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EDITORIALS

Quota in doses
Take the nation into confidence
T
HE Union Cabinet’s clearance of the Bill providing 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government-aided institutions of higher education, including the IIMs and IITs, is a landmark on the road to social justice.

Hair-splitting
Pakistan deserves a hearing
T
hat the ICC establishment can be racist is well known. Indian players have long agonised over patently discriminatory attitudes from umpires and officials with a distinct distaste for subcontinental cricketers.

Teacher in the dock
Rape cases deserve quick trial
T
HE Supreme Court has rightly upheld the conviction of a schoolteacher in a case of rape that took place on March 6, 1987. That a rape case should be allowed to drag on for so long does not reflect highly on the justice system.







EARLIER STORIES
Costlier foodgrains
August 22, 2006
Pay and performance
August 21, 2006
File notings
August 20, 2006
Nuclear plans intact
August 19, 2006
Powerless again
August 18, 2006
Upswing in economy
August 17, 2006
Vision and concern
August 16, 2006
War by other means
August 15, 2006
Threat from Al-Qaida
August 14, 2006
Human rights
August 13, 2006


ARTICLE

Modi’s thesis on Muslims
Do not equate terrorism with ‘Islamism’
by J. Sri Raman
M
any common Indians have been congratulating themselves on the fact that the recent Mumbai blasts failed to ignite a communal conflagration. It is true indeed that the terrorist strike triggered off no riots but only participation by all communities in a relief and rehabilitation campaign. The perpetrators of the crime, however, have won more than a consolation prize.

MIDDLE

Milky way
by Renu Bhardwaj
W
ay back in 1995, when Ganesha obliged his devotees by drinking the milk offered to Him, I happened to be in Indonesia. “Didi, Lord Ganesha is drinking milk here in India. See if He favours you,” informed my younger sister Shobhna on phone from India.

OPED

Musharraf offers cooperation against ‘freelance terrorists’
Imtiaz Alam writes from Lahore
P
akistan President Pervez Musharraf has offered India exchange of information and cooperation amongst their intelligence agencies to ward off terrorist attacks, and to join hands in investigations and in moving against “freelance terrorists”.

Putin is nobody’s poodle
by Rajan Menon
T
he Bush administration’s imposition of sanctions on two Russian companies this month for selling military technology to Iran certainly sends the Kremlin a message – but it won’t be the one the White House has in mind. The penalties will only deepen the hostility that Russia’s political establishment feels toward the United States.

Dying shisham and kikar trees worrying
by Ambika Sharma
T
he large-scale mortality of kikar and shisham trees has become a cause of concern for the foresters in Punjab. Young and mature plants have been affected alike with shisham facing mortality ranging from 61 to 82 per cent while kikar has suffered losses between 62 to 86 per cent. The three districts of Amritsar, Garshankar and Bathinda districts have faced the worst degradation.

 

Editorial cartoon by Rajinder Puri


From the pages of


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Quota in doses
Take the nation into confidence

THE Union Cabinet’s clearance of the Bill providing 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government-aided institutions of higher education, including the IIMs and IITs, is a landmark on the road to social justice. A crucial component of the Bill is that the reservation for the OBCs will not be implemented in one go but in instalments from the next academic session in 2007.

Needless to say, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could successfully resist pressures from the PMK and the DMK, the two key constituents of the UPA and strong votaries of reservation. Both the allies were opposed to staggered implementation of the quota for petty political reasons. As the Bill envisages phase-wise implementation of reservation, the government should come out with a blueprint on how it would tackle the problem of funds and infrastructure, including the faculty.

The Oversight Committee on Reservation, headed by Mr M. Veerappa Moily, is likely to submit its final report to the Prime Minister by August 31. This report is expected to present a roadmap on the implementation of reservation during 2007-10. In any case, by the time the Centre implements the decision, it should have done the necessary homework thoroughly. After all, it is in institutions of excellence that it is introducing the quota raj. Care should be taken to ensure that there is no dilution of standards. The government should also safeguard the interests of the students of general category. The managements of the IIMs have been saying that they need adequate time to put the infrastructure in place — both physical and faculty — to cope with the additional workload.

