Travelling Treacherous Stretch
COMMUTERS travelling to Panaji via Cortalim on the morning of August 22 were in for a real surprise with an orderliness in vehicular movement that has not been witnessed for quite some time on the ‘under development’ route which has woefully been in the throes of construction activities. With tight rows of vehicles jamming the stretch, travelling on this route has been a real test of patience enough to leave commuters frustrated. Furthermore, the sloppy condition of the road stretch dotted with crater-like potholes guarantees to throw the traffic out of gear. Unruly motorists squeezing in from every side available ensuring that the traffic which suddenly goes into the ‘three-lane’ mode as it nears bottlenecks do not help the situation either! However, the Thursday morning was a different story altogether! With policemen placed strategically all along the stretch from Cortalim to the GMC turn-about very diligently directing traffic, commuters could not have asked for more. With vehicles moving at a steady pace, it was as if this stretch never experienced the travails of regular traffic holdups; nor did the movement of any heavy construction equipment cause traffic jams on that day. The visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah presumably gave a temporary respite to the harried commuters on this route! The brighter side was the realisation that the Goa police are not all that inefficient. As members of a force that has had command chains playing a pivotal role in how the subordinates reacted to the orders of their superiors, the state police gave a good account of itself. So it would seem that it is the lack of orders from their superiors that restricts traffic police personnel posted along such ‘precarious’ routes from performing their duties with alacrity. However, the lackadaisical attitude that characterises most of the police personnel deputed on traffic duty is in sharp contrast to the verve they show while penalising traffic offenders. If the movement of a VVIP can cause so much of flutter that the indolence often attributed to the police personnel is quickly replaced by the alertness so typical of a vigilant force, would it be wrong to desire a similar attitude towards their job during normal situations!
PACHU MENON, MARGAO
Parle-G Falls On Hard Times
MANY of us grew up enjoying the taste of Parle-G biscuits. During our school days the popular brand of biscuit was packed in our tiffin boxes. It was served to guests over a cup of tea and was a household name in the 1980s and 1990s. It is the biscuit of choice in the rural areas due to its low price. In 2003 Parle-G was reportedly considered the world’s largest selling biscuit brand. However, now it has been reported that the leading Indian biscuit company might lay off up to 10,000 workers as slowing economic growth and falling demand in the rural heartland could cause production cuts. Founded in 1929, the Parle biscuit company reportedly employs about 100,000 people including direct and contract workers. It is understood that the demand for Parle-G biscuits has been worsening since India rolled out a nationwide goods and service tax in 2017 which imposed a higher levy on biscuits costing as low as Rs 5. This has forced the company to offer fewer biscuits in each pack hitting demand from lower-income consumers from rural India who seem to be extremely conscious of how many biscuits they get in a packet. The government needs to come to the rescue of the company so that the poor can enjoy the biscuit which also holds nostalgic value for people of all sections of society.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO