Addressing the issue of crop diversification

Crop diversification has become absolutely necessary for farmers (Aug 8). But the problem has to be viewed from the farmerís viewpoint also. In spite of Kisan cards, the farmer is still indebted to moneylender and hence he has to grow rice and wheat.

Moreover, these are the only crops which are saved from market fluctuation and he gets assured price. Last year, even mustard was not purchased by the government expect in southern districts of Rewari. Farmers in other districts had to sell it at Rs 300 below MSP.

Naturally, farmers are forced to switch over to wheat. Sugarcane is the only good alternative because for the last few years mills are paying a good price and promptly too. The government has to intervene in the market to ensure good price for the farmers to promote crop diversification. The solution lies in the government procurement of oil seeds and pulses to wean away farmers from the rice-wheat cycle.

Fruits and vegetables cannot be promoted unless the government sets up processing units like sugar mills where farmers can sell their products at pre-determined price. That is why, SEZ and Ambani become relevant in spite of farmersí opposition.

AMARJEET SETH, Jadoli, Gharaunda (Karnal)


Police stations need a facelift

In Punjab, most police stations and chowkis or outposts are functioning from dilapidated houses, clumsily pitched tents and encroached public buildings which have not been in use for long.

Broken chairs, tables, benches, wooden almirahs, century-old hurricane lamps and defective fans greet visitors in these police stations. Rooms are not well lit. Electric and telephone cables, wall corners are full of cobwebs. I am sorry to say that some of these buildings look like mortuaries than police stations.

I request Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to provide Punjab Police a better working environment to match public and government expectations.

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala

Restore bonus

Prior to February 2006, under Monthly Income Scheme of post offices, subscribers were given 10 per cent bonus on deposits after six years. However, the Union Finance Ministry withdrew the 10 per cent bonus and interest @ 8 per cent per annum is payable on deposits for a six-year period.

Owing to rising inflation, public sector banks now offer interest of 8.5-9 per cent per annum to senior citizens for deposits of three years and above. The Ministry should review the decision and restore the 10 per cent bonus at least to senior citizens.

K.K. DHAWAN, Patiala

Common manís drink

A cup of tea on a roadside dhaba costs Rs 4. However, a small size chilled cold drink is available for Rs 6. Because of its low cost and easy availability, the cold drink has forced its way into a poor manís house. It is indeed the common manís drink.

The recent campaign against Colas would have been justified if other drinks including milk and eatables were free from pesticides. What about chat, pakori and other snacks sold on reharees and eaten by 90 per cent of the urban population? Are these safe for eating? Why this bias then?

Colas can be banned, but who will ban the other items? In any case, it would be better to engage Pepsi and Cola for reducing the harmful ingredients in the soft drinks.


Welcome, butÖ

The Haryanvi Punjabi Suba, Panchkula, has recently suggested Chandigarhís merger with Panchkula, Mohali, Kalka and Baddi areas. The division of these areas into a small unit is not good. Instead, adding the areas of Amabla, Shahabad, Yamunanagar, Paonta Sahib and Nahan into one unit would be best. It would be much more better if these areas merged back into mother state Punjab. The cultural language and identity of these areas is similar to that of parent state or Haryanvi Punjab.

The reorganisation of Punjab divided the United Punjab into Hindi-speaking areas as Haryana and Punjabi speaking as Punjabi. The Haryana-Punjab border belt from Sirsa-Fatehabad, Tohana, Pehawa to Kalka were left out areas from the mother state for one reason or another. A lasting solution is needed by correcting the past mistakes.

Whatever politicians may say, the solution is in the hands of boundary experts with background of history and culture, teachers, non-political groups and concerned citizens.

P.S. BHINDER, Mohali

Airport privatisation

People expect a lot from the privatisation of Mumbai Airport. The scenario of domestic and international airport of Mumbai will change. A separate runway for big aircraft will definitely be better. Separate terminals for private airlines will also be good.

To attract tourists, domestic and foreign, elaborate arrangements will be made for good hotels, food and entertainment. Taking the Delhi Metro as a role model, it would be better if the authorities concerned complete the Mumbai airport project within a specific timeframe.

M.L. SINHA, Banga

Stop felling

While private institutions and the government are emphasising the need for tree plantation, the same government allows indiscriminate cutting of trees by giving it to colonisers and others. It will disturb the ecological balance and pollute the atmosphere. This will, in turn, reduce the food growing area.

Surprisingly, even protected areas under the Forest Act are not spared. There is need to immediately stop it. Otherwise, Punjab will become another jungle. Already the crop diversification scheme has failed. Many industries are facing the threat of closure due to acute power shortage.

M.P.S. RANDHAWA, Dhapai (Kapurthala)



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