One of the main election pitches of Prime minister Narendra Modi even as he stormed into power was that the earlier Prime minister Manmohan Singh was silent on many issues. The criticism of MMS was totally justified, as people looked up to the prime minister in many times when there is social unrest, economic uncertainties to name a few. This silence irked many people and was instrumental in the beating which Congress got in 2014. Times have changed since then, we now have a Prime Minister who is earning plaudits for communicating and reaching out to people through social media and his much famed Mann ki Baat.
While he has earned plaudits for his communication ability, Modi is now in the firing line for his silence on many of the incidents which threaten to strain the social fabric of India. Incidents of violence wrt cow meat have reached epic proportions where the perpetrators have not been brought to the books while the victims of such violence, most likely Dalits & Muslims have not been re-assured of their security. Civil society, activists, concerned citizens, Dalits & Muslims all are waiting with a baited breath if the Prime Minister would speak up and condemn the violence that is spreading like fire in the name of protection of cow. The CNN recently covered a news on how cow vigilantism and the consequential violence is spreading in India much to the embarrassment of our country.
Difference between the silence
The silence exhibited by Narendra Modi though is different from that of MMS. MMS was generally non-communicative to the public, he held very few press conferences. People rightly condemned the lack of communication with a thumping defeat. However, Mr. Modi, on the other hand, is very media friendly and more so in the case of social media presence. It is because of this reason that his silence on serious issues like cow vigilantism is strange and unacceptable, despite many Indian citizens injured adding to the embarrassing international coverage. Mr Modi’s silence on cow vigilantism which continues to shock majority of India is reminiscent of the pre-2014 Manmohan Singh.
The Logical Indian appeals to the Prime Minister to put the doubts and uncertainties to rest by condemning the violence which is being perpetrated in the name of cow and reinforce the faith of rule of law & secularism in the minds of its citizens. We urge the Prime Minister to reach out through social media and the press and request the state governments to take stern action against people who take the law into their own hands. Silence on this important issue would mean history will judge you on the same lines of Dr Manmohan Singh.
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.