Anatomy of the crisis

Anatomy of the crisis

I agree with Prof. Barry Eichengreen (“Anatomy of the financial crisis", Mint, 25 September) that instead of simplifying the cause of the current mess to greed and fear, we should look at the deeper undercurrents at play. The dollar is likely to decline and what will emerge after the churning in financial markets is anybody’s guess. This implies long-term pain and restructuring as suggested by Prof. Eichengreen. The extent of the damage will, however, be clear only after deleveraging and savings initiated by US households. What this crisis has taught us is that a global watchdog that looks at global interests and not just those of one country is needed at this hour.

— Chetan Kapoor

As a Kathmandu hand of several decades ago but who never lost touch with events in Nepal, I compliment your correspondent Utpal Bhaskar for his extensive coverage of Nepal in Mint for about a week.

His dispatches show there is no alternative to visiting Nepal for reporting on events there. Surfing the Internet is not the same thing as reporting from the spot.

Very few Indian correspondents visited Nepal or the spot on the Kosi embankment in the eastern part of that country for covering the events prior to, or after, the Kusaha breach on August 18.

Only one point. The Kosi barrage is located three miles (5km) north of Hanuman Nagar (not Bhimnagar). An agreement for its construction was signed on 24 April 1954, work on it was inaugurated by King Mahendra of Nepal in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru on 29 May 1959 and the barrage was inaugurated by King Mahendra in the presence of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, on 25 April 1965.

Even in 1954, India had sought to build a 750ft-high dam across the Kosi at Barahkshetra with a 90ft-high, “low detention dam" at a place called Belka.

A Bihar government document says that this decision was taken “and abandoned" without assigning any reason. Congratulations once again.

— Arabinda Ghose, Former correspondent, Hindustan Times

The resentment of fishermen and the processing units is justified. (“Fishermen resent govt move on foreign vessels", Mint, 29 September). Western writers have brought out clearly how trade deals between countries have turned into “the new gunboats" even as the world’s hungry lose and old-style colonialism returns. An article by George Monbiot in TheGuardian Weekly recently, pointed out how the European Union is trying “to impose a treaty that will permit Europe to snatch food from the mouths of some of the world’s poor people". For example, in Senegal, the indigenous fishing industry is crumbling and Senegal refused to renew the existing agreement. But European fishermen have found ways to get around this by registering their boats as Senegalese, buying up quotas from local fishermen and transferring catches at sea from local boats. It’s blatant snatching of the country’s fish without an obligation to land them in Senegal. It is necessary that our government not only take timely steps to protect the interests of our fishermen and our processing industry but also tell the people what it is doing to meet this challenge. There have been reports in the media of modern Chinese fishing vessels coming as near as Sri Lankan waters — almost in our backyard — to catch fish, depriving our fishermen and our local industry.

It is good that Mint has raised this issue.

– S. Subramanyan