Sir — The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the mental well-being of a number of people, leading many to turn to the bottle in their hour of crisis. A study found that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption will result in 8,000 additional deaths by 2040 in the United States of America. The National Health Service in the United Kingdom concluded that heavy home drinking could lead to additional 1,830 deaths within 20 years. Although social stigma still prevents many from admitting that they drink, the situation is not much different in India. People have seen a spike in their alcohol consumption; many former alcoholics have relapsed. However, it will be difficult to gauge the extent of the crisis unless Indians are willing to admit that they drink at all.
Mrinalini Ghosh, Calcutta
In a fix
Sir — The Congress spokesperson, Pawan Khera, has alleged that Zoish Irani, the daughter of the minister of women and child development, Smriti Irani, fraudulently procured the liquor licence of the restaurant-cum-bar that she runs in Goa (“Smriti battles charges linking bar & daughter”, July 24). The Union minister has refuted that claim, stating that her 18-year-old daughter is still a college student and does not run the establishment.
There is reportedly evidence to the contrary — Smriti Irani allegedly took to social media to praise her daughter for the hard work she put into the restaurant. However, Zoish Irani’s lawyer has claimed that she is a “budding chef” and has worked in various restaurants to learn the craft. Whatever may be the reality of the situation, this will certainly pose problems for Smriti Irani.
S.S. Paul, Nadia
Sir — The charges made by the Congress against Smriti Irani’s daughter regarding the illegal procurement of liquor licence for the Silly Souls Cafe & Bar in Goa are serious. This has undoubtedly damaged the public image of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP and the Congress are constantly trying to unearth the skeletons in the cupboards of top party leaders. This often puts the family members of politicians in the line of fire. The attack on Irani and her family could be the result of the Enforcement Directorate grilling Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on the National Herald case. The Congress has dug up a video of Zoish Irani talking to the food writer, Kunal Vijaykar, about the restaurant — the interviewer implies that the restaurant is owned by the young entrepreneur. The Union minister’s feeble attempts at proclaiming innocence seem to be crumbling. The BJP should clean up its own house before accusing others of corruption.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Jalpaiguri
Sir — Reports indicate that the excise commissioner of Goa, Narayan M. Gad, has issued a show-cause notice to Silly Souls Cafe & Bar in North Goa. Aires Rodrigues, an advocate, had filed an RTI and found that the licence was renewed on June 22 this year using the Aadhaar card of a Mumbai resident who had died in 2021. If true, this violates the Goa Excise Duty Act and Rules, 1964. This must be thoroughly investigated.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Sir — The former president of India, Ram Nath Kovind, raised a critical point in his outgoing speech to the nation. He remarked that mother nature is in deep agony and the climate crisis can endanger the future of this planet. He urged people to take care of the environment for the future of their children. We must take note of his words and do all we can to protect the environment.
Kovind also spoke of being influenced by Mahatma Gandhi whose transformative ideas shaped his ideals. Hopefully, the incumbent president, Droupadi Murmu, will be able to serve the nation to the best of her abilities.
Jayanthi Ramani, Trichur, Kerala
Sir — The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, has remarked that Ram Nath Kovind leaves behind a legacy of India’s Constitution being “trampled upon umpteen times” and has said that he worked to fulfil the political agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is shocking that a veteran politician is directly attacking a former president without adequate proof. Mufti should have been careful with her words.
Kirti Wadhawan, Kanpur
Sir — The Karnataka assembly elections are slated to be held next year. However, the tussle for the chief minister’s post has already started among Congress leaders. The Bharatiya Janata Party, too, will have to iron out internal differences before the polls. The two parties must resolve their internal problems before it is too late.
N. Viswanathan, Coimbatore
Sir — Quality education is fundamental to the progress of any society. But there is a vast difference between the quality of infrastructure in private and government schools. While children in private schools have access to a wide range of resources and proper infrastructure, government schools often lack basic facilities, such as clean toilets or electricity. This is unfair. Everyone should have access to basic educational infrastructure.
T.S. Karthik, Chennai
Sir — It is wonderful to learn that the Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton, has reached the milestone 300th race at the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet (“After 300 races, Lewis still ready for more”, July 26). He is the sixth driver to achieve this feat. Hopefully, Hamilton will compete in many more races and perhaps even breach the 400 mark.
Sourish Misra, Calcutta