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.
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.
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.