According to the bills at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru, three union ministers from Karnataka spend Rs 3 to 4 lakh every month on food and coffee.
According to Bangalore Mirror, the officials of the protocol department at the KIA have now been put under the scanner for fabricating the food and beverage bills raised in the name of VIPs, those who pass through the airport.
Union law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, minister for chemicals and fertilisers Ananth Kumar, and minister of state for food and civil aviation GM Siddeshwara have been fallen prey to this scam made by the protocol department. It was Sadananda Gowda, who first raised the issue and directed the state government to look into the matter.
Now the ministers are considering it is better to pay the food and beverages bill at the airport from their own pockets. For the last 10 months, lakhs of rupees have been inflated as false bills. One of the sources explained Bangalore Mirror, “The job of the state government’s protocol personnel deployed at KIA is to usher in the state guests who land at or exit from KIA. There are 14 protocol officials led by a deputy secretary and two under-secretaries. These officials extend hospitality on behalf of the state and this includes serving coffee/snacks to VIPs in the lounge. For several years, the bills raised on food and beverages was in the Rs 35,000-40,000 range per month. But in the last few months, the bills have been in the range of Rs 3-4 lakh per month.”
This has happened in spite of the prices of the beverage remain unchanged and so is consumption of the VIPs.
Investigations conducted by the audit officials suggest that it has been purposely fabricated and they are suspecting a retired under-secretary rank officer behind this scam.
According to a report by the audit team, a minister had consumed five coffees, six glasses of juice, several sandwiches and six bottles of water at the same time, which is almost impossible. The ministers rarely get any time to spend in airports, most of the time they hurriedly board flights at the last moment. Rarely they get something from the airport, like a cup of tea or coffee, but they don’t spend luxuriously on grand meals at airports.
Not just ministers, inflated bills have been raised in the names of a few Supreme Court judges, chief ministers of other states, governors of other states and foreign dignitaries.
The Logical Indian urges the state government to immediately look into the matter and take serious actions as this is a matter of a lot of money. False allegations like these tarnish the reputation of our central ministers, which is definitely embarrassing for them.
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.