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

Lessons from the upheaval in Egypt

The editorial “Arabian nightmare: US dumps Mubarak to protect its own interests” (Feb 7) has apt advice in the aftermath of the upheaval in Egypt to the regimes in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc, to set in motion political reforms to let their people have their overdue democratic rights. The winds of democracy in Egypt will sooner or later reach there also.

The revolt against President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak is spontaneous and widespread. This uprising has shattered the old stereotype that Islam does not tolerate democracy. It should also warn the US, which is supporting dictators and despots in the Arab countries. The ‘oldest democracy’ in the world has no qualms about supping with the devil for safeguarding its regional and economic interests.

The US has now no option but to turn its back on Mubarak because of the growing anger against him. But it will be doing another blunder if it tries to install one of its favourites as President, who does its bidding in the region. People would now like to have at the helm their own representatives, who pay attention to their problems and concerns.

SACHDI NANDA, Chandigarh.

Loss of water

Water is a critical input and the decline in the water-table is a cause for serious concern (editorial, “Avoidable loss”, Feb 4). The large dip in ground-water-table raises doubts about the long-term sustainability of irrigated agriculture of Punjab, about 70 per cent of which is based on groundwater irrigation. In due course of time it would become difficult for small and marginal farmers to bear the cost of irrigation.  

The rich farmers have started digging deep, often up to 300 ft or more, with submersible pumps but small farmers cannot afford the cost and their wells are drying up. Since one deep tubewell dries up many around it, the trend is bound to lead to social tension.

The management of rainwater is the key to environmental, economic and social sustainability and its harvesting will further help in irrigation, especially in the Kandi area.

The Agriculture Department must do more to educate farmers for diversification of crops. Simultaneously, arrangements for procurement of products other than paddy and wheat must be made by the government to prompt farmers to switch over to new crops.

New tubewell connections should be linked with the study of ground water in the area. In this computer age, it is now very easy to update the data to monitor all the tubewells to know the depletion and recharge, to plan and administer the fair share and use of groundwater.



In the news report “Water-table falls alarmingly in Central Punjab” (Feb 3) it is stated that Punjab has only 14.54 MAF of canal water.” In fact, Punjab gets only 7.5 MAF out of the total 26.5 MAF water which is available in all the three rivers — the Satluj, Beas and Ravi.

Rajasthan takes away 11.2 MAF and Haryana has been allotted 7.8 MAF (out of this Punjab is presently using 1.9 MAF pending the completion of SYL canal). It needs to be mentioned that Rajasthan and Haryana, being non-riparian states, have absolutely no right over Punjab’s rivers. But the present arrangement has the potential to ruin Punjab’s economy and has dangerous repercussions at various levels.

H J SINGH, Chandigarh

Fiscal prudence

Jayshree Sengupta in the article “Expectations from new Budget” (Feb 5) rightly underscores the need for stringent fiscal consolidation measures in the upcoming Budget. I agree that the Finance Minister should try to tame the burgeoning fiscal deficit which has the potential to keep away the investors and send wrong signals to the global economy. Most countries are facing high fiscal deficits due to unprecedented recession.

It is the onerous duty of the government to take prudent fiscal measures to check the deficit and also ensure inclusive growth. Dismantling the redundant schemes will come handy. We also need colossal investment in our infrastructure and other major developmental activities which surely will increase money supply in the country and thereby push inflation higher.

The RBI is consistent on a tight money regime to bring inflation under control. So, here is the litmus test for the Finance Minister, where he has to use his fiscal prudence to tread cautiously to balance development and inclusive growth.


All is fair in love… 

The middle “Romantic fibs” (Jan 28) by I M Soni was amusing, delightful and enjoyable. Undoubtedly, lies sometimes help out in times of trouble, and to sustain love, one has to fall back upon them because without romantic fibs the relationship may, before it fully blooms, perish of despair and boredom. And men and women adroitly tell little white lies to put the icing on the cake of love and wedding.

Besides, love and marriage go together like a horse and a carriage because one can’t be had without the other. What does a woman want?” Generally speaking, women want a husband and when they have one, they want everything. And since she is a woman, she should be wooed and won by speaking the truth or by telling a lie keeping in mind that everything is fair in love and war.

Though love has undergone a sea change, it is still a necessity of life. Without love, life is hollow, barren and deserted. Families are breaking because of the absence of love in relationships which has been replaced by materialism.

But true love never fails. That is why rational men and women take help of romantic fibs to strengthen their love. In fact, men and women are the supreme lords and masters of their own ruin and disaster. Earlier it was said that a bird in hand is worth two in the bushes, but the writer has rightly concluded that a man in the house is worth two in the street. It can be true of a woman, can’t it?




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