Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: India

Unjust demolitions

Many buildings in Ulhasnagar and Delhi are being demolished as they were illegally built. In some of these buildings people were living for 25 years. Builders and civic officials were responsible for their constructions. They got money. People who bought are suffering. Innocent people are punished. The buyers had paid stamp duty and registration charges. They have paid property tax. Vilasrao Deshmukh, chief minister of Maharashtra, says he is helpless as High Court has ordered it. The Government of Maharashtra can bring out an ordinance and regularise these. This is not done. The Government of India wants to amend the constitution to allow for reservations in private educational institutions. It is not doing anything for the people of Delhi.

Guilty must be punished. Builders and civic officials are guilty. The people who bought the flats must get back their money. Property tax shall be refunded to them. After that the buildings may be demolished.

Bombay High Court, while being strict on Ulhasnagar demolitions, has allowed illegal hutments in Matheran and Mahabaleshwar to stay. This defies logic.

Midnight masses

Christians have traditionally had midnight masses for Christmas, New Year and Easter. Some years back the Supreme Court of India banned use of loudspeakers in open spaces between 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. The Central Government passed a law permitting such use on 15 days in a year to be decided by State Governments. When the Supreme Court judgment came many churches held those masses at 8.30 p.m. of the previous day. Christians should fight for their right for midnight masses. Those 15 days can be increased to 18 days. Or midnight masses can be held within churches with use of loudspeakers.

Ministers without portfolios

Natwar Singh is minister without portfolio. Manmohan Singh holds External Affairs Portfolio. Previously too there were ministers without portfolios at certain times. Mamata Banerjee was minister without portfolio for some time. Dinesh Singh and Jaffer Sharief were ministers without portfolios when they did not resign. At the time of Nehru there were some ministers without portfolios.

It is meaningless to have ministers without portfolios. They do not do any work as ministers and are entitled to benefits due to ministers. Most of the times they are made ministers or allowed to continue as ministers due to political compulsions. This has to stop. Taxpayers’ money should not be wasted on them.

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