06 Mar 2021  |   05:22am IST

Letters to the editor (06 March 2021)

Letters to the editor (06 March 2021)

Vaccination and alcohol consumption

Goa is known as a place where alcoholic drinks flow freely. Many Goans have drinks on a daily basis. Hence it is often said that in Goa there are more bars and taverns than milk-booths. However, when we are in the midst of a pandemic and vaccination against the virus is the order of the day, people need to think twice before indulging in alcoholic drinks. Those who get vaccinated for COVID-19 should not consume alcohol till 45 days after vaccination according to MK Sudarshan, chairman of the Karnataka State Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

It is learnt that alcohol consumption may lead to impaired liver function in a person who has been vaccinated and the person’s immune response may be compromised. In such a case, the person may not develop adequate immunogenicity and the purpose of vaccination could be defeated. This was advised in Russia and the UK as alcohol consumption is a huge issue there.

However, US scientists do not recommend abstinence from alcohol after vaccination. But binge drinking and excessive drinking is certainly a no-no and should be avoided for at least a week before the first dose and one month after the second dose. Experts have also shown that alcohol can cause inflammation in the gut and can alter the makeup of the microbiome, potentially damaging the micro-organisms that maintain the immune system healthy. On the other hand, in some studies it has been shown that moderate alcohol consumption improves a person’s response to vaccines. 

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Criminal waste of food

According to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme on an average 50 kgs of food is wasted per person per year in India; Across the world @ 931 million tonnes of food ends up being binned in restaurants, households, retailers, restaurants and other food services.

In India where millions survive at subsistence levels, this is almost a criminal act. The enormity of this crime can be gauged by the fact that @3 billion people across the globe cannot afford a healthy diet. They say that charity begins at home and more so in this case as statistics reveal that households generate @ 61% of this waste. We should make a start by sensitising our children about this, teach them the value of food and stress upon them to finish the last morsel on their plate.

Also leftovers if any can be shared with the household workers or donated to agencies who further distribute it to the poor and needy. Restaurants can begin by serving small portions to patrons who can order more later if need be.

In India a majority of grain rots in godowns and horticulture produce perishes due to lack of cold storage or cold chain facilities. Smart storage coupled with just-in-time logistics would go a long way in bringing down squander in the Indian context.

Food processing industries should be set up so that farm produce can be converted into easily distributable items with longer shelf life, this too would add in some measure to lessen prodigality. We must do all we can to minimize food waste in our country where one in five people go to bed hungry. 

Vinay Dwivedi, Benaulim 

Power fools, blinds the bakhts

Currently, fuel is fuelling power to extreme heights. Petrol prices have broken the stratosphere and the BJP supporters are fooled no end.

Domestic prices were linked to fluctuating international crude prices; very good. But only till March 2020. That month the international prices dropped to a negative. Buyers were pleaded with to lift the same and store in all manners of containers. But the domestic price was maintained to pre-March 2020 rates with the Government increasing excise duty by Rs 13 and Rs 16 per litre for the two common fuels.

The Government effectively ‘sucked’ up these gains from the public. Later, when international prices came back to normal, the increased excise rates remained and domestic prices yet again followed the international market prices with a ‘new’ higher base rate.

Analysts state that if excise duty remains the same, then the revenue would be Rs 4.35 lakh cr as against the FY22 budget of Rs 3.2 lakh cr. That means the excise duty can be reduced by Rs 8.5 per litre anytime before April 1, and still meet the budget. Remember, the base rate in March 2020 had anyway been raised by Rs 13.

Now, what manner of ‘economists’ does the Government employ? Diesel prices will further fuel freight costs of all products. And what manner of Industrialists do we have? GCCI, ASSOCHAM, etc, have given their pre-budget wish list but no mention on astronomical fuel costs?

Political parties bank on Industrialist for funds and kickbacks. These industrialists used to fund all parties as they could not predict which party would come to power. The BJP now ‘favours’ a coterie of businessmen by ‘gifting’ freebies and contracts in many forms; MPT gifting berths is an example. They are actually ‘parking’ BJP funds in the kitties of these businessmen who will be ‘loyal’ only to the BJP. And the BJP supporters?

R Fernandes, Margao

Fight in Modi's name in West Bengal

To say that Dilip Gosh attracts crowds is a bold statement, and indicator of the tilt in Bengal politics, I am not sure whether Dilip Gosh will become the next chief minister of West Bengal but BJP always springs a surprise with its chief minister candidates, like how Yogi was chosen in Uttar Pradesh.

Modi and Shah, I am sure has shortlisted a few names for the post of chief minister in West Bengal and one of them is Ghosh.

It will be foolish on the part of BJP to project Ghosh as the chief minister candidate. Such a decision will help Mamata Banerjee as she had the same popularity in many parts of West Bengal. For the BJP, it is always safe to fight elections in the name of Modi and, if it wins select a suitable chief minister.

Diomedes Pereira, Corlim


Iddhar Udhar