EMISSIONS: Switching over to electric cars is not as great a solution as we may think. This is because the batteries of electric cars are highly polluted. Picture shows electric cars dumped as cost of a new battery is higher than that of buying a new car!
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the warning by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns us that even Goa could witness forest fires, besides the flooding the state has been witnessing this monsoon too and worse than ever before. For a Saturday following the week when it was revealed that 40% of Members of Parliament and 172 MLAs from various states had criminal cases pending against them. For a Saturday following the week when the Supreme Court directed the Central and State governments to clean up their politics. For a Saturday following the week when the Lok Sabha passed a bill by 386 votes to let individual states decide which community should be included as other backward classes. For a Saturday following the week when the Congress High Command appointed PC Chidambaram, former finance and commerce minister, to be the Principal Observer for the Goa Assembly elections coming up in February 2022.
AND a few stray thoughts when the Inter-Governmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) warned that Mormugao Port is likely to go 2.06 feet underwater by the end of the century. According to the latest IPCC report, 12 coastal cities in India may go under water by as much as three feet. All this is the result of climatic changes happening rapidly now and creating havoc across the world. Many countries in Europe including the UK have been experiencing extreme flooding due to very heavy rains. To the extent that cars and trucks have gone underwater.
Even more disturbing is the very sharp increase in temperatures in parts of United States and Canada. Countries considered to be temperate countries are now witnessing high temperatures above 60 degree Fahrenheit, something which even India has not yet experienced. A slew of videos on social media depict the raging fires in Greece and Turkey and they are threatening to destroy world famous and protected heritage architecture, especially in Athens where the first Olympics were held.
Forest fires are also raging in South Africa. The IPCC has asked all countries including the state of Goa to prepare for the consequences of climate change. The temperature in Goa is expected to rise by over two degree Celsius in less than 15 years. Already temperatures across the world are going up by 1.5 degree Celsius every year. The entire planet earth seems to be facing a major crises because of the idiotic greed of the human race.
One of the principle reasons for the dramatic changes in climate across the globe is the mass cutting down of forests and their trees which harbour water reservoirs and keep the climate cool. We in Goa too are experiencing the effects of the large scale slaughter of trees, but are learning no lessons from this. Thousands of primary forest trees have been cut down for the construction of Mopa Airport. Lakhs of trees have been cut down for double-tracking the South Western Railway, and expansion of National Highways to enable transportation of the all the coal imported by Gautam Advani, through Mormugao port.
Goa’s Power Minister Nilesh Cabral, who has gleefully doubled power rates after his power debate with Delhi’s Power Minister Satyendra Jain, has been on a spree of destroying thousands of trees to set up a 400 megawatt transmitter in the middle of Mollem wildlife sanctuary. He will be remembered forever for this butchery of oxygen, water and life-giving trees on mass scale.
The other major pollution contribution is from the increasing number of private vehicles on Goa’s roads. Goa has more than 12 lakh registered vehicles as on 2019, which must have gone up to over 15 lakhs by now. Because of poor and public-unfriendly transport system every adult member of a Goan family have invested in two-wheelers.
The bold and beautiful and rich and powerful and those who have re-located in Goa have multiple vehicles. It is emissions from these vehicles that are contributing to Goa’s deteriorating climate change. Soon even the air in Goa won’t be worth breathing for it will like the steaming, stinking air of Mumbai or Delhi or Bengaluru or Chennai.
FRIDGES ALSO POLLUTING
REFRIGERATORS release ozone depleting chemicals which reduce oxygen levels in the atmosphere. Goa with its large tourism industry has probably several lakh worth refrigerators. As far back as 1995, the International Conference on Climate Change had warned that we should drastically reduce our toxic emissions courtesy our needless mod con technologies of increasing comfort.
All those who participated paid lip service and very few fulfilled their pledges to stop polluting planet earth. In Goa there have been repeated warnings from the NIO about rise in the sea levels and beach erosions. Unfortunately, like the rest of the world we have also ignored warnings and are started reaping the punishments. It has been suggested that a shift from petrol and diesel vehicles to electrical vehicles will reduce carbon emissions.
Derick Almeida, former editor of The Goan, pointed out that the remedy may be worse than the disease. Derick had posted an image of thousands of electric cars dumped in Germany because there is no full proof method for disposing off the batteries safely. It has been estimated that Goa alone will require Rs485 crore over the next decade to counter the effects of climatic changes.
CRIMINAL MLAS, MPS
AND a few stray thoughts on the startling revelation that there are as many as 172 MLAs who are facing criminal charges. This includes nine MLAs from Goa of whom six face serious criminal charges. The MLAs who face serious charges include Babush Monserrate, Mickey Pacheco, Churchill Alemao, Mauvin Godinho, Dayanand Narvekar and former chief minister Digambar Kamat along with also former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane in mining cases.
Among the MLAs sentenced to jail is Gopal Kanda, who is serving a sentence for rape in Haryana, where he was a minister. Even a chief minister of Bihar and Tamil Nadu have served sentences in jail. Kanda was accused of molesting an air-hostess employed by his airline. The worst part of these crimes by our elected representative is that several states have been dropping cases against MPs and MLAs.
There have been attempts in Uttar Pradesh for instance, to withdraw 76 cases, including those pertaining to the e Muzzaffarnagar riot cases, where the Muslim community was the targeted. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttarkhand have also moved the courts to withdraw cases against MLAs and MPs. The Supreme Court referred to its own judgement setting aside the Kerala government decision to withdraw cases against left party MLAs for vandalism in the assembly house.
