Letters

Letters to the Editor — April 15, 2020

Different hardships

The interview with G.V.S. Murthy of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, on COVID-19 and people with disabilities, has shown the importance in providing preventive messages in an accessible format to this section of the population (Inside pages, “‘People with disabilities have special issues during virus outbreak”, April 13). During a crisis, it is very important to ensure that containment and mitigation activities do reach all sections in society. While international agencies and various governments are developing innovative guidelines to manage the pandemic among the elderly, people with chronic diseases and pregnant women, people with disabilities appear to be alone. This is all the more important as the visually handicapped depend upon touch for most of their activities. Many of the curent dos and don’ts of safe practices in the pandemic affect the handicapped in numerous ways. International and national agencies working for disability rights should coordinate with the Indian government to overcome the hurdles and reach out to the disabled.

Dr Sambhu Ramesh,

Edanadu, Kottayam, Kerala

 

Made useful

As the pandemic wreaks havoc around the globe, no one is safe — the rich or the poor, the haves or the have-nots. The underprivileged are the worst hit especially in India. The migrant labour population has taken a beating in our country, with stories of men and women and even children walking miles to go home across States. They have lost their jobs and their livelihoods and governments are extending help with doles which are grossly inadequate. Cannot authorities use their labour locally by employing them in conservancy work, unskilled maintenance work in hospitals (if they are willing) and other locally available government-supervised work temporarily and with all the safety precautions? They can even be diverted to help agricultural operations where there is no ban, so that they will get their wages and will not go hungry. This will help ease inter-State migration pressure and the risk of disease spread. This will also lighten the financial burden of governments.

P.K. Subramanian,

Chennai

 

Lockdown and studies

As the pandemic has affected children’s education to a large extent, governments must make it mandatory for all government and private schools to go in for online teaching. A particular timing needs to be fixed for the teaching of every subject and for each class so that at least some 40% of the curriculum is covered and students are kept engaged. A scheme needs to be thought of for rural students too.

K.V. Ramesh Nair,

Chennai

As a student in an international boarding school, in Phuket, Thailand, the pandemic has brought its share of woes. Our IB board exams were cancelled about a day before the government imposed the 21-day lockdown. Since the lockdown was communicated, it has caused anxiety back at home in Chennai as the number of cases in Thailand is on the rise. Thankfully, school is still open, giving sanctuary to students like me who cannot go back home. The Embassy of India is unable to help. Perhaps Indian consulates around the world need to reach out to the Indian community and be of some assistance.

Ahana Thakur,

Phuket, Thailand

While all of us have to accept the lockdown and the purpose behind it, I wish to highlight another issue. Students of professional courses such as medicine, engineering, agriculture and the arts and sciences have now been given a lot of assignments, tests and lectures — all online. Some are even being graded based on these online tests. This is where the problem lies. Unfortunately for them, networks, either mobile data or wifi of all service providers including BSNL, are very slow or intermittent especially in a rural area where I live, creating a lot of stress and fear. Parents are worried too. The media should ensure that the problems in the rural areas are addressed.

Dr. Premkumar Thomas,

Tiruthuraipoondi, Tamil Nadu

 

Social impact

As a person under quarantine after a visit to Kerala, I wish to narrate our experience. Though we did not have any symptoms, we were advised to be in quaratine. We have not problems with the way the health department reached out to us. The issue is about the panic the quarantine sticker has caused in the neighbourhood. We live in a house, which is surrounded by other houses. However the social attitude is distressing. We are an educated family and understand that the virus contagious and that precautionary steps are necessary. Being unable to reduce the panic around us is a challenge. All quarantined persons are not infected. As a close relative says, “we are being isolated by society just for being quarantined. I now understand how tough life is for those who live on the margins of society. Understanding and education are a must.

Vasantharajan G.,

Thiruvananthapuram

No change

The Editorial, “Malpractices in Elections” (‘The Hindu-From the Archives’ — Fifty years ago, April 14, 1970), has highlighted the deficiencies in our electoral rules of that day. Though five decades have lapsed, we have done precious little to make our election procedures any better. On the other hand, it is more difficult today, if not impossible, for an honest and sincere citizen to enter our legislative bodies if one can make a comparison with the past. It is time for urgent electoral reforms to make it easy for competent and honest individuals to make a difference in our law-making bodies.

M.V. Nagavender Rao,

Hyderabad

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 11:48:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-april-15-2020/article31342057.ece

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