Latin America

Print edition : May 05, 2006
Privatisation of water

THE Cover Story was an eye-opener ("Thirst for profit", April 21). Everyone has an equal right to water resources. By allowing the big corporations to sell water, the government is stepping on this basic right. Such privatisation experiments in India and abroad have yielded disastrous results.

Ravi Ranjan Kochi, Kerala

THE Cover Story was a good commentary on the politics of water. We are living in a world dominated by an inhuman entity - the corporate lobby. It puts profit above social responsibility.

The right to water is a fundamental human right and this common resource is plundered and polluted by a few, thus violating the right.

N. Balakrishnan Coimbatore

WHILE it is heartening to learn that voices are being raised to counter this conspiracy to loot water in different parts of the world, resistance is relatively feeble in India. Protests in the country are highly localised.

One hopes that the story of water privatisation reaches the people through the language press.

Vivek S. Khadpekar Ahmedabad

THE Cover Story was authentic and shocking. With indifferent politicians and bureaucrats at the helm, a majority of the one billion Indians will be forced to fight for water in the coming years. Already large sections of people are being deprived of drinking water by profit-seeking multinationals and water bottling companies. We need to save water using water-harvesting techniques, preventing wastage of water and resisting water privatisation and rampant profiteering.

Akhil Kumar Delhi

DEPRIVING large sections of people of potable water is not something new in India. It is one of the evil aspects of our caste system. Thanks to privatisation, this deprivation is being accentuated. At one extreme is the privatisation of water and at the other extreme is the tendency to treat water as a `public' commodity with absolutely no control - which will encourage uneconomic use of water and large-scale wastage. We need to strike a balance between the two.

Anant Kamath Thiruvananthapuram

PRIVATISATION of water supply has led to social upheavals in many parts of the world, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries. For instance, Cochabamba in Bolivia regained the right to manage its water supply after days of public protest. Today water is affordable there and community leaders, not the big private companies, manage the supply. Private companies will not extend services to areas where they see no profit. Privatisation is no panacea for inefficiency. We have many examples of corporate greed resulting in immense grief and suffering to the public.

H.N. Ramakrishna Bangalore

DEPLETION of water resources is turning out to be a major problem in the country. The lack of farsightedness and proper planning has compounded the problem. The government needs to understand that too much emphasis on privatisation will hamper economic growth.

Brij Bhushan Vyas Jodhpur, Rajasthan

THERE is no limit to greed but there must be a limit to privatisation. The battle is between the thirst for profit and the thirst for water.

Isworchandra Sharma Imphal Ayurveda

THE article "Ayurveda under the scanner" by Meera Nanda (April 21) was well-researched and informative. It is the duty of the media to make people aware of the so-called healers who mislead people. Ironically, sections of the media promote people like Ramdev. There should be a ban on television programmes that propagate unscientific methods of dealing with health problems.

Mir Fayaz New Delhi

THE article was comprehensive but omitted a very significant fact relating to the violation of the sampling procedure. Apart from well laid-down rules on the procedure, there is a plethora of Supreme Court judgments on the subject.

Dinesh Upadhyay Koraput, Orissa

THANK you for revealing the sordid details of the ayurvedic system. All fake medical practices should be banned and fake practitioners arrested. Nobody should be allowed to play with the lives and emotions of people.

The media should also publish articles on the contents of vaccines. As per the United States Centre for Disease Control list of vaccine ingredients, updated up to 2006, vaccines contain heavy metals like ethyl mercury and aluminium, both extremely dangerous neurotoxins which become more toxic when used together, carcinogens like beta-propiolactone, formaldehyde, and extremely toxic substances like ammonium sulphate and amphotericin B, and antibiotics like streptomycin polymyxin and neomycin, all of which can be fatal if not skin tested for allergic reaction. Vaccines also contain bovine serum, cow and pork bone gelatin, monkey serum, horse serum, mice brain tissue, human serum and aborted fetal tissue, besides dead viruses, live viruses and genetically modified viruses.

Litigation relating to vaccine damage compensation has forced the vaccine industry to seek immunity from lawsuits. According to a Los Angeles Times report, CDC officials have lost credibility on the mercury issue. Angry parents have demanded Nuremberg style trials for the guilty officials.

Jagannath Chatterjee Bhubaneswar

AS a medical practitioner, I have seen many people with arsenic and lead toxicity caused by bhasams. They feel weak and find it difficult to walk. They tell me that their physicians administer these powder straight into the mouths after mixing it with honey, milk or even hen's blood to ward off hypertension, stroke or joint ailments. I have seen such patients in Jharkand, Bihar, West Bengal and northern and northeastern Tamil Nadu. The victims complain of florid twitching in the flesh all over the body, which has been diagnosed in specialised clinics as toxic motor neuron disorder - a condition that does not have a cure.

Dr. J. A. Jacob Irinjalakuda, Kerala Stamps

THE article on philately by Lyla Bavadam ("Art in miniature", April 21) was interesting and informative. However, the statement that living persons cannot be depicted in stamps is not entirely true.

Stamps with the images of President V.V Giri and Mother Teresa were issued in 1974 and 1980 when they were alive.

Ram Kumar Bajpai Mumbai

THANKS for the informative article. But it failed to point out a glaring error in the picture of a one-rupee denomination stamp in the box item "Valuable errors". The image of Agora Veerabadhra on the stamp was mistakenly identified as Narasimha. The two horns on the headgear and the hooded snake on the forehead (clear in the stamp, not so clear in the reproduction) are sure signs that the icon depicted is from the Saivite pantheon. Veerabadhra is the commandant of Siva and here he is shown in an angry mood.

S. Theodore Baskaran Chennai SBI strike

THE week-long strike by the State Bank of India staff ("To protect a benefit", April 21) has ended with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram complimenting the management and the unions for a satisfactory conclusion. If the ideal solution was within grasp so easily, one wonders why it was not found earlier.

Given the bank's enormous resources, including a claimed Rs.700-crore interest on the corpus of its pension fund, the new agreement may indeed leave the state exchequer unaffected. While the strike has highlighted the need for the reform process to go on, any message that the government will capitulate to pressure, even if there is no injustice involved, will have serious consequences for the process. Finally, it will remain a mystery why the Finance Minister ultimately gave in.

J. S. Acharya Hyderabad Kissinger

A.G. NOORANI says Kissinger is a brilliant, deeply insightful scholar and an intellectual giant (`Two Kissingers," April 1). Noam Chomsky says Kissinger's memoirs give the impression that he is a middle level manager who has learned to conceal vacuity with pretentious verbiage.

Chomsky also says elsewhere: "I used to use his book on American Foreign Policy in undergraduate courses at MIT in the 1960s, but had to stop. Students were just collapsing in laughter, particularly at his remarks on the Newtonian revolution and its impact on the West."

Ajit Hegde Bangalore CORRECTION

In the review of Barnita Bagchi's book Pliable Pupils and Sufficient Self-Directors ("Quest for autonomy", April 21) Percy Bysshe Shelley was wrongly referred to as Mary Wollstonecraft's husband. William Godwin was her husband and Shelley her son-in-law. The error, introduced at the editing stage, is regretted.

Tamil writer Pudumaippithan died on June 30, 1948, not on May 5, 1948, as mentioned in the article "Remembering Pudumaippithan" (April 21).

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