Last Word Arduous task

PADMESH PRABHUNE

Last week the regional media had too much on its platter with many controversial issues

such as Medha Patkar fasting for the golibar slum in Mumbai, the NCP- Shiv Sena backbashing and the Maharashtra government setting up new age limits for consuming hot drinks.

Amidst controversies political affairs seem to be touching their new alt39 highsalt39 ( or shall we say alt39 lowsalt39), the case in the point is the budding romance between the Bhimshakti and Shivshakti.

Once the parties, who were at loggerheads and would never let go any opportunity to outsmart each other, finally admitted as united. As they say, " Bygones are bygones." To add to the new twist in the tale was the issue of change in name of the Marathwada University, followed by renaming Dadar as Chaitanya Bhoomi, the cause being pursued by the Republican Party of India for quite a long time. However, the regional media was critical of the Shiv Sena- RPI combine.

alt39 Maharashtra Timesalt39 through its editorial and op- eds, categorically called this as a politically compulsive and perhaps shortlived alliance with the only objective to win the elections for the two follow different ideologies. Whereas, pointing to Shiv Senaalt39s double standards, alt39 Loksattaalt39 published the chronicle of political happenings from January 11- February 15, 1994, the time when the Sena took the RPI head- on.

Medha Patkar called off her nine- day fast demanding changes in slum rehabilitation policy and an enquiry on Golibar Society issue had its after- effects.

While the slum- dwellers saw it as a victory, more than 4,000 occupants who had been staying in transit camps protested against Patkar as her fasting has stopped the redevelopment of the society forced them to continue staying in the camps for a longer time.

The regional media carried this as follow- up story with alt39 Loksattaalt39 being critical of Patkaralt39s action and in its editorial categorically saying that italt39s time Medha Patkar realizes she is playing with a double- edged sword.

Taking a potshot at the Shiv Sena- RPI combine, NCPalt39s Ajit Pawar, addressing a function at Ahmednagar, questioned Bal Thackerayalt39s contribution in the progress of the state and remarked, " All these years Bal Thackeray played politics in the name of Shivaji"; this was enough for the regional media to make it a page one story last Wednesday.

In an attempt to discourage youngsters from consuming alcohol, the Maharashtra government raised the minimum age for drinking beer from 18 to 21 and the legal drinking age for rum, gin, whisky, vodka and country- made liquor to 25 years.

The regional media carried this on page one last Thursday. Though welcoming the move, most of the regional media was critical of raising the drinking age to 25 years at a time when voting and marriage are allowed at the age 18. For them the move seems to be illogical. alt39 Maharashtra Timesalt39 in its editorial said that there is a need to create awareness about the evils of alcohol as mere laws could hardly stop anyone from boozing whereas alt39 Navshaktialt39 in its editorial pointed out why was wine not included in the list.

Does it have any political strings attached to it? In addition, it further remarked that government should ensure proper implementation of the rule else, it would not serve any purpose. alt39 Saamanaalt39 in its own style welcomed the move saying that whether the new law would serve its purpose of making Maharashtra an alcohol- free state remains to be seen while Sakaal carried a spe

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