Scammers Cause Loss To Govt
At last after on a day Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj held discussions with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Agusta Westland chopper deal extradited by Dubai, and landed in New Delhi. No doubt this is the prize catch for the Modi government and naturally BJP gaga over it. Though the Agusta Westland chopper case involves a 2007 contract signed by the UPA government for the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters for use by President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and top VVIP. But in 2013, after amid allegations that the supplier Augusta Westland, whose parent company Finmeccanica ran into allegations of bribe-giving in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India, the UPA government not only scrapped the contract but also blacklisted the company and confiscated the company’s assets in India and abroad, beside asked the CBI to investigate the scam. On 2016, the first big fish caught in the net was the former Air Chief SP Tyagi, but the middleman Christian Michel remain untouched in India but detained in Dubai, when his lawyer alleged that Michel is being forced to frame UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in return for exoneration from criminal proceedings. May be without concrete evidence against the fabricated allegation, Modi’s hands are tied. The political drama will continue, but is the country will get back from Michel about Rs 225 crore kickbacks?
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Provide Free Eco-Friendly Bags
Corporation of the City of Panaji has decided to impose fines for using plastic carry bags. The fine for first time offenders is Rs 5,000 and if the offence is repeated, the fine is Rs 10,000. This penalty appears to be on the higher side and will affect small-time vendors. The fine is much more as compared to that imposed for traffic violation. It would have been desirable to charge a nominal fine along with a stiff warning to the vendors not to use plastic bags. It would be prudent to put up pictorial warnings in the market-place on the use of plastic bags. Just like the plastic bags were given by the vendors without charging for it, bags made of eco-friendly material also needs to be provided to the customers free of cost if there is to be an effective ban on the use of plastic bags.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO
Govt Should Not Mix Religion With Politics
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention that Rajasthan will vote on the issue of development and not on his knowledge of Hinduism as accused by the Congress President Rahul Gandhi is in stark contrast to BJP’s intention to go again with the Ram Mandir plank in the 2019 elections! It is not unusual to have the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute making a comeback ahead of every general election. But as a political specter, the ‘Ayodya Kand’ forebodes an imminent threat to the secular fabric of the nation. No doubt politics in India is issue-based, but if religion and religious sentiments are to play a decisive role in every election it would amount to a weird situation where no political outfit is capable of winning over the confidence of the electorate furthering its own agendas and welfare measures alone. The very fact that the Sabarimala row in the South has already driven a deep wedge between the ‘modernists’ and ‘traditionalists’ corroborates the belief that the whole dispute over the entry of women of all ages into the hallowed premises of the temple is more political than a matter of faith. While it would have been in the best interest of the country to have the political establishment endorsing matters that have socio-economic relevance to the present times, a feeling that such ‘mundane’ issues do not have the necessary spark in them to incite the public, and in turn garner votes, has led to the sorry state of affairs where religion and religious sentiments have become ‘negotiable’. Hence one is compelled to believe that religiosity in India stems from the political beliefs adhered to by various parties. Stoking communal politics has been a way with our leaders and the resultant sway of public feelings and emotions has been well exploited by them too. It is however the common man who has been bearing the brunt of the so-called ‘strategic’ moves that finally boils down to a no-holds barred tussle for power between various political factions.
PACHU MENON, MARGAO