Sir — Life, arguably, is priceless. Does the Indian Railways disagree? The price of saving hundreds of lives has been fixed at a measly Rs 1,500. Mursalim Sheikh, a 12-year-old boy from Malda, recently saved a train full of passengers after noticing that something was amiss with the tracks. He waved a red t-shirt at the loco pilot who made an emergency stop. The reward for his presence of mind was the local railway authorities trying to usurp credit at first and then presenting the paltry sum. The railways had to shell out lakhs of rupees in compensation after the Balasore tragedy. Surely it could afford to support Sheikh’s education with far less. The child comes from an underprivileged background and his intelligence and courage will be wasted without proper guidance.
Beena Halder, Malda
Sir — A Dalit woman in a village in Patna was kidnapped, stripped, assaulted and urinated on allegedly for an unpaid interest on a loan (“Dalit debtor ‘stripped, urinated on’ in Bihar”, Sept 25). The accused moneylender, Pramod Singh, and his son, Anshu Singh, heckled the woman even though she had apparently cleared her debt. After the woman complained at the local police station, Pramod Singh’s henchmen kidnapped her. The police are on the lookout for the accused. This disgraceful incident underscores the lack of women’s safety in India.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Sir — The appalling treatment meted out to a Dalit woman in Bihar is another shocking example of New India’s prejudices. Women are traumatised and punished for speaking up. It is unfortunate that such predatory mindsets prevail in a country that boasts of becoming a world leader.
Aayman Anwar Ali, Calcutta
Sir — Many people, especially in rural India, are yet to receive the benefits of financial aid from the government and the banks. They have limited options and are thus preyed upon by local moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates. People from marginalised communities are particularly vulnerable. The Dalit woman who was assaulted in Patna is an example of this. The government needs to improve the outreach of institutions that provide loans at affordable rates and extend moratoriums and special credit rates to women from the so-called backward classes.
Arka Goswami, Durgapur
Sir — The Centre’s silence regarding the inhuman treatment of the Dalit woman in Patna is shameful. Recurrent incidents of violence point towards the incompetence of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in maintaining law and order in the country.
Fakhrul Alam, Calcutta
Sir — Nine new Vande Bharat trains were flagged off recently. The stations which these trains cross will now get a facelift. This will create more job opportunities in catering, cleaning and operational services. The Vande Bharat trains have become immensely popular.
Akhilesh Krishnan, Navi Mumbai
Sir — A recent report of the World Health Organization indicates that four out of five people with hypertension are not adequately treated. Only 37% of Indians with hypertension are diagnosed and 30% receive treatment despite the abundance of effective medications. Untreated hypertension can be fatal.
The number of people living with hypertension globally doubled between 1990 and 2019 and nearly half of the people with hypertension are currently unaware of their condition. Lifestyle modifications, such as engaging in regular physical activities, maintaining a balanced diet low in salt and sugar, limiting both alcohol consumption and smoking, can significantly contribute to regulating blood pressure.
Bishal Kumar Saha, Murshidabad
Sir — The article, “Pakistan’s spotty justice” (Sept 23), by Mehmal Sarfraz hoped that the recently-appointed Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, will work towards restoring the Supreme Court’s lost credibility as a transparent and unbiased institution. His predecessor, Umar Ata Bandial, has been accused of making a mockery of the judicial system in Pakistan.
This brings to mind the tenure of Ranjan Gogoi, the former Chief Justice of India, who had passed several judgments that had gone in favour of the Narendra Modi-led Central government. His subsequent bagging of a seat in the Rajya Sabha after his retirement cast a shadow of doubt over those judgments. The history of India’s judiciary, just like Pakistan’s, is chequered.
Jahar Saha, Calcutta
Sir — As many as 170 children from poor families across 13 countries, including the host of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, India, are participating in the Street Child Cricket World Cup in Chennai. Organised by Street Child United in partnership with other non-profit organisations, the tournament will allow children from less privileged backgrounds to demonstrate their talents. This is a worthy endeavour that could uplift thousands of children in the world who require protection.
M. Pradyu, Kannur
Trinity of life
Sir — Fungi play an array of important roles in the world, ranging from turning grapes into wine to having anti-viral and anti-cancer compounds. Yet, denizens of the fungal kingdom have long been associated with disease and death. But this will change with the Fungi Foundation and the United Nations categorising funga along with flora and fauna as part of the trinity of life on earth. It is no longer an exaggeration to say that life is impossible without fungi.
M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu