I fully agree with your editorial “Posco in a political tangle” (Mint, 20 October). First, it was the Niyamgiri project of Vedanta; now, the heat is on Posco. I fail to understand why Orissa is singled out as far as industrialization is concerned. The state happens to be rich in mineral resources, but is very poor in terms of per capita income. Since independence, policies have widened the gap between the haves and have-nots. To be sure, any industrialization could entail deforestation, and Posco is no exception. In this, a balance between growth and conservation is a necessity. At the same time, there is no denying the fact that the political establishment, both at the state and Central levels, have historically looked for political gains at the expense of Orissa’s economy.
— Harihar Prusty
This refers to the article “Another medal well deserved” by Raghu Raman (Mint, 21 October)
Lots of kudos have been given in praise of the security forces for the safe conduct of Commonwealth Games 2010, but what has been ignored is the apathy and indifference with which the general public were mistreated, right from sharing information and transparency on security arrangements to parking of vehicles and viewing of the event properly.
The areas which could be introspected into for future improvement may be summarized as follows:
• Advisories: Prompt and regular advisories should have been provided on radio, national TV and newspaper for maximum information. This happened, but only after the Games had begun and people had started facing inconveniences. The security measures/drills concerning spectators could also have been shared for maximum publicity. Had this been done, people would have not faced the problems which they did at security checks.
• SOPs: It was evident that a formal communiqué on the dos and don’ts was not shared among the security forces. While objects such as coins, water sippers were allowed at certain venues, they were denied at others, and not returned to their owners. It was announced by a senior police officer without shame that banned articles would be confiscated and their return would not be guaranteed.
• Spectator friendliness: Putting multi-layered security rings around the venue and making it difficult to enter did keep the venue secure, but it also discouraged spectators who paid premium rates to watch the mega event. A spectator-friendly and authentic intelligence system build-up could have avoided undue stress on the “physical security” component.
The Games were surely a “no incident” event, but it came at a heavy price of resentment, inconvenience, harassment and indifference. Let us work out a strategy wherein innocent civilians are not treated on a par with volatile insurgents and terrorists.
— Capt. Jaipreet Joshi
This refers to your editorial “Wages of disinvestment” (Mint, 22 October). There is no doubt that the government must have been delirious after witnessing the 3G auction process and now-concluded Coal India initial public offering. The amount these generated for the exchequer is beyond its own estimation. Having said that, as rightly mentioned in your editorial as well, the government should not go overboard when it comes to spending that money. It needs to use it prudently, without further indulging in populist measures. The country is already facing a huge fiscal deficit, because of some schemes such as MGNREGA and so on. It is not that these schemes are bad, but the administration needs to ensure that all these big-ticket schemes are handled with honesty and transparency, as we cannot afford to have continuous fiscal deficits of this nature. Moreover, we should not forget that we have, as recently as during the Commonwealth Games, seen what happens when organizers are flush with funds. The government must introspect as to what is the best way to utilize those funds available with them through auctions and disinvestments.
— Bal Govind