Another important aspect of the Bill is the exclusion of the creamy layer among the OBCs from the ambit of reservation. In this context, the Union Cabinet was apparently guided by the Supreme Court’s 1992 judgement. In this ruling, while upholding reservation for the socially and educationally backward classes in the Central services, the court had asked for exclusion of the creamy layer. The RJD, the DMK and the PMK want quota for the creamy layer also. But the UPA-Left Coordination Committee is silent on the question. Parliament will do well to keep the apex court order in mind while enacting the Bill.

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Hair-splitting
Pakistan deserves a hearing

That the ICC establishment can be racist is well known. Indian players have long agonised over patently discriminatory attitudes from umpires and officials with a distinct distaste for subcontinental cricketers. While other players have got away with rank bad behaviour on the field, players from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been pulled up for imagined infractions or marginal violations. Mike Denness’ infamous hauling up of Indian players for “excessive appealing” in South Africa still rankles. Prima facie, Darrel Hair’s actions at the Oval Test between England and Pakistan appear to be in the same category. Pakistan had to forfeit the match after refusing to take the field, in protest against a ball-tampering penalty.

He has been there before. Whether hauling up Harbhajan Singh or Muthiah Muralitharan for their actions, declaring Inzamam run-out when he was evading a throw, or giving Indians out LBW eight times in the 1992 Adelaide Test, Hair has always been controversial. It is clear that Pakistan must be given a sympathetic hearing. If Hair has a genuine case for ball tampering he must present it. What did he see that some two dozen cameras did not? And if he cannot, he must not be allowed to stand in the next Test, and the ICC must not be too eager for disciplinary action against the Pakistani captain.

The challenge on ball tampering itself is another issue. Interestingly, while the British players and their Press are supporting the Pakistanis, their own countrymen are being quite harsh about Inzamam’s decision to quit the field. What is more, Shahid Afridi is even talking about how “you can’t win matches without tampering” and that the ICC should allow “a little” tampering. There should be no descent to such absurdity. Violators have no place in the game. But the ICC should be more careful about who it has on its panel. From commentators to officials to umpires, there are many who have a problem with the subcontinent, even while claiming to be fans. They too, have no place.

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Teacher in the dock
Rape cases deserve quick trial

THE Supreme Court has rightly upheld the conviction of a schoolteacher in a case of rape that took place on March 6, 1987. That a rape case should be allowed to drag on for so long does not reflect highly on the justice system. The accused had pleaded for a reduction in the sentence on the ground that a long time had passed since the incident occurred. The fact that the victim was a minor and student while the rapist was a schoolteacher added to the gravity of the crime and the apex court saw no reason to show leniency.

The judicial system is already notorious for delays because of advocates seeking frequent adjournments on flimsy grounds, the investigating agencies and the prosecution taking too long in filing the chargesheet and the judges being overburdened with a huge backlog of cases. However, of late there have been some fast-track decisions, particularly in rape cases. A district court in Bihar set a record of sorts last July by completing the trial of a rape case in just two days and pronouncing the verdict the next day. A Rajasthan court took just 22 days to convict a DGP’s son on the charge of raping a German tourist in April this year.

Rape is, no doubt, a heinous crime and an early conviction does act as a deterrent but when the culprit happens to be a teacher there is all the more reason to hasten the process of justice. Recently, there was a spurt in the cases of sexual harassment and rape involving teachers in Haryana. However, swift administrative and police action saved the state from further disgrace. Why the Punjab schoolteacher’s case was delayed for so long should be inquired into and remedial action taken to avoid its recurrence.

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Thought for the day

The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday — but never jam today.
— Lewis Carroll

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Modi’s thesis on Muslims
Do not equate terrorism with ‘Islamism’
by J. Sri Raman

Many common Indians have been congratulating themselves on the fact that the recent Mumbai blasts failed to ignite a communal conflagration. It is true indeed that the terrorist strike triggered off no riots but only participation by all communities in a relief and rehabilitation campaign. The perpetrators of the crime, however, have won more than a consolation prize.

The tragedy has provided the forces in India committed to the cause of dividing the people on communal lines an opportunity to extend their campaign. Earlier, to any such outrage, they would have responded, without waiting for any investigation, with calls for war on “cross-border terrorism”. This time round, they have exhibited equal haste to espy an enemy within. They have found a “local” factor in this case, as well as others of its kind, in the country’s largest minority.

Illustrative in this context is the contrast between statements by two conspicuous personages of this camp.

