Sir — When Mamata Banerjee addresses public meetings, she invariably talks about the ‘achievements’ of the Trinamul Congress-led government. Hence we are often told of the jobs that have been created, the industries that have been founded, the investments that have poured in, and so on. However, the ground realities are different. Very little has been done apart from doling out largesse to para clubs and imams and painting government buildings in blue and white. Perhaps the Right to Information Act should be invoked to verify the lofty claims.
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta
Sir — In recent years, India has been portrayed as an important tourist destination. The ‘Incredible India’ slogan was also coined in this context. It is certainly a good idea to encourage tourists — both from within and outside the country — to visit different places that are of considerable interest in this country.
Recently, I had an opportunity to visit some important destinations in the northern region of the country. I also interacted with a few foreign tourists during the journey by train. My conversations gave me the distinct impression that many of the places of tourist interest in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are far from satisfactory in terms of hygiene and basic infrastructure.
A train journey from Tatanagar to New Delhi bore evidence of some of the points that were raised by the visitors. For instance, the railway tracks at almost every major junction on the route were being used as dumping grounds for garbage. Plastic bags as well as leftovers of food items were littered on the tracks near Gaya, Allahabad and Delhi. It appears that the issue of public hygiene has no relevance in the Indian context. Unless India improves its infrastructure and standards of hygiene in places of interest for tourists, we cannot expect a surge in the number of visitors to the country.
Ashwini Kumar Lal, New Delhi
Sir — I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the plight of poor people suffering under a bitter cold wave that prevails in the northern parts of India.
The winter has crippled life in many cities and towns across the nation. The capital experienced its coldest day in over four decades recently. Heavy snowfall has been reported from the mountainous areas. Visibility has also been lowered on account of dense fog. Temperatures have also dropped considerably in the northeastern region.
According to the authorities, over a 100 people have been reported dead because of the bitterly cold weather in the state of Uttar Pradesh alone. The winter — characterized by a drastic fall in temperatures and icy winds — has been particularly harsh on the homeless community. People struggling to keep themselves warm by huddling around bonfires is a common sight this time of the year. Many among the dead are poor people. Their bodies were reportedly found in parks and other such open spaces.
I would like to request the government to take some urgent measures to improve the situation. The poor and the needy ought to be provided with warm blankets. The authorities should also think of constructing shelters on a priority basis. They should go over the matter carefully and then swing into action to prevent further loss of lives.
Subhankar Dey, Kokrajhar, Assam