L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Pay panel a must for farmers

I read the news-item on the demand for setting up of a pay commission for farmers. We must effectively control the growing sense of frustration among the farmers, poor low-earning farm and non-farm workers and sharecroppers.

Today, the farming community is in a “no win-win” situation because the benefits of economic growth have not sufficiently percolated to this level. Increasing costs of inputs, depleting natural resources and emerging global trade liberalisation policies are further complicating the farm-related economic problems.

It is time our policymakers, finance managers and development experts gave priority to higher investments in projects that help ensure “assured-net-income sustainability” for the farmers and non-farm workers so that they do not lag far behind their non-agriculture counterparts in terms of socio-economic security.

Remunerative market system is a basic necessity. Fixation of support prices following the Swaminathan Committee’s recommendation (MSP = cost plus 50 per cent) can be most effective, provided they are effectively implemented at the market level for all the crops. Moreover, all restrictions on post-harvest treatment of farm produce and provision of farm-related subsidies to industry should be reviewed and made farmer-friendly.

Establishment of agro industry, improvements in infrastructure and skill-oriented training in rural areas could enhance non-farm employment opportunities and ensure sustainable economic security for the farmers and rural youth.

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

Kidney racket

The editorial on the kidney menace (Sept 29) correctly says that there must be a rigorous campaign to curb the kidney racket mafia and to promote the donation of kidney after death. No doubt, donation of kidney by an individual who is not a close/distant relative of patient should be completely banned. Then, the question arises about the fate of those common masses who can’t survive without this.

Surely, a large number of patients suffering from renal diseases are not primary cases. By and large, renal complication is secondary manifestation of other common medical problems like hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, etc. Simultaneously, the health department needs to put stress on these ailments also. Definitely, it will help decrease the number of cases of acute and chronic renal failures.

Even some new regulations and clauses should be added in old Acts to demarcate a thin line between donation and trade of kidney.


Melodious voice

With the demise of noted playback singer Mahendra Kapoor, we have lost a great singer. Like melody king Mohammad Rafi, he was also one of the proud products of Punjab who lent a touching voice to the music lovers of the country.

By accident, the first letter of some of the noted playback singers’ names starts with ‘M’. They are, Mohammad Rafi, Mahendra Kapoor, Manna Dey and Mukesh. Kapoor had a unique throat which helped him to sing at low as well as high pitch. Consider, for instance, his songs, Husn aur ishak ke takrane ki raat aye hai (Shehnai) and Na muhn chhupa ke jeeo (Hamraz).

Music lovers who have tasted the golden music era stop on listening his old Hindi and Punjabi songs. I salute this great melody king who will always be remembered by the people for his touching songs.

G.S. PANESAR, Dugri (Ludhiana)

Dry tubewells

I read Kanchan Vasdev’s report on the subject (Oct 8). She is absolutely right that the ground water level has raised this season. The reason: the suitable paddy sowing time and the Punjab Agricultural Ministry’s rigid approach in this regard.

Punjab’s Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langha had ploughed up the early sown paddy of his own close relatives in Gurdaspur district. No doubt, good monsoon was helpful, but water management is the best way to keep the water level increasing.

The Agriculture Ministry should give due attention to rain water recycle plants (which are also known as water harvesting plants) not only in Punjab but throughout the country. This will help coming generations with clean and natural drinking water.

KARANBIR SHAH, Qadian (Gurdaspur)

Threat to society

Molestation and sexual assault are a threat to civilised society. Those accused of rape should not be granted bail and people should socially boycott such criminals. The crime of rape is no less than murder and there is no ground to grant bail to the criminal.

It is the responsibility of the government to provide assistance to the victim and restore her mental health. It is not enough to provide just financial assistance to the victim. It requires much more to be done. Society should boycott persons accused of rape.

The rape of a German woman is shameful. It’s surprising how this occurred in a high security area.


Focus on food security

Agricultural scientist Professor M.S. Swaminathan has warned that wheat and rice procurement in Punjab and Haryana during the last season has been very critical for the country’s food security. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar made a similar statement that every year foodgrain stocks are dropping to an alarming level.

If the situation is so grim on the foodgrain front, the government should come to the rescue of the farmers by ensuring due levy share of rice meant for PDS from the traders. Though experts are warning about the ensuing shortfall and grave scarcity of foodgrains, private traders are minting money by selling the government’s rice share in the open market at a premium of Rs 500 a quintal.

The government should claim its share of rice from the traders of Punjab and Haryana without showing leniency towards anyone. This will help stabilise the dwindling situation on the foodgrains front and serve as an eye-opener to the erring traders who have liquidated the poor man’s stock of personal monetary gains.

MOHINDER SINGH, Dhaliwal (Kapurthala)



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