LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Discontinue Long Court Vacations

Long summer vacations in courts were designed by the erstwhile British rulers to save British judges in India from severe hot weather of this country and also to facilitate them to visit their homeland in England. This costly facility unfortunately continues in free India even after 70 years of independence, that too with long pendency of court cases. Long-pending recommendations of the Law Commission for scrapping the long court vacations are being ignored. Union Ministry of Law and Justice should immediately scrap any privileged vacations for courts ensuring a common pattern of holidays from the Supreme Court to the lower courts. Instead of stopping work at courts altogether for long court vacations, judges can be given vacations by rotation like the existing system for professors in medical colleges in the Delhi government. Even lawyers desiring long vacations should not have any difficulty because they are still at liberty to seek adjourned dates according to their convenience. The apex court calendar also shows week-long vacations each for Holi, Dussehra, Muharram and Diwali apart from fortnight-long winter vacations for Christmas Day and New Year. If all other sections of society have no such facility of long festival breaks and summer vacations, it is unjustified for the Supreme Court and other courts to have such a privilege.

MADHU AGRAWAL, NEW DELHI

Probe Frequent Fires At Waste Facilities

A major fire reportedly broke out at the organic waste management facility in the capital city causing an estimated loss of over Rs 50 lakh to the facility, machinery and equipment. The sky over the city turned black, as a huge layer of smoke billowed out of the waste treatment facility. It is understood that foul play has not been ruled out. Fire at the major garbage dumps has become a regular feature in the state. The garbage dump at Sonsoddo had recently caught fire. Not long ago fire raged at the waste dump at Taleigao for several days. In the past fire broke out at the garbage dump at Sada on a regular basis. What could be the reason behind garbage dumps catching fire all of a sudden? Is it the build-up of methane gas, which catches fire in the hot sun? Is there a conspiracy behind these fires? Is setting fire to the garbage considered as the easiest way of getting rid of waste at these garbage dumps? Obviously the citizens are at the receiving end of such fires. The smoke let out in the air can cause health issues to those residing nearby. Inhaling smoke-filled air continuously can trigger asthma attacks in patients. The authorities concerned need to investigate and come to the bottom of the problem and take precautionary measures so that such fire incidents do not recur.

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO                                                                                                

Remove Road Encroachments In Panaji

With changing times, rules governing the building and construction bye-laws are formulated to keep pace with development and other ground realities. Whenever permission is granted to develop a new construction, the plans are passed and approved as per the existing rules. There are specific setbacks to be maintained and in many cases certain area has to left for road widening. This area by the description itself is clearly for the purpose of widening of the existing road. But it is noted that many building owners/societies have cordoned off these areas and are using them for their exclusive use for car parking etc. This is done by numerous properties on D B Road, M G Road as well as other places in the heart of Panaji. One glaring violation is on the M G Road junction with Dr P Shirgaonkar Road, opposite the UCO Bank, Panaji branch. Here the existing footpath, which was in a very good condition, has been dug up and replaced with cobble stones. The surface is dangerously uneven and one can see people struggling to walk on it. Leave aside the aged and the infirm, even hale and hearty people have difficulty in walking on this nonsensical surface. One can see a disaster waiting to happen in the form of somebody twisting his or her ankle or losing balance and falling down. I have seen ladies with pointed heels struggling to cope with the deep grooves in the surface. Not only has the surface of the footpath been changed illegally but a large area of the road has been cordoned off by installing concrete road dividers. This has taken away a major portion of the width of the road and now cars are parked in such a way that most of the road is occupied by the parking of cars there, as the other side is designated for two-wheeler parking. The civic authorities have been notified but do not seem to be bothered and no action has been taken even ten days after bringing this gross violation to their notice. I earnestly wish that some action is taken in restoring the footpath to an even surface that is safe to walk on and the concrete encroachments that are installed on the roads be removed immediately.

PRASHANT KAMAT, PANAJI