MyVoice: Views of our readers 6th November 2022

MyVoice: Views of our readers 6th November 2022
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Highlights

Views of our readers

Morbi tragedy an 'Act Of God'?

Most Indians, if not all, are fatalists. They often tend to attribute anything good or bad that happens in their lives to their Fate or to God! In a recent Telugu movie, hero Venkatesh makes fun of the expression, 'An act of God.' This expression however shocked a court in Gujarat and hit the headlines in newspapers recently when an accused said in the court that the Morbi suspension bridge tragedy, in which about 135 people met their watery grave, was an act of God! The officials of the Electricity Board in Anantapur also used recently this expression 'an act of God', albeit in an implicit way, when they told the people that a mischievous squirrel snapped a high tension wire which fell on a passing auto, killing four women labourers. But both the incidents, alas, were man-made tragedies, to say the least.

The reasons and the circumstances that led to the collapse of the heritage bridge spanning the Machchu River put the onus squarely on the State government and on the companies involved in its maintenance. The cable bridge, built way back in 1879, was renovated on 26th October. According to police, only the floor of the bridge was given some cosmic touches here and there. No official clearance was taken from the State authorities before throwing the bridge open to the public just four days after the completion of the so called Renovation!

The same companies had repaired the bridge last in 2007.These companies are in fact have no experience or expertise to carry out these repair works. Even without calling for tenders, these companies were given the contract work again. The workers of these private companies are in charge of the bridge. On that fateful day, these people sold more than 400 tickets to the public and allowed them on to the bridge.

The workers didn't regulate the movement of the public on the bridge. And when the big crowd thronged the area, they didn't even ask police for help. The MD of the company involved in the maintenance of the bridge attended a function at the site and opened the bridge to the public on October 26th. But after the tragedy on 30th, police arrested only the small fry of the companies and the persons who sold the tickets!

The only consolation is that our PM Modi was very quick in realizing the magnitude of the mistake and the need to visit the site to be with the kith and kin of the dead in their hour of loss and grief.

In our historic twin cities too there are many heritage bridges, buildings, monuments, lakes, drinking water plants, and other historical structures most of which are in ramshackle conditions and shabby upkeep. There is an urgent and crying need for their proper care and maintenance. Preserving and handing over them to our posterity is our moral and cultural responsibility.

M Somasekhar Prasad, Hyderabad

II

"Rusted cables not replaced, only repainted: Public prosecutor " (November 03, 2022). The Morbi suspension bridge collapse that took the toll of so many innocent lives as per emerging facts show poor shoddy maintenance and reconditioning of the bridge's old cables before it is thrown open to the public without clearance from the contractor. Things came into clarity and began to be in the right direction as more individuals are being included in the FIR after PM Modi visited Morbi and interacted with the injured individuals who are undergoing treatment in the hospital. It is important that all those connected with the mishaps must be booked – however big and important they may be as people want full justice and nothing less.

K V Raghuram, Wayanad

III

The 140-year-old suspension bridge over Machchhu river in Morbi town was an iconic structure and a tourist spot. Gujarat called it an engineering marvel of the colonial era. But not much care is taken to keep the icon intact. One is unable to understand the urgency for the civic body to appoint the private party without following due procedures like inviting bids from competent and experienced personnel. How foolish it is to appoint a digital clock maker for the task. The Oreva group without taking due permissions from the respective authorities concerned threw open the bridge to public which caused death of so many innocent lives. Hence the Oreva group must be charged with murder case and necessary punishment like life term or death punishment is only ones to be granted to them. This points to a cavalier approach on the part of authorities concerned including the state government.

TSN Rao, Hyderabad

AAP entry spices up electoral scene in Guj

The Gujarat Assembly election assumes added political significance for its national ramifications. The electoral outcome will reveal whether the state, sometimes called the 'laboratory for Hindutva experiment,' is still a strong BJP's bastion and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma is still undiminished and it will also bear on the course of national politics till 2024 general election.

In Gujarat, for long it was a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP, but this time around with the entry of the AAP in the election fray the contest has become triangular. To which party's advantage the 3-way contest will go remains to be seen. Whether the AAP's gain will be the BJP's or the Congress' loss is crucially important. It is also possible that the new entrant gains at the cost of both the parties. It is clear from the AAP's 'soft Hindutva' rhetoric that it is vying for the BJP's traditional votes.

