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AUG 10 1999 OPINION LETTERS TO THE EDITOR : The Economic Times Online - India's No.1 Business Newspaper - Companies, Industry, Economy,Politics
AUG 10 1999
0031 hrs IST
1401 EST
1901 hrs GMT
ET Online


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Revised floor price
This is with reference to the news item ``Ministry wants PM to settle steel floor issue’’ (ET, 23 July) stating that commerce ministry has submitted to PMO that Election Commission’s clearance might be required for Mr R K Hegde’s proposal that the floor price of at least tinplate seconds/ waste-waste be fixed at US $400 per tonne.
It was only the other day that Mr M S Gill, the chief election commissioner, explained on TV that proposals like minimum prices for food grains have been cleared by EC, as these are for the general well being and good of the Indian farmers, who before sowing seeds must know what they can expect from the crops. There is a lot of sense, well meaning of course, in the arguments. But may I please ask the commerce ministry what general good will be served by lowering the minimum CIF price of secondary/inferior material — the import of which in the first instance should have been banned. Instead their import is now being encouraged. Since last six to seven years imported tinplate seconds, waste-waste, defectives and misprints are being surreptitiously used in packaging edible oils/food items in violation of our food laws, as in their use there is inherent risk of food contamination.
The malpractice is rampant primarily for personal enrichment of a small number of people who are unethically using substandard materials. Why must the commerce ministry recommend special clearance from EC for a product being misused by a small section of the industry? By encouraging its import at cheaper prices, no general good or well being of the people will come out. Instead, it will increase the hazard to public health. EC may please note before giving clearance which is required due to enforcement of model code of conduct.
New Delhi, July 23

Narmada & Gujarat
I read the news of noted writer Arundhati Roy joining `Narmada Bachao Andolan’ (NBA) to oppose construction of `Sardar Sarovar Project’ (SSP) and it felt like yet another celebrity taking up an environmental cause to reinforce their intellectual status with anti-establishment and non-conformist way of thinking. It is nice for celebrities to hop from one capital to another all over the world attending seminars and grabbing international media attention but it is another issue to plan and work with tribals on long-term basis for their development.
In an under-developed country like India we have to take a balanced view towards development. Environmental issues should not strangulate development, as basic amenities like water for drinking and irrigation cannot be denied to the masses.
For us who belong to the state of Gujarat, Sardar Sarovar Project is a new hope for life. A major portion of the state falls under a rain shadow zone and it rains in plenty in the Narmada valley. Sardar Sarovar Project was conceived after a long struggle by the peasants of the Gujarat state who suffer from heavy floods during the monsoons and from dry spells the rest of the year. With SSP we can hope to bring another green revolution in the countryside of Gujarat.
Ahmedabad, July 24


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