Study needed on new citrus varieties

Being a horticulturist, I appreciate Dr S.S. Johl’s views about the much-hyped citrus revolution in Punjab. No doubt, Pepsico, in collaboration with Citrus and the Agri Juicing Council for Punjab, is making path-breaking efforts for the introduction of new varieties of citrus in Punjab. But the ways and means to propagate the so-called revolution are shrouded in mystery.

The procedures being adopted do not conform to the international norms of plant introduction and varietal release. Admittedly, one requires at least eight years to make even a rough assessment of the performance of citrus plant for yield, the quality of fruit and its vulnerability to yearly climatic variations even though plants may bear some fruit in the third or fourth year of its age.

In Punjab, however, none of the varieties has in the past four years shown promising results. We cannot even compare them with the current kinnow plantation in the Abohar region.

The climate of California is not the same as in Punjab and each variety of citrus is not bound to thrive here. It requires persistence and patience to select the varieties so that the taxpayers’ money being spent by the government doesn’t go down the drain.


The farmers should not be forced to grow new varieties of citrus until the horticulturists from the PAU and the State Horticulture Department are convinced about these varieties’ suitability for Punjab. Undue bureaucratic pressure should not be put on the farmers and agricultural scientists for speedy introduction of the new varieties.


Wake up, please

The editorial, “Human bombs” was bold and timely (August 28). The police officers, who have proclaimed the dera woman followers as human bombs without any solid proof or evidence must be punished. They are following the policy of giving a dog a bad name and killing it. What the Punjab police should be more serious about is the dera followers committing suicides because of their being allegedly subjected to pressure from the Sikh religious leaders to break ties with the dera chief. They are alleging persecution at the behest of the Akali Dal leaders.

This continuous religious and social strife can lead to a caste war as most dera followers are either dalits or belong to other low castes. Unfortunately, neither the media nor the government is taking due note of this ominous development. The government should wake up before it is too late.


Debt trap

Dr S.S. Johl’s article, “Punjab’s empty coffers” (Aug 29) is a damning expose of the character of our political class. Indeed, it is horrifying to learn that the Congress and the Akali-BJP governments have jointly pushed Punjab into a debt trap worth Rs 52,764 crore!

But then, I wonder why Dr Johl continued to serve as Economic Adviser to the Congress government for a full five years if it did not heed his advice or warnings. Be that as it may, the decadent ruling elite will not be displaced until we have a vigorous youth movement against corruption and inefficiency at various levels.



To attract investment and industry, the Punjab government should formulate long-term policies in consultation with the Opposition and economic experts without neglecting the farm sector.

Economic solutions will definitely require a complete overhaul of the existing system, global vision and local actions keeping in view the aspirations of the local people who must shape the local solutions.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda

Tian with dhian

The Tian festival is presently sweeping Punjab. This festival is synonymous with dhian (daughters). Young ladies express through dance and singing their desires, longings and aspirations and invoke the blessings of their parents  for marital bliss.

However, one wonders how long this tradition will continue as parents are resorting to female foeticide. If this colourful festival should continue forever, we must stop killing baby girls in the womb.

Otherwise, our celebration of the Tian will be regarded as mere tokenism and hypocrisy on our part.

SATWANT KAUR, Hoshiarpur

Onus on HP

It is encouraging that the Centre and the Himachal Pradesh governments are helping the industrialists in pharmaceutical and information technology sectors by giving benefits such as 10-years sales tax, 5-year Income tax and other benefits. The condition of roads and bridges from Panchkula/Pinjore to Baddi Barotiwala and Nalagarh is very bad.

The newly formed Baddi-Barotiwala Development Agency should provide at least the minimum required infrastructure for full growth of the pharma hub. Moreover, it is the state government’s responsibility to provide essentials means of transport to employees and workers of HP and other neighbouring states.

S.K. MITTAL, Panchkula

Cell phone blues

There is something wrong with the BSNL and Spice companies. The customers are facing hardship and financial loss. From my pre-paid BSNL cell phone, I called a few days ago Spice mobile number 9855805435 for at least six times. For each call, I was charged @ Rs 0.49 paise without any response from the other side.

Every thing remained normal after that day. But again the same problem has started — overcharge. Why should the customers be penalised in case there is any fault or dispute among two companies? This should be sorted out promptly without any inconvenience to the public. The TRAI must intervene to protect the customers’ interests.

S. K. NAYAR, Panchkula



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