20 May 2024  |   04:53am IST

Letter to the editor (20 May 2024)

Cleanliness: Himachal Pradesh versus Goa 

On a trip to some tourist hotspots in Himachal Pradesh, I was pleasantly surprised to see the good the cleanliness standards versus the horrible state we see on Goa of the same !

I witnessed practically no plastics including bags, cutlery in the commercial establishments and also very low levels of plastic rubbish lying around! 

Himachal Pradesh was the first state in the Southeast Asian region to ban coloured polythene recycled bags and also to enact law in 1995 and became the first state in India to ban plastic and polythene carry bags in 2009 while in 2011, plastic cutlery was banned.

The Goa Government needs to learn from Himachal Pradesh and have a strong resolve to address the garbage/plastic pollution in the State.  If  a bigger state with a much higher pollution can address the menace then why not Goa?  

Arwin Mesquita, Colva

Will the cops be booked for malicious prosecution?

The Supreme Court of India invalidating the arrest of Prabir Purkayastha, a senior journalist and an online news portal founder, on account of the total disregard by the Delhi police for the established procedure to be followed in such an arrest, is a lesson for the investigating agencies concerned. 

The order to release Prabir Purkayastha is significant because it emphasises that proper procedure and due process are the guardrails against arbitrary action, even in stringent terror cases. Will the police authorities concerned be brought to book for keeping a citizen behind bars for over seven months following his illegal arrest?

Unless exemplary punishment is awarded for such illegal acts by the police, there will be many more instances of this kind in the future.

Anish Esteves, Mumbai

Supreme Court our only hope

It is appreciable that the Supreme Court has found credence in an application filed by an NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) expressing apprehension about possible replacement of electronic voting machines citing the increase in final voting percentage figures announced by the Election Commission many days after polling, the longest being 11 days taken by the EC after the first phase of elections. 

The EC had been consistently inconsistent in announcing the final count of votes polled and preferred to issue only statements of voter turnout after the completion of every phase of election, giving up their customary press conferences, for reasons best known to them.

What is more shocking is that EC’s revised turn out for the four phases already completed went up by a whopping 1.1 crore votes!!! This represents the turn out change between the night of polling and the latest data announced by the EC.

Right from the manner in which the EC had segregated the polling process into seven phases, to allow PM Modi to conduct his election propaganda and rallies conveniently as alleged by the opposition to making the electorates in the first phase to wait for 46 days to know the results and the inordinate delay in announcing the voter turnout percentage, leads one to suspect the entire electoral process carried out by this EC accused of being partisan in favour of the ruling dispensation.

Under the circumstances, the Supreme Court should order counting of all the VVPAT voter slips and tally the same with the final voter count on absolute figures announced by the EC / EVM counts. No result should be allowed to be announced till this process is completed even if takes two or three days more to announce the final results. It is worth the wait when the EC appears to have lost its credibility absolutely.

Tharcius S Fernando, Chennai

Goa govt should be fare with nurses 

This has reference about Goa Nurses wound of unemployment, in your paper on May 18. 

At the outset, let me congratulate you for your good investigative Journalism. The plight of 118 qualified nurses stuck at home due to the so-called Code of Conduct due Elections.

It was reported that the students signed a Bond Agreement before the study Program (4 years ago)  that, they could not take up employment on completion of their studies. How can this be linked to the Election Code of Conduct? The State Government is neither offering them a job they are committed to, nor permitting them to seek employment elsewhere. Isn’t this a Dog in the manger Policy?

If it is indeed due to the Election Code -How could the government employ them for two months doing survey work and pay them – which work , is not all connected to their professional training?

Is the Government saying they don’t have jobs to give them? If so, why can’t they, in all fairness then for the 4 months they were not employed nor permitted to work elsewhere? Also employ them immediately for the next 6 months and save them from further misery.

Would the Government be fair and pay/employ them?

Basil D’Cunha, Panjim

Kudos to tribal boy for clearing SSC exam

Kudos to the tribal boy, Ganesh, from the Wanarmare tribe who cleared his SSC exam fighting the odds of poverty. The boy’s success highlights the state of primary education in India which remains terrible, and does not equip people to enhance the prospects of living a better life by studying well. It is time to set up a corps of educational extension officers, (like agricultural officers) to reach out to disadvantaged students in their homes, interact with their parents and provide support and encouragement, and even tuition help.

We should also consider lowering the school leaving certificate exam to 7th standard. Maths and Science get more complex post 7th and conceptualizing these subjects puts off many disadvantaged students. It is also important to encourage speaking skills in English to help poorer students feel more confident, and less inferior. Poor students have never been given their due. It is hoped that Ganesh’s success will open the government’s eyes to what it has not done instead of merely subsidising higher school and college education.

Brian de Souza, Margao


Iddhar Udhar