Saturday, January 9, 2010

IAS churning Indian Democracy to Autocratic Feudal Aristocracy

Dear Sh KK Punchhi,
This matter/ message- click here is based from following inputs:
  • World Development Report 2009
  • The book" Breaking Free of Nehru- let's Unleash India by an Ex IAS officer available in Oxford Book Stores click here for synopsis
  • My discussion with CEC of India and consequent enquiry
  • My dealing with district IAS officers as President of Residents Welfare Association
  • The way IAS officers have played with Natural Justice by tempering with 6th CPC Report for their vested interests and consequent flooding of cases in Courts/ Tribunals and many other inputs where IAS officers play the game of shuttle cock to avoid taking decisions, etc
  • Army Jawans/ officers going on fast unto death and returning service gallantry awards/ medals are bad signals for India. In the last 25 years IAS officers have done nothing to solve this major issue troubling Defence forces (serving and retired) inspite of all financial and administrative data supplied to them.

    Since I also retired in the rank of Special Secretary to Government of India (former Controller General of Defence Accounts), and my son and daughter-in-law both were in IAS as SDM, DRDA, Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner/ Secy etc. I have seen their functioning at various levels from the lowest to the highest.

    My fear is if we delay in winding up this rusted steel frame of bureaucracy/ modifying/ overhauling to suit our Freedom, Swaraj (self rule), we shall soon be declared as a Failed State.

    If there is any positive improvement in India, it is all due to Private Sector. Both IAS officers and political leaders are failing us in attaining Freedom (Independence is not called Freedom), Security, Justice, Accountability, making cities after cities as urban nightmare (Thank God People of Jamshedpur are refusing IAS officers/ Political leaders to take over their local government) and almost in all social, economic, secular and other areas.

    People of India should think over this serious matter before it is too late. The moment we cross the rating of 90, we shall be failed State. Bell is ringing very loud.
    with regards,
    Prem Sabhlok

    Is India a failed State?
    Audio has been disabled

    Failed State, INDIA, will soon FALL to NAXALITE Insurgents - India is DOOMED!

    India's deplorable human rights record may get a free pass from the western media, but not from its own people who suffer directly from the brutual oppression. You can just tell them to stay poor and be happy, while the rich get richer. 450 Million Dalits, Untouchables and Scheduled classes are enslaved as indentured classes in the inhuman caste system. 150 Million Muslims are marginalized as 2nd class citizens. 50 million Widows are incarcerated in temples as prostitutes. Almost every state has an insurgency. The Naxalite militancy rages from the Nepal border deep into Andhra Pradesh and to the Tamilnadu border.
  • Prime Minister's Scholarship for Ex Servicemen for 2010

    Dear Friends,
    Jai Hind.
    Reference advertisement regarding Kendriya Sainik Board Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme is appended below.
    I tried to locate the application form for the scholarship on the website: It is very difficult to find it from that website.
    I made a general search and found the brochure and the form is available at: click here .
    At this website click on PM'S Scholarship Scheme for wards of ex-servicemen/ widows to download the brochure and the application form.
    Brig C Kamboi (Retd)

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    SCPC: Myth and Truth of Military pay versus Civil pay

    “Knowledge and timber shouldn't be much used till they are seasoned.” : Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894)

    I keep getting angry mails on the degradation of status of the military. The spirit of this trepidation may be correct to an extent but there are some downright incorrect myths doing the rounds which need to be set right, not just because these make us sound unknowledgeable but also since these unnecessarily result in lowering the self esteem of the uniformed community.

    Myth 1 : Jawans of the forces are now lower than Group-D staff of the Central Govt
    Totally untrue. Group-C appointments of the Central Govt begin at the level of Pay Band-1 / Grade Pay 1800. Our Sepoy is at Grade Pay 2000, that is two steps higher than the lowest Group-C employee of the Central Govt. What needs to be ensured is the same level of employment after the early release from service.

