19 Jun 2024  |   04:30am IST

Letter to the editor (19 June 2024)

TerraPower is Bill Gates’ path-breaking initiative

From being the founder of Microsoft, the foremost IT company in the world, Bill Gates has now ventured into the power sector having founded the startup TerraPower which has researched and developed a new generation nuclear power plant that has begun work in Wyoming, United States, a new concept in nuclear power that has been developed from scratch.

Instead of using light water for producing steam, this new reactor uses liquid sodium and is going to cost about $15 billion and will generate 345 mega watts of power which will cost the consumer half the price that the present nuclear reactors charge.

Due for completion in 2030, Gates believes that at least 10 more such reactors will be built on earth and is quite confident that the figure might become 100 reactors subject to the availability of enriched Uranium as fuel for this reactor. It will be a big achievement if such reactors are built to replace coal-fired plants and to supplement solar power and wind power turbine generation on earth.

Elvidio Miranda, Panjim

Justice should be speedy, fair 

Our institutions compromised like in the case of the IIT Kharagpur student campus death where the second post-mortem has brought out that he was shot and stabbed which the first post-mortem was silent about. 

This is a major blunder which is seemingly deliberate to protect IIT Kharagpur. It is also alarming that the government authorities like the hospitals and police try to hide such a glaring injury that could have been a cause of the victim's death. This is also gross injustice for the victim’s family who deserve to know the truth of the cause of their son’s death. 

That common citizens can be taken for granted and given some wrong information to assuage their concerns and hide the truth by the government authorities is something that is very dangerous to society whatever their motives could have been. 

The same with the Porsche accident case in Pune, recently, where the Forensic Department substituted blood samples for bribes, which seemingly was a regular practice with the department with the price set at Rs 5 lakh, as reported in the newspapers. 

Money power here moderated evidence to get the perpetrators of the crime off the hook and that too in a case where two young software professionals were cut off in the prime of their lives. Here again the common citizen’s claim for justice was intended to be denied to save the rich perpetrator. What is astonishing further is that there was an established system in place at the hospital with the fees also set. 

This indicates that many would have utilised this system until now which sabotages and undermines the very principles of natural justice. Then look at the rape cases brought against Yediyurappa and Prajwal Revanna in Karnataka, the powerful are resorting to use every rule in the book to get off the hook while the poor victim in the Yediyurappa case, a minor who is claimed to be mentally challenged gets no justice and in the Revanna case, there are a multitude of women victims who are at the receiving end of social stigma. 

But these victims are common citizens, how can they aspire to raise their voices against the powerful? This seems the chorus from the powers-that-be. The India that we live in today is going through a lot of changes but there are some red flags that need to be set up which is that the rights of common individuals should not be encroached and that in the event of them being victims of crime, justice should be speedy, fair and equitable.

Srinivas Kamat, Alto St Cruz

Hand over KA to artistes‘ forum

As the condition of Kala Academy remains unchanged, a group of artistes have reportedly united to demand a white paper giving details of the repairs carried out at the premier cultural centre and the resignation of the Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude from his position as Kala Academy chairman. 

It may be noted that the iconic structure was renovated over a period of three years by spending crores of rupees. However, incidents such as water leakage in the main theatre and collapse of the false ceiling have raised a question over the quality of work undertaken. 

The roof of the open-air amphitheatre collapsed in July last year. The artistes reportedly said that the agitation against degradation of the cultural centre will continue to be strengthened further. Since the government has failed miserably in maintaining the structure and since artistes are the primary stakeholders of the facility, it would be in the fitness of things to hand over the maintenance of the cultural centre to the artistes forum. The government could provide necessary funds to the forum periodically for the preservation of the iconic structure. Artistes will also be in a better position to provide quality lighting and proper sound-system which have not been up to the standard. There are lots of funds and expertise available. The only thing missing is commitment on the part of the powers-that-be.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Train collisions: Lessons not yet learnt

The horrifying Kanchanjunga Express - goods train collision again points finger at the negligence of the Railways and also that no lesson has been learnt after last year's Balasore train tragedy. 

Are the authorities not concerned taking everything in such a lackadaisical , ‘come what may attitude’ manner which is resulting in so many mishaps? Actions are to be taken against erring staff, who play with the lives of passengers.

Rail collisions and derailment occur on and often and immediately after an incident what follows, is an inquiry, an ex-gratia , some condolences and grief expressed by the leaders. Though so many mishaps happen, the Railways, it seems, never learn lessons and rectify the errors.

It is bewildering to note that in an era when the most sophisticated technology is being used, accidents such as these are continuously happening. Hundreds of crores of rupees are being pumped in for bullet trains and hi-tech world class stations, but before that dream comes a reality, why can’t the higher-ups think of pumping just a few crores that can make our tracks safe and signalling system perfect and make common man’s railway journey if not comfortable, at least safe?

M Pradyu, Kannur

Modernisation without safety means nothing

After the Balasore train accident in Odisha, Indian Railways has been hit by another major mishap, this time, collision between a goods train and the Kanchanjunga Express in West Bengal, has claimed many lives. 

The goods train is said to have crashed against the express train from behind. Early reports attributed the accident to signal overshooting by the freight train loco pilot though latest reports have said he was authorised to pass all signals due to defective signal system since early morning.

Railways modernisation without safety measures will come to naught. The Railways Minister must let the country know whether or not his ministry is crippled by an acute fund crunch. That’s because not many trains seem to have been covered by the Automatic Train Protection System (ATP). There are ample reports of unutilised money for track renewal. There is no excuse for not upgrading tracks and maintaining them.

Training of linemen shouldn’t lax. Indian Railway Stations and Station Masters badly need a refresher course. Besides, overhaul of coaches cannot be stressed more. Every express train should possess the anti--climbing Vistadome Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches that prevent piling up of bogies in accidents.

Ganapathi Bhat, Akola


Idhar Udhar