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Averting Building Collapse Tragedies

Once again the careless attitude of the civic authorities in Mumbai has led to the collapse of a 100-year-old building claiming innocent lives. As always, it is time for passing the buck with non less than the Maharashtra Chief Minister assuring of an immediate inquiry and prompt action against the guilty. You can be rest assured that other than lip service nothing will happen. As buildings age or get dilapidated, no preventive action is taken to repair them or steps taken to caution people against the impending danger to life and property. Negligence and a careless attitude lead to tragic loss of life. In many cases there have been instances of unscrupulous people making changes to the shops on ground floor in order to convert them into showrooms and make them more appealing. In many cases, they have changed the building structure by removing or shifting columns to make way for larger shop floors thus weakening an already old building. While condemning the greedy businessmen who do this, we should not forget that it is only with the ready connivance of the greedy and corrupt civic authorities that this is possible. It is high time that this nexus is broken. As always, Goa is following in the footsteps of developed cities and is fast to copy all the wrong things. In Panaji, there are so many old structures, which are in the protected Heritage zone where unauthorised changes are made to convert the old premises into swanky new showrooms to be leased out at extravagant amounts to branded retail showrooms. There are numerous such premises on M G Road itself. Very lately, a huge retail store has opened in an entire building on D B Road. This is housed in a 100-year-old building to which an entire second floor has been added illegally. Though this matter is sub judice and the case is pending in the High Court, the store has opened. An already weak structure has been further weakened by removing all the load-bearing internal walls to provide large open shop floors. It is high time our civic authorities and all the concerned authorities woke up and took urgent steps to look into this.


Managing Loss-making PSUs

The public sector undertakings (PSUs) which are suffering huge losses due to sheer inefficiency and state largesse are still sought to be mollycoddled and propped up by infusing more and more capital. The government wanted control even after disinvestment and hence there were no takers for Air India. Now, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), which has been a laggard in the highly competitive telecom sector, is incurring huge losses with fast deteriorating services. It is reported that 75 per cent of its revenue goes towards salaries of the 54,000 employees. Capital infusion is planned here also to help the government employees. The Sanjivani sugar factory in Goa is another white elephant under consideration for yet another bailout. With such type of management and priorities, where are our prices, GDP and budget figures heading?


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