Letters to the Editor — May 13, 2020

Name of the game

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated large parts of the world and India is no exception. The corporate sector has borne the brunt of the lockdown as machines have ground to a halt and production has come to a standstill. The exodus of migrant labour is certain to leave its strong impact on several industries, notably the construction sector, as these workers have been contributing a great deal to the working of this sector over the years. It is a shame now that States, which have not cared to erase the perception that they have always been hand in glove with large industrialists, are now investing their time, in a shameful way, in devising ways and means to scuttle the rights of the labour force by suspending the operation of labour laws, and thereby depriving workers of their legitimate rights. Extended working hours are in the offing and managements would be free to hire and fire workers, who in turn would not be able to take recourse to the law as the law itself would stand suspended. A grave assault on labour rights is on the anvil and it is the corporate sector that stands to benefit. The constitutionality of these moves is questionable. The total mishandling of the migrant labour issue by States and the Centre is an indication that there is all-round discrimination against the working class in the country. This is a disturbing trend as the rights of the labour class are enshrined in the Constitution; their abrogation would only usher in a situation where the working community would turn into putty at the hands of managements who in turn would be aided and abetted by State governments. The Opposition parties should raise their voice. Workers’ unions too should not be caught napping.

C.V. Aravind,



Still unsure

At the end of nearly two months, one would think that there would be some clear direction. However, the nation does not look confident at this crucial time. Actually, it looks uncertain and confused about what to do. A lack of unity of purpose is evident. There have been a number of arbitrary decisions, one of which is to run 15 pairs of long distance trains. What is the logic behind such a move in a crisis ? It would be a difficult task for States to track and trace the number of passengers and their whereabouts. Without any public transport, how will the passengers move out or even reach railway stations? The government’s failure to come out with a package for migrant labourers has only exacerbated their miseries. The mission “Vande Bharat”, aimed at bringing back Indians stranded overseas, is odd. How can it be even called a mission when an airfare is being charged? The government must take a broader view of the situation and show proper understanding of the challenges.

Venu G.S.,

Kalluvathukkal, Kollam, Kerala

There is every reason for there to be much confusion. It is clear that the way forward will be in the form of relaxation of some rules. But, simultaneously, we are also alive to the danger of rising numbers of active COVID-19 cases, which only calls for more stringent implementation of a lockdown and more testing to be carried out. With some rail services being permitted, there is bound to be a spurt in active cases. Migrant workers are also reaching their home towns after undergoing much trauma. It is a pity and a shame that they have not been guaranteed dignity and basic rights. No nation can afford to alienate such a big and productive section of its population. Now, the manufacturing section says it can gear up production and supply only after the return of the migrant workers. There is indeed much chaos.

A.G. Rajmohan,

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

A chemical concoction

The heading of a report, “Ayurvedic pharmacist dies after drinking concoction” (Chennai May 9, 2020), gives the impression that the pharmacist drank an Ayurvedic “concoction” made to treat COVID-19. The fact is that he drank a combination of nitric oxide and sodium nitrate, which are not Ayurvedic ingredients. The report implicitly discredits Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic texts deal with epidemics, fevers and contagious diseases at great length. This ancient knowledge should be made use of to find a way of tackling this pandemic. Incidentally, China seems to have brought the epidemic under control in Wuhan by bringing in, among other things, a couple of thousand doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) — it is similar to Ayurveda — to work along with allopathic doctors. However, we in India continue to view Ayurveda with scepticism. We ought to be using all our medical resources, from various schools of medicine, to end this epidemic.

Preetha Kannan,


A letter from the Editor

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:22:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-may-13-2020/article31568644.ece

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