First comes last
Sir — Consistency, either in speech or in action, has never been a strong point with Mamata Banerjee (“Buddha cure: Political penalty, Mamata cure: Take out a rally”, Nov 4). So quite typically, after showing indications of her willingness to abide by the government’s decision to restrict rallies, the Trinamool Congress leader, in a quick volte-face, fell back on her word while protesting against the assault on scribes by junior doctors in a hospital. But did the attack, though unfortunate, deserve such a show of strength on the street' Perhaps Banerjee has forgotten that the recurring deaths in the hospital are far more important an issue that an attack on the media. Which is why prioritizing this particular incident over a more concerted action against the present system of healthcare does not befit a popular leader of her stature. The electorate is unlikely to forgive her or forget her misplaced policies, which are responsible for the Trinamool’s sagging political fortunes.
Sambhu Chakraborty, Calcutta
Sir — Although the report, “Canada beckons, Calcutta queues up to shift base”(Nov 3), paints a very rosy picture, one would do well to remember that in Canada, there is considerable anxiety about the so-called “immigration consultants”. There have been parliamentary debates and ample proof of corruption. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian ministry of immigration have also warned potential immigrants of fraud and the government’s wish to stop such practices. Before believing in these institutions, it is necessary to check out the facts with a Canadian governmental agency.
Most Indians who consider Canada an extension of the United States of America are miserable in the end. Canada, in fact, is ill-suited to Indians who, much like the Americans, live in a dog-eat-dog world where powerful members of the society thrive at the cost of their less fortunate compatriots. The people of Canada have drawn important lessons from past iniquities regarding social justice, equality and the sharing of resources. Canada expects its citizens to struggle and share. So Canada should not be seen as a substitute destination for people who wish to go to the US or Britain. There are far too many Indians here who despise the weather, the lack of aggression and the lack of creature comforts.
Another thing. To fight corruption in the immigration consultation trade, a national self-regulatory body called the Canadian Society for Immigration Consultants has been formed to protect vulnerable applicants and increase public confidence in Canada’s immigration programme.
Shyamal Bagchee, Edmonton, Canada
Sir — I feel a strong urge to warn potential applicants to Canada everytime I hear about immigration lawyers selling the Canadian dream. For one, the dream can work only after years and years of struggle. Having emigrated to Canada seven years back, I realize that very little about us is actually recognized here — be it education, work experience or driving skills. On an average, newcomers have to wait for four to six months to find work at the clerical level. Poverty among the new immigrants is high and the conditions are far worse now than they were 10 years ago. For new immigrants it means starting from scratch. I have seen chartered accountants working as accounts clerks, qualified doctors as security guards and engineers from premier Indian institutions as parking lot attendants or call centre staff. Local employees do not recruit new immigrants for their lack of “experience”. There is actually a vast gap between what the Canadian government projects and the ground realities.
If one is still desperate to emigrate, one should spurn the assistance of the immigration lawyers who disappear the moment the immigrant gets his visa and who leave the client to fend for himself on foreign soil.
Debu Banerjea, Ontario, Canada
Sir — The immigration seminar organized by some immigration agencies in Calcutta recently was of immense help for those who dream of making it big. Judging by the impressive turnout, I am sure that a lot of Calcuttans are gearing up to take the plunge. Diminishing employment opportunities throughout India have forced many to consider immigration seriously. Since there is already a bottleneck in the US and Britain, Canada and Australia still remain viable options for Indians. The immigration consultants need to be thanked for disseminating valuable information.
Dulal Nag, Calcutta
Sir — Since the death of my husband, Badal Sarkar, work assistant (SLR division), urban development department of the West Bengal government, we have been living in penury. His pension is the family’s only source of income from which I pay the house rent, the educational expenses of my two children and other daily expenses with difficulty. My son has been suffering from a chest infection for which I am unable to provide proper medical attention because of the financial situation. Only an employment could save us from this distress. But repeated appeals to the state government for a job on compassionate grounds have been to no avail. I am the only claimant to a job since my children are both minors. I will be obliged if the authorities look into the matter.
Rupa Sarkar, Calcutta