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Glut-and-shortage of essential commodities


The irony of agriculture in India is that while there is  glut in production of vegetables and crops there is a shortage of the same in the market. This impacts both on farmers and consumers. Tomato prices have shot up due to severe supply shortage. Potato and onion prices have also been creeping up. Is that a seasonal factor? Profiteers and black marketeers take advantage of government failure to intervene. Onion crops in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have got spoilt due to excessive rains recently. Also Maharashtra and South Indian farmers have switched from cultivating tomatoes to other crops due to hardship and uncertainties created by pestilence and low yields for several years. And bio-engineered seed variety later has proven to be susceptible to virus attacks. Indifferent weather like good rains in winter spoil their rabi crops but is good for kharif crops then.

The government has not developed infrastructure to help farmers producing perishable vegetables. The Consumer Affairs Ministry has been criticized for failing to monitor the supply and price situation of essential commodities. Designated agencies like NAFED, SFAC, FCI are supposed to promote co-operative marketing and carry out a procurement drive to keep buffer stock. When markets are flooded with produce, farmers get even below minimum support price (MSP) for their crops. It is characterized by inefficiency and high costs to the exchequer and procurement of pulses has never been fulfilled. More number of cold storage chains would be useful in helping farmers get better price for the produce and thereby increase their income.

India exports tomatoes to Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Traders have to fulfill pre-arranged orders before filling up local mandis that impact domestic distribution. Despite the fact that the country’s onion exports declined due to high minimum export price (MEP), it failed to meet adequate domestic supply and to contain price rise. Hope the kharif crop from central and western India soon arrives in mandis. Farmers have been demanding for inclusion of MSP for vegetables. After the indirect tax regime is rolled out on July 1, day to day commodities such as food grains, cereals, pulses, milk, vegetables and fruits are exempted from GST to make them cheaper for the common man. However middlemen have disrupted the market economy. Should government remain indifferent this time until the rabi crops arrives?   Introduction of GI tag may help to promote economic prosperity of the farmers.

Yours etc.,

Kamal Baruah


‘Assembly Building’


As per the report in your esteemed daily (Oct 24, 2017), it is understood that the construction for the new Assembly building is likely to start from November 2017. For sixteen years since 2001 after the prestigious Assembly Building at Khyndailad was reduced to ashes because of someone’s negligence and carelessness, the Government of Meghalaya has not been able to rebuild or construct a new building. However, another report that appeared on Nov 17, 20 17 says that the High Powered Committee on the new Assembly Building has cancelled the tender given to certain construction firms.

In fact, it is not surprising that the jinx would continue. Even if the construction work starts, it will remain under construction for many decades like other unfinished or abandoned projects that Meghalaya is famous for. If one carefully analyses the performance of our honorable legislators, they are doing quite well in the Arts and Culture auditorium in the premises of Brookside in Rilbong. The standard and level of debates, discussions and legislation does not justify for a new multi- crore Assembly building. Out of 365 days, legislators spend hardly sixty days a year in the Assembly building hence it is sheer waste of public money to construct a new building. During the last budget session, the Chief Minister presented a deficit budget in the House. Hence, it would be wise on the part of the government of Meghalaya to put on hold the construction of the new Assembly building till a surplus budget can be presented in the House. Perhaps the Government can spend a few lakhs of rupees to upgrade and modify the Arts and Culture Auditorium in Rilbong as per the needs and requirements of the House and convert it into a permanent Assembly Building, no matter how humble the building is. Legislators don’t require a palatial building to carry out their business.

The urgent need of the hour in Meghalaya is for a multi crore, hi-tech, state of the art Auditorium befitting the 21st century and built according to international standards which will contribute towards the development of hundreds of thousands of our young unemployed talented (present and future) generation in Arts and Culture. The talents of our people have gone to waste because of the absence of such an Auditorium which is one of the basic structural foundations of the society. It may be pointed out here that the present Soso Tham Auditorium at the State Central Library is already outdated and at the point of collapse with parts of the ceiling peeling off. The need for a hi-tech, multistage Auditorium is long overdue. Unlike the Assembly building, this facility will be in use 365 days a year and it will benefit the entire society, particularly the young talents in the art of singing, dancing, acting and other social activities. Further it will serve as a platform for young artist to express and demonstrate their talents. It will also generate revenue for the State. I am sure many more talents of the likes of the Shillong Chamber Choir will come up once this facility is set up. I hope the readers of this esteemed daily and concerned citizens will commend and write something on this humble suggestion.

Yours etc.,

  1. Hynniewta



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