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Punjab’s small farmers need full support

IN his article, “Punjab farmers deserve a better deal” (Perspective, Dec 17), Manpreet Singh Badal, while being pro-farmer, tends to be politically motivated. Farmers have a genuine demand for better incentives and benefits from the Centre.

Punjab farmers can be categorised into two categories: big farmers with larger land holdings owning hundreds of acres and small farmers with less than 10 acres (who comprise 80 per cent of the total Punjab peasantry). It is only small farmers who commit suicide because they are the one who are always under debt. This segment of farmers is hard working and can grow anything provided good quality seeds and fertilisers are provided to them at fair prices.

The need of the hour is to prepare and equip these farmers to increase their income per acre instead of making them dependent on debt remittance packages. These are the people who will be adversely affected under the WTO agreement.


 

If any political party is keen on improving the state’s agriculture sector, the following merit attention. Improve the marketing infrastructure, system and survey for different agriculture products so that farmers can estimate the total cultivation to be made of any crop in a season and can decide how many acres should be bought under the crop to get maximum profits.

The minimum support price (MSP) should be set for all the agriculture products, not just for wheat and rice. The MSP is set so that the produce should not be priced less than the minimum support price (there is no upper limit to it). Some times buying is done in the Mandis at price much less than the MSP for personal gains. This exploitation of small farmers must be checked. Also, the farmers need a good R&D package to develop new quality seeds.

KARANBIR SHAH, Qadian (Gurdaspur)

II

The article exposes the petty vote politics politicians play by exploiting the condition of helpless farmers crushed by heavy load of debt. I strongly feel that politicians irrespective of party affiliations at the Centre and in the state are insensitive to the farmers’ plight. When in the Opposition, they leave no stone unturned to exploit the farmers’ pitiable condition, but when in power, they ignore their interests.

In Punjab, what did the Congress do to reduce the farmers’ debt? Did the debt of Rs 41,000 crore arise in a day? No doubt, the Centre has its responsibilities, but agriculture is a state subject and the implementation of farm policy and related schemes and programmes are through the state government.

What did the Akalis do when they were in power at the Centre and in the state? Politicians should stop the blame game and pool their energies to formulate a multi-disciplinary long-term approach involving experts and implement the recommendations instead of showering short-term sops and packages just before elections.

The long-term solution lies in rejuvenating the economy to ensure the sustainability and profitability of farming. The media should build public opinion to goad the government to help make the peasantry debt free.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda

For sequel’s sake

I read Vikramdeep Johal’s article “Once is not enough” (Spectrum, Dec 10) with interest.

The first filmmaker to attempt sequels in the Hindi film industry, albeit unofficially, was Basu Bhattacharya. His directorial venture, Aavishkaar (1973) began where his movie Anubhav (1971) culminated and Grihapravesh (1979) took off from where Aavishkaar ended. Though Basu’s movies earned rich critical acclaim, they failed to create a sensation at the box-office.

Strictly speaking, the credit for being a trendsetter in the field of sequels should go to Feroze Nadiadwala whose Phir Hera Pheri (released on June 9, 2006) was the first sequel to reap a rich harvest at the box-office. The trend gained momentum with Krrish which came later.

Interestingly, Priyadarshan who had directed Hera Pheri (2000) was opposed to the making of its sequel.

Then its producer engaged Neeraj Vora to direct the second part of the hit movie. While Phir Hera Pheri turned out to be a big hit, Priyadarshan’s own directorial venture, Chup Chup Ke which was released, thanks to a strange coincidence, on the same day turned out to be a dud!

Further, after Harmesh Malhotra (who made Nigaahein, a sequel to his Nagina), it was Sanjay Manjrekar who made a sequel -Hathyaar (the second part of Vaastav 1999).

Another interesting fact of film history is that Ramgopal Verma made ‘D’ in 2005 and claimed that it was a “prequel” of his film Company which he had made three years earlier!

Surendra Miglani, Kaithal


Jalandhar festival

It was heartening to read a comprehensive account of the Chennai music festival in T. S. Raman’s “Where music is in the air” (Spectrum, Dec 24).

However, justice was not done to the 131st Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan at Jalandhar. It was covered only in Jalandhar Plus. It embodied the great tradition of Hindustani or North Indian classical music, where artistes from different parts of India performed on five days with programmes running till wee hours in the morning.

KAMLESH UPPAL, Patiala

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