Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Chennai shopping fire: will the lessons be learnt?

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A prominent shop in Chennai recently caught fire and it is claimed that crores of property has been damaged. Thankfully, it was in the early hours of the day and hence there has been no reported life loss. The building is located one of the narrowest lines of T. Nagar, Chennai. There are a few more prominent shops on this narrow bylane which minus all the encroachments may have a 6 or 7 feet road. I have been on this by-lane many a times and believe me it is not worth to locate vegetable shops forget mega shopping centers.

On expected lines, the regional media has gone on a overdrive on how such a construction should not have been allowed on a narrow bylane blah, blah. These were the same channels which every 10th minute show an advertisement of one of these “illegally constructed” shops. The usual drama of demolition notices, court suits, protests by “poor” shopkeepers, stay on demolition, etc. will follow. Very soon all will be forgotten, the ads will be back; so will the discount hungry crowds and safety norms will be given a decent burial.

Fire safety norms in shopping complexes have to be drastically improved and the following have to be scrupulously followed:-
Each city should be divided into atleast 12 fire zones and each zone should have atleast 25 fire engines. The fire engines should be replaced/ upgraded atleast once in 5 years. The commercial complexes in and around each fire should bear the cost.
No building should be approved with more number of floors than the maximum floors existing fire engines can reach i.e. if the average reach of 10 fire engines is 12th floor, no construction should be allowed with more than 12 floors. If any builder wants to construct a building more than 12 floors, he has to at his cost improve the average floor reach.
No commercial construction should be allowed on roads which have less than 60 feet width. If any construction is allowed, the High Court should take suo-moto notice of the issue and dismiss all the concerned officials and politicians. The educational qualifications of the concerned officials should be rescinded.
Media should come out with a self-regulatory policy of not advertising malls, shopping centers and shops which are located in unsafe buildings.
People should not fall prey to the discounts offered by these shops and boycott them. There is no point in coming before the TV camera and cribbing about how unsafe the buildings were, when for ages we have shopped in the same places.

A death trap for pedestrians in Bangalore (video blog0

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Encroachment of Footpaths is a way of life in Bangalore thanks to the
laxity of the concerned authorities. More often than not the Pedestrian
risk their lifes and limbs to walk on the road. Here is an example of
the perfect death trap for pedestrians in Bangalore where neither they
have the footpath nor the road to walk.
This is the part of Indiranagar 100ft Road, Bangalore where the Metro
Rail work is going on. Vehicles are cramped for space and it is only
but essential that the footpath is kept clear. However, the concerned
authorities as usual are least both about the Pedestrians. The entire
stretch of footpath has been encroached in some way or the other
especially you will see between the 38th Second and 50 Second of this
video that a builder has dumped all this construction material on the
footpath leaving no space at all for the pedestrian to walk on the
footpath. Don’t know if the concerned authorities have seen this or
What will happen, at best, a pedestrian may get run over by a vehicle.
A few vehicles will get burnt and compensation will be paid to family
of the victim. Life will be back to normal in a couple of days but the
spirit of footpath encroachment should carry on proudly

Monday, 1 September 2008

Will we able to tell our grandchildren? 9an expression of hope)

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Will we be able to tell our grandchildren one day?
Life on Earth was once besieged by global warming
Melting glaciers; rising rivers; climate changes were order of the day
Foreseeing doomsday, greenery became passion of every earthling
We recovered the greenery and kept the poachers at bay
Dear grandchildren, ensure that the spirit keeps glowing

Will we be able to tell ……………
Those were the days when corruption crippled the country
Bribes to get our rights, jobs even corpses cremated
Wincing and squirming, the educated complied day after day
Until their weird cowardice was self-defeated
With knowledge and resolve, they dismantled this organised treachery
Dear grandchild, ensure that the demon is always kept at bay

Will we be able to tell…?
Our forefathers fought against slavery
We fought amongst ourselves for language, caste and religion
Water, jobs, God all became tools of divisive conspiracy
Scheming godmen and cunning leaders exploited public emotion
Fed up of feuding against his kin, the Indian gave up this butchery
We tonsured the conspirators and learned to live as a nation
Dear grandchild, ensure that oneness is glowing ever hour and day

Will our grandchildren inhabit a world full of woes?
Will we mend ourselves or continue with our ways?
We can begin the change today
To tell stories of hope to our grandchildren everyday

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Banglaore, Karnataka, India