Manufacturing of cigarettes? Yes.

Sale of cigarettes? Yes.

Import/Export of cigarettes? Yes.

But consumption of cigarettes? Never! After all “Smoking is injurious to health”!

So we need to celebrate “World No Tobacco Day” with great fanfare, this year’s theme being “THREAT TO DEVELOPMENT”! But never should production, sale and consumption of tobacco-based products be banned! After all how can “development” be ensured without earning Himalayan amount of revenue through the suicidal path of tobacco! What a blatant example of hypocrisy and double standards!

In contrast the “tiny” “laggard” Bhutan has not only emerged as the first nation in the world to ban sale of tobacco, persons found selling or smuggling tobacco into Bhutan get imprisoned for 3-5 years with no chance of being granted bail! Yes, Bhutan celebrates this day throughout the year, not on rhetorical terms, but practically and displaying to the hypocrite world what the very essence of “Practice what you preach” is all about.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay says, “Our economy is small with a GDP of merely $1.7 billion. I’m aware that many of the delegates here are worth more. Yet the PM asserted that he would welcome investment only if it is clean green and sustainable because his nation desires well-being through GNH (gross national happiness) which is much more important than gross national product. Indeed Bhutan could have also “modernised” itself through rampant industrialisation which cause irreparable harm to the environment. But Bhutan has refrained from doing so as it respects the values without which “development” itself would get threatened as being witnessed throughout the world with innumerable islands and coastal areas set to get submerged by the rising oceans due to global warming in the near future and nearly 5 million people dying every year globally due to active/passive  tobacco consumption.

Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata


Fast track

This is apropos of the news story “PM Dahal lays Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track foundation stone” (THT, May 29, Page 6). It was another sagacious decision made by PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal. It was decided on May 4 to give the responsibility of constructing the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track to the Nepali Army. PM Dahal has dared give this responsibility to the Nepali Army despite having many obstacles. It is really good news to all of us that we have a beautiful opportunity to complete the project within the stipulated time by mobilizing our own resources. The government has given many projects to foreign companies whereas a few foreign companies have been able to complete the projects within schedule. Many national pride projects have not kick started due to the carelessness on the part of the foreign contractors. Fortunately, what the government did was praiseworthy. There is no doubt that the Nepali Army is competent enough to complete the job within a stipulated time. The only challenge is that the government should manage the required budget for effective execution of the project.

Magar Bharat Khotange, via e-mail