Thursday, July 28, 2011

My views on Libya, India and the permanent SC seat

On Wednesday, the British government 'de-recognized' the Gaddafi government and decided that it was in the interest of democracy to recognize the Libyan rebels as the only legal representative of the Libyan people. Immediately after that, the British Police entered the Libyan embassy in London and forced the remaining Libyan diplomats out of UK.

France has already been parachuting modern weaponry, arms and ammunition to the Libyan rebel strongholds and both France and the United States have recognized the rebels as the legal Libyan representative power.

While I am not a fan of Gaddafi or his regime in any way or form but I am equally disappointed in NATO's tactics and the double standards being played by the western powers in the Arab world. Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein had been two sore patches in the otherwise near-sweeping 'western conquest' of the Arab world and its oil. Only now, when a group of disenchanted Libyans, trained and provided for by western mercenaries, decided that they no longer wanted Gaddafi or his sons as the rulers of the country and struck a rebellious note, that the western powers decided that it was their best chance to hit the wizened Arab hard, making sure he does not get up from this blow.

I have been studying the Libyan conflict for some time and from the conflicting accounts of the conflict that I have read so far, by bombing Gaddafi's house and other civilian areas in the Libyan capital and surrounding areas, the western powers have already breached the limits placed by the UN mandate (if we call it a mandate). It is funny how the west twists everything in the way it wants to see it. If Gaddafi funds rebels then he is a terrorist but if NATO does it, then it is in the name of humanity and peoples' power. Breaking into the Libyan Embassy and recognizing a group of rag-tag rebels as a legitimate government instead of the one already in place? Oh Please! This is the height of western high-handed, moralist attitude.

This unilateral decision of NATO countries to recognize the Libyan rebels and aiding them to overthrow the legitimate government, has set some very dangerous precedents. From what I can see, if only India hadn't been a big PITA with its huge, unmanaged population, nearly depleted natural resources and above all, virtually no oil, these countries would not hesitate the slightest bit to arm the Naxalites, Nagas and Kashmiris 'in the interest of freedom and democracy', in an attempt to break apart this country, even bombing New Delhi under a supposed 'United Nations' mandate to overthrow the 'imperialist', 'oppressive' and 'autocratic' Indian government, paying no heed to the fact that the Indian government has been democratically elected by the people of this country.

The silence of the Indian government on this issue is all the more perplexing. One one hand, the Indian government is literally 'begging' before the world powers to be recognized as a permanent member of the UN security council and on

the other hand, I see no statements from the Prime Minister, either praising or denouncing the NATO attacks on Libya. Is this how the world would like a permanent member of the security council to behave? If India does not wish to take initiative in the matters of world order and desperately wants to stay clinging to the failed Nehruvian ideology of 'Panchsheel', then what's the rush to get into the dirty game of world politics by entering the security council? It is funny how, when a ship carrying Indian sailors is rescued from pirates, Pakistan steals the limelight and the Indian Navy merely tags along with a bruised ego, complaining how the rash-driving Pakistanis slapped them on the bum.

A young and gorgeous Pakistani foreign minister visits New Delhi and the first meeting on her agenda is not with her Indian counterpart, but with the Kashmiri separatists. Instead of packing off the lovely Ms Rabbani back to Islamabad for this diplomatic transgression, the Indian foreign minister merely makes a weak protest. Is this country spineless or what? Our government can't handle our own internal issues and wants a place in the world pecking order. I find no reason for India to be included in the UN security council. The security council is for decision makers, not back-bench doodlers. The time has not come for India to be playing a role on the world stage, at least not till it learns to exert its power at least in the immediate neighborhood - South Asia ( interestingly renamed thus by the western world from the 'Indian Subcontinent' on protests registered by Pakistan)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Woman torched to death by inlaws on International Women's Day in India

AGRA.               It could serve as a well-placed slap in the face of the the groups of so-called women's rights activists who all too recently celebrated International Women’s Day, fervently praising the contribution made by women to the society and vowing to prevent violence against the feminine gender comfortably ensconced in luxurious clubs and hotels. 

  While the world was busy celebrating women’s day, a young girl was murdered in cold-blood, torched to death by her in-laws in Kayamganj town of Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh, alongwith a 6-month fetus inside her, just three years after marriage. 

