Impose Liquor Ban Strictly
The Calangute village panchayat has issued a notice banning consumption of alcohol on the beach, roads and public places in its jurisdiction. Individuals who violate the ban will be fined Rs 2,000 while the fine for groups will be Rs 10,000. Earlier, the state government too had banned drinking on beaches and public places. I don’t think anybody is really serious about banning consumption of alcohol on beaches. Along the Calangute promenade, at the very entrance of the popular beach, liquor shops are doing a roaring business. Are we to assume that the hordes of tourists from neighbouring states, who throng these shops, are purchasing mineral water?
ROBERT CASTELLINO, CALANGUTE
EVERY political party has a troubleshooter–the man Friday who one can go to in times of distress. The beauty of the troubleshooter lies in the fact that the person has multiple answers to a question and more than one solution to a problem. Arun Jaitley was more than a troubleshooter for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Suave, polished, articulate, the man had a sharp brain and loads of intellect. A top lawyer, Jaitley’s training in law was an asset for his public life later on. Forty five years is a long journey for a politico but the man, during all these years, contributed his own mite in developing the BJP into a party of substance. Jaitley filled the BJP’s dilemma of lacking a great speaker and communicator who could put across his views with equal panache in both English and Hindi. Finance, law, defence, information and broadcasting are a few important ministries in a long list of departments held by the man who had the eyes and ears of his leaders—from Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lal Krishna Advani to Narendra Modi. Advani was his “mentor”; Vajpayee was more of an inspiration. Though he never won a Lok Sabha election, he was indeed the “voice of the BJP” in the Upper House (Rajya Sabha). He could have won his maiden Lok Sabha election, but poor choice of seat and poorer strategy ensured he lost to Captain Amarinder Singh in 2014 from Amritsar. But the man was at his best as an Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha when he used to go hammer and tongs at the Congress party’s “corruption”. The choice of Jaitley as Finance Minister was taken with a pinch of salt by his adversaries. Many Modi loyalists, who had turned Jaitley baiters as they could not digest the fact that the man could occupy the finance ministry which they considered their birth right, turned hostile to Modi. Political giant and towering intellectual – words used by Modi to describe Jaitley aptly sums up the life and time of Jaitley.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
Amazon Fires a grave concern
IT is greatly shocking to read reports about the raging fire that started engulfing the Amazon rainforest in the South American continent. The Amazon is often referred to as the ‘lungs of the planet’ and it is one of the richest areas of biodiversity on the planet and covers 2.12 million square miles. Also, it is often touted as one of the planet’s biggest oxygen suppliers as well as a key mechanism to absorb carbon dioxide and thereby slow the effects of climate change. The world’s forests suck up 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon annually, with the Amazon alone absorbing about a quarter of that. It is equally disturbing to learn that the blazes are not accidental or natural though in dry years fires can be common. But it is alleged that during the run-up to the recent election, a far-right populist, Jair Bolsonaro who later became the President of Brazil promised to weaken the Amazon’s environmental protections, which have been effective at reducing deforestation for two decades, and open up the rainforest to economic development. So, farmers emboldened by Jair Bolsonaro, have been setting on illegal blazes to clear forest for cattle and crops. The bug of greed concomitant with this modern era, to milk the earth to dry has bitten Jair Bolsonaro too. Such attitude is short-sighted and detrimental to the environment. Bolsonaro’s cynical attitude to the environment makes it impossible for finding a remedy. The Amazon rainforest does, in some sense, belong to Brazilians, and the indigenous people who live there. But as a store of carbon, it is fundamental to the survival of every person. If destroyed or degraded, the Amazon, as a system, is simply beyond humanity’s ability to get back. It will take million years to replenish the system though not the lost eco system. So, it is easier for us to destroy the eco system but its restoration is never possible. All the countries must unite to fight the Amazon blazes and prevail upon Brazil government to urgently take remedial measures to protect the Amazonia.
T K NANDANAN, KOCHI