Thursday, January 18, 2018
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tempo rickshaw


The Maghi Purnima bath passed off peacefully and the administration can pat itself on the back for having ensured that things this time did not go off the track. The weather also helped in a big way. At one stage the authorities were apprehensive that rain may once again spoil the show and add to their burden of escorting pilgrims to safer places and arranging food and shelter for them. The fear of  slippery roads, waterlogged spots, traffic jams were haunting not just the officials but also the public because  the general  impression was that in case anything amiss were to happen people may have to fend for themselves.

There was a rumour that a stampede had occurred at Phaphamau, Daraganj Railway stations and that some people had died too but it was not true.  Often such rumours lead to major catastrophes .That is why many people suspect that the rumours are deliberately floated by those who want to create confusion, disturbances and chaos. The Kalpvasis disbanded their camps though those having cars were asked to wait till the crowds cleared on roads. It was indeed a Mela of cars and two-wheelers on the roads with most people trying to move out of the city.

The taxis and tempos, realizing that their boom period was coming to a close, were gate-crashing through the crowds to make extra trips and extra money; and in the process  two tempos collided near Mayo Hall. A young man, sitting near the door, fell down , came under the tempo and was crushed to death. This once again exposed the utter failure of the traffic police to check speed and over-crowding of the auto’s. There was no sign of any tempo driver wearing a uniform. This was a slap on the face of those officials who had been bluffing the people since months that during the Kumbh the tempos would be running in the most disciplined and orderly manner. But how could this over-speeding or over- crowding be checked when the free-riders in uniform had surrendered their conscience to the tempo drivers who ,  without showing it though, had the upper hand over the traffic authorities because of the free rides with which they were obliging the lazy, inefficient, ‘suvidha-shulk’-hungry cops?

Black-marketing in conveyance fares was another glaringly black spot on the face of those who were  meant to assure that this would not happen. Even rickshaws were charging ten times more than their usual rate. And tempo-people,  especially those carrying only foreigners when available, were charging them nothing less than Rs500 for a distance that normally would fetch them Rs15. The local citizens suffered as they couldn’t afford to be bled mercilessly like this. But there was none around to control the fares.

Such undesirable acts were taking place unchecked in the city even in respect of other items. Prices of fruits and vegetables shot up. Even grocers were charging  at black-market rates for rice, wheat flour, pulses, sugar and so on. Life in the city was adversely affected. And people now hope that things will return to normal. But this return to normal will have its unpleasant side too. So far we have been getting , in some areas at least, electricity for 24 hours(though it was a myth in many cases). But now, from March 1 the usual power cuts would be re-imposed; and if the indications given are true, then from March 1, be ready for compulsory power cut from 10am till 1pm. This will be the official duration. But if need be ‘local faults’ would be quoted to prolong the power cuts. In short, you may expect a terrible summer this year in case the mercury shoots up as mercilessly as it sunk to the lowest depth during the recent weeks.

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