    Myth 2 : Subedar Majors have been placed below Group-B officers in Pay
    Wrong again. Subedar Majors are at par with the apex level of Group-B officers with GP 4800. The closest equivalent is the post of an Assistant Commissioner of Police (Group-B) of the Delhi and Andaman Nicobar Police Service, the recruitment of which is done by the UPSC alongwith other Civil Services.

    Myth 3 : Havildars were earlier drawing a pay higher than Head Constables of the CPOs but have now been clubbed with Head Constables

    Totally untrue. This is the new equation after the 6th CPC : Sepoy = Constable (Both PB-1 / GP 2000), Naik = Head Constable (Both PB-1 / GP 2400), Havildar = Assistant Sub Inspector (Both PB-1 / GP 2800), Naib Subedar = Sub Inspector (Both PB-2 / GP 4200), Subedar = Inspector (Both PB-2 / GP 4600).

    Anomalies can only be countered once these are identified and once the level of knowledge is up to the mark to tackle them. There are incongruities which need to be taken care of, but all is not wrong. Rest assured.
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh
    True but sorry not true

    IESM: ECHS Division at Mysore

    We at Mysore congratulate the efforts of IESM- ECHS Division in officially getting acceptance of our support by MD ECHS for improving the functioning of ECHS Services.

    Secondly, in pursuit of your earlier request and directive, we are glad to announce a list of veterans who are enthusiastic and willing to take up the cause as volunteers at the local MYSORE Polyclinic level cell. The formation of this new team and its vision and purpose was yet to be accepted by the local ECHS advisory board during its next meeting to be held shortly, and hence the delay in informing IESM-ECHS division. Infact, informally these volunteers proactively had already made some constructive suggestions local issues and was accepted, during the ECHS advisory Quarterly meeting held at No.2 AFSB, Mysore,in the month of Sep'09.

    Thirdly, the volunteers represent all the three services, and they are:
    Cdr P Lakshman- Chairman
    Sgt Anand Iyer R
    Hav Biddappa PK
    Naik Gopala BM
    Mrs Leela Changappa wife of Subn PC Changappa

    Fourthly, as the meeting is being held tommorow, there is a overwhelming request to address the point from NCO's from our local chapter which could benefit ESM's all over the country.
  • Most of the NCO's after early retirement, settle down with a decent job and feel depressed when as a patient referred to a empanelled hospital as a inpatient, is admitted to a general ward (which is invariably occupied by lower strata of society and unhygenic conditions).
  • Many empanelled hospitals eagerly offer a ward suitable to the patient with the condition that the difference amount is to be borne by the patient the ward charges, and payment is to be made before discharge.This arrangement is largely acceptable to all NCO's.
  • There is ambiquity with respect to the difference amount since we ESM's are not aware of the rates allocated by ECHS as per ranks, toward ward charges.
    Request to MD ECHS, to display the same at all polyclinics, for the benefit of ESM's, would go a long way in, the patient selecting the type of ward, based on his economic condition.
    Sgt Sunil MR Rao,
    Convener & Member of Local ECHS Advisory board,
    IESM, Mysore.
  • Army Welfare Housing Organisation demystified

    AWHO was created in 1978, with the aim of providing houses to Army personnel at low cost. According to its charter, as given on its web site click me, the AWHO functions on ‘No Profit No Loss’ basis. It is a ‘private society’, registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. The AWHO is located in Army accommodation in Kashmir House, alongside the E-in-C’s Branch of Army HQ and it has has many serving personnel posted or attached to it; it is run by an executive committee of which the Adjutant General is the ex –officio chairman.

    AWHO is not part of the Government. A full time Chairman and all the members of the board of management are ex-offcio. There is no individual as such as Chairman. The Chairmanship rotates as postings are changed. As far as meeting of the general body is concerned, in this particular society, as registered under the Societies Act, there is no such thing as the general body. It is the board of management that runs the society. The members meet regularly, once a year.

    Facts and Facets
    The AWHO recovers the cost of land as well as construction in advance. Hence 100% of the cost of the houses is recovered several years before the house is handed over. So, in effect, the AWHO does not spend any money of its own, and owns neither the land nor the houses its builds.

