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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Local Taxi Operators On Warpath

As an initiative of Goa Tourism Development Corporation, GoaMiles Taxi service seeks to give visitors to the state a hassle-free method to book a taxi. Envisaged on the lines of Ola and Uber, GoaMiles has however not had a smooth drive in the state with local taxi operators virtually on a warpath with the government after the GTDC facilitated the launch of the app-based service by a private aggregator start-up last year. Incidents of sporadic violence and use of force against taxi drivers operating through GoaMiles across the state have also been reported. With a few legislators effectively backing the dissenting taximen, the government is nowhere near achieving a breakthrough on the contentious taxi conundrum in the state. Rejecting the suggestion of the government that they join the app-based service on a trial basis for three months, things had come to boil with the taxi operators threatening the government of dire consequences if their demands were not acceded to at the earliest. The local taxi men are agitated at realizing that the government was backing a private party operating the app against the interest of thousands of taxi operators who are all sons-of-the-soil and in the business for decades. True to their threats, they decided to stay off the roads from Friday last despite the ESMA having been invoked and strikes in the transport sector banned for six months. For a fact, the local taxi operators have had a ‘free run’ in the state with allegations of exorbitant charging seemingly falling on deaf ears. Constituting a strong lobby, they have been stonewalling all efforts by the government to ‘standardize’ their operations. If the state government had not decided to put into effect the Supreme Court order for installation of digital meters in tourist taxis, the ‘fleecing’ game would have continued.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

Police Accused Of Shielding Venkitaraman

In a highly inebriated condition, a celebrated IAS officer in Kerala who has often taken on the high and mighty in his crackdown on illegal encroachments sped his car in a rash manner and killed a youth K M Basheer, the chief of bureau of the Sirajdaily for the Kerala capital. The IAS officer Venkitaraman, 32, fresh from the training undergone in the US and on posting as Survey and Land Records Director in Thiruvananthapuram was on a high after a party at a posh club in the city early on Saturday. After the late-night bash, he summoned companion and NRI model Wafa Firoz to drive home in her car. But he got into the driver’s seat and sped away with the friend beside, and later mowing down Basheer, who was on the phone after parking his bike beside the road.

T K NANDANAN KOCHI

Justice For Unnao Rape Victim

The Yogi Adityanath Government has been put to shame and is on the back foot as Supreme Court has ordered to transfer all cases connected to the 2017 rape case of a minor girl in Unnao to a Delhi Court. The intervention of the Apex court means that it has no faith in the UP government, that it will conduct a fair trial to deliver justice to the victim girl.  It also means that the whole state machinery right from the police up to judiciary cannot be trusted as it has become evident that they are working hand in glove with the politicians to shield the accused who happens to be a four time BJP legislature from Unnao.  For two long years the victim and her family are running pillar to post to get justice. It is deplorable that the state government  is victimizing the girl and its family just to shield one of its parties legislators. The whole Unnao episode and the steep rise in crime rates   in UP, has exposed the deteriorating law and order under Chief Minister Yogi.  It also exposes the harsh reality prevalent in our country that there are two sets of law, one for the rich, powerful, influential, and one for the poor and marginalised. The influential ones are given greater leeway to take law in their hands, bend or break the rules of law, while the poor ones are left to face harsher consequence as is the case of the girl in Unnao. Equality before the law seems to be limited to the law books only. It also exposes the slow movement of wheels of justice system in our country, which is crying for reformation and speedy trials. Justice delayed itself is tantamount of doing injustice to the seeker of justice. In Unnao case, had speedy trial been conducted then maybe the victim would have not lost her family members. She would not have gone through all the ordeal and trauma that she has undergone now.  Instead of showing empathy towards the victim the entire state machinery and the members from the ruling party have taken a partisan view. They talk about gender equality and gender justice. What is this then? Samir Khan  Mapusa

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