? Sir - The Zoological Survey of India has stood the test of time. The institution is now in its centennial year. The digitization of the ZSI's archives would be of great help to researchers within and outside India. This initiative must be welcomed because it would bring about greater collaboration among institutions. The past few decades have witnessed massive ecological degradation. One hopes that the ZSI would continue to help conserve India's unique biodiversity.
Saikat Kumar Basu,
? Sir - Before the rath yatra, the state government and the Central governments went on an inauguration spree - it seemed that they were competing with each other to take credit for the infrastructure projects. The chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, had deputed a number of ministers to Puri to supervise the preparations and ensure the timely completion of infrastructure projects. Several top bureaucrats of the state were assigned specific projects and asked to monitor them closely.
However, the infrastructure projects do not seem to have not been executed properly. I saw the photograph in The Telegraph of July 12 that showed the Grand Road, on which the chariots will roll today, as submerged under knee-deep water after heavy showers. The other day there were reports that a road under construction in the town has caved in - this raises questions about the quality of the construction work.
n Sir - The preparation for the Nabakalebar came to an end without getting any proper direction from the state's top administration. The chief minister had risen to the occasion only after the incident involving the brahma parivartan ceremony hit the headlines. The Central government projects are also lagging behind. I am more concerned about the problems involving the temporary accommodations, sanitation projects, public health measures and the drinking water supply in Puri.
n Sir - The state government claims that it has left no stones unturned to finish the infrastructure work before rath yatra. But people who have gone to Puri recently know that all these claims are false. The authorities claimed that the drainage system has been repaired. But the roads were waterlogged right after the first rains. The railway overbridge, which has been constructed by keeping sand bags, may create problems during the festival, when there would be more pressure on it.
Subodh Sahu, Bhubaneswar
? Sir - It was necessary to clear the Grand Road before the rath yatra. But the manner in which the statue of the Odia icon, Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, was removed from singhadwar has hurt the sentiments of the people. The state administration should have relocated the statue in a more dignified manner.
Ramachandra Mohapatra, Puri
? Sir - In the recent past, Puri has witnessed stampedes during religious festivals. One hopes that nothing untoward happens today. The authorities have been drawing flak for poor management of infrastructure projects. They should ensure that the festival finishes without a glitch. They should stay on high alert.