Tatas should set a precedent
SIR, ~ This is with reference to your timely editorial, “Singur land-return” (14 July). The Tatas are among the country&’s richest industrialists. They are endowed with the blessings of the “Goddess of Wealth”. They have undoubtedly incurred a huge financial loss in Singur, but that setback will not considerably weaken their financial strength. Given their diversified business enterprises, they have the potential to recover.
It devolves on the company as much as the government to consider the plight of the farmers. Their land is now the subject of a protracted legal dispute. For the sake of humanism, the Tatas ought to hand over the fertile tract of land to the State government, which will, in turn, hand it over to the peasants who have been severely affected by the Singur imbroglio and are trying desperately to make ends meet. The successors of Jashmedji Tata, the trailblazer of Indian heavy industry, should set a precedent.
Yours, etc., Aranya Sanyal, Siliguri, 15 July.
STUDIED SILENCE
SIR, ~ It was the Supreme Court that decreed the schedule for the panchayat elections in five phases and with central forces. The state government was given a dressing-down when it submitted that the dates be rescheduled on account of Ramzan. The haughty Chief Minister had to swallow the bitter pill.  She played the communal card and was relentless in her criticism of the State Election Commissioner.  At a party rally in Lalgarh in West Midnapore district, Mamata Banerjee said: “If we  had a two-third majority in the Assembly, we would have definitely removed her.” Her remark only betrays her ignorance of constitutional law.  She must realise that the ruling party&’s strength in the Assembly has nothing to do with the commissioner&’s removal. He/she can only be impeached in Parliament.
Ms Mira Pande&’s attitude in the face of the criticism by the government reminds one of the adage ~ “Silence is more eloquent than words”
Yours, etc., Sayanti Paul,
Kolkata, 15 July.
A VERSATILE ACTOR
SIR, ~ Indian cinema is the poorer with the death of Pran Krishan Sikand, popularly known as Pran, who passed away at the age of 93. In his case, the adage ~ Man proposes, God disposes ~ came true. He had wanted to become a photographer but destiny took him to filmdom where he really distinguished himself in course of a long career. His first Hindi film, Khandaan (1942) opposite Noor Jahan was a notable success. His talents were utilised by famous directors. Subsequently, he acted in Madhumati, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Himalaya Ke Godh Mein, Johnny Mera Naam, Sholay, Ram aur Shyam, Kashmir Ki Kali, Parichay, Badi Bahen, Bobby and many others. Almost in every film, he played the role of a villain, but he was a character-actor in Manoj Kumar&’s blockbuster, Upkar. Who can ever forget his role as a Pathan in Zanjeer? He was belatedly honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award.
Yours, etc., Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata, 14 July.
SANIA MIRZA
SIR, ~ The Indian tennis “sensation”, Sania Mirza, is once again in the news, not for her performance on court, but as a brand ambassador. What exactly are her achievements till date in the sport so as to warrant the label that she is India&’s Grand Slam “hope’? In course of her career  thus far, how many ATP/WTA rank singles tournaments has she won? In a couple of doubles (women&’s / mixed) victories, she can claim victory only to the extent of 50 per cent. Her partners are equally responsible for the success. So why this special treatment for her? There are several other sportsmen who have brought glory to the country by their solo performance, but their achievements are not suitably acknowledged.
Yours, etc., Vineet Phadtare,
Mumbai, 16 July.
PARCHED LAND
SIR, ~ The declining rainfall over the past decade has affected the farmers of West Bengal&’s South Dinajpur district. It has nine blocks and a population of around 28 lakh. The land is parched and drought-prone. The district faces  a chronic shortage of water and  rainfall deficit, especially in June and July.
Apart from South Dinajpur, Malda and North Dinajpur  districts also have to contend with severe heat and scanty rainfall. Wanton deforestation, the construction of brick kilns and the filling up of waterbodies have had an impact on weather conditions. Farmers have been hit by the erratic monsoon. The district forest department has allocated a meagre Rs 30,000 for the afforestation programme.
Yours, etc., Santanu Basu,
Chanchal (Malda), 15 July.

THE LAST TELEGRAM

SIR, ~ Apropos the report, “Last telegram sent to Rahul Gandhi” (15 July), I wonder how many of those who are now referring nostalgically to the telegram had queued up to send messages to their near and dear ones for the first time and the last time before the clock struck 2345 hours on 14 July. And whoever bothered all these years for the telegram, which for generations had conveyed news, both the good and the bad. It has lost in the competition with mobile technology.
The total booking last Sunday was 2197, of which Bangalore had 959 visitors and the revenue collected was Rs 68,837. Those of the younger generation who thronged the telegraph offices had turned up only to watch the fun. The telegram service was used largely by those who are now in their sixties and seventies. It has died a natural death after a glorious journey spanning 163 years. It was started by the East India Company in 1850 on an experimental basis between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour.
Yours, etc., Gokul Burman,
Chakdaha (Nadia), 15 July.