Letters

 
Published: Friday 10 July 2015

Agriculture attacked

This is in response to the cover story on special economic zones, 'sez how?' (Down To Earth, November 15, 2006). The very fact that fertile farmlands are being taken up for the development of special economic zones, disturbs me.

If industries are being promoted on cultivable lands, where are we supposed to grow crops? In the long run, will it not lead to a severe food shortage in the country? Perhaps, policymakers do not realise that we are already in the midst of the crisis.

Is it not pitiable that Mumbai gets its vegetable supply from Nasik, which is four-hour-long journey by train, and Delhi is supplied with milk by vendors from far away places like Aligarh and Khurja?

Moreover, this year's food shortage compelled India to import wheat after almost 20 years. With growing industrialisation and urbanisation, private parties and the government are regularly acquiring cultivable lands. I feel that the time has come when we must think twice before diverting any farmland for industrial use or for constructing posh residential colonies.



D D Maheshwari

dd_maheshwari@jubl.com

For me sez is the special exit zone, since it literally asks farmers, landowners and their families to quit their land. I strongly feel that the concept is not for the poor people.

Instead of joining the mad rush of industrialisation, can't we try to become an agricultural superpower? After all, agriculture is not only an eco-friendly business but it also protects and nurtures our natural resources.

Sunil Kulkarni
kulkarnisunil@rediffmail.com...

Controlling emission

Delhi's pollution level is once again rising and one can blame the increasing number of private vehicles on the road. Though a large number of buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis run on cng, only a few private vehicles opt for clean fuel.

For effective pollution control, measures should be undertaken to limit private vehicles, provide special tax reliefs to users and sellers of environment-friendly and non-polluting modes of transport and make cng engines compulsory in all heavy vehicles.

I appeal to the government, the private sector and the general public to generate non-polluting products, vehicles, techniques and methods.

Ankit Bihani
ankitbihani@mail.com...

Flyash burden

This is in response to the article 'The fly-ash burden' (Down To Earth, October 15, 2006). The article mentions the disinclination of the construction industry to use flyash bricks.

This is partly because supplies of fly-ash bricks are unreliable with brick manufacturing units facing difficulties in procuring flyash. In my efforts to examine the techno-economic feasibility of installing a flyash-sand-lime-gypsum brick manufacturing plant for captive use by a housing developer in Chennai, I interacted with flyash brick manufacturers in Pondicherry (near Neyveli) and Chennai (near Ennore Thermal Power Station).

All of them cautioned me about the near impossibility of receiving a regular supply of flyash. As I am writing, two such units in Chennai remain closed for over a week for want of flyash. They warned me of difficulties involved, from getting an allotment order to loading the ash on trucks.

Unlike the proclaimed policies of the government and flyash producers, flyash is neither available at the promised prices nor are supplies reliable. The power industry should investigate how far its own staff is responsible for the reluctance to use flyash. I would suggest you investigate the scam involved in the flyash business.


raghuraman
raghu1927@yahoo.co.in...

Living apathy

This is in response to the article 'Subverting the demos' (Down To Earth, October 15, 2006).

I doubt if the merger of seven city municipal councils with Bangalore will at all bring any glow to the city's present dilapidated picture. Authorities are least bothered about the city's civic amenities. There is a huge dump-yard behind the Garden City College. Everyday, garbage from across the city is being brought in open trucks and dumped here. The area remains filled with a filthy smell and dusts throughout the day. A few cases of dengue have already been reported from the nearby locality. But the Bangalore Mahanagar Palika is yet to take any step in this regard. Poor traffic regulation is another blot on the city's face. It has failed to regulate the increasing vehicle load: at the T C Palya bus stop alone, 20 people were killed in accidents this year. It's a shame that people in this metro city have to paint zebra crossings on the road. Besides, at important bus stops like K R Purum, Tin Factory, Ring Road, there is no bus-shelter and people have to stand under the open sky.

Shailesh Kumar
Garden City College, Bangalore...

Rural credit system

This is response to the article 'Farmers need credit' (Down To Earth, October 31, 2006).

You are very right about the rural credit system. Farmers are very much intertwined with the moneylenders. Even if banks provide credit facilities, farmers are suspicious about the paperwork involved in the whole process. Besides, middlemen are often found to be involved in getting loans sanctioned from the bank. These middlemen work for a commission and farmers do not trust them.



Anantdeep Singh

anantdhillon@gmail.com ...

Propelled action

This is in response to the article 'Dieselisation' (Down To Earth, October 15, 2003). We have developed an environmental-friendly product that can drastically increase the fuel efficiency of a diesel or a petrol engine and thereby reduce emission levels. The product can be easily fitted into a vehicle and one can experience its results within a week of installation. With its capacity to take a diesel car onto the next level of Euro standards, the product leads to savings in a vehicle's running costs.


Vinay Mehta

vinay.mehta@polevault.in ...

Traditional wisdom

This is in response to the article 'By extension' (Down To Earth, September 30, 2006). I believe the write-up will definitely generate some discussion among our pseudo-intellectuals, who always look to the western world for ideas and ignore the traditional knowledge of our own country.

I feel glad that your team made an effort to visit remote villages and showcase innovation in front of all for further experimentation.


K VenuMadhav

venumadhav_pal@yahoo.com...

