Man of too much importance
Sir — How has George Fernandes come to acquire so much clout in the government that he has the power to put the brakes on its much-vaunted disinvestment agenda (“George jab at oil disinvestment”, Sep 2)' And why is the Bharatiya Janata Party allowing him to ring the dissenting note when most of its other allies and even its brethren from the right-wing Swadeshi Jagran Manch have been silenced' The Samata Party has all of 12 members of parliament in the National Democratic Alliance which is nothing compared to the Telugu Desam Party’s 28. But you don’t see N. Chandrababu Naidu throwing his weight around like Fernandes, threatening to withdraw his support at the drop of a hat. Fernandes should wake up to the reality that he has moved eons away from his socialist, Coke-bashing days. Thanks to Tehelka and his deafening silence over Gujarat, few people are fooled any longer by the crumpled khadi kurta-pyjama, the tousled hair or the earnest manner.
Rupesh Jhunjhunwala, Calcutta
Marks of injustice
Sir — The article, “Peasant prays to judge to rescue son from tyranny” (Aug 30), should be an eyeopener for society. On the one hand, the arbitrary behaviour of the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education is completely inexplicable. On the other, one can not help but appreciate the courage that inspired Basudeb Mandal to single-handedly fight the council, and the support given to him by the state judicial system, especially the chief justice, A.K. Mathur. The state human rights commission should also take up this gross injustice with the council.
The council has earlier been accused of careless marking, but giving Debasis Mandal marks for physics when it was the chemistry examination he took, takes the cake. If, as the council claims, it was the result of a mistake made by the staff, why haven’t these inefficient employees been suspended'
Reportedly, Debasis tried to commit suicide and has been showing symptoms of insanity lately. That’s not unnaural in someone who has gone through such an ordeal.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Students of the West Bengal board regularly face problems due to the careless marking of answer-scripts or from errors of those who feed the marks into the website. The authorities should realize that the board examinations can make or break a student’s career and careless marking so demoralizes a student that he is often tempted to resort to extreme steps.
John Banik, Calcutta
Sir — It is really heartening to know that despite his financial constraints, Basudeb Mandal has persisted in his crusade against the injustices of the state’s higher secondary education council. His cause will surely be helped by the high court’s filing a suo motu case against the council on its own. The complaints against the council reveal the extent of its negligence. Only exemplary action will deter the council from shattering the hopes of young boys like Debasis.
Indranil Chaudhuri, Calcutta
Sir — Of late, reports of the negligence of the state education department officials at the secondary, higher secondary, and university levels have become very frequent. The state of affairs has reached such a nadir that careless checking of answer-scripts has become par for the course. Those who have the ability and the courage to take the authorities to court constitute just a small percentage — there are innumerable others who suffer silently.
Why cannot the government do something to improve matters' The students want nothing more than a fair evaluation of their papers. Is there a lack of examiners' Or are the examiners not performing their duties sincerely' After this, the education minister cannot possibly complain about students leaving West Bengal for the other states.
A. Dasgupta, Calcutta
On the web
Sir — Congratulations on the new look website of The Telegraph which is miles ahead in terms of news content and other features compared to the previous site .
Pramod Khandelwal, Bangkok
Sir — The new website, though more colourful than the earlier one, lacks a link for the editorial page and letters to editor. These are very popular and one should be able to approach them directly from the home page.
M. Akhtar, Secunderabad
Sir — Why is the diary section on Sunday, September 1, missing from the new website' Also, a search facility would be a good idea.
Sudatta Devarshi, Bhubaneswar
Sir — The new layout is pleasing to the eye, compact and neatly arranged. But there should be more pictures. Those who live abroad and visit the website for a glimpse of Calcutta would like more local pictures (those from the print edition). More features would be welcome too.
Atirath Aich, Canada
Sir — The new website is quite good, especially in its attractive use of the colours, red, black and white. But I liked the previous one too which was somewhat different from the run-of-the-mill ones.
Juna Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir — There are too many flashy graphics in the new website, it takes longer to open a page and the fonts are too small.
Debu Sen, Cambridge, US
Sir — Here are a few suggestions — please include updated train and plane timings, as well as information about changes in mobile phone rates, taxi fares and shops that have recently opened in Calcutta. Information about short trips from Calcutta would be welcome. No Calcutta website carries these informations. You could also include links to Calcutta cinema halls for ticket-bookings. And change Calcutta to Kolkata.
Supratik Gupta, Sale, UK
Sir — I like the revamped website. I would not even mind paying a subscription fee to access the electronic version of the paper, provided that more space is given to classified advertisements, including real estate, and there is a real estate archive search.
Dipankar Chatterjee, US