Giving a boost to handicraft exports

The Centre’s plan to set up 20 handicraft clusters to boost India’s export of handicrafts is welcome, belated though. Indian artefacts are much sought after in the international market. Unlike China, our policy on handicraft exports has been lackadaisical and without direction. Our artisans excel in silver brassware, embroidered silk scraves, wooden artefacts, zari and so on.

Even Kullu caps have a good market in colder regions across the world.

The Chinese are past masters. Exports are heavily subsidised. They have a very efficient export promotion organisation. Quality is subservient to highly competitive sale price.

Reports say, in the $ 235 billion international market, our exports at 1.6 per cent are a pittance. Even the projected 4 per cent growth in the coming 3-4 years is insignificant. We have the talent and capacity to convert the handicraft business into a thriving and highly profitable venture provided our officialdom braces up to the challenge, as in China.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Una


Oat crop in Punjab

Oat is an important Rabi crop in Punjab. Used as fodder, straw, hay or silage, it also makes a good balanced concentrate in the ration for poultry, cattle, sheep and other animals. Mixed cropping of oat with leguminous crops like barseem will ensure more nutritious fodder.

Legumes provide a high protein feed and contribute to soil fertility and nitrogen content while oats make use of the nitrogen to produce high quality feed.

For obtaining the full potential of oats, some agronomic practices recommended by the Punjab Agriculture University should be followed.

This crop requires cool and moist weather. It will grow in all type of soils except in alkaline or water logged soils. Two varieties of oats recommended under irrigated areas of Punjab are OL-9 and Kent.

For better yield, the crop should be harvested from boot to milk stage. In oats, this stage comes when the plant height reaches about 60 cm and the crop becomes 50-60 days old.

MAHESH KUMAR & RAMANJIT KUMAR, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ropar



Delayed arrears

Most HP pensioners are over 75 years of age. They should not be kept waiting to receive DA arrears and 50 per cent merged for a year and so. Even after delayed sanction orders, for example, 50 per cent DA merger was due from April 1, 2004. The notification for payment was issued in August 2005 and arrears will be paid in two instalments, i.e. first in July 2006 and second in December 2006. There will be no pleasure in receiving these arrears so late.

V.M. BAKSHI, Parwanoo

Retire at 58

As the age for retirement of Central Government employees is 60 years, the government is losing in many ways. While an employee, on the verge of retirement, draws the highest salary possible, a new employee gets the minimum soon after appointment.

It would also hamper employment opportunities for the youth, sending a wrong signal to them. Keeping in view the growing unemployment problem, the Centre should reduce the retirement age of the employees from 60 to 58 years.

CHAMAN SINGLA, Bhucho (Bathinda)

Why not for pensioners?

The Punjab government merged 50 per cent dearness allowance in the basic pay of its employees and pensioners from April 1, 2004. However, it did not allow the merger of the portion of 50 per cent DA while paying leave travel concession (LTC) to pensioners. This is given once in every two years equal to the amount of basic pension. The government should allow the merger of 50 per cent DA in granting LTC to its pensioners as a goodwill gesture.

B.K. CHOPRA, Amritsar

Bad habits

— I endorse Deep Brar’s view (Letters, Oct 18) that the reason behind farmers’ suicide in Punjab is due to their bad social habits. In Punjab, most people earn their living from farming and most are well off. No doubt, farming is a tough and perilous profession and needs protection by the government. But suicide has nothing to do with a particular caste or profession.

When a farmer commits suicide, some people with vested interest try to exploit the situation, even without a prima facie investigation. This is not in the interest of nobody.

— SUKHYNDER SINGH, Rattia (Haryana)

Neglected park

The King George Silver Jubilee Park, the only park in Nabha, is in a deplorable condition. Two statues of Maharaja Sir Hari Singh and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister, who remained in jail in this park, require proper maintenance.

The greenery and flower garden must be developed to help Nabhaites who visit the park in the morning and evening everyday. The Municipal Council of Nabha should convert this park into an aesthetic place.

— Prof B.M. RAWLLEY, Nabha


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |