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

Study the safety aspects of GM crops

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh should be congratulated as he has adopted a cautious and principle-based approach to impose a moratorium on the release of the transgenic brinjal hybrid developed by Mahyco, a subsidiary of global seed giant Monsanto (editorial, Bt Brinjal on back burner”, Feb 11).

It is a right decision coming after public consultations in seven cities after widespread protests against the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee’s (GEAC) recommendation of approval of Bt Brinjal in October 2009.

When there is lack of clear consensus among the scientific community; opposition from several state governments, especially from the major brinjal-producing states; questions raised about the safety and testing process; lack of an independent biotechnology regulatory authority; negative public sentiment and fear among consumers and lack of a global precedent how can a green signal be given for its mass production commercially? We should be mindful of the undesirable consequences of genetically modified varieties that may look attractive commercially but could cause damage to both consumers’ health as well as indigenous seed varieties.

Besides, India has a huge variety of this particular vegetable and there is often a problem of plenty, never one of shortage.  If at all something needs to be done, it should be aimed at protecting indigenous seed varieties and popularising their use. However, if GM crop is to be considered let the safety aspects be studied properly.

DILBAG RAI, Chandigarh

Rural medicare

I may like to tell Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad that MBBS doctors are available to serve in rural areas, yet service conditions and lack of infrastructure are the real reasons why doctors do not work in villages.

The Centre and the state governments should provide basic facilities to doctors who want to serve in villages.There is no doubt that rural people need better medicare and there is a shortage of doctors in the rural areas. But compromising on the quality of health care will prove disastrous in the long run. The move to create a new cadre of doctors for rural areas is a retrograde step and if implemented will play havoc with the health of the rural population.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Integrate the states

V Eshwar Anand in his article Bridging the divide (Jan 11) rightly stressed on integration of states and not their division. Similarly, Nirmal Sandhu in his article “Look beyond packages”(Jan 15) offered a valuable suggestion to have a regional approach and not a narrow state specific one.

The situation in India calls for a merger and not for carving out of more states. Besides, the mergers should be based on geographic and economic considerations and not caste, creed or language.

The job of suggesting suitable mergers can be given to a states reorganisation commission. The idea of merger will be opposed tooth and nail by the self-serving politicians who stand to lose opportunities of lucrative posts. The fear that bigger states are unmanageable is a myth. Huge expenditure running into thousands of crores of rupees will be saved and can be utilised for development works.

Wg-Cdr CL SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Public transport

Presently, Ludhiana does not have a good public transport system. This has resulted in a high percentage of two wheelers and cars on roads. Public transport should be introduced immediately to reduce traffic congestion. It will help save petrol as well as check air pollution. The answer to city’s traffic woes lies in an efficient public transport system. It is better to invest in a public transport system than on building bridges that spoil the beauty of the city.


Shiv Sena’s failure

The public response to Shah Rukh Khan’s film My Name Is Khan has proved categorically that Thackerays are worn-out tigers. With the newly released Khan film Mumbaikars thumbed their nose at the Shiv Sena’s ominous threats. They queued up in thousands to watch the movie. The Shiv Sena must learn its lessons from its successive failures.

K A SOLAMAN, Alappuzha

Wide horizons

The middle, Compulsory transfers, travels and tourism (Feb 8) by Sanjeev Singh Bariana described the travel opportunities enjoyed by employees and their families on being transferred. This “sightseeing” comes with pain of leaving a place one is accustomed to and going to unknown places. Children suffer pangs of separating from their best friends.

Yet this “forced travel” is a good way of learning about different cultures, food habits, languages and festivals of different regions of India. One gains greater exposure of life and the canvass becomes broader.




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