Rail Fare Hike: Positive Move - I
EVEN though the Railway Minister, Mr Dinesh Trivedi has increased the passenger fares across the board, the first hike in eight years, it was necessary considering the safety aspects of the railways which is in urgent need of modernisation.

In the past, there have been several rail accidents which have resulted in loss of lives as well as financial losses to the railways. Mr Trivedi has introduced several measures to make rail travel safer. This includes setting up of a Rail Safety Authority as a statutory regulatory body besides modernisation of 19,000 kms tracks over the next five years. Even the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh has praised the Railway Budget as forward-looking. It has been formulated against the background of the Railways meeting the demands of the 12th Plan. A roll-back, which will mean compromising with the safety aspect of the railways, will not be in the interest of the general public who would not mind to pay a bit extra if the rail travel can be made safer.

Rail Fare Hike: Positive Move - II
HIKE in railway fares by the Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress MP, Mr Dinesh Trivedi has invited criticism from his own party chief, Ms Mamata Banerjee who has called upon the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh to sack Mr Trivedi. However, considering the fact that Indian Railways are ailing and need funds to improve safety measures, the hike seems to be a good decision. The manner in which the Trinamool Congress one of the major allies of the ruling UPA II government and its chief Ms Mamata Banerjee, is just playing a political game over any government proposal, is not a good sign for Indian democracy. After eight years, a Railway Minister has very skillfully raised the fares by keeping the party aside.


Congress Must Correct Course
RESULTS of the five state Assembly elections saw the Samajwadi Party securing a stunning victory in Uttar Pradesh, the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine retaining power in Punjab, the BJP bouncing back in Goa, the Congress having a narrow edge in Uttarakhand while retaining Manipur. If there is one lesson to learn from the dismal performance of the Congress, it is that the general public is disappointed by the UPA government. The task before the Congress party is enormous. First it needs to convince itself and the people that it is serious on improve condition of the people. Secondly, it must show its seriousness on wiping out corruption. Lastly it must be willing to take bold steps in governance. 


Flyovers to Tackle Traffic Jams
WITH increase in number of vehicles in Goa, road traffic is increasing by leaps and bounds in the state. In the major cities of Goa, there is no scope for road widening to decongest the traffic and hence the only solution is constructing of flyovers. During the last decade, the Mumbai traffic has been streamlined by constructing a number of flyovers in different parts of the city. It is a high time we have some flyovers in major cities of Goa - Panaji, Margao, Vasco — after consultation with experts. (Mumbai engineers will have good experience and expertise). 


Rehabilitation of Sri Lankan Tamils
INDIA is in double minds over it s stand on US resolution on human rights violations in Sri Lanka. It has to take into consideration the sentiments of Tamil Nadu and also the interest of China to meddle in troubled waters. The resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly to free the murderers of the ex Prime Minister is abhorrent and insensitive to the death of Rajiv and smacks of double standards and hypocrisy. The urge of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh to back the resolution has not changed the wait and watch stand of the Indian government. The US could have brought a resolution to expedite devolution of powers with autonomy to fulfill the aspiration and long standing demands of the Tamil population. Besides the track record of human right violations in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay does not make that country above board. The rehabilitation of Tamil population, which is taking place at a snail’s place, should be the priority of any concerned nation, including India. Tamil Nadu must understand that the war of separatism being fought in Kashmir is a festering wound and that India will never accede to such anti-national demands of amputations, as a solution to the war of Independence. India cannot condone the atrocities committed by the Tigers, however righteous their cause - the means do not justify their ends. India therefore has a tight rope to walk, balancing international concerns and domestic sentiments, not forgetting the geopolitical ramifications.