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Storage problem needs to be addressed

I endorse the views expressed in the editorial Crop damage manageable (Apr 20). India has sufficient foodgrains and the only problem is its proper storage and distribution. In fact, the Centre’s food management is in complete disarray. Why has the problem of adequate storage been neglected over such a long period when every year we suffer huge losses due to glut of grains and shortage of adequate space?

Renowned scientist MS Swaminathan has already recommended to the Central Government to set up grain storage facilities at l50 locations in the country each with a capacity of a million tonnes. 

Since foodgrain is a perishable item and has limited shelf life, the need of the hour is to change the focus from production to scientific storage. Easy and foolproof solution is that the private sector and state governments should become active players in arranging storage space to save the grain from rotting. In view of the fact that storage space cannot be created instantly, it would be better to issue the grains to flour millers and traders who have covered storage space in a transparent and market-friendly manner.

The solution to all the problems lies with the government which has to take the initiative in arranging the mechanised infrastructure, silos and storage of foodgrains in the deficit states. The loss at the harvesting time is a direct loss of income and at the same time, the more grain saved, the greater the returns. No doubt, silos are a costly proposition but if one counts the savings on account of foodgrain losses every year, this cost would be negligible. Another cause of major loss is not following the rules at the time of its movement to other states on “first in first out” system.

Instead of announcing the bonus on MRP every year this amount could have been utilised for arranging scientific storage or required infrastructure at the procurement centres.

Moreover, the major reason behind the shortage of scientific storage space is that the storage charges being paid to godown owners at the rate of fifty paise per quintal per month are not sufficient to repay even the loans against the investment in view of rise in cost of land and construction. The proposal of the government to revise the storage charges to Rs.4 per quintal per month is still to find a nod. Only the revision of storage charges would encourage more people to construct scientific storage space.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepur


The editorial has rightly stressed upon the need to create the needed scientific storage capacity to save the foodgrain stocks from rains during marketing and storage. At present, Punjab alone needs about 80-lakh metric tonnes capacity to preserve its foodgrains satisfactorily.

Prime Minister has reiterated the need for second Green Revolution. It has been rightly observed in the editorial that despite the apex court’s rap, neither the Centre nor the governments of Punjab and Haryana moved to raise the storage capacity. Every year India adds population almost equivalent to the total population of Australia and wastes as much food as much Australia produces. This is shameful. Proper preservation of food grains is our moral duty.

Although silos are a costly proposition, yet, there is no alternative to it. Timely movement of food grains to the deficit states is an imperative. The FCI should take proper steps.


Social revolution

Modern virtual activism can trigger and connect the revolutionaries. Well, online social networks, no doubt, makes one feel connected with people separated away by long distances. But it is not wrong to say that going on Twitter or Facebook is akin to an obsession. With the introduction of technologies, a majority of young generation is devoting more and more time to these social networks. In the process they isolate themselves from real human interactions.

Each social networking website has its pros and cons, but the boundary separating their use and misuse is blurring. It is right to say that the social network is an electronic version of drugs.


Freedom to express

Banning a book is not a solution (article, “Banning of books: Denial of Fundamental Right of free speech by Justice Rajindar Sachar (retd), Apr 21). In our country everything is open to criticism and books are not an exception. The Supreme Court has rightly opined that our commitment to the freedom of expression demands that it cannot be suppressed unless the situation created by allowing the freedom are pressing and the community interest is endangered. Nevertheless, people must be careful, about how they express opinions especially when they concerns others.

HARISH DIDO, Chandigarh

My Lord or sir?

The recent decision by the various state Bar Councils regarding addressing honourable judges as sir is not right. The system of addressing judges as My Lord is prevailing all over the world. So the question of slavery is not relevant. Even in layman’s language the word my Lord is highly respectable in comparison with sir which is generally used to address all the babus sitting in the government offices.


Old is gold

Harish Dhillon's middle, Going back, (Apr 8) was touching. Indeed, disappointment stems from finding that the place has changed beyond recognition and the people we knew have moved on. 

This always happens simply because change is inevitable. However, memories remain the same and that too always warm in our heart. According to Alan Bennett, “Memories are not shackles, Franklin, they are garlands” Memories are enchanting too. Albert Camus has stated, “You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.” 

Recently, I visited my childhood place---Khasa, a village near Wagha border, According to Ian Mac Ewan, “For Children, Childhood is timeless. It is always the present. Everything is in the present tense. Of course they have memories. Of course, time shifts a little for them and Christmas comes round in the end. But they don't feel it". 

In short, old is gold and it is always special and in some cases touching and emotional. We must remember that our life changes with changing time but we need to ensure that we act positively.


Khasa, Amritsar



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