    Payment of double stamp duty by the members for the land; once when AWHO buys the land from the original land owner (using their funds) and again when AWHO transfers the houses to them.

    AWHO transfers only the dwelling unit and not the proportional share of the land, which the member has already paid for. This is contrary to the Transfer of Properties Act as well as the Apartment Owners Act.

    AWHO offers to transfer the title of the land to the RWAs provided they pay the stamp duty. This means that the members pay stamp duty thrice, for land which had been purchased by them in the first instance. As a result, very few RWAs have agreed to do this, and the title of the land continues to be with the AWHO.

    If a member wishes to sell the flat, he has to apply to the AWHO for an No Objection Certificate (NOC). The AWHO charges Rs 10,000/- from the Seller as well as the Buyer. To justify the recovery, the buyer, even if he is civilian, is made a member of the AWHO. The new buyer has to give an undertaking that he will not sell or rent out the flat without permission of the AWHO. In effect, it ensures that the AWHO makes Rs 20,000 every time the flat is sold. There is no record of the amount realised on this account by AWHO. NOC's are real money spinners as real estate prices gallop. Civilians, Industrialists and even movie actors throng to buy AWHO flats. If more than 50% of all AWHO constructed houses are owned by Civilians, is the Army looking after civilians welfare?. The civilians are prepared to even pay bribes to the tune of couple of lakhs of rupees to get the NOC and become AWHO members. It is the NOC tutorial from AWHO that is spreading its tentacles to Land Scams like the one that recently surfaced at Siliguri.

    AWHO neither follows the guidelines stipulated under the Consumer Protection Act nor divulges information to its own members under the RTI Act. The website does not provide any statistical information from the date of inception of the AWHO Society in 1978 to date like:
  • Number of housing projects completed location wise, number of dwelling units constructed, names of allotees rank wise.
  • Minutes of AGM and audited yearly accounts
  • Gestation period of projects location wise and cost projected and actual cost on allotment
  • Number of civilians who own AWHO constructed houses since its inception.
  • Contract obligation for repair and maintenance, garden and landscaping, amenities provided like play grounds, swimming pool, gym etc...

    Track record of last 30 years not discernible in the public domain. Presently what can be perceived from AWHO web page is that on an average about 10% officers who retire annually become AWHO members and are allotted a house. JCO's, NCO's and ORs have a dismal allotment rate of less than 1% who retire annually. This is truly a pro officer organisation and not a welfare organisation for all ranks. This is in direct contradiction to Chetwode Motto by which every officer swears!

    AWHO runs on its own steam in a typical bureaucratic style and is accountable to nobody. The Army has already washed its hands of the AWHO. The Registrar of Societies has no control or information about AWHO activities. The common soldiers officers, JCOs and OR, feel that it is an Army set up, which will look after their interests! Less than 1% of soldiers get a dwelling unit through AWHO so how can this be called Welfare for troops for the remaining 99% of soldiers. Who then are real beneficiaries for whom this welfare organisation is set up?
    Related Story on NOC
    Defence minister A K Antony, on his part, warned the Army that such cases “not only damage its image” but also “adversely affect the ability of senior officers to measure up to the expectations of the men they lead”.
    Sukna land scam: Lt-Gen faces court martial
    click here to read more about Army Welfare Organisations
  • Thursday, January 7, 2010

    IESL: Meeting with CM of Uttarakhand

    ESM Delegation Brig PS Gurung Col VK Sharma MLA Sh Ganesh Joshi Lt Gen GS Negi Lt Gen OP Kaushik

    Lt Gen OP Kaushik Lt col B M Thapa with Media

    Lt Gen HB Kala Lt Gen OP Kaushik MLA Sh Ganesh Joshi MLA

    Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 13:24:08

    A meeting was held with Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal on 04 Jan 10 at Bijapur guest house. The delegation of Ex Servicemen (ESM) lead by Lt Gen H B Kala and MLA Sh Ganesh Joshi(ESM) to discuss various welfare issues of Ex-Servicemen of State.

