'Use less oil'

Published : Jul 04, 2008 00:00 IST

NOW that the prices of petroleum products have been increased and international crude oil prices are galloping, the only solution is to reduce consumption of petrol and diesel (Oil conundrum, June 20). The government should introduce five-day working weeks for all working adults and, if necessary, increase the number of working hours on the other days. People should be persuaded, through awareness campaigns, to use public transport instead of personal vehicles. Employees should be posted at places close to their homes. The government should observe an official bandh every month and on that day only vehicles for marriages and those taking patients to hospitals should be permitted on the road. The government should also encourage the use of electric cars and scooters. For short journeys, people should use bicycles or walk to their destinations.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu Alappuzha, KeralaKarnataka polls

THE results of the Karnataka Assembly elections conclusively prove something that the Congress refuses to learn (Cover Story, June 20). The party needs to strengthen its grassroots organisation, end dissidence and accept collective responsibility for its failures and successes. It needs to look beyond the Gandhi family if it is to stand any chance of regaining its past glory in the State.

B. Suresh Kumar Coimbatore

THE Cover Story was fairly exhaustive. But the argument that the Bharatiya Janata Party won only because the secular vote was split between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) did not carry conviction. The BJP did not harp on Hindutva in the run-up to the elections but stuck to development and other local issues. The partys win had a lot to do with its well-oiled election machinery. It is not just electoral mathematics that can win an election. Sometimes, electoral chemistry can also do wonders.

H. Srinivasan Chennai

THE pattern of vote shares in the Karnataka Assembly elections shows that the BJP should not be over-enthusiastic about its victory. It can hardly be disputed that the disunity in the secular camp worked in the BJPs favour. But the results also show that the people are fed up with political uncertainties, opportunistic shifts of loyalties and frequent changes of leadership.

V.K. Sathyavan Nair Kottayam, Kerala

WITH the BJP and its allies in power in Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, Arun Jaitley has emerged as the partys most sought-after election manager. But the dream of development that the BJP sells is only a camouflage for its religious agenda and makes the people pawns in a wider game involving caste, religion, money and muscle power. In this situation, the media can play a vital role by building up public opinion and by forcing politicians to make positive contributions.

Dr. Vitull K. Gupta Bhatinda, Punjab

CHIEF Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, an old Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh hand, said in a magazine interview that Gujarat would be his role model. As for the communal pogrom of 2002 in Gujarat, he said it belonged to the past and that we should forget it. My question is, as a Chief Minister will he ever forget the attack on Parliament in 2001? With the BJP in power now in so many States, the party is harping again on its old communal agenda of scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution and introducing a uniform civil code. Organisations such as the BJP, the Bajrang Dal and the RSS cannot survive without the saffron ideology and these groups always exploit religion at the time of elections.

Abdul Hannan Jeddah

IT is a paradox that the Congress with 34.6 per cent of the vote share in Karnataka must sit in the Opposition with 80 seats while the BJP, with its 33.9 per cent vote share, is the ruling party with 110 seats. This prompts the question as to whether we should switch to a system in which the party with the largest share of votes, and not seats, gets to form the government.

M.M. Nampoothiry Gurgaon, Haryana

THE road ahead is unlikely to be smooth for B.S. Yeddyurappa. The BJP, which has 110 members in the 224-member Assembly, is dependent on Independent legislators for its majority.

K.S. Jayatheertha BangaloreGujjar agitation

IT is extremely unfortunate that the Gujjars of Rajasthan have once again taken to violence to press for their inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list (Raging resentment, June 20).The Chopra Committee rightly concluded that the Gujjars did not meet the criteria for a Scheduled Tribe status. They are neither geographically isolated nor economically backward, apart from the fact that they are neither forest-dwellers nor culturally primitive. It may be true that sections of the Gujjar community are not as advanced as some other communities, but that does not justify their demand for reclassification.

A. Vani Hyderabad

THERE is a way out of the impasse created by the Gujjar agitation the Andhra Pradesh way, which is to split the OBC (Other Backward Classes) category, to which Gujjars currently belong, into A, B, C and D sections, and give proportional representation. This ensures some equity for all groups without a creamy layer group within the category appropriating the lions share of benefits. If this works, then the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes lists can also be split into sub-categories.

J. Akshay SecunderabadNepal

THE world must salute the people of Nepal for throwing off the yoke of an antiquated monarchy that violated all norms of human rights for over 240 years (Republic now, June 20). That sort of rule is an anachronism in the 21st century, the age of democracy, globalisation and liberalisation. Monarchies (including the British) across the world should learn from this example.

K.P. Rajan MumbaiChild abuse

I APPRECIATE R.K. Raghavans timely article on child sexual abuse in India (Saving children, June 20). Pinki Viranis book, Bitter Chocolate: Child Sexual Abuse in India, the first on the subject in India, portrays how child sexual abuse knows no class, age or gender. I agree with Raghavan that barbarity against children needs to be reined in and that the lawmakers need to act fast. The work of organisations such as TULIR should be commended.

Mekhala Raghavan Ann Arbor, USAChild nutrition

I would like to correct some factual mistakes and misinterpretations in the article The food question (May 9). First, contrary to what the article suggests, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to six months of age, and of continued breastfeeding thereafter, is at the heart of GAINs (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) work in India, and we wish to work with other groups active in this field to increase breastfeeding rates.

Second, we are promoting exclusive breastfeeding as well as good complementary feeding practices in addition to continued breastfeeding, which includes improving the quality of foods prepared at home as well as increasing access to affordable and high-quality industrially prepared foods.

Third, the alliance we are trying to set up in India is not an alliance of companies, but an alliance of the public and private sectors, civil society and academia. Dr. Arun Gupta was one of the invitees to a meeting that discussed how all stakeholders could join together to champion good feeding practices in India.

Fourth, the private sector was represented at the meeting by Amul; the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Confederation of Indian Industry were other invitees, but they could not attend. The multinationals the article mentions were not invited at the meeting, nor will they play a role in the India alliance. We are open about our collaborations with national and international companies on the fortification of staple foods, for instance with Grameen Danone Foods Ltd. in Bangladesh, which is producing fortified yoghurt that benefits malnourished children as well as provides employment and income opportunities for the poor.

Fifth, the article wrongly portrays an e-mail as confidential e-mail correspondence, whereas it quotes an invitation to a technical consultation on the nutritional content of complementary feeding that was sent by e-mail to many experts in this field.

Sixth, GAIN acts in accordance with national legislation as well as internationally-agreed standards, including the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Act and the International Code for Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.

Dr. R. Sankar, MD, MNAMS, FICP Senior Manager & Regional Representative, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) New Delhi.

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