  Two weeks have passed since the grisly murder but the local police appears to be in no hurry to catch the absconding in-laws who doused the girl in kerosene and left her to burn and die on the street, making good their escape while the locals awaited for the police to arrive. Meanwhile, the victim’s mother Archana Sharma has suffered from a stroke, rendering her paralyzed. 

  Angry over the layback attitude adapted by the police towards the case, the victim girl’s younger sister Soni has charged that the police was deliberately delaying the arrests so that the culprits may conveniently threaten and influence the eyewitnesses who had seen her elder sister being torched to death by the accused in-laws. She said that her family did not have any trust in the investigation being performed by the local police and she has requested an appointment with the UP Chief Minister Mayawati, seeking her 

  According to the Farrukhabad SP Kashi Nath Singh, the investigation was underway. He claimed that the police was aware of the location of the absconding in-laws and they could be arrested any time, although he could not explain the reason behind a two week delay in making the arrests. 

  23 years old Sweta had been seen running, engulfed in flames and crying out for help on the streets of Sadwada area in Kayamganj on the evening of 8th March. The girl, who had been married to a local tuition teacher Saurabh Mishra in 2006, died right there, on the street, in the absence of medical aid and the callous attitude of the police towards the incident was evident from the fact that the body continued to lie in the street covered with a tattered gunnybag till Monday morning. 

  Sweta’s younger sister Soni, who filed an FIR against six in-laws of the victim under 3/4 Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 and sections 498A, 323, 504 and 304B of IPC in Kayamganj Kotwali, claimed that that Sweta had been burned to death by her husband and other in-laws and she was trying to save herself by running out on the streets even as the kerosene fueled flames continued to devour her flesh.

  The post mortem report of the victim shows that she was not being given anything to eat as a part of the torture she was being subjected to, a fact that was confirmed by the locals who had been observing the family. The report also showed that the victim girl was carrying a 6-month fetus inside her. 

  The neighbors, who tried to save the girl by pouring water and sand on her while she fought against the flames, informed that the couple had been married on 6 July 2006 on the premise that her husband Saurabh Mishra was a lecturer in a local inter college, when he merely ran a coaching class in the locality. Ever since the wedding, Sweta had been subjected to brutal torture by her in-laws, but she continued to study, topping her Master’s degree in Arts from Agra university.

This torture had already caused an abortion in 2007, when Saurabh had kicked her off the stairs, causing an 8 month pregnancy to abort, jeopardizing the girl’s life. The victim’s family claims that Sweta’s in-laws were demanding Rs. 5 lakhs and when their demand could not be met, they killed her.

  According to the neighbors, Sweta had been going hungry for the past 3-4 days with the in-laws preventing her from eating anything. The neighbors had been trying to help her by stealthily giving her some food to sustain herself and her 6-month pregnancy. 

  But on Sunday, the girl’s ordeal ended into a disaster, when Saurabh and his family decided to murder her through the age-old way of setting her afire with kerosene. Aflame, Sweta managed to reach the gate of the house but could not escape the clutches of death even after rushing out on the street.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

ASI rejects CISF proposal

Vijay Upadhyay 
Agra. It may come as a pleasant surprise for history-lovers who have been worried over the undue "protective" attitude adopted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) towards the Taj Mahal and other historical monuments of Agra.
Less than a year after theoretically agreeing to the prospects of cordoning off sections of the Taj, to prevent tourists from entering these areas, the ASI has surprisingly rejected the CISF proposal to close the entrance to the fake graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal inside the main dome of the monument, though the real graves shall remain out of bounds for common tourists. But realising the increased security threat to the monument in view of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the ASI has permitted the CISF to increase its personnel strength inside the monument by 96, making the total CISF personnel strength posted at the Taj cross the 200 mark. Also, the police and other security agencies' presence in the prescribed 500m "yellow-zone" could also be augmented soon. Already, there are over 250 police and Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel posted in this high security zone around the Taj.
According to ASI sources, the CISF had proposed a closure of the fake graves of the emperor and his wife in order to control the crowds that gather around the main dome of the monument, resulting in security threat to the Taj. In the proposal, the CISF had mentioned that in the past seven months, 18 tourists had fallen off the platform surrounding the main dome, out of whom, one woman had died. Shutting down the entrance to the fake graves could control the number of tourists climbing up to the main platform of the monument and thereby reduce the number of such accidents besides making the monument more secure.
But the ASI has turned down this proposal after the tourism organisations of the town opposed any attempts to close entry to the main dome of the Taj claiming that since the original graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal were already closed for the past 12 years, shutting down the fake graves too, could result in a decline in the number of tourists coming to Agra.
Rajiv Tiwari, president Federation of Travel Associations said that the tourists were drawn by the hypnotic charm of the love-story of the Mughal emperor.

