Punjab has to safeguard its interests

NO state is anti-national. Every state has the right to safeguard its own interests. Haryana and Rajasthan do need more water for agriculture. But Punjab does not have surplus water to meet the prevailing wheat-paddy rotation, which has inter-related problems.

Till 1965, canal water was sufficient for United Punjab because of less area under cultivation; lower water requirements of wheat varieties (C273 and C591) and basmati, low crop in intensity and negligible area under paddy. Agricultural universities released dwarf high-yielding varieties of wheat and paddy that require more water.

The supply of these varieties of seeds, coupled with fixation of minimum support price, has led to an increase in the area under cultivation, increased crop intensity and more area under paddy. The canal water became scarce. Tubewells were installed to meet the increased demand for water for these crops. The ground water table started falling at an alarming rate. Now submersible pumps are being installed. For how long the underground water shall last?

The farmers of Punjab fight for the canal water. The theft of canal water is yet another problem. The root cause of all this is paddy cultivation. The solution lies in fixing MSP for maize, cotton, basmati, sugarcane, moong, jawar and bajra. The MSP for paddy should be withdrawn. The farmers should be compensated adequately for the losses incurred due to non-growing of paddy. This will correct, among other things, land use, underground water table, nutrient deficiencies in crops, fertiliser use and power shortage.

Dr K.K. SHARMA, Senior Horticulturist (retd), (Punjab Agrl. University), Ludhiana




Some political parties have made the inter-state river waters dispute a national issue for gaining political mileage and projected Punjab as the villain. Readers have written in these columns about the water logging problem in some parts of Punjab and argued that Punjab has got excess water. This is wrong. The problem is not due to excess water which itself is unfit for both soil and drinking purposes.

Owing to delayed monsoon, Punjab’s farmers are facing hardship. Canal water is used for irrigation in some parts of Ferozepur, Faridkot and Bathinda districts which suffer most in summer. So where is the question of supplying excess water for other states when Punjab itself is dry? Moreover, as Punjab’s farmers depend on tubewells for irrigation, the ground water level is fast depleting.

Punjab has not terminated the river water agreements signed before 1981. Water continues to flow to Haryana and Rajasthan as earlier. Consequently, there is no question of decreased or reduced water quantity for either state.

Punjabis are pioneers of national integrity but their own interest should not be harmed in the process. Punjab’s rights should be protected to avoid the black days of militancy again. I appeal to one and all not to project Punjab as the villain. Punjab has made too many sacrifices for India’s Independence.

RAJINDER SINGH, Alamgarh (Abohar)


Captain Amarinder Singh’s decision has made the people of Punjab cheerful while it has put the people of other states in trouble. If he does not supply water to neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan, from where will they get water? This question has arisen in everyone’s mind.

I have always heard that we, Indians, are one and are equal. Then, why is the Punjab Assembly fomenting trouble in the country? Indians are known worldwide for their spirit of helping each other, fellow feeling, courtesy, hospitality and brotherhood. Punjab’s action runs counter to all these cherished and time-tested values. I am afraid, if Punjab does not review its stand, we will no longer remain united.

AYUSHI SACHDEVA, Student, S.D. Public School, Yamunanagar


In the ongoing debate on the SYL crisis, we have overlooked the havoc caused by floods in Bihar. Floods have claimed the lives of over 700 people in the state, apart from destroying property worth crores of rupees. The interlinking of river waters has become all the more necessary. Paradoxically, while north Bihar is facing floods, south Bihar is facing a severe drought. On one side, floods have destroyed crops and, on the other, drought has played with the lives of the people.

Interlinking of rivers would have proved to be handy in the sense that both the tragedies — floods and drought — could have been avoided to a large extent. This problem is not confined to Bihar alone. Many states have been facing the same problem. If the project on interlinking of rivers is not expedited with proper planning, we will continue to face this problem.


Celebrated Urdu poet

IN the passing away of Jagannath ‘Azad’, the modern Urdu poetry has lost another of its celebrated poets. He seems to draw our attention to his own couplet:

“Yeh kya tilism hai ke teri jalwagah se

Nazdeek aa sakoon na kahin door ja sakoon”

(What magic is this that neither can I come near your vestibule/Nor can I go away from your memory).

He was not only a great poet but also a genuine scholar. Having studied Iqbal extensively, both in Persian and Urdu, he rose to be an interpreter, critique and an authority on Iqbal (Mahir-e-Iqbaliyat) in the manner Malik Ram and Kalidas Gupta ‘Reza’ are ‘Mahir-e-Ghalibiyat’.

His nazms and ghazals forcefully and persuasively express the torment and excruciating agony of the millions of people uprooted from their ancestoral soils in the wake of the Partition.

Azad’s poetic voice has a glow of freshness, studied and pensive glory. He was a poet whose creations have a uniform mood and a narrative continuity, and whose sterling contribution to research on Iqbal will, no doubt, serve as a beacon of light for generations to come. In his passing away, death has snatched away from our midst a literary phenomenon of our times.



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