Import of wheat is ill-timed

I refer to the editorial “Importing Wheat: From surplus to scarcity again” (Feb 7). In spite of the Green Revolution and continuous progress with better cultural practices and quick transfer of information from research institutions to farmers over the decades, India is moving from plenty to scarcity once again, particularly in the southern states. This is being attributed to the changing food habits in South India.

Forced by the rising prices, the government has decided to import five lakh tonnes of wheat. This is ill-timed. Imported wheat will arrive here when our own production will be ready, thus crashing the prices and putting the farmers to a great loss.

Perhaps the present situation is due to mishandling of the country’s food security. Apart from the vagaries of climate, pests, rodents and other diseases destroy quite a huge portion of our produce. The government’s ill-preparedness to preserve wheat is resulting in crop damage. Silos to store wheat and other grains should be constructed at the village and panchayat levels.

Dr L.K. MANUJA, Nahan

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Farmers have been urging the Government of India not to import wheat. I endorse their stand. Apparently, we have an artificial shortage of wheat. In any case, the people are entitled to know the correct picture. The Centre would do well to give us the facts and figures on the food grain stocks in the country as also the demand for food grains till April.


Of PSEB’s largesse

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been saying time and again that freebies like free electricity to farmers or any other section should not be given, the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab reiterates that free electricity is being supplied to farmers and Dalits (Feb 2).

The National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, launched by Mrs Sonia Gandhi recently, states that if a person does not get employment within 15 days of demand of work, he/she will get unemployment allowance. Will this not be treated as a freebie?

Reports say, many posts of SDOs are lying vacant in the PSEB. Why is the PSEB inserting advertisements in newspapers praising the Punjab government at huge cost? Even for the inauguration of a 33-KV sub-station, the PSEB inserts ads. Why? Is it not a colossal waste of money?

K.K. BHARDWAJ, Patiala

Greed for dowry

This refers to the news item “Girl refuses to marry dowry-seeker” (Feb 9). Is it the greed for dowry that is bad or the dowry system itself? Perhaps both, but the former needs to be strongly condemned.

It is common practice to divide parental property among the sons only. Daughters do not figure anywhere. Dowry is one method to protect the girls’ interests. How can we bid farewell to our daughters just in three pairs of clothes? I am not sermonsing. I too have two daughters, one yet to be married.

The main cause of female foeticide is not dowry. There are other reasons like the parents’ son fixation to carry forward one’s “Vansh”. Society should strike a balance that doesn’t deprive the girls of their rightful share and at the same time serves to curb the greed in the system. The Anti-dowry Act has failed to achieve the purpose.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Downgrading Punjabi

This has reference to the write-up “Anglicisation of Punjabi” (Feb 7). I endorse Dr Bharpur Singh Khaila’s view but oppose the Punjabi Language Development Committee’s attempt to anglicise Punjabi by the adoption of 311 English words in the name of technological development and globalisation. This will spoil the basic ethics and archetype of Punjabi language.

Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai considers English as the only tool to compete in the world market. One day he announces Devnagari to be the script of Punjabi. The next day he hails Roman script. And then, he says there is no use of learning Punjabi as only computer science will solve the problem of communication.

While speaking about English words, Dr Boparai does not bother about Punjabi accent and tonal phonetics. Dr Khaila rightly mentions that the so-called Punjabi Language Development Committee’s language experts know little about Punjabi grammar.


Tax on NSS

Investments in the National Savings Scheme (NSS) earn only 7.5 per cent interest at present. Those who do not get pension live in hardship. To help such people, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram should do away with Income-tax deduction on withdrawal of money invested in this scheme in his Budget proposals for 2006. This would enable them to deposit the sum in the government scheme which gives 9 per cent interest.


Custodial violence

I refer to the editorial “Custodial violence: Guidelines are blatantly ignored” (Feb 9). It rightly observed that the police is feared more by innocent people than actual criminals. I am of the opinion that police excesses are generally committed to settle personal scores by police officials. The police also works on party lines to please their masters. In most cases, police officials commit excesses in a drunken state. There should be a squad to check the police chowkis after 9 p.m. to control custodial violence.


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