21 Mar 2023  |   05:50am IST

Letters to the editor ( 21 March 2023)

CCP should monitor Smart City works   

The Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) and Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL) are working hand-in-glove with an objective to metamorphose the State’s capital city into a Smart city. Since a few months, several parallel and series of works are underway related to civil, electrical, beautification, etc. In their zeal to complete the tasks, the contractors and sub-contractors are doing a haphazard job with no vision of the mission. There are complaints from citizens, ex-councillors, but the CCP is oblivious and with no clarifications forthcoming about the status of these works. There have been incidents of trucks falling on their side or getting stuck due to loose soil and bad roads. 

In the absence of supervision and cross-checks such incidents were bound to happen.      

To oversee the works, there should be duty charts showing allotment of days, timings and areas to everyone in the CCP and IPSCDL. Councillors should be present on the field to inspect and conduct surprise checks, irrespective of the fact that they may not be representing a particular ward. 

A sense of responsibility should have been developed as the contractors and workers would have been careful and diligent. Implementation of the above suggestions will result in a better co-ordination and the project can be done faster and safely.  

Sridhar D’Iyer, Caranzalem  

Glass breaking tools for cars

In a horrific accident reported in the State, a car occupant was charred to death after his car hit a parked vehicle and caught fire. It is learnt that the car door would not open making it impossible for the victim to escape. It is pertinent to note that in a central locking system one common reason the car door lock is stuck in the locked position is due to broken connections within the door panel or lock assembly. This can be a matter of life and death, especially when the car occupant is trapped inside after meeting with an accident, if the car catches fire or if the vehicle falls into a water body. However, good a swimmer the occupant may be, the person will not be able to escape from underwater if the car door does not open. Here is where a glass breaker comes in handy. A glass breaker is a hand tool designed to break through a window glass during an emergency. The tool can also be used to break a car window to rescue a pet or a child who is locked inside a car. Modern cars come with several safety features, be it the seal-belt, sensors, air-bags, etc. It would be prudent to provide cars with a glass-breaking device as well. It is pertinent to note that all A/C buses have such a glass-breaking tool which can be used by the passengers in case of an emergency.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Forest fires are manmade

The spate of forest fires, which erupted almost simultaneously all over the State were not due to any natural phenomenon, but is a deliberate act of sabotage and the finger of suspicion points directly towards the real estate and land sharks lobby with tacit backing of some netas, who are also into this business. We have over the years seen high temperatures with the mercury touching record peaks and somehow by strange coincidence fires erupt simultaneously over wide areas in the State.

Some years ago in Brazil, fires were deliberately lit in the Amazon rainforest region by the ruling dispensation backed by the President, where acres of forest were destroyed to make way for a new township. What resulted was unprecedented drought and famine. With damage already done here, the TCP/Forest Minister should immediately freeze this burnt out land from any sort development by the land sharks, who are already in standby mode for poaching.

Lucas D'Souza, Verna

No relaxation for EWS in application fees

The rationale behind the reservation of seats in government employment and education is often asserted to be the inadequate representation of various social groups. However, the purpose of the reservation in favour of reserved categories, be it OBC, SC, ST or the newly-introduced EWS, often gets defeated in other dimensions due to poor implementation of government policies, sometimes ironically by the government itself. I recently observed that the application fee for various government examinations such as Provincial Civil Service (PCS) in States like Uttar Pradesh for the EWS candidates is exactly the same as for the unreserved (General) candidates. This is ironic because the very purpose behind the EWS quota is to uplift the economically weaker sections as is evident from the very full form of EWS. Thus, it defeats the very purpose of reservation because the EWS candidates may find it hard to fill out the forms for those exams where the application fees are much high. On the other hand, the application fee for SCs and STs is always (including PCS exam) substantially less than the other categories. This is really illogical because the reservation of seats on the basis of inadequate representation has nothing to do with the application fees. Today, many candidates from these two categories belong to affluent families who would unreasonably be exempted from paying the full application fee in contrast to the actual needy EWS candidates who would face difficulty in paying the high application fees. The Central, as well as State governments, should amend their fee structure for various categories, extending it only to those who really need it.

Shivanshu K Srivastava, Lucknow

Is linking PAN with Aadhaar illegal?

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Aadhaar Card was not mandatory to be linked to the PAN card for operation of bank accounts as well as for mutual fund investments. However, it is now an open secret that all the banks, both government-owned as well as the private banks have made it mandatory to link the PAN with the Aadhaar in all bank accounts as well as the mutual fund asset management companies. Who is right, the Supreme Court or the government arms such as the SEBI and RBI? There is a very open confrontation between the Union law minister and the Chief Justice of India. Who is the upholder of the law? Now, SEBI has made it mandatory for those filing Income Tax to link the Aadhaar and PAN card by March 31, 2023. Does the Supreme Court disallow this also? Why are the people of India forced to link Aadhaar, which contains private and sensitive bio-metrics such as the fingerprints and the iris scan and which invades the privacy of individuals. Will the Supreme Court levy massive fines on the RBI and SEBI for violation of privacy laws and order for the de-linking of the Aadhaar? Who upholds the law in India? Will the government bear the costs and damages for this duplicity and blatant violation of the law? Will the Supreme Court step in and uphold the rule of the law which is being violated with impunity?

Elvidio Miranda, Panjim


Iddhar Udhar