Letters to the Editor

Print edition : July 21, 2017

Farmers

THE Cover Story (July 7) convincingly brought out the tragedy in the farming sector. Cooperatives once assured farmers of reasonable prices, so it is strange they were allowed to wither away, leaving farmers dependent on the government for subsidies for inputs and on greedy intermediaries for marketing. Everything is uncertain. I hope the voice of farmers is heard and acted on in the best interests of the nation.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

AFTER the police firing in Madhya Pradesh that led to the death of six farmers, both the BJP and the Congress have been proactive about protecting their vote banks instead of pondering over the gravity of the problems facing farmers. The basic demand of farmers is waiver of agriculture loans. The clamour for farm loan waiver originated with the promises the Prime Minister made while campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

It is the custom of State governments to waive farmers’ loans irrespective of their economic status just before elections. Even the Central government resorted to the loan waiver route in 1990 and 2008. Many economists have pointed out that loan waiver is not a solution as it reduces GDP growth. Both Central and State governments have paid little heed to various proposals that experts have presented relating to sustainable development in agriculture.

Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur, West Bengal

THE killing of the six farmers in Madhya Pradesh created resentment and anguish among farmers in other States. The farmers are agitating peacefully for waiver of loans and demanding other facilities that BJP leaders promised them before the elections. State governments must keep in mind that farmers play a pivotal role in the lives of people and in the development of the nation. They are national assets, and their welfare is of paramount importance.

Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata

WAIVER of bank loans for farmers at the cost of economic growth is undesirable (“In a policy trap”, July 7). Appropriate steps should be taken to improve the economic conditions of farmers. The government can either fix a minimum price for their produce or purchase it directly from farmers. It can also help them find alternative sources of income such as village-based industries in which their family members can be involved.

Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi

Climate change

PRESIDENT Trump’s announcement withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate deal was expected as it was one of his election promises (“A lot of hot air”, July 7). People in the U.S. have spoken out against Trump’s decision. Al Gore, the Obama government’s chief negotiator of the Paris Accord, slammed Trump for his action, saying it was not based on any scientific evidence and was based on rhetoric rather than any solid evidence that the climate agreement was bad for the U.S. economy. The Governor of California, a rich State and the U.S.’ most populous one, has distanced himself from the President’s line of thinking and stated that he would redouble his efforts to go “green” to minimise emissions.

India must redouble its efforts to harness solar, wind energy and biomass-based fuel energy. Mass transportation and other forms of public transport must be prioritised in all metros. Energy efficient devices should be used . The mantra of conservation of energy should be followed in letter and in spirit.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

Gorkhaland

THE unrest in Darjeeling is due to the misrule of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who committed a blunder by dividing the people in the hills and imposing Bengali in schools in the hills and north Bengal (“Unrest in the hills”, July 7). The only hope for the people of Darjeeling and other parts of the hills and plains is the Centre. It must intervene and meet Gorkhas’ demand for Gorkhaland, which the BJP promised them before it came to power.

Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Bagrakote, West Bengal

IT is clear that there will be no let-up in violence in Darjeeling unless the State government initiates meaningful dialogue with separatists. It is unfortunate that Mamata Banerjee appears unmoved as the call for Gorkha statehood gets louder. The trouble had been brewing for some time, but the government did not take any steps to nip it in the bud.

After having failed to control the violence, Mamata Banerjee is conveniently blaming an unknown foreign hand for it, which only goes to show that there is something amiss in the governance of the hilly region. It is time she accommodated the interests of the hill region so that peace returns without delay.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

Student unions

THE Trinamool Congress government’s order to curb the power of student unions is a welcome one (“End of student unions”, July 7). The order seems to be seeking to avoid the violence that often accompanies students’ involvement in politics. This will also prevent universities and colleges from being disturbed by protests for every small political issue.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

Press freedom

THE price for not singing paeans to those in power may even be CBI raids as NDTV appears to have found out(“Gagging the media”, July 7). The fact that the owners of the channel did not default in the repayment of bank loans as alleged and cited a reason for the CBI raid lends credence to the suspicion that there is a witch-hunt against TV channels that dare to expose the follies of the government.