    The veterans’ delegation consisted of Lt Gen G S Negi, Lt Gen O P Kaushik, Brig K G Behl, President Dehradun Ex-Services League, Brig N B S Bisht, Brig H C Singh, Lt Col V K Sharma, Lt Col H S Dalal, Lt Col B M Thapa, General Secretary Dehradun Ex-Services League, Capt K B Thapa and Capt A S Gosain .

    Lt Gen H B Kala offered New Year’s greetings on behalf of all ESM and congratulated CM on achievements of State being declared one of the top 3 fastest developing state of the country.

    The delegation appealed to CM for the following welfare issues:
    a) War Memorial to be constructed in the State.
    b) Establishment of Industrial Training Institute for providing training to the Ex-soldiers, their dependents and to the families of dead soldiers and serving soldiers.
    c) Provision of more job opportunities and employment for ESM in disaster management, Ganga Bachao Abhiyan and in various other State organizations.
    d) Appointment of Cabinet Minister with defence background similar to other states in the country. Such an appointment would take care of various welfare and development issues pertaining to ESM.

    Chief Minister said that State ESM will be given their due respect, attention and cooperation as their contribution is limitless. Detailed news were published in Garhwal Post and Himanchal Times.
    Lt Col B M Thapa, Retd
    General Secretary
    Ex- Services League

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    IESM: ECHS Circular

    Dear Friends,
    MD ECHS has officially accepted IESM ECHS Division support for improving the functioning of ECHS Services. IESM is in the process of setting up Zonal offices and ECHS cells at each ECHS polyclinic.

    It is necessary that all ESM should help IESM ECHS cells in collecting data and suggestions for improvement of the ECHS services.
    IESM ECHS Division is holding its first meeting with ESM at 1530 hrs on 07 Jan 10, at ECHS Polyclinic, Noida.

    Please read the ECHS Division circular appended below.
    Do make it convenient to attend the meeting.

    In service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj

    Healthcare is a major area of concern for Ex Servicemen.
    Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) has consequently formed an ECHS Division as a user interface, to partner with ECHS functionaries, to improve Healthcare services for Veterans.

    IESM ECHS Division aims to set up representation at each level of ECHS functioning, down to polyclinics across India. With this network it is expected that the user viewpoint will be better projected and acted upon, resulting in better ECHS services through teamwork.

    An interactive meeting will be held at Noida Polyclinic at 1530 hrs 07 Jan 2010, to explain our Aims, Objectives and plans to create the ‘finest healthcare system’ for Ex Servicemen. Your suggestions and inputs are requested.

    All NOIDA Veterans are requested to make it convenient to attend. Remember:

    For clarifications call Col RP Chaturvedi – Coordinator ECHS Division at- 9891279035.

    जैसे जैसे उम्र बढती है, स्वास्थ सम्बंधित समस्याएँ भी बढ़ने लगती हैं. सेवा निवृत सेनानिओं के लिए यह चिंता का विषय बन जाता है.
    इसको मध्य नज़र रखते हुए IESM ने एक ECHS DIVISION की स्थापना की है, जो एक्स सर्विसमेन के लिए एक बेहतर स्वास्थ सेवा के निर्माण में योग दान दे सके.
    इस कोशिश के अंतर्गत ECHS DIVISION देश के हर पोल्य्क्लिनिक में VOLUNTEERS चाहता है, जो कार्ड होल्डर्स के दृष्टिकोण को ECHS कार्यकर्ताओं तक पहुंचा सकें और ज़रुरत पड़ने पर ECHS DIVISION HQ की मदद से, खामियों में सुधर लाया जा सके.
    इन्हीं सब मुद्दों पर विचार करने, और हमारा प्लान आप को समझाने के लिए, ७ जनवरी को १५३० बजे नॉएडा पोलिक्लिनिक में एक बैठक का आयोजन किया गया है.
    आप से अनुरोध है कि बैठक में आ कर अपने सुझाव दें , समझें कि इस कार्य को हम कैसे पूरा करने जा रहें हैं, और आप इसमें कैसे योग दान दे सकते हैं.
    याद रखें भगवन भी उन्ही कि मदद करते हैं जो खुद की मदद करते हैं.

