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Storage for grains needed

With reference to the news item 'State incurs heavy losses on storing grain' (July 10), loss of grains is shameful when the poor are starving in our country. Proper preservation of foodgrains is our moral duty. The Centre's food management is in complete disarray. Why has the problem of adequate storage been neglected when every year we suffer huge losses due to glut of rains and shortage of adequate space? Being a retiree from a procuring agency in the state, I can say that innocent employees are charge-sheeted and they have to pay heavy recoveries, apart from facing major administrative actions of suspension and termination from service.

In fact, neither the recommendation of MS Swaminathan to the Central Government to set up grain storage facilities at 150 locations in the country each has been given serious thought nor the suggestion given by experts to increase the local storage charges considered. Only with the increase of storage charges, the private parties could come forward for the construction of scientific godowns to save the foodgrains from any calamities as foodgrain is a perishable item and has limited shelf life.

Although silos are a costly proposition, there is no alternative. Timely movement of foodgrains to the deficit states is an imperative and could save the grains from damaging to great extent if the FCI takes proper steps before continuing it for a longer storage which leads to damage of stocks.

The need of the hour is to change the focus from production to scientific storage. Easy and foolproof solution is that the private sector and state governments should become active players in arranging storage space to save the grain from rotting. Instead of announcing the bonus on MRP every year this amount could have been utilized for arranging scientific storage or required infrastructure at the procurement centres.

Moreover, the major reason behind the shortage of scientific storage space is that the nominal storage charges being paid to godown owners for the last so many years, are not sufficient to repay even the loans against the investment in view of rise in cost of land and construction. Only the revision of storage charges would encourage more people to construct scientific storage space.


Straw management

Despite the imposition of a ban, stubble burning goes on. Thick clouds of hazardous smoke can be seen billowing out of every other field in the region, after harvesting season of the wheat or paddy crop. A lot of hue and cry is raised by the administration as well as the concerned environmentalists; but, as a routine exercise, all the voices of protest quell down, bearing any fruitful outcome. Burning stubbles not only blurs the sky line, reduces visibility to almost zero, resulting numerous serious mishaps claiming precious lives; but, it also compounds respiratory ailments and causes harrowing times to asthmatic patients. Stubble burning does not cause only the financial loss to the govt; but, it also proves suicidal because it robs the earth of crop friendly bacteria and other fauna which are irreplaceable at any cost.

Instead of crying foul, the authorities must initiate some concrete, constructive and practical steps such as to educate the farmers, enabling them to weigh this gain-loss equation and announce some incentive schemes to convince them to plough back straws to conserve nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. It can save crores of rupees that are being drained by providing fertiliser subsidies to farmers. It would be far judicious to noose the menace before it assumes perilous proportions.

Rajesh Bajaj, Chandigarh

Check waterlogging

For quite some time now the south-western part of Punjab is suffering from severe waterlogging problems. Some villages of Faridkot, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Muktsar districts haven't even tried to grow crops for a decade. Small landholding farmers have lost their primary source of income. Some have had to become labourers, even as other have committed suicides following inability to repay the heavy debts on them. The kinnow orchards, core source of income, are adversely affected and investment of around 10 years of many farmers like me have got washed away with water.

Unlined earthen canals, poor water management and insufficient water supply and use of groundwater are some reasons for the damage. The government has been trying hard to help the farmers by giving compensations on loss, subsidies on dairy faming and even pisciculture, but these are the second hour solutions.

The planning commission has passed the lining of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeders, which are the root cause of seepage in the area and thus waterlogging and the project was expected to be completed by 2013-14. The government needs to keep a check on the progress of the project so that the farmers don't lose hopes from their land and thus save the "bread basket" of the nation.

Vishal Munjal, Abohar

Phrasal verbs

This refers to the intellectually stimulating middle 'Mind Your Language' by Sharda Kaushik (July 5). However, after referring to their difficult and ambiguous nature as 'stumbling block', the writer concludes that "phrasal verbs facilitate a smooth-flowing speech; natural, friendly and easy to understand". The statement is contradictory. It is universally acknowledged that 'phrasal verbs' are one of the most difficult aspects for the non-native learners of the English language. In this regard, the famous words of the renowned lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson in the Preface to a Dictionary of the English Language (1755) are noteworthy:

"There is another kind of composition more frequent in our language than perhaps in any other, from which arises to foreigners the greatest difficulty." Of course , being short (mostly monosyllabic) phrasal verbs like: put up, put up with, put on, put in, put out, etc. are easy to pronounce , but being idiomatic, they are difficult to understand for the non-native English language learners. Moreover, the meaning of polysemous (having multiple meanings) phrasal verbs like 'put down' which literally means 'to put something down on something' but idiomatically means to 'kill', 'crush', 'write', 'insult', 'criticize', etc. is even more difficult to understand. Therefore, it is very useful for the non-native English language learners to make a list of the most frequently used phrasal verbs and go on using them in the contexts in which they have been used till they are fully understood and internalised.

Dr C S MANN, Beetan (Una)

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]


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