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Way to deal with potato glut

I differ with the thrust of your argument, “For a long-term solution, the state government will have to promote a network of food processing and cold storages so that farmers are not faced with prospects of distress sale” (“Potatoes on G.T. Road – Distressed farmers need more help”, editorial, Feb 9).

Firstly, all the potato varieties grown in Punjab or elsewhere in the country are not suitable for processing. Incidentally, out of the 45 high yielding potato varieties released by the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Shimla, only four processing varieties of Chipsona series are mainly fit for the production of processed potato products.

Secondly, the farmers go for early harvesting of the potato crop in Punjab in order to take advantage of the rice-potato-soyabean crop sequencing, which has an adverse impact on the desirable characters for processing purposes. Thirdly, the available cold storage capacity in Punjab is nearly optimal.

In this perspective, the long-term solution for meeting the problems of recurrent gluts lies elsewhere.

Significantly, in the developed countries and even in China, potato is treated as a food crop. In India, it has the status of a vegetable. Plus, its consumption suffers from inhibitions created, perpetuated and confounded by the majority of medical doctors. It is asserted by them that potato leads to fattening. But the fact is potato has a very insignificant component of fat.

The country needs to educate and enlighten people at large to eat more potatoes, treating potatoes not as a mere vegetable but at least as a supplementary food.

DR PREM SINGH DAHIYA, President, Centre for Development and Agricultural Research, Rohtak 

Pakistan’s confession

The statement of Pakistan admitting the involvement of its citizens in 26/11 is a positive development, as stated by Mr Parnab Mukherjee. But Pakistan must do more as you have pointed in the editorial “One step forward” (Feb 14). The perpetrators of the tragedy must be brought to book. The terrorist organisations responsible for this heinous crime must be hauled up and banned. Pakistan has become an epicentre of terrorism. So, it is in the interest of Pakistan itself that its territory should not be used as a launching pad by terrorists.


Revamp assessment system

The system of internal assessment in different courses is widely prevalent in many educational institutions. In addition to this, viva voce marks or project marks are also given according to the teacher’s discretion. But it is seen that there is no proper system of internal assessment. Often, the deserving candidates are awarded less marks and more marks are given to the candidates who keep the teachers in good humour.

Internal assessment should be strictly in accordance with the performance of the candidate. It is essential that transparent procedures are evolved. Only then we shall be able to upgrade the quality of education.

AMAN DEEP SINGH, Raikot, Ludhiana

Health for all

Health and education are two sectors that deserve priority over all else. The government is spending crores of rupees on Sarv Siksha Abhiyaan.

On a similar pattern, the government can start Sarv Swasthya Abhiyaan. At least then the infrastructure in government hospitals will improve. Governments will come and go, but we should have a clear vision for future. Only then will our children not die for sheer want of medical facilities.




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