On the darker side
Sir — It was rather amusing to read dark-skinned models like Noyonika Chatterjee and Sheetal Malhar cribbing about not been featured in commercials for fairness creams and other cosmetics (“It’s not fair, but fair is lovely for Indian ad-makers”, August 20). Who knows, tomorrow short and fat people might complain about not being allowed to participate in beauty pageants. These models, and also the women’s rights activists who claim to be against such “discriminatory policies”, should realize that there is a criterion for everything which must be fulfilled. What if arts graduates want to treat patients now'
Vasan Nair, Calcutta
A costly choice
Sir — For a change, West Bengal’s transport minister, Subhas Chakraborty, deserves to be praised for doing some straight talking (“Car tax steep' Use Bus: Govt”, July 31). The increasing numbers of privately owned cars are partly responsible for the chaotic traffic scenario in Calcutta today. With easy financing options and aggressive marketing by car manufacturers, the number of cars has increased considerably over the last five years. This has become a menace for the ordinary citizen. Besides increasing congestion on the roads, these vehicles are often illegally parked on the pavements and kerbs.
Chakraborty’s argument makes perfect logical sense: Car-owners should not have any objections to paying the tax fixed by the state government. If they are using a luxury good, they have to pay the requisite taxes too.
Tapan Pal, Batanagar
Sir — Subhas Chakraborty may have made a smart comment that car owners who find it difficult to pay the taxes imposed on them should consider travelling by public transport. But he has overlooked certain pertinent points. Why are more and more people investing in a car these days in Calcutta' The abysmal traffic situation is a reason. Public transport is definitely a cheaper form of conveyance, but the costs incurred in terms of time spent makes it an unviable option. Given that the cost of maintaining a vehicle in Calcutta is much more than that in other cities, imposing an additional tax is rubbing salt to a wound.
Diptimoy Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The transport minister of West Bengal has endeared himself to many by coming down heavily on the affluent car-owning classes. But what will happen if the car-owners unanimously agree to pay the steep taxes only if the state government formally promises that a part of this revenue will be spent in repairing the deplorable roads and restoring order on them so that one does not have to pay additionally by way of fuel wastage and time lost.
Dipak Das, Calcutta
Sir — The decision of the Union health minister, Sushma Swaraj, to upgrade the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital to meet the standards of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi is welcome (“Sushma dangles AIIMS dream”, August 3). It is unfortunate that the city hospital with a glorious past has run into troubled waters of late. Once the only allopathic institution in Asia where European medicine methods were taught, it used to attract students from overseas regularly. The institution boasts of a glittering alumni: Bidhan Chandra Roy, Nilratan Sarkar and U.N. Brahmachari, to name only a few.
Swaraj’s promise of a facelift comes at the right time, when people of the state are pretty disillusioned with the controversies surrounding its functioning. If the minister keeps her word, it could ensure that the teaching hospital does not have to die a slow death.
Mohan Lal Sarkar, Budge Budge
Sir — While West Bengal was exulting in the promises made by Sushma Swaraj to upgrade Calcutta Medical College and Hospital at par with the AIIMS, the editorial, “Chasing the rest” (August 5), did a good job of presenting a history of such proposals, thereby telling us what we can expect of this one.
Naren Sen, Howrah