Thursday , 20 February 2020
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Pakistan Pushed To The Wall 

PAKISTAN has been in an unprecedented disarray after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which had  bestowed  special status on Jammu and Kashmir.  Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is repeatedly attacking India over alleged  atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir, and seeking support of the international community for  revoking the abrogation of the said two articles. Now, in a new move, Pakistan has turned down India’s request for an over-flight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plane over its territory en route to the United States, defying the international protocol. The Pakistani Foreign Minister has said  the flight has been disallowed in view of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, accusing India of tyrannising the Kashmiris. Pakistan had also disallowed the over-flight request of President Ram Nath Kovind during his European visit. Pakistan is also blaming India in the mysterious disappearance of its military officer two years ago along the Nepal border. We cannot deny that Pakistan is entrenched in its hostility towards India because of our own meek approach over the past seven decades. The new uncompromising attitude adopted by the Modi regime has pushed Pakistan to the wall. Why should Pakistan show concern for the situation in Jammu and Kashmir when there is so much of unrest in that country? We do admit that there is inconvenience to the Kashmiris due to the various restrictions imposed within the state. But that is a temporary measure to maintain stability in the region, and things will improve shortly. But why can’t  Khan see the plight of minorities in his country with so many Hindu girls being forcibly converted to Islam and married? What about the Christians who have been languishing behind bars under the draconian blasphemy clause? It is better to clean up one’s own house before pointing at the neighbour’s house. Instead of threatening India on the use of nuclear weapons, Khan should ponder over giving up  the claim over the PoK at the earliest.


Rebuild The Battered Roads

SEVERAL roads in the state need a total revamp. The general procedure followed by the government is to carry out patch-up work of the potholed roads. But this time around such a remedial step will not work. At several places  potholes have overtaken the road. These entire road stretches  need to be dug up and  relayed. The general complaint is that money exchanges hands as road repair work is offered to contractors who in turn carry out shabby work. The road then redevelops potholes after a few showers. This must stop. A lasting solution would be for Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to personally look into the issue which has attracted widespread criticism from the people  of the state. A renowned road-building company should  be roped in to rebuild the battered roads all over the state, instead of relying on patch-up work. Goa needs new roads as repairs of the existing pothole-ridden roads will only prolong the misery of the travelling public. 


When Hoardings Kill People

NEGLIGENCE,  arrogance and ignorance are entrenched in the psyche of a lot of Indian administrators, especially those  who are responsible for the upkeep of facilities required for a dignified living of a citizen.  Erecting banners and hoardings is the favourite pastime  of political leaders and their workers. Banners glorifying the achievements of top leaders, welcoming them back home from abroad, and profusely wishing them on their birthdays, rule the streets.  Shockingly, footpaths and medians which divide the roads are pet areas for the small-time politicians.   Most of these hoardings   are illegal.   The loose and hanging banners pose perennial danger to the people.  Young Subhasri was crushed to death in Chennai when a speeding water tank ran over her after she fell off her scooter as a result of  an illegal hoarding fell  on the girl.  The illegal hoarding was put up by a functionary of the ruling AIADMK. The government, in its wisdom, arrested the tanker driver. It also sealed the printing press where the artwork for the hoarding was done.  One begs to ask as to why the ruling party functionary was not immediately apprehended. The Madras High Court had banned the banners in 2017.  Anguished by the flouting of its orders, the High Court  lashed out at the government, asking  it  as to how many litres of blood it wanted to secure people’s safety.  The court’s order, as usual,  will be treated with contempt by the barefaced  politicians. It has been reported  that several hoardings have been put up adjacent to the Marina beach even after the  death of Subhasri and the Madras HC’s observations.  So, what lessons have the government and the municipal authorities learnt from the Subhasri death?  Nothing, it seems.  The girl was wearing a helmet and was driving in a proper lane.  She was within the permissible speed limit.   Another youngster K Ragupathi was killed near Coimbatore in a similar accident in 2017. That had led the Madras High Court to ban banners and hoardings.


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