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Letters to THE EDITOR

No Bandh Please
Out of the many dismal things that affect the general burgesses of a conurbation at large, one such is an unexpected Assam bandh, Bharat bandh or chakka bandh. Such announcement of bandhs, or what can be termed as ceasing of running of transport (both public and private), has over the years only made the lives of the common people miserable without any good impact.

This brings us to the chakka bandh called on June 4 that completely destroyed the normal lives of citizens. The bandh on the first day of the week not only paralysed the normal scenario of the city, but also saw school students, office goers, and other commoners remaining stranded at bus stoppages for hours and hours waiting for a city bus or a rented vehicle. Along with this, the temperature of a typical summer day in Guwahati further worsened the situation. So, all in all, life became paralysed, people were harassed, and important functions got postponed. Hence the important question that arises out of this is: What is the absolute necessity of calling such bandhs?

The chakka bandh, which was basically called against the government because of higher prices of fuels, made the people perplexed as to whether it would have any positive impact or not. But the general public has already developed a clear perception that bandhs can never bring positive impact to the society. Added to this, because of these bandhs, the honourable ministers or government officials do not suffer but it is the bevy of common people that feels the adverse consequences.

So, the organizations, associations or groups that call these bandhs should realize the fact that such bandhs will not have any positive impact or will not change anything for good, something which all of us have descried over the years. So, for the benefit of all, bandhs should not be announced, rather proper and apt steps should be taken in order to bring positive changes to the society.
Bishaldeep Kakati,

Beware of Tobacco!
The Anti-Tobacco Act in Assam has become a farcical exercise. If the addicted people once develop the habit of using tobacco in any form – chewing, smoking etc – they find it difficult later on to give up the habit, knowing it fully well that it is injurious to health. Most of these addicted people could see the death of their tobacco-taking fraternity dying under their nose due to heart attacks, lung diseases and cancer, mostly oral or in oesophagus, but either these deaths or the languishing ones having suffered from the deadly diseases are not enough to drive home the points. A report in the media suggests that one-sixth of the world’s total population die in India only due to tobacco-related diseases. The report also suggests that India secures the second highest position in tobacco consumption in the world.

It is shocking news that those taking tobacco in the northeastern region have a higher chance of developing diseases like cancer, and the death rate is also alarming. An international survey points out that the number of smokers has come down in Assam but 50.5% of men and 32.5% of women have the habit of non-smoking tobacco. The present ruling dispensation, like its predecessor, does not appear to have taken any serious steps to combat the vital issue concerning the health of the people. In the initial stage, certain measures were taken such as banning the sale of tobacco products, but as days have rolled by, no such measure appears to have been taken. One funny thing is that we would see myriad policemen taking khaini or other tobacco products like gutkha, and they are also seen smoking. From this only we can gauge the gravity of concern in the ministers at the helm. A farcical exercise indeed!
Ashok Bordoloi,

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Ankur Kalita