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Tag - Corruption

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2010 Mayo 8 [sábado]

chaturanga

Sexual assaults involving ministers mixed with never-ending power-cuts make a heady summer mix. Its not surprising that the frequency of water cuts and power cuts has spiked the moment local Municipal elections voting got over. People have filed PIL's but KPTC/BESCOM cant seem to curb the power theft that occurs right under its nose, which is self-evident when you take a walk around any main street with shops and direct your gaze skyward to see the criss-crossing wires from each electricity pole situated on the roadside--all illegal but under the benign gaze of the officials. The shopkeeper will tell you why you could not get away with it without the connivance of the employees of inefficient BESCOM whose palms they regularly grease, lest its converted into "commercial rates" which is four times higher than the residential rates....and thus residential power theft continues. The powers that be are aware of the irregularities and yet dont care. What would it take to turn things around?

If that is the local state of affairs, the national level is no better. Nope, Sonia Gandhi, a woman at the helm has not changed things for the better. Its not uncommon for women to bear the brunt and pay the price when it comes to law-making policies. India has always had women politicians and yet the scams continue to tumble out of the closet catching the players on a sticky wicket, and we continue to live with corruption, lobbying for power while the money-making games continue, resulting in tacit compromises instead of clean governance. If anything politicians lack the will to root out corruption and a citizen has no choice when it comes to choosing a clean political party to represent them. Today, corruption and crimes are committed by politicians from just about every party and ideological frame of mind --Quid pro quo.

2009 Noviembre 8 [domingo]

Mining for money and power

This entry is an ode to our shining political servants (pun intended).

#0#. After 17 days of hardcore bargaining, Mumbai finally hosted the swearing-in of a government for Maharashtra state.

#0#.Down South, Karnataka's politicians are busy playing with the tax-payers money, while the US thinks its getting Bangalored with competition.

President Barack Obama has exhorted schools in the US to develop globally competitive standards to help students take on `folks in Beijing and Bangalore'..........engage in intrigues, mud-slinging, backstabbing and witch-hunting. They throw ideologies to the winds, ditch friends and join hands with foes. They use money and muscle power to bulldoze their way to the seat of power....

#0#. A Ranchi resident files a PIL on Koda and Co. who had de-frauded 3.6 crore rupees per day for 3 years to bid for South African mines while his wife sacrifices goats for his well-being as the ED is hot on his tail with an imminent arrest.

#0#. China sees RED when the Dalai Lama visits an Indian state while many Indian states have Naxals and Maoists on a killing spree and our national song, Vande Mataram, has been issued a fatwa by Muslim clerics.

Mera Bharat Mahan - Indians are ironically a blessed lot!

2008 Septiembre 23 [martes]

IndiaInc.

Is India, increasingly portrayed as the fastest growing economy in Asia, the best place to do business with ??! What is the ground reality for a business (it could be a startup in the manufacturing industry) when a CEO is murdered in broad daylight, abetted by an inactive police. Instead of booking the murdering criminals the labour minister warns the industry ...for what ... conducting business and generating employment?? Maybe the negative impact on foreign investment will pass the message across in future. Sadly, this too will be forgotten after a few days when the media finds another juicer piece of news.

If the ministers reaction is intended to provide more spark by indirectly telling people to take law into their own hands, it works very well. What would they have done if an Indian newspaper had advertised Mandela, DalaiLama and Gandhi (will someone tell Jyllandsposten its not spelt as Ghandi) like the Nordic Jyllandsposten did??  Salil Tripathi opines that these Jyllands-Posten " life is easier, if you don’t speak up" ads are intended to send a message across to Muslims across the world that if Indians, Tibetians and South Africans around the world are not offended by the posters then they should not take law into their own hands.

My guess is that there will be Indian people who will find offence with those posters because its so easy to overlook the philosophy like satyagraha, truth, no corruption or ahimsa, which Gandhi (recycled from the older B.Gita and Upanishads) propagated than deal with mundane issues like poverty and terrorism. Today, dont be too surprised to see Gandhi benignly smiling at you from the portrait on the wall he is hung on, in a government office, whilst the employee sitting under the duly garlanded photograph asks you for bakshish/chai pani (== bribe).... Welcome to modern India!!

The movie, Gandhi - My Father explores Gandhi’s role within his family and Akshay Khanna (would love to see AK pair up with Aamir Khan in the play Mee Nathuram Godse boltoy which is N.Godse's perspective on why he did what he did) brought to life what we had never learnt in school or wrote in examination answer sheets but always knew, the humane side of Gandhi -- the spectacular failure he was as a father whilst being hailed as India's Father (Bapu). How ironical and yet he has morals and a strong character and many qualities worth emulating, which are (sadly) completely absent in modern politicians.

2008 Septiembre 21 [domingo]

Bangalore deserves better

The Airport Authority of India says that BIAL airport is already saturated and so does the experience of hundreds of passengers, a few of whom get this platform to air their grievances. Harish Bhat, COO of Titan Industries, has a very interesting take on the Bengaluru airport's toilets. Among other grievances he mentions important factors like travel-to-airport time, space, functionality, aesthetics, etc.. which press releases always ignore.

Strangely the wikipedia page on BIAL has only glowing reports and nothing negative about the company in the wikipage. It has no links to the negative press reports at all. Checking the wiki page history shows edits by just IP's and not a registered user. I wonder why????  Is this their spin doctor (PR agency : Macromedia Research And Development Private Ltd ???) at work again using fake mail-ID's to leave anonymous comments on my earlier blog entry.

