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Make farming a profitable profession

Food crisis is a worldwide problem. Nearly all countries are facing food scarcity. There is imbalance in demand and supply. In India, the problem is double-edged. On one hand, the per acre yield has reached the saturating point. On the other, Mother Earth has declined to produce more.

The cultivable area is shrinking. In Punjab and Haryana, the fertile land is converted into concrete by multinational companies and colonalisers hobnobbing with the politicians. Near Ludhiana, in the vicinity of the Punjab Agricultural University, nearly 300 villages are being uprooted. Similar is the case in Gurgaon and in the periphery of the National Capital Territory. This would be disastrous and at the cost of the fertile land.

The new generation farmers are eager to sell their land to become rich and lead a luxurious life. They have no love for their ancestral land. The only remedy one can think of is that there should be a complete ban on acquisition of fertile and irrigated land. The flat system of houses should be adopted. And the new generation farmers should be given incentives to adopt agriculture as a profitable profession as in Canada and other countries.



Food security

In his article, “Grow export-oriented crops” (April 13), J. L. Dalal advises the farmers to grow crops such as cotton, sugarcane, basmati rice, floriculture and mushroom to enhance their income. But the present scenario in respect of our food security demands a serious debate.

The international price for wheat has almost doubled. We readily import wheat at the global price but refuse to pay this price to our own farmers. Why? What is the surety that the world prices of the export-oriented crops as mentioned will not crash?

The need of the hour is to increase the growth rate of foodgrains. The procurement prices should be at the global rates and only government agencies should indulge in the procurement process. This will increase the farm productivity and do justice to the farmers. The PDS should be strengthened to provide food grains to the poor and others at subsidised fixed rates.


Student’s suicide

The suicide by a first year student of a private engineering college near Chandigarh raises some serious issues. Apparently, the deceased boy was more boisterous and disruptive than the college had bargained for. The college authorities could have summoned the parents and discussed the boy’s conduct with them. There can be no justification for the college imposing a high fine of Rs 10,000 on one who had no ability to earn it himself.

If the boy was having some problems, did the college see it as another opportunity to make money? Would the college have been happy if the boy had stolen the money or raised it in some other undesirable way?

In a way, we all are responsible for his avoidable death. Displaying short-sightedness unbecoming of a nation, we have permitted a major role for money in education that can only be destructive. If we can even now take some basic remedial measures, the boy would not have died in vain.


Matter of concern

I read the editorial “Columns of democracy” (April 15). The emergence of the ‘red’ colour as the prominent colour in the Nepal elections is a matter of concern for India. I am afraid, this aspect has been overlooked in the editorial.

Though Nepal proclaims to keep India and China at equidistance and maintain cordial relations with both, a statement cannot be taken at its face value for obvious reasons. Marxism and Naxalism are two sides of the same coin. And the hovoc Naxalism is creating in India is there is for all to see.

Having Tibet for breakfast and India for lunch, China wants Nepal for dinner. To give jitters to China, India would have to change its policy on Nepal, with monarchy on the way out and Maoism in the saddle. No doubt, it is a Himalayan task but India needs to keep Nepal as its ‘pal’ and don’t let things come to a boil, notwithstanding the irritants and impediments on the way.

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar 


Raw deal for panchayats

George Mathew’s article, “New deal for panchayats” (April 23) is lucid and thought provoking. If the Panchayti Raj system and the idea of village republics is to flourish, a lot needs to be done to improve it. Punjab’s panchayats have been facing a host of problems for the last five years. Lack of infrastructure, distorted system of grants, illegal occupation on panchayat land, inadequate technical assistance, too many panchayat secretaries and fund crunch for meeting the administrative requirements need urgent attention.

The authorities should look into the illegal occupation on land and the faulty system of grants. According to an estimate, nearly 35,000 acres are under illegal occupation. The enormous revenue loss to panchayats annually can well be imagined. The defaulters are mostly sarpanches, panches and those with political clout.

Discriminatory and politically biased system of grants retard development. There was an argument between the Speaker and the Panchayati Raj Minister in the last Assembly session on the distribution of grant cheques following casual remarks by a member about the distorted system of grants. Indeed, the panchayats need a new and better deal. More powers should be given to them with adequate funds and improved infrastructure.

APAR SINGH GHUMAN, Sarpanch, Khera Kotli, Dasuya (Hoshiarpur)



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