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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nobel cause

text of the letter sent to the press:

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the Chairman of the Nobel Laureate, IPCC, when asked to comment on the TATA '1- lakh car' project, in the context of the adverse remarks made by the famed economist, Thomas Friedman, expressed his wish that TATA's would simultaneously get into public bus transport services. And, TATA's being TATA's would be happy to do so, provided the government facilitated their entry. Also, so would the house of TVS, who anyway started off as public bus service providers in the city of Madurai, but had to give it up because of nationalisation during emergency. The liberalisation thereafter has been token at best, leading to a situation where the organised sector would rather keep away totally, leaving it all in the hands of the 'blue-line' kind of operators, apart from the only slightly better government agencies, with disastrous consequences.

The sad irony however is that whereas it is in vital infrastructure sectors such as public bus transport services that the country so desperately needs the efficiencies of the organised sector players like TATA's and TVS's, in order to contain the ever increasing damage to the environment apart from the cluttering of the cities, they have willy-nilly landed up doing exactly the opposite, by producing more and more cars and motor-bikes.

The Nobel prize bestows a responsibility upon Dr Pachauri to correct this anomaly.

Veerappan government

text of the letter sent to the press:

Veerappan was just an ordinary tribal living of forest produces until the government turned him into a criminal (sandal-wood smuggler), and later to a monster, using some archaic law, the need for which nobody quite understood fully. Somewhere along one had read that the law was being amended making dealings in sandal-wood a lot more liberal. Apparently, that is not quite so, going by the reports about Natesan Antiquarts, who by all appearances were doing a fairly good job of promoting age-old Indian traditions in handicrafts by creating a lucrative market for them in wealthier homes in India and abroad, landing up at the receiving end of the law.

The fact of the matter is that there are so many laws in this country that even by the mere act of breathing fresh air, you may be violating one, and the numerous babu's who have nothing better to do, can use it against you to extract their pound of flesh. It is a true testimony to the spirit of Indian entrepreneurship that it is flourishing inspite of all these.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

winning proposition

text of letter sent to press:

An absolute winning proposition for any candidate in any future election in Karnataka would be to file a declaration on a Rs 10/- stamp paper with, say the State Election Commission, that, if elected, he/ she will never have anything to do with the Deve Gowda family.

There have been very many incidents in the past which have caused the people to revile against politicians. But, the recent doings of this family surpasses them all.

a total embarrassment

text of the letter sent to the Times of India on Oct 3rd:

I refer to the article by Joseph Hoover published in your columns today under the caption "Maverick or Maniac?".

Quite as stated, Sreesanth is becoming a total embarrassment to the country. That the Aussies indulge in hedging does not mean we need to outdo them. However much he may be accomplished, which again is a question mark, if he is going to continue in his present style, it is time the BCCI packed him off.

When my own children, who are in their early twenties, also join me in condemning his attitude, I know very well that Sreesanth's kind of temperament does not quite reflect that of today's younger generation, and I am glad for it.

high handed petty officialdom

text of the letter sent to the press:

I refer to the report captioned "BBMP shuts down McDonald's" published in your columns on the 27th Sept.

There are not going to be many takers for the averment of the BBMP CHO (Chief Health Officer), Ms Gayatri, that 'she and her team had gone to the restaurant to inspect it based on a complaint by a customer', even as she can't be bothered any about the many road-side eateries that flourish all over the city amidst total filth and squalor. Very obviously, she and her team had tried to get some free eats by throwing their weight around, and when the staff resisted, they came up with the inspection ploy. It is to the credit of McDonalds that they chose to shut down temporarily, till such time as they could get the higher officials to intervene, rather than submit to the imperious ways of the likes of Ms Gayatri.

If India has to climb down from the present level of 72 in the world 'corruption index', the ways of the petty officialdom needs to be curbed equally as much as those of our politicos.

development and greenery can co-exist

Posting made on the local RWA yahoo-group in response to a mail denouncing protests against indiscriminate road-widening:

I am a member of the tree-lover group "Hasiru Usiru", the term literally meaning 'green alone is life'. While admittedly there are a number of youngsters in the group who are idealistic and hold extreme views, I have been trying to lend a voice of moderation to the on-going debates amongst them.

In fact, even as the 80 ft road was being widened, I had myself interacted with the BMP officials to identify a number of trees which needed to be removed (though, some of them still remain, for reasons not too clear) even while trying to prevent removal and chopping of trees in the indiscriminate fashion that the contractor was going about.

Development and greenery can co-exist, atleast to a great extent, is what I would like to believe.

In that respect, I totally agree with Maj Kapur when he says that there's no point widening a road at one end when you have no clue as to how to tackle the problem at the other end of the very same road. Also, years after widening, you can't bother to have the electric poles shifted out to the edges. Even in the case of the majestic Banyan tree that once stood at the Aishwarya junction, over the chopping of which Zafar Futehally (the famed naturalist in whose exalted company we Koramangalites are fortunate to live) shed quite a few tears, the entire stump remained in place for over two years, making a total mockery of the stated purpose of road widening.

As such, we need to say no to the 'bits & pieces' efforts of the BMP lot so that they are forced to come up with more comprehensive solutions, if not for the city as a whole, atleast for the same stretch of road.

Ultimately, again, as I have been repeatedly stating, the solution lies not just in widening roads, but in bringing about a check in the usage of personalised forms of transport. For this, people have to learn to start using public transport services, and the government has to facilitate that.