Defending the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, Mr Praveen Togadia of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was quoted as saying: “If the Indian Army is allowed to march into Pakistan , such attacks on Muslims will be stopped.” The most loud-mouthed of minority-bashers also asked the “cross-border terrorists” to remember that the VHP and its associates could target Muslims in India, even in its thousands of villages, in return.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who presided over that pogrom, had a different take on the minority issue during his post-blasts mission to Mumbai. He did not, of course, omit his references to “Mian Musharraf”, but added the more menacing proposition: “All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

Mr Togadia may not like it, but his is the more moderate statement vis-à-vis Indian Muslims. At least, it makes a distinction between them and the “cross-border terrorists”. Mr Modi makes no discrimination among Muslims while making “terrorism” their exclusive tag.

Mr Modi may not have succeeded immediately in repeating Gujarat in Maharashtra, but his thesis was to be repeated - and refined further. A prominent pro-BJP commentator seized the occasion to scoff at those who had displayed a soft corner for Indian Muslims. “ India”, he noted indignantly, “has been in a state of denial over mounting evidence that the emerging threat is not from those acting at the behest of their controllers in Islamabad, but homegrown jihadis”.

He went on to argue that “the suggestion that Islamist terrorism has developed strong roots within India is one that the government in New Delhi does not relish. The Congress party, the regional parties and the Communists, who are the constituents of the ruling coalition, depend substantially on Muslims…for political sustenance”.

He omitted to add that the suggestion found no favour with sections in the BJP either, and not because they lacked communal fervour. Former BJP president Lal Krishna Advani, for example, has frequently pointed to the fact that not a single Indian Muslim figures in the list of internationally wanted “terrorists” — and he has never forgotten to attribute this to the “Hindu culture of secularism”.

Mr Modi and his publicists have never relished the suggestion that the country faced a threat from only “cross-border” terrorism. They belong to the section in the BJP that believes in the need for the party to return to its “roots” — to a communal ideology and constituency in all pristine purity. As they see it, the party cannot do this and regain the sheen lost during the “India Shining” days if it fights shy of using strikes by multinational “Islamist terrorism” to target the indigenous minority.

They seek to have the best of both worlds, politically, by convincing the country that it has the worst of both, so far as terrorism is concerned. And they are not without success. They have scored a particularly significant success by winning official approval, even if indirect and less than explicit, for their proposition.

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has done more than raise a hornet’s nest by suggesting infiltration by the Lashkar-e-Toiba in the Indian Air Force (and later the functioning of LeT as a “front” of Al-Qaeda). He also told a television channel that “a very, very manifest attempt to recruit Indian Muslims (into terrorist outfits) is now being done”.

He has talked, according to a report, of “a reminder of anti-Muslim violence in India as a powerful recruitment tool”. He is quoted as adding: “Quite often, the motivation is: ‘You know what happened in Gujarat.”

It is no one’s case, of course, that there can be no Indian Muslim terrorist. The assumption or assertion that “all terrorists are Muslims”, however, can be interpreted in two different but equally dangerous ways. It can mean that any Indian Muslim can be a terrorist. The peddlers of the proposition, in fact, make it a point to stress that the terrorist recruits include even “educated Muslims” as distinct from mere products of ‘madarsas’.

More importantly, the Modi line can also mean — and can, in fact, only mean — that Islamic terrorism is India’s sole problem of terrorism. This logic, in turn, can only lead to two inescapable corollaries, with imponderable consequences.

The proposition will imply, in the first place, that India has no other kind of terrorism to fear and fight. It will make majoritarian terrorism, promoted by Mr Modi, for example, appear like a counter-terrorism crusade. Mr Togadia’s threat to hold Indian Muslims hostage in a confrontation with “cross-border” enemies illustrates terrorism of a dictionary definition, as it seeks to intimidate or inflict harm on “non-combatants” in a war or war-like situation. But “all terrorists are Muslims” and, therefore, Mr Togadia is not one of them.

If that is how Mr Togadia pleads his case for the Gujarat pogrom, the argument is apparently carried forward by Mr Narayanan’s statement — about a “reminder of anti-Muslim violence”, especially in Gujarat as a terrorist “recruitment tool”. It sounds almost like making out an anti-terrorist case against those who won’t let India forget the tragedy and the fate of its surviving victims.

