Doctors’ strike: Why punish the patients?  


The agitating doctors in West Bengal are reported to have stuck to their guns even though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday claimed that she has accepted all their demands. Unfortunately, the doctors are still on the path of strike without having a prick of conscience in their hearts towards millions of patients who are now left in the lurch.

Adding insult to injury, the Indian Medical Association, an apex body of doctors called for a strike on Monday in protest against the recent assault on doctors in West Bengal. On whatever grounds, the strike called for by the doctors is nothing short of a war against the dying patients in the country. It is true that the doctors in the country are a respected lot and they are not supposed to resort to strike considering their role which is so vital and is of paramount importance in the health care system. The reason behind the declaration of strike by the IMA was the assault on doctors in West Bengal. This incident and its impact was  confined to only West Bengal and the issue itself should have been localised and not dragged to the whole of India to make it a national issue . Sure medical doctors are also part and parcel of our society and they may be facing problems too. Hence the assault on doctors is to be condemned and the guilty are to be punished at any cost. But expressing solidarity with the doctors assaulted by declaring strike is something too much for a nation to bear. In the best interests of the nation, the IMA must withdraw the strike immediately and attend to patients who are in critical need of healthcare.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Kochi -15


Indians still die of starvation


A local train was to move again after its scheduled stop at a station for a minute or two. But the train did not start even after five minutes. Passengers became anxious. Soon, there was an announcement ~ “The signal beside platform number 2 is not working. The driver of down Sealdah local is requested to start the train.” As rail is an emergency service, there are provisions of taking alternative action in case of technical glitches such as malfunctioning of a signal.

Then why on earth must we not recognise that ration delivery system is also an emergency service, especially when technical glitches in the system keep on killing one life after another? Indeed, as many as 21 people have reportedly died of starvation in Jharkhand since 2017 as a result of technical malfunctioning of ration delivery system. Those poor people died after they failed to get their ration as Internet glitches created problems for existing online biometric model of PDS.

A few days ago, Ramcharan Munda died in Latehar village ~ 170km from Ranchi. He was not given ration for the last two months! “The area in Latehar where Munda died of starvation lacks good Internet facilities. This was reported to the district administration by the PDS dealer,” said Prasad who is a member of a state government committee to investigate starvation deaths. He rightly pointed out that the state government should make the food supply offline, instead of following the existing biometric-based ration delivery system, in areas with network issues.

India ranks 103rd among 119 countries on global hunger index 2018. Do we realize its implications? Can we feel the pain of being forced to go to bed on an empty stomach every day? No, simply we cannot. We have at the most experienced hunger only occasionally when observing a religious fast or for the sake of dieting. Not only are these occasional experiences but voluntary as well. It is difficult for us to empathize with the pain of those who are left to starve to death.

Indeed, we react strongly when malfunctioning of a signal causes traffic jam or a train to run late. But we do not cry out that loud when technical malfunctioning keep on killing our poor brothers and sisters one after another! How heartless a nation is this!

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,


For a righteous purpose


Apropos the letter “What’s wrong must be exposed” (June 11, 2019), I thank PS Gupta for appreciating my letters. True, in the midst of turmoil and chaos Albert Einstein had once said, “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” If we deeply reflect on this small sentence by one of the greatest minds of all times, we as individuals are to varying degrees, or sometimes fully, responsible for a number of ills in various spheres of life. What’s worse is that sometimes we also take the wrong side, knowingly or unknowingly, and find faults in those on the other side. Yes, a human being is not free from frailties. Even a very intelligent person often falls under the sway of long-held prejudices and surrounding influences.

Regarding my highvoltage letter against BSNL, “Is BSNL folding up” (ST, June 4, 2019), I will not budge an inch. I hate to write on my personal behalf unless that is affecting the “general public”. Innocent people seldom come forward to raise their voices. Instead, they silently endure their sufferings. So, it falls on people with some awareness to take up their issues in right earnest. The PA of the CGM, BSNL is unarguably a smart and sensible lady. If not, I would not have taken her name. She herself promptly phoned me to thank me, and sincerely apologized for all the inconveniences when the letter on BSNL was published.

What with Mamata’s  atrocities in West Bengal? It is a blot on the pristine landscape of the Indian sub-continent. Should we still overlook and keep mum that her MPs, her MLAs, and her cadres are overtly involved in a series of inhuman killings and intimidation? Not just that, some of the Hon’ble MPs and MLAs also have moved forward to establish a secret nexus with the dreaded terror modules. This situation had taken such an ugly turn in 2017 that it compelled the neighbouring Bangladesh Government to caution Mamata and the Indian Government. If not much, could we not condemn all such brutality upon humanity with serious words? Yes, I strongly believe that we should keep working for righteous causes with all sincerity so that we shall not be “guilty of complicity”. Of course, we cannot make peace with everyone.

The blocks of criticism must be jumped over with the vigour of right conviction and integrity

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,

Via email

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