Need to halve paddy crop to save power

Most farmers in the tubewell belt of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh grow paddy during the rainy season for two reasons. First, paddy being a cash crop, fetches about Rs 10,000 an acre after excluding Rs 5,000 on farming operations. And second, paddy cultivation requires minimum physical labour as compared to other crops. Farmers do not endorse crop diversification from the set paddy-wheat cycle so long as power is made available to them at highly subsidised rates.

If paddy cultivation is halved, Haryana alone would be able to save power to the tune of nearly 1,000 MW. The power thus conserved would be substantial enough to wipe out the huge power deficit in the state. This will also stabilise the underground water table reasonably and help farmers avoid the use of costly submersible pumps for irrigation.

Two alternative cash crops — sugarcane and cotton — can substitute paddy cultivation with no financial loss to the farmer. But farmers can be persuaded to switch over to these crops only if the state introduced some disincentives in the power tariff. Worthy of mention in this context is Dr S.S. Johl’s advice that the power and water crises could be tackled effectively if the farmers are convinced of the need to halve paddy cultivation. Farmers should heed his advice.

RAM NIWAS MALIK, Engineer-in-Chief (retd), (Public Health, Haryana), Panchkula



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Onus on the rich

Apropos of V.K. Sharma’s letter (Sept 10), it is not the uneducated but the educated and rich families who want a male child for purposes of inheritance. Most uneducated couples are not bothered whether it is a son or daughter. Moreover, they do not have the means to get the pregnancy aborted. It is only the rich who can have the luxury of getting the foetus aborted. This deplorable trend needs to be checked. In India, adoption is not only a rare commodity but is mainly confined to a male child only.

MEENAKSHI, Jalandhar City

Kairon’s birth fete

The 103rd birth anniversary of the late Partap Singh Kairon falls on October 1. Kairon’s contributions to India’s Independence and development of Punjab are immense, but he seems to have been totally forgotten by the Punjab government. Even his portrait has not been displayed in the gallery of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The Punjab government celebrates the death anniversaries of the late Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab, and Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal, among others. It will be in the fitness of things if Kairon’s birth anniversary is celebrated.

In this context, I had written to Punjab Governor O.P. Verma, and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, but I am yet to hear from them.


Indo-Bangla ties

India’s ties with Bangladesh are under strain. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Khan embarked upon an anti-India trade. Still, India should emphasise on bilateral issues and not stay away from SAARC summit.

As for Nepal, the meeting with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur and Dr Manmohan Singh should focus on joint fight against terrorism. We must have faith in the leadership of a country. India must resolve its problems with Bangladesh and Nepal amicably.


War veteran deserves pension

Apropos of the report “War veteran waits for pension” (Sept 11), I appeal to the authorities concerned to consider the case of Harjinder Singh, who has been denied pension on flimsy grounds. According to rules, an ex-serviceman will have to put in at least 15 years of service to become eligible for pension. Harjinder has completed more than 17 years (both in combined colour and reserve). Hence, he is fully eligible for pension.

Harjinder has not been granted pension on the illogical ground that he sought discharge from service “voluntarily”. I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to Para 155 (b) of the Pension Rules which clearly state: “A reservist who is not in receipt of service pension may be granted, on completion of the prescribed combined colour and reserve qualifying service of not less than 15 years, a reservist pension on his transfer to pension establishment either on completion of terms of engagement or prematurely, irrespective of colour service”.

The authorities should therefore grant pensionary benefits to Harjinder immediately.

MAJOR M.L. BATURA (retd), Karnal


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