Fires that lurk within
Sir — A country where a foreign minister can afford the luxury of shopping unescorted in a departmental store and one where an assailant can get away after stabbing a person in a public place cannot possibly be the same. But this, it seems, is the Sweden of today, no longer a land of “placid political consensus” (“Sweden minister chased and stabbed”, Sept 12). Anna Lindh’s assassination could be, and possibly is, a sign of the changing times, when the fires raging within even the most tranquil political situations can burn down the apparent calm with a violence that can scarcely be imagined.
Sumit Sen, Calcutta
A state in limbo
Sir — “Bengal leaders laggards in spending”(August 25) adds another feather to the cap of the Bengal members of Parliament. It has been revealed that the funds under their local area development schemes are not being properly utilized. And to think that the favourite refrain of the state’s political leaders is that they are unable to undertake development programmes for lack of funds.
Now that the excuse of lack of funds has been convincingly rejected, what will our poor MPs do now' Will they come up with the truth that they have no time for the people’s welfare, their own welfare is of greater importance'
Pabitra K. Bhaumik, Calcutta
Sir — The Gucci fiasco notwithstanding, there cannot be any doubts about Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s efforts to give a facelift to Bengal’s economy. In sharp contrast to this is the rank irresponsibility of the state’s MPs, who have failed even to spend the funds allotted for development.
Why do filmstars from other states refuse to have even a simple operation done in Calcutta' Why are its students leaving the state in large numbers and seeking admission in other states' Would the picture have been this sorry had the politicians spent the funds allocated to them judiciously'
The state administration can manipulate statistics to put a tall claim on its gross domestic product vis-à-vis the national figure. But the test of a state’s actual development is in the human development index — where West Bengal is ranked 23 among 32 states. This is no doubt a result of the Marxists ruling the state for too long.
Aparna Ganguly, Calcutta
Sir — West Bengal coming second among the states in actual domestic investment in 2002-03 (“Bengal earns Delhi growth certificate”, Sept 1) is a fitting answer to the prime minister’s recent criticism of the state’s economic growth.
However, the swelling numbers of the educated unemployed in the state paints a different picture altogether. An important index of a state’s economic progress is rise in recruitment. Why isn’t it happening here' “Bengal leaders laggards in spending” also does not corroborate the success story. Health and education, perhaps the most neglected sectors, remain their abysmal selves. What, then, is the true picture of Bengal'
Bhaskar Ganguly, Calcutta
Sir — The incident in which a senior army officer ordered Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s pilot car “not to move an inch” may not be a simple case of misunderstanding (“Army blocks Buddha car”, Sept 3). It is a deliberate, act meant to slight the chief minister of West Bengal, who is not known for his cordial relations with the government at the Centre. The state administration should not take this incident lightly, and must demand that the military man be brought to book.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — The army officer who blocked the car of the chief minister deserves praise instead of rebuke. Have we already forgotten how terrorists had stormed the Parliament, foxing the securitymen with the VIP stickers on their cars' Political leaders are quite used to thorough military checks in New Delhi or Kashmir. Only in West Bengal do they refuse to learn even after incidents like the American Center attack.
Saikat Banerjee, Calcutta