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Fixing Maradu Accountability  

THE Supreme Court has put its foot down on demolition of residential complexes at Maradu in Kochi, which were built in violation of CRZ norms. The top court has ordered the Kerala government to pay each flat owner an interim relief of Rs 25 lakh, and the amount must be recovered from the builders and promoters. Furthermore the SC has frozen the assets of the builders and promoters. However, the whole episode begs answers to a few questions. Had the authorities been unaware of the construction of the four buildings? Who had approved the building plans? Who had permitted the electricity and water connections? Who had conducted inspections of the buildings issuing the occupancy certificates?  Had not the sanctioning authorities colluded with the builders? How come the authorities have been let off for their omissions and commissions?  As their assets have been frozen, how the builders and promoters would repay the Kerala government, which has been directed to compensate the flat owners? The flat owners must have spent their hard-earned money and availed bank loans in buying, renovating and decorating their houses. Who would compensate the flat owners for the huge losses? The irregularities vis-à-vis the CRZ norms in Kerala is nothing if we consider the constructions along the 7,000-km-long coastline of India.


Push For PAN-Aadhaar Linkage 

THE deadline to link permanent account number with Aadhaar number has been extended till December 31 from the earlier deadline of September 30. A notification has been issued in this regards. It is understood that this is the seventh time that the government has extended the deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar number. It is now mandatory to link the two unique IDs for income-tax purpose. However, what comes as a surprise is that the deadline has been extended as many as seven times. This raises a question:  whether a deadline is actually necessary, or if the linkage can be done at any time without a deadline? What is important is wider publicity to be given so that the citizens are aware of the need to link the PAN with Aadhaar card. 


Banking On Cooperative Banks

MILLIONS of middle class and poorer people have accounts in cooperative banks. Most of these accountholders do not have to pay income tax. These accountholders also make fixed deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh in different cooperative banks to avoid paying TDS and then having to file returns to get the money back. This does not in any way amount to cheating the government, as the people don’t have to pay income tax. They only want to save themselves the hassles of filing returns. It is reported that the government is planning to put a limit on the number of bank accounts one may hold. Apparently this is to curb black money. However, as all bank accounts are linked to the Aadhaar number, this move doesn’t make sense.  Moreover, if people begin to close their accounts in several small banks, it will worsen the weak financial position of many cooperative banks. This could have a more disastrous effect than demonetisation and GST put together.


Peep Into Swamy’s Skewed Thinking

EVER since Union Home Minister Amit Shah pitched for Hindi as the national language, there has been some sort of unease among people of south India, apprehending that it might be forcibly imposed against their wish. Many others like us have vouched for it as a link language in the three-language formula. However, there are people like Subramanian Swamy, controversial as ever, eager to foment trouble in the society with skewed observations. During his speech on ‘resurgence of Hinduism’ at the Ravindra Bhavan in Margao on Sunday, he remarked that resurgence of Hinduism is possible when Hindi becomes nation’s identity and Sanskrit is revived. Even more glaringly, he noted that Sanskrit should be the language of the judiciary. Since Hindi is the most common language spoken by around 45 per cent of the populace it could be the link language of India. But why  confuse this simple concept with religiosity and even judiciary? Judiciary in most of the states is more than satisfied with the regional language at the lower courts and with English in the higher judiciary. Why meddle with that established convention? Furthermore, no one would be interested how imposition of Hindi would be associated with the revival of Hinduism. Though I do not belong to that faith, I am sure that in most of the states, the rituals would be managed in the local language and in Sanskrit, which is the scripture language. Next, we are very well aware of his unabashed push for the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya ever since the Babri masjid had been demolished. But that apart, at Ravindra Bhavan he said that he wants the restoration of some 40,000 temples in the country. It is unfortunate that as a Rajya Sabha MP instead of being involved in the welfare of the people he has buried himself in temple building issue. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Gandhi Jayanti, our politicians would do well in taking a silent oath to serve the people on the basis of basic human needs.


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