Passenger is king
Sir — In the past six months, the Mumbai Regional Transport Office has allegedly cancelled the licences of around 900 autorickshaw drivers for refusing customers. Fourteen special squads have been formed to track down these offenders based on complaints lodged by commuters. This should act as a strong deterrent.
Public transport is a menace even in Calcutta. Perhaps we,too, should follow in the footsteps of Mumbai and plan an efficient strategy to tackle the problem of passenger-refusal by autos and taxis. If cancelling licences seems like too harsh a step — since it is a question of livelihoods — swift imposition of fines by the traffic police could help.
Sir — Can the Bharatiya Janata Party not abstain from engaging in partisan politics even when the lives of people are at stake? This year there has been an attempt by members of the saffron party and its affiliates to stop people from donating to the chief minister’s relief fund in Kerala (“Two faces”, Aug 14). Last year, the Centre granted around Rs 3,000 crore as a relief package to Kerala, whereas it witnessed losses worth much more. Further, why did the Union home minister, Amit Shah, choose to skip Kerala while surveying the flood situation in states like Karnataka and Maharashtra. Kerala is one of the places worst affected by the floods; why did Shah not see it fit to survey the situation here for himself? Is it because Kerala rejected the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections?
However, Rahul Gandhi is now camping in Wayanad and coordinating relief operations. His presence in Wayanad has provided much moral strength to the people, whose trials and tribulations are endless.
Sir — It is ridiculous that members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are discouraging people from donating to the chief minister’s relief fund in Kerala. Last year, this fund was a godsend in getting the state back on its feet after the flood. The BJP-led Central government is silent on this issue. Not to mention that the Union home minister did not deign it necessary to even survey the flood situation in Kerala. Seeing as he flew over Karnataka, how long would it have taken for him to review the state of Kerala? Need he be reminded that the Constitution which he swore allegiance to makes it his duty to look after all Indian citizens, including the ones who may not have voted for his party?
Sir — At a time when political parties are busy trying to fish in troubled waters in Kerala, it is inspiring to read about people like the street-side vendor, Naushad, who has donated his entire stock for flood relief. The selfless vendor did think of his future but trusted god to save him if he helped those in need.
Dim the glow
Sir — The Calcutta Municipal Corporation has decided that bright flood lights at Citizens’ Park and Elliot Park will be switched off after eight in the evening. This will offer people as well as the local fauna some much-needed relief. Not only will this curb light pollution, electricity will also be saved. Hidco, too, has planned to turn off the lights at Eco Park in New Town after nine at night.
Concerns about bright lights disturbing and scaring away birds are not new. Nocturnal creatures hunt for food at night and diurnal animals and birds rest. Bright lights are bad for both. The lights have not spared people either. In fact, the mayor of Calcutta received a desperate call from a senior citizen who complained of her inability to fall asleep at night owing to glaring streetlights.
It is heartening that government agencies are finally taking cognisance of problems that stem from an excess of lights. Additionally, authorities should go ahead and instal solar-powered lights in all parks and squares across the city. The glare of these lights are not as intense as the conventional ones. Further, they dim at night as their charge runs out and they are economically viable and energy-efficient.