17 May 2024  |   06:13am IST

Letter to the editor (17 May 2024)

Menace of street canines

With dogs barking hither and tither and the runners chasing them either, are some of the scenes witnessed currently on Goan streets and beaches during the dawn of the day. Trapped in a never ending frenzy, some times the hunter becomes the hunted. As was the case wherein a girl was chased by street dogs, but was saved just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, she was bitten by these canines, just to make the matter worse.

Subsequently, through sterilization, the street dog population should be kept under control. Furthermore, shelter homes run by government ought to take care of these street canines, by keeping them in their safe custody. Moreover, a little caution is also required while travelling on the paths frequently visited by these canines. Eventually, the authorities concerned should implement certain demanding quality measures to preserve the environmental integrity of the village.

Joseph Savio De Souza, Rajasthan

Romancing the old Latin Quarter

Sao Tome and Fontainhas are quaint reminisces of the old world Portuguese charm that is associated with the waltz, cha cha cha and the tango and still attracts everyone with the magical allure of what is still in good measure the Portuguese lifestyle may be the small little houses of Portuguese architectural genres as well as the people who inhabit this charming environs with Portuguese being spoken in many of these old abodes. 

The music that one hears now is a fusion of the romantic Portuguese love songs along with the English ballads of yore that can be heard as you take a walk through this charming little Latin Quarter, still till today wrapped in magical resplendence, which has a magnetic attraction. Two chapels that exist there, the Sao Tome and the Sao Sebastiao are both reminders of the Portuguese influence which has moulded the character of this Latin Quarter. 

If you enter some of these old houses, the old Portuguese furniture still embellishes and hold you spell bound along with the chimes of enticing music which adds to the allure of this quaint little corner of Panjim city. Experience the magic of this old Latin Quarter when you visit Goa, a thing to remember, and a sight to behold.

Elvidio Miranda, Panjim

Probe deaths due to deliberate starvation

Barely three weeks after the shocking deaths of two brothers from starvation, in Margao, another tragic incident was reported in Ponda when a teenager is also believed to have died of starvation on Tuesday night. According to the police, the girl had been fasting for four days every month for the past few months without even a drop of water. It may be recalled that two brothers were mysteriously found dead at their residence in Margao. 

According to police officials, they died due to extreme starvation. Their mother was also found unconscious in the same premises. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage. Ultimately, the cause of death is in general cardiac arrest, brought on by tissue degradation and electrolyte imbalances. Starvation ensues when the fat reserves are completely exhausted and protein is the only fuel source available to the body. 

Researchers believe that a person can live for up to three weeks without food as long as they have water to drink. Without both water and food, a person cannot survive for more than four days.  Dehydration happens quickly, causing extreme thirst, fatigue, and ultimately, organ failure and death. Deaths due to starvation usually take place when food is not available. However deaths from starvation due to fasting are very rare. The reason why people deliberately starve to death needs to be probed.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Nurture trees with love

There have been reports in the papers after the recent summer rain and thunderstorms that trees had fallen in Bangalore and Mysore. The maintenance and pruning of the trees was blamed for these occurrences. While this premise may be valid to some extent, the basic problem is that our trees in urban and semi-urban areas are neglected and tortured for the sake of ‘development’.

 If you see the trees in these areas, you will find that there is no space allowed near the trees where it embeds in the soil and which is most often encroached upto the trunk by either pavers or concrete not allowing it to breathe and draw nutrients from the soil. The issue is to make the tree stronger by allowing it access to water and provide nutrients to it, if you can. 

Thus we have to give a 1 meter radius of soil around the tree and not allow it to be encroached by pavers, concrete or other extraneous material. This will allow it to grow properly. Pruning is required of trees when the growth is unbalanced and/or the overhanging branches are a hazard to the roads. 

This can be done to allow the tree to grow naturally. If we follow these simple practices, you will nurture our trees and have perpetual green cover for our urban areas where vehicular pollution is a scourge.

Srinivas Kamat, Alto St Cruz

Blame it on Israel

This refers to the news report ‘UN condoles death of Indian braveheart’ (May 16). The death of Indian ex-army colonel Waibhav Anil Kale in the Gaza Strip while travelling in a UN vehicle is unacceptable. It appears the vehicle was fired upon by an Israeli tank. While it is not surprising that India is not directly blaming Israel, it is also notable that there is no mention about the casualties involving death of civilians including humanitarian workers in its response.  

Peacekeepers like those working for the UN undertake most risky humanitarian assignments in a war zone, but there are clear rules of conflict that, if followed, should spare people who work for voluntary organisations under the UN flag. As one of the largest UN troop contributors, India has suffered casualties in many of its missions across the world.

Israel under PM Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly ignored US President Joe Biden’s warning not to go on an offensive in Rafah and in fact, is intensifying operations there now. Nonetheless weapons and ammunitions worth in billion dollars are heading to Israel while the world is mutely witnessing what is currently its greatest humanitarian tragedy.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai


Iddhar Udhar