Monday, December 29, 2008

UP wildlife officials plan to ‘shock’ poachers

Vijay Upadhyay | Agra

Over the past five years, Keetham forest, located at the outskirts of Agra, has begun attracting international attention for being the biggest secure home for Indian sloth bears, who have been rescued by the wildlife authorities from the captivity of bear-dancing tribes. 

But as the number of rescued bears is growing, the risk of these precious endangered animals falling in the hands of poachers is also rising at a dangerous pace.
The bear sanctuary at Keetham, which also holds the distinction of being the world's biggest sloth bear sanctuary, is becoming crowded with sloth bears, who, being territorial in nature, could slip out of the sanctuary limits and come under the danger of falling in the hands of poachers. 

Although a UK-based NGO, currently running the bear sanctuary, is doing its best to protect these animals, wildlife authorities of Uttar Pradesh have come up with an innovative idea of containing the bears and other wild animals inside the forest by deploying low-voltage electric fences across 20-km periphery of the sanctuary.

According to the local wildlife authorities, the entire electric fence perimeter will be solar-powered, containing a meter-high double wire-mesh mounted on a six-ft boundary wall. 

But while the usual electric fences use deadly voltage to keep the animals from fleeing out of the enclosures, this particular technology uses extremely low voltage that only deliver a mild shock to the animal when it touches the fence. Being solar powered, this fencing will be active day and night, irrespective of the availability of power in the area. 

According to wildlife ranger RB Uttam, a similar electric-fenced wall will also protect the sanctuary from the intruders coming from the riverside and only a small stretch of the river will be kept unwalled, though it will be heavily guarded to prevent poachers from entering the forest. 

Unconfirmed reports also indicate that the wildlife department may also be looking at releasing more wild animals into the forest, including deers and elephants.

But protection for these endangered animals will not come cheap. According to a recently submitted estimate by the wildlife department, the fencing could cost up to Rs 3,000 per sqm, an expense that the State Government can ill-afford in its current financial condition.

Sources claimed that a number of NGOs and international charities were willing to fund such wildlife projects worldwide and if the State Government could canvass the cause internationally, the project could take off soon.

Agra unit to turn waste to wood

Vishal Sharma / Agra

December 29, 2008, 0:00 IST

Govardhan Udyog plans to use cowdung to produce particle board.

Faced with the task of developing environment-friendly technology for industry due to guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, entrepreneurs in Agra are realising the cost-effective potential of such technologies and innovations.

Govardhan Udyog is one such unit which plans to use a non-conventional raw material, cowdung, to produce particle board and pharmaceutical products. The unit was inaugurated this week on the Agra-Delhi national highway near the Mathura refinery, about 55 km from Agra.

Company sources said the basic raw material used in the manufacture of particle board will be cow dung. This will perhaps make it the first particle board manufacturing facility using cowdung as the raw material.

Govardhan Udyog Managing Director SK Mittal said particle boards were emerging as a viable alternative in designing office furniture and automation products in the country as compared to plyboards. The product has been posting demands of over 100,000 mega tonne (MT) a year. However, the production and demand for plyboards was falling drastically due to the negative environmental impact of the product. In 1997, the Supreme Court restricted the cutting of trees for manufacturing plywood as it required huge quantities of fresh wood and other ligneous wastes.

Govardhan Udyog will use a locally developed technology for the manufacture of particle board from cow dung.

Mittal said the company was purchasing cow dung at Rs 2 per kg for use in the manufacture of cheap and eco-friendly particle boards, while cow urine was being purchased at Rs 5 per litre for manufacture of domestic phenyl and other pharmaceutical products. Currently, the plant was consuming about 2 MT cow dung and was producing 5,000 square ft of particle board per day. The production is expected to reach about 40,000 square ft per day by the next quarter, further dropping the production overheads and thereby, making the end-product cheaper than the conventional products available in the market.

The range of products included particle boards of varying thickness. The thickness ranged from 2 mm to 40 mm. Depending on thickness, each of the processes required different compositions of up to 80 per cent cow dung mixed with bonding agents according to required application.

Mittal said currently, the company’s efforts were directed towards the marketing of these particle boards for manufacture of office automation products.

