Fighting for what is right

Seven years ago, popular Indian social activist Anna Hazare had a big impact on the then Congress-led government, and now he is in the midst of a hunger strike again — this is laudable (“Hunger striker Hazare dismisses government draft”, Gulf News, March 25). The Narendra Modi government, without further delay, should approve his demands for the implementation of a Lokpal bill. This time, he has returned with determination, and how long his hunger strike will go on for, no one can predict. Apart from the bill, this time, he added another clause for farmers and their demands, which is remarkable. With his age, determination and the cause he is fighting for, he should be remembered and the Indian government should not neglect him this time. Will the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government respect this activist’s genuine demands? We will have to wait and see.

From Mr K. Ragavan


Don’t let corruption reign

Corruption is an everyday affair in many developing countries (“Fleeing billionaires push India to ground alleged defaulters”, Gulf News, March 22). In a growing economy like India, it has a huge impact. We have been facing major scandals, right from the Bofors scandal in the 1980s, to the recent Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi cases. Everything boils down to one simple thing – our system is not fully leak-proof. There are so many loopholes in the system, that people manage to swindle others and escape, scot-free. Although there are a few politicians who have been nabbed and imprisoned, our judicial system takes too long to bring culprits to the books. Jayalalitha, the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, managed to live a royal life, despite being convicted, and this can be attributed mainly to the judicial process. We have to tweak our laws to ensure that any loan beyond a reasonable amount requires lots of scrutiny, and the exit strategy for the lender should be emphasised, rather than for the borrower. Banning the travel of people who owe huge amounts of money is nothing new in other countries, so this should be the norm in India, too. I welcome the move to curb the exit of top Aircel executives, and a few other businessmen, whom the Indian government has brought under a net. We need to show seriousness in taking action against errant businessmen and other loan defaulters, as this not only encourages the public to have faith in the government, but also ensures that the foreign aid, which India still needs, can flow with ease.

From Mr Murugesh S. S. Sivam


Protecting turtles is priority

The mass nesting of thousands of olive ridley turtles is a natural phenomenon beyond the grasp of human imagination (“India’s turtle warriors embrace mission to save threatened species”, Gulf News, March 22). It’s amazing that these turtles navigate thousands of kilometres in the ocean every year and land on a beach in Odisha, India, where they lay hundreds of eggs, leave the young ones to predators and return to the sea. The eggs are buried beneath the sand and it takes 50 days to incubate. Due to high human intervention, over-fishing and climate change, the number of turtles has declined. In fact, their numbers have been declining sharply in recent years and they are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Red List, as they are on verge of extinction. Turtles are more than 200 million years old and have one of the longest lifespans among animals. Globally, turtles and tortoise populations are declining due to smuggling, climate change, habitat destruction and due to human consumption. Extensive pollution in water bodies has also threatened the lives of turtles. The fishing community in Odisha keeps vigil of the eggs until they have hatched. Soumyaranjan Biswal took charge of this mission from his childhood, to save the eggs from predators, and his efforts to educate the fishermen’s community in this area is worth a mention. In 1997, the coastal region of Odisha was declared a marine life sanctuary and fishing was barred in this area for more than half of the year. Now, the local fishermen are motivated and they are committed to protecting olive ridley turtles. I hope the joint efforts of Biswal and the fishing community will not go to waste and will help improve the turtle population.

From Mr Eappen Elias


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