    शंका निवारण के लिए COLONEL RP CHATURVEDI से ९८९१२७९०३५ पर संपर्क करें.

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    IMA: Chetwode Hall Museum - 34 NDA get together at IMA, 23 to 25 Dec 2009

    Mumbai Mayhem: Moroccan ex-wife gives more insights on Headley

    New Delhi: Security agencies have been able to get an insight into the personal life of American terror suspect David Headley, with his estranged Moroccan wife telling investigators about connections he had in Mumbai, including with some socialites.

    Faiza Outalha, who, the security agencies suspect had carried out reconnaissance of certain installations that were targeted by the Lashker-e-Taiba terrorists in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that she was married to 48-year-old Headley but had a divorce later, official sources said.

    The woman flew to Mumbai from Karachi and crossed over through Wagah border into India the second time. She had come for the first time in 2007 and stayed with the terror suspect in Taj Mahal Hotel and later in Oberoi-Trident. Both the hotels were targeted by the terrorists on 26/11.

    She again came in May 2008 via Wagah and went straight to Manali where she had her holidays near a Jewish house and later toured other parts of Shimla including Kufri, a well-known tourist destination.

    While she claimed that she had since been divorced as Headley was having relations with several women, the investigators also found from her about the terror suspect's relations with some upcoming Bollywood actors, prominent party-hoppers of Mumbai and socialites.

    The Moroccan woman informed the NIA sleuths that Headley's activities in the hotel were suspicious and both of them had visited the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, a place which saw Lashker terrorists including the lone arrested militant Ajmal Kasab raining bullets on people.

    On the basis of her statement, the NIA team has also quizzed an American national in Goa who knew Headley. The US national, who is not a suspect in the case, has been hopping in and out of India and had stayed in Manali and Goa with his Russian girlfriend.

    The American, who works as a masseur, has not violated any of the visa rules of the country and he had informed the investigators about Headley's activities in Goa.

    Another question bothering the probe agency was how Outalha entered India through Wagah border which is exclusively meant for Indian or Pakistani nationals. The woman is a Moroccan passport holder and could only use the route through special permission from the Pakistani foreign office.

    Moroccan ex-wife gives more insights on Headley

    The Eye in the Sky killer satellites

    EYE ON THE SKIES: An artist's rendition of a satellite in orbit. India is currently developing a new weapon, to be tested soon, which can take out enemy satellites. File photo

    Special Correspondent
    DRDO Chief V.K. Saraswat announced at the 97th Science Congress that India was developing a weapon that can destroy enemy satellites in low-earth orbit and polar orbit, denying enemy access to India's space assets.

    The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is building the technology blocks needed to “neutralise” hostile satellites in low earth and polar orbits, according to V.K. Saraswat, DRDO Director-General and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister.

    These blocks are the kill vehicle that will bring down the adversarial satellites, long-range radars, communication systems, laser-based systems and imaging infra-red seekers which will give a complete picture of the satellite. They will be generated as part of the DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defence Programme, which will reach “maturity in totality” in 2014, Dr. Saraswat said. He was addressing a press conference here on Sunday.
    DRDO builds technology blocks to kill enemy satellites

    IESM: The road to OROP is not in a dubious route

    Dear Colleagues,
    Our struggle enters another new year. OROP remains an unresolved issue. For a long-pending demand such as this, no quick resolution can be or was expected. That it would be a gruelling slog was foreknown. In all such cases, the government tries a duel strategy. First is to divide the Movement and second is to tire out those pursuing the demand. We need to be prepared and guard against both.

    A few colleagues have been articulating suggestions that betray a degree of impatience and fatigue. There are stray hints that we take the farmers’ (violent/ disruptive) route that got their sugarcane related demand accepted within a day. The fact is that the government relented not because they broke hydrants, blocked traffic and even reportedly looted shops, but because the farmers have the power of votes; we unfortunately do not.

