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Letters to the Editor

Kerala floods

The devastation and colossal loss of human lives caused by the floods in Kerala is unbearable (‘Flood-ravaged Kerala cancels Onam celebrations,’ Aug. 15, The Gulf Today).

While relief operations are in full swing, the affected are also in need of generous help. There are various organisations and NGOs sending out messages via networking sites requesting for assistance, and we need to extend our support in whatever way we can. While my heart goes out to those affected by the deluge and I wish it did not happen, I think the impact of the floods could have been less severe had the Kerala government paid heed to danger signals voiced out by environmentalists.

Kerala, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the monsoon every year but this year’s damage has been particularly severe. Yes excessive rainfall in the primary cause of disaster. But the government had turned a Nelson’s eye to the environmentalists who had warned that the unplanned construction boom in recent years, extensive quarrying, and illegal forest land acquisition was a recipe for disaster.

Kerala’s verdant fields are slowly being replaced by high rises. This has led to a considerable decrease in the state wetlands and river valleys. Which, in reality, means that the smooth flow of rain waters is hampered. if I am not wrong a report by the Gadgil Committee had earmarked a few ecologically-sensitive zones, which I feel have borne most of the brunt.

There will be time for introspection, but for now let us lend a helping hand.
Rashmi Chandra — By email

Modern learning

The all-time classic ‘Another brick in the wall’ by Pink Floyd was literally our theme song during the college days. I was reminded of it now as I was reading the report on teachers and robots (‘Robots will never replace teachers, says study,’ Aug. 17, The Gulf Today).

We sang loud and clear: ‘We don’t need no education; We don’t need no thought control; No dark sarcasm in the classroom; Teachers leave them kids alone. That was good as a song, but we loved our teachers. Of course we wanted some of our teachers to leave us alone. But, not all. Till date I cannot forget some of my teachers. They were great human beings and exemplary in every way.

And I am thinking; how can robots ever replace teachers? chatbots could assist but replace, never.
Ralph R — By email
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