Sir — We were shocked to learn that while referring to a recent case of sexual assault of a student on her way back from tuitions in the Barasat railway station area, the actor and Trinamul Congress MLA from Barasat, Chiranjeet Chakraborty, remarked that women should be conscious of what they wear as ‘sometimes some dresses can look provocative’ and that ‘fashion is evolving and hemlines are getting shorter’ (“MLA ties taunt to skirt”, July 29). He even claimed later that his ‘fatherly advice is being misinterpreted’. By advising women on how to dress and by putting the onus on women to protect themselves from leering men, he is indeed following the glorious tradition of politicians of all hues who have made similar comments in the past and continue to do so at present. Does he think that if elected representatives like him continue to suggest what women should wear, where they should be seen and with whom, it would help improve public safety for women?
We think that his comment encourages sexual assaults on women and reinforces the mindset bent on controlling women’s sexuality and their right to freedom of movement.
We, a few concerned citizens of West Bengal, demand an answer from Chakraborty. We would like to know both about the progress made in investigating the case referred to above, and about specific long-term steps being initiated to make the area in and around Barasat railway station safe for women at all hours.
Nabaneeta Devsen, Sukanta Chaudhuri, Nirmala Banerjee, Jasodhara Bagchi, Supriya Chaudhuri, Anita Agnihotri, and 120 others
Sir — The recent power failure threw life out of gear for millions of people (“Why 600 million people lost power”, August 1). Essential services such as hospitals, water treatment plants and the railways were paralysed. It was one of the biggest blackouts the world has ever seen. Lack of discipline with regard to drawing power caused the blackout. The power transmission grids are made using advanced technology. They are highly sensitive to fluctuations in frequency. They collapsed because power-deficient states drew more electricity than they are permitted to. The state electricity boards should exercise restraint.
State governments should strive to upgrade the infrastructure of their electricity boards. This will help reduce the loss of power during transmission. The Centre should set up more power plants. State governments have neither the resources nor the enthusiasm to take on such a huge responsibility.
Ramesh G. Jethwani, Bangalore
Sir — There was chaos in the city when the eastern power grid collapsed. Traffic was badly affected. On the way home from my office in Salt Lake, the vehicle I was in got stuck in a jam near the New Alipore petrol pump. After about 15 minutes, I got out and started walking towards the Taratala crossing. I kept looking for a traffic policeman, but I could not see any. Even at the Taratala junction, only traffic volunteers were handling the flow of traffic. The police booth under the flyover was empty. I was appalled at this. How could the Calcutta Police allow volunteers to handle traffic at such a critical time?
P.K. Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir— It is true that the whole nation was adversely affected by the recent power outage. But my hometown, Darjeeling, has grappled with acute power shortage for years. No newspaper reports the suffering of the people here. If all of us are Indians, I wonder why Darjeeling’s recurrent power crisis is dealt with so dismissively.
Abu Saalim, Darjeeling
Sir — It is shameful that Sushil Shinde said he was a “successful power minister”. India suffered one of the worst power blackouts in history the day he became the home minister. He should apologize for his boastful, callous remark that was made when India was struggling in darkness.
Bianca Roy, Calcutta