16 Sep 2023  |   06:09am IST

Letter to the editor (16 September 2023)

Need to be alert to Nipah virus

With six confirmed cases of Nipah virus, Kerala has stepped up control measures to contain the deadly outbreak. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday reportedly delivered the antibody requested by the state to combat the virus. With two deaths reported due to Nipah, Kerala is battling its fourth outbreak of the deadly virus. In 2018, an outbreak in Kerala claimed 21 lives, with other outbreaks in 2019 and 2021. Nipah is a zoonotic virus transmitted from animals to humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus strain seen in the state was the Bangladesh variant that spreads from human to human and has a high mortality rate, though it is less infectious. There are no vaccines to prevent or cure the infection, which has a mortality rate of between about 70%. 

The usual treatment is to provide supportive care. Infected people initially develop symptoms that include fever, respiratory distress, headaches, and vomiting. It can also cause acute respiratory syndrome where the lungs cannot get enough oxygen to the body and fatal encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, and seizures can also occur leading to coma. The Karnataka government has reportedly taken action to enhance surveillance in its border districts and also issued a circular and has advised the general public to avoid unnecessary travel to affected areas of Kerala. Goa too needs to be on the alert to the virus as many people travel to and from this southern state.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Victory for traditional shack owners!

It’s infact a welcoming move from the State government wherein the age criteria has been relaxed, and the traditional shack owners, who are above 60 can also apply for the concerned business. 

This move from the State government has gone a long way in providing decent livelihood to the traditional shack owners, that can be passed on to several generations. Infact, the taxi drivers and shack owners are like the face of tourism industry in Goa, as the tourists get their first experience from them.

Moreover, the friendly nature of Goans, along with its culture and cuisine attract tourists around the globe. However, tourists do prefer to spend their precious time on the shacks, interacting with the local populace. A type of bond gets created between them and they keep in touch, even after their departure. With tourism season just a fortnight away, it's a great deal for the traditional shack owners to start their preparation, and enthusiastically welcome it. Finally, a step forward towards victory!

Joseph Savio De Souza, Rajasthan 

Incidence of jet veering at Mumbai airport

On Sept 14, a private chartered jet (Learjet 45 aircraft VT-DBL) that landed around 5 pm at the Mumbai international airport from Vizag, veered off the runway due to bad weather. There was a temporary halt in flight operations for about an hour and half and flights were diverted to Goa and Ahmedabad. There were six passengers of a hi-fi company and two crew members. 

Except for one passenger, the other five were injured to variable degrees while both the pilots were seriously injured. Captain Neil Diwan with major injuries required urgent surgery is paralysed from below the waist and mediastinal hemorrhage (thoracic trauma or a ruptured aortic aneurysm). 

Captain Sunil Bhat has injuries on his left forehead, upper lip and multiple abrasions on his right leg.

Guess the ages of the pilots. The former is 21 and the latter is 23 years old! We presume that the pilots did have the requisite flying hours needed to fly a long-distance flight. Now, this is not to cast aspersions on these teenage pilots, but did they have the necessary experience to land and take-off in foul weather conditions? Were they skilled enough to undertake the journey without any senior pilots onboard to guide them? Once the Directorate General of Civil Aviation does a thorough enquiry, facts may emerge from the Pandora’s Box if the company that owns the jet had cut corners (pay less salary) in hiring the youngsters. The company could have hired senior pilots and kept the young pilots as their co-pilots. Hats off to the passengers who were brave enough to have travelled in a flight commanded by two youths.    

Sridhar D’Iyer, Caranzalem

FM shutdown: Can’t our Goan MPs help?

I was shocked to hear that All India Radio Akashvani will be shutting down India’s oldest FM radio station in Goa - FM Rainbow. This decision has been taken without proper thought, I must say.

The FM Rainbow channel is very popular. It caters to Konkani, Hindi, Marathi and English listeners. It has been part of our lives for the past 30 years. We love the music of FM rainbow and do not want to listen to inane rural programmes that are set to replace it. How can the government take a unilateral decision without consulting the listeners. What are our Goan Members of Parliament doing? They should speak for us. It is reported that the merger of MW and FM channels in Kozhikode was revoked after the Member of Parliament from Kozhikode approached the center against it. Will our MPs take up matter with Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and get this order reversed. 

Jennifer Viegas, Navelim


Idhar Udhar