Not long ago, the Union government announced its assessment that Maoist insurgency in various states was the most serious terrorist threat before the country. It is debatable if the largely tribal unrest deserves only a “terrorist” tag, but that is a different matter. The question is whether the assessment does not call for a revision, if “Islamic terrorism” in India is seen as a combination of cross-border and indigenous components. A revised assessment will entail a reordering of law-and-order priorities, which cannot be without larger consequences. The minority in Mumbai and Mahrashtra is already facing consequences of this kind, which won’t help the cause of communal harmony.

The second corollary to the theory that equates Islamic terrorism with India’s problem of terrorism will be cause for even more serious concern. The equation, in effect, can only make this country a camp-follower of a superpower that has declared a war on terrorism of the same description. The unequal alliance, with all attendant pitfalls, should not be an irresistibly alluring proposition for this country as it enters the sixtieth year of a proudly preserved Independence.

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Milky way
by Renu Bhardwaj

Way back in 1995, when Ganesha obliged his devotees by drinking the milk offered to Him, I happened to be in Indonesia. “Didi, Lord Ganesha is drinking milk here in India. See if He favours you,” informed my younger sister Shobhna on phone from India.

Amazed, I walked to my small home temple with a spoon and a cup of milk. As I held the spoon to his tusk, lo and behold, the milk disappeared. Delirious, I offered another spoon, and another till the Lord had emptied the cup.

My Indonesian maid, Ibu Ade, saw mesmerised and ran out calling her friends, most of them Muslims, working in the houses of Indians nearby.

While I frantically phoned my friends one after another, a big crowd had gathered in my house. Everyone, including the Indonesians, kept offering milk to the Lord, who gleefully gulped it down.

The word caught up with the locals fast. In Indonesia, the Hindu idols like Ganesha and Rama are very popular with people and are found decorated outside their houses. Names like Sita, Rama, Suryaputra and Priya are very common among the predominantly Muslim population. The stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata are a household word.

Keen to have a date with Bappa Moriya, people thronged the shops selling fresh milk. Usually, Indonesians drink “teh aair” (tea decoction). One won’t find fresh milk in anyone’s house. But this day as the demand for milk arose, the vendors had a heyday.

The prices shot up and by evening milk became scarce. Everywhere one could see small groups encircling the Ganesha idol. While one of them held the spoon to His mouth others clapped and yelled. The daylong celebration in a foreign land made me forget that I was thousands of miles away from my homeland.

While man has drawn boundaries among nations, people and sects, the love of the unknown and the quest for a miracle to realise the tangible presence of the supernatural, holds the humanity in a strong bond. I realised this when my Muslim Indonesian servant asked me innocently next day: “When will Ganesha come again, Nyonya (Madam)? Yesterday my estranged husband came back home when my kids were offering milk to the Lord. Next time I will offer the special sweetened milk to Him,” she said with conviction.

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Musharraf offers cooperation against ‘freelance terrorists’
Imtiaz Alam writes from Lahore

Pervez Musharraf Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has offered India exchange of information and cooperation amongst their intelligence agencies to ward off terrorist attacks, and to join hands in investigations and in moving against “freelance terrorists”.

In a path-breaking interview with A. G. Noorani, a respected constitutional expert and a leading columnist for Frontline magazine the President elaborated on the parameters for a solution on the Kashmir issue, which, he said was “very near, yet so far”.

The Indian concerns over terrorism are understandable and justifiable, even though New Delhi has not been able to substantiate its allegations regarding a Pakistani connection. New Delhi faces the dilemma of suspending the dialogue and aggravating the current situation on the one hand, and inviting a domestic backlash if it does not react to terrorist attacks on the other.

Despite taking a lot of measures against terrorist outfits and putting all that it once controlled on the Kashmir front on hold, the Pakistani government has failed to convince its allies and India about its efforts in the war against terrorism.

There is no readymade solution to terrorism in the short term. The banned terrorist outfits resurfaced under different names and also took refuge behind various charity organisations. Yet, without allowing them the ground they once held, the government tried to tighten the noose. The latest reports reveal camps for Kashmiri Jehad remain deserted and out of operation and the militant outfits are full of complaints against the Musharraf government. What India and the allies in the war against terrorism do not realize is that Musharraf has a most tedious job at hand and it can’t be handled with purely military means.

Now, General Musharraf says that “this is the time we have to move strongly against them”. After having snatched some ground from them, he is now confident of moving against them more firmly. He said that he was ready to cooperate with the Indians and has offered an accord between the intelligence agencies not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs and, rather, cooperate to fight terrorism.