    We as veterans who pledged even our lives for the nation, and enjoy high respect in society, have to act with responsibility and restraint. For us the means and methods are important. A victory through a dubious route, even if achieved, will be pyrrhic. We need to make a distinction that our struggle is against the government – which are transients- and not against the country. We have to undoubtedly keep the pressure on but also not losing our image in doing so. That is our term of reference.
    Let us remain together and persevere.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    To comprehend the Government's and Bureaucrats view of Military click on link below:
    Why India is not a great Nation?

    UPA Dithers on important Defence Reforms

    The government must act resolutely to implement the long- pending decision to appoint a CDS. Theatre commands will then be but one step further in the quest for synergy in operations.

    It should be a short step, but given the way the Indian system works, it is likely to be a very long one indeed. The establishment of the Integrated Defence Staff is a good beginning, but there is a long and winding road ahead and, as yet, it does not even appear to be paved with good intentions.

    Often during war, the fate of an entire campaign can hinge on a single decision.

    Such a decision can only be made by a specially selected defence chief and not by a committee like the CoSC that operates on the principle of the least common denominator.

    All other major democracies have opted for the CDS system. India cannot ignore it any further except at great peril. It is an idea whose time has come.
    Courtsey: Mail Today, 23 December 2009
    UPA Dithers on important Defence Reforms

    Positive criticism should evolve from sane human attributes

    Nature has three attributes:
  • Sattwa = pure, chaste and truth
  • Rajas = Self-indulgence, luxury and gratification
  • Tamas = Indolence, passivity, indifference, hated, anger and so on...
    As human beings we too are part of Nature (Prakriti) and, therefore, possess all these attributes in varying measure. Our behaviour explains which of these attributes rules us at a particular time and for a period. Like in each of us, these traits or a mix of good and evil is also strewn in every group or mass of people.

    Criticism is desirable and a healthy activity for improvement if only it retains objectivity- a positive element of Satwa or Satogun. Bitterness comes from Tamas or Tamogun which distorts truth and fills us with anger and hatred.

    Although their number is fast diminishing, there are still some good politicians and good bureaucrats even in today's corruption ridden system. But isn't there an unfortunate increase in cases where senior army officers have been found involved in corruption and moral turpitude? The trend is certainly disturbing, ie, Sattwa on downward trend and Tamas on the rise! Fortunately, there is a subtle difference that despite the rising trend of misdemeanour of some senior officers in the Armed Forces, there are fewer evils in the Armed Forces vis-vis Civil Services. Let's be objective in looking at things and magnanimous in our reactions.

    But to say that we do not find a bureaucrat who is not “petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority…….” etc hardly shows our magnanimity. On the contrary, it paints us poorly because such a remark is itself petty in the first place. I have met a number of excellent bureaucrats who are excellent human beings, efficient administrators, brilliant thinkers, writers and diligent negotiators. and what's more- corageoous whistle blowers against their own breed too! Agreed, their number is but small. But why not praise and encourage these few instead of burying them alongwith their tainted lot.

    Is it courteous or urchin-like behaviour to indulge in abusive language, calling names, shouting and denouncing an entire class of people? Time was when an Army Officer was known by his demeanour as a ‘Gentleman’. His elegance and high value conduct came to be known as ‘Chivalry’, which combines all the finer qualities of great soldiering, eg: gallantry, courtliness, politeness, courtesy, graciousness, loyalty and so on. Can we blame others if we have distanced ourselves from this frame in which our people adored us for centuries?

    I request you, Friends, to please exercise restraint when you feel angry. Better behaviour wins us support and goodwill, bitter behaviour creates bad blood and more enemies. Think it over. If you thought I was preaching– please be gracious to pardon me! Wishing you all a very Happy and prosperous New Year 2010,
    Col Karan Kharb (Retd)
  • Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Footpaths vanishing in Indian cities

    Footpaths, an Utopian dream in India

    My ordeal to reach office and return home five days a week has become a curse as I happen to live in a big city like Hyderabad without owning a vehicle.

    While the developed nations have separate lanes for pedestrians and bicycle peddlers, in most Indian cities governments invest money and effort in cutting trees and removing pavements to widen roads. This has resulted in two types of roads. First, there are roads where pedestrians occupy almost the entire breadth and cars and bikes constantly honk to find their way out. Secondly, there are roads that are completely occupied by vehicles leaving little or no space for pedestrians. While the first kind is a pain for the vehicle drivers or owners, the second one is the pedestrian’s agony, the one that I face everyday.

