Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: The phrase ‘nation wants to know’ had an effect only with Arnab Goswami’s magic

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Nation wants to know

The phrase “the nation wants to know” had an effect only when it was combined with Arnab Goswami’s magic (“Nation wants to know: Does Arnab Goswami stand a chance in trademark battle with the Times Group?”). It will be a damp squib when mouthed by someone else at TimesNow.

On the other hand, Goswami might need a new format and new game at Republic TV to recreate the huge following he had generated in his earlier role. – Som Shubhra De

***

The phrase, “nation wants to know” goes only with Arnab Goswami’s personality. It was indicative of him speaking from the bottom of his heart for us, the people people of the nation. It’s definitely his trade mark. We, as a nation, did not identify the phrase with Times Now but with Goswami. – Bina John Tharakan

***

The US should take care of race-related attacks on their own soil instead of talking about India. Do you want us to keep quiet when the missionaries from the West swarm our country and destroy our culture and the faith? The act of missionaries converting our people hurts us as much as this intolerance you talk about. If Hindus carry out conversions at a large scale in the US, will you guys accept it? You would also cry foul. – DS Rao

***

I feel Arnab Goswami is one of the best senior news reporters India has. I never ever used to watch TV news until he appeared on TimesNow.I’ve now lost interest in TimesNow. – Madhu

Water woes

The people of India and West Bengal need every drop of water they can get (“Why Mamata Banerjee refuses to share Teesta: The river has just 1/16th of water needed”). The Indian government needs to think of its people before sharing water with Bangladesh. With China building a huge dam on the Bramhaputra River, all of East India is going to have water problems. Bangladesh has plenty of water, they can build a desalination plant and provide water to the people. – Gaurang Bhatt

Criminal minds

This article gave me great insights into the “tandoor” murder case and why it is not a crime against society but one committed due to possiveness (“How the ‘tandoor murderer’ Sushil Sharma spends his days in Tihar Jail”). I am able to appreciate the thought and idea of an academic course structured by Sushi Sharma would want like-minded people to connect and implement this soon. – Kunal Mathur

Murky waters

The protest against the Naval Academy may be politically motivated (“Indian Naval Academy in Kerala is in choppy waters as residents claim it contaminated their wells”). Nevertheless, Keralites should know that the presence of e-coli in their open wells is their own doing. Many studies show that the leach pit toilets across Kerala are a reason for the high penetration of e-coli in their open wells. – Uday Shankar P

Going unnoticed

Please stop sensationalisation. I belong to Bikram, one the blocks that the writer covers in this article, and have seen at first hand the situation there (“In a Bihar district, an Anaj Bank has freed Dalit women from hunger and exploitation”). The author, Mohd Imran Khan, makes no mention of hunger deaths after the setting up of the Anaj Bank. That is insane. It’s good to discuss the benefits and success of the initiative but you cannot gloss over the problems.

Don’t make assumptions and write that will be popular just to make your article interesting – Mrigendra

Make in India

Why don’t the Indian government and entrepreneurs take the US visa curbs as an opportunity to boost local spending on IT and build a robust infrastructure (“H-1B visa changes: Nirmala Sitharaman hints at Centre retaliating to new US policy”)?

There is no doubt we make a huge chunk of money by providing services to the developed world but in the process, we have missed out on creating a research and development environment at home.

We have build a huge market in terms of engineering colleges but there is no check by the government or any authority to look at the quality of engineers we produce. This is not because Indians are not competent but the lack of good quality instructors in these so called engineering colleges. These colleges have just become money-making machines for owners.

Meanwhile, we are generating huge business for companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc but there is no such giant being created in India.

Moreover, Indian IT employees are mostly considered cheap labour.

Governments have pushed private organisations to make technologies which best suite their economies. But we are just following the western world without looking into the implications. – Talwinder Singh

Religious rules

Who are we to challenge the procedures laid down in the Quran (“If Pakistan and 21 other countries have abolished triple talaq, why can’t India?”)? There should not be any debate whatsoever on the subject. We have become a laughing stock. We have no right to remove the reconciliation factor during the process of talaq as dictated in the Quran. The earlier we resolve this, the better it is. – Irshad Ahmed

Cow clashes

Around 10,500 years ago, cattle was domesticated from as few as 80 progenitors in southeast Turkey (“Beef ban dominates political discourse in Goa ahead of impending bye-elections”). The cow is not indigenous to India like the gaur or the buffalo, domesticated by the Indus Valley civilization. It was brought from the West Asia, probably by the Dravidians. All religions breed fanatics, since religion is a social construct for social cohesion and security against the uncertainties of nature and of what happens after death. – Taumaturgo Furtado

Living rivers

When we consider non-living entities as living ones, doesn’t it drastically change the way we define a living thing, especially a human being (“A court naming Ganga and Yamuna as legal entities could invite a river of problems”)? One thinks of a human being as someone who is able to think, reflect, take conscious and autonomous decisions; among other dispositions. When a river is given an equal status to of a living being, it raises philosophical questions about those who are catergorised as humans under the traditional definition. Are there no theoretical/legal differences between a human and a river? Or are the practical differences between the two of no significance?

What happens to the idea of consent when a non-vocal entity is given a legal right and is provided with a guardian? It is certainly not a new practice for humans. Historically, several groups of individuals are protected under someone’s guardianship. Minors and women of significant numbers still continue to be so. Does that mean a minor human being and river have similar capability to reason and make decisions? Are they both unable to provide their consent due to shared reasons?

