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Punjab needs diversification policy

This refers to the article ‘Diversification policy: old wine in old bottles’ (May 21) by Sukhpal Singh. The writer has aptly opined that Punjab is still focused on yield enhancement even in new crops.  The Central government’s proposal to discourage paddy plantation by not granting a bonus is a right step towards checking the depleting water table. The diversification of crops in Punjab is the need of the hour to save the fertility of soil. But many farmers are adamant on paddy sowing. By doing so, they are not aware of the loss they are causing to the state and themselves.  

The SAD-BJP government has been continuing with free electricity, other agriculture inputs and subsidies to farmers. How can the Centre be accused of the sorry state of affairs of farmers in Punjab when the state government is not serious about improving their conditions. For example, to look after 27.80 lakh thousand acres under cultivation in Punjab, there are a huge number of posts lying vacant in the soil conservation (159 posts), agriculture (866) and horticulture departments (98). These departments are the backbone of Punjab’s green revolution. The government should not shirk from filling up the posts.

The paddy plantation, to some extent, depends upon rain. If the monsoon fails, the paddy crop depends heavily on the groundwater as the supply of canal water remains insufficient, eventually increasing diesel consumption.

As 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.

 At the same time, there is a need to educate farmers about how to go in for a proportional reduction in paddy cultivation. The government must promote the sowing of pulses, vegetables besides making its marketing programmes.


Holy city’s neglect

Amritsar, which is popularly known as a holy city, is, in fact, one of the most neglected cities of Punjab. Most of local as well as state politicians never tire of reminding the public of many development works got done by them. But the reality is quite the opposite. The city lacks basic infrastructure facilities. Dirty and broken roads, frequent power cuts and water crisis are some of the hallmarks of this “well-developed” city.

Moreover, there is no major industrial units and MNCs in the city and hence a large number of unemployed youth in the city. Though it has been ruled by different political parties from time to time, its development has never been on their agenda.


Ridiculous ban

It is strange that the government imposes a ban on the use of certain things without banning their manufacture and sale. Though there is a ban on the use of black films on four-wheelers, buses, etc, these are blatantly produced in factories and put on sale. Why do the authorities concerned fail to realise that these films in sizzling summer protect those travelling in four-wheelers from heat and ultraviolet radiation which can be dangerous to them.

Besides, the government is adamant on banning smoking in public places, but, at the same time, it is allowing the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and bidis. The fact is that the government earns a huge revenue annually from the sale of tobacco products, so the ban is not implemented effectively.


GPS on buses

This refers to the article ‘Cabinet to decide on installing GPS on commercial vehicles’ (May 19). The GPS (global positioning system) is a device by means of which one can locate vehicles’ position on the map. It works with the help of a satellite and displays longitude and latitude of a place, at a particular point of time. It is very useful for mariners in the sea and someone lost in the wilderness of a thick forest or desert.

How can it help in curbing negligent driving and accidents is not clear. How can a GPS installed on a bus will be of any use if the bus driver is drunk or using the mobile phone or a bus is overcrowded or passing a bad road, which are the main reasons for accidents in the hills. Moreover, it will not work at places where the signal is not available which happens quite often on roads or at road curves in hilly areas. We doubt by installing the GPS on HRTC buses and other commercial vehicles, things will improve.


IPL theatricals

Cricket has become the most glamorous game of India. Almost every second Indian is a great fan of the game. Players are now venerated as semi-gods or have become the idols of our youth, but the scandal has hurt their feelings. The tainted players have played with the emotions of cricket fans. The BCCI should give them exemplary punishment.



Right from our childhood, we have been observing and enjoying cricket as a gentleman's game in which rules and ethics are practised naturally. A true fan of the game can discern that how the game is being played in the ground and which over or match is fixed.  It is good that Sreesanth and 2 other players have been arrested. Sreesanth should be banned for life from every version of the game.


Social engineering 

Social engineering to remove age-old barriers among different castes in Himachal Pradesh is bearing fruit. Indeed, it is a laudable endeavour of the HP Government to sanction incentives to the families or to the young couple that may encourage social unity. The government has announced Rs 50,000 as a reward to newly-wedded couples who go for inter-caste marriages.

Castes are simply petty consideration of myopic stance our society had been holding on to for centuries. But kudos to the young generation which has revolted against this system and is choosing the lifemates only on merit, taste and choice. Sidney Poitier rightly grieves: “I lived in a country where I could not live where I wanted to live. I lived in a country where I couldn’t go where I wanted to eat. I lived in a country where I could not get a job, except for those put aside for people of my colour or caste.’’




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