Saturday , 25 May 2019


Set Deadlines For Completing Digging Works

There has to be a limit to the digging work that is undertaken across the state along roadsides for various purposes. An area/road can be dug up once or twice or even thrice in the same place in public interest or for ‘development’ resulting in inconvenience caused to people for a month or two or even a year. However, doing this year after year, again and again, on one excuse or another in such an uncoordinated manner and without sticking to firm deadlines cannot be accepted anymore in new India. There has to be transparency and accountability; somebody must be fired or punished. Senior citizens in resident colonies are facing severe hardships as access to their houses is blocked due to the dug up roadsides. The senior citizens fear tripping while stepping on the stones and debris. Also, traffic is diverted to narrow lanes due to these dug up areas resulting in traffic jams. Moreover, the movement of tall trucks in narrow lanes leads to the snapping of telephone and TV cable lines. Will the PWD, police, executive authorities act only after tragedies are reported or after being hauled up by the courts?


Bridging Nation’s Income Inequality

According to the Oxfam Inequality Report 2019, the wealth of the top nine billionaires in India is equivalent to the wealth of the bottom 50 per cent of our population. Imagine that a balance can now stand in a perfect equilibrium holding only nine Indians at one end and 67 crore Indians at the other! Things have come to such a pass that only 10 per cent of our population has reportedly cornered 77.4 per cent of the total national wealth and the top one per cent has as much as 51.53 per cent of it! This means that if we are to cut a cake where 100 people are present, we have to give more than half of the cake to just one person, more than one-fourth of it to nine persons, less than one-fifth of it to 30 people, leaving only a thin slice of less than one-twentieth part for as many as 60 people! Such a situation is called in Bengali ‘karo poush mash, karo sarbanash’, which someone’s mirth, someone’s death. The poorest Indian states have infant mortality rates higher than those in sub-Saharan Africa. The report also suggests that if India’s richest one per cent pays just 0.5 per cent extra tax on their wealth then the money raised would be enough to increase government spending on health by 50 per cent. Not only is India’s inequality growing but doing so now at a much faster pace. This glaring inequality must immediately be bridged by inclusive growth, developing social sectors, adopting labour intensive technology, empowering Dalits and women and ensuring social security for the needy.

SUJIT DE, Kolkata