Good job WKH Police

Editor,

The Meghalaya – Assam interstate border dispute seems to be raising it’s ugly head yet again with the Assam authorities trying to encroach on land that belongs to Meghalaya. Despite the fact that a status quo has been there all along and whatever development activities were to take place have to be with the knowledge of the state authorities, the Assam police seem to be doing the opposite. We cannot forget that four innocent lives were lost in an incident that involved a section of migrant Nepalis and Assam police personnel manning the border. The action by the West Khasi Hills police team led by its SP, BJ Laloo is commendable. We need a force that has the courage to call a spade a spade and to stand it’s ground for what is right and justified rather than being political pawns in the hands of politicians. It was a good job by the West Khasi Hills police to display their firmness.

Yours etc…

Dominic S. Wankhar

Shillong:

A country of hypocrites

Editor,

There are innumerable Bollywood stars and politicians who have uttered or regularly utter a deluge of cuss words, yet are worshipped by billion of Indians or liberally voted to power! Uttering four-letter words has become the “in-thing” in this society with the utterer gaining popularity and also getting treated as “MODERN” or “BOLD”! But when Bengali actor cum MP Tapas Paul had uttered that “rape” threat in 2014 directed at opposition parties; not only did a hue and cry reverberate from Parliament to media to the streets, but his career both as a politician and actor had come to an abrupt end forcing him to fade out from the public eye and live as a recluse resembling an “outcaste.” He was socially ostracised! What a punishment for a mere slip of tongue in the heat of the moment and for which he also expressed his unconditional apology!

In contrast, despite calling out in public to shoot the “traitors”; Anurag Thakur emerges boldly in Parliament within few days with all wings of the media(print to visual) featuring broad-smiling face of the Union minister of state, beside his boss Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on the occasion of presentation of Union Budget!

This double standard stinks. Why should we condemn only those uttering threats of raping whereas threats of “shooting” someone are necessarily accepted as par for the course? Again innumerable criminals walk free in this land or get bail within days despite gravest of charges! Persons accused of rape murder and financial scandal form a regular feature in our polity right from MLA/MP to high profile ministers or Presidents of the dominating national party! But if the person’s name is Tapas Paul, he finds himself detained in prison for more than a year just on the basis of financial allegation! Has his involvement in the financial scandal been proven in any Court of law? Who had compensated him for his woes! When humanity demands, “an accused should be treated as innocent until proven guilty”, Paul got treated as “guilty” until proven innocent by this society!

Tapas Paul is not alive today but he would be remembered for two reasons. Firstly, he was a superb actor cum popular star who made his debut with the blockbuster ‘Dadar Kirti’ and displayed his talent both in “mainstream” films to critically acclaimed films like Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Uttora. And secondly as a tragic victimised hero who through his plight in the concluding chapter of his life  has indirectly proved how hypocrisy, bias, prejudice, double-standards and pseudo-morality are in full play in this Indian and Bengali society!

Imitating King Lear, Tapas Paul could have safely commented “I am a man, more sinned against than sinning”!

Yours etc.,

Kajal Chatterjee,

Via email

Clean fuel soon

Editor,

It is indeed welcome that the country is preparing to switch over to cleanest petrol and diesel from April 1 with the purpose of checking choking pollution in cities. In this regard, India will leapfrog straight to Euro-VI emission compliant fuels from Euro-IV grades now- a feat achieved in just three years and not seen in any of the large economies around the globe. It is worth noting that India will join the select league of nations using petrol and diesel containing just 10 parts per million of sulphur as it looks to cut vehicular emissions that are said to be one of the reasons for the choking pollution in major cities.

The specialty of the cleanest petrol/diesel is that BS-VI has a sulphur content of just 10 ppm and emission standards are as good as CNG. It is reported that the change will reduce NOx in BS-VI compliant vehicles by 25% in petrol-run vehicles and 70% in their diesel-run counterparts. In the light of air pollution levels being very high in many big cities of the country especially in Delhi, it is necessary to find clean petrol and with the introduction of cleanest fuel from April 1, atmosphere is going to be cleaner. As it is well known, air pollution in India is a serious issue. Of the most polluted cities in the world, 22 out of 30 were in India in 2018. According to a study based on 2016 data, at least 140 million people in India breathe air that is 10 times or more over the WHO safe limit and 13 of the world’s 20 cities with the highest annual levels of air pollution are in India. The air pollution caused by vehicles alone is 27% and the industrial pollution comes around 51%.

Sadly, some vehicles are run on adulterated fuel blends which cause increased emissions of harmful pollutants. Adulteration of gasoline and diesel with lower-priced fuels is very common in our country. Over a million Indians die prematurely every year due to air pollution. Over the past decade air pollution has increased in India significantly. Asthma is the most common health problem faced by Indians and it accounts for more than half of the health issues caused by air pollution.

Sanjiv Singh, Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation(IOC) said almost all the refineries began producing ultra-low sulphur BS-VI petrol and diesel by the end of 2019 and oil companies have now undertaken the tedious task of replacing every drop of fuel in the country with the new one.

Thus, to the great relief of every Indian, the country is going to witness a drastic drop in the air pollution once cleanest petrol/diesel is introduced from April 1.  Globally, every nation is bound to switch over to cleanest petrol/diesel at the earliest so that the global air pollution the world over can be reduced considerably making the earth much more eco-friendly than today.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email

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