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Paved by protest: Shanties by the railway tracks
Make medicos pay up after they pass out

There has been a great deal of fuss about the Bengal government’s plan to “sell” medical seats (Million-rupee doctor seats draw 500, Metro, August 5). While the critics find the plan to be a blow against poor, meritorious students and a wrong move to produce sub-standard medicos, the government justifies this in the name of income to uplift the plummeting standard of medicare. The government also argues that all this time the doctors have misused the taxpayers’ money with subsidised education. Both sides may have some worthy points. But a lesson may be taken from the business-minded “land of the free”.

While the study of medicine in the US is expensive, the government has neither subsidised tuition fees nor allocated a quota for wealthy students. Admission to medical schools in the US is based strictly on merit, through a nationwide competitive test. Selected candidates, poor and rich alike, have to pay the fees. However, almost all students are eligible for a government loan. It is customary to find fresh medical graduates with a personal loan of more than hundred thousand dollars from the government when they start practising medicine. Of course, it takes a while before they can pay off, but eventually they all do.

Give a loan to the needy students who deserve to be healers, but make sure that they pay it back to the government when they can afford to. The leftist government would do well to adopt such logical views from a capitalist country.

Dr Kunal Saha,
Columbus, Ohio, USA.

On the right track

Apropos the report ‘High court turns on eviction heat’ (Metro, August 9), the court is justified in directing Eastern Railways to evict squatters on both sides of the track. It is a bitter truth that the shanties survived due to the patronage of political parties, since the slum-dwellers are a potential votebank. Now, all parties disown them, except Trinamul Congress.

Govinda Bakshi,
Budge Budge.

Polythene peril

It is unfair to single out the polybag and ignore the other forms of plastic that are equally damaging to the environment (Penal push for polybag ban, Metro, August 9). To truly get rid of the plastic menace, the government, instead of punishing the users, should close down the polybag-making units.

Lalita Agarwal,
Kankurgachi.

The report carries the news of punishment for “flouting the ban on polythene packets thinner than .02 microns”. It is technically hard or rather impossible to manufacture polythene even of .05 micron. One micron is one-thousandth of an inch, and the ban is on polythene packets made from sheets thinner than 20 micron or .02 inch. The reported measurement made all available polythene packets legally of correct thickness.

Subrata Biswas,
Barasat.

Lesson to learn

The story of 78-year-old Bakul Chatterjee (A fresher in college, 78, Metro, August 9) speaks volumes of her passion for education.

Prahlad Agarwala,
Majdia, Nadia.

It was heartening to read about Bakul Chatterjee, who had the urge to go to college at 78. People, who were unable to pursue their education early in life, should now have the courage to emulate this lady.

Rabindranath Kar,
Sankar Ghosh Lane.

After retiring, I completed a course on social work, where the participants were of my daughter’s age. At first, I found myself at sea but later, it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Bakul Chatterjee’s teachers should not behave like teachers, but as facilitators.

Sekhar Basu Mallik,
Address not given.

Power play

Apropos the report ‘Students block road for lights’ (Metro, August 14), it is shocking to learn that a CESC official said that “the power line may have been cut over non-payment of bills”. This is totally false as no bills are pending for payment with us. The official has tried to cover the irresponsibility of the staff, who were to have restored supply. As a result, the school had to stay closed from August 11 to 13.

Secretary,
Patwar Bagan Girls’ School.

Curse in class

Ragging has become a curse, endangering the lives of students (Counsel check for ragging, Metro, August 14).

Kunal Roy,
Howrah.


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