A school-based deworming programme is a good initiative and should be given priority in earnest (“Giving schoolchildren a chance”, Mint, 18 November). But comparing it with providing meals or uniforms is not correct as these, too, are necessary for improving educational standards among poor children. The problem, however, is the implementation of such initiatives with honesty—something that does not take place. Money changes so many hands in such schemes that poor implementation is the result. Having said that, I do agree that deworming is a cheaper exercise and will ensure good health in the long run. However, whether district administrations will be keen to adopt such a programme is a big question.
— Bal Govind
In your Quick Edit “Orissa’s excuse”, Mint, 19 November, you have pointed out that the Orissa government is buying time by asking for development projects to be initiated in the violence-affected Kandhamal district. However, have you ever tried to think how such a turn of events occurred in a place such as Kandhamal?
There is little doubt that Kandhamal is one of the poorest backward areas in the country, perhaps in the world.
This backwardness should, however, be seen in perspective. Successive governments of Orissa, not only that of the ruling Biju Janata Dal, but also those of the Congress, did not have sufficient funds to look after the “better developed” regions in the state. These include Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and even Puri, which is a well-known tourist destination.
In such circumstances, what chance do poor and backward districts such as Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput have?
Since independence, the Union government has neglected Orissa—be it flood prevention, reconstruction after cyclones and floods, creation of infrastructure or other forms of spending or financing.
Private investment in Orissa, whereby companies stand on their own in the state, is a recent development. With their cooperation, some of the places in Bhubaneswar have been polished. The current state government has made efforts in this respect.
Taking advantage of this state of affairs in Kandhamal, Christian communities come there and in return for their helping efforts, try to evangelize these people. Hence, the fundamentalists react against them and these affairs go on. However hard the state government may try, these are issues that need to be looked at from the micro point of view. The district needs infrastructure to implement a surveillance system. No purpose is served by pointing fingers at a state administration that has done better than the previous one. I hope you will look into matters from all angles before publishing controversial edits.
— Amarnath Mishra
The Russian demand for more price for Gorshkov (“Russia asks India to pay more for Gorshkov”, Mint, 15 November) needs a serious response from our government.
It was recently disclosed that China has begun to build its own aircraft carrier. The implications of this move need to dawn on our government. Already, China’s submarines prowl the high seas. China has tried to rationalize its decision to make aircraft carriers by telling the world that what is more important is not the acquisition of the carrier, but what it intends to do with it. It says the aircraft carrier is intended for offshore defence, something hardly believable.
Russia is no more a reliable and steady supplier of defence equipment as it was in the past. Besides scouting for other reliable sources for our defence supplies, we need to strengthen our own building of aircraft carriers and defence equipment.
— S. Subramanyan