This is a direct challenge to freedom of the press. The list of such instances is growing. The moves against whistle-blowers such as Teesta Setalvad has brought disgrace to the ruling party. A comment on social media about the son of a Chief Minister led to punishment in jail in Hyderabad. The Karnataka Assembly recently passed a resolution that threatens two Karnataka journalists with a jail term.

It is reassuring that the media community took up the cudgels in defence of NDTV to expose the arm-twisting and put the facts in the public domain.

C. Chandrasekaran, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

GSLV

KUDOS to ISRO for its successful launch of the GSAT-19. It has come after 15 years of hard work. The success highlights the fact that some organisations in India work without being affected by changes of government.

India needs to commercialise ISRO and the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which will in the long run strengthen its military power and enrich the economy.

Sushil Kumar, Bijoi, Bihar

SCO

IT is good news that both India and Pakistan have now become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) (“In Shanghai Eight”, July 7). It is important for these two countries to boost bilateral business ties.

China’s One Belt, One Road project will improve road, rail and maritime connectivity among participant states. Connectivity always plays a role in economic growth and the well-being of people. The Indian government should think of establishing greater connectivity with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. Good diplomacy, cordial relationships, and so on, will go a long way towards establishing economic corridors among these growing economies, which will open up numerous job opportunities across the continent.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai

IT sector

IT was shocking to read that the IT sector in the country is seriously on the decline (Cover Story, June 23). A spate of lay-offs, job cuts and forced resignations in major IT companies in the last two to three years show that all is not well with the industry. The lucrative salaries and perks that were on offer in the sector all these years have suddenly vanished into thin air.

It is sad that there has been no intervention from the government to rein in the IT companies that treat employees badly. A pliant government at the Centre has emboldened these companies to indulge in open “hire and fire” of employees. The failure on the part of the employees to organise themselves has also not helped the situation.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

Cow slaughter

WHY are extrajudicial groups taking the law into their own hands in the name of cow protection (“In the name of cattle protection”, June 23)? Immediately after Pehlu Khan was lynched in Alwar, Jaipur’s sub-divisional officer made the statement that he did not give permission for cattle transport. He might have said this fearing he would be targeted by vigilante groups. Even in the current climate, bovine protection should be the business of State governments, not vigilantes.

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

KFD

THE article “Beware of the ticks of Kyasanur” (June 23) was excellent (except for one error: transovarian transmission of Kyasanur forest disease (KFD) has been shown only experimentally in the laboratory and not naturally). I was one of the earliest investigators of KFD. The article was timely since KFD is one of the neglected tropical diseases that has reappeared in many parts of the Western Ghats and is causing many deaths. Since the disease is tick transmitted,it spreads slowly (unlike mosquito-borne diseases) and there are not many deaths (the disease will attract greater attention from the authorities only if there are a large number of deaths, as occurred in 1957). The question is whether any research is being undertaken to find out the natural reservoirs of the virus.

P.K. Rajagopalan, Chennai

Manchester

TERRORISM has unfortunately become a reality of today’s world, and there is no easy solution to the problem (“After Manchester”, June 23). Hundreds of lives are lost to terrorism every year. Enforcing tighter security may not be the answer. How can one keep oneself safe from such attacks unless one hides at home forever? Leaders of countries, particularly the U.S., Russia, India and even Pakistan, need to sit down together to solve the terrorism problem. The U.S. bombing countries that support terrorism does not defuse the problem but only creates more terrorism.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad, Haryana

Medicines

THERAPEUTIC substitution—that is, using generic drugs from the same class as a branded-name drug—can bring significant savings to the patient and large institutions (“Ineffective remedy”, June 9). Doctors are not expected to judge the quality of the medicines prescribed by them. That responsibility lies with the State and Central drug control authorities.

It is distressing that even established companies have been found to be short on quality parameters. Breach of quality parameters is a global problem and is not confined to Indian manufacturers. It is for Indian drug regulatory authorities to ensure that substandard drugs do not reach the market and that patients have access to quality generic drugs.

H.N. Ramakrishna, Novi, Michigan, U.S.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

Subscribing to the online edition, I am confident, will make it mutually beneficial.

Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

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