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Proactive response to climate change

It is time our agriculture scientists, the Agriculture Department, agricultural universities, planners, researchers, development agencies and farmers pro-actively respond to direct and indirect effects of climate change on our crops. They must formulate action plans to ensure that adaptation to climate change and sustainability in agricultural production are achieved simultaneously.

They must give top priority to increasing investment in projects that help in expanding infrastructure and in developing technology to generate region-specific information about climate change (news report ‘PAU, director agriculture differ over yellow rust attack on wheat after wet spell’, February 24).

Climate resilient crop varieties need to be evolved that help in sustaining high crop productivity even under extremes of variations in temperature and rainfall, reduced irrigation, water sequestration in soil and soil-desertification, changes in land-use system, etc.

Farmers’ associations, village panchayats, NGOs, rural youth and farmers need to be empowered so that they become managers of the action plans.

A mass movement is needed to promote large-scale forestation, organic carbon sequestration in soil, use of renewable sources of energy and rural sanitation activities for controlling the production of carbon dioxide, methane and other Green House gases, and hence contribute in controlling global warming.

We need a multi-pronged strategy before the adverse impacts of climate change gather pace and agricultural production systems feel its heat.

Dr MS BAJWA, Mohali

Fast-track courts

The fast track courts which have been constituted to fight crime against women seem to be merely deciding cases and not imparting justice. Rape cases fall in the category of serious nature and no serious criminal case can be decided within a week or so unless the accused is not given sufficient time to prepare his case and put forward his defence.

No doubt that justice is blind but these courts have been proved to be extremely blind. Is this justice?

There is absolutely no need of fast track courts. Why do we not show confidence in the ordinary law courts which have been deciding such cases since long?

K K PURI, Advocate, Gurdaspur

Strong initiative

Panchayats of 42 Sangrur villages and 14 villages in Barnala who have passed a resolution to become liquor-free using their right under Section 40 of the Panchayati Raj Act need to be complimented for their efforts. The Lok Sabha MP has further motivated them by announcing a grant of Rs 2 lakh each to these villages from his discretionary quota.

It is, indeed, a step forward in the direction of de-addiction of all addicts, in general and that of the younger ones, in particular. Consumption of too much of liquor has taken away the shine of good health and gutsy nature of Punjabis, for which they were once known. All political, social and religious leaders should emulate and back such initiatives to make Punjab alcohol and drug-free and consequently for regaining its lost glory.

KK Sood, Nangal

Rail budget

We should learn a lesson from China which started railway services 23 years after railways were introduced by the British in India. Compare the kind of railway services the two countries are offering: As far as the speed of goods train is concerned, its average is 26 km per hour in India while it is 120 km per hour in China. The Delhi-Mumbai track is covered in 15 hours whereas 1,460 km Beijing-Shanghai is completed in just 5 hours.

China has led the world by example like bullet trains. Normally the obstacles mentioned in the development of rail network are said to be investment, lack of national policy, increase in passenger load but China has successfully weathered these problems, so why can’t we?

Taking a cue from China, the Indian Railways must concentrate on improving the existing infrastructure and it must discard all unviable projects.



The proposal for connecting religious places by laying new railway lines is unnecessary. All religious places in Punjab are well connected by road. Moreover, Punjab is already under pressure in respect of agriculture land as fertile land is decreasing day by day due to rapid urbanisation. The government should focus on better train service on the existing tracks.



Although the railway budget was not free from an element of populism, a hallmark of Mamata Banerjee and several of her predecessors, Bansal steered clear of rhetoric and headline-grabbing promises. He has subtly linked freight rates to fuel prices for the first time but chose to give passengers some more time before they too gravitate to a new pricing system that is designed to insulate Asia’s oldest network from the wild swings in fuel prices.


Over to the people

Public outrage over the Delhi gangrape incident was exceptional, considering the lack of indifference and escapism which usually mark the response of Indians over such personal disasters. The overwhelming public response made the government take various steps in providing women security.

The question now arises whether the people at an individual and social level are making a similar show of united action and practicing non-discrimination over gender-related issues.

Is a girl child’s education being preferred over marriage or are people still marrying off daughters at the earliest? Till now parents mired in conservatism considered finding alternatives to outmoded customs a taboo. Will there be a social churning to create a new idiom of life for women?

AKHILESH, Garshankar



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