‘Railway officials to pick up brooms’ is a news item just for Gandhi Jayanti and this symbolic sweeping measure once a year is nothing new in this country. I first started travelling to Churchgate from Vasai in 1966. Leftover material such as wood and iron rods continue to lie along the track from Dahisar to Grant Road. I have written a number of letters to the General Manager on this issue, but no action has been taken. The PM wants Japanese assistance to clean the Ganga and wants eight years to complete cleaning along the river. This is a clear insult to Indian workers. If India can provide the world’s best cricket stadiums from Mohali to Mumbai and Kolkata to Chennai, certainly Indian cleaners can clean an entire nation and keep it as clean as any in the world. The only problem is we do not pay our conservancy and clean-up workers enough money, nor do we provide them with proper work equipment and medical help. Let the governments, both states and centre know that India cannot be kept clean by picking up brooms once in a year as a publicity stunt.
VVIP visits life-disrupting
The vice President of India, Hamid Ansari, who was on a two-day visit to Goa, was yet another VVIP responsible for utter traffic chaos at many places, with roads unnecessarily closed in advance to make way for his convoy. All this despite the Supreme Court and various High Courts taking strong objection to closing of roads by the traffic police only to facilitate smooth travelling for VVIPs. Hundreds of policemen, who were diverted from maintaining law and order, were posted all along the route. Closing down roads without making alternative arrangements is in violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to us under Article 14, 19 and 21 of our Constitution. Traffic cannot come to a standstill just because of a VVIP. We are all entitled to lead our normal lives. Every ordinary citizen’s time and respect is as important as that of any VVIP.
Zoo had no Plan B
Though versions differ on how the Delhi youth fell in the moat and was mauled to death by a white tiger, there is no doubt that the zoo authorities could have prevented the loss of a precious life. The tiger which was born and brought up in zoo, and therefore not accustomed to hunt, gave the authorities enough time to act, which went in vain. Either the animal could have been cleverly shooed away without fuss using water sprinklers or the man could have been pulled up with a disposable ladder. That the moat where the youth fell was waterless proves the authorities were callous. Lack of emergency training haunts the guards. There is a need to keep an eagle eye on all visitors, some of who may be psychologically disabled or even inebriated. Crowds thronging zoos should behave responsibly because animals do not attack unless provoked.
Lax attitude of zoo authorities
This refers to the unfortunate killing of a youth at Delhi Zoo. But there are multiple questions over the precautions taken by zoo authorities to prevent such incidents. Merely putting up a board with instructions is not enough. What is the point of a waterless moat around the tiger enclosure? If zoo personnel joined onlookers in noise-making and throwing sticks and stones, all it did was to further goad the tiger into attacking the victim. Rescue teams with tranquiliser guns failed to utilise the crucial 10-15 minutes the tiger took before attacking the victim. The blame must be laid entirely at the door of the higher zoo authorities who get hefty pay packages, privileges and perks for ill-managing the zoo.
Other worlds to conquer
Hearty congratulations to ISRO for making the Mars Mission a stupendous success. What is more noteworthy is the fact that ours was the case of hitting the bull’s eye in the very first attempt. All other advanced countries which have achieved this feat, had failed in their maiden endeavour. This fact makes us more proud of the immense talent possessed by our country in the field of space research. Now our next targets should be Europa and Titan, the natural satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively, which are thought to resemble Earth in many respects. Landing on Jupiter and Saturn may not be feasible, as both of them happen to be gas giants.
Congratulations to ISRO and its dedicated scientists on achieving the spectacular feat of landing Mangalyaan on Mars! The entire nation is proud of their success. We should colonise Mars and carve out a Greater India there. ISRO’s success will give a boost to space studies in the country and inspire many youngsters to make a career in space ventures.
The nation looks forward to many more triumphs of ISRO in the coming years.
ISRO truly deserves the Bharat Ratna.
Bitter pill to swallow
The government has clipped the wings of drug regulator NPPA upon pressure from the drug industry. The immediate impact will be price rise of various medicines, which means bigger profits for pharmaceuticals. It is very evident that various lobbies are able to pressurise the government to act in a manner detrimental to the interests of the common man.
The captains of the drug industry talk of service to the country and corporate social responsibility etc. on one hand and indulge in government arm-twisting on the other!
It is also pertinent to note that many reputed companies sell both generic and brand name medicines. The latter cost 5 to 10 times more than their generic version. Which begs the question: Are generic medicines inferior in quality?
Dharmendra Nagda / Mahendra Oza