Sir — People often try to slyly feed and touch the animals in zoos. But a group of tourists recently took things a bit too far and gave a newborn elk a ride in their car in Yellowstone National Park. Such man-animal conflict in protected areas, where many tend to seek novel experiences by touching or feeding the wildlife, endangers the lives of both humans and animals. In 2007, a man trying to get close-up photographs of tigers was mauled to death at the Assam State Zoo. Until recently, Alipore Zoo in Calcutta allowed visitors to buy bird feed for its avian residents. Such practices have since rightly been prohibited. Animal lovers can instead choose to adopt one of the animals in the zoo and pay for its maintenance and healthcare needs.
Sir — While revised gross domestic product data have predicted robust growth for the current fiscal year, policymakers should stay on their toes. The threats posed by the global economic slowdown, its resultant impact on India’s exports, the cumulative effect of the hike in interest rates last year and the El Niño effect on the Indian economy cannot be brushed off.
The El Niño could potentially affect the Indian monsoon. A rainfall deficit can take a toll on agricultural productivity as well as the availability of hydroelectric power and drinking water. The government must be prepared to deal with emergency situations.
M. Jeyaram,Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu
Sir — The official death toll in the train accident in Balasore stands at 278, making this one of the deadliest rail accidents in the country in over two decades (“Off track”, June 6). It comes at a time when the Centre is pushing for the modernisation of the railways by introducing high-speed, automated trains. However, the existing railway infrastructure is crumbling. This raises questions about the allocation and utilisation of funds.
Sir — The Balasore accident has dented the credibility of the Indian Railways (“Modi govt destroyed railways: Mamata”, June 5). While the prime minister has insisted that his ambitious bullet train project would bring “convenience and safety, employment and speed,” frequent railway accidents are a grim reminder of the reality.
Sir — Samik Bhattacharya, the Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson from West Bengal, has dubbed the train crash at Balasore an ‘accident’. Yet, in 2016, the collapse of the Vivekananda Road flyover had been referred to by Narendra Modi as “god’s message” to save Bengal from the Trinamul Congress (“In Balasore, Suvendu slams Didi”, June 5). This kind of politicisation of devastating tragedies proves that the BJP thrives on other people’s misery.
Sir — It is disheartening that political parties are using the Balasore accident to defame one another. Instead, they should collectively urge the Indian Railways to identify the deceased and arrange the transfer of the bodies to the families who are being forced to go from one morgue to another in search of their relatives (“From morgue to morgue”, June 5). It is also crucial to provide adequate care to hundreds of injured passengers. Normal train services must resume at the earliest to ensure that people are not inconvenienced further.
Sir — Our education system and society are to blame for the growing incidence of depression among students who fail to secure high marks in board examinations (“Collective obsession”, June 5). Not every student is equally sharp academically, but even those who are, need proper guidance. The last decade has seen a rise in the number of private schools and universities where it is difficult to ensure quality. Even state-run schools and public colleges have not been upgraded in terms of infrastructure. Children must understand that crying over spilt milk is of no use and accept their results — good or bad — with an open mind.
Sir — It is likely that Pakistan’s former prime minister, Imran Khan, will be tried in a military court for his alleged involvement in the attacks on the army by his party workers (“Imran trial likely in military court: Govt”, June 5). Although Khan has been pushing for an early general electionin Pakistan, the recent developments might cost himthe right to fight the elections.
Sir — In 2022, the Sultanganj-Aguwani Ghat bridge in Bihar collapsed after some of its pillars gave in. This week, it has broken down again. A probe into the collapse has been ordered by the chief minister, Nitish Kumar. It is disheartening that the government is building bridges with sub-par construction material. This is a waste of public money.
Mountain of waste
Sir — A recent report highlighted that nearly 240 tonnes of plastic are left untreated in Delhi every day, increasing the strain on drains and the Yamuna. Unfortunately, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is yet to come up with a sustainable solution for the management of the mountains of plastic waste. No major political effort in waste management has been made in India’s capital, even though it was a central political issue before the municipal polls.