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Go Back To Ballot Papers

THE holding of bypolls to four Lok Sabha and nine assembly seats on Monday showed the ugly side of poll process. Whatever might be the outcome of the bypolls, I must say that this time around the undisputed winners are the EVMs and VVPATs. In the two prestigious   Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, 21 per cent   of the malfunctioning machines in Khairana and 19 per cent in Bhandara-Gondia were replaced! Officials cited ‘heat and dust’ as the reason for the high rate of malfunctioning. Curiously in the 2014 general elections, held around the same time of the year,   malfunctioning was not much of a concern. In the next general elections about two million EVMs will be used (1.8 million were used in 2014). Assuming only 10 per cent malfunction in the next general election in May 2019 (with the same ‘heat and dust’ weather conditions as today) we have a sure recipe for disaster. There is a strong case for reverting to the ballot paper.


Bloated And Inefficient Departments

TWO headlines each contrary caught my eye. PWD Minister Ramakrishna Dhavalikar has complained about many retirees and no replacements in government departments and AAP leader Elvis Gomes has said that “too many grandfathers still continue to be in service”. Both the leaders point to the extensions granted to the retiring employees. Actually this should be a time to implement what I think the Fifth Pay Commission had recommended – downsizing of staff. It is understood that a high-powered interdepartmental committee has been carrying out an assessment on manpower requirements in each department.  The departments seem to be definitely overstaffed with misfits, most of whom are appointed and given extensions with political blessings.  If the government is serious to staff their departments with competent and efficient employees then there has to be a study done by professionals – and not prejudiced bureaucrats – for each department. The load of pensions, leaves and transfers must also be factored in. However, I do not see any such administrative reforms in public interest.


Prevent Floods Along New Bridge Routes

THE work of the flyovers and approach roads to the Mandovi bridge and the Zuari bridge has been going on at a hectic pace. The route of the present roads has been changed several times. Excavation of the ground using heavy machinery has been undertaken at several places. Mud and construction material as well as debris are seen along the roadsides. With the monsoon fast approaching, the construction activities could lead to waterlogging and flooding of the roads, which could immense inconvenience the road users. Water could also enter the houses dotting along the roads and the debris could get washed into the nearby fields. Remedial measures need to be taken by the authorities concerned to prevent flooding of the roads and accumulation of rainwater during the monsoon. This can be done by providing proper drainage near the construction sites of the flyovers and approach roads to both the bridges.



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