Instead of distrusting each other, the two states must give this offer a chance and cooperate as far as possible. The President has frankly mentioned that the intelligence agencies of the two countries have a long history of fighting against each other. If Pakistan’s ISI, British MI-5 and the US’ CIA/FBI can cooperate and preempt a big plot against US-bound airlines, why can’t ISI and RAW cooperate and help bust all possible future threats to peace from the terrorists?

The President asked India to treat Pakistan with sovereign equality since there are those here in Pakistan who can retort in a “bad way” in the same coin. There is no dearth of such unscrupulous elements on both sides who can take the subcontinent to hell and we must not let them succeed, he said.

The interview shows that the President is very much aggrieved over the loss of the three years after the failure of the Agra Summit. He picked up the thread again after it had broken in Agra, and signed, with former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the joint statement of 6 January, 2004. After that, he admits, his meeting with Mr. Manmohan Singh in September 2004 in New York was a “big step”, when they agreed to “explore options” for a Kashmir settlement.

Further, clarifying his points on the criteria that he and Dr Manmohan Singh have been separately setting, the President has said that the strategic implications of certain areas to each country (such as the Northern Areas for Pakistan and Ladakh for India) has to be entertained and demilitarisation can take place in phases. On the quantum of autonomy, he is for devolving maximum powers, including security, to self-governance by the Kashmiris, while overruling independence.

He took a positive note of Dr Singh’s statement of May 25 at the round table conference on Kashmir, in which he said that the LOC can “become just a line on the map” and also urged the setting up of “institutional arrangements” between the two parts of Kashmir. The President emphasized the need to evolve a “joint framework for self-governance” and a “joint management mechanism at the top, consisting of representatives from Pakistan, India and Kashmir.”

If an agreement is reached on Kashmir to the satisfaction of the three parties, the President concedes the possibility of an India-Pakistan Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation, as suggested by Dr Singh, and the withdrawal of the dispute from the UN.

Mr. Singh and Mr. Musharraf must meet in Havana and New York to set the ball rolling, with a new pace and on much sounder grounds. Undoubtedly, India and Pakistan are closer to an agreement than they have ever been before. This is perhaps the last opportunity that President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will get. They should not miss it.

The writer is the Editor, Current Affairs, The News, Lahore. He is also Secretary General of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).

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Putin is nobody’s poodle
by Rajan Menon

The Bush administration’s imposition of sanctions on two Russian companies this month for selling military technology to Iran certainly sends the Kremlin a message – but it won’t be the one the White House has in mind. The penalties will only deepen the hostility that Russia’s political establishment feels toward the United States.

That attitude came through loud and clear in many discussions I had with Russian academics, foreign policy specialists and senior officials during a recent trip to Moscow. President Vladimir V. Putin echoed it in his caustic dismissal of Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent complaint that Russian democracy was eroding. And his condemnation of the sanctions as an “illegitimate” attempt to foist U.S. laws on Russian companies was no less acerbic. He will doubtless respond in kind.

The anti-American nationalism so palpable in Russia today is rooted in the 1990s, the decade of Boris N. Yeltsin, whom many Americans credit with ending Soviet totalitarianism and introducing the country to democracy. Russians have a different take on those years. They remember the chaos; the economic contraction; the extreme poverty; the robber barons who, with the connivance of the government, made billions after taking over state-owned industries at bargain-basement prices; and the Yeltsin family’s rampant corruption. Rightly or wrongly, they associate these bad experiences with the U S. As one Russian official told me, “We followed your advice, and look where it landed us.”

NATO’s expansion also feeds Russian anti-Americanism. They believe that the U.S. continues to trample over vital Russian security interests, particularly in the post-Soviet republics, where, as they see it, Russia has the right to be dominant by virtue of history and geography. The democratic revolutions in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, hailed in Washington, are viewed in Russia as a U.S. gambit to undercut Moscow’s influence in its own backyard by creating what one official sneeringly called “puppet governments.”

Russia’s anti-American nationalism also reflects current circumstances. Although their country has many problems, Russians feel stronger and more confident than they did in the 1990s and are determined to be taken seriously as a great power. The economic disaster of the previous decade is over. Russia’s gross domestic product has annually increased, on average, by 5 percent under Putin. Yeltsin’s drunken antics, which made Russians cringe, have been replaced by Putin’s authoritative and confident air on the world stage. One young Russian, who finished high school and college in the U.S., told me, with evident admiration, that Putin conducted himself at the G-8 summit with the assurance of an adult tending children.