Irreparable damage

This is in response to the editorial 'Making space for emissions' (Down To Earth, November 15, 2006).

I agree with you that we have already done irreparable damage to our ambient air and water. As far as air is concerned, no doubt, private vehicles and aeroplanes are the worst of all polluters. The time has come to discourage plying of private vehicles on urban roads and switch over to public transport running on green technology.

Already, we have sufficient technological advancement in this direction; what we need is the right political will to move ahead.

Our technological advancement, in terms of building large dams and several irrigation projects, has failed to yield satisfactory results on the water front, however. Instead, the Ganga is fast drying up and the green revolution in states like Punjab and Haryana is being marred by an acute groundwater crisis.

On the other hand, small initiatives in remote villages on the basis of traditional knowledge are doing wonders.

A parched village like Ufaraikhal, in the Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, now sees a river flowing in its hilly terrain in just 25 years.

The villagers, on the basis of their traditional knowledge, started digging hundreds of small pits on the barren hill site 25 years ago. The work continued over the years. During rainy season, rainwater got accumulated in these pits and slowly vegetation covered the entire area.

A small stream that originated 6 km downhill, now emerges from the uphill and flows with full vigour. Natural hydrological cycle spreads water everywhere in the form of rain.

Let us recognise the natural laws and not try to destroy resources by constructing large dams.


K N Bhatt

knbhatt1@rediffmail.com

While deliberating about issues like auto-emission and its impact on global environment, many often local implications get amiss. The fact becomes evident, as we compare our metro cities with small towns. While metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore have received sufficient encouragement and requisite regulations to opt for clean fuel like cng, smaller cities were hardly paid any attention. I believe that everyone knows about battery-operated three-wheelers, bikes and small cars. But such technologies neither receive any research and development attention nor any encouragement from manufacturers to become commercially viable. And we hardly hear any deliberation on such issues.

c r bhattacharjee
Lake Gardens, Kolkata

Undoubtedly, there is wastage of resources. Both people and the environment are being exploited. Openness to new ideas is missing and doubts undermine morale.

sushil kumar
sk5taneja@hotmail.com...

Live and let live

This is in response to the article 'Feasting, Fasting' (Down To Earth, November 30, 2006). The progress of human beings has actually led to the extinction of many rare bird and animal species. It is not surprising that migratory birds like pied flycatcher, andean hamingo and lesser yellowlegs are facing threats from American flyways. Migratory birds from Siberia, too, are no longer visible in Indian sanctuaries. We cannot ignore the fact that it is the time to minimise our conflict with nature and slow down our industrial progress. It is the time that the silent species around us should be given their due space and assurance for survival. Life devoid of these colourful creatures is meaningless and dark.


k pandey

govindam_9@rediffmail.com...

In the name of development

This is in response to the article 'Trying to grow' (Down To Earth, November 30, 2006).I am from Uttaranchal and have spent my childhood around the dense forest-tracks of Kalagarh and Tanakpur. But now it hurts to remember the scenic beauty of the forest. We have ravaged our land and forest resources. In Uttaranchal, leaders are in full swing to transform this newly-emerged state into Switzerland. Development is definitely the need of the hour. But should it not be done in harmony with nature? Then why are prime farmlands being diverted to develop industries? There are abundant natural resources like forests and hydro-power stored in the Himalaya. Developing these could boost the economy.

V K JOSHI
Havelock Road, Lucknow

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Down To Earth welcomes letters, responses and other contributions from readers. We particularly welcome you to join issues and share your opinion with others. Send to Sunita Narain, Editor, Down To Earth, 41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110 062. Email: editor@downtoearth.org.in ...

PICK OF THE POSTBAG

Urban warming
Temperatures are rising in Darjeeling. According to the data available with the North Bengal University weather station, in recent years, the mean annual temperature of the hilly town has increased by more than 1 c; about a century back the temperature was 13.45 c. The rise is almost twice than in the surrounding plains of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Malda.

We can safely blame global arming for this. But can we actually ignore local factors like mindless urbanisation and depletion of forest cover? Darjeeling is not the lone example of this warming caused by growing urbanisation. Siliguri, which witnessed a population growth of 49 per cent and vehicular growth of 79 per cent during the last decade, too, is experiencing a considerable increase in temperature. The city, usually compared with Cherrapunji, now experiences a temperature similar to Delhi. In August 2006, Siliguri's temperature hovered around 39-40 c.

Sikkim, too, is no exception. The Himalayan town felt a warmer winter in 2005, and its upper ridges saw no snowfall. In fact, Sikkim is missing its traditional winter rainfall in recent years. In 2004, the town had eight days of winter rainfall for the last time. No surprise then, the upper reaches, usually covered with snow are no longer snowcapped peaks -- not even in winters. While the temperature of the area was 1 c above the normal temperature in recent years, this year it is 2 c to 3 c higher . Most bizzare is the cold dry spell, that has engulfed Sikkim; lack of moisture has rendered the grassy layer of the top soil dry and inflammable. Till December 5, 2005, 29 cases of forest fires were reported. This spurt of fire with dry spell has triggered fear among people. Still, should we blame it on global warming or on growing urbanisation and deforestation?


Santanu Basu

Municipal Market Road, Cooch Behar ...

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