Early paddy cultivation inevitable

Experts call for timely paddy cultivation in Punjab due to the fast depletion of ground water resources. They suggest cultivation after June 10 because evaporation decreases by 20 per cent after this date. The use of insecticides and pesticides is also minimised. Crops like cotton, which require less irrigation, are suggested during April and May

Despite expert advice, farmers have almost finished the process of paddy sowing in May itself. Why? Because, one, they imitate each other. Two, if one farmer sows paddy in advance, harmful insects will affect his field and the neighbouring ones too. Three, there is the problem of long power cuts in June and July. Marketing, harvesting time before the rainy season are the other reasons.

In Punjab, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Moga and Sangrur districts are worst affected. As the ground water level is declining by 50 cm annually in the state, the farmers must view the situation seriously. Irrigation resources like canals and rivers are embroiled in disputes. Thus, farmers should concentrate on saving and recharging ground water by reducing the area under paddy and adopting alternative crops requiring less water.



Switching over to Basmati is the best bet. Universities must research extensively on the high yielding Basmati varieties acceptable in the international market.

KARANBIR SHAH, Qadian (Gurdaspur)

Hike in water rates unjust

The Punjab Government’s decision to hike water and sewer charges from April 1, 2004, is unjust. No prior notice was given to consumers. Rules require proper debate in the municipal corporations before hiking the charges.

Water supplied to homes is already paid for. It is used for cooking, washing utensils, floor, vehicles, watering lawns, and hardly 10 per cent of the water, mainly from the bathrooms, latrines and kitchen flow out through sewer pipes. Consequently, equating water and sewer charges is illogical.

The Local Bodies Minister should reconsider the government notification equating water and sewer charges with retrospective effect as this has caused immense hardship to people.

Lt-Col RATTAN SINGH (retd), Jalandhar

Ban on smoking

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which is required to monitor tobacco scenes in films and TV serials, has dubbed the Union Health Ministry’s ban order as unworkable. A vigorous anti-smoking campaign should be launched through ads in newspapers and TV channels. The teachers should enlighten students on the adverse effects of smoking. Likewise, religious leaders and social workers should spread awareness among the people.

Lakhs of people become victims of the diseases caused by smoking every year. A Persian poet has rightly said: Huqqah-nosh ra seena siyaah ast/ Agar baavar na daari nai gavaah ast (A smoker’s bosom is sooted. If you do not believe, the pipe is a witness to it). The inside of the pipe is sooted with the carbon particles of smoke.



A time-bound campaign should be launched through Central/State Health Education bureaus in cooperation with NGOs to ban smoking in public places including parks and gardens. The Railways have done a commendable job in putting a blanket ban on smoking at all station platforms and in trains.

L.N. SHARMA, Panchkula

Sound policy, but…

The editorial “Promotion blues: Rumblings in defence are disgusting” views the conflicting requirements of seniority versus merit in correct perspective. Not the majority of aggrieved officers have the inclination to seek redress judicially. Thus, to quantify the number of those who consider themselves deprived of higher promotion is difficult.

The promotion policy is sound. It is the infringement of the laid down parameters that is responsible for the malady. The personal likes and dislikes of the reporting officer result in prejudicial initiation of confidential reports. Placement of favoured officers in slots where their interests are protected by their obliging superiors and the traits of docility and sycophancy, overriding those of uprightness and boldness, are impediments to fair reportage.

The number of aggrieved officers seeking judicial redress is on the rise. No doubt, it reflects adversely on the Army’s image but reference to civilian courts for meeting the ends of justice cannot be defaulted. Those infringing the selection parameters must be brought to book for misuse of their authority.

Brig. H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Malangar, Una

Prepaid mobile

A consumer court has ruled recently that mobile phone companies are misappropriating prepaid consumers’ money. They flout transparency and responsibility and extract money on one pretext or the other. On completion of one month, when the money is more than the monthly rental, the validity should be extended by another month automatically, after deducting the rental.

If the money falls short, the consumer will deposit it in time. The companies should not forfeit the unused money otherwise. The companies should be honest in their actions instead of extracting money from the consumers by hook or by crook.


Policy for elders

The Centre formulated the national policy for older persons in 1999 and fixed the age for senior citizens at 60 years. The Centre allows certain concessions to this segment of population after 65 years age. This anomaly needs to be rectified by fixing 60 years for senior citizen status.



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