Tuesday, May 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Avoidable accidents

MANY times buses and other vehicles have gone down the bridges of various canals and rivers taking a toll of precious lives. For all these avoidable deaths the government and the drivers are to blame. If there are effective speed-breakers on the approach roads to every bridge, level-crossing and road crossing, there will be very little possibility of such tragedies.

The government has not bothered during the last half a century to take such remedial measures, as if a bus full of passengers falling in a canal is not enough to do so.

Most of the drivers are highly indisciplined, ill-mannered and wayward. Most of the accidents take place due to the errors of drivers. Because they always believe in driving the vehicles at breakneck speed, flouting all the traffic rules. It has been found on many occasions that the drivers go on driving their buses knowing well that these are not mechanically fit, resulting in serious accidents.

  After 53 years of Independence no government has thought of introducing mobile police on all the highways to keep a check on the merchants of death. Wherever there is a traffic policeman, he is there for something other than to check and challan the defaulting drivers.


Poverty and economic reforms

Apropos of “Poverty of economic reforms” by Mr Anurag, published on May 26, it may be wrong to conclude that economic reforms have failed to remove poverty due to their content, sequence, pace and timings.

To my mind, the economic reforms for liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG) could have become liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in case it could have been understood, analysed and implemented properly by one and all, including politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and the common man. We should stop the debate on the issue of economic reforms once and for all, and try to create national consensus on the subject.

I strongly support the contention of the writer for enhancing the reach of the benefits of the reforms by expanding and extending them to the areas bypassed. The problem of poverty cannot be allowed to die a natural death by simply making a case for distributional benefits of the reforms.


No road maintenance

I recently visited my village and was appalled to see the condition of the road leading from Shahabad Markanda to Tangor and Kathwa in Kurukshetra district.

I am writing this to appeal to the Chief Minister, Mr Chautala, to direct his PWD Department to take care of this road and formulate a regular road maintenance policy as also a policy of accountability when maintenance is not done in time.

Kathwa does not have a phone line in spite of the villagers having invoked the indulgence of the appropriate authorities. Is it too much to ask for when telephones are available in almost all parts of the state and the country?

Vallejo (CA, USA)

Of red lights & blue films

A recent court order has disturbed a welcome Hornet’s nest. Ben Jonson’s oft-quoted purple passage, “What oft was thought but never so well express’t” comes alive to drive home the inner beauty of the court order which for the first time steals a march over the executive in showing the way to enforce traffic laws in our part of the country — a crying need in an area where three times more people die in road accidents than in cases of homicide.

What is the most dramatic part of the police exercise of enforcement is that a myriad of self-styled VIPs have come to taste the fruit of law — hitherto shunned as a “forbidden fruit!” Just about anybody of assumed significance would try to flaunt his authority by putting up a red light atop his car or enjoy the dubious privacy of sitting in a car with black films.

A lot many members of the pseudo-elite have been given the rude shock out of their complacency. They have been reminded to join the rest of the mortals of law-abiding and privilege-shunning populace.

A lot many jokes have also surfaced about this genre of enforcement. One Sub-Inspector of Police (not known for his modesty) told an officer, “it is not your red light jurisdiction.” It was not very different from the young man who was caught for the “films” on the car sitting with his girl friend taking the plea, “ours is blue film and not a black one”.

IG, Police

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