Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Removing the Red Beacon VIP Culture. Shed Light Shoulder Laypeople


Removing the Red Beacon VIP Culture

The Prime Minister Mr Modi and his BJP government deserve a big round of applause. They have done something most of us would not have dreamt possible. The common man is going to be  treated at par with politicians, government officials etc on India’s roads. The so called VIPs will now be grounded.

Go with the flow now

They will no longer have the privilege of whizzing past their fellow citizens. Among whom could be many normal commuters, sick patients, expectant mothers, or even students anxious to reach in time for their exams. VIPs have to go with the flow now, however maddening it may be.

This move would also bring the powers that be, more in touch with the harsh realities facing the average Indian. One move will have many attendant benefits. The time spent in traffic will hopefully open the eyes of law makers and officials to the many ways they could change things for the better. Being in the sun and rain even if inside  air conditioned cars could probably give them additional time. Added time and context to feel where the common citizen’s shoe pinches irrespective of whether he or she has footwear or not.

The perk is my personality

For many of the peoples’ representatives and officials this move may have come as an unpleasant surprise. A significant proportion of these anyway would have had little to show for their role/ post other than the red light on their vehicles. 

From the first of May this year, only the police,  the ambulance and essential services will now be authorized to use a light (blue beacon) on their vehicles. 

Many MPs , MLAs,  not to speak of (even educated) officials also generally have a good time wasting public money on electricity, travel accommodation etc not only for themselves but also for their  hangers on. They must surely be worried now. The red light  embargo may just be for starters. More changes could be afoot to minimize wastage of public money.

In ending, No surprise this, but more surprises in store?

One thing makes one wonder about this development. Why has it  taken India almost 70 years since independence to do away with this abominable VIP Culture. 

It probably  takes an egalitarian tea vendor Prime Minister to serve these beneficial policies. Obviously thinking of the well being of the masses is not everyone’s cup of tea.


TTV Dhinakaran dancing. Stage has a few nails. FERA, Bribery Charges, Leads from Income Tax Raids await him

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The 'Bhava' before getting bombed or nailed

The Bhava before getting bombed or nailed 

One could fault TTV Dhinakaran on a few things. He is one of the coolest ‘operators who is still free to operate. Not many good things can be heard of him. But irrespective of the image he has built, one cannot fault the smile on his face. It definitely brings one on your

Azan awakens Sonu Nigam and a debate arises

Hassan Nisar on how Muslims fare in India

Azan awakens Sonu Nigam and a debate arises

The social media has been rife in the past few days with citizens raising their points of view either supporting or denouncing Sonu Nigam’s tweet. Sonu Nigam has made the ‘mistake’ of complaining without too much camouflage and without too much political correctness. He said he was being disturbed by the neighbourhood mosque. He also said

Chennai Anna Salai – Cracks after Cave in sparks fresh concerns

Road Caves In yet again in Chennai due to Metro Rail work

Cracks after Cave In spark fresh Concerns 

The cave in, two days ago on Anna Salai, the arterial road of Chennai is telling. The incident is also ‘yelling’ at authorities, hoping they would listen. A few cracks have been seen near the place today. Will they help crack officials’ apathy?

Not that the authorities really need this. There have been cave ins earlier too, months back. But somewhere they got buried amidst the other challenges Chennai and Tamil Nadu have been witnessing over the past 12-18 months.  

Metro site issues not Isolated to Chennai or India

There have been cave ins due to tunneling in Bangalore/Delhi too. There have been cave ins even in the infrastructure empire of the Chinese. Therefore one may give some benefit of doubt that some gaps might be possible in these engineering projects, though not unavoidable.

Shenzhen China – Metro Site Cave In – courtesy- getty images

But the worry also is that the project managers do not seem to be learning from these experiences. Instead of on a Sunday, had the recent cave in happened on a week day in full traffic flow, the human casualty would have been very high. The traffic congestion would have also hampered rescue and damage reduction efforts.    

Ill Equipped??

The officials have invested in equipments to spot possible cave ins. But they are not used because of daytime traffic.  These tools can work in daylight only. Which competent official authorized purchased of these high value assets? This purchase met ‘Whose’ expectations? Not vey difficult questions to answer surely. Intelligence or Integrity or both cave in, long before the road, one guesses. 

More than ever we need a National Level Project Safety and Quality Management Institution. As India gets ready to up its ante on more industrial and Infrastructure projects, thanks to a determined Centre, there is a threat of disasters waiting to happen.

Holy Cows of Mindless Project Clearance

If we can hold the management of Union Carbide responsible for criminal negligence, most of the projects currently on way and their managers are no less guilty of similar charges. Projects are being shoved down locals’ throats like at Neduvasal. Without anyone really understanding the threats and the risk mitigation needed.    

Protecting cows is less of a threat for India than protecting the Holy Cow of mindless project clearance without adequate safeguards.

