Letters to the editor dated December 8, 2020

| Updated on December 08, 2020 Published on December 08, 2020

Farmers’ bandh call

With reference to the report on farmers’ Bharat Bandh eliciting wide support from parties and NGOs (December 8), the government needs to respond urgently as the protest is receiving wide political support and unless some genuine grievances exist farmers do not indulge in protests. The fact that certain political parties support the agitation cannot be a reason for ignoring it. It is thus justified if a response from the government is made to prevent the continuation of the agitation and a just examination of the demands behind it.

TR Anandan


UK vaccine rollout

The UK has begun giving the first doses of the world’s first approved Covid-19 vaccine — the Pfizer/BioNtech — to care home residents and staff, frontline health workers and people aged over 80. The start of the mass vaccination programme is glad tidings against the backdrop of over 67.5 million cases of infection and 1.55 million casualties worldwide. It is a milestone moment after an unprecedentedly tough year; it marks the beginning of the end of the Covid scourge.

The vaccine is administered in two shots, three weeks apart. Developed without cutting the corners in 10 months’ time, the vaccine is a triumph of science and a tribute to human ingenuity.

As a side note, it is now speculated that the availability of a vaccine could trigger what is called “vaccine tourism” to the UK. The mass vaccination programme with the Pfizer jab in the UK could provide some pointers on how to go about the vaccination programmes in the rest of the world. Several vaccines are in the pipeline; it is now only a matter of time before they are rolled out. We can expect their rollout in the near future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed the confidence that India will have access to vaccines in a few weeks. Even so, till ‘herd immunity’ is secured by mass vaccination, all of us have to guard against complacency.

G David Milton

Maruthancode (TN)

Honey matters

With reference to the editorial ‘Stinging facts’ (December 8), it will not be an exaggeration to say that the report from the Centre for Science and Environment on honey is shocking — all the top brands barring Saffola have failed the sample test. Now, after these results, top brands like Dabur have started giving advertisements contrary to that, claiming that their product is safe and pure. But the damage is already done. Given that honey consumption has increased in these pandemic times as it is seen as an immunity booster, it is vital to have proper checks and balance in place to stop adulteration. India needs to raise its standards in testing but, at the same time, it has to handhold many small companies who have ventured into bee-keeping.

Bal Govind


Apropos the editorial ‘Stinging facts’, the role of Food Security and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) must also be questioned about its way of testing the purity in honey manufactured and marketed by branded Indian companies. While it cleared them, only three of the 13 companies’ product met the requirements of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR, a test globally used for quality testing) — as reported by the CSE.

FSSAI’s failure to detect the impurity or to allow it as permissible raises questions. It is interesting to note that it made the use of NMR compulsory only for export of honey from August 2020.

As for manufacturers, some of them continue to vouch for the quality of their honey through expensive advertisements quoting FSSAI clearance. The business of consumer food products calls for higher ethical standards. Rising sales must make corporates more responsible.

YG Chouksey


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Published on December 08, 2020
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