Archive for September, 2008

BMC Cannot Enforce Smoking Ban

Why is it that the government becomes impotent when it is time to put laws into practice.

The Union government wants to bring about a ban on smoking in public places that are indoors. This includes restaurants, pubs, government offices et al.

And you have the BMC going up in arms saying it cannot enforce the ban.

While the rest of the country stubs it out, at least in public, from October 2, in Mumbai you can carry on smoking. That’s because the BMC, which is supposed to implement the smoking ban, has thrown up its hands.

“We simply cannot do it with the current infrastructure and manpower,” says civic health executive officer Jayaraj Thanekar. [link]

It seems they are busy with other things in hand…including the proper procedures to collect bribes without getting caught.

Seriously, how about getting our Marathi Manoos Champion Thakeray to enforce this? Outsource it.

Is Wi-Fi access the real front in the war on terror ?

An article in the Mumbai Mirror is deceptively titled " Terrorists have 15,000 options"

You would think that they are talking about entry points into the city, or the number of trash cans available where bombs could be left behind or some such thing. However to my dismay the article states

There are an estimated 15,000 wi-fi networks in the city that are vulnerable to terrorists like the ones who used the wi-fi networks of an American businessman and an entrepreneur couple from Chembur to send e-mails to various media companies minutes before the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26 and a little after the first of five bombs exploded in Delhi on Saturday evening.

Agreed that open access wi-fi points is a safety breach, but shouldnt the government be busy in making sure the terrorists never get here in the first place. This sending of emails before blasts has been a recent phenomenon. If we clamp down on the access points, the terrorists will still set up bombs, but not email us about it, hence making them so much more difficult to trace.

As much as open access wifi is an issue in the "war against terror" it should be way down on the priority list.

NRMU Dadar Shaka

It rained heavily in Dadar the day before. For a moment I wondered if I should return home rather than negotiate the stretch from the platform to the over-bridge and beyond.

Along the road bridge that passes by the station and flooded with rainwater is a narrow lane that exits in the direction of Lower Parel. It is squeezed between two rows of flower sellers, one with their backs to the bridge, squatting with flower baskets in front, and the other operating from tiny shops opposite where flowers strung together hang from hooks in the ceilings.

One lot of passengers exit the station in the direction of Matunga, the other in the direction of Lower Parel, while the third disappear into the bustle of Dadar’s markets and beyond, maybe to Prabhadevi.

On rambling days rainwater can be fun. But on crowded weekdays flowing rainwater, after unsuccessfully seeking storm water drains, will have washed a hundred hurrying feet before washing mine, a service I would rather be spared of. Add to it rows of early morning customers bargaining over baskets of myriad colourful flowers squeezing the lane further, crowding the narrow passage so thick that I can barely see my own feet as I get nudged and pushed on my way out. I might’ve overlooked this as well if not for the mucky shade the rainwater takes in the lane littered with wasted flowers and leaves, turning the ground beneath my feet to a soggy carpet of squishy muck.

“It is Ganesh Chaturthi, the Municipal Corporation folks must be busy holidaying to turn up to clean this up,” I hear an elderly man say to another. Umbrellas are out. I hold mine firm as it is knocked around by other umbrellas held similarly.

“Fold your umbrella now,” a rotund gent chides me from behind. I realize that I’m better off folding it than fight for umbrella space in a patch of sky barely visible under the rag-tag plastic shelters that the flower vendors have rigged up outside their shops along the length of the lane, narrowing it even further.

Getting off the train I had sprinted up the incline that joins a narrow corridor connecting to a large hallway. There I bumped into a large crowd of passengers sheltering in the open space that leads to the over-bridge. Having left their homes without umbrellas they stood watching the rain pour outside. Few expected it to rain today though most would’ve known that there is no knowing when clouds would open up during Ganesh Chaturthi.

“There’s no telling until the last day (11th) of the festival,” a fellow passenger had noted as we scrambled for cover from the rain the winds blew in through the door as the train slowed down approaching Dadar.

It was when I slowed down to pick my way through the crowd in the hallway that I saw a man holding a mike. A board seemingly materialized out of thin air in front of me. Curious passengers paused by the board to read the appeal written in hindi.


“Bihar pranth mey bhishan baad ki tabahi mey juunj rahey logon ki madad mey aapna haath aagey badaye, madad karey, madad karey”.

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Justice

 

Hanging Out to Dry!

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