Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Queries, queries and queries!

1. Doubts come about after reading news columns because, many a time, a wide chasm exists between what the people in power utter and the final outcome of a particular event. My queries are based on such a dilemma and I've singled out just two among the many. Without much ado, here I go:-

 (a) The Railway Coach Factory.

       According to a reply given by the union minister of railways in parliament, the central
       government has no immediate plans to initiate the construction of the Rs.550 crore rail coach
       factory at Kanjikode in Palakkad. It was, further, added that the railways had adequate facilities
       to meet coach requirements, did not foresee a shortage in the near future and it would be a
       wastage of public money to set up such a costly project!

       12 years have gone by since a railway budget proposed the coach factory. The project was
       supposed to be completed in three years, with an annual capacity of 450 coaches. The plan was
       to establish the factory in the public-private-partnership.

       There has been rumours that the project was being shifted to Sonepat in Haryana.

       The railway minister has, since, clarified that there were no plans to drop the project and that the
       railways is assessing the actual requirement of assets for the dynamic project. Let's see as to how
       many more flip-flops will ensue before the actual project takes off!

  (b) The Thannermukkom Earth Embankment.

        The Thannermukkom Bund (Regulator), across the Vembanad Lake that keeps the water 
        balance and prevents intrusion of salt water into Kuttanad, was designed by the Central Water
        and Power Research Station in '56. The first and the second phases were completed in '65 and
        '75 respectively. The barrage was made operational in '76 after connecting the bunds on the 
        eastern and the western sides by a 470 mt long reclaimed portion in the middle of the 
        backwaters. The third phase of construction that began in '14 will replace the earth bank, in the
        middle, by 28 shutters. The work has long since been completed! 

        There has been widespread criticism that the flooding and the consequent misery in Kuttanad
        would not have been severe, as it was, if the third stage shutters of the bund were opened earlier
        at the opportune moment. The delay was brought about because of the non availability of the
        chief minister for its inauguration. The chief minister was quick to rebuff the statement by
        saying that there were another two months of work pending towards completion while the water          resources minister's retort to it was that the work was already completed - supported by the                  project engineers - and that the bund would be operational forthwith. Though the traffic, now,
        uses the new bridge - after using the mud embankment for the past 43 years - the opening of
        the new shutters is yet to take place. Meanwhile, the misery of the people of Kuttanad 
        continues. The flood waters have not receded and the arterial Alappuzha-Changanacherry 
        road continues to be under water!

        The irrigation department, now, says that it shall not dismantle the earth embankment till the
        state government takes a final decision on the ownership of the embankment's soil! The 'fight'
        for the soil is between the Vechoor and Thannermukkom grama panchayats.

        Now, who's trying to cover up whose inefficiency?

2. The Miserable Vehicle Strike.

The 24 hour vehicle strike that commenced from midnight added misery to the general public. This was in protest against the new Motor Vehicle Act being brought about by the government. As I understand, with the entire process of vehicular registration and issuance of driving licences being brought under the digital ambit, corruption - the department that indulges in it, without stops - would come to an end once it becomes law. The stiff, all round protest against the bill shows its efficacy!

3. The President Comes and Goes.

The President and his wife had a quiet 'darshan' of the Good Lord today. It was a rainy day and therefore, he'd to make the trip by road.


                                              Indispensable Man

Sometimes when you're feeling important
Sometime when your ego's in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You're the best qualified in the room.

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining
Is a measure of how you'll be missed.

You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you'll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There's no indispensable man.



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