Saturday, September 22, 2001
M A I L  B O X

The cost of chaos

THERE is no reason to differ with Taru Bahlís observation in "The cost of chaos", (September 8) that CNG is not the solution to all our traffic problems and that a long-term and far-sighted approach is the need of the hour.

Air pollution occurs due to inferior automobile technology, the use of polluting fuels and extensive congestion in vehicular traffic. Even with relatively clean fuels and advanced engine technology, traffic congestion can lead to a high concentration of pollutants in the air at a particular location. It is, therefore, essential that any solution for reducing vehicular pollution focus on all three areas, with improved traffic management providing the quickest benefits.

On the basis of extensive trials and measurements carried out by several other countries of the world facing similar problems of air pollution, decision was taken to favour Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) fuel, which contains .005 per cent sulphur, over CNG.

The Supreme Court had set up a committee to render advice on actions that need to be taken for reducing air pollution in Delhi. This committee did not seriously consider any option other than the elimination of diesel buses and a large-scale switch over to CNG. Nor does it appear to have considered the costs and practical problems involved in such a massive shift. The consequences are now being faced by the transport operators and residents of Delhi.

The conversion of petrol vehicles such as taxis and three-wheelers to the use of CNG is a desirable action and must be pursued. As for the bus fleet, it is necessary to allow a large number to convert to ULSD. Since Indian refineries are not currently producing this fuel it should be possible to import the small quantity that would be required.

If the authorities do not wake up to these challenges, then switch over to CNG may remain the nightmare it is.



More than 20 lakh vehicles plying on Delhi roads display our lack of concern for our environment.

It is ironical that even people who do not have sufficient resources or garages maintain cars. Naturally such vehicles are parked on roads and pose serious traffic hazards. Our system does not impose any restrictions on owning and using cars, nor are the parking laws effectively implemented. The government has its own compulsions in encouraging the automobile industry even if we do not have a good network of roads.

Steps must be taken to discourage people from owning cars but this can be possible only if we have a cheap, easily-accessible and efficient public transport system.



The writer has suggested various measures to limit chaos on the roads and further given the pros and cons of various fuel options but has failed to highlight the use of cycles as the best mode of transportation for short distances as this mode of transportation is most safe, reliable, economical and convenient. Cycles are quite popular in developing countries but unfortunately in India cars and motorbikes have become status symbols and persons using cycles are thought to belong to a lower strata of society.



Heavenly abode

This refers to, "Leaving for the heavenly abode" by Khushwant Singh (September 8).

The story of R.G.K. is typical of self-respecting workers all over the world. Self-respecting people prefer to put in extra work and raise the quality of their services to resorting demeaning tricks. But more often that not a boss/employer is inclined to favour the subordinate who butters him up or voluntarily spies upon his colleagues.

Dishonest workers are such experts in ingratiating themselves with their bosses that many time they can hamper the efforts of honest workers.

Bosses invariably expect of their workers to praise them skyhigh. The malady is so rampant that even national awards are bagged, nay grabbed, by those who know how to pull the right strings. Some bosses are afraid that their juniors who are a cut above them in many respects may supersede them in due course so they see to it that the juniors are eased out as early as possible.

The R.G.K.s may be deprived of their dues but their self-esteem is heady. On the other hand the success of the spongers is pyrrhic. They, no doubt, gain materially but suffer a heavy loss in terms of honour and independence.

Anyway it is better to be like R.G.K. than to be a successful sycophant. After all, man does not live by bread alone.



In his write-up "Controlling the urge to backchat" (September 1), Khushwant Singh has remarked that he has a large repertoire of obscene words.

Apparently, he prides himself on being foul-mouthed. Is there any virtue in using scurrilous language about oneís maligner and that too behind his back? Moral excellence lies not in exacting vengeance, but in tolerating the remarks and innuendoes of others with self-control.

Indulgence in slandering is a very bad habit. It is one of the cruellest way of inflicting injury on others.

Anger is one of the most detestable vices. Horace called it "momentary madness". Many a time a wrathful person becomes revengeful and commits a heinous crime, even a murder, in a fit of anger. BHAGWAN SINGH Qadian

Gender inequality

This refers to "Adding to gender inequality" by Anu Celly (September 1). As regards portrayal of women in media, the press and television have been identified as major culprits. The image the media projects of a woman is of a domestic drudge and office ancillary, dependent on men, emotionally and economically. Positions of power and leadership, authority and status in the community are the province of men. In projecting women as sex objects and propagating the stereotyped roles, advertisers emerge as the main culprits.

Itís a pity that middle class ideologies of womenís roles as wives and mothers provide the underlying basis for most programmes on TV.

The position of women in society can not be improved unless the media and the advertisers do not take their responsibilities, seriously.

PREETI Jalandhar

Ravi Mohan

In his column "This Above All" (March 10), Khushwant Singh wrote about Ravi Mohan. In response to numerous queries by readers, we are giving her address:

Ravi Mohan
Hindi Bhawan
Patel Nagar
Meerut (UP)-250 002
Phone No.0121-520057