He added the firm also planned a third unit for the manufacture of products like dhoop, agarbattis etc., which was expected to begin production by the next fiscal year. The company was also holding discussions with a major ayurvedic pharmaceutical company for bulk sales of ayurvedic medicines prepared with cow urine.

According to Mittal, since the company was a new entrant in the business and the raw material for the product being manufactured was slightly unconventional, an elaborate marketing strategy was being planned, which included hiring a large workforce of unemployed youth from the region besides employing a professional marketing agency to publicise the eco-friendly aspects of this product.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dalit leaders ban their women working as domestic helps in Agra

Vijay Upadhyay | Agra

The residents of Kamlanagar and nearby posh colonies of Agra are undergoing a weird experience these days. No matter how much they offer, housewives living in these colonies are unable to find a kaamwali bai (domestic help), thanks to a social reform movement initiated by Dalit leaders prohibiting women in their community from working as domestic helps in residential colonies.

According to Dalit leader Kartar Singh Bhartiya, it was often found that young girls and women, who went out to work as domestic helps in colonies, faced social and sexual harassment. While these women staked their honour to bring food for their kids, male members in their families whiled away their time with most of them becoming alcoholics. Most of the time, they beat up their women leading to serious domestic and social problems. 

As a way out, the Jatav community leaders of Nagla Thipuri area of the town have asked Dalit families not to send their women to work as domestic helps. Only those women who are widows or abandoned by their husbands may continue to work in houses to earn their daily living. 

In rest of families, only male members will be allowed to work outside, while women may earn money by stitching, weaving baskets, making shoes etc. at home. A number of NGOs have also come forward to help these women develop skills, said B Hartiya.
He said that to eliminate evils like domestic violence and rampant practice of abandoning wives in the community, the Dalit panchayat has decided to impose a fine of Rs 500 on the man who beats up his wife, while gambling and betting will attract a fine of Rs 1,100.

This movement, which began with just one Dalit settlement, is slowly spreading throughout the city and Kamla Nagar and Balkeshwar localities are already facing a crisis of domestic helps. 

But in the rest of the city, though Dalit women are welcoming the measures taken to prevent domestic violence, they are not very keen on ban on working as domestic helps. 

Gulab Devi, who has been working in a number of houses in Jagdishpura area of the town, claimed that in many families, the men were either sick or too weak to go out and work. In such cases, if women do not work, it will not be possible to sustain food and medical expenses of the family.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Agra pumpset units want excise to go

Vishal Sharma / Agra

September 15, 2008

The unorganised sector is unable to compete on account of the 8% duty; the price difference between branded and unbranded pumps declines and sales drop

Agra’s unorganised mechanical pump manufacturing sector is paying 8 per cent excise duty on every pumpset it manufactures. The duty, in force since January 1, 2007, has affected the margins of small units, which are finding it difficult to compete with players in the organised sector. Players in the organised sector are exempt from the tax till a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore.

Sanjeev Mittal, managing director, Atul Pumps Pvt Ltd, said the excise policy was different for Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)-certified units, which were exempt from excise duty till a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore. Non BIS-certified units were liable to pay 8 per cent excise duty on every pumpset produced. According to him, this was a quality control measure adopted by the government to introduce standardisation in the pumpset industry.

He added the policy was only applicable on mechanical pumpsets driven either by an engine or by electricity, whereas the hand-operated pumpsets did not attract this duty.

However, units in the unorganised sector have termed the taxation policy as discriminatory and allege the tax is meant to ensure profits for large industries at the expense of the smaller units.

Atul Gupta, owner of Shiv Pumps, a small scale unit manufacturing centrifugal and monoblock pumpsets, said the policy had been specifically designed to throw the small units out of the business.

Gupta said the units operated on a very low operating capital of Rs 5-7 lakh. For these units, obtaining a BIS certification was an extremely expensive proposition as the initial cost of obtaining it was Rs 3-4 lakh. A recurring cost of Rs 1 lakh, depending on production was also levied.

Gupta added the non-ISI centrifugal pumpsets cost Rs 900-1200, while the ISI-branded cost Rs 2000-2200. The price difference resulted in higher volumes for non-ISI pumpsets compared to ISI-branded pumps. However, since the new excise policy, the small manufacturers have been forced to increase prices by Rs 200-300 per unit, narrowing the margin between branded and unbranded pumps.

Gupta claimed that because of the narrowing margin, buyers were slowly migrating towards ISI-branded pumpsets. Consequently, production has dropped in most small units as demand has come down.

