We are the children
Sir — I don’t understand why there is such a clamour to help Ali Ismail Abbas, the 12-year-old boy who lost both his arms and suffered third-degree burns in the Iraq war. Now, entertainers from Hollywood and all over the globe have joined the crusade to help Ali (“Hollywood pitches in to help Ali”, May 8). Of course Ali needs help and the most advanced and sophisticated medical attention. But then so do thousands of other children from his country who have been through similar physical and psychological trauma. What is the point of all the celebrities coming together to take care of this one child' Why can’t each of them take the responsibility of providing medical attention and financial help for one child' While Ali has become the cynosure of all eyes, there seems to be no one to think about his brothers and sisters. Supriya Chaudhuri was right in observing that Iraq has many Alis. The West, which has created them in the first place, should not feel complacent by donating a few dollars for them.
Kavita Maheshwari, Calcutta
Sir — The tragic death of Amit Dalmia due to the negligence of the city’s civic authorities and Reliance Infocomm was shocking (“Cable kills, snake-like”, May 14). The statement of the chief executive officer of the company, Shankho Chowdhury, that thieves or miscreants might have tampered with the cable is absurd. This is perhaps only to ward off public attention. The wire, according to his own admission, was secured by the latest technology and embedded six to eight inches below the road surface. It was covered by special foam, galavanized mild steel and then a protective covering, all of which should have proved difficult for miscreants to remove. Moreover, it would have been difficult for them to act under such busy road conditions.
The carelessness of the company’s workers in installing the wire is
evident. The question which arises is why, despite the strict vigilance under which such work is conducted, should such cases should go unnoticed. I think the authorities concerned should punish the company for such carelessness.
Rishav Paul, Calcutta
Sir — Each of us, as a citizen, has certain civic responsibilities, like bringing to the attention of authorities a naked metal strip lying in the middle of the road (“Killer cable on road takes young life”, May 14)' The culpable for this tragic accident are the people living in that locality who neglected reporting the death trap. The caretaker Ram Iqbal Singh expressed “wonder” at the fact that an accident hadn’t occurred earlier. If he had expressed his concern to the authorities instead of merely wondering, perhaps Dalmia’s life could have been saved. It is a shame that in a city where crowds are quick to condemn rash drivers, where lynch mobs gather within seconds to beat up the guilty party when accidents occur, where public anger is highly inflammable in the face of negligence or injustice, a four foot long metal strip lying in the middle of the road for seven days did not arouse anyone’s sense of responsibility.
Even more appalling is the indifference on the part of Reliance Infocomm CEO Shankho Chowdhury for putting the blame on the dead for driving “too fast”. What other utterly absurd excuses would he have given if Dalmia had been driving slowly and still got killed'
Sharoda A. Paul, Jamshedpur
Sir — The report of Amit Dalmia’s death has caused deep anguish. It was undoubtedly a Himalayan blunder in the understanding of the basic requirements of the imported design-technology for use in public places that killed Amit. The metal strips should not have surfaced under any circumstances. Which means the engineers of the company totally failed in paying heed to the safety aspect of the technology. On the contrary, the company has not hesitated to point fingers at others and shirk its responsibility. The Dalmias should not allow those who are really responsible for this mishap to escape the legal dragnet.
Suren N. Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Amit Dalmia’s unfortunate accident is a lesson for all. Reliance Infocomm has been extremely highhanded in dealing with the tragedy. This was clearly evident from what the CEO had to say on the incident. What was the fault of the young MBA' By Shankho Chowdhury’s argument, he was driving “too fast”. How does Chowdhury know that'
Only the Dalmias know what they are having to go through. The stand taken by Santosh Dalmia should be encouraged by the police and the media so that Reliance is not allowed to go scotfree. It has to be remembered that the Dalmias may have the strength and courage to fight a powerful company, but many other victims of its negligence might not have that capacity.
S. Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Amit Dalmia’s death should not be forgotten in a hurry and written off after a media frenzy. Big industries like Reliance need to learn a lesson or two in social welfare. No single business house has the right to harass a commoner and get away with it.
Maushumi Guha, Calcutta
Sir — I am not at all shocked by the accident of Amit Dalmia and will not be shocked if such accidents continue to occur in the coming days because nothing else can be expected from the roads of Calcutta. I do not know what the West Bengal government has done in these 25 years. It cannot even make proper and smooth roads. Amit Dalmia’s accident has happened because of the bad roads which exposed a cable which was properly laid.
R. Agarwal, Calcutta
Sir — Days after the accident, no action has been taken against anyone, nor arrests made in connection with the negligence of a company that snuffed out a life in its prime. While the blame game continues, the story of Amit Dalmia will surely vanish from the newspapers in a few days time.
Gunjeet S. Wadhwa, Calcutta
Sir — The pre-panchayat poll attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Minister, Tapan Sikdar, by the cadre of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is a poignant reflection of the worsening law and order situation in our state. While admitting the guilt of his party cadre, the state secretary, Anil Biswas, has charged Sikdar for making inflammatory speeches. The CPI(M)’s insatiable hunger for power became palpable when their comrade, with the tacit support of the party leaders, attacked their own allies. The situation in West Bengal has not been so terrifying before. The state seems to be heading towards a jungle raj.
Sankar Lal Singh, Calcutta
Sir — The attack on Tapan Sikdar is an act of cowardice. Yet the fact that both the state administration headed by the chief minister and the state party secretariat led by Anil Biswas had not wasted time in expressing their unhappiness over the incident is laudable (“CM on assault frontfoot”, May 7). It cannot be denied that the Left Front is taking advantage of its uninterrupted stint in power. The criminal-politician nexus that retains the left in power has been evident time and again. So the mayhem during the panchayat polls does not surprise. Nor does the criminal association of the left.
However, the left has to strike a balance somewhere. No respectable political organization can depend merely on violence and bloodshed to keep its control on the people. The left has to back up its administration by some concrete work.
Phani Bhusan Saha, Balurghat
Sir — Democracy has vanished in West Bengal while the CPI(M) tries to gain an upper hand over all other parties in the state, including other members of the Left Front. Mamata Banerjee’s demand for president’s rule in West Bengal is therefore justified to a certain extent. It is strange that despite such recurring violence, previously in Keshpur, and then again during the present polls, the Centre has turned a deaf ear to the pleas.
Dipti Kumar Majumdar, Calcutta
Sir — Bandhs have almost become synonymous with West Bengal politics. Which is why the bandh call for May 21 does not surprise. But who are the political leaders deluding' Bandhs have never been able to, nor can possibly ever, resolve the real issues. Worse, they singularly spoil the work culture in the state. Does the leftist government of the state think it can attract investors to the state given its current record of violence and bandh culture'
N. Bose, Ranchi