|A US national being manhandled by Temple police on one of the chariots in front of Gundicha temple in Puri. Picture by Sarat Patra
Servitors must be respectful towards foreigners
Sir —The recent assault on a US national during the rath yatra in Puri is condemnable. It is widely publicised that this festival is the only occasion for non-Hindus to get a good darshan of Lord Jagannath. Then, on what grounds, should a foreign tourist be denied the opportunity and worse, be beaten up by servitors? The servitors claimed that foreigners could offer prayers to the deities from the ground and not on the chariots. But, didn’t one of them ask for a hefty amount of money from the US national to help him climb on the chariots? I have seen many rath yatras during my lifetime but this year, the turnout of foreigners has fallen drastically. One of the reasons for foreign tourists avoiding a visit to Odisha could be the abduction of two Italians by the Maoists in February. But this unsavoury episode of assault could adversely affect the flow of foreigners into the town in future. We have two choices — either educate the servitors to be more tolerant towards people of other religions, at least during rath yatra, or stop baiting foreigners through fake publicity.
Pratap Chandra Nayak,
Sir — Though the forest officials claim the number of elephants in the state has gone up, recent reports of jumbo deaths because of poaching and degradation of sanctuaries cannot be ignored. In the last one year, nearly a dozen elephants have been killed in Simlipal and the incidents of man-animal conflicts have been on the rise. The reason for the latter is obvious with the state government taking no measures to check indiscriminate mining activities and industrialisation. The loss of green cover has forced the animals to stray into human habitats and face death. It has become imperative to develop elephant corridors and sensitise people about the conservation of these animals, who are part of our culture and heritage. The government must also come up with resettlement packages to stop encroachment of forestland and take strict measures to prohibit trespassers in wildlife habitats.
Sanjukta Ray, Sambalpur
l Sir — Thank you for publishing the interesting report “Drains fail rain test” on the preparedness of Bhubaneswar for monsoon. While, the whole country waits for the arrival of monsoon, our city authorities remain busy throughout the year building drainage channels or clearing debris at various places but they fall short of achieving the desired results. I believe such attitude will never change as long as we continue to remain busy to flush the monsoon water than looking at its utility. By doing so, most of the natural nullahs of the city were converted into open drains or sewer channel over the years. I will appreciate if The Telegraph does a story on finding the solutions to these monsoon-related problems and whether over the years, the city has built any drainage channels or has converted natural streams/nullahs into open drains or sewer channels?
Piyush Ranjan Rout, Bhubaneswar
l Sir — The recent return of the four leaders, including Prashant Nanda, from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to the BJD fold does not appear to be encouraging. It is extremely doubtful how much devotion, attachment and commitment these members will have towards the ruling party as they were, in fact, driven out from the BJD-BJP coalition government long ago. Their return might only help the BJD increase its number of members in the Odisha Legislative Assembly. I, however, feel that the BJD should have clear-cut rules, regulations, principles, ideologies and agenda. By scrupulously following them, the party should carry out its political administration in the state. All its members must be bound by the rules and the status and background of the persons, who want to come back to the party, should be very carefully and critically examined by the senior members of the party before allowing them to rejoin. Otherwise, infighting and factionalism will continue to dog the BJD, making it weak and ineffective.
Alok Kiran Deb, retired chief engineer (electrical), Sarada Devi Road, Puri