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Damned if you do

Sir — With the best of intentions, of course, M.M. Joshi seems to have stirred a hornet’s nest with his resignation letter (“Cloud hangs on Joshi as lawyers spot hurdle”, Sept 25). For one it has made L.K. Advani’s position rather difficult — he doesn’t know whether to be happy at being absolved and in office or sad that he, unlike Joshi, hasn’t earned his spurs as a true Ram bhakt. While the entire sangh parivar is rushing to set Advani’s conscience at rest, it is also having to pressure Joshi to take back his resignation since the latter’s quitting puts pressure on the former too. What a tangled web!

Yours faithfully,
J. Chaudhuri, Calcutta


Due process

Sir — Justice may have come very late for Dharmanarayan Das, but at least it was not denied him (“Justice for teachers, jolt to tormentors”, Sept 23). The Calcutta high court’s judgment directing the state government to compensate Das for delayed payment of pension and other retirement benefits has been a ray of hope for the close to 45,000 retired teachers of state-aided educational institutions who have been running from pillar to post for their dues. Frankly, more than the education department and the directorate of inspections, the government is responsible for the apathy towards retired teachers in the state.

This has made teaching a thankless job in West Bengal. Why should teachers be made to pay for the state government’s financial ill-health' If the government has difficulty paying teachers their dues, why did it take on the responsibility' Because it wants to keep the teaching community happy to ensure that they campaign for the Left Front' Or was it lack of foresight' If the state exchequer is empty, how can the finance minister afford to move around in an airconditioned car with a convoy of another five to six cars'

Yours faithfully,
Dipankar Bera, Howrah


Sir — The judge, Amitava Lala, must be commended for directing that the compensation to be paid to Dharmanarayan Das be raised from the officials responsible for the delay in the disbursement of dues. He has announced that their salaries be docked or the money raised by confiscating and auctioning their property. If implemented, this verdict will be a check on corruption. After all, the retirement benefits are a life line for the retired.

Yours faithfully,
Purnima Vasudeva, Calcutta


On the tarmac

Sir — Numerous VIPs went to the airport to see off the prime minister when he was leaving for Turkey. I wonder what purpose is served by this tradition which not only inconveniences other travellers and people in general owing to the traffic restrictions; and stretches the security personnel, but is also a drain on the public exchequer. Instead of being physically present at the airport, these VIPs could easily convey their good wishes using the other modern means of communication available these days.

Similarly, ministers’ visits to accident/natural disaster sites cause additional trouble to the affected people and the rescue teams instead of being of any real help. They would be better off getting all the necessary information from the local administrations on video. Again, I wonder what happens to the large garlands and bouquets at official functions, which the VIP recipients touch just once' Then, why is so much money spent during inauguration ceremonies which don’t benefit anyone' Such wasteful practices should be given up.

Yours faithfully,
Asit Kumar Mitra, Calcutta


Sir — It is nothing but misuse of authority by the Union ministers of finance and foreign to think of purchasing two 70-seater aircraft for their exclusive use, in addition to the four already sanctioned for the use of the president and prime minister. It would have been better if the four sanctioned planes had been placed under a pool-system which could also be used by these ministries when needed. In case they are already being used, the national carrier could be used as is done now. The hard-earned money of the tax-payers must be used with some caution.

Yours faithfully,
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi


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