To remain competitive, some small units were arranging bank loans to apply for BIS certification. But, for most units this was not a viable option, he added.

Gupta said a petition was now being prepared by the industry to be presented to the finance ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture to obtain relief from the policy in the next year’s Budget.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Work resumes at Romsons Group after three weeks of unrest

Vishal Sharma / New Delhi/ Agra

September 08, 2008

Six production units of the Rs 125-crore disposable medical and surgical devices major Romsons Group began production after remaining under lockout for nearly three weeks due to worker unrest.

The workers finally managed to extract an assurance from the company management that it will refrain from any action against them.

According to sources in the Romsons Group, the workers had gone on a strike about three weeks back against the management’s decision of firing a few company employees for indiscipline.

All the group factories in Agra had been under lockout after the strike. The management had been holding discussions with a delegation of workers led by representatives from the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Citu).

An accord was reached between the two parties with certain terms and conditions, which included the reinstatement of all six employees fired from the company following a three month suspension with a full-pay. The company also assured that there will be no action against any employee for having participated in the strike.

The suspended workers will now face an internal inquiry which will be overseen by the local administration and following the inquiry, the decision will be welcomed by all involved parties, they said.

Former Citu President Nawal Singh asserted that in compliance with the compromise reached, the workers commenced work in all Romsons Group units.

He claimed that Citu had been receiving complaints of low wages and worker exploitation in the Romsons Group since quite some time and a state of unrest had been building in all units of the group.

He said that in all, there were about 3500 workers –skilled and unskilled, working in the factories of Romsons Group but none of them were given the minimum wages they deserved. If a worker tried to raise his voice against this injustice, he was fired.

Last month, when six more workers were fired on the pretence of indiscipline, the factory workers were forced to go on a strike.

Citu the lead of the negotiations and sorted out this problem in the interest of both the workers as well as the industry on being asked to interfere by the local administration.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Agra sports units look forward to turnaround

Vishal Sharma / New Delhi/ Agra

August 26, 2008

Besides increasing hopes for a better performance in the forthcoming Commonwealth games, the Olympic medals by the Indian sportsmen is also to have a positive effect on the teetering sporting goods industry of Agra.

While future sportsmen can be seen lined up for their turn at the racing tracks and swimming pool in the town’s only stadium, the newly constructed municipal shooting range is also witnessing a higher turnout of amateur shooters despite being located in the town’s outskirts.

Once famous in north India as a major hub for cricket bat manufacturing, the sporting goods industry of Agra is now reduced to barely a handful of bat manufacturing units due to the shortage of raw material like willow and cane, used in the manufacture of bats.

Other units manufacturing stuff like weight lifting equipment and hockey sticks are also on the verge of downing their shutters due to lack of business. The only segments where the Agra sporting goods units have managed to remain in the race are the manufacture of cricket pads, gloves, guards and sport shoes etc., where the expertise gained by the burgeoning footwear industry of the town plays an important role.

Talking to Business Standard, Amit Mahajan, proprietor, Mahajan Industries said that though the Agra sporting goods industry was not directly affected by the Olympic wins of Indian sportsmen as this town was mainly engaged in the manufacture of cricket-related gear, but the sudden interest being shown in sports by the youngsters of the town will certainly give a boost to business.

He said that sport shoes were the basic requirement for any budding sportsman and this was a field where the footwear manufacturers of Agra were skilled.

Since the locally manufactured sport shoes were inexpensive and had sufficient durability, they were favored by upcoming sportsmen as well as amateurs. Following the surge in the sporting spirits of the locals, the sports footwear manufacturers were bound to profit from it.

Harish Khandelwal, proprietor, Hindustan Gun House claimed that the Olympic gold medal brought home by Abhinav Bindra, combined with the recent construction of an national-level Municipal shooting range in Agra had given the air-rifle and accessories business of the town a new lease of life.

Every day, youngsters and grown-ups alike were showing up at various gun-shops of the town inquiring about the various models of air-rifles available here.

Currently, only piston-type air-rifles were in stock for amateur shooters in the gun houses across the town but if the demand for better equipment continued to grow, the gun houses could look into stocking professional gas-based and pneumatic rifles.

Regional Sports Officer Ajay Sethi believes that the medals will encourage more sportsmen to come forward and demand better training.

