Sing a different tune
Sir — The Trinamool Congress may be the main opposition in West Bengal, but it gets a little too carried away by opposing everything the ruling Left Front proposes. Or it would have refrained from criticizing Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for objecting to the singing of the Saraswati vandana in official functions (“Missive missile at Saraswati vandana”, Nov 25). If the Trinamool is really committed to secularism (and Mamata Banerjee keeps reiterating it, despite being a part of the government at the Centre), it must join hands with the left to prevent the saffron parties from having their way in Bengal.
Amrita Basu, Kharagpur
Sir — Uttam Sengupta makes a pitch for more public involvement, not more legislation, in order to revive the fight against corruption (“Stem the rot within”, Nov 5). But even in a democratic country like India, this would require more decentralization of power, and especially a dynamic and economically-empowered panchayat system. Another necessity is transparency in dealings, be it in offices, academic institutions, hospitals or other places. Above all, the mindset of the people needs to change so that corruption ceases to be regarded as inevitable or acceptable.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — Corruption is a long-standing problem in India. So it is a little too optimistic of Uttam Sengupta to think that public involvement will end it. Public involvement means taking the law into one’s hands or coming up against politicians. We will get nowhere if we wait for public involvement. We tend to suffer silently, passively expecting the authorities to set everything right
It is in accordance with the will of the public that corrupt leaders manage to stay in power so long. Look at the condition in Bihar where corruption and crime have become so deeply entrenched that anything even remotely associated with the government is looked upon with suspicion.
Set aside the public coming together to curb corruption, we have misused democracy to perpetuate a legacy of corruption. What are needed now are stringent laws and strict law-enforcement.
Arta Mishra, Cuttack
Sir — Uttam Sengupta’s suggestion that we do away with the existing practice of keeping tax details confidential is an important one. But the point that such information should be made public because it is difficult to keep it from undesirable elements does not hold water. It is also far-fetched to imagine that this will help sever the nexus between income tax officials and unscrupulous tax-payers. Sengupta’s suggestion that we make a provision whereby it is obligatory for people seeking information to reveal their purpose and establish their bona fides first is also not practical. He should know how easy it is to manipulate or bribe the law-enforcing machinery in the country.
Aniket Banerjee, Calcutta
Sir — There appears to be a serious anomaly in the working rules of the West Bengal pollution control board for brick-fields. The WBPCB has been issuing “consent to establish” and “consent to operate” certificates in different areas where brick-fields are located. Reports of tests on stack emissions from approved laboratories were required to be submitted to the board along with the consent to operate applications. Of late, district land revenue officers have been authorized to issue letters of consent to operate in their respective jurisdiction areas. Quite rightly, some of the officers do not accept applications for the same without the testing reports. But there are also some land revenue officers, particularly in North 24 Parganas , who are issuing these consent to operate letters without the testing reports. This, besides being unfair to many, also leads to much unnecessary confusion among brick-field owners.
It is high time that the WBPCB spells out clearly to brick-field owners, the terms and conditions of acquiring such certificates.
N.K. Singh, Naopala, Howrah