05 Aug 2022  |   05:19am IST

Letters to the editor ( 05 Aug 2022)

Alcometer and Covid-19

Cracking down on drunken driving as part of a special drive, Goa Police on Tuesday reportedly registered 31 cases across the State. The cases were booked under Section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988. The government has attributed 95% of road accidents that take place at night to drunken driving. It is a fact that drunk driving causes accidents because of alcohol’s effect on the function of the brain. Alcohol can impair thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination, which are necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle.

It is observed that in Goa motorists and two-wheeler riders are tested for alcohol by using an alcometer or breathalyser. It is pertinent to note that there has been a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the State. In the past two days 133 and 146 more Covid-19 positive cases and two deaths in a single day have been reported in the state. It may be recalled that during the second Covid-19 wave the use of alcometer was stopped in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

The authorities concerned need to take this aspect into consideration while allowing the use of the alcometer to test for alcohol among motorists. Urine tests could be an alternative if the police suspect a driver to be in an inebriated state.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco


Woes of the Central Library, Panjim

I was a frequent visitor to the Central Library till I moved to the hillock, where at present I live, and specially till the Covid-19 started its onslaught. 

Unable to avoid, I went there the other day. It is an oven, as the AC (Air conditioning) the employees said, has not been functioning since two years back! It is to be noted that the Library’s windows are packed, as they are meant for AC system, and now the AC is absent, but the windows are not unpacked, probably to avoid stink emanating from the nearby garbage plant! 

Besides, the AC being required for proper upkeep and preservation of books, some of them ancient, the latter, without AC, are going to suffer damage beyond repair. There is a Ministry of Culture to look after the Library. What is it doing? And the Hon Govind Gaude, Minister of Culture? 

My plea is that the AC be restored without delay. Will it be? Is the Govind Gaude hearing? 

Mousinho de Ataíde, Saligao


Orwellian enablers of dystopia

The recent Supreme Court judgement upholding the powers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) amendment 2019 has given unfettered powers of search, seizure and arrest sans warrant to a government agency which supposedly comes under the Finance ministry.

The SC dismissed @ 250 petitions lodged by opposition parties challenging the overarching authority granted to the ED, which is a tool of vendetta used by the government as has become obvious over the past three years. Anyone who speaks/writes/ petitions and I daresay even thinks against the sarkar or its policies by default blips on the ED radar to be hounded, harassed, browbeaten and in most cases jailed, it is interesting to note that no BJP neta has been raided by the ED in recent memory and the only ones the Directorate has special affection for is the opposition and dissenters. Consider another chilling statistic, ED raids have jumped 27 times to 3010 (pertaining to a total of 5,422 cases) in the past 8 years, out of which only 888 chargesheets were filed resulting in a mere 23 convictions, ie only 0.42% of the accused were pronounced cognizably guilty.

 Just after the verdict was announced, ED sealed the offices of Young India Limited, the company that runs the Congress's mouthpiece National Herald. The ED action happened after extended, almost brutal questioning of the Gandhis. Thereafter Delhi Police and other paramilitary forces which work under the Home Ministry were heavily deployed outside the Congress party office and the residences of the Gandhis, the place almost resembling a garrison. If VIPs are meted out such treatment by the ED and the police, consider the plight of the common man.

The flawed SC judgement has paved the way for more arbitrary, unwarranted and dangerous harassment of political parties and individuals not subscribing to the government's ideology and policies. Partisan, coercive actions by Central agencies like the ED, CBI, IT and NIA are an Orwellian nightmare, hope the government doesn't raise a 'thought police' unit next.

Vinay Dwivedi, Benaulim 


Making a mountain out of a molehill

Just eight cases out of 1.3 billion! How to describe MMPP (Medics, Media Politicians and Pharmaceuticals) wasting their and other's time for something not worth a mention? Their obsession with every such new disease results in spreading fear and making more people fall sick. Notably, as all these entities stand to become richer and get to exercise extraordinary power over people from the spread they will not keep silent.

With the disease spreading only through close and deep contacts, he said no specific community is at risk and the government has taken up steps to create awareness about common symptoms, reporting of suspected cases and prevention from the disease. Let us not make mountain out of molehill in making Monkey Box a dreaded disease.

Gundu K Maniam, Trichy 


Punishments for drunken driving

It was reported that two days back 31 persons were penalised in a special drive against drinking and driving. The drive took place between 10 and 12 pm which is too short a period since much of the party goers return early morning and that is time when accidents occur.

As per the Superintent of Police (Traffic cell) licences of the offenders would be sent to transport department for suspension. Besides levying a hefty fine and seizing the licences, the police needs to detain the drunken drivers on the road till the liquor’s effect reduces else after being let off, the drivers could cause an accident.

Alternatively, seize and tow the vehicles to the police station and send the offenders home in taxis and charge them ten times the cost for towing and taxi charges. 

The Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho is correct in stating that those who want to party and drink, let them have a non-drinker in the group or engage taxis or drivers for their cars. The minister could instruct the police to conduct the drive on a daily basis and not as a one-time affair and it should be till the wee hours of the morning. 

Sridhar D’Iyer, Caranzalem


World of checkmates

If China helps any country it would be a security threat. But when America and its powerful financial institutions like IMF and World Bank lend money to some countries it would be called Aid. How many times US warships had entered several sea borders of other countries illegally ? At that time no such hue and cry of a security threat. Despite the bonhomie between successive Indian union governments and the Sri Lankan government in committing atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka, it is clear that the Sri Lankans are loyal to the Chinese and their money. While warning the US 'against playing with fire policy' on Taiwan, the Chinese are busy with 'fuel the fire' policy on Indo-Srilanka. The World is in a confused state of mind with near war threats all the time.

C K Subramaniam, 

Navi Mumbai 


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