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Punjab needs US-style silos to store wheat

The annual wheat procurement season in Punjab ended in May with a record procurement of over 105 lakh metric tonnes. In spite of accidental burning of thousands of acres of wheat, the procurement exceeded the best of expectations.

The Centre and the state should either despatch wheat to the respective centres or store it safely at the source. As things stand today, safe storage is a big problem. A lot of wheat stored in the open has been exposed to the vagaries of early monsoon. Water is rising by capillary action from the low non-watertight bases. Some of this wheat gets damaged due to no cover on the top or in the sides. All this amounts to national loss and the poor will be the worst sufferers.

After three months, rice paddy will also have to be procured and stored. If we do not have safe storage facilities for wheat, how can we store additional volume of rice paddy? The Centre and the state must act without further delay. We have to build additional watertight storage facilities for both crops.


In America, we have round barrel shaped vertically rising storage silos with diameters in some cases exceeding 10 feet and the height exceeding 100 feet. The wheat or other commodities are stored by using high lift cranes. The advantage is that the old commodity stays at the bottom and the new procured commodity stays on the top.

The silos are opened at the bottom and the commodity is filled into sacks. This way the old commodity is marketed first and the new one later. Punjab must build American style silos, which occupy least space and store a lot more, that too, safely. Rather than wasting money on non-productive populist schemes, we should spend money on the storage of essential staple foods.


Dubious companies

A company named JVG Finance vanished in thin air 11 years ago with crores of rupees invested in it by mostly retired people, the majority of them from the defence forces. The victims went to the court, but the culprits hoodwinked justice due to loopholes in the laws.

Later, a liquidator was appointed by the court to sell all the assets of the company and reimburse the amount so raised to the investors on pro rata basis. Years have passed, but nobody knows about the liquidator’s action. The investors are helpless and suspect the connivance of powerful bureaucrats in helping the company elope.

Though many more finance companies have conveniently eloped with investors’ money, the government has failed to provide adequate safeguards against such large-scale frauds. Poor investors who have sunk their hard-earned money are still looking up to the powers that be to save them from their misery.

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Expedite results

Panjab University’s policy of slow evaluation of exam papers is deplorable. A student of BA I who has failed in a subject is promoted to BA II and the compartment exam is held around September. He is then allowed to take BA II exam in April. However, it is only at the end of June that his compartment result for BA I is declared.

Now though some students fail in their compartment exams for BA I, they pass in BA II exam. This is where the trouble starts. The compartment result for the previous year and the April exam result for the next year are declared together. The student is compelled to repeat two years. This is a serious problem. This can lead to dropouts and demotivate students.

The university should declare the compartment exams’ results earlier, thus giving a second chance to the student to do his previous class instead of having to repeat both classes again as is happening now. The Vice-Chancellor and others need to act fast and save students from humiliation and disgrace.


Sam’s interview

Writing on the media coverage of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in her column (July 5), Amita Malik compliments Doordarshan for showing an interview of Sam by his grandson. She writes that among the various programmes by different TV channels, she enjoyed this interview the most, in some ways it was the best. She mentions that this interview was recorded by Doordarshan earlier.

I wish to clarify that this interview was recorded by Parzor Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO engaged in preservation of heritage, around the 90th birthday of Sam. A day after Sam passed away, a Beta copy of the interview was offered to Doordarshan for broadcast that day. Doordarshan appreciated our offer and broadcast it that evening.

TIRLOCHAN SINGH, IAS (retd), President, Parzor Foundation, New Delhi


Biased against soldiers

I read Lt-Gen Harwant Singh’s article, Soldiers’ right to vote (July 5). The soldiers and their family members have the right to get registered in the electoral rolls at their places of posting (ordinary place of residence) like any other Indian, during house-to-house enumeration. However, the Election Commission has never conducted this enumeration in military areas since 1952. Nor this responsibility is delegated to them despite our NGO’s requests to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling. The responsibility stands delegated to the regimental record officers for the postal ballot only.

The Postal Ballot (fictional domicile) meant for troops and public servants posted abroad was introduced for troops within India. The postal and proxy voting systems are options recognised by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, but ignored by both the Election Commission and the Defence Ministry. Unfortunately, both are biased against soldiers.

Neither the Election Commission nor the Defence Ministry implemented the constitutional provisions for the soldiers to vote at their places of posting where they are forced to pay all kinds of taxes. This is discrimination of the highest order.

Brig H.S. GHUMAN (retd), Mohali 



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