Random Thoughts
D Dhanuraj
Download as PDF
Print this Page
Send to Email
Post a Comment
 


Several developments at the local and regional levels caught my attention last month. I start with a disclaimer: My observations are satirical in nature, but can arouse your thoughts.

Mobility and transportation

I travelled to Chennai last week and when I tried to book return tickets to Kochi, there weren't any. To my astonishment, even tatkal bookings on trains were close to 100! I honestly don't know who buys a tatkal ticket when the waiting list is close to 100. The Indian Railways is as strange as always. I then decided to book a flight, and, to my utter shock, I realised at the airport that my ticket was in the over-booked category. To my knowledge, there was no intimation from the airlines that my ticket was subject to the availability of other passengers. Thus, a 90-minute flight turned out to be a five-hour journey via Bengaluru. I meanwhile frantically hunted for bus tickets. Again, there were no seats available. There are three regular trains and five regular flights to Kochi from Chennai every day. But it's always the same: Over booking and waiting lists.

It's quite surprising that adequate capacity in transportation is not offered, even during festival seasons. The upwardly mobile middle class of India spends more money travelling these days. Unfortunately we don't have survey companies that understand traffic demands and propose requirements of integrated mobility at the regional level. In fact, most state governments do not issue permits to private players to manage bus fleets across the states. The situation is even worse when you travel by contract carriages (the escape route taken by private bus owners to avoid legal issues and manage transport between two states). They are stopped at check posts (entry points) and forced to wait for several hours to cross state borders. At times it seems that bus travel from Bonn to Paris is easier than from Bengaluru or Chennai to Kochi. What we need is integrated mobility plans at the regional level to connect between important destinations of neighbouring states and, thus, open up the market for more flights, trains and buses.

Lottery and Alcohol

Kerala is known for 100 per cent literacy and comparable health and educational indices. In recent times, the state has become notorious for alcohol consumption and lottery. On a national festival like Onam, the State Beverages Corporation made Rs 30 crore as turnover. Is there any other business in Kerala that clocks such a turnover in a day? Same is the case with the lottery market as well. These are worrisome issues for a state like Kerala.

I don't agree with the stand taken by the Government in these cases. In the case of alcohol trade, the state-managed corporation is the beneficiary and no one else. Why can't they open it to private players also, so that consumers get the best quality? If the government thinks that people of the state are perishing because of alcohol consumption, they should stop selling it, rather than preaching moral policing. They don't have any right to monopolise the trade. What Kerala needs is to open up the market and introduce the pub culture of Europe, so that there will be a moral rectitude about over consumption.

The very same State introduced lottery in the 80s to collect revenue from people for social initiatives. Kerala is one of the earliest states in India to start a State-run lottery business. Now, there is hue and cry about other state lotteries that are sold in Kerala. Why can't these lotteries find a market outside Kerala? This is because the market was created by Kerala state machinery two decades ago. People buying lottery tickets are neither fools nor uneducated. They think this is the easiest way to riches.

I see conflicting views by the government. On one hand, they sell alcohol and lottery while on the other they are not ready to open up the market and share the revenue with others, and, more importantly take a stand on moral policing. What the government should do is issue public shares (IPOs) to profit-making companies and make them more socialised, in accordance with their views.

MindTEXT
Advanced Search
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
 
   
  0 Comment          
No comments found on this topic!
 
div  
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © MindTEXT