destination india

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

for a few coins more

The sinking of the Egyptian ship in the Red Sea that claimed nearly 1000 lives is an example of how man’s greed leads to avoidable catastrophes. From accounts of the survivors who have had miraculous escapes, it is understood that a fire had broken out and explosions were heard. Parallels are being drawn with the sinking of the pleasure ship Titanic which hit an iceberg. The only similarity between the two is the fact that both ended in watery graves for the passengers on board.

In our own country we have faced accidents of this nature – like the one in which several bogies of the Mumbai-Howrah train were gutted in a fire that broke out in one of the compartments when breakfast was being prepared. It seems a travel agent was responsible – he wanted to cut corners in expenses and, hence, carried along with his team of tourists, his own kitchen complete with gas cylinders, cooks etc. Then there are road accidents involving overcrowded buses that believe speeding is the best way to reach the terminus – unfortunately, sometimes the terminus works to be the last one.

Such accidents will continue as long as the greed factor takes precedence over factors of safety. Whether it is on land or in the water, lives lost result in hardships for those who are left behind. Unless they are covered by insurance, the organizations suffer financial losses. Overcrowding and carriage of inflammable articles in public modes of transport are risky; notes of caution are sounded from time to time. Invariably, the culprits are the persons who are directly in contact with the passengers – packing the passengers like sardines in cans tempts them to earn a quick buck. Usually, they get away with such practices but, when calamity strikes, they themselves might become the first victims.

The responsibility finally rests with the organizers. It is for them to ensure that the traveler reaches his destination safely.

pace war in peshawar

The interactive program on TV after the loss of the first ODI in Lahore to Peshawar by virtue of the D/L system was an eye opener of sorts. The mantra of the home team was simple – ‘it is a pace war in Peshawar, if you survive, you win’. There were four culprits on view and the major part of the blame went to the Nawab and the Wall.

Yes, the Nawab of Najafgarh should have scored runs. He is a part of the Indian team and has an important role to play. He earns crores of rupees through his endorsements of a wide range of products. It is not enough to present an once-in-a-lifetime knock to justify his retention in the team. That is why the phrase has been aptly coined – ‘yeh dil mange more’. It is fine to sing along with the group and go into huddles for promotional ads but, the end result of failures leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. His fans want continuity, especially when he nurtures hopes of leading the team in future.

The Wall crumbled because of excessive experimentation. Sending Irfan one drop was a good decision but then sending Dhoni and Yuvraj in quick succession was poor strategy. It has been proved repeatedly that we lack the killer instinct – the last ten crucial overs leave us helpless. If we are batting, we struggle to put bat to ball; if we are fielding, we delight in no-balls, wides and loose deliveries. And then, we wring our hands in misery which, in the ultimate reckoning, is of our making.

Singling out individual players for criticism will never help in achieving Vision 2007. If new blood needs to be groomed, so be it. Throwing players like Murali Karthik to the wolves result in avoidable extra runs. With an off-side field, the poor fellow loves to pitch the ball on the batsman’s leg – the ball naturally races to the ropes without any hindrance. Even our so-called fast bowlers have to be disciplined to bowl in the ‘channel’ – if suitable punishment is meted out to the erring ones, the trend could be rectified. It is needless to mention that the nagging line and length of newcomer Asif and his wonderful ability to bowl wicket to wicket was one of the main reasons for the downfall of our celebrated batting lineup.

All said and done, the invaluable experiences that we are gaining in our sojourn in Pakistan must be viewed as a golden opportunity to build a powerful team for 2007.

weekly news round up 5

This is the 5th set of News involving India and Indians as reported in some leading newspapers during the period 29th January to 4th February 2006 -

City can be world-class in 10 years

NEW DELHI: The Delhiite may have some concerns about the city but envisions a very bright future for it, especially in comparison with the other metros of India. ….. The TNS survey was conducted with 301 respondents in the age-group of 15-55 who reside in Delhi to gauge their impression of Delhi vis-a-vis Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata as well as various aspects of Delhi as a city and their vision of its future. …. While Delhi was perceived to have made the most progress over the past five years in terms of transport facilities, education, job opportunities and lifestyle, the respondents believed that Mumbai and Bangalore had done better in terms of providing basic amenities. …..

Indian journalist bags Mahboob ul Haq award

NEW DELHI: Pradeep Dutta, a reporter of 'Times Now' news channel, on Monday bagged the Mahboob ul Haq award instituted by the Colombo-based Regional Council of Strategic Studies, the first journalist from India to win the honour. ….. Dutta was awarded for his work on Indo-Pak Water Politics and Cooperative Security in South Asia. …….

