Curious case of taxi operators
For over two decades both Goan travellers as well as tourists visiting Goa were expecting the Goa government to enforce the rule that all taxis plying in Goa be fitted with fare meters. Unfortunately it never happened. Now over the last few years there's a new demand, that the taxis be installed with digital taxi meters. However, on account of some obvious reasons it seems that the government lacked the will to compel the taxi operators from fitting the much wanted meters.
This situation in Goa which happens to be tourism dominant State, the need of hired cars is in huge demand. While the outside visitors would certainly prefer to engage taxis for their travel needs but have been hesitant to do so on account of exorbitant fares charged by taxi operators.
An offshoot of the adamant attitude of taxi operators has given rise to illegal private car operators, who ferry passengers to various destinations charging fares at substantial discounts. Besides government under pressure from the tourism department was compelled to permit another taxi agency GoaMiles that was willing to operate taxis, fitted with digital metres. This has reduced the bargaining power of meter-less taxi operators and placed them in more difficult situation as the GoaMiles enjoys quite a bit of patronage amongst the travellers because its more user-friendly and economical.
Now a curious case: latest threats emanating from taxi operators is that if MLAs from the coastal belt fail to scrap Goa Miles they will see that these MLAs are made to sit at home. Certainly this is what most Goans want whether they scrap or not GoaMiles.
Antonio Diniz, Fatorda
New Motor Vehicle Act
A decision to implement the new Motor Vehicle Act 2019 which entails humongous fines for traffic misdemeanours shall be deliberated upon during the next cabinet session. The elected representatives would be well advised to take a look at the condition of the roads within the State, especially during the monsoons when some stretches start resembling lunar craters.
A drive from Mapusa to Panjim in the rains would show how bad the condition of the highway is. It is the bounden duty of the government to first improve the road and transport infrastructure before rolling out the new MV act. Plugging all potholes and cable trenches, rectifying ill designed road curves and junctions (a major cause of accidents), illuminating stretches in remote areas, repairing damaged box culverts/dividers/shoulders, setting up signals at high traffic density intersections, remedying unscientifically designed speed breakers, improving pavements (non-existent in the villages) and drainage networks are some of the areas the government needs to look at.
This being a Central Act will ultimately be implemented but a 'one size fits all' approach is a recipe for disaster. It also increases the chances of systemic corruption. Gujarat and Uttarakhand had lowered the fines of their own volition but the Centre had its way (which it always does) by reiterating through the Attorney General's office that states have no power to alter Central Acts (diktat). The State should approach the Centre to defer the rollout till such time the road conditions are brought up to speed.
Vinay Dwivedi, Benaulim
Vaccination deaths, matter of concern
The death of two persons - one in Ballari and another in Moradabad - following vaccination for COVID-19 is a matter of concern. Health officials claimed that the deaths were because of co-morbid conditions and not because of the vaccination, but the incidents have raised eyebrows.
Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of Covaxin, has warned pregnant and lactating women, those using other COVID-19 vaccines and people with serious health issues from taking the vaccine. Be cautious before taking the plunge!
NJ Ravi Chander, Bengaluru
Insensitive NDA govt should be ousted
The NDA government should be shamed by the international community on the issue of reported 70 deaths of the farmers in their agitation to get the three farm laws repealed. The media has been suppressing this tragic aspect. The farmers are well within their fundamental rights to oppose bills that are not in their interests. The insensitivity of the Central government and their lack of respect to farmers' lives has to be condemned.
This movement is like a second Bhoodan movement that Acharya Vinoba Bhave fought for and emerged victorious. The government should relent and repeal these laws which are against the will of the farming community that number almost 50% of the total Indian electorate. Even the Supreme Court should not pass any ban on the tractor march by the farmers on Republic day.
India is a democracy and the farmers have every right to congregate and demonstrate. The NDA government is scared that they will meet their Waterloo if the three farm laws are repealed. Government should stop obstructing the fundamental rights of the majority farmers of India. No foreign head of State has consented to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. Everything that goes round comes round.
The Prime Minister should apologise for the loss of lives or resign. Is this what he calls Sabka Sath, Sabke Vikas? Your time has come. Your Mann ka Baath has been distorted.
Elvidio Miranda, Panjim
State has lost another true Goenkar
In the death of Gurunath Kelekar Goa has lost yet another true Goenkar who was a freedom fighter and staunch Gandhian with always a die-hard spirit. He was very active in the Konkani movement and was recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award.
Gurunath Kelekar founded Movement for Amity towards Roads in Goa (MARG), an organisation that dedicated itself to educating people about road discipline and sense which brought about quite a change in usage of roads by motorists. He was always very concerned and anguished over the increasing number of fatal accidents in the State.
The very righteous and humble Gurunath Kelekar till his very last always led an extremely simple life and always had the best interests of Goa at heart. As a writer and activist he never hesitated to raise his voice against the wrong doings of the Government.
Over the years I had the privilege to interact with the very knowledgeable and so candid Gurunath Kelekar who never hesitated to speak out his mind. The Government must give due recognition to the selfless service rendered by him to the State while carrying forward his legacy and works. May the soul of our departed valiant Goan rest in eternal peace while his thoughts and deeds always inspire us.
Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar
Trinamool Congress is struggling
The Trinamool Congress is facing a difficult situation with a desertion of some of its heavy weights and because of that Didi called the BJP a washing machine where the MLAs go inside the saffron party black and come out white. Mamata's overbearing attitude has created a displeasure among the party's rank and file.
The ebullient uprising of the Trinamool Congress during the Singur agitation under Mamata's stewardship uprooted the Left Front rule in West Bengal. But the same party is now struggling to consolidate its hold due to the desertion of prominent MLAs into the BJP thus strengthening the BJP’s fortune in the next Assembly elections.
West Bengal is on the threshold of political transformation.
Diomedes Pereira, Corlim