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Note the significance

Sir — What did the confidential note distributed by the West Bengal finance minister, Asim Dasgupta, among the Left Front partners carry (“Asim faces fire for empty coffers”, Jan 31)' That the allegation of the Centre being responsible for the financial bankruptcy of the state government is all bull and that the legislators should just excuse Dasgupta for fobbing off the press and the people' Possible. But it is strange that it required a secret note at a leftist meeting to remind the ruling partners of the old trick. Thankfully, public memory is not as short.

Yours faithfully,
C. Majumdar, Calcutta


Poor health

Sir — Hapless patients in West Bengal will welcome the government’s decision to transfer devious doctors who have had their cakes and eaten them too for all these years (“‘Busy’ doctors face transfer”, Jan 28). It is appalling to read the episode of a district doctor who reported “sick” at the hospital to make an extra buck in the city. The medical fraternity has become so unscrupulous that doctors often do not hesitate to stoop this low for money. There are strict rules on paper framed by the Medical Council of India to curb doctors from indulging in such practices. Unfortunately, the state medical council itself is so corrupt that such rules are hardly enforced.

There can be no dispute about the fact that lack of integrity at the medical council is largely responsible for the sorry state of the healthcare system in the country. Why shouldn’t the government take strict disciplinary measures against dishonest doctors for flagrant violations when there is evidence' One, however, will have to wait and see if the rigid stance taken by the government presently can withstand pressures from the influential medical lobby.

Yours faithfully,
Kunal Saha, Ohio, US


Sir — The recent decision to transfer doctors shows that the West Bengal government now acknowledges that the state’s healthcare is rapidly deteriorating. In this regard, the government cannot afford to ignore the deliberate negligence of doctors who are in league with the administration. However, large-scale transfer of doctors is not the solution to the problem as this is no guarantee that a new appointee will not indulge in the same malpractice as his predecessor. Doctors have to be made more accountable to law since any mistake on their part can be fatal for their patients. The malpractice of doctors, especially those attached to government hospitals, is responsible for the growth of sub-standard nursing homes in the state. The government should also keep a watchful eye on them. It also has to keep the class IV staff in hospitals under stricter control. Their trade unionism should not hinder the system.

Yours faithfully,
S.A. Rahman Barkati, Calcutta


Sent packing

Sir — There can be no dispute over the directive of the Kerala government asking the American missionary, Joseph Cooper, to leave the country within a week. The Union home ministry, quite rightly, supported the decision. If the Orissa police had also taken timely action, the chain of events that led to the death of Graham Staines and his minor sons could have been avoided.

Given the explosive situation the country is in today, the government should maintain a close watch on evangelical activities and Christian missionaries who travel from abroad. This supervision is essential not only for the security of the visitors but also to the maintenance of communal harmony..

Yours faithfully,
V.A. Gopala, Bangalore


Sir — If India is a land where people can practice their faith as they please, and if talking to others about one’s faith is part and parcel of that faith, how legal was the Kerala government’s decision to expel such a person on such flimsy grounds' The worst part is that Kerala is supposed to have a Christian chief minister and the highest literacy rate. Should we not start looking for another definition of being “civilized”'

Yours faithfully,
Hallelohim Ghonglah, Shillong


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