Bengal launches IIT-designed rickshaw

KOLKATA, JANUARY 31: The West Bengal Government today officially adopted a sophisticated, aerodynamic tricycle rickshaw developed by a professor from IIT-Guwahati at Dinhata near Cooch Behar. Over the next few years, the new vehicle is all set to replace over-6,000 hand-pulled rickshaws that ply Kolkata’s streets…… IE Archives 1/2/2006

Benfish tourist lodge opens in MurshidabadBEHRAMPORE, Jan. 29. — With an aim to develop the tourism potential of Murshidabad, the state fisheries ministry today opened a tourist lodge complex comprising of AC and non-AC cottages, restaurant, conference hall at Behrampore……

Vindhyagiri beckons even at night!

Digambara Jain Mutt pontiff Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji has convened a meeting of Government officials on Monday to review the preparedness in Shravanabelagola, especially in the areas of sanitation and medical emergency, with only nine days left for the biggest draw of the celebrations, the Mahamastakabhisheka of Bhagwan Bahubali beginning February 8. ……..

International status for Calicut airport

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to declare the Calicut airport as an international airport, thereby paving the way for the improvement of the infrastructure there for handling international flights…….

Ceramic hip in place, woman on feet again

Burdwan, Jan. 29: Doctors in a state-run hospital have broken convention by reconstructing a 40-year-old woman’s hip with a ceramic replacement, which scales down the cost of surgery by a whopping 80 per cent. ….. The surgery, beamed live to audiences in a packed hall, mostly doctors, was conducted at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital about a fortnight ago …… Archives, 30/1/2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

2006 boi mela highlights

The fair was inaugurated by the Spanish author Dr. Maria Fernanda Santiago Bolanos. Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharji and the Ambassador of Spain were also present on the dais. One of the renowned authors commented that – ‘this fair is the heart of Kolkata, this should not be shifted. Why do the authorities not consider it as the lungs of the city?’ The Mayor also joined in and added – ‘this fair is only of 12 days duration. How can a fair here for such a short period create imbalance in the environment?’ The obvious references were to the ongoing struggle to allow the fair to remain in its present location and not be shifted to the proposed new location in the bypass. The CM responded in his usual tongue-in-cheek manner with – ‘I am one of you. I will do what is necessary by considering the legal and environmental aspects.’


One of the characteristics of this annual fair are the forums where professionals interact with the audience to discuss important subjects. One such was ‘whether IT is the only key to success in West Bengal’. One of the speakers said – ‘there cannot be a single master key to unlock all vaults – there has to be separate keys for each.’ Another person said – ‘there are 50 lakh unemployed in the state out of which 20 lakhs are illiterate. Four out of five persons stay in villages. It is, therefore, important to think of IT as one of the means of development.’ Yet another person opined that ‘to fulfill the aspirations of 60 percent of the people, a political will is equally important.’


It is a bit strange that the electronic media seems not too very enthusiastic this year as compared to last year. Especially missing are visuals of the youth brigade of musicians, painters and artists. The coverage of Boi mela 2006 has been done as a matter of routine by Doordarshan with not much variety. Even the newspapers have not devoted much space to this annual event.


The official website has no information on ‘glimpses of 2006’; also, the ‘site map’ is too tiny for any meaningful purpose to be served.

Also read -

Thursday, February 02, 2006

pollution free environment

Pollution free environment is a dream that becomes a reality only in the video footages of Natgeo – we would love to have clean, fresh air to breathe, fruits and vegetables that taste as they should taste, peace and happiness in every home devoid of anger, irritation or misery. We would love to listen to the chirping of the birds and see the butterflies as they flit from one flower to another. We yearn for Utopia. Our leaders keep promising to lead us into that dreamland but, we end up in hospitals and nursing homes with cough, cold, asthma and other similar diseases that are the legacies of pollution. Some TV channels show the levels of pollution in leading cities – the concern ends there. The information comes at the end of the news and does not mean much to the viewer who is more interested in the program that follows. Those lucky few who are blessed with wealth try to lose themselves in the pollution free environment of foreign shores. They are usually accompanied by those whose primary duty is to ensure that he enjoys his holiday. But, escape is no easy – he continues to worry whether his last investment is giving results.

In order to boast of a pollution free environment, we have to analyze the reasons, identify and isolate them and take corrective action. The largest culprit is the automobiles that spew fumes. Plenty of measures have been laid out to arrest such pollution but ensuring their implementation is difficult. A solution could be to encourage the use of bicycles or solar powered or electrical vehicles till tele-transportation Star Wars style becomes a reality. Organizations could consider introducing incentive schemes to promote projects of this nature – it will revive the tramways. Employees who declare that they commute to work by metro rail or by the tram would be eligible for bonus marks at the time of the annual performance review.

Such thoughts have a gloomy side – the automobile manufacturers would feel threatened while the bi-cycle and battery manufacturers would be elated. Also, professionals of the medical fraternity would nurse ill will against those who support the drive for a pollution free environment because it will imply less risk of falling sick, hence fears of loss in earnings. If only some one could work out a compromise …..