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PDP must work in national interest

The editorial “Mehbooba must cooperate” (July 13) rightly expresses disappointment on the “political attitude” adopted by PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti towards the difficult situations prevailing in the Kashmir valley. By not attending the all-party meeting called specifically to find out ways to diffuse tension she has shown her motives and harassed the state government. Her efforts to derive political mileage from the “situation” will never fructify in this way. As a nationalist party, the PDP must come forward in favour of national interests.

No doubt, Mr Omar Abdullah is sincere towards his duties as the Chief Minister of J&K but the state administration under him is poor in redressing the socio-economic problems of the people. In fact, the political leadership of all parties does not perform well in securing people’s participation in the political process. The separatists take the advantage and do the mischief by instigating the youth to indulge in violence. The role of foreign-based elements can’t be denied.

But, it is not the time to lose heart. The state government, in consultation with the Centre and other political parties, should formulate an “action plan” to deal with the elements that are out to push the state into anarchy and violence. Humanise the civil and police administrations. Provide quality education and all possible employment opportunities to the youth. Formation of self-help groups can go a long way in improving not only the socio-economic conditions of the people but also in the promotion of democratic and social changes.

The security forces are facing difficult conditions, especially in controlling crowds. Identify the stone-throwers and their mentors. The Chief Minister, ministers and MLAs must remain active and do their best to mobilise the democratic institutions and forces to restore and maintain peace. The day is not far off when the PDP and other fence sitters will be forced by the forces of peace to join them. Hardcore separatists cannot be allowed to play with the sentiments of the people. They should be exposed and dealt with without any reservations. Dialogue should always be welcome but no one should be allowed to cross the well-defined “Laxman Rekha”.



The editorial has rightly exposed the malafide intentions of People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti. It is sad that Ms Mehbooba spurned the personal appeals of the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister to participate in the all-party meeting. It was the most appropriate platform and time for her to ventilate her grievances, if any.

It is an irony that Ms Mehbooba has opted to spit venom ever since the changed alliance has taken over the reigns of J&K government. Her statements smacks of vendetta. Let it be known to Ms Mehbooba that those who play with fire, burn themselves sooner or later. It was expected of her that now she would play a constructive role as the leader of the Opposition, offer cooperation in the maintenance of peace, amity and goodwill among the people in the valley and denounce separatist elements. But alas! It was not to be.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has rightly remarked that Ms Mehbooba Mufti has chosen to be “part of the problem” and not “part of the solution” and that she has stake in keeping the pot boiling.

Let us hope that sanity prevails upon her and she offers a helping hand to the government to end the turmoil and restore normalcy and peace in the valley. The state government must deal with the hooligans and separatist elements sternly. Rightly, the signal that should go across should be that of strength and not weakness. If the PDP opts to be persistently offensive, non-cooperative and sides with the hard line separatists, it must be singled out and exposed. The people in the valley must be made to know as to who actually their foes are.



It is a sorry state of affairs that the Kashmir valley could not produce a tall mass leader to articulate the aspirations of aam admi enabling the people to put their trust in him. It has resulted into simmering frustration among the people at large which is being exploited by the anti-national elements to the hilt.

The memory of late sixties and early seventies is still fresh in the minds of the citizens when the entire nation, forgetting their political affiliations, stood like a rock behind the government to repel aggression on our country.

It is not too late for local politicians and intelligentsia to put their heads together to work out a solution.

R M RAMAUL, Paonta Sahib 

Change agricultural practices

One of the biggest challenges facing farmers worldwide is how to grow food in increasingly extreme climatic conditions (news reports, “It’s pouring trouble for farmers” and “To cover losses, grow basmati, farmers told”, July 13).

As part of our research for Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, we have met with small-scale farmers, farmer’s groups and non-governmental organisations throughout Africa who are working creatively on agricultural innovations to mitigate the effects of flooding as well as drought.

One practice that has been successful in Sebakwe, Zimbabwe, is the return to planting traditional crops. These indigenous crops are more adapted to local conditions than commercial crops, and hence less vulnerable to extreme weather. For rice farmers in Senegal, heavy rains spur such intense weed growth that birds inundate the fields and decimate the crop. Organisations like the Africa Rice Centre, based in Benin, are working diligently to create solutions to this problem, without reliance on avicides to kill the birds.

The Indian government’s support of farmers through crop insurance is important. But as rains intensify over time (and periods of drought increase in other parts of the world), it is increasingly critical to commit resources to research new agricultural practices. Food security and farmers’ incomes are not the only thing at stake. Since agriculture is both a driver and impacted by climate change, finding ways to build resilience to climate change will be more important than ever before.

DANIELLE NIERENBERG, Co-project Director of the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project, RONIT  RIDBERG, Research Intern, Washington, DC, USA



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