Letters to the Editor — May 4, 2020

The ride home

No it’s not the noise of clapping, vessels being beaten, or the vision of rose petals being showered from helicopters that India must note. It is certainly about developments that have set alarm bells ringing. ‘Stay at home’ has been interpreted as ‘let me go home’ by migrant workers. Their desperate attempts walking, riding or hiding even in concrete mixers to escape haunted ground have reached the limit. Their lemming-like exodus is based on the illusion that the other side of the fence is always green. And with colour coded zones changing in a matter of time, we need to ask ourselves what we are trying to fence out and who we are trying to keep safe.

David Balasingh,

Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu

While the decision of the Indian Railways to operate “Shramik Special” trains for stranded migrant workers is welcome, it is atrocious and inhumane on the part of the Railway Board to announce extra fare charges (Tamil Nadu, “Special train travellers will have to pay extra”, May 3). When the migrants have already run out of cash and are nearly starving, this is only rubbing salt into their wound. All the suffering they have undergone could have been avoided with advance notice before the national lockdown. The situation only points to the need for a national policy using inputs from States, the Centre and the employers of workers.

A. Jainulabdeen,



Urban planning

The severe spread of COVID-19 in Mumbai, more so in Dharavi, will prove to be a huge challenge for the respective governments. Those in power at the State and Centre should note the destructive possibilities of having such densely populated areas from the point of view of disaster. Relief operations become a nightmare. Therefore , it is important that measures are initiated to replace the slums with multi-storied tenements and dormitories for the working class especially as they are the backbone of economic prosperity. It will no doubt be an expensive project and may even prove to be a procedural nightmare, but it has to be done. Politicians should keep their outlandish projects on hold and accord priority for what will now become key projects in a post-COVID-19 world. The situation India faces now is a forewarning.

V.H. Subramoney,



Health plan

The public health strategy for COVID-19 has to sharply focus on helping people determine their infection status through widely available testing. It is most unfortunate that the Centre and States have failed to take advantage of the prolonged lockdown period to augment testing capacity. Senior citizens are the worst sufferers. A person displaying symptoms such as mild cough or fever undergoes psychological trauma because of lurking suspicion of infection. Prompt testing can relieve anxiety for the rest of the family. Hospitals and nursing homes face a challenge in treating these patients. Many States have not given permission to accredited private labs to test. The ICMR should revise guidelines to facilitate priority testing for senior citizens.

N. Sukumar,


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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:12:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-may-4-2020/article31495767.ece

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