India-Japan alliance in the works
SIR, ~ This is with reference to your report, “India, Japan to expedite talks on nuclear deal” (30 May). Such an agreement could turn out to be a military alliance against Chinese hegemony. China&’s claim over Japan&’s Saikoku Island and India&’s Arunachal Pradesh has brought Delhi and Tokyo closer to each other. The common fear is the Dragon. And should the alliance materialise, it will hopefully minimise, if not stop, the browbeating by China.
A large contingent of American troops is still based in Japan. An India-Japan alliance will tacitly be supported by the USA. Smaller countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines for example, are often threatened by China. If they also join the Delhi-Tokyo axis, it will really be a formidable counterweight to China and help curb its hegemony in Asia.
yours etc; aranya sanyal, siliguri, 30 may.
Cricket isn’t horse-racing
SIR, ~ Apropos the editorial, “Cricket and politics” (31 May). spot-fixing in IPL is not a new phenomenon. Nor will it end after the latest scam. The IPL is a commercial venture, and those involved are interested only in making money. Betting and match-fixing are inevitable when a huge amount of money is at stake. Such allegations will crop up unless stern measures are taken to penalise those involved in the racket. The IPL needs to be saved. It ought to be unshackled of political influence. Legalisation of betting won’t work. An activity that is illegal cannot possibly be made legal. Cricket isn’t horse-racing.
yours, etc., mahesh kapasi, new delhi, 31 may.
Better train travel
SIR, ~ This is with reference to the report, “Passenger amenities top new railway minister&’s agenda” (31 May). The safety of passengers, especially women, must be ensured, with an armed guard in every coach. The route-link across the country also needs to be reviewed. For instance, Gujarat&’s rail connectivity with Delhi is inadequate despite the heavy rush of passengers. There is no Shatabdi train on this route. Trains should be more frequent on the Delhi-Rajkot sector. Travelling on the roof of coaches must be a strict no-no. Passengers should be provided with menu cards to guard against arbitrary pricing of food.
yours, etc., mahesh kumar, new delhi, 31 may.
SIR, ~ The West Bengal government&’s decision to take over two Tara television channels is not a humanitarian initiative. There are political compulsions behind the move. The two channels, which were owned by Sudipta Sen, had collapsed along with the Saradha group towards the end of March. It was only during a Poila Baisakh programme that Mamata Banerjee came to know that the employees had not received their salaries for three months. It is an open secret that Trinamul ministers, MPs, MLAs, and even the Chief Minister had at one stage patronised the chit fund group. Initially, Miss Banerjee was silent on the issue; she was only too anxious to convince the people that her party leaders are not involved in the scam. As a damage-control exercise, she has set up a Rs 500-crore fund ostensibly to protect the interests of the agents and the depositors. She has not specified the source of the fund, beyond increasing the tax on cigarettes. This impost will, at the most, net Rs 150 crore. The amount is a drop in the ocean. Miss Banerjee has blamed the CPI-M and the Congress for the scam. Both these parties have demanded a CBI inquiry under the direct supervision of either the High Court or the Supreme Court.
The Chief Minister is vehemently opposed to such a probe as it might expose her party leaders. She is expected to initiate positive action instead of shielding her party and government. Her initial remark ~ “What has been lost, is lost” ~ proves that she has no sympathy for the poor investors. She has decided to take over the television channels to ensure that the government has a propaganda machine during the campaign for the panchayat election.
yours, etc., sayanti paul, chakdaha, (nadia), 29 may.