Random Thoughts
D Dhanuraj
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As I waited for my flight from Mumbai to Kochi, I witnessed early morning chaos at the airport. Airline companies were competing with each other to hustle their passengers through the busy security checking corridors, so that they can be on time for flight operations. I was bemused by the fact that they were doing this at the cost of proper security surveillance. I amusedly watched a heated argument between a passenger who had missed his flight and the airline staff. I couldn't figure out whose mistake it was. I guess we all are responsible for unaccountability in governance.

My flight was on time and I landed in Kochi at 8.45 am. I decided to take an AC bus from the airport; one that I missed last time. Luckily, it was on the bay. I noticed a signboard showing the arrival and departure timings of KSRTC buses. We left the airport with just a few passengers, but by the time it touched the NH, the bus was fully packed; just like any other local private bus.

A lady wearing a purdah came and sat next to me. This was surprising, and I noticed that there were no signs pointing to reserved seats. People were seated randomly. This was a beautiful sight of upward mobility. All reservation was thrown from the windows (sorry, here the windows are closed, but its opaqueness gives way to transparency). As I looked around, I saw people from all walks of life boarding the bus. It seemed more like a capitalist rendezvous than a socialist one. Or were they socialising socialism on the board? Whatever it may be, this was a good sign for Kerala.

I wondered what would happen if there were more AC buses on the roads. Would it lead to market competition? No, unless the sector opened up for other players as well. A private bus owner recently told me that they couldn't have additional Volvo buses, as they cost more than Rs 80 lakh each. But what if we opened up the sector? More private players in the field would definitely scale down the price of these vehicles.

In addition, this will also improve the public transport system in the city. One thing is clear: Malayalees are not reluctant to spend money if they are given a better option. I am confused now. Why then is price hike an issue in Kerala? We have messy systems everywhere; be it at the Mumbai airport or on the streets of Kochi. Yes, we are not accountable to governance.

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