Sir — The kutta billi minister finally faces a challenge in her own captive constituency (“Maneka faces animal march”, Nov 1). Armchair animal-lovers and activists like Maneka Gandhi can only rave and rant about the exploitation of animals. They have no inkling of the relationship between a poor kalandhar and his pet animal. To them anything, that deviates from an idealized concept of a house dog — petted, fed and exercised — smacks of an atrocity. Has Gandhi forgotten that in a country like India, she must have some consideration for the humans too'
Sumana Ghoshal, Calcutta
Sir — It is surprising that the government, which has banned cigarette smoking in public places deeming it to be a health hazard, is yet to recognize the dangers of the use of fireworks on festivals. In the run-up to Diwali, there have been many reports of fireworks factories and storage godowns going up in flames in many parts of the country. Many lives have been lost and much property damaged in these fires. How many more such “accidents” will it take for the government to ban the manufacture, storage and use of fireworks, a source of noise and environmental pollution'
C.V.K. Moorthy, Sandur
Sir — No words can sufficiently condemn the killing of Naresh Swarnakar in Nadia, only because he protested against the loud music blaring from a neighbour’s tape recorder (“Silenced for daring to make noise”, Oct 20). The government has proscribed a 65-decibel limit for loudspeakers in residential areas. But no one cares for the law. Diwali is especially nightmarish and many people are forced to use ear plugs for over a week, because of loud crackers going off even in the middle of the night. During the pujas, Subrata Mukherjee washed his hands of such defiance of the law during festivals saying that he refused to detract from the “spirit” of the festivities. Noise pollution not only leads to stress and sleeplessness, but it also aggravates health problems. Many have become permanently deaf as a result of loud bombs.
M.L. Sarkar, Budge Budge
Sir — Naresh Swarnakar’s killing was the result of the lack of awareness, more than pre-planned vengeance. But a murder is a murder and no one has the right to take another’s life.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Everybody nowadays — from the government to the common people — seems to be out to persecute the medical community. Take the West Bengal government’s recent decision to disallow doctors from practising in pharmacies/drug stores on account of the supposedly “dingy” conditions in many of them. Air-conditioners, separate toilets for men and women and attendant nurses — that the Clinical Establishment Act mandates — are all very fine, but even in Calcutta, consultants who charge between Rs 20 to Rs 50 cannot afford to provide these services. The government should try to get the opinion of a wide section of doctors and patients on this issue.
R. Dutt, Calcutta
Sir — Kunal Saha, comfortably ensconsed in faraway America, does not hesitate making irresponsible comments about doctors in India. The deaths of children at the B.C. Roy Memorial Hospital and other hospitals in the state cannot be condoned; but having studied and lived in India, Saha should know better than to put all the blame squarely on doctors'
Saha makes a sarcastic remark in “Cot deaths” (Oct 29) about some doctors making more than Rs 10,000 a day. Indeed, but there are also many who make less than half that amount a month. No doctor, however money-minded he might be, resorts to intentionally-careless handling of patients. When they start off, they are quite idealistic but soon, various factors like the lack of infrastructure, equipment, or staff, force them to become cynical. But the common people, unfortunately, do not understand this. A doctor in a government hospital can only do so much. Yes, there are some bad apples too, no doubt, as there are in any other profession. These must be brought to book. But all this mud-slinging must stop at once.