ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Letter from CalcuttaSubscribe to Letter from Calcutta

Developing Confrontation

The first thirty days of the United Front Government in West Bengal were packed with political thrill, notwithstanding a dash of horror towards the end. The thrilling finale of the story, however, is the incredibly short period of four hours in which a major conflagration with the dangerous potentiality of enveloping two States (whose location on international borders has an added significance in many quarters) was put down, apparently without any smouldering cinders beneath the ashes. It is indeed an unmistakable index of the political maturity of the people of both West Bengal and Punjab today that even the dynamite of religious-communalregional chauvinism has lost some of its traditional combustibility. But this wholesome demonstration, tragically, cost a dozen lives and considerable bloodshed, not to mention the destruction of property.

Food Policy Jettisoned

which have sunk several hundred million pounds into the North Sea search, are obliged to offer to sell whatever they find to the Gas Council first. This has put the Council in a tremendous bargaining position, added to which it has launched a successful publicity campaign (for once outdoing the oil companies) putting the idea of cheap gas in people's minds. Also its own wells in the North Sea are side by side with the biggest well yet discovered by the Shell/Esso group and so it knows almost to the last halfpenny how much capital the oil companies have put in and what sort of return they can expect. The oil companies have been appealing for a "market price" for their finds and have even suggested that they might withdraw their labour if the price is too low.

A City of Sleepwalkers

Coming back to Calcutta after four years abroad is an experience.I don't mean the obvious physical discomforts of daytoday Calcutta life that hits you in the face like gusts of summer heat as you come out of the airconditioned Park Street restaurant.

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