Dole masquerades as food bill
SIR, Apropos G Srinivasan&’s “Dream or nightmare’’ (1 September), the national food security legislation is an election stunt of the inefficient and corrupt Congress-led UPA Government. Theoretically, it is a sound proposal. But in practice, every citizen must earn enough to survive. In a country with a poor track record of implementing welfare schemes, the noble objective will be reduced to a fizzle if there are no systemic checks to ensure that it is not exploited by racketeers.
However, it is a fact that subsidies, as also the food bill which too is a dole by another name, will kill the motivation to earn one&’s livelihood. Instead of welfare handouts, the Government should incentivise the under-privileged to help them earn their keep. But India being India, the food legislation, like the other much vaunted UPA project, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, will only serve to encourage corruption and loot of foodgrain. If even a tenth of a rupee doesn’t reach the poor, as the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had once remarked, why even introduce such schemes?
Yours, etc., Mahesh Kumar,
New Delhi, 8 September.
SIR, This is with reference to the report , “Energy expert bats for solar panels at Writers’ Buildings “ (Kolkata Plus, 31 August). Experts of Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering and Science University have submitted their report for restructuring and renovating the State secretariat.
To complement this renovation work and to bring about a measure of synergy, Dr S P Gon Chowdhury, solar energy expert, has now come up with his suggestions on solar panels on the rooftop of Writers’. This is appropriate and timely.
The plan envisages especially-designed window glass panes with solar cells for efficient use of energy. The renovation of Writers’ Buildings should make the building “energy-efficient”.
According to Dr Gon Chowdhury, the Centre has the authority to convert a heritage building into a solar building. The state government can easily avail of this grant by approaching the Ministry of Renewable and Non-Conventional Energy with a Detailed Project Report (DPR).
The state has formed an expert committee on renovation. Likewise, it can constitute a panel to transform Writers’ to an “energy-neutral” building. Indeed, both projects can be executed simultaneously.
Yours, etc., Sambhunath Das,
Kolkata, 2 September.
SUFFER IN SILENCE
SIR, Maneka Gandhi&’s article, “The seashell racket” (8th Day, 1 September) examines a particularly unethical and illegal practice ~ the capture, killing and marketing of molluscs from marine habitats.
These animals without a voice suffer in silence. Poachers and greedy traders will never feel any compunction for such ruthless commercial exploitation of these aquatic invertebrates.
These people certainly need to be dealt with under the provisions of environmental and criminal laws. Such helpless fauna as seashells cannot never be safe from poaching unless humans in general, and not merely a few environmental activists, learn to accept the fact that such small creatures deserve to be protected from merciless killing and trading for luxury and profit. The fact of the matter is that humans are not sufficiently sympathetic towards members of their own species.
Equally important is the ecological aspect. Large-scale destruction of the marine population of molluscs is bound to jeopardise marine and coastal eco-systems.
There are vested interests within the administrative leadership. Hence the scant regard for ecological factors.
It seems hardly probable that ordinary people will by themselves refrain from buying items made of seashells out of regard for environment. Nevertheless, let us hope that mankind will someday live without making other beings die.
Yours, etc., Satadal
Kolkata, 1 September.
ONE PARTY, MANY VOICES
SIR, As often claimed by its leaders, the BJP has indeed proved to be a party with a “difference”. From its grassroot worker to former Union ministers, present chief ministers and MPs, party presidents, past or present ~ all speak in different voices.
This bizarre state of affairs has confused even its supporters. If the party is voted to power in the next election, will it be able to function as a cohesive unit? This is the crusial question before the voter. Or, will the government collapse soon after the allocation of portfolios is announced by the party’s Prime Minister-to-be.
Yours, etc., Vineet Phadtare,
Mumbai, 7 September.