Govt’s Misplaced Priorities
The profligacy of government running Air India is seen in its debt of $8.5 billion today. It is reported that the government owes this cash-strapped airline over Rs 325 crore for VVIP chartered flights alone. Air India did not go the Kingfisher airline way due to the government pumping in money from the public exchequer and using it as its public fiefdom. The privatisation of Air India is slowly being attempted. With the nationalised banks’ ridiculously high non-performing assets (NPAs) and various governments still being forced or promising to write off farmers loans and other loans, unnecessary grandoise schemes like Shivaji statue off shore, bullet train, hyperloop, drastic needs of our armed forces etc being promised, where is the money coming from? Development priorities for whom and at what cost is the vital question. The race for economic progress is meaningless without the safety, peace and happiness of all its citizens.
JOHN ERIC GOMES, Porvorim
Install More ATMs in Ponda
Many customers visit the e-corner of the State Bank of India at Sadar in Ponda for undertaking financial transactions. Even migrant labourers visit the premises in large numbers for transferring money to family members at their native place. However, on most occasions, a long queue of customers is noticed who are compelled to waste much of their precious time in the process. Out of the two machines installed here, one is found non-functional on some occasions. It would be appropriate for the higher officials at this major bank to install additional machines at strategic locations in Ponda so that over-crowding at the abovementioned sole premises is avoided.
PRAVIN U SARDESSAI, Adpai
UP Bypoll Result, A Wakeup Call for BJP
Even assuming that bypoll results do not exactly lay out a road map for the general elections, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Lok Sabha bypoll verdict is a stunner. Yogi Adityanath was the MP of Gorakhpur for five consecutive terms before becoming the Chief Minister of UP. If at all, with he being at the helm of the UP government, and the BJP-ruled NDA government at the Centre, the BJP should have scraped through in Gorakhpur. Yogi cannot blame the “last minute” coming together of the SP and BSP because it puts a question mark on intuition and strategy of the party’s famed electoral team. Overconfidence and arrogance of the BJP at the Centre and at the state level was made good use of by that astute proponent of social engineering, Mayawati. The Chief Minister has blamed the low voter turnout for the poll reversal. But that in itself is an indictment of sorts, as the common man may have abstained from recording his anger at the Centre and the state. Seen from any angle, the UP result should be a wakeup call for the BJP. Of late, it has lost bypolls one after another in its undisputable bastion: the Hindi heartland. UP and Bihar are crucial for the party to regain power in 2019. By the look of things, the party seems to be on a slippery ground in its stronghold. Notwithstanding the results of states going to polls before the 2019 general elections, the BJP is in the saddle in many other states and the party will have to fight the famous anti-incumbency in so many states. However, the very fact that the Indian voter is quite adept at voting differentially depending on the situation, and that there are little signs of the opposition parties facing the elections with one leader, means the BJP still holds some aces. That means it is now or never for the opposition, which needs to use the UP win as a template to build on.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA