Month: October 2011

Firecrackers and Pollution

Firecrackers cause air pollution and noise pollution. When firecrackers burst day and night over a month the damage is great.

Firecrackers are meant to be burst during joyous occasions. They are burst during marriages, feasts, when countries win matches and during the opening ceremonies of sports events. Candidates who win elections to Parliament or Legislative Assembly burst firecrackers. The bursting is limited to a day. Once an MP who had won four times consecutively had contested for the fifth time and had bought firecrackers in advance taking his victory for granted before the counting of votes. He lost that election. During Diwali season bursting is over a month. People are unable to sleep. Air pollution leads to coughing and causes asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. It can destroy forests. It affects animals. Noise pollution affects health and work performance. Lack of sleep affects health. How much damage is caused by the solids released into atmosphere is not known. Some of them may be carried outside India. Children and old people are more affected by pollution. For sick infants continuous burst of firecrackers can make a difference between life and death.

The law bans bursting of firecrackers after 10 p.m. but it is not much enforced. Bursting of firecrackers for Diwali should not be for more than 24 hours. Parents have a role to play. There are various types of firecrackers. Sparklers and firecrackers that do not make much noise are to be used.

Defence purchases

India is a nuclear power and wants to be a permanent member of UN Security Council yet imports warplanes, warships, arms and ammunition.

As per one report there is need of Armoured Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS). Israel Military Industries which used to supply that ammunition is blacklisted and a Russian company has quoted a price that is 400% higher. This is like Commonwealth Games scam where projects were not completed on time and goods were brought at high prices citing urgency. It is not clear whether Israel and Russia are the only countries with that ammunition. What is the urgency? India is not going to war with any country. If any country attacks India we can hit them with missiles and drop nuclear bombs on that country.

As per another report India has ordered 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters from Russia. The delivery has to be spread over three years and there has been a delay. Previously there has been delay and cost escalation in case of naval ship Admiral Gorshkov.

India should have been self-sufficient in all respects of defence. USA, UK, Russia and France sell weapons. In India many years and thousands of crores of rupees were spent on developing main battle tank and light combat aircraft. There was talk of allowing private sector to manufacture what is required for defence but nothing seems to have happened. May be imports are a lucrative way to get bribes, commissions and kickbacks. Foreign companies may be allowed to manufacture warplanes, warships, arms and ammunition in India and India should buy only what is made in India.

CAG and 2G

There is an attempt to discredit CAG Vinod Rai and question his credibility. CAG had put the loss due to 2G scam at 1,76,379 crore rupees. Some have got hold of a report of an official, R. P. Singh, Director General of Audit (Post & Telecommunications) who had put the loss at 2,645 crore rupees. R. P. Singh had corresponded with Department of Telecommunications. On 23/10/2011 CAG had commented on the file “I wish we had not written to DoT.” Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta had commented “Please convey CAG’s observations to DG (Singh). Also please reiterate that he is not to write to Secretary DoT on this or any other issue for the present.”

Congress has problem with leakage of CAG report but has no problems when leakages suit it. Being selective does not help. When the 2G scam became public TV channels had put the loss at 60,000 crores rupees. CBI’s estimate of loss is around 30,000 crore rupees. CBI is controlled by government. If Supreme Court had not monitored the case CBI would have said there was no loss as Kapil Sibal had said.

CAG is a constitutional authority. He is not a servant of the government of the day. If he finds any subordinate not doing his job properly he has the right to overrule him. In judiciary there are various courts but the decision of the Supreme Court is final. It can overrule High Court or other courts. High Court can overrule Sessions Court. In Supreme Court judges on the same bench disagree and judgments are by majority. There is nothing strange about CAG overruling DG.