The article "Small towns, big mess" ( Down to Earth , Vol 7, No 13; November 30) was a study limited to eight towns. But many more Indian towns can be compared to the towns you have studied. Here I would like to mention Darjeeling, a tourist town often referred to as the queen of hill stations.
Over the past few years, Darjeeling has become an urban nightmare. Deforestation and unplanned construction have aggravated the problem of landslides during monsoons. The town lacks a proper sewer system and one often sees open drains overflowing into the streets. No one is bothered about waste disposal either. Traffic has grown by leaps and bounds. The roads remain narrow and filthy. These are just a few problems ailing the town. But no one seems to be concerned -- neither the residents nor the government.
However, I do not agree with Justice Banerjee's statement that there is no information on the health effects of pollution. Many organisations have carried out detailed investigations to prove that pollution-related deaths are on the rise in cities. The courts would do well to go through such information and take up an activist role in curbing pollution. Their role is important because the state has failed in this direction.
P S DEY
Received on email
It amazes me that even with all the modern equipments and satellites, astronomers could not predict the exact time of the meteor "shower". It took place 16 hours early. Let's hope the scientists are accurate in predicting the next shower.
RAVI S SHANKER
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