    In this second kind of roads, the pedestrian is treated like an illegal intruder who does not have any right to be on the street. The vehicles which always seem to be in haste keep honking behind him/her, even if he/she is on the left limit of the road with a part of the body brushing against the leftmost wall bordering the road. They, it seems, would not mind crushing her beneath their wheels. A solution is just a separate lane for the pedestrian, a footpath.

    Yes, there are footpaths, footbridges and zebra crossings at quite a few places. It’s just that, the footpaths are less for man and more for manholes. They become the street dwellers’ accommodation, the street vendors’ outlet, the public garbage dumping ground and a lot more except a pedestrian’s freeway. The height and the number of steps in a footbridge are such that an arthritis patient or a senior citizen would prefer risking his life crossing the road to climbing up the footbridge. The ever fading stripes of the zebra crossings reveal their plight of being under the wheels of massive vehicles all throughout rather than the shivering feet of a terrified pedestrian.

    As population increases, as the standard of living of the middle class Indian rises, as vehicles become more and more affordable, the traffic problem is only destined to aggravate. How far can the government accommodate the ever-increasing number of vehicles by clearing forests, widening roads and building flyovers? And where shall we finally end up by this approach of green murder and a devastated ecological balance? Isn’t it time to realise that a solution lies somewhere else? Encouraging car pooling, discouraging the unnecessary use of vehicles, developing better public means of transport, and building footpaths free of manholes, garbage, roadside dwellers and street vendors are not so difficult to implement given their huge positive impact.

    A relatively simple step like building a separate pedestrian lane shaded by trees would serve more than one purpose. First, it would save the lives and ordeal of pedestrians. Second, it would provide relief to the vehicles which are constantly irritated by presence of the pedestrian on the roads. This would also reduce noise pollution marginally as drivers would stop honking. Third, it would contribute towards cooling and refreshing the atmosphere, playing its part in global cooling and climate restoration. Fourth, it would encourage more people to walk, especially in a tropical country like India where without tree shade walking causes more harm than benefit. This would not just reduce fuel consumption and air pollution, but would also assist in the creation of a healthy India.
    Aparajita Banerjee
    Footpaths, an Utopian dream in India

    Stretches of Chennai Roads- sans footpath

    Construction materials and encroachment of the roads- sans foot-path in Chennai

    Bangalore and Chennai cities are twice as worse than Hyderabad. The footpaths are filled with building materials, used as toilets, occupied by vendors, used for vehicle parking, proliferation of footpath idols (annual increase is over 100% in suburban localities), paths dug up by telecoms, electricity and other utilities and footpaths are generally built over covered storm drainage which also carries sewer from residential colonies, overflowing and stinking due to drain blockages. It implies that footpaths only exist for namesake but no pedestrians can ever use the footpath so citizens need to walk on roads at their own peril. Greater question: Is there any citizen safety in India?

    War on terror: Pakistan Terrorists escape

    3 Pak terrorists escape from Delhi hospital IANS 2 January 2010, 06:56pm
    NEW DELHI: Three Pakistani terrorists who have already completed their sentences and were soon to be deported home on Saturday escaped from a city hospital after giving immigration officials the slip, police said.

    The trio managed to slip out of the clutches of Foreigners Regional Registration (FRRO) officials at the G.B. Pant hospital in central Delhi.

    "There were not in the custody of the police. But they were under restraint orders of the FRRO. We have registered a case and are searching for them," Joint Commissioner of Police Karnal Singh said.

    The hospital administration feigned ignorance about the incident.

    "I do not remember any such case in last few days. We are verifying our records," the hospital's Additional Medical Superintendent, Shashi Gururaja, said.

    The police said the three Pakistanis were arrested in 2000 for planting a bomb near Delhi airport. A large amount of RDX was seized from them.
    3 Pak terrorists escape from Delhi hospital


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