On the Coalgate issue, the UPA government has repeatedly said it has nothing to hide. One who guards the lake need not declare every now and then that he has not tasted the waters. Just because Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is deemed to be honest, he need not be certified as being above board on all issues.

Now that the former Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh, has said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is equally accountable in allocating a coal block to Hindalco, the blame game will soon peter out and none will be held liable. Already, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has admonished the CBI for naming Kumar Mangalam Birla in the scam. The smoke will soon die down.

Sivamani Vasudevan,


That the entire business community and the Commerce Minister have joined hands to oppose the CBI after it filed an FIR against the former Coal Secretary and Mr. Birla in the Coalgate scam is surprising. It amounts to a subversion of investigation which is being monitored by the Supreme Court.

R. Srinivasan,


The CBI has named only the former Coal Secretary and Mr. Birla, a beneficiary, in its FIR as if the Prime Minister had no role to play in allotting the coal block. Is it fair?

K.M. Lakshmana Rao,


Dr. Singh will remain the most hounded Prime Minister. The latest issue haunting him is the coal scam. It is amazing that he still continues in office, thanks to his loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family. It is a pity that morality in politics has plumbed to unimaginable depths.

V.S. Ganeshan,


It is disgusting to see officials responsible for implementing the law and government policies running for cover and shifting the blame for their actions to Ministers. It is natural for Ministers, MLAs and MPs, who are elected representatives, to be approached by private companies and individuals for recommendations. It is the duty of officials who are vested with powers to follow the rule book.

If, as Mr. Parakh argues, the Prime Minister is equally accountable as he approved the coal block allocation to Hindalco, what was the need for a screening committee? Bureaucrats are duty-bound to follow the rules, not act as rubber stamps of Ministers. Ministers and governments come and go but civil servants are the pillars of the system.

K.N. Bhagavan,


Caste conflicts

It is very true that the Dravidian parties — for that matter all political parties — of Tamil Nadu have been paying only lip service to the cause of Dalits (“A new churning in the caste cauldron,” Oct. 17). This is evident from the socio-economic condition of Dalits.

PMK leader S. Ramadoss has taken the initiative to form the All Community Federation with the 2014 election in mind. He knows that going it alone in the election is risky. He has, therefore, assumed the role of championing the interests of the intermediate castes.

P. Saravanan,


It is a fact that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been misused against many innocent people. This explains the acquittal of many of those arrested under the Act.

I appreciate Dr. Ramadoss for his bold stand of opposing the Act.

V. Balakrishnan,


Futile act

That the government is engaged in a futile act of excavation in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, allegedly because a priest dreamt about gold treasure buried under the earth, is shameful.

With such superstitious people at the helm, how we can expect rationalism to grow?

Rajdeep Singh,


T tangle

When, in 1984, the democratically elected NTR government of Andhra Pradesh was dismissed in the most unceremonious manner, there was a mass movement demanding that power be restored to him. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi saw the writing on the wall and got the decision to dismiss the government reversed.

The Congress should similarly respect the public opinion against the division of the State and roll back its decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh. Reversing a decision which is against the larger public interest needs tremendous courage. It will only enhance the prestige of the party.

Bh. Subrahmanyam,


The demand for a separate state of Telangana has existed for the last 60 years. It came from those who struggled and fought against injustice. Many people have sacrificed their lives for the cause.

With the Congress deciding to grant statehood to Telangana, the people of Seemandhra have started an agitation for a united Andhra Pradesh. It is the politicians, bureaucrats and capitalists of the region who are exploiting the agitation for their ends.

Samala Rajendra Prasad,


Messy affair

The solution to stinky drains lies in screening and treating effluents before they enter the drains (“No covering up this mess,” Oct. 18). It requires careful design, proper engineering, and detailed attention to the collection and treatment of water-borne waste in catchments. Municipalities and public works departments the world over perform this task.

Concrete storm channels that were built in the past are being converted to natural soft channels to control flooding and improve ground water recharge. The hasty decision to concretise kilometres of drains is short-sighted and wasteful.

Ashok B. Lall,

New Delhi

Concretising nallahs is not a practical solution as lack of seepage will lead to flooding at endpoints. However, paving over is a reasonable option provided ample cross-section is available to flush out blocks and some sections are left open for inspection.

D. Harikrishnan,


The Cooum river in Chennai was once a source of drinking water and it ferried people across. But today it is in a dismal state. Urbanisation and dense population in cities and metropolises are the main causes for the mess.

The problem can be solved by improving infrastructure and employment opportunities in rural areas. At the same time, we should understand that it is not just the government’s duty to protect the environment. Citizens must also respect the ecological system.

C. Dhanashekar,


On stampedes

It was not only administrative failure that was evident in Datia and Kumbh but also the failure of people to adapt and evolve with time. Religious extravaganzas become irrelevant with time but we are very slow in realising this. Religion should be seen as a means to developing spiritual relationship between the self and god. We should not cling to outdated traditions for eternity.

Abhishek Kunal,


Disasters occur at places of worship due to huge gatherings of people and the failure of government agencies to take appropriate crowd control measures. There is, however, another aspect that bears mention. Pilgrims gather at places of worship to observe rituals, make offerings, do pujas, etc., to appease god.

“Aham brhmasmi” is the essence of Hindu religion. God is nowhere but in the self. Salvation or moksh is a state of mind. To attain such a state, practise meditation and yoga. The conquest of mind is the greatest victory.

C. Subrahmanyan,


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