected without increasing productivity and production. The major share of concessions and benefits to the countryside should reach the disadvantaged sections. The management of cooperative societies ought to be improved and the corrupt elements must be weeded out . The closed branches of different national banks in rural areas should be reopened and the farmers should be given loans on cheaper rates. The state should give incentives to farmers for adopting horticulture and floriculture.

Dr R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad



Reverse the decision

The report “PUDA’s proposal for railway reservation counter shot down” makes painful reading. The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) suggested providing accommodation to the Northern Railway for opening a railway reservation counter in Mohali but it was not approved by the Minister for Housing and Urban Planning. This is surprising.

The population in Mohali is fast increasing. The rail users not only belong to this region but also hail from the neighbouring states. However, in the absence of a counter at Mohali, they are forced to visit the railway reservation offices at Chandigarh to book their tickets. It involves inconvenience and wastage of at least one day’s labour. A counter in Mohali is, therefore, needed to provide service at the users’ doorsteps.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has been trying to improve facilities and promote the infrastructure in the state to attract industry. Mohali is the hub of business activity and industries. The Chief Minister should reverse the decision of his minister and help set up a railway reservation counter here which will go a long way in accelerating the pace of development.

R.K. GUPTA, Advocate, Mohali


NDA govt’s sops

The national exchequer is getting emptied because of various kinds of sops announced by the NDA government ostensibly to woo the voters. How come this exercise does not attract any provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act?

SWARAJ MAINI, Ferozepore City


This is a rejoinder to your editorial “Teachers as predators” (Feb 11). You have declared me guilty without giving me an opportunity to present my views or verify the facts.

Is there any legitimacy in your version that Punita wasted eight years for a Ph D? Punita changed her status of a full-time research scholar to a part-time scholar just after one year and four months of registration for the Ph D programme (March 1996) and started working as a full-time lecturer at Rohtak from July 1997. She had been coming occasionally to Patiala in connection with her legal case at Rohtak and Delhi with the management of that college. Meanwhile, she got married and had been taking care of her daughter, old parents in Delhi and ailing in-laws in Kolkata.

She had been writing apology letters from time to time, expressing her inability due to these domestic tensions and sought extension for completing the research work. Without the university’s clearance, she went to Germany to join her husband in August 2002; she then requested for a migration certificate from there on September 27, 2002.

Unable to come back and submit the thesis till March 2003, she has used this tactic in order to get a migration certificate without no dues from the research lab. To facilitate the acceptance of the thesis, two or three research papers concerned with the thesis work should have been published or communicated. The publications mentioned by her are not concerned with the subject of her thesis and pertain to other research scholars, and her name appears only as a co-worker.

Look at the fate of the supervisor who submits the proposals of research to inter-university national facilities/organisations to facilitate the Ph D work of his scholars, carries out experiments at the national centres for their thesis. He is in a pathetic state, being unable to report the results to these agencies because students hijack the data and do not come out with the calculations/ results due to their personal problems. In such cases as above, it is the harassment of the teacher rather than that of the research scholar because students, after getting a job during their Ph D programme, leave and give the least importance to research, wasting the time of the teachers, hampering the publications and bringing to a halt the research career of the teacher. Failure of the students to execute the research work due to their personal problems and inability in the submission of the thesis by the stipulated date and then levelling the false allegation of delay against the supervisor are shameful.

Punita’s request letter (dated September 27, 2002) for a migration certificate has been misused by the university now to suspend and defame me because of the CWP in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which I had filed due to the shifting of my date of promotion as Professor from April 1, 1995, to July 27, 1998, debarring me from the headship of the physics department. Furthermore, the result of the interview of the Registrar on February 16, 2004, clearly speaks about the cause of my suspension on February 7, 2004, for which I was called for the interview on February 5, 2004. The authorities wanted to remove me as a candidate on frivolous grounds.

Dr HEMRAJ VERMA, Professor of Physics (suspended), Punjabi University, Patiala

Correspondence on this subject is closed.

— Editor-in-Chief

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