One also has to take in the view of the guardian who may have certain personal interest in the minor, or here river. Humans have to necessarily depend on the river to sustain themselves and develop. Would the guardian of the river not allow humans to use the river for their personal requirements?

From providing water for drinking, bathing and farming to using it for industrial purposes, it has multiple uses and a ban will not be feasible. It would, then, come down to striking a balance between using and exploiting the resource, which will be the human guardian’s prerogative. It is quite possible that the balance might not be fair and could tilt in the favour of humans. –Varun Khimani

Biased views

I’ve come across your website many times and almost each time, I’ve been dissapointed. Under the the pretense of being a news website, you are painting an ideology you support. Almost none of your articles seem to be a mere news pieces. Each one has a similar ideology. I find it highly unethical on your part. If you really want to post your opinion, then disclose it accordingly. What you are doing right now is nothing short of a fraud. – Shubham Bhartiya

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Making two-wheelers less polluting to combat air pollution in India

Innovations focusing on two-wheelers can make a difference in facing the challenges brought about by climate change.

Two-wheelers are the lifeline of urban Asia, where they account for more than half of the vehicles owned in some countries. This trend is amply evident in India, where sales in the sub-category of mopeds alone rose 23% in 2016-17. In fact, one survey estimates that today one in every three Indian households owns a two-wheeler.

What explains the enduring popularity of two-wheelers? In one of the fastest growing economies in the world, two-wheeler ownership is a practical aspiration in small towns and rural areas, and a tactic to deal with choked roads in the bigger cities. Two-wheelers have also allowed more women to commute independently with the advent of gearless scooters and mopeds. Together, these factors have led to phenomenal growth in overall two-wheeler sales, which rose by 27.5% in the past five years, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Indeed, the ICE 2016 360 survey says that two-wheelers are used by 37% of metropolitan commuters to reach work, and are owned by half the households in India’s bigger cities and developed rural areas.

Amid this exponential growth, experts have cautioned about two-wheelers’ role in compounding the impact of pollution. Largely ignored in measures to control vehicular pollution, experts say two-wheelers too need to be brought in the ambit of pollution control as they contribute across most factors determining vehicular pollution - engine technology, total number of vehicles, structure and age of vehicles and fuel quality. In fact, in major Indian cities, two-thirds of pollution load is due to two-wheelers. They give out 30% of the particulate matter load, 10 percentage points more than the contribution from cars. Additionally, 75% - 80% of the two-wheelers on the roads in some of the Asian cities have two-stroke engines which are more polluting.

The Bharat Stage (BS) emissions standards are set by the Indian government to regulate pollutants emitted by vehicles fitted with combustion engines. In April 2017, India’s ban of BS III certified vehicles in favour of the higher BS IV emission standards came into effect. By April 2020, India aims to leapfrog to the BS VI standards, being a signatory to Conference of Parties protocol on combating climate change. Over and above the BS VI norms target, the energy department has shown a clear commitment to move to an electric-only future for automobiles by 2030 with the announcement of the FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India).

The struggles of on-ground execution, though, remain herculean for automakers who are scrambling to upgrade engine technology in time to meet the deadlines for the next BS norms update. As compliance with BS VI would require changes in the engine system itself, it is being seen as one of the most mammoth R&D projects undertaken by the Indian automotive industry in recent times. Relative to BS IV, BS VI norms mandate a reduction of particulate matter by 82% and of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 68%.

Emission control in fuel based two-wheelers can be tackled on several fronts. Amongst post-emission solutions, catalytic converters are highly effective. Catalytic converters transform exhaust emissions into less harmful compounds. They can be especially effective in removing hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide from the exhaust.

At the engine level itself, engine oil additives are helpful in reducing emissions. Anti-wear additives, friction modifiers, high performance fuel additives and more lead to better performance, improved combustion and a longer engine life. The improvement in the engine’s efficiency as a result directly correlates to lesser emissions over time. Fuel economy of a vehicle is yet another factor that helps determine emissions. It can be optimised by light weighting, which lessens fuel consumption itself. Light weighting a vehicle by 10 pounds can result in a 10-15-pound reduction of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Polymer systems that can bear a lot of stress have emerged as reliable replacements for metals in automotive construction.

BASF, the pioneer of the first catalytic converter for automobiles, has been at the forefront of developing technology to help automakers comply with advancing emission norms while retaining vehicle performance and cost-efficiency. Its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Mahindra World City near Chennai is equipped to develop a range of catalysts for diverse requirements, from high performance and recreational bikes to economy-oriented basic transportation. BASF also leverages its additives expertise to provide compounded lubricant solutions, such as antioxidants, anti-wear additives and corrosion inhibitors and more. At the manufacturing level, BASF’s R&D in engineered material systems has led to the development of innovative materials that are much lighter than metals, yet just as durable and strong. These can be used to manufacture mirror brackets, intake pipes, step holders, clutch covers, etc.

With innovative solutions on all fronts of automobile production, BASF has been successfully collaborating with various companies in making their vehicles emission compliant in the most cost-effective way. You can read more about BASF’s innovations in two-wheeler emission control here, lubricant solutions here and light weighting solutions here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.