Sir — While it is important to conserve birds, especially those on the brink of extinction owing to human activities, it is equally necessary to know where to draw the line. Pigeons, for example, have become a nuisance in many urban areas. In Calcutta, pigeons seem to blissfully co-exist with people who feed them regularly. The kind humans seem unaware of the pulmonary diseases that pigeon droppings can cause. Moreover, pigeons can be an invasive and aggressive species, often harming the local ecological balance. Pigeons that are fed by humans also forget how to forage for food themselves. Animal lovers must be more careful about feeding birds, wear masks around pigeons, and ensure that other birds are not being edged out by them.
Subir Chattoraj, Siliguri
Sir — Santiniketan, the town envisioned and built by India’s first Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Tagore family had contributed significantly towards revolutionising not only Indian education but also Indian art and culture. Tagore’s school at Santiniketan, Brahmacharyashrama, has now turned into the Visva-Bharati University. Hopefully, initiative will now be taken to restore the institution to its former glory.
Kirti Wadhawan, Kanpur
Sir — Santiniketan has received a well-deserved honour. The heritage tag for Santiniketan, an idea conceived by the former prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has finally come to fruition. Originally established in 1863, Santiniketan remains a popular tourist spot in West Bengal.
Murtaza Ahmad, Calcutta
Sir — The Mauritian regulatory body, Financial Services Commission, had revoked the business and investment licences of Emerging India Fund Management Limited, which is connected to the Adani Group, eight months before the Hindenburg report. Once again, this raises concerns about the group and the government’s claims of a fair investigation of its businesses. Shell companies are not adequately scrutinised by the Enforcement Directorate and the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Despite tall claims about corruption and dynastic politics being eliminated, prominent Indian business families appear to be above the rule of the law in New India. The Supreme Court must take suo moto cognisance of the matter.
P.K. Sharma, Barnala, Punjab
Sir — The prime minister hosted a dinner for the police personnel on duty during the G20 Summit. This cannot make up for Narendra Modi’s reticence on Manipur. Modi had promptly visited the site of the Balasore tragedy to announce relief. It seems that he involves himself only in matters where he can act as a saviour.
S. Kamat, Alto Santa Cruz, Goa
Sir — Mumbai’s iconic double-decker buses have been withdrawn from service to cut down on operational costs. This is disheartening. The red double-decker buses operated by the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport undertaking have been an important part of the city’s public transport system for more than eight decades since 1937. The double-decker buses have not only been part of several movies but they were also the favourite mode of transport for tourists and are part of cherished childhood memories for many.
Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai
Sir — After serving various routes across Mumbai, the famous non-air-conditioned, double-decker buses of Mumbai have bid adieu to daily commuters and tourists after they were phased out by BEST as part of a ‘modernisation’ and cost-cutting project. Sitting on the upper deck of these buses and feeling the breeze and enjoying the view was always a pleasure. Instead, 900 air-conditioned, double-decker buses will be operated from bus depots in Mumbai.
One hopes that the discontinued buses will be repurposed as showpieces installed on Mumbai roads. They will also live on in our fond memories.
Jayanthy Subramaniam, Mumbai
Sir — The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to extend the benefits of the PM Cares Fund to all orphan children regardless of whether their parents died due to Covid-19. One hopes that the apex court’s suggestion will positively affect the lives of orphaned children.
N. Ashraf, Mumbai
Sir — Artificial Intelligence is now contributing to public healthcare, education, agriculture, safety and even environmental conservation. India must thus suitably use AI and address several societal problems. But the path ahead is fraught with ethical dilemmas, data privacy concerns and the looming spectre of job losses. The government needs to prioritise ethics, fairness and inclusivity.
Shruti Saggar, Ludhiana
Sir — The number of community Ganesh Pujas has increased considerably in West Bengal. The popularity of the modak — supposedly a favourite sweetmeat of the deity — has risen among Bengalis as well. The delicious modak, which was scarcely available in Calcutta some years ago, is now found in many shops during this festival.
Sourish Misra, Calcutta
Sir — Ganesh Puja has become a surprisingly big affair in Calcutta purely because of political patronage.
Rima Roy, Calcutta