Retail chains good for farmers

The blind opposition of Reliance, Subhiksha and other retail chains by mobs led by vested interests is actually against the interest of those farmers who grow fruits and vegetables. Violence by mobs shows the inability of law and order machinery to tackle such situations.

Big business houses, after eliminating middlemen, will definitely improve the economic condition of small and marginal farmers. The consumer will also be a gainer. Large-scale contract farming will improve the financial position of debt-ridden farmers.

The marketing problem, usually faced by farmers, will be solved to a great extent. The professional approach of big retailers will also make farmers know latest techniques, tastes and demands of the market. The retailers will provide farmers quality seeds, techniques, finance and, above all, trust and confidence.

The biggest advantage of retail stores is that these will help remove encroachments on roads by vegetable vendors. Thousands of unlicensed vegetable vendors on every lane, road and highway create chaos and traffic jams, causing inconvenience to commuters. Besides, the “apni mandi” concept can be revived with the help of government agencies.



Quality education

The Supreme Court has suggested the government to pay more attention to its constitutional obligation by providing quality education up to the elementary level. No doubt, much money has been provided for the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), but the results have not been commensurate with the money spent and efforts made in the direction.

More attention should be given to fiscal discipline so that the children (6-14 age group), opting for non-formal education or formal schooling, are benefited most. Proper monitoring, action towards learning enhancement programme and accountability at all levels of administration should be on the top of the government’s agenda.

Dr S. KUMAR, Panchkula

How is that?

In an otherwise well-written piece “Kashmir integral to the India" story (October 26), Vimal Sumbly has stated that the Instrument of Accession was signed in the presence of V. P. Menon, Field Marshal Manekshaw and Dr Karan Singh, the son and successor of Maharaja Hari Singh. The Instrument was singed on Oct 26, 1947. On that historic date our Commander-in-Chief was a British officer and Manekshaw was our Chief of Army Staff during the Bangladesh operations and was made a Field Marshal thereafter.

Major BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantt

A historic day

In pursuance of the States Reorganisation Act, the hill areas of the erstwhile Punjab were merged with Himachal Pradesh on November 1, 1966, giving the tiny state a viable shape and size and consequently earning for it the coveted statehood, which opened for it the gates of progress and prosperity.

Indisputably, the historic day merits befitting annual celebrations. It is, however, allowed to go unnoticed. How sad, indeed! May I request the powers-that-be to rectify the lapse in future?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)


The Right to Information Act is incomplete without the concept of accountability in the administration as well as the judiciary. An applicant is supposed to get information from the respondent-department within 30 days under section 7 of the Act. A penalty is imposed on the respondent after giving it a reasonable opportunity by the state information commission. What is a “reasonable opportunity”?

In a case the respondent party neither supplied the information nor appeared before the State Information Commission, Punjab, even after getting three opportunities. All representations should be decided within a stipulated time-frame failing which the official concerned be made accountable for the delay. The concept of accountability should be included in the Right to Information Act.


Useless probe panels

The Liberhan Commission, set up soon after the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya some 15 years back, has been given 42nd extension. This commission was to probe circumstances leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The government had made a statement in Parliament that the commission would not be given any further time. The 15-year-old commission has already cost the state exchequer about Rs 7 crore.

Hundreds of commissions have been set up by various governments both at the Centre and in states but none has served any purpose. Commissions are set up just to befool the gullible people.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Why baby killers escape

The rate of conviction under the PNDT Act, 1994, for female foeticide is almost negligible. As of today, it is just one in Haryana and four in Punjab. One reason for this is that abortion in our country is legal. A foetus can be aborted irrespective of its sex. Abortion is allowed on the presumption that the anguish caused by an unwanted pregnancy may constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.

On the other hand, the PNDT Act is meant mainly to regulate genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories and genetic clinics against conducting pre-natal sex determination tests and ban abortions of the female foetus. It is a daunting task to ascertain the genuineness of every abortion. Many abortions are done to eliminate the female foetus only.

As the birth of a child remains a private matter of a family, many cases go unreported. Therefore, the involvement of the community is very important for effective implementation of the PNDT Act. There is a need to involve the PRIs, village development committees and organisations of farmers, traders, parents, teachers and women.

A countrywide campaign with the active participation of celebrities and religious leaders is required to create awareness and sensitise people to shun their deep-rooted, anti-female prejudices.

Dr DHARAM PAL MOR, Punjabi University, Patiala



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