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Steps needed to save farmers, farming

The declining number of farmers is a matter of grave concern. We have seen farmers selling their land for monetary gains or to get rid of high interest rates being charged by moneylenders.  What is more surprising is to see a farmer’s son working at a filling station or opening a dhaba on his parental land just to avoid his traditional profession (farming), which now does not offer a healthy return.

Though the government has taken many initiatives to ameliorate the farmers’ lot, a lot many are still needed to making farming a lucrative profession. The MSP on farm produces must be fixed in consultation with different agencies which are well aware of the ground realities. The rate of interest on the purchase of farm machinery must be softened to suit every farmer’s pocket, which will help raise agriculture production through mechanised farming. Banks like NABARD must be assigned the task of providing organic fertilisers and HYV seeds by sponsoring kisan melas more often. A big decision that our government can take is to break the arhtiya-transporter nexus so that farm produce can be lifted as soon as it arrives in mandis. The sale deed of farm land for non-agricultural purposes must be declared illegal. I am sure all such decisions will minimise the sale of agricultural land and prevent farmers from exploring other employment options out of compulsion.


Requiem for lost childhood

The riddle mentioned by Upendra Bhatnagar in his middle ‘Nurturing the child within’ (May 9) reminded me of the quatrain: “Ye duniya ik saraa-e-faani dekhi/Har cheez yahaan kee aani-jaani dekhi/Jo aa key na jaaey woh budhaapa dekha/Jo jaa key naa aaey woh jawaani dekhi.” Blessed are those aged persons who possess child-like nature, whereby they not only enjoy fun but also keep their spirits up.

An octogenarian in our village in Pakistan enjoyed the company of children. He gathered them, let out loud guffaws and asked them to do so repeatedly. He clapped on their shoulders and ran with them. Sometimes, he crawled on all fours to please the children.

Rather than fretting and fuming in seclusion, old people should mix up with children and enjoy their company. My heart brims over with happiness when I see children playing and laughing in a playground and I croon, “Ley ley budhaapa ya rab/dey dey udhaar bachpan” (O God, take back the old age. Lend childhood to me).


Stop land sale

This refers to the news item ‘Sale of land to outsiders’ (May 23). If the Himachal Government is considering granting permission to nine outsider builders to purchase land, it will be the worst ever decision in the history of the state.

Besides, it is also mulling amending Section 118 of the Tenancy and Land Reforms Act for the seventh time, which will facilitate the purchase of land by outsiders. This will be against the wishes of bona fide residents of the state. Also, enacting a law to regularise unauthorised constructions as a one-time measure will not be in the larger interest of the state. Before the Assembly polls, the Congress party had promised to stop the sale of land to outsiders. So, the government should scrap the Apartment Act rather than making an amendment to the Act.


Financial crunch

The Punjab Government is facing an acute financial crunch due to poor economic policies and populist measures (editorial, ‘Encouraging gambling’, May 30). Now the state government is going to take resort to gambling-like ways to improve its financial health.

It is not out of context to mention here that this ‘noble idea’ dawned upon Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during the “Chintan Shivir” get-together in Goa. SAD leaders tasted the ‘casino culture’ there and unanimously decided to develop it in Punjab so that people can earn a lot of money while sitting, betting and sipping in casinos instead of working in the fields in harsh weather conditions. Such ways to earn money reflects badly on the SAD government.


BJP’s win

The editorial ‘BJP on a high’ (June 7) has analysed in a proper perspective the BJP’s clear win in all the six by-elections held in Gujarat. This humiliating defeat of the Congress is a clear warning that it should focus on development works across the country.

Moreover, the state Assembly elections are fought on local issues. So, these do not indicate the trend of voting for the general elections ahead. What is more is that Narendra Modi’s charisma is confined only to Gujarat. Still, the Congress should not take the BJP’s win lightly. It should act together and clean up its act urgently.


Think beyond suicide

This refers to the editorial ‘Jiah decides to die’ (June 6). There may be some compelling reasons for which Jiah decided to commit suicide. The National Crime Report Bureau has noted that almost 20 per cent of suicide victims happen to be youth aged 15-30 years. There are various reasons for a spurt in the suicide cases: love affairs, poor academic results, career failure, other unfulfilled ambitions, poverty, etc. In today’s cut-throat competition in education, young boys and girls are under tremendous pressure to deliver, though there is a huge gap between their aspirations and actual capabilities. The emergence of nuclear families is also a reason.

The need of the hour is to evolve social engineering and give counselling to people suffering from mental disorders, reduce the availability of pesticides, guns, etc.


China turns bully

The article ‘Shed illusions on China’ (June 7) by G Parthasarathy was an eye-opener. The writer has rightly pointed out that China, as it is gathering mass economically, is fast turning into a bully. India, as a nation, is very vulnerable with a weak coalition government at the Centre unable to handle the machinations of China. China has always exploited the political as well as other weaknesses of India and hence its intrusions in Indian territory. The only remedy is a strong PM and a strong political party at the Centre which can guarantee a turnaround in the situation.




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