Month: May 2010

Mangalore air crash

On 22/5/2010 at 6.03 a.m. Air India Express Boeing 737-800 plane crashed at Mangalore Airport. It crossed the table top runway and spill over area of 90 metres and fell below. Of the 166 people on board, 158 died.
In August 1981 there was a similar air crash. That day it was raining and visibility was poor. A Boeing 737 came off the runway and fell down. It was prevented from going further down by a boulder. Nobody died. Among the survivors was Veerappa Moily, then a minister in Karnataka Government, now India’s law minister. That runway was different. The damaged plane became a tourist site till it was removed.
Death is a tragedy. More so when the dead body can not be identified and family members have to wait for a week or more to get DNA results. If the seat numbers had been noted when the bodies were removed it could have spared some trouble.
What went wrong? Visibility was 6 km. There was no rain. As per one report there was drizzle. The plane overshot the touchdown zone. Was it pilot’s mistake? Was Instrument Landing System at fault? Could approach radar have averted the tragedy? If the spill over area had been 120 metres would it have made a difference? What happened to the black box? We need to know the answers.
Nine people missed the flight or did not board the flight and survived.
Some had warned against the table top runway when airport expansion was undertaken. Nandikuru was proposed as a site for airport. That was rejected.
There is need to develop a system to recognise bodies when they are charred beyond recognition. That will lessen the agony of family members who have to wait for a long time to identify the body.
Link to e-book King – a novel:
Link to e-book Pope – a novel:

Defence by MPs of their demands

MPs have come out with defence of their demands for increase in salary and benefits.
In my previous article I had proposed that salaries of MPs be made Rs.86,000/- p.m. and their allowances and benefits be abolished and I stick to that.
There are two types of MPs: Lok Sabha MPs and Rajya Sabha MPs. Some reasons given for increase in salary and benefits do not apply to Rajya Sabha MPs.
Let us examine the reasons given by MPs.

1) MPs are engaged in full-time constituency and parliamentary work.
On most occasions the attendance rate in Parliament is around 10% or less. Instead of debate and discussions, we find MPs engaged in disruptions and walk outs. Many bills are passed without discussions and during commotions.

2) Often MPs have no other source of income.
MPs fight elections. For that they spend money. Legal limit is 25 lakh rupees. How do MPs get money to fight elections? How many MPs have no other source of income? What were they doing before they became MPs? What do they do when they lose elections?

3) MPs of other countries get more.
In the currency of the country the amount is not much. In rupee terms what an American Congressman gets may be 77.50 lakhs per year but in his country it is 1.55 lakh dollars per year. In rupee terms what a British MP gets may be 44.39 lakhs per year but in his country it is 52,000 pounds per year. Similar is the case with MPs of Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. An Indian MP who gets Rs.1.92 lakhs per year is better paid in local currency than those MPs.

4) In India a parliamentary constituency has around 16 lakh voters. In Europe it is around 30,000 voters.
In India there are state governments and legislative assemblies. European countries mostly do not have legislative assemblies.

5) Prices have gone up during the last six years.
What have the MPs done to prevent price rise? In demanding increase in salary and benefits all MPs are united. Where is the unity against price rise? Prices have almost doubled. MPs want five times of what they are getting now. Where is the proportion?
The value of rupee has gone down nationally and internationally. Why have the MPs remained silent when RBI has consistently devalued rupee to favour vested interests? RBI continues to devalue rupee.

6) MPs get many visitors, attend many functions
If the salary is Rs.86,000/- as I have suggested this is taken care of.

7) Need of assistant
MPs are given Rs.20,000/- as constituency allowance and they want it increased to Rs.60,000/- to pay an assistant and cover office expenses. MPs should use laptops. No need to hire a secretary/assistant.

8) Comparison with others

One does not become government secretary or DGP overnight. To reach that position one has to have necessary qualifications and put many years of service. They have retirement age.
Clerks, peons and constables get annual increments. When they reach retirement age their salary will be much higher than someone who has joined in a similar capacity.
If MPs want equality they should see that others do not get what they do not get. If government secretaries and some others were exempt from paying toll that exemption should have been abolished instead of exempting MPs and MLAs from paying toll.
MPs get pension irrespective of the time one was an MP. This pension should be abolished.
Link to e-book King – a novel:
Link to e-book Pope – a novel:

Murders, not honour killings

Murder is murder whoever commits it for whatever reason. Murder does not become honour killing because murderers think a marriage was against the honour of family or community.
Many times people in media talk of honour killings. They persist even after they are told that they are murders.
One anchor once said that there is no law against honour killings. There are laws against murder, conspiracy to murder and abetment to murder. They are enough. There is no need to categorise some murders as honour killings and have separate law for them. There is death penalty for murder and no punishment is higher than that. It is a different matter that death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases and presidents do not reject mercy petitions.
People in media should call these murders what they are and stop referring to them as honour killings.
It is said that Law Ministry is considering bringing a law against honour killings. There is no need for such a law. Law Ministry should consider bringing a law that makes death penalty obligatory for every murder.
For years murderers of couples who fell in love and married escaped punishment due to lack of evidence and witnesses did not come forward. Now some have got death penalty and khap panchayats of Haryana want to change the law to ban marriage within clans or villages. They have got some political support. Some who are not known to be scientific minded went on to defend khap panchayats saying the marriages sought to be banned are scientifically and medically wrong.
It is a pity that Navin Jindal, Congress MP from Kurukshetra, agreed to be the post man of khap panchayats. His party did not agree with khap panchayats’ demands.
Link to e-book King – a novel:
Link to e-book Pope – a novel: