Monday, 30th October 2017

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Game afoot

Readers' Speak: Bundesliga begins; how the government has dealt with Covid-19; cyclone Amphan

  • Published 20.05.20, 12:56 AM
  • Updated 20.05.20, 12:56 AM
  • 3 mins read
Joshua Sargent, left, of Bremen challenges Edmond Tapsoba of Leverkusen during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen 04 in Bremen, Germany, Monday, May 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Stuart Franklin, Pool)

Sir — Football lovers across the world must have heaved a sigh of relief when the Bundesliga resumed last Saturday, albeit behind closed doors. Although one misses the electric energy which usually breathes life into a sport in a stadium, the restrictions were necessary to ensure the safety of the players. Like most other domains, sport, too, has suffered heavily on account of the lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The rush of the organizers to resume the game is understandable, as is the excitement of the fans. Yet, given the number of active cases and death toll in Germany, one is forced to wonder if the decision to restart the game so soon was a wise one.

Rupak Sarkar,


On target

Sir — Sunanda K. Datta-Ray must be congratulated on his thought-provoking article, “Emperor’s clothes” (May 16). The author has rightly questioned the reality behind the various recent measures taken by the Central government in light of the Covid-19 crisis without providing any clear explanation. This was indeed done to facilitate the quick and easy implementation of its plans.

As Datta-Ray points out, the first priority of the government should have been to find ways to prevent and cure the disease, followed by undertaking measures to permanently improve the condition of healthcare and education in the country. Instead, the addresses by the national leaders end up sounding like ‘election manifestos’. What is worse is the finance minister’s futile attempt to cover up the government’s failure at dealing with the crisis by passing off the ravages caused by the pandemic as “an act of god”.

It is true that the country is running out of time to minimize damage. As such, leaders should refrain from indulging in “gimmicky alliteration or boastful showmanship”. Rather than turning the moment into an opportunity for publicity, efforts must be made to immediately assess the extent of the distress caused to the people. The need of the hour is to frame a well-thought-out plan in consultation and cooperation with all leaders, irrespective of party, caste, religion and community. For this, all of them must work unitedly, setting their ego aside and forgetting inconsequential differences in views. Neither must it be forgotten that the majority of the worst sufferers of this crisis comprises the underprivileged sections of society. Any policy must keep in mind that many among these people do not even know how to read or write, let alone have access to digital systems. This reality cannot be ignored.

Satyananda Bhattacherjee,


Sir — Even if one does not agree with all the views presented by Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, it cannot be denied that his article, “Emperor’s clothes”, raises some pertinent issues, especially regarding unemployment, sycophancy in the ranks and the abject failure of the government in handling the migrant crisis. Certain states, ones governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party in particular, have diluted the labour laws in their quest to attract investment. At a time when unemployment is on the rise, one fails to understand how the licence to exploit labour will actually help in tackling the present situation.

It is high time that people accepted that population explosion is the real cause behind most of the problems faced by India, and that immediate steps need to be taken to control it. Only this will help us secure the future of the country. Faced with the crisis, the government is doing some good work but all efforts made in this direction seem to be too little, too late. The heart-wrenching images of migrant workers trudging their way back home put the whole system to shame, not the government alone.

Whether it is the factory owners or the households employing domestic help, people in positions of privilege should have loosened their purse-strings a little. The collective selfishness of the upper classes has come to the fore in this crisis. Instead of just criticizing the government, salaried people as well as business owners could have contributed more generously for the benefit of the ones in need. Perhaps such gestures would have been more meaningful than writing preachy posts on social media platforms. An amount of as much as Rs 500 could help a family survive for days in rural areas, even if the rich cannot appreciate its worth. The government is doing its bit to handle the disaster. It is the bureaucrats who must ensure that the benefits of the policies undertaken reach the last man.

Subodh Jha,


A storm is coming

Sir — As if dealing with Covid-19 were not enough, now India must prepare to defend itself from the onslaught of the cyclonic storm, Amphan. Even ahead of the landfall, the storm has shaken up Kanyakumari.

West Bengal and Odisha are likely to witness considerable devastation. This calls for urgent planning. Bengal should consult the disaster management teams of Odisha, the laudable efforts of which saved many lives during the storm, Fani, last year.

Trishita Choudhury,

North 24 Parganas