When Russians look ahead, they feel that they are on a roll. Thanks to sky-high oil prices, Russia is flush with cash. It has paid off much of its foreign debt ahead of schedule. Europe is increasingly dependent on Russian energy, and Western oil and gas companies want to partner with their Russian counterparts, most of which are under state control. It’s folly to assume that a new, post-Soviet generation will seek greater harmony with the U.S. or that Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (certain to occur) and market forces will necessarily integrate it into the West.

—The writer, a fellow at the New America Foundation, is Monroe J. Rathbone professor of international relations at Lehigh University.

— By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post

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Dying shisham and kikar trees worrying
by Ambika Sharma

The large-scale mortality of kikar and shisham trees has become a cause of concern for the foresters in Punjab. Young and mature plants have been affected alike with shisham facing mortality ranging from 61 to 82 per cent while kikar has suffered losses between 62 to 86 per cent. The three districts of Amritsar, Garshankar and Bathinda districts have faced the worst degradation.

Planted along highways, canals, drains, block forests, etc, they are regarded as the most dependable and ideal species for afforestation and rehabilitation of the degraded land.

The dying trees exhibit various symptoms, including reduction in leaf size, changes in foliage colour and dying from top to downward. This causes their untimely death in a span of 4-5 years depending on the age and site conditions.

A diagnostic survey of both the species was conducted by the regional centre of National Afforestation and Eco-development Board based at Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, to assess the extent of damage and suggest appropriate control measures. Meteorological data of two decades from 1980 to 2000 was analysed to study its impact on this unusual mortality.

The survey found that a drastic increase in the number of fog days, extreme winter and summer seasons, intermittent rain with long dry spells, including the wider gap between lower and higher limits of relative humidity, created stress conditions for the survival of these plants in Punjab.

This weakened the biological system making the plant vulnerable to insect pest and pathogenic attack.

The scientists, led by Dr R.N. Sehgal, coordinator regional centre, attributed this mortality to a complex phenomenon associated with meteorological forces, physical, pathological and entomological factors.

A comparative analysis of the data of minimum temperature showed that it decreased by 0.57 degree from 1981-1999 for the month of January alone as compared to the data of 1950-1980. The fog hours increased from 5.6 (1950-80) to 186.7(1995-99) while the frost days from 5 to 57 days (1991-2000) as against normal stretch of 5-15 days prevalent in the North-Western region during the winters.

Even the total rainfall registered a marked change in the region. The average rainfall during 1991-99 failed to touch the minimum requirement of 750 mm for shisham plantations. Other factors like relative humidity and falling water table too have had an adverse effect.

The Punjab Forest Department on receipt of this report has issued technical orders to its officials to deal with this problem. The former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, Mr A.S. Dogra, who issued these instructions said certain short-term, long-term and general strategies have been suggested for avoiding this mortality.

The short-term measures include selection of such trees for mass propagation which are tolerant to adverse climate and edaphic conditions. Resistant to insect-pests/ pathogens was also stressed. Selection should be made from the site of high mortality. Shisham should be planted on well drained sandy and sandy/ loam soils. Plantation should be avoided on clayey soils and the sites having high water table with poor drainage.

The department has further stressed the need to remove old stumps and badly infected/ injured trees by insects or other pathogens from the planting sites. Cultural practices like thinning, pruning, burning and disposal of infested twigs should be followed.

Infected trees should be isolated by digging a trench around the infested trees for root diseases. The long-term measures included broadening the genetic base by introducing trees from different provenances. Plantation of other species like arjun, kachnar, jamun, etc., has been recommended so that a healthy mix of species exists.

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From the pages of

February 4, 1977

Dramatic move

Mr Jagjivan Ram’s decision to resign from the Union Cabinet as well as from the Congress Party comes as a complete surprise to everyone. Apparently, even Mrs Gandhi had no inkling of the dramatic developments that occurred on Wednesday. In a joint statement, Mr Jagjivan Ram and five close associates have made sweeping allegations which the PM has rightly questioned.

While he speaks of ominous trends, fear psychosis, concentration of power and despotic rule, Mrs Gandhi has pointed out that Mr Jagjivan Ram had throughout his stay as the seniormost member of the Central Government fully supported her policies and “never expressed any reservations or doubt.” Why he remained silent all these years and spoke up only now weakens his case. 

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