WEEKEND LIGHTER: FOCUS ON SAFE TRAVEL
WEEKEND LIGHTER: Focus on safe travel
(September 16/17, 2017)
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Focus on safe travel
This refers to Vinayak Chatterjee's piece "Roads far more unsafe than railways" (Business Standard, Infratalk, September 11). The article has put together some very relevant information supporting the argument for improving road travel safety. While there can't be two views on the urgency to do everything possible to make road journey safe, one is tempted to think loudly that safety has to be the primary concern in any mode of travel.
Railways for example are not able to make their trains less accident-prone by ensuring adequate renovation of tracks, signal systems and engines and bogies on an ongoing basis and having adequate manpower in service at any point of time. The suburban local trains in cities like Mumbai continue to be death- traps, mainly due to overcrowding of compartments. This is ironically when comfort is being added to modes of travel incurring heavy costs for transport systems like monorail and metro trains.
The recent train accidents in various parts of the country embarrassed Indian Railways as a service provider, making rail minister offer to resign. Travel safety has to be one of the national priorities and should not be considered just a 'moral responsibility' of a minister or should not end with fixing responsibility on some employees when something untoward happens.
Some of us have noticed the recent shift from "Happy Journey" to "Safe and Comfortable Journey" in recent years. This is also a sad reminder that people have started worrying about travel safety.
From pedestrians on the footpath to the executives sitting in Business Class seats of international airlines need to be assured about travel safety, in normal circumstances.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
In the recent past, sensationalizing negative news by Political Leadership, media and social activists is on the increase. The routes followed include, among others, ball-to-ball commentaries on investigations of criminal cases, discussions and reports preceding and succeeding court proceedings and independent investigations by media, parallel to the probes by authorities. Some of these are part of genuine journalism. But, sometimes, the activities cross self-set boundaries and preempt possible breakthroughs in official investigations.
While none of these activities can be officially controlled or regulated in an open democracy like ours, there is need for quick consultations among government all stakeholders to reduce further damage to the social equilibrium built-up over a period of time starting from pre-independence days to the current decade.
When the environment is charged with suspicion and mutual hatred, goverment in power has to be more cautious to be seen as impartial and secular in approach. It is in this context that though the Prime Minister Modi's assertion that "toilets first, temples can wait" was accepted by the audience, forcing the speech to be heard by all students didn't get uniform acceptance across geographies. In such situations, not only the content, but the context too become relevant. Hereafter, in national interest, Centre need to remain more vigilant to avoid controversies on sensitive and disputable issues affecting food, faith and freedom of citizens.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
Content in context
Lately, negative news is being increasingly sensationalized on all fronts. Sometimes this crosses boundaries and hinders breakthroughs in official investigations. While this cannot be officially controlled or regulated in an open democracy like ours, there is need to reduce further damage to the social equilibrium.
When the environment is charged with suspicion and mutual hatred, the government in power has to be more cautious to be seen as impartial and secular. It is in this context that though Prime Minister Modi’s assertion, “toilets first, temples can wait”, was accepted, forcing all students to listen to this speech didn’t get uniform acceptance across geographies. In such situations, not only the content, but the context too become relevant.
Right to worship
A visit to Guruvayur temple by the Kerala Devaswam Minister Kadakampalli Surendran accompanied by his family members has been picked up by certain political parties to involve the CPI (M) in a new controversy. The case against Kerala Communists is being built up on the premises that communism is against worship of God. Ironically, some Marxist leaders in Kerala too are lured to buy the argument and have agreed to "look into the matter".
Now that an issue of public interest has been raised in public, the CPI (M) should come out publicly explaining its stand on right to worship.
Indian Constitution confers certain rights to the country's citizens. Social or Political organizations in India cannot deny any of those rights, making it a pre-condition for their membership. If this much is agreed, resolution of the controversy arising from "Communist" Minister's temple visit will be quite easy.
M G Warrier, Mumbai