Wheat, paddy cycle is no longer viable

In his article “Punjab should stick to wheat, paddy” (Feb 18), Dr H.S. Shergill has made a few paradoxical statements while discouraging farmers from shifting to alternative crops. His argument that no alternative crop other than wheat or paddy is so remunerative defies logic as onion, potato, soyabean and sunflower seeds, to name a few, are better cash fetching crops in short duration.

Punjab today no longer remains the only granary of the country. Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and a large expanse of Madhya Pradesh are almost on equal terms in wheat and paddy yield. All the rice consuming states in the South and North-East also produce paddy to meet their domestic demand. While the domestic demand of cereals does increase due to population growth, the increase in per capita income reduces such demand.

The only lacuna against alternative crops is some more financial investment by the farmers. Surely, this aspect needs to be taken care of by the state governments more liberally. The wheat and paddy cycle is no longer viable vis-à-vis the economic advancement or benefits in other crops.

Major BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantt


The Planning Commission was set up in the 1950s to recommend the Five-Year Plan for high economic growth. In this regard, though 10 Five-Year Plans have been initiated, agriculture is still waiting for a Special Plan for its development.



The agriculture sector provides food, fodder and raw material to industries as also employment to 56 per cent of the country’s population. Though it contributes 28 per cent of the total GDP, the agriculture growth rate has gradually decelerated from 3.8 per cent in 1990s to 1.8 per cent at present. India is still forced to import edible oils, oilseeds, cereals etc.

It is very difficult to double agriculture growth without applying diversified growth pattern, without spending on rural infrastructure like irrigation, link roads, bank facility and latest marketing strategies. Growth can be achieved by initiating a special plan for agriculture and not by providing farm subsidies.

RAJINDER KUMAR, Student, Doaba College, Jalandhar

Meaningful quote

Apropos of Bhagwan Singh’s letter “Modi makes sense” (Feb 14), one often wonders why the politicians do it too often to retract and correct their versions and actions, once the feedback is adverse and strong pressures are built up by the media and the public.

The Persian saying quoted by the writer is highly meaningful and relevant. God has bestowed enough sense in all beings to be rational and not rash in all matters, more so where beliefs, convictions, tenets and traditions that imply and further bond the country’s pluralism reflected by faiths, religions and cultures are involved.

Good sense must prevail amongst all, particularly in public men and all those in authority. Impact and its charm is, of course, much less in a rectification post facto. Proactive steps and announcements indicate grace, identity of purpose and intent vis-à-vis their reactive counterparts.


Crisis in Nepal

In his front-page editorial “Alone in the palace” (Feb 16), H.K. Dua is quite correct in his assessment that King Gyanendra enjoys hardly any support in his country or outside. India should, therefore, try to thwart the King’s grand ambition to concentrate all power in the palace. We cannot turn a blind eye to the developments in Nepal.

About 60 per cent of Nepal’s budget comes from grants and loans from foreign governments including India. This money cannot be used by the military for arresting political dissent, censoring news, dispersing peaceful democratic demonstrations, etc. If the military is busy deploying its resources on quelling legitimate dissent, who will deal with the Maoists?

India should find the best possible solution to fight the insurgency in Nepal which has claimed many lives and displaced many others.


Accidents on the rise

It is sad that road accidents are on the rise. The carelessness and negligence on the part of the vehicle drivers, government departments and the police are equally responsible for the fatal accidents. The system of driving on parking lights in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali may be considered since all roads have flood lights and driving on low and high beams makes a mockery of flood lighting on roads.

Police officials or some retired persons of high repute and those willing to perform the duties may be authorised in all areas to simply note down the vehicle numbers of defaulters of traffic rules during day and night time without stopping the vehicles. Let notices be issued to them. Announcement of such a system by the government will work wonders. The Supreme Court is sending the right signals in this regard.

The newspapers too should allot a column every day on traffic rules and discipline to educate the people.


Assault on doctors

This has reference to the assault on three doctors who were pushed down from the roof of a building by agitated relatives of a patient who died in Amritsar Medical College. It is a very unfortunate incident. We, the doctors, are unsafe from the people for whom we work day and night. None of us can give 100 per cent guarantee for the results of our treatment.

The incident implies that we should have a security force outside our operation theatres and even on the premises when we operate on any patient because we can’t say which patient can have a complication, even a fatal one. It is a very frightening situation for the doctors, specially for those with small set-ups.

The culprits involved in the incident should not only be arrested but also given condign punishment so that in future no one tries to harm the doctors.



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