In one interview to the press, Mr.Brunner, the CEO, openly states that they are looking to commercialise the 4000 acres of land given by the Indian government. So did the government give BIAL 4000 acres of land to make profits at the expense of the Indian taxpayer? He blames everyone else (ground handlers SATS, to the taxi service, other agencies, etc..) for all of BIAL's problems except perhaps their shoddy planning.  According to the CEO, "Peak-hour capacity (is what matters)" - Does that mean local airlines should fly during non-peak hours (ala 24/7), Mr.CEO?. How many Indians want to travel to Delhi, a domestic flight a 02:00 AM?

Would Mr. Brunner be able to construct an apology of an airport like BIAL in Europe and call it International?

Worse, they are now pressuring the government to allow them to charge an additional User Development Fee of Rs.675 (plus 12.36% service tax) per passenger who uses the BIAL airport. Gee, 770 bucks for an airport that does not even have adequate restrooms, charges 400 rupees per HOUR for parking charges, and has snacks bars where the average cost of a patties or pastry is between Rs.50-85 bucks. The socialist and communist political parties might tag "flying" as a luxury (its a another matter that the political class of socialist and communists jet around the country but....shh, pretend you didnt notice that) meant only for the rich, but its not. Its just yet another option of faster travel in this global age.

Since the Karnataka government found Bial airport is not up to the mark, it can restrict BIAL to only International flights and reopen the old HAL airport for domestic routes. THAT would make better business sense for domestic travellers. Even Infosys is not happy with Bial, and yet the high court stayed the August 18 order by a full Bench of the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC), which had declared BIAL as a public authority covered by the RTI Act, 2005.

If infrastructure projects meant for the public, using public tax payers money are not accountable and will not come under the Right to Information Act, the best recourse is to stop the privatization of public infrastructure projects, thereby keeping the government accountable under the RTI Act. 

Indian cities dont need basic infrastructure like airports, railways and bus stations which are a few hundred kilometers outside the city limits. THAT is NOT smart city planning at all !! As citizens we need to stop absorbing accepting lies and sugar-coated words about infrastructure projects gone wrong - it is the tax-payers money, hence our money, that is being wasted by corrupt private companies, hence inexcusable!

2008 Abril 29 [martes]

earth weekend update

The Earth-weekend continued till Monday evening, despite M giving umpteen complaints to the Assistant Engineer (AE) BESCOM/KEB, who would keep telling her his line-man would be there in 20 min and after 2 hours still no sign of him. When she got persistent, the AE brushed her off with "you gave wrong address, my lineman cant find it". The fact is the lineman never even tried in the morning but at around 4 pm there was a regular load-shedding and he suddenly materialized, climbed the pole and cut some wires on the pole, mumbled things would be fine and disappeared. Two hours later, NO power.

Fed-up of listening to the line-man's excuses, after 6:30 pm, got the licensed electrician to change the phase on the electric pole. After 3 days in no power mode, rotting food in the fridge, the whole experience of waiting et al was annoyingly frustrating. In retrospect, that haste (after 3 days!!) was a good idea it seems.

Because at 7pm the KEB / BESCOM lineman who came by earlier to cut some wires appeared again....maybe he had heard from the private licensed electrician that we were fine without his help. Well, I was about to go out but decided to wait and see why the Bescom employee was interested in working after his duty hours (which gets over by 4 pm). Most government employees grumble to do paid work during regular office hours so this (un)helpful pretense was indeed strange.

He fumbled around and said the meter was fine (although he knew the main phase was kaput). Annoyed with his charade, I told him to not waste my time and go check the main pole and leave the house meter alone. Down south, men dont like women speaking sternly to them and he gave me an incredulous look but sensing my growing irritation he complied and (on my insistence) checked the main wires. After much hemming and hawing he accepted that there was indeed a problem with the main line and one phase was dead, so yeah it was a KEB problem. Phew, getting him to accept that the problem was from their side was a challenge ! Then he proceeded to give me his AE's cell number and wanted me to lodge a formal complaint (pray tell me, what was the earlier calls all about?) the next morning (i.e today).

This morning, when I called the AE he admonished me for not telling him of the problem yesterday or he would have solved it pronto. He asked me to co-operate (by now i am beginning to love the double-faced attitudes here) with him and give a written complaint blaming the lineman for the work not done. I replied that it was a great idea... i would write a formal complaint about the other mysterious AE (i meant him actually) dwaddling and wasting time for 3 days, giving innumerable excuses about "address not found", harassing women, etc.., to his office and for good measure send it to his senior's too. Three hours later, the electrician appears and tells M the problem was never with the Bescom main phase and that the lineman had accidentally cut our house supply only. So could he change back the interchanged phase (if she paid him, yet again?).

This whole thing seems so fishy that I asked M to just let things be. I presume they must have finally repaired the faulty main and are just trying to cover their b^$$ before we lodge that written complaint.

UPDATE : I got a call about an hour ago saying 3 line men have descended and were __working__ on the main electric pole and restored the connections. Ah...something seems to have done the trick. In this whole episode the thing that bothers me is people's apathy towards everything. Strangely folks in the whole area dont mind living partly in darkness but dont want to be bothered to deal with any government officials (but want jobs there, ofcourse) because getting work done from them involves bribing which they are loathe to do so are unwilling to do anything about it. In case you are wondering i did not have to bribe the officer/lineman. During the whole episode i have heard numerous stories on how not to antagonise the govt' officials or complain against them as they can take revenge by purposely cross-circuting or shorting the connections and it can make life difficult for us women. Gee... i look forward to that challenge too !!