Promoting organic farming

I read Dr S.S. Johl’s article, “Exploit potential for organic farming” (Feb 15). Large-scale adoption of organic farming is being promoted since the global demand for organically produced foods is rapidly increasing (estimated at 10-20 per cent). The certified area under organic farming in India has also increased over the years to over three lakh hectares. For a successful organic food market system, farmers have to be adequately trained in the specific systems of management.

Despite increasing emphasis, the decisive question from the anthropocentric viewpoint is whether the large-scale adoption of purely organic system (lower productivity, more than 25 per cent higher prices) in India would be able to meet the rising food demand at affordable prices or control food shortages (natural food stocks have already declined to less than 10 million tonnes).

Issues that need to be addressed include ethical and strict adoption of rules, regulations and standards (global and domestic) following a three-year course, efficient harvest and post-harvest handling, maintenance of integrity of the organic products until they reach consumers, price support and profitability, quality control and certification, marketing and development of favourable policies.


We should generate an eco-efficient, high productive, agro-commercial revolution to boost agro production with lower levels of chemical inputs, and ensure food and nutrition security. Efforts must be intensified to achieve maximum efficiency of organic and synthetic chemical inputs (pesticides in particular). Quality control regulations must be strictly implemented.

Dr M.S. BAJWA, PAU Director Research (retd), Mohali

Make it mandatory

I read the editorial, “Conscription — an awful idea”. Citizens above 18 years should serve the nation through training in the armed forces.  It may be done for one to two years between 18 and 25 years of age. Or it can be done for a month each year for a couple of years. Such a semi-trained, disciplined force will be available at short notice, not only during times of war, but during internal strife or disaster management, instead of pushing the regular Army into all sorts of internal strife and disaster management.

A stint ought to be made mandatory for all able-bodied individuals, those seeking employment in any sector, bureaucrats, political aspirants and their wards to serve the armed forces at the front. Then only we will realise the sacrifices made by our soldiers.



Lt-Gen Harwant Singh’s suggestion for enlarging the Short Service Commission cadre exhibits his vision; this will yield good results and tackle the officer shortage in the Army in a phased manner.

His suggestion that after five years of service, the officer be assured of induction into the central, state police and central or state civil services through a statuary (salutary) provision appears to offer a viable solution to the problem. Their assured training in management through the IIMs, management institutes in various universities for absorption in the corporate sector is also welcome. The absorption of officers would help develop an increasing number of disciplined officers in central and state services and the corporate sector in various fields of management, administration and security.

Lt-Col V. K. NAYYAR (retd), Chandigarh

Need of the hour

I read with interest Bikram Singh Virk’s article, “Food vs fuel: Time for crop diversification in Punjab” (Feb 17). Punjab’s farmers need to follow cultivation and production of crops leading to the production of fuel. When a small country like Brazil can produce bio-fuel, why cannot India where 80 per cent of its population is engaged in agricultural work? Indeed, bio-fuel production will strengthen the economy. If the writer’s data is not based upon facts, senior officers of the Agriculture Department should refute them. And if correct, Punjab’s farmers should follow it in toto.

If we focus on the cultivation and production of sugarcane and maize, Punjab’s economy can be strengthened. Let its contribution of foodgrains to the national kitty be reduced to make way for the production of maize and sugarcane. Ultimately, this will lead to the production of bio-fuel. This will also help in the diversification of crops — the need of the hour for our debt-ridden farmers.

ARJUN AIRI, Amritsar

Let’s not misuse our rights

It is time we stopped using words like Dalits, upper castes, lower castes and so on. We are equal in the eyes of God and also in the spirit of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution has provided the right to equality and liberty to every citizen of India. Still, why do we misuse the right of liberty?

Rights and duties go side by side. Why do we forget our duties while exercising our rights? Why can’t we protest peacefully and amicably? Moreover, if we differ with the government on matters of policy, why should we destroy the property of our friends and harm them physically?

Can India put an end to strikes and agitation of various forms which are dangerous to society? Can we Indians take a pledge to behave decently in our homes and in public? How can the people expect the administration and police to act in a friendly way when we don’t keep our promises and betray them with our unjustifiable action?

Dr SWARANLATA, Post Doctoral Fellow, MD University, Rohtak


Noted journalist

R.K. Karanjia was a noted journalist. Indian journalism is poorer by his demise. Blitz was read by intellectuals. I was the reader of Blitz from 1955 and was lucky to have a book “Arab Dawn” gifted and autographed by Karanjia. His team was thoroughly professional and gave the best coverage. The coverage of the Nanavati murder case in Blitz was read by all. Last Page by K. A. Abbas was the readers’ favourite. May his soul rest in peace!


Command Hospital

Vipin Kumar’s contention in the letter, “Command Hospital must improve” (Feb 25) is incorrect and not based on facts. The letter is derogatory to the image of this hospital which enjoys a good reputation among its clientele. Moreover, this individual has neither approached the hospital authorities with his grievances nor has filed an official complaint. The flooring of this hospital is being changed as the old one had suffered some wear and tear and was damaged in places. All other allegations are untrue.

ASHISH GOYAL, Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Defence, Chandigarh



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