The Supreme Court has ruled that states will require the permission of their respective High Courts to drop cases against MPs and MLAs. The direction was issued by a Bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana. This was in reaction to a report which highlighted the trend of state governments attempting to misuse Section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code to withdraw even serious cases against ruling party legislators.
Ironically, even as the Supreme Court has warned political parties to behave themselves, there was violence in the well of Parliament with MPs going on a spree of boorish violence. Indeed, a video of the violent behaviour of the MPs has gone viral. The making of the video itself is an offense as besides the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV channels, nobody can take photographs or videos in Parliament.
The Supreme Court has gone to the extent of fining seven political parties including the BJP, Congress, JDU, LJP, CPM, CPI and NCP between Rs1 to Rs5 lakh for violating orders directing them to bring to the notice of the Election Commission the criminal cases pending against candidates contesting elections.
WINNING FROM JAIL
THERE are many cases of MPs and MLAs contesting and winning cases while serving sentence in jail, while their appeals are pending in the higher courts. On Tuesday, Aug 9, 2021 the SC asked political parties to clean up their act as the public was losing faith in Constitutional democracy.
In a 71-page judgement holding most political parties guilty of contempt for breaching SC rules mandating publicising the criminal records of candidates contesting Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary polls. “The nation continues to wait and is losing patience. Cleansing the polluted stream of politics is obviously not one of the immediate concerns of the Parliamentary and Legislative branches of the government.” ‘
STATES TO CHOSE OBCs
AND a few stray thoughts on Parliament passing the law to permit State governments to draw up their own list of groups to be included in the Other Backward Category. This has become a major bone of contention between the SC and states as the former has turned down the demand of Maharashtra to include the Maratha people in Other Backward Classes category. Similarly, there has been a demand from the high caste Jats, equivalent to Kshatriyas in several northern states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
In fact, there have been violent agitations by the Jats, who have stopped the movement of trains all over north India. In Goa it is the Bhandari Samaj people, who are economically and socially very forward, who are now demanding that they should be included in the list of Other Backward Classes. The reason why the most powerful economically and social groups in the country want to be treated as backward classes is the fact that OBCs get preference for government jobs and admission to professional colleges.
Many of these communities like Marathas and Jats are engaged in agriculture. Unfortunately, due to large scale mechanisation in farming, there is unemployment in the farming sector, the demand for labour has dropped drastically. So much so there are no jobs for generation next in these communities.
In any case many of the younger Marathas and Jats, not to mention the Bhandari Samaj people in Goa, do not want to do farming or other occupations like the trading that their ancestors used to do. The upper castes, ironically, want to become lower castes, only to get their share of government jobs and admission to professional colleges.
The Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra introduced a bill reserving 12% seats in education and 13% in government jobs. Unfortunately, this was struck down by the SC as the total of reservations for schedule tribes and schedule caste and OBCs exceeded the SC mandated 50%. There has been a revolt against the SC verdict in many states of the country. Particularly in states which will be going to the polls in the near future such as Goa where assembly election will be held in February 2022.
The original list of other backward class was drawn up 30 years ago when the cap of reservations not exceeding 50% was imposed. Many states like Tamil Nadu have ignored the directive and in fact in Tamil Nadu over 95% of the seats are reserved for ST, SC and OBC. The reservations are not only for education and jobs in government but also for contesting elections. An equal quota of the seats for Parliament and Assembly election have to be reserved for the backward classes.
Goa has still not implemented the reservation of schedule tribes, estimated to be 12% of the population. The scheduled tribes will have to be given 12% of the seats in the 2022 elections. The Lok Sabha has passed a bill permitting states to make up their own OBC bill to overcome objections from Supreme Court for exceeding the reservation quota of 50%. So now all the Marathas and Jats and Patels and Gurjars and Bhandaris can expect to be included in the list of other backward classes to get their share of government jobs and admission to educational institutions. Subject however to the SC not striking down the act permitting states to drop their own OBC list passed by the Lok Sabha.
Several Opposition parties including the Congress, DMK, Shiv Sena, Trinamol Congress and NCP are amongst the parties demanding the removal of the upper limit of 50% for reservations directed by the SC. Obviously, all parties want to keep the most and biggest groups in their states happy as they are major vote banks.
In Tamil Nadu even if you get 100% in Std 12 and even in physical exams, you cannot get admission, as no seats are available for the high castes. Similarly, in Goa too the Saraswat Brahmin may start demanding OBC status
CHIDDU NEW OBSERVER
AND a last stray thought on the Congress High Command appointing PC Chidambaram as Principal Observer for the selection of candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections. This is a message to Luizinho Faleiro not to sabotage the working of the Congress.
It may be recalled that following the 2017 elections, Faleiro in collusion with Digvijay Singh, sabotaged the chances of the Congress forming the government. In 2017 the Congress had won the largest number of 17 seats and could have formed the government with Goa Forward. But Lulizinho Faleiro persuaded the then High Command Observer Digvijay Singh not to nominate Digambar Kamat for chief minister as demanded by the Goa Forward.
Unlike Digvijay Singh, Chidambaram is a very senior Congress leader and will not take sides. PC can be expected to ensure that the selection of candidates is purely on the win-ability factor. The appointment of PC Chidambaram means that Girish Chodankar will continue to be a president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee. The decision comes just in time as the Luizinho faction has allegedly started circulating an audio/video accusing Digambar Kamat and Girish Chodankar of killing the party by taking in outsiders like Elvis Gomes.