While the upper castes are united in supporting the BJP, the lower castes split their votes among all the three parties. Whose interest the BJP represents is explicit to mention it. Notwithstanding the analysis by pundits that the BJP is well ahead in the race and it is all set to secure the seventh straight win and form a 'double engine government' and the Congress and the AAP are fighting for the second spot, December 8 may spring a surprise. In the event of the BJP not romping home, it will dampen the party cadres to go all out, albeit Hindutva as the USP, to secure a consecutive third term to govern the country and enthuse the Opposition parties to redouble their efforts to win the 2024 electoral battle.

G David Milton, Maruthancode, TN

II

Apropos, "Gujarat polls in two phases," (The Hans India, Nov 4). The BJP has been winning Gujarat since 1995. Narendra Modi's tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat became the launch-pad for his journey to national politics and the office of Prime Minister. When the state votes in early December, therefore, the BJP, riding the "double-engine" slogan, is expecting a big win.

In the 2017 assembly election, the Congress ran the BJP close and brought its tally below 100 seats. Clearly, the BJP doesn't want a repeat of the last election and has been in campaign mode for months now. With the Prime Minister, the party mascot, travelling to Gujarat frequently and announcing new projects, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, who replaced Vijay Rupani in a Cabinet makeover in September last year, has been more in the shadows. However, the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party has introduced a new thrill in the contest. It remains to be seen if the AAP's urban-centric campaign focused on its government's claims in Delhi in the fields of education and health and its playing to the Hindutva gallery can compensate for the lack of organisational presence in rural Gujarat.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

New low in state of affairs all around

It is a great concern for sane Indians to see a new low in the spheres of political discourse, election campaigning, legislative debates and economic management. The political leadership's high-octane rhetoric of making the country a global leader sounds hollow against the backdrop of failure of government even in a simple matter of repair of bridge where the contract was awarded to a wall clock manufacturer, resulting in tragic loss of more than hundred lives.

The ugly phenomenon of gubernatorial offices being found in constant confrontation with non- BJP governments in many states has the potential to undermine the role and powers of elected governments. The instance of governments being sternly warned by Supreme Court to act sincerely to stop hate speeches gives credence to the perception that vested political interests are adding fuel to the fire of communal tensions. The endless price rise of essential commodities immensely adds to the woes of common man.

Obviously, caste identities being invoked for electoral gains is now a convenient political tool. The ability to exploit the religious sentiments to win elections has become the sharp weapon in the hands of politicians. Altering political loyalties of legislators through offer of money, ministerial positions as well as exemption from investigations into their ill-gotten wealth has become central to gather the numbers needed in legislatures not only to form governments but also to topple elected governments.

The political proclivity of branding the people having an ideology different to the ruling class as traitors has attained menacing proportions. The attempt to impose Hindi on the people of southern States against their will is another example of creating fresh problems without resolving the existing problems. It is high time for people to display maturity and foresight by casting their votes neither in exchange for money, liquor nor on the basis of religion, caste. Instead, let the voting choices of people be shaped by honesty, talent and efficiency of the contestant. That is the only way and surest mode to build strong India.

Narne Raveendra Babu, Hyderabad

Govt metes out injustice under EPS-95 scheme

In the 51 page judgment signed by CJI UU Lalit, Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia and delivered on November 4, nowhere it is mentioned as to what the minimum pension is. During the prolonged arguments in the Supreme Court, many number of times the standard static pension of Rs 1,000/- being paid for the past two decades against Employees Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS-95) was referred to by the lawyers of both retired employees side and EPFO side.

The judgment is solely related EPS-95 and hence all concerned covered under this scheme should be the beneficiaries. The news clarifies that the scheme is applicable to the retirees after September 2014 only. What about the retirees before that date? For example: Under EPS-95 scheme, all the employees of The Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL) located in various states in India were forcibly removed from employment in 2002/2003 on Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS), without any medical facility, by paying retiral benefits on 1987 wages by denying two due wage revisions in 1992 and 1997 and hence the maximum pensionable salary was capped at Rs 6,500/- per month. This gross violent injustice was brought to Union Government also, though they did this criminal act. On the same reasons, if not exactly similar, other CPSUs like IDPL, HMT are falling in line with FCIL.

