Hafta Letters: On reaching out to NL subscribers, climate change, and e-cigarettes
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Hafta Letters: On reaching out to NL subscribers, climate change, and e-cigarettes

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

By NL Team

Published on :

Why don’t you organize subscriber gatherings in your office?’

Hi Abhinandan,

Long-time subscriber here. To be honest, I didn’t renew my subscription for a few months last year because I was so peeved by the innumerable technical problems that plague NL. There are some basic things that any organization should do. For instance, send a reminder to subscribers to renew their membership, at least send a mail when the subscription has lapsed and not let subscribers just find out when they try logging on to Hafta! Send a mail when certain payment options don’t work. Sadly, NL has failed to do any of this. Still, yeh dil maange Hafta, so I eventually capitulated and renewed my subscription. Kya karein, hafta sunnne ki aadaat si ho gayi hai!

But now, I must register my protest with the way Abhinandan answered a subscriber letter asking when the app will be fixed. Stop saying there are a variety of reasons why that hasn’t happened. To my mind, Hafta and NL Sena are the only two ways that NL is monetising right now, so please tell us what the problems are and ask for help! Whether it is more money for solving the tech issues of Hafta or other types of resources, I’m sure there are plenty of subscribers out there who’d like to help.

As for myself, let me put my money where my mouth is and offer my help (apart from subscribing which I do anyway). I’m an ex-journalism student who very quickly understood that I couldn’t survive in this field and am now working in a mid-level corporate job (which pays the bills but doesn’t feed the soul, if I can take some poetic liberty here!). I have several friends who are lawyers, consultants etc, and we would all love to offer help, whether it is doing secondary research or getting contacts, or organizing NL subscriber baithaks. In fact, why don’t you guys do some subscriber outreach and organize smaller size subscriber gatherings in your office? It’ll help in creating a vibrant community of NL supporters and you never know how some of us might be able to help out.

Anyway, keep up the good work, and for god’s sake Abhinandan, improve your song choices at the end of Hafta. Your music tastes are fast becoming like those of a middle-aged Punjabi uncle who is stuck in the 80s and 90s!

Much love,

Tanya Bahuguna


On climate change and the generation of renewable energy

Hi NL panel,

This is a long mail but I would be glad if you devote a few minutes to this next week. I just wanted to give my opinions on the topic of climate change. I am currently doing a post-doc in Canada on the topic of renewable power generation so I am somewhat qualified to talk on this topic.

There are certain problems that mainstream climate change activists and the media don’t talk about regarding CO2 emissions which I think are important to discuss in public.

The two main sources of CO2 emissions in the US are transportation and power generation sectors. We can use electric cars for reducing emissions but, as Abhinandan said, this would not work as we are still producing electricity using coal and other fossil fuels. Since the climate activists are not big fans of other cleaner sources of energy like dams and nuclear plants, renewables like solar and wind are the only remaining clean sources of energy production. But in my opinion, we (and I mean the world, not just India) are far from replacing coal plants with solar and wind.

Firstly, wind and solar power plants are very capital-intensive. So, the private sector would naturally be reluctant to invest in such solutions. There need to be incentives from the government to the private sector to ensure the growth of renewables. Power generated using solar or wind is variable due to changes in weather conditions, and the efficiency of the current technology is also low. Moreover, solar or wind farms require a large area. The largest solar plant in India (and also in the world), the Shakti Sthala plant at Pavagada, Karnataka, which is capable of serving around a million households, covers an area of around 52 square km. And many times such projects do run into land acquisition problems like here and here. So, we need proper land acquisition laws to even set up these plants.

I believe that such topics could have been discussed last week as the guest’s publication does write about such stuff, but I understand that you have to cover other stories as well. I’d love if you could have Joyjeet for a one-on-one interview or a Let’s Talk About.


Ashish Kothyari


On India’s e-cigarettes ban

Hi All,

To begin with, I shall admit the reason I initially was going to write this email for. I was appalled at the e-cigarette discussion especially when someone used a relative (nephew) to make a point. But also because here in the UK, even the NHS website (which is a trusted source) says e-cigarettes aren’t harmful.

But then I went to the websites of the WHO and the European Public Health Association. Both of these are fence-sitters.

As Meghnad pointed out, the jury is not out. I was also of the opinion, like the NHS, that nicotine is addictive but not carcinogenic which I later again found was debatable.

You see, in my circles, people have painted me orange (BJP) but when I protested against the e-cigarette ban there wasn’t a single person who said anything. I think it’s ridiculous to ban e-cigarettes simply because you have something way more addictive and with known harm (cigarettes) still in the market.

On other things, I would like to ask what the panel thinks about solutions journalism.

Madhu had the view that the government should have gone into the Kashmir valley and made loads of humanitarian gestures before abrogating Aricle 370 to gain the trust of the Kashmiris. Hypothetical question: let’s say Madhu had written an op-ed in two-three major papers or websites and it went viral. Would the government heed the advice? (It seems to listen to WhatsApp message and tweet counts.)

Would this be solutions journalism?

Does NL have such plans?

Food for thought!

Best Regards,