Published: Sunday 15 March 1998

Timely work

The article 'Bad Medicine' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 17; January 31) has been published at a time when a large number of people are preferring herbal remedies over allopathic medicines. Apart from the inherent advantages of Ayurvedic medicines, the tall claims of "herbal cure" by manufacturers of herbal medicines have further contributed to this trend. The article has exposed the unfounded claims of the manufacturers and also the defective manufacturing processes involved in Ayurveda. It is sad that gullible consumers are duped in the name of "herbal cures" while manufacturers are amassing huge profits.

The article analyses both the research in Ayruveda and the government policies in India. The stress on developing an integrated system of medicine is a right one. There is an urgent need to reorient and strengthen research on herbal medicines and protect Indian interests and its traditional medical wisdom. Another policy dimension is to meet the growing medicinal requirements of the masses at affordable prices.

Building up public opinion in this direction is the need of the hour.

Hanamkonda, Andhra Pradesh...

Basic rights of the people

B V Doshi and Utpal Sharma's well-written article, 'Unfriendly neighbourhoods' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 15; December 31) is an eye-opener for planners, residents and builders. All these groups must wake up and act in the interest of promoting a better quality of life.

The people living in metropolitan cities have become immune to the problems out of sheer helplessness. Perhaps an effective crusade needs to be launched to bring about a change. In this connection, I wish to draw the attention of the readers to an important aspect of city life -- the congested locations and polluted places where hospitals, healthcare centres, clinics, restaurants and hotels are being constructed thereby causing a lot of problem to the residents in that area.

Most of these complexes are built on busy roads with hardly any breathing space and greenery. Municipal corporations, town and country planning centres should take into consideration these factors prior to granting permission for any construction. For such centres are meant to provide some amusement, relief and relaxation to people from the stress and strain of hectic city-life. Don't the people living in the cities have a right to a decent life -- to be free from noise pollution, insecurity, congested traffic and the recent phenomenon of protest marches and processions?

Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh...

Herbal woes

'Bad medicine' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 17; January 31) has rightly questioned the authenticity of herbal products that are flooding the market. I have for long suspected the ineffectiveness of several herbal hair care products, but was unable to prove that they were fakes. Various manufacturers are selling honey and claim that they are from the finest apiaries in India. Some manufacturers do not even have any label of quality on these products. Also, rural co-operatives sell fine sawdust and claim it is sandalwood powder.

Citizens must be well-informed about the standardisation and quality control of medicines which are becoming an inseparable part of life.

Panipat, Uttar Pradesh...

Well said

The editorial 'Chidambaram's success' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 17; January 31) talks about what most people in this vast country want to say. I agree totally with "It's money taken from the rich and poured down a sewer". The tax payer's money is being squandered on an indolent bureaucracy. Our politicians and political parties are making mockery of our democracy. The people are just helpless onlookers.

We pay municipal taxes to get civic amenities, but instead, we have to dispose our own garbage. We have to make arrangements for drinking water. Now we are being asked to pay professional tax. This money is being raised to pay their employees. What a farce? If the common man makes a mistake there are hundreds of legislations to punish him. But there is no accountability for the bureaucracy when they make errors. If at all it is taken any note of -- an innocent and honest bureaucrat is made a scapegoat.

Thank you Anil for your courageous pen. Let there be many more like you to highlight such glaring government lapses.

Ranchi, Bihar...

Exceptional article

I would like to congratulate Down To Earth for the excellent analysis 'The red triangle' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 16; January 31). Not only was the article well-written, but the photographs, illustrations and printing were truly exceptional. The article analysed the pollution in the river Bhadar and in Jetpur and Dhoraji in an objective way.

Dhoraji, Gujarat...

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