Sir — It is alarming that West Bengal has topped the list of air-pollution related deaths among 10 other states with similar socio-demographic status in 2017. This not only raises questions about the role played by the authorities to reduce pollution but also highlights the abysmal state of Bengal’s public healthcare system. It would be favourable if the chief minister of Bengal works proactively towards the well-being of the people in her own state instead of focusing on matters which can be handled later. It does not take much; proper implementation of measures that would help reduce air pollution can make the state a better place to live in.
Sir — The prime minister, Narendra Modi, recently visited Arunachal Pradesh and said that his government was working hard towards developing the state. But in reality these are mere words; they will be forgotten as soon as political dividends are reaped. It is clear to the public what the Bharatiya Janata Party has been doing ever since it came to power. The prime minister’s only concern seems to be ‘development’, while numerous farmers are being driven to commit suicide. Additionally, several business tycoons have fled the country to avoid prosecution after defaulting on loans worth thousands of crores. Poverty and unemployment have gripped the country. Mob lynching has become common. Modi should fix these problems before making further promises about development.
Sir — It is interesting that China, which routinely interferes in India’s internal matters, objected to Indian leaders visiting Arunachal Pradesh. It also questioned Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the state. What is the problem if the prime minister visits the state and inaugurates developmental projects? China must rein in its aggression. In order to spread harmony in the state, it is crucial to maintain peaceful negotiations between the two countries.
Sir — Narendra Modi inaugurated several projects in Arunachal Pradesh worth Rs 4,000 crore. He also laid the foundation stone for the construction of the greenfield airport at Hollongi, and inaugurated an upgraded airport at Tezu in Lohit district. These steps will play a crucial role in developing the state on several levels. It will not only make covering long distances within the state easier, but also improve connectivity between Arunachal Pradesh and other states.
Sir — The Indian men’s and women’s cricket teams both suffered humiliating defeats against New Zealand in their first Twenty20 matches in the recently-concluded series. Both teams also went on to lose their respective T20 series. The Kiwi men outplayed their Indian counterparts in all three departments of the game — batting, bowling and fielding — and won comprehensively by a margin of 80 runs. In spite of a line-up of eight strong batsmen, the Indian men failed to chase down a target of 220 runs. M.S. Dhoni did his part by making 39 runs off 31 balls, but did not get enough support from the other end. Wickets were falling at regular intervals, preventing him from playing his usual role of the match-winner. Team India probably felt the absence of Virat Kohli. New Zealand’s keeper-batsman, Tim Seifert, deserves credit for making 84 runs off 43 balls, thus helping the Kiwis pile up a commanding total of 219 runs.
The Indian women’s cricket team lost their opening match by 23 runs. Smriti Mandhana scored 58 runs and recorded the fastest 50 by an Indian woman when she reached the half-century mark off only 24 balls. But the team paid the price for excluding a player of Mithali Raj’s calibre from the playing eleven. The New Zealand pacer, Lea Tahuhu, played a crucial role in derailing India’s pursuit of the 160-run target with three wickets in four overs. The leg spinner, Amelia Kerr, also lent vital support, as she claimed two crucial wickets — those of Mandhana and the skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur. A series which started badly ended on a similar note as well.
Pramatha R. Bhattacharya,
Sir — The Indian men’s and women’s cricket teams can make no excuses for their inept performances. Moreover, the post-match press conference after every game is amusing. If the point of it is to find out the official views of the players and the management on the outcome of the game, then only the coach or the captain of the team should be there. The remarks made by the all-rounder, Krunal Pandya, were disappointing; it is improper for a junior player to comment on the performances of seniors.
Similarly, Smriti Mandhana’s belief that she needs to bat for 18-20 overs to avoid another defeat does not make sense. It ignores the fact that cricket is a game of chance and displays scant respect for her colleagues and their ability to deliver on the field.