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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Letters to Editor

Musical chairs

Sir — The void created by the depleted Left in the 15th Lok Sabha appears to be filling up with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which seems to have donned the garb of a socialist outfit. The DMK has expressed its displeasure over the government’s policy to divest its stake in various public sector undertakings. It is hoped that such a development does not lead to an unsavoury situation like the one on July 22 last year, when the communists forced the government to face a no-confidence vote over the contentious Indo-US nuclear deal.

Yours faithfully,
Arun Malankar, Mumbai


Key concerns

Sir — Ramachandra Guha (“Questions of policy”, June 6) has raised a very pertinent issue concerning the development of the key areas of education, health, environment and foreign affairs. While the first two sectors are directly connected with the hopes and also the survival of the common people, the other two are of a broader scope.

Much needs to be done in primary and secondary education in terms of infrastructure, adequately trained teachers and parents’ willingness to send their wards to school. There is also the need for an evaluative system to monitor the progress in these areas.

The situation in the health sector is gruesome. The lack of basic civic utilities such as drinking water, sewerage and so on, as well as the absence of rudimentary healthcare, have left most rural people at the mercy of quacks.

The other key areas (not mentioned by Guha) are electricity and roads. India has been through many five-year plans to streamline development, but to little avail. There has been great neglect and little accountability. The present government should shrug off inertia and make sure that the fruits of development are shared equally.

Yours faithfully,
Srikanta Bhattacharjee,
Calcutta


Sir — Ramachandra Guha has aptly identified the prime areas of focus for the newly elected government at the Centre.

Education needs a thorough revamp so that our students can compete globally. We also need to curtail the mushrooming of technical institutes that do not have proper faculty or amenities and only contribute to enlarging the already great army of the educated unemployed.

Health is also a major concern as people need better medical facilities, and the maintenance of basic hygiene should also be emphasized. The government must initiate cleaning drives for rivers which are heavily polluted and are causing a variety of water-borne diseases.

Our relationship with the neighbouring countries, most of which are experiencing internal discord, needs to be carefully formulated and pursued. ‘National security’ and ‘law and order’ too call for immediate attention. Of late, India seems to have become an easy target for radical terrorist organizations. It is important that our intelligence bureaus and the police be strengthened, modernized and given the freedom to act without the burden of unending paperwork. The long stretches of borders with neighbouring countries must be manned efficiently.

Also, laws and the law enforcement framework should be more vigilant and must not refrain from meting out stringent and exemplary punishments. Above all, law enforcement should keep above political influence. Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the United States of America has averted any major terrorist strike with the help of stringent laws and the unfaltering vigilance of its law enforcement agencies.

The Indian government must draw lessons from this and strive to establish peace within the nation.

Yours faithfully,
A. Bhattacharyya, Guwahati

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