Passing the illegal building buck
| On green pasture: A toilet-cum-restaurant has come up at a corner of Deshapriya Park
The mayor has come up with a utopian scheme to put an end to illegal constructions in the city. The assistant engineer and the sub-assistant engineer simply implement the civic body's order. In passing the onus of preventing illegal constructions on to them, the mayor has proved that he lives in a fool's paradise.
It is unbelievable that highrises are coming up in the slum areas of Tiljala and Kasba without the knowledge of the civic authorities. Illegal real estate is booming in Bengal due to the blessings of the political masters. Even the local party committees extract their share for smooth passage of dubious construction plans. Even people building their own homes are forced to purchase material from local goons.
Close coordination among the various agencies of the government and the civic body is needed to put an end to the menace.
Subhankar Mukherjee, Kudos for clear parks
Apropos 'Whip cracked on park encroachers', August 10, the affirmative action by Calcutta Municipal Corporation, though overdue, is laudable. The new mayor of Calcutta has rightly cracked down on the encroachment on civic parks and property.
In contrast, the Kalyani municipality is on a public parks-and-property-selling spree. The entire Buddha Park, save the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Buddha's temple, a large slice of the Nehru Hospital plot, the eastern portion of the BT College ground and the boulevard of the Kalyani branch station have been converted to malls by the municipality.
There are many more examples of such constructions. All collective and individual protests and presentation of memoranda against takeover of public land have fallen on deaf ears.
Only government intervention can prevent further erosion of civic parks and public properties.
Jatindra Nath Bhowmick,
In a congested city like ours, a good number of parks are vital. But for the last three decades or so, the parks in Calcutta have been encroached upon by local clubs with the tacit support of political parties. Not only that, temples and party offices have been constructed on roads, which are also under the jurisdiction of the civic body. It remains to be seen to what extent the mayor's instructions are implemented.
'A year for a medical test', August 11, has all the elements the media seeks in a good story: peoples' plight, deficiency in government services... One question, however, comes to mind. Medical College and Hospital provides subsidised healthcare to people with the money collected from taxpayers in the state. Is it then ethical to make the hospital's services accessible to people from other states (in this case, Jharkhand)'
Instances of compassion, fraternity, and humanity, too, make good stories in these days of liberalisation and competition. But much of the plight of state-funded healthcare can be traced back to pressure put on it by people from Bangladesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam and Sikkim (Bhutan, on the other hand, maintains an excellent free public healthcare system).
In the state-run hospitals of the border districts, i.e. all districts except Howrah, Hooghly and Bankura, as well as in the teaching hospitals of Calcutta, a chunk of the services is enjoyed by people from beyond the borders of Bengal. It is time to consider if we can afford to let this happen.
The deplorable state of government hospitals in Bengal has once again been highlighted. Only those who have no other option avail of state-run healthcare. Sadly, poor people from the districts would no longer have anyone to turn to.
Flight of feathers
Apropos 'Boost for bird haven', August 12, birds are fleeing Bengal. The number of migratory birds, which used to nest and lay eggs in Santragachhi, has dwindled due to housing projects coming up in the area. The situation at Calcutta zoo is not any better.
In Dankuni, housing and highway projects have eaten into the canal running across Delhi Road and driven away the birds. It is heartening to know that at least the bird habitat at Narendrapur has been saved and a conservation project taken up.
A.F. Kamruddin Ahmed,
The state government's decision to allow the sale of India-made foreign liquor through departmental stores is surprising ('Get your malt at your mall', August 15). Lotteries and betting are also sources of revenue. Should the expansion of such businesses be therefore encouraged' Some aged persons use opium as medicine. Should opium be then sold through departmental stores for their benefit'
It might not be prudent to sell India-made foreign liquor through malls. The government should do a rethink.
N.C. Mukherjee, Canals in Calcutta
Boats made an appearance on the submerged streets of Calcutta in 1978. The city will again sink, and it is not prophesy but a fact ('God help us in Mumbai rerun', August 12). I request the authorities to take up drainage clearance work on an urgent basis or ready hundreds of boats for a deluge.
Abdul Fateh Kamruddin, Shame on profession
I was shocked to read 'Teacher held for teasing', August 9. A more disgraceful incident can hardly be imagined.
Ratan Kumar Halder,
The report 'Teacher held for minor molest', August 11, once again establishes that women of any age are not safe from unwelcome male attention.
The teacher of Bagha Jatin School has brought disgrace to his profession by his act. He should be punished severely.
Dum Dum Road.
Set in bronze
Apropos the report 'Sepoy rises on screen, in bronze', August 13, it is heartening to learn that Mangal Pandey ' The Rising was released in Barrackpore . It is wonderful that the sepoy's bronze statue was also unveiled at Barrackpore cantonment, the scene of his heroism, on the same day. Let us now rename the Barrackpore station after Mangal Pandey.
The caption of a photograph accompanying Tongue Twister in Goodlife on September 6 should have read The Chowringhee Bar and not as published.
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