The CBI has filed a corruption case on 5 July and has raided the residences of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri and son Tejashwi Yadav, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister on 7 July, as reported by The Times Of India. The raids have been carried out for alleged irregularities in awarding tenders to two railway hotels to a private company when he was the Railways Minister between 2004-2009.
The CBI had begun its raids on 7:30 am on Friday morning and is simultaneously being carried out in twelve locations including that of Patna, Bhubaneshwar and Gurugram.
The CBI FIR copy that has been procured by ANI shows the list of the accused in this scam. It included the names of the former managing director of IRCTC, PK Goel, Sarla Gupta, wife of Yadav’s associate, Prem Chand Gupta, an ex-Union corporate affairs minister and Vijay Kochhar and his brother Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels Private Limited and proprietors of Hotel Chalukya. These names are in addendum to that of the RJD Chief and his family members.
ANI EXCLUSIVE: CBI FIR copy in Railway hotel tenders case, names Lalu Yadav, wife Rabri,son Tejaswi and others pic.twitter.com/hbLcGiKCuv
In a press meeting, CBI additional Director Rakesh Asthana said that some evidence point to the fact that Lalu Prasad was allegedly involved in acquiring a three acre land in Patna by rigging tenders to two private companies in Ranchi and Puri. “The allegation is that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched by which two hotels of the railways – located in Puri and Ranchi – were first transferred to IRCTC and for operations, management and upkeep given on a lease to the private Sujata Hotels Private Limited of Patna,” Asthana explained.
The three acre land in West Patna was transferred to the Sarla Gupta’s firm. She is a director at Delight Marketing, and her husband has a close association with the ex-CM of Bihar. The transfer was also done at a very low price as compared to the prevalent market prices.
The CBI reports also mention LARA Projects LLP as a primary accused in the case. The director and shareholders for LARA ( an acronym for Lalu-Rabri) Projects are Rabri Devi and her two sons. The company owns prime land in Danapur where Bihar’s “biggest shopping mall” worth Rs 500 crore is coming up.
This incident is not one off- the RJD Chief and his family have been in the news in the last month of alleged cases of corruption and scams. Almost in all the cases, the allegations have been treated as an offshoot of a political vendetta of the ruling party towards the opposition.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.