A day before the SC's judgment, Central Finance Ministry stubbornly declared that it was not going to hike or revise the existing pension of Rs 1,000 pm. Lakhs of retirees with unmoved pension who are above 70 years are in deep penury and are on deteriorating health. Every month many are dying. It is a most serious situation and a bigger tragedy than Morbi hanging bridge collapse. All the governments since the year 2,000 have lent their might to suppress these hapless government servants. State governments' old-age pension is higher than EPS-95 pensioners. All the Members of Parliament collectively and unitedly must stand together and redress this genuine grievance.

Dr NSR Murthy Secunderabad

Adopt PGSIT to control Aedes aegypti population

The Aedes aegypti mosquito species, which is responsible for transmitting a variety of diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika, is altered by the new precision-guided sterile insect technique (PGSIT), which modifies genes linked to male fertility and results in sterile offspring and female flight.

PGSIT is a brand-new, scalable genetic control method that creates deployable, population-suppressing mosquitoes using cutting-edge technology. Male mosquitoes don't spread diseases, thus the plan is to release an increasing number of sterile males in order to control the population without using dangerous pesticides and chemicals.

Many industrialised nations have adopted this technology, but in India we don't know anything about it, and even the national government hasn't spread the word about it as of yet. PGSIT, according to the researchers, is the first technology that is suitable for release in the real world and is effective in reducing mosquito populations.

In the future, PGSIT may offer an effective, secure, scalable, and environmentally benign next-generation technology alternative for controlling mosquito populations in the wild, leading to the widespread prevention of human disease transmission cost effectively. Therefore, our central government should investigate this and put it into effect as quickly as feasible throughout our nation.

VijayKumar H K, Raichur

Can Kharge turn fortune of Congress around

Since 2014, Congress has been experiencing a series of defeats. Under the leadership of Rahul, every state had seen Congress defeat. UP was no exception where Priyanka Vadra donned leadership. Organisational elections were scheduled to ease the pressure mounted on Sonia who, after Gehlot's rejection to quit as the CM to become party president, she opted for Mallikharjun Kharge, who despite opposition from Tharoor, was finally seated on Congress Presidential throne due to support from central high command.

Kharge is a south Indian belonging to Scheduled Caste. There has been an internal war between the South v/s the North in Indian politics. Also there is a conflict based on language between Hindi and non-Hindi States. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are opposed to forceful imposition of Hindi in their States. Congress has the advantage of gaining political mileage to oppose Hindi dominant North due to having seated a south Indian statesman at the helm of affairs. BJP has turned ST seats in its favour by choosing woman President Murmu. Hence, it is an added advantage to reorient SC section towards Congress which has seated the SC leader on the throne of power.

Kharge's immediate focus is slated to be directed towards elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh with an aim to defeat BJP in at least one state. Kharge who is 80 years old and is confined to Karnataka politics, the responsibility to oversee party affairs in addition to bringing all opposition parties under one single roof during 2024 elections is squarely placed on him. It is still questionable whether he can resolve internal problems by himself existing among the States like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Karnataka. It is now necessary for the Congress President to interact with the friendly parties besides with Sonia and Rahul to discuss new arrangements. He needs to compromise in several ways in order to minimize problems and prove himself successful. In all eventuality, the status of Congress party gets clarified during the hegemony of Mallikharjun Kharge.

Bh Indu Sekhar, Hyderabad

AP govt must address teachers' grievances

Since YSRCP came into power, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been paying special attention to education in general and school education in particular. With the initiative of the Chief Minister nearly 37,000 schools out of 45,000 have been renovated through the flagship programme of Nadu-Nedu. It is informed that all the schools which were developed under Nadu-Nedu would get CBSE affiliation at the earliest and the last thing in Nadu-Nedu programme is digitalisation of classrooms. It is a very good idea to make subject teachers concept from 3rd to 10th standard.

In spite of all these progressive initiatives, there is not that much enthusiasm among the teaching community. It is because in the name of merging schools, a number of SGT posts have been reduced. Further, the government boasting of the subject teacher concept from 3 to 10th classes but the same is not applicable in pre-high schools as they are supposed to run with SGTs. Moreover, the government has decided to take up rationalisation, promotion and transfers of teachers at beginning of the academic year, but there is no clarity even as the academic year is coming to end. So, the government must not ignore the issues relating to teachers as they are main stakeholders in the system.

Pratapa Reddy Y, Tiruvuru, NTR Dt, AP

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