Related Reading

Guangzhou, China:  Metro Site Accident

Sandalous ! Shiv Sena moves Privilege Motion in Lok Sabha to force Airlines to fly MP Ravindra Gaikwad

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Shiv Sena ties privilege motion on airlines barring Ravindra Gaikwad

Shiv Sena moves Privilege Motion in Lok Sabha

The Shiv Sena has issued notice in the Lok Sabha to move a privilege motion against the airlines in India for not flying its MP Ravindra Gaikwad. The Shiv Sena wants airlines like Indigo and AirIndia to ferry him. The airlines have in the past few days not entertained his requests for tickets. They have also taken a stand to cancel even the tickets issued by

Temasek to acquire stake in Manipal Health. But how will common man’s trust in Hospitals go True North?

How WIll Consumer Consumer Confidence in Hospitals go True North ? image courtesy: timesofindia

Temasek to acquire stake in Manipal

Temasek of Singapore will be acquiring 18% stake from True North in Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. The good news is that it is believed to be a part of a larger play by

The Hat vs The Lamppost. EC freezes Twin Leaves Symbol of AIADMK. Dinakaran throws Hat in the ring. OPS banks on Lamppost to light path.

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TTV Dinakaran throws Hat into the ring, OPS Leans on Lamppost.

RK Nagar Bypoll without Twin Leaves Symbol of AIADMK

The RK Nagar bypoll to elect an MLA to replace the late Selvi Jayalalithaa is slated for the 12th of April.  The iconic Twin Leaves symbol of the AIADMK is no more a party to elections. The Election Commission has frozen the AIADMK name and the Twin Leaves symbols. Both the OPS (OP Panneerselvam) camp and the Sasikala faction represented by her nephew TTV Dinakaran had claimed the symbol. Hence the EC had to take a tough call.

TTV Dinakaran throws Hat into the ring

TTV Dinakaran who has received much negative press along with his aunt, Sasikala, has chosen the ‘Hat’ symbol for contesting the bypoll. The choice seems somehwhat poignant since the shenanigans of Sasikala and her family over the past few months has been, over the top, to put it mildly. It is an action that is also symbolic of this ‘fledgling political’ family’s ambitions for the state’s ‘crown’.

OPS chooses the Lamppost

In a move which is likewise in keeping with the down to earth image he has cultivated over the past few months, OPS has chosen the Lamppost symbol. One of his key allies in the past few weeks has been Mr Pandiarajan. Mr Pandiarajan, founder MaFoi and ex-Education Minister of Tamil Nadu, chose not to take the easy route of being a Sasikala factiion member. His experience and expertise as a self made entrepreneur will no doubt help OPS.

Whether OPS Team’s nominee for the byelection, Mr Madhusudhanan, himself a veteren in the AIADMK is able to post a victory is difficult to predict. If one goes by the public image and sympathy generated for OPS, this should ideally have been a easy enough victory. But there are also rumours of money exchanging hands. One assumes this is to negate the bad press created by ‘corruption/ flouting of ethics/propriety’ in the first place. An ‘undivided’ DMK is also not going to be easy to wish away. 

The Lamppost Vs The Hat – a perspective

No symbol could be more far removed from the Lamp than the Hat especially in India’s context. Farmers in some countries do use straw hats to protect themselves from the sun. But hats in general are not a common part of Indian attire. Even the well heeled in India use it on very rare occasions. The middle class Indian who uses it could be working in stage or TV shows. We sometimes see it used as part of ‘tourist paraphernalia‘. 

The choice of the ubiquitous lamppost Vs the vestigeal Hat triggers a chain of thought. The former is a poor citizen’s need. Many poor students even in today’s times seek a quiet road with lamplight to keep up on their scholastic pursuits. The homes they live in may not have sufficient electricity or even an environment to concentrate on studies. A well lit road is also a developmental priority as it increases safety and represents the smooth functioning of an adminsitrative set-up.

Any guesses, which one India and its citizens need?

Related Reading

Twin Leaves Frozen by EC


Part 3 : The Neduvasal Project : Hydocarbon is important, But Physical and Ecological Safety more so. No onus on ONGC?

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image courtesy:

Fracking Pros and Cons in Part 2

This is the third and concluding part of this series on the Neduvasal Protests

No Onus on ONGC?

The ONGC (state owned Oil and Natural Gas Commission) had sometime back identified certain areas across the country and Tamil Nadu. These areas /pockets could be tapped for  underground hydrocarbon assets (oil or gas). But some of these places continue being

Part 2 – The Neduvasal Project. Fracking – Pros and Cons

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image courtesy:


Nightmare for Locals in  Part 1 

Fracking has some benefits

Fracking or Hydaulic Fracturing is no doubt an innovative process. A big positive is that it will help in accessing oil/gas from deep within the ground. It will help India become more self-reliant on fuel. It helps us conserve foreign exchange, helps insulates us from the

Part 1 – The Neduvasal Project : Nightmare for Locals & Neighbours or A Gem of an Idea

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The Neduvasal Project : Locals getting Vocal

Neduvasal is another wake-up call for many among us since the alarming levels of pollution in many eco-systems across the country (and the world) are sounding alarm bells. This is pushing many citizens (otherwise law-abiding) to fight for the protection of their environment.

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