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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Letters to the Editor: How restaurants are devising strategies to circumvent customers’ frugality

Readers write in from Calcutta, Kazipet, Nadia, Mumbai and Siliguri

The Editorial Board Published 23.02.24, 07:28 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Sourced by the Telegraph

Small plates

Sir — Dining out costs an arm and a leg these days. The ballooning bills at restaurants, fuelled by inflated prices of commodities, have ensured that diners are either avoiding ordering extravagant meals or cutting back on the number of items to offset higher menu prices. Splitting entrées among dining companions has always been a way to save money. However, restaurants are now devising subtle strategies — introducing hard-to-share menus and including single-bite food items — to circumvent customers’ frugality. But does manipulating guests in this manner not go against the spirit of hospitality?

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Senjuti Bardhan, Calcutta

Political flashpoint

Sir — Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas in West Bengal has emerged as a political flashpoint in recent weeks with the locals charging some Trinamul Congress leaders of grabbing their land and committing crimes against women (“The heart of the matter: LANDGRAB”, Feb 22). The chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, has initiated action against those responsible for the violence. However, the demand for president’s rule in the state by Rekha Sharma, the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, over the issue is an overreaction. Moreover, the censure of the Banerjee-led administration by the Union minister, Smriti Irani, is nothing short of hypocrisy.

The reason that these women dignitaries have been quick to criticise the Sandeshkhali situation while maintaining a stoic silence when it comes to the atrocities committed against women in Manipur is that West Bengal is not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Gender violence should be condemned irrespective of the political dispensation in power.

Zakir Hussain, Kazipet, Telangana

Sir — Some of the protesting BJP leaders in Sandeshkhali have allegedly called Jaspreet Singh, a Bengal cadre IPS officer, a “Khalistani” when he had stopped them from entering the village earlier this week (“CM keeps up heat on ‘Khalistan’”, Feb 22). This is condemnable. Mamata Banerjee has rightly derided the BJP leaders for their ignorance and lack of respect for India’s multicultural values.

Banerjee’s criticism came on a day India was commemorating International Mother Language Day and was rich in symbolism. The saffron ecosystem espouses brazen Hindutva ideology and majoritarian politics to subjugate minorities. This is detrimental to India’s secular ethos.

Iftekhar Ahmed, Calcutta

Sir — Suvendu Adhikari and his compatriots have rightly been cornered by the leaders of the ruling dispensation in the state for their alleged derogatory remark against a state police officer during the Sandeshkhali unrest. Denigrating members of minority communities and framing unsavoury narratives about them are some of the cornerstones of the saffron party’s divisive politics.

While the TMC govern­ment is exploiting the negative sentiments around the “Khalistani” remark to turn the tables on the BJP, the latter is keen on using the Sandeshkhali momentum to attack the Mamata Banerjee regime for corruption. The impact of this political squabbling is sure to dent the prospects of both outfits in the polls.

Aayman Anwar Ali, Calcutta

Sir — The leader of the Opposition in Bengal, Suvendu Adhikari, was stopped by the state police from entering strife-torn Sandeshkhali citing prohibitory orders imposed by the state government. Such a partisan attitude by the TMC administration is unacceptable.

Murtaza Ahmad, Calcutta

Change of guard

Sir — Prabowo Subianto, the controversial form­er defence minister of Indo­nesia, is set to become the country’s next president following the recently-held elections. This indicates a vote of continuity as Pra­bowo’s candidacy was heavily endorsed by the outgoing president, Joko Widodo (“Work begins”, Feb 22). It is likely that Widodo’s policy of non-alignment with respect to the strategic tussles in the Indo-Pacific region will continue under Prabowo’s watch.

Indonesia is crucial not only because of its strategic importance in the troubled Indo-Pacific but also for its role in Asia’s resurgence in the post-Covid era. The country should ensure steady economic progress and not fall into the trap of populist nativism.

S.S. Paul, Nadia

Sir — Indonesia’s de­mo­cratic apparatus is at a critical juncture with the election of Prabowo Subianto. Despite promises of good governance, Prabowo’s past actions raise concerns about human rights.

Tauqueer Rahmani, Mumbai

Parting shot

Sir — A tacit alliance exists between the former president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin (“Europe’s security challenge”, Feb 20). This has driven Trump to do Russia’s bidding on the geopolitical stage. His recent statement that he would encourage Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” validates such a notion.

Aranya Sanyal, Siliguri

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