Dying for others
Sir — Someone had once said that if the rich could hire the poor to die on their behalf, the poor could make a good living. It looks like the rich have found a way to do that (“3 queries at Iraq gate”, June 20). I shall be sorry to read that India, eventually, has agreed to send troops to Iraq. I am reminded of the jest, “The British army will fight to the last Gurkha.” I am sure that the cowardly Anglo-American coalition will have little difficulty in raising a division of soldiers to fight for their lives from other, more desperate, African or Asian countries. It was forever the way of colonialism.
Ashoke Dasgupta, Winnipeg, Canada
Taken for a ride
Sir — The West Bengal transport minister, Subhas Chakraborty, may have reduced bus and taxi fares after the fall in petroleum prices (“Subhas serves up reduced fare chart”, June 1). But this is nothing short of a hoax . When fuel prices go up, fares are hiked in the right proportion and sometimes more, keeping the interests of bus-owners in mind. The hikes are never less than 50 paise for bus fares. Now, fuel prices have dropped considerably, but bus fares have not. There has been a maximum reduction of 25 paise and the transport minister is unabashedly taking credit for it. The revised fares are Rs 3.25 for the first 6 km, Rs 3.75 for 6 to 10 km and Rs 5.25 for 10 to 22 km. The previous fares were Rs 3.50, Rs 4 and Rs 5.50 respectively. Most buses do not charge the right fares. Commuters are never informed about the distance they are travelling and they inevitably end up paying more even if they have travelled a short distance.
Diptimoy Ghosh, Calcutta
n Sir — Bus fares might have been brought down, but most bus owners do not consider it important to keep a chart showing the new fares. Bus-conductors give vague answers when they are questioned about the fares. The transport minister should ensure that commuters are not hoodwinked.
Shyamali Basak, Calcutta
Sir — The minimum bus fare has been pegged at Rs 2.50 for two kilometres of travel in private buses. This is of no real help as commuters hardly take the bus for travelling such a short distance. Travelling by auto is a cheaper and more comfortable option for them.
Partha Guha, Calcutta
Need for more care
Sir — Atmaja, the association of adoptive parents, is thankful to The Telegraph for the publication of the editorial, “Careful communities” (June 14). Instead of receiving encouragement to adopt, adoptive parents are made to cross several legal hurdles and innumerable discrimination. In this regard we would like to point out that the government and other offices seem to be indifferent to the needs of adoptive mothers and their right to maternity leave.
In the case of adoptive mothers, maternity leave is essential not for the mother to recuperate from childbirth, but to take care of the child who has so long missed parental care but is often sick and suffers from several traumatic experiences. This period is also crucial in developing a bond between the mother and the child. At present, the leave that is granted in the name of special leave is nothing but the earned leave or medical leave that is due to the person concerned under normal circumstances.
Banks are even more discriminating in this regard. They have provisions for providing maternity leave for two children in case of a natural mother but in case of an adoptive mother, it has provision for only one child. Several representations to the state government on this issue have fallen on deaf ears.
Children in our society have always been neglected. Though there has been attempts to rectify certain flaws in the Adoptions in the Juvenile Justice Act, their implementation is yet to happen. Children’s rights have hardly ever been an issue. It is time we woke up to the needs and rights of the future generation and the future of the country.