The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Look no further

Sir — The regular subjection of the Bengali audience to Hindi-accented Bengali songs sung by the Mangeshkar-Bhosle sisters has managed to practically snuff out talent in Bengal. Now Rituparno Ghosh wishes to extend this anomalous Tollywood policy to casting as well (“Tolly, Holly and then Bollywood”, Dec 18). Why should Bengalis have to suffer a plastic Aishwarya Rai utter her “eesh, shotti, e ma” as Binodini in Chokher Bali' Ghosh, probably bored by Rituparna Sengupta, has already started looking Bollywoodwards for his cast. But it is unfortunate that the prize was won by Rai, possibly for an atrocity like Devdas.

Yours faithfully,
J. Acharya, Calcutta

Diminishing returns

Sir — Most retired professionals have invested their savings in fixed deposit schemes of private companies since the rate of interest in government or government-supported institutions has fallen drastically. But very few can gauge the health of these companies. Their annual reports begin with the standard comment by auditors that the financial statements are the responsibility of the management and they are merely expressing an opinion. In most cases, the auditors do not themselves value the company’s inventories — instead they are considered as “taken, valued and certified by the management”. Needless to add, this figure may be easily manipulated to the company’s benefit. Yet the securities and exchange board of India, the company law board and so on rely on this audit report to evaluate the company’s health. If it reflects what the management of the company wants the world to believe, then what is its utility'

Yours faithfully,
D.K. Roy, Srirampur

Sir — Thousands of senior citizens have invested in fixed deposits of companies to earn a monthly interest and get back a lump sum on maturity. But many of these companies are fly-by-night operators who do not pay back the invested sum after maturity. Reminders do not work, since they change address frequently. The finance minister must take steps to ensure that the public are not cheated.

Yours faithfully,
B.N. Bose, Calcutta

Sir — There has been a demand for special interest rates on savings instruments for pensioners, as if all of them are in distress and depend solely on their monthly pension. In reality, many from the upper strata of society receive fat sums in pensions. Why must they be allowed to exploit benefits that were introduced for the sake of pensioners who do not earn an equal amount' There must be a way to limit such provisions only to the deserving.

Yours faithfully,
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta

Sir — The middle classes always bear the brunt of a cash crunch. An increase of Rs 1,000 on the annual tax for private cars is too high (“Road tax raised, fire fee debuts”, Dec 17). As if that is not enough, a fee is to be charged for extinguishing fires in “high-risk” buildings. How do we define “high-risk”' Even a short circuit can cause a big fire.

The fire services minister has said that he is working out the fee structure on the basis of the scale of the fire, the equipment and number of engines used. Which means the bigger the fire, the more the fees. A fire like this can cause damage not only to property, but also deaths. Most highrises house the middle class and to expect them to pay after such devastation is a bit much.

Yours faithfully,
Purnima Vasudeva, Calcutta

Sir — The Union finance minister has warned of a further cut in small savings interest rates. Perhaps the Bharatiya Janata Party has forgotten its defeat in the Delhi municipal elections immediately after interest rates on small savings were reduced by Yashwant Sinha in the budget. Or, is it that despite the victory in Gujarat, the BJP does not expect to win the next general elections and hence does not care whether it is harming the very middle classes which voted it to power'

Yours faithfully,
V. Kumar, Pune

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