Gujarat floods expose lack of preparedness

The editorial “A flood of woes” (July 7) presents a true picture of the mighty floods that wreaked havoc in Gujarat. At the same time, the state government’s lack of preparation for disaster prevention stands severely exposed. Floods are not a new phenomenon. These have been challenging us and will continue to do so in future also.

Damage to life and property will continue to occur unless we equip and prepare ourselves to meet these challenges and counter their onslaught through a coordinated strategic plan of all the agencies concerned.

JAGVIR GOYAL, Chandigarh


It started with severe drought, followed by a devastating earthquake, communal riots and now flood havoc in Gujarat. The rain god’s fury in June last week has wrecked large parts of the state. Hundreds of lives have been lost. Lakhs of people had to be evacuated. Properties worth crores, besides crops have been washed away. The destruction caused by rains is no less than that of tsunami in Tamil Nadu six months back.



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The Centre and the states, NGOs, corporate houses should help the flood affected people of Gujarat by way of funds, food and medicine. The Centre should not play politics with flood relief. It is an unprecedented situation and the Centre should live up to people’s expectations.

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula

Planning hasn’t failed

This has reference to G.S. Grewal’s article “Victims of Planning” (June 16). Our system of planning has not failed. Planning in a particular period is governed by the prevailing socio-economic and political conditions.

At the dawn of the planning era, its context and horizon was different and now after 10 Five-Year Plans, it is different.

The objectives, scope and dimensions of planning have changed in the newly emerged market-driven, private sector led, liberalised and globalised economy.

Now planning should take care of the social sectors, infrastructure creation, regional imbalances, marginalised sections of society etc. “Indicative planning” has to be the norm for future planning. However, there will have to be a harmony between the role of the state and role of the market in overall governance.

I also do not agree with Mr Grewal that no decentralised planning has occurred in the country. Many states have passed Panchayati Raj Acts. Himachal Pradesh passed it in 1994. Now planning is decentralised and democratised with the Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samities and Zilla Parishads proposing rural development schemes.

However, there is a need for making them more effective for harmonised rural development.


Save rainwater

In Punjab, the problem of depleting groundwater has reached dangerous proportions. However, this problem could be resolved by evolving some indigenous ways and involving the people. There is an urgent need to preserve and conserve rainwater at every level.

Every household can conserve rainwater by digging a deep pit (bore up to the water level) in their courtyards or jointly at common places. This will replenish groundwater, prevent soil erosion and destruction of tarred roads. A lot of money and labour can also be saved as the people are compelled to raise platforms of their houses in case of overflowing rainwater.

Secondly, old wells and ponds in the countryside should be desilted and excavated. These can be great sources of recharging of groundwater. But the state government and local bodies should take the initiative and provide monetary support to people for digging deep pits.

K. BARSAT, Sangrur

Paddy sowing

Despite acute shortage of water, farmers of the region are sowing paddy on all the available land. Perhaps farm economics forces it. As the water table is fast depleting, bigger and deeper tubewells are being dug. Monoblock motors are being replaced by submersible motors everywhere. This increases the power load.

Proper placing of the motor will improve its efficiency and save electricity. The State Electricity Board/Tubewell Corporation should educate the farmers in this regard. Punjab’s farmers pay for electricity but power supply is erratic and inadequate. As a result, they use diesel which increases the cost. Moreover, there is no control over the price of the produce and use of the motor. The government should raise the support price for paddy in view of high inputs.

Prof B.S. AGARWAL, Panchkula

Retire at 60

The Punjab Government should follow the Centre and states like Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Assam in raising the retirement age from 58 to 60 years. By doing this, the government can save Rs 870.62 crore after every two years.

If the retirement age is raised, the amount as mentioned can be saved by retaining the disbursement of gratuity, DA, pension commutation, leave encashment, pension, GPF, GIS etc. of retiring employees for a period of two years. This huge amount saved can be utilised for development.


Notify DA merger

The pensioners are shocked at the lackadaisical attitude of the Himachal Pradesh government towards their welfare. The government has not yet notified its orders on the merger of 50 per cent DA. Early action in this regard is solicited.

V.M. BAKSHI, Parwanoo (HP)


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