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Need to raise food storage capacity

The bumper crops of wheat and rice for the past three years plus a ban on their export is a matter of great concern (editorial “Bumper problems”, May 23). The attention has to be diverted from production to scientific storage and revising the policy and priorities on storage charges to encourage more people to construct scientific storage space to manage the damage loss. There is also need to keep a special budget for renovating the existing storage capacity, which is in a dilapidated condition, and for the construction of metallic grain silos. We have not learnt lessons from the past and the situation is set to repeat itself in the years to come.  Why can’t the Central and state governments join hands to raise the food storage capacity?

At the same time, extensive farming is degrading natural resources. The availability of water is decreasing. Indiscriminate irrigation has hit the water table. Selective cultivation has narrowed biodiversity. The tree population has gone down. An excessive use of agro-chemicals has created serious problems. Many species of birds have vanished. Pesticides have contaminated water and soil. To cut the long story short, both food and nutritional security is threatened.

A comprehensive diversification policy is needed which should take into account three main considerations: conservation and efficient utilisation of resources; nutritional and food security requirements; and economic security sustained by agro-industries and export promotion.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepur

Tourism in Kashmir

It is really heartening to learn that tourism has picked up in the Kashmir valley after decades of terrorist activities that have now almost vanished (editorial, “Kashmir beckons tourists: But there should be no let-up in security”, May 21).

 Surely Kashmir is a paradise on earth. Tourists flock there from all parts of the world. Everyone desires to see Kashmir and summer is the perfect time to enjoy the valley with gardens and roaming the Dal Lake in “shikaras” has its own charm. Visiting the picnic spot of Gulmarg and enjoying snow even in late summer is a fantastic experience. Pahelgam is yet another scenic beauty on earth. The pine trees emit a freshening odour. I have not been to Kashmir after 1987 due to terrorism. But I still yearn to visit Kashmir once again if the government ensures full security of tourists. Tourism is the only industry in Kashmir which can earn billions for the valley and its innocent and hard working people. The “kagji” badams and sweet apples of Kashmir are still fresh in my mind. The state and even the Central government should keep strict vigil during the tourist season there. This is necessary to stop terrorists from entering the valley as snow melts and opens up easy entry points at various places.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Terror list gaffes

The news item ‘’India lives in world’s most troubled neighbour, says PC’’ (May 22 ) and “The most wanted terror list” gaffes convey a poor impression about the conduct of our home affairs. The conscientious citizens feel that there is a perceptible and dangerous disconnect of the Home Ministry with the security establishment and the investigating agencies directly under its control.

The faux pas in preparing the list is simply unpardonable. A document which is supposed to be formally handed over to our most important and hostile neighbour does not deserve a casual approach like the one in this case. The entire team of the MoH has been found wanting. And our suave and intellectual Home Minister perhaps does not believe in attending to mundane household chores like the terror list.

We may have made corrective statements regarding the mistake, but the damage done is irretrievable. Pakistan is not known to be liberal in forgiving and forgetting such lapses, especially in India’s case. It will use this in all available international fora to paint us as fabricators of propaganda against the ‘’gullible’’ neighbour.

 Er L R SHARMA, Sundernagar

Reviving industry in Punjab

The article “Industry alone can rescue Punjab” by B.S.Ghuman is well thought out and researched and should be the basis of the state’s industrial policy. I would, however, like to add a few points: There should be zero tolerance towards pollution. All existing industries should be asked to clean their act within one year or close down. Mandi Gobindgarh causes widespread pollution, consumes a lot of power and does not employ many Punjabis. It is also an eyesore. We do not need such industries and they are welcome to move out. The steel they make can easily be imported from other states and we will save a lot of electricity.

There should be no promotion of paper mills. Wheat straw should be used solely for dairy/other livestock and rice husk used for small power generators using latest non-polluting state-of-the-art plants. Livestock promotes dairy and meat industries (incidentally, the sale of buffalo meat should be legalised) and improves soil.

The state government should not acquire any more land for industries. There is no need. Visit any industrial area or focal point and one hardly comes across a working unit. The government should acquire the land and buildings of closed down units and adjust the cost against their outstanding loans and then rent out these premises to new units. This will also significantly bring down the cost of setting up a unit in Punjab as their loan requirements will be much reduced. Any new industry that does not work for one year should be asked to vacate the premises. Western countries and Japan have shunned Punjab.

They prefer southern states. We should, therefore, actively promote a special relationship with China.

TONY SINGH, via email



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