Letters to the Editor (March 31, 2022)

March 31, 2022 | 05:52 IST

Letters to the Editor (March 31, 2022)

Severe traffic fines; make roads passable

Very late fines for traffic violations are well enforced. The government will add a much-needed boost to their dwindling coffers. Deterrents like the gallows have never lowered the most heinous crimes and hence the death penalty is even now abolished. In the United States, the life sentence extends for a period exceeding the average lifespan, thus the incarceration of criminals in life imprisonment.

In India, the life sentence is 14 years. The severe punishment of amputations for drug traffickers in the Gulf has not deterred at all and stopped drug trafficking. The government must first improve the drivable conditions of the roads, provide lighting, regularly paint speed breakers, clear overhanging branches, cut down dangerous trees, post road signs, prevent flooding, widen roads, use road taxes to do so. If the aim is to avoid road accidents and deaths, heavy fines are a boon for the police, who in the past have been accused of duplicating fine books and forced with a daily quota to generate fines .

Alternatively, order them to render social services, impose a temporary prison sentence, suspend the license for various periods of time and finally cancel the driver’s license for repeated dangerous violations which are more painful deterrents.

Are rising fuel costs dissuading some owners from using public transport? The vehicle in use if confiscated will not recover fines costs, so what? Any measure must be proportionate to the nature of the crime. The measures adopted by RTO and the means to circumvent and even obtain a certificate of competence, a driver’s license and fees required for the position are an open secret. Where is the rot? Wearing seat belts, helmets, speed regulations, fitness certificates are in the best interest of the owner or driver and ridiculous enforcement from the outside hence education even in schools , will raise awareness among users.

Nelson Lopes, Chinchim

Partial troop de-escalation welcome

The partial de-escalation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a welcome development. Russia said it would reduce attacks near kyiv and Chernihiv. The Ukrainian army acknowledged the withdrawals. The two sides have held several rounds of talks so far, but to no avail

Moscow’s move comes amid reports that Russian troops have been bogged down in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance. Thousands of people have perished in the month-long war, which has also displaced 10 million Ukrainians.

NJ Ravi Chander, Bangalore

Newbie Legislators Need Guidance

The 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly has up to 19 MPs who are first-time legislators. New faces emerged from all parties, including eight from the Congress, five from the BJP, two from the AAP, two independents and one from the RGP. Clearly, these legislators have tasted election success through the social work they have done as well as their connection to the citizens of their constituencies.

However, having now entered the august Chamber of the Legislative Assembly of Goa, their task carries more responsibilities which can affect the whole state and not just their constituency. These first-time legislators come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including a doctor, lawyers, architects, engineers, and more. Being beginners, they may not be aware of the finer nuances of how to conduct themselves effectively in the assembly.

This is where the orientation training program for new legislators comes into its own. The advice given during the orientation program must imperatively be mastered by the legislators so that they become effective representatives of the people in the assembly. Some of the points that beginning legislators might become familiar with may include values-based ethics, the art of legislative negotiation, public speaking, maintaining media relations and managing social media, etc The objective of the orientation program is to familiarize parliamentarians with the workings of the legislature and to promote a thorough knowledge and appreciation of the constitutional role of the legislature and its position as the supreme representative institution.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

More than it seems

The prestigious Atal Setu, which showcases the best of India’s engineering and construction prowess, has been plagued with problems from day one. The 3.1 km long cable-stayed bridge built by one of India’s largest and best construction companies develops potholes with every bout of rain and requires constant repairs. It is pertinent to note that the GSIDC had supervised the whole process of design and execution of the structure, but all this supervision ended in failure; the state government has now brought in IIT Madras to investigate the faults and come up with remedial measures which, in a way, is an admission of guilt.

The technical team has already performed bond and stress tests to determine the shear/adhesion between the bitumen and the underlying asphalt pavement. 43 core samples of the asphalt surface were also drilled for laboratory testing to determine why the bitumen is not adhering to the subsurface. Even someone with a rudimentary knowledge of road construction can tell you that factors such as heavy rainfall, humidity, salinity and temperature variations unique to Goa’s climate have not been taken into account in the design process.

GSIDC officials are now offering poor excuses and blaming the fiasco on the imported adhesion bonding chemical and inadequate waterproofing layer. The fact is that there has been a deliberate neglect of the project management aspect. This so-called centerpiece of state and so-called engineering marvel is like a chronically ill person who continually needs medical attention. A court-monitored independent investigation team should also be appointed to get to the bottom of the case and determine the failures of part of the GSIDC and the contracted agency to establish liability and ensure that the same thing is not repeated for other civil construction projects currently in progress; There are things the eye cannot see.

Vinay Dwivedi, Benaulim

Green stations

Indian Railways hopes to become the world’s first “green railways” by 2030. Addressing global warming and climate change through international standards are its goals. Much remains to be done if the railway is to achieve its lofty ambition, but it is already underway electrifying trains, increasing energy efficiency, more bio toilets, switching to renewable energy sources, green certification of stations.

Other than that, small initiatives can help railways achieve their goal. Dirt and rubbish on the platforms greet passengers as they make their way to the gates of several stations, especially the smaller ones and those in rural India.

The “scene” on the train tracks is nauseating. Solid, plastic and other waste, garbage all around. Surely, as you sow, you will reap. But, the foolish acts of a few cannot heap misery on the rest. There have been many smart initiatives on the part of the railways for some time to change the image of stations. Many schemes collapsed, some clicked. Many echo-friendly stations that have already been developed are, without a doubt, spotless. But we must add others. The Echo-smart beacon is no joke; neither is the project impossible. Strict environmental standards must be met while waiting for the ISO-14001 certificate.

This is in order with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for which ten important criteria are prescribed. The cleanliness of the stations, with frequent watering and sweeping, is a crucial parameter.

Ganapathi Bhat, Akola

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