Stop waste of money on VVIP security
Apropos of “SC gets pennywise and tough with VIP security”, the apex court has rightly asked the government at the Centre, in the states and the union territories to furnish details about the expenses incurred for providing security to all and sundry. It is common knowledge that the people-police ratio is not in line with the international standards and despite this low ratio, security personnel are alloted for VVIPs and VIPs, further depleting the number of personnel available for essential deployment. It is the common man who needs security as s/he is vulnerable to attacks by criminal elements. It may be pointed out that in the years gone by, leaders jostled with the crowds and they had hardly any security, unlike the current crop of politicians. If a politician feels that there is a threat to her/his life , s/he should not depend on the government but arrange for their own personal security guards. Even as more than half the population is struggling with hunger and disease, it is unfortunate to see that the country is spending a huge amount of money for the security of a privileged few.
—HP Murali, Bangalore
Now, an indigenous Eat India Company
It is disgusting to read about the scams involving crores of rupees that are being exposed regularly. Rarely do we hear of anyone getting punished, or the money being recovered. If one goes back in history, before Independence, we see that the British plundered our country through the East India Company. In the period after Independence, our politicians have started a similar “Eat India Company”, gobbling huge amounts through scams and frauds. On the one hand the government is stoking the flame of inflation through regular upward revision of fuel prices, and on the other it is involved in huge scams/frauds/briberies. If this trend is not controlled now, the day is not far when there will be anarchy and people will come out on the streets in protest.
—Vanita Shenoy, Mumbai
Quicker trial for road accidents
Apropos of “Kin of deceased want speedy justice”, like the cases of crimes and scams, not a single day passes without major road accidents. And these incidents are on the rise, particularly in cities like Mumbai. While we know that most of these accidents happen due to rash and drink driving, the law takes its own slow course. Many of these cases are pending in the courts for decades. I believe, that as in the case of the new law against sexual violence that is under consideration, we should have new laws that can speed up the judicial process in accident cases and scams too.
—Janaki Mahadevan, Mumbai
High-rises taller than 70m possible
Apropos of “Safe height for high-rises”, the letter writer has complimented the high-rise committee for putting its foot down on all proposals for construction above the prescribed limit of 70 metres. The principal explanation for this given is the risk of damage from earthquakes. But I have a different view. As a civil engineer, I believe that with the advancement in structural design and analysis for high-rise structures, it is possible to have buildings that are taller than 70 metres and up to 130 metres. The approving authorities, such as the BMC, should have well-qualified structural engineers on their panel to check and sanction such high-rise buildings. Already, in other parts of the world there are high-rises up to 85 floors, and that too in water-saturated soils. Care must also be taken to factor in the risk from earthquakes, which is called the ‘liquefaction’ phenomenon, wherein the moist soil looses its bearing capacity in the case of an earthquake.
—Pankaj Tiwari, Mumbai
Impossible property tax
When the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation announced its policy to replace the ‘rateable value system’ with the ‘capital value system’ to compute the property tax, property owners expected a more rational and affordable taxation system that would reduce the financial load. However, the new taxation rates in the bills distributed recently have come as a shock, as in some cases the amounts have doubled or even increased by three times. To add insult to injury, the new rates take effect retrospectively from April 1, 2010, and since the rates are linked to the Ready Reckoner, they will rise year after year! It is almost impossible for property owners – whether a housing society, individual or a group – to collect and pay such heavy tax. Property owners have been holding meetings and seminars to fight this draconian levy by the civic body and they may even go to court. But in the context of the adverse reactions, it would be prudent on the part of the municipal commissioner to adopt a friendly taxation system, or property owners could stop paying taxes all together. Surely, the civic body requires the co-operation and goodwill of property owners to run the show.
—KV Satyamurty, Juhu
Wrestling, one of the oldest sports, has been dropped from the list of Olympic sports effective 2020, even while trampoline and synchronized swimming continue to be on the list. Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the first modern Olympics event in Athens in 1896. The process of renewing and renovating the programme for the Olympics is part and parcel of the functioning of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Eliminating one sport allows the IOC to add a new sport to the list and that decision will be taken later in the year. For instance, both golf and rugby will be in the programme at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Baseball and softball were removed from the Olympics list the last time round in 2005. Now it is the turn of wrestling. This is really bad news for wrestlers from India and the sub-continent.
—Anandambal Subbu, Navi Mumbai