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How Green Revolution spread

It was a great feeling of pride, going through the article ‘Food Bill: Promises and challenges’ by Manjit S. Kang (September 12). In the amazing journey from a basket case to a food-exporting nation, India has no parallel. The credit goes to our farmers and agricultural scientists. The nation remembers all this with gratitude towards all those who made it possible.

I am reminded of my childhood days in Nilokheri, near Karnal. My father was posted there as an instructor in a government institute called the Orientation Training Centre in 1963-64. The institute was for training administrators (IAS, PCS) and others associated with community development, etc.

My father was also inclined towards agriculture and the well-being of farmers. He himself was a graduate from Layallpur (now Faislabad in Pakistan) Agriculture College. Those were the days of food scarcity. The dependence on PL-480 food for peace is well known. Through his contacts my father got to know about high-yielding varieties of wheat. He discussed this with his colleagues and a few progressive farmers. Nobody would believe him that there were varieties of wheat giving four to five times yield. That was the time he decided to act and spread awareness.

He requested one of his local friends, who were his classfellows from Layallpur and now a progressive farmer himself, to give them one acre of land to be developed as a demonstration plot. The friend readily agreed. He obtained enough seed for one acre from PAU through his friend teaching there.

He supervised the cultivation in his spare time. The project was kept a secret, for obvious reasons. My father and his friend put their heart and soul into the project with missionary zeal. Since both were agriculture experts the crop progressed well.

Finally, the day arrived when the crop could be demonstrated. Initially, it was shown to a few experts and progressive farmers. Soon the news spread and farmers came in good numbers to see this wonder wheat giving four times more yield. It was decided that the entire produce would be used as seed.

Now scramble started for obtaining its seed. Everybody wanted the maximum he could get. To give the benefit to the maximum number, it was decided that not more than 5 kg be given to each. In spite of pressures of all kinds, my father stood his ground. The amount collected was deposited in the post office and the passbook handed over to my father's friend. This was another proof of the yield achieved. Gradually, the revolution spread. Soon my father was posted out to yet another place. Grateful farmers organised a touching farewell wherein a “Maan Patra”, hand-written in Hindi, was presented in a glass frame. My father preserved it like a precious gem till his last. Whenever I visit my ancestral home, nostalgic memories, associated with the frame, come to mind flashing. Many modest efforts like this made India's Green Revolution possible, which Mr. Kang has so aptly described.


Traffic lights

With reference to the recent installation of additional traffic lights at Tribune Chowk, Chandigarh, the “half-way lights” impede traffic by causing vehicles to back up and block traffic entering the chowk from other roads. Instead of installing the new lights and creating chaos, a far simpler and frugal solution would have been to give a gap of 15 seconds between each side lights so that traffic is easily cleared from the chowk before the next light turns green.

CAPT A S BRAR (RETD), Chandigarh

Land Bill

The newly passed Land Acquisition Bill is a good decision. This will benefit our farmers and lessen their burden. In the past, farmers were forced to give away their land at cheaper prices. They were left with no source of income. But now buyers will have to pay four times/two times the price of land in the rural and urban areas, respectively, to farmers. Moreover, land can be acquired only if farmers are willing. This will also save a large area of agricultural land from the land mafia bent on turning it into a concrete jungle.


Learn from animals

In the middle ‘Monkey business’ (August 24) Mahesh Grover has drawn a vivid contrast between the sexual indulgence of animals and men. The animals from fox to lion are very sagacious in their sexual indulgence as compared to their female mates. Their sexual urge is for procreation while man has become brutal in his sexual behaviour. The recent wave of rape crimes has proved that man is the worst beast and far more brutal than animals. Men should learn from nature.


Flats for migrants

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coming all the way from New Delhi to Chandigarh on September 14 just to hand over allotment letters of flats to 10 slum-dwellers at Dhanas was a typical election stunt. A total of 8,448 flats have been constructed for the “urban poor”, a majority of whom are from UP and Bihar. The very first beneficiary to receive an allotment letter was from a state which does not allow outsiders to buy any property in that state. By playing this shoddy politics, the UPA has made these beneficiaries part of their vote-bank.

As Chandigarh’s population has already crossed the 11 lakh mark (it was planned for about four lakh people), why is then this extra burden being put on it? It is already woefully short of water and electricity. My experience (since 1970) shows that the slums will never disappear. After these slum-dwellers move to flats, their place will be taken by their relatives with the hope that they too would become owners of apartments one day. So this vicious cycle will continue. Has the government ever thought of thousands of urban and rural poor people who either originally belong to this area or are evacuees from west Punjab and they still do not have their own dwelling units?




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