Letters

 
Published: Friday 10 July 2015

On firm ground

This is with reference to the article 'Grain drain'( Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 20; March 15). The conclusion that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research ( icar ) is shaky about the evidence it can produce, is incorrect and misleading. No formal interview was taken with the officer concerned and an informal conversation was published without his consent and that has been used to draw a wrong conclusion.

The issue is important and sensitive and a well-planned strategy is being formulated by the icar with all concerned agencies to flay the patent. The Inter-ministerial Technical Committee is at present preparing the case. The icar is not at all shaky about the evidence it can produce....

Sumita Dasgupta replies:

That my conclusion was not an "incorrect" one has been proved. Even after a month and a half since the basmati controversy erupted, we have not heard from this Inter-ministerial Technical Committee. It was supposed to file a petition asking for a revocation of the patent on basmati in the us courts. We understand that working out detailed legal documents is a lengthy process. But surely if icar had all the facts on it's fingertips -- as Ratan Prakash claims -- then the revealing evidence that could damn the Rice Tec would have emerged by now and the Indian people would have been informed. Especially since the setting up of this Committee was announced with such pomp and ceremony in the media.

I was also not aware that I was holding a private and confidential conversation with the officer concerned. Our interaction was over the telephone. I introduced myself and asked him some specific questions and I have reproduced his response verbatim....

Costly neglect

The article 'Hazardous votes' ( Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 20; March 15) by Anil Agarwal made interesting reading. "True Bharat Ratnas will be those individuals who will get India's millions clean water, clean air and adequate food" is very apt. It is a shame that none of the political parties in the recent Lok Sabha elections addressed these issues. Even after 50 years of Independence, we are yet to provide the basic needs for the people....

Some questions

The analysis 'When the old gods died' ( Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 18; February 15) pertaining to the Jhabua region was fascinating. I would like to know when the photographs on page 33 and 35 were taken?

The villagers must be getting fuelwood from the nearby area. This means that they must be cutting some trees for the purpose. Does the Madhya Pradesh government regulation permit the cutting of trees by the villagers? Also, the word "non-forest" on page 34 should have read "forest"....

The editor replies:

The photograph on page 33 was taken by me when I visited Jhabua in 1985 and the one on page 35 was taken by Sunita Narain when she visited there in August 1997. As for the fuelwood, the forest department under Rajiv Gandhi Mission on Watershed Development has embarked on plantation forests, where the villagers have free access to the lopped branches and naturally falling trees. The word "non-forest" should have, in fact, been "forest"....

Turning a blind eye

It is shocking to know that workers are being exploited in Alang, the largest shipbreaking yard in the world ( Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 20; March 15). To earn quick money, the shipbreaking industry is putting the health of the workers as well as the environment at stake. Poor sanitation has led to an increase in the incidence of leprosy among the workers. Is the government aware of the problem?...

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.