He said that the sporting organizations of the town were ready to put in more efforts towards training more sportsmen for the upcoming commonwealth games and he was hopeful that the requirements for inexpensive sporting gear for the athletes will be met by the local manufacturers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Agra farmers irked at rise in cold storage rents

Vishal Sharma / New Delhi/ Agra

August 26, 2008

The potato farmers of Agra are angry with cold storage owners, who, they say, are harassing them by increasing storage rates by up to Rs 30 a quintal.

Farmers of villages around Agra held a meeting to discuss the situation. According to the Aloo Utpadak Kisan Samiti General Secretary Pushpendra Jain, the farmers are losing between Rs 17,000 and Rs 19,000 per hectare even after having selling their entire produce.

Even the state government had accepted the loss figures of Rs 16,710 per hectare, which was an unbearable loss to small and big farmers alike.

The potato arriving in the market from states like Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh will cause a steeper drop in potato prices throughout the state and without the government aid, it will be impossible for the farmers to come out of the debt.

To further aggravate the situation, he said, the cold storage owners have decided to raise their storage fees from Rs 80 per quintal to Rs 120 per quintal, which was an excessive raise considering the problems being faced by farmers.

Also, he said, the maximum duration of storage was being arbitrarily reduced from 30th November to mid October, which could result in the loss of a major part of the crop just before the onset of winter.

In the meeting, Jain said, it was decided that the farmers will not pay more than Rs 80 per quintal for storage of their produce in any cold storage unit in the region. If a cold storage demanded higher amount case was to be reported to the committee, which will then decide on a course of action to be taken on the issue.

Friday, March 21, 2008

आह आलू बोलिए !

विशाल शर्मा / आगरा

उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार के अनुमान को गलत ठहराते हुए आलू क्षेत्र के नाम से मशहूर आगरा के किसानों ने आलू की इतनी पैदावार कर दी है कि उनके उत्पाद को कोल्ड स्टोरेज तक मयस्सर नहीं हो रहे।

अभी ज्यादा वक्त नहीं गुजरे, तीन हफ्ते पहले की ही तो बात है राज्य के बागवानी मंत्री नारायण सिंह सुमन ने विधानसभा में कहा कि वसंत के देर होने से आलू के उत्पादन में 8 से 12 फीसदी तक की गिरावट आने का अंदेशा है। पर महज कुछ ही दिनों बाद जब आलू की फसल उखाड़ी जाने लगी तो उत्पादन में कमी के कयास सिरे से गलत साबित हो गए।

जहां राज्य सरकार का अनुमान था कि इस साल आगरा क्षेत्र में 8.35 लाख मीट्रिक टन आलू उपजेगा, वहीं पूरी फसल उखड़ने से पहले ही उपज का आंकड़ा 11 लाख मीट्रिक टन को पार कर चुका है। अब आलू के इस बंपर उत्पादन से हालत यह बन रहे हैं कि किसानों को उसे कोल्ड स्टोरेज की बजाय खेतों में ही रखने को मजबूर होना पड़ रहा है। आगरा के सभी 160 स्टोरेज ने आलू को रखने से मना कर हाउसफुल का बोर्ड अपने दरवाजे पर टांग दिया है।

आगरा आलू उत्पादन के लिहाज से उत्तरी भारत का सबसे बड़ा उत्पादक क्षेत्र रहा है। इसके चलते इसे आलू बेल्ट के नाम से भी जाना जाता है। यहां देश के कुल आलू का 8 प्रतिशत आलू उपजाया जाता है।

यहां के किसान भी दूसरे किसी फसल के बजाय आलू उपजाना ज्यादा पसंद करते हैं। पर इस सीजन की इस अजीबोगरीब स्थिति पर बात करते हुए फतेहाबाद के एक आलू उत्पादक रामप्रकाश ने दावा किया कि आलू के 250 बोरे से भरे उनके ट्रैक्टर को इलाके के सभी कोल्ड स्टोरेज ने रखने से मना कर दिया है।

उनका अनुरोध सभी जगह खारिज कर दिया गया। उनके अनुसार, आलू के लगभग 1,000 बोरे खेतों में ही पड़े हुए हैं पर इस गर्मी में इन्हें शायद ही कोल्ड स्टोरेज मिल पाए। यदि यही हाल रहा और राज्य सरकार ने आलू को दूसरे राज्यों में भेजने के कोई इंतजाम नहीं किए तो आलू उपजाने वाले किसान बर्बाद हो जाएंगे।