Restoring the grandeur of the temple at Konark
Sir — The recent decisions taken by the Archaeological Survey of India for the conservation of the Sun temple at Konark, Odisha — a world heritage site — are welcome. The ASI will take down the decades-old iron scaffolding around the temple which, far from supporting its structure, only served to undermine the grandeur of the 13th-century monument. The organization is also taking steps to keep the structure upright by filling it with sand — a method used by the British to prevent cave-ins. These efforts must be appreciated and extended to historical sites in other parts of the country as well.
Speak with care
Sir — While economists are trying to come up with corrective measures to arrest the free fall of the Indian economy — data indicate a slowdown in growth to a six-year low of five per cent — the Union minister for commerce and industry, Piyush Goyal, offered a naive and erroneous solution: he advised people not to look at the economy through the prism of mathematics because, apparently, mathematics did not help Albert Einstein discover ‘gravity’ (“Einstain”, Sept 13). Both Einstein and Isaac Newton — the latter was the one who actually discovered gravity — must be turning in their graves.
When our ministers shoot off at the mouth, they care little for logic. What is worse is that they are deeply reluctant to accept their mistakes even when these are pointed out. Instead, they offer strange explanations and try to pass the buck. Goyal attempted to justify his comment by claiming that it was taken out of context by people wanting to create a “mischievous and baseless narrative”. Although Goyal has now admitted his error, he would have done justice to his position and saved India from becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the world had he just apologized when he was first alerted.
Pramatha R. Bhattacharya,
Sir — If the reason cited for the slump in the automobile sector by the finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, was laughable — she blamed millennials for using Ola and Uber instead of buying cars — the comment made by the commerce minister, Piyush Goyal, attributing the discovery of gravity to Albert Einstein, is simply shameful. Even schoolchildren know who really discovered gravity. The minister, a qualified chartered accountant, has now admitted his mistake. But if he had done so immediately after being told that he had made an error, he would have been spared the ignominy of being widely trolled. Instead, he accused people of misinterpreting his remark. Thus, Goyal has only displayed his arrogance and disdain for his critics. He clearly did not take the ‘gravity’ of the matter seriously enough.
Sir — While the country is busy joking about Piyush Goyal’s gaffe, the implications of what the minister actually insinuated are far from funny. Facts are the basis of any scientific theory, more so when it comes to a domain as reality-based as economics. Theories are meticulously worked out, and cannot be attributed to wild risks. Goyal’s remark indicates that the government has no concrete plans on how to improve the economy and is therefore bent on convincing the people that it should be allowed to take chances with their livelihoods.
Follow the rules
Sir — It is not surprising that at least half a dozen states want the fines declared under the new traffic rules reduced on the grounds that they are too stiff (“Resistance to new road fines spreads”, Sept 12). The main reason behind the numerous road accidents in the country is that the offenders do not take traffic rules seriously. They know that the penalties are easily affordable. This is especially true for owners of private vehicles — if they can afford such automobiles then why should they not be able to pay paltry fines? More often than not, the offenders get away with offering a little bribe to the traffic police, and the accidents continue unabated. Only the families of the people killed in such mishaps understand the pain of losing a loved one.
Most ministers opposing the hike in penalties seldom have to walk on the streets or commute by public transport. So they do not have a proper idea about the problems faced by ordinary citizens, especially the pedestrians. Such people matter to these ministers only when they need their votes. In reality, the higher the penalty, the higher the likelihood of drivers taking road safety rules seriously. For one, causing death by drink-driving should be punishable by life imprisonment.
Asit Kumar Mitra,