Can you hear, Mr Bush'
Sir — When the war in Iraq has been all but reduced to a peg to hang celebrities’ statements on, it is good to see that some of the lines are actually uttered with sincerity (“Oscar pinpricks to war”, March 25). Michael Moore, Oscar winner for the best documentary film, indicted George W. Bush in a scathing fashion rather than resort to the trite “we-want-peace-not-war” lines like the rest. Moore singlehandedly provided the raison d’etre of the ceremony this year, and proved that boycotting — as Will Smith had done — is not always the best way to protest.
Gayatri Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — The state transport minister, Subhas Chakraborty, has agreed to hike the fares of buses and taxis. He has always sided with the bus and taxi owners, responding to every little agitation they rake up with fare increases. He seldom considers the commuter, who has to pay the fares.
He seems to be indifferent to the need of improving the traffic and road conditions in West Bengal. In his own constituency, Dum Dum, the station is so overcrowded with vendors that there is hardly any space for the free movement of passengers. It is time he turned his attention to these problems instead of serving his own interests by pleasing transport operators.
Ravi Nair, Dum Dum
Sir — Despite the extensive media coverage of the deplorable condition of roads and traffic in Calcutta, the administration has failed to act. Subhas Chakraborty has often accused the police of harassment whenever action was taken against errant bus and auto drivers. So they get the upper hand in every such incident.
Recently, Chakraborty decided in favour of the transport operators by increasing fares. Any doubts about whose side he is on'
Diptimoy Ghosh, Calcutta
A drop of sense
Sir — West Bengal should not be rejoicing over the linking of thirty-one odd rivers. The government should realize that the state will be a loser if this project is implemented (“Should we bend the rivers'”, Feb 23). If upstream rivers are diverted to add more areas for irrigation in the north, it will result in less water for the downstream states. Moreover, the rivers will collect more waste and toxic material causing heavy deposits of silt along the beds. This will prove hazardous for navigation along the Calcutta and Haldia ports, and harmful for irrigation too.
The state government has plans to use canals and rivers for transport. This scheme has attendant problems. The government should look into these before continuing with the project.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — The step taken by the Calcutta Improvement Trust to float a tender, inviting private contractors to lease the lakes for better maintenance, is commendable. For the past 20 years or more, these lakes have been used by local people for bathing and washing clothes. Soap and detergents have contaminated the water, reducing the fish population.
Preserving our environment costs money. Unless we put a price on our lakes in the form of an entry fee, our children will not enjoy the rich greens. I would be willing to pay an entry fee, if it means that we would help to preserve these vital natural resources for our future generations.
Surojit Bose, Calcutta
Sir — The poor quality of water in India can be attributed to the habitual failure in harvesting rain water during the monsoon season, as also in effecting soil conservation. The growth rate of the population far outstrips the availability of per capita water, resulting in degradation of the environment. The government needs to use the monsoon rain by utilizing it for greenery development in order to increase both surface and ground water-levels.
Basudeb Moulick, Calcutta