All work and no play
Sir — Is a nation’s productivity more important than its citizens’ mental health? The business tycoon, Narayana Murthy, has recently come under fire for claiming that young Indians should work 70 hours every week — nearly 14 hours each day for five days. The former CEO of Infosys pointed out that India has extremely low productivity and that the Japanese model of longer work hours would benefit the economy. This has drawn justified criticism, with people questioning the poor pay structure at Infosys which has remained constant in spite of inflation. Additionally, the implications of overworking oneself are scary. Murthy cited Japan’s work culture as an exemplar. Does he know that Japan has a specific word, ‘karoshi’, to define deaths caused by overworking?
Srijon Majhi, Calcutta
Sir — A train from Visakhapatnam got derailed after colliding with the Visakhapatnam-Palasa Passenger Express near the Kothavalasa railway station, leading to at least 14 deaths. These back-to-back train accidents — they began with the Balasore tragedy — paint the Indian Railways in a bad light. The lives of hundreds of thousands of daily commuters are clearly at risk. The Andhra Pradesh government has extended financial and medical help to the victims. The railways must, however, get to the root of such accidents and remedy the situation.
D.V.G. Sankara Rao, Andhra Pradesh
Sir — The train accident in Andhra Pradesh has killed 14 people and injured around 50. It is shocking that between June and October, three major train accidents have claimed almost 300 lives. The reasons for these accidents range from lack of maintenance of the trains and the tracks to outdated safety infrastructure and poor accountability. People thus prefer to travel via planes, which was less popular earlier. The Centre needs to be more proactive about ensuring the safety of existing railway infrastructure rather than launching superfast trains like the Vande Bharat with much fanfare.
M.C. Vijay Shankar, Chennai
Sir — The collision in Andhra Pradesh is reminiscent of the Balasore crash. Despite recurrent accidents, the Indian Railways is yet to fix its crumbling infrastructure. Introducing premium trains should not be prioritised over the upkeep of pre-existing trains and tracks that ferry lakhs of people across the country every day. Enquiries must be made about this accident and people must be held accountable. Those found guilty must be given exemplary punishment.
Jayanta Datta, Hooghly
Sir — Twenty-nine passengers from the collision at Vizianagaram have been hospitalised. Following the incident, 33 trains were cancelled and six rescheduled. The East Coast Railway has also announced that the to and fro lines between Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar have been restored. This claim should be checked out. The Indian Railways should ensure robust safety measures across the country.
Md. Mofidul Islam, Howrah
Sir — M.G. Radhakrishnan’s article, “Comrade colossus” (Oct 30), commemorating the birth centenary of the veteran politician, V.S. Achuthanandan, was full of interesting anecdotes. Marxist leaders like Achuthanandan and Jyoti Basu have earned the respect and the love of common people across the country.
Sukhendu Bhattacharjee, Hooghly
Sir — V.S. Achuthanandan is one of the tallest leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a great proponent of communal harmony. However, like many great leaders, he too has had his share of highs and lows. His political career will continue to inspire upcoming politicians.
Ubaida Abul Hasanat, North 24 Parganas
Sir — The price of tomatoes might have come down but that of onions, another staple of the Indian kitchen, has gone up sharply, crossing Rs 50 per kilogramme in many states. The government has a surprisingly lax attitude towards such spikes in spite of the steep prices of produce and poor harvest causing misery to farmers and ruining the agricultural sector in the country. Experts should focus on increasing production and supplementing farmers’ incomes with the help of well-planned policies.
N. Ashraf, Mumbai
Sir — While the festive season is almost over, abandoned pandals, wooden structures and hoardings continue to block the streets and litter roads. Puja organisers have not been proactive in removing these, making it difficult for pedestrians to walk and increasing the chances of road accidents. The police must take the initiative against such inaction and have the roads cleared.
Fakhrul Alam, Calcutta
Sir — After the double-decker BEST buses, the kaali-peeli Premier Padmini taxis have now been taken off the streets of Mumbai. Iconic scenes from Mumbai with these taxis lined up along Marine Drive are now a thing of the past. This is an unfortunate moment.
C.K. Subramaniam, Navi Mumbai
Sir — While people lament the phasing out of BEST buses and kaali-peeli Premier Padmini taxis from the streets of Mumbai, few think of the toll that these outdated vehicles were taking on the environment. Nostalgia cannot be a valid reason to ruin the air quality of a city. If people’s attachment to these vehicles are so great, perhaps governments should invest in bringing out e-vehicles inspired by these designs.
Rittija Roy, Calcutta