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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

for more enlightened leadership

text of the letter sent to The New Indian Express:

I am intrigued by the news report in your columns on the 28th instant under the caption ‘Couple get jobs, funds’, about a young couple from Bagalkot, both of whom are now employed in the Vidhan Soudha, the husband as a second division clerk, and the wife as a first division assistant. Apparently, this resulted from a Janata Darshan audience with the CM, who showered his benevolence on the couple, moved by their plight, suffering as they were from ill-treatment by their own folk because of their inter-caste marriage.

Now, if you ask any young person in Bagalkot, or for that matter, any where in the state, he/she will have some similar sob story to tell. The questions that arise here are

a) If the CM is going to be giving them all jobs in the government, where is the end to it all?
b) The government is terribly over-staffed as it is. Even as of now, the entire government work can be done by less than a tenth of the existing work force if it withdraws from areas it doesn't need to be in, and by going in for large-scale computerisation. Whereas the government should be looking at such options, these acts of the CM show him up as totally irresponsible.
c) Also, the only attraction that a government job holds for the youth today is the scope for making ‘under the table’ money, that comes along with it. So, in essence, what the government is doing is just corrupting the youth, if they are not already so inclined.
d) It is absolutely dismaying that the CM’s of today should still be going about like feudal lords showering largesse on individuals, rather than working for the common good, whereby many of these people will automatically be absorbed in far better quality employment.

It is time people looked out for more enlightened leadership.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

judiciary to the rescue an nth time

text of the letter sent to the press:

With the Kannada chauvinists running amok forcibly re-painting vehicle number plates in Kannada, even as the police look on helplessly despite the rapidly deteriorating crime and terrorism scenario, the direction from the Supreme Court to implement the high security registration plate scheme has not come a day too soon.

There is a very popular mail doing the rounds on the net listing out our parliamentarians according to the various misdeeds they have allegedly been involved in. Going by that, it becomes fairly clear as to why governance the country over is going from bad to worse, with courts constrained to intervene every now and then. Perhaps, therefore, it is time the courts revised the eligibility criterion itself for contesting elections.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

the doomed power sector

text of the letter sent to the press:

I refer to the reported shutting down of some of the units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station for want of coal, though the Karnataka Power Corporation would like to make us believe that it is all part of its annual maintenance exercise.

With the ESCOMs recording losses at an average 40% perennially, equivalent to some Rs 3,000 crores per annum, things have been in total dis-array up and down the supply chain in this critical sector from long. It is therefore a total surprise that the entire system has not just collapsed altogether all this while. Now, however, with the quantums involved getting larger by the day, such a scenario seems quite imminent.

Indeed the functioning of the entire power sector in the state, as also most of the country, is along a model that certainly cannot be described as business by any reckoning. The normal rules just don't apply here. Obviously, the powers that be prefer it this way!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Kannada number plates

The function of the vehicle registration number plates is far from that of protecting or propagating the local language or culture. The need for their being displayed on the vehicle as per the given standard is paramount, and cannot be compromised upon at any cost, particularly given the increasing instances of hit& run, kidnapping, terrorism, etc. As such, the traffic police acqueiscing in the acts of the Kannada Anusthana Mandali, Kannada Development Authority, etc, reported in your columns recently, is highly objectionable, and perhaps needs to be checked through the dictates of the courts, if required.

Incidentally, it will make an interesting study to find out as to what percentage of our traffic police force can read Kannada numerals.

Further, while the use of the Kannada script (but not on number-plates) could contribute to the propagation of the language and thereby the culture, the numerals do not serve any such purpose. Perhaps it is time the numerals are given a decent burial in a time capsule (say, on the lawns of the Vidhan Soudha), and the state adopted the international numerals, quite like a few others have already done.