Make cities bicycle-friendly
Sustainable transport should be an indispensable part of any city. Dario Hidalgo, the renowned transport planner from the Colombian city of Bogota (who also inspired the building of bus rapid transport system in New York, China, Brazil and Ahmedabad) says, “A successful city is one where people feel encouraged to walk or go biking”. Cities aspiring to become “smart” should earnestly aim to reduce their carbon footprint from vehicular emissions by taking measures like bringing Bharat VI fuel standards, strengthening public transport, car-pooling, cycling(with dedicated tracks), etc, all of which can save fuel and cut down emissions. Also, vehicles have to be fitted with cleaning mechanisms like particulate traps and urea-SCR (selective catalytic reduction) de-NOx systems for further reducing the sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions. The illustrious Gandhian economist, JC Kumarappa, once sought to enter the Rashtrapati Bhavan in a bullock cart for a Planning Commission meeting. But he was stopped at the gates citing reasons of security and safety. He subsequently raised the issue with Nehru in a discussion and said “a bullock cart driver in a democracy is as much a citizen as the Prime Minister and it is an insult to deny him the use of a public road … when there are two persons in a public place and the presence of one is likely to be a menace to the other, commonsense would lead to restraining the source of danger rather than the possible victim…under such circumstances, instead, put up notices saying “motor cars and lorries not allowed”. Today, a similar call is being given by cyclists and pedestrians. Hope the government heeds these concerns.
CV Krishna Manoj, Hyderabad
Salman Khan verdict
Apropos of the editorial “Teflon Salman” (FE, July 26), the two back-to-back acquittals of Salman Khan has shocked the conscience of every right-thinking Indian. It gives credence to the perception that Indian justice system is at the disposal of the rich and powerful. It proves that justice can be bought, delayed and influenced. While the cases of innocent Muslim, Dalits and other marginalised sections continue to linger forever, a rich-Bollywood star can easily buy his way to freedom. It also indicts the profession of law which can no longer be regarded as a noble profession. It has turned into a money-making venture. Though it is the duty of a lawyer to provide best defence for her client, however, tinkering with investigation reports, presenting false evidences, harassing witnesses and indulging in court-room theatrics is akin to destroying the edifice of the criminal justice system. In this case, the defence easily managed to delay court hearings by employing procedural tactics and appealing to higher courts. This long delay helps in influencing witnesses and establishing new facts. There is a reason for which lawyers and judges wear a black robe. Establishing truth and providing justice is their duty, which they are willfully neglecting. Credible criminal investigation agencies and prosecution wings are missing in India. Investigative officers and evidences can be easily influenced through money and muscle power. Episodes like these calls for strict implementation of police and judicial reforms. Local investigation agencies must be insulated from the rich and powerful. The institution of district attorney must be strengthened and must be facilitated in supervising criminal investigations conducted by the police.
Gaurav Singhal, Rewari (Haryana)