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End Of An Uneasy Alliance

The alliance between the BJP and the PDP has ended in Jammu and Kashmir. Some see this as an unexpected development while many foresaw this coming. But, better late than never is the consoling factor for many because right from day one the uneasy alliance had raised the unruly elements’ hackles, as the PDP and the BJP were ideologically poles apart. Their coming together in 2015 was a major surprise for the people of the state. With 28 and 25 seats respectively to the PDP and the BJP, in the 87-member House, the two parties were justified in part to put in place what cynics termed an “unholy” alliance. In hindsight, the very fact that the PDP and the BJP came thus far is laudable. The unmistakable impression was that the very presence of the PDP at the helm had emboldened the terror-mongers, and the BJP could do precious little by way of talk or action. On a more serious note, the ruling BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was accused of going soft at terror to please its alliance partner in the state. Apathy towards Jammu, differing stance on Article 370, army bashing and favouring dialogue with Pakistan went against the PDP. The aftermath of the horrific Kathua incident had pointed out to the brewing tension between the two till the Ramzan ceasefire happened. Mufti was miffed at the withdrawal of the standstill. Both, National Conference’s Omar Abdullah and Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad have refused to bite the bullet; they are loath to head a state in turmoil. Now, there is no other option than placing Jammu and Kashmir under President’s rule for the eighth time.



Act Against Negligent Drivers

During monsoon, waterlogging on several roads is a common scene in the state. Waterlogging occurs at many spots in and around Ponda when it rains heavily. Motorists and heavy vehicle drivers are required by law to use mud flaps in order to avoid splashing of the accumulated rainwater on roads over fellow travellers and pedestrians. However, many of such vehicles flout this requirement. The ultimate sufferers in the process are the pedestrians and two-wheeler riders. School/ college students and office goers are put to great inconvenience, as their clothes get wet and dirty with the muddy water being splashed on them by the heavy vehicles. Mud flaps should be fitted to vehicles to prevent water and mud from splashing onto the general public. It is necessary that the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and the traffic cell remain alert to such cases and see to it that they remain on their toes to deal firmly with drivers, who create nuisance for the fellow travellers and pedestrians on roads. Vehicles without mud flaps should be levied hefty cash fines to be paid on the spot. Such negligent acts should not be tolerated at any cost.



Let’s Work Towards A Plastic-free Goa

In his address on the occasion of Goa Revolution Day, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar reaffirmed his commitment towards a plastic-free Goa, although he did not spell out any deadline this time. Several of his previous deadlines in regard to this contentious issue have already passed without achieving much. This challenge of plastic-free Goa cannot be achieved by the Chief Minister or the government of Goa without the active participation of the local self-governing bodies i.e. panchayats and municipal bodies as well as citizens. While the municipalities initially carried out drive against plastic bags with much gusto, the Margao municipality failed to arrest the use of plastic bags during the Purumentachem Fest. The drains of Margao and its suburbs have already choked with plastic, and while the municipality cannot exonerate itself for this neglect, the lack of civic sense among citizens is also to be blamed. Many in Goa dump plastic in drains. To achieve a plastic-free Goa, an alternative has to be provided first. Cloth bags are a good alternative and massive production of such bags by self help groups (SHGs) under the aegis of Goa Handicrafts, Rural and Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Limited (GHRSSIDC) can be a welcome step. These bags should be made available at nominal prices and few may initially be distributed free of cost. The government functions and ceremonies should conspicuously avoid the use of plastic to provide an emulative example to the citizens. Plastic mineral water bottles should be absent first at government ceremonies. The Chief Minister is personally very much interested in plastic-free Goa and he himself never partakes the prasad in temples if the same is served in plastic bags/ bowls. I think unless plastic-free Goa is achieved, our drains will continue to clog and Sal, St Inez Creek and other rivers and rivulets will continue to be polluted.


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