SEZs a must for Punjab’s development

The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) proposed for development are inescapable for Punjab. Two small countries, Germany and Japan, with their industrial superiority, overpowered the biggest economies and mauled them in the Second World War. Given the opportunity, Punjabis are second to none. The diasporas of Punjabis is there for everyone to see.

Concentration of dynamic e-based industry does not require urban peripheries. Communication technology has cut down distances. Two categories of common village land are available to meet some SEZ demands. India Inc. should be permitted to take these on long lease at competitive rates.

First, ten acres of panchayat land was transferred to make focal points in 1977-79. In 1980, these were declared foke (hollow) and were left to spoilsports. Their locations are mostly near metalled roads. Secondly, there is panchayat land in villages leased for cultivation. This land is not self-irrigated, under the thumb of mafia or low syndicated biddings on annual lease auction.

Auction proceeds enter the corrupt panchayat coffers and go down the drain. This land, if given to the SEZs on competitive rates, the ongoing crisis can be averted without affecting the poor farmers’ interests. The panchayats’ income will increase. If successful, the profit making units would enlarge their area for expansion at commercial prices.

The Panchayat Act may be amended to open this land for long lease and sale of unproductive panchayat land only for industrial or commercial purposes at the highest market rates.

AJAIB SINGH CHAAHAL, Rasulpur Kalan (Amritsar)



India is primarily an agricultural country. About 70 per cent of its population depends on agriculture. With alarming population growth, the land holdings have been squeezed. The farmers thus may not like to part with their land required for the SEZs.

The SEZs may help export promotion, but the chances of their misuse cannot be eliminated. Even after 59 years of Independence, the villages have no basic facilities of proper sanitation, school and health care which are elementary requirements of a civilised society. Had the government sincerely tried to develop the villages, each village would have been a model village with much less investment.

The alternative course for the government today is to finance small scale cottage industry in each village. This will help create more employment opportunities for the unemployed youth as also give impetus to the sick industrial units. Once this goal is achieved, we can think of building SEZs also, if necessary.

MEHAR CHAND, Bagli Kalan (Ludhiana)


I refer to Dr S.S. Johl’s article SEZs are welcome (Oct 26). The concept of SEZ seems to be attractive and encouraging. However, there is a general impression that the Centre and the states, including Punjab — the state that boasts of the highest per capita income in the country — have not done enough to meet the essential needs of the common man like roti, kapada aur makaan.

So, first let the government be fully satisfied regarding the basic needs of the common man instead of creating SEZs, i.e. industrial hubs, malls and townships which are all superfluous show business.

S.K. MITTAL, Panchkula


I refer to Kuldip Nayar’s article, Create rehab plan for SEZ oustees (Oct 6). A lot of hue and cry has been raised about the SEZs. The government should follow a policy which is best suitable for the development of the country and serves the Indian society well. The policy which will boost growth, help generate employment and income and create infrastructure. It should be environmental friendly and socially acceptable to a large section of the local people.

Before approving a SEZ, there should be a public debate. Cost- benefit (socio-economic) analysis is a must. The political parties should not make it an election issue if the policy is for the greater good of the people. As the land is acquired at below the market prices, there should be a proper rehabilitation plan for the oustees. There should be economic use of the land acquired. 

PURAN SINGH, Project Economist   (Haryana), Chandigarh


Common law for defence forces

The Parliamentary Committee on Defence has not done good homework before deliberating on the question of common law for the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The committee could have associated with itself some experts on the subject and/or experienced retired officers who could have advised it well.

Though our laws follow the British legal system, all the three wings have different Acts such as the Army Act, the Air Force Act and the Naval Discipline Act. Our Army Act 1950 (preceded by the Indian Army Act of 1911) is almost a replica of the British Army Act with minor variations here and there. They also have summary disposal powers with Commanding Officers along with summary court martial powers. It is almost the same in the Indian Act. It is because of these powers that the Army is able to enforce discipline.

The parliamentary committee wants to make the defence law less harsh. Experts and specialists should thoroughly debate the issue in question before making any changes in the existing laws.

Lt-Col K.S. GREWAL (retd), Advocate, Chandigarh



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 |