UK: A difficult choice?

Linekar or Gandhi ?
Should an Indian peace activist or a local football legend be honoured with a statue in Leicester?

The city of Leicester is considering whom to honour with a commemorative statue. Two individuals, both of whom could be said to have touched many people’s lives, albeit in very different ways, are being pitted against each other.

As the Independent puts it, “one was a footballing hero”, while “the other is the world’s most celebrated pacifist”. Yes, it’s Gary Lineker v Gandhi.

The Indian spiritual leader may have the higher profile but, as critics have pointed out (there are 211 signatures on a “No Gandhi statue” petition on the Downing Street website), his connection with Leicester is tenuous at best. Lineker, on the other hand, is a local lad who scored 95 goals for Leicester City.

Lee Ingram, a Leicester resident who set up the petition, says Gandhi “has no connection to English culture or the English, therefore a statue of him would be more suitably erected in India”.

The Independent helpfully provides a comparison of the two men. Under the heading “also synonymous with”, the entry for Gandhi says: “A UN general assembly on 15 June 2007 for his birth date to become the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’.” For Lineker, it reads: “The Walkers crisps advertising campaign.”

It brings to mind the row over whether and where there should be a statue of Nelson Mandela in London – although Teddy Sheringham was never mooted as an alternative.

Should there be a statue of Gandhi, or should we be honouring those whose achievements have come closer to home?

* This is an extract from the Wrap, digest of the daily papers

Helmets: Safety Drive by Police

Helmets please: 2 lakh booked in two months

        New Delhi: Even though a whopping two lakh two-wheeler riders have been prosecuted in the first two months of the year for not wearing helmets, violation of the law continues to claim lives. On Tuesday, three persons died in road accidents after suffering head injuries, and all were reportedly riding without helmets. 
        ‘‘Riding a two wheeler without a proper helmet is suicidal. According to a recent study conducted by NIMHANS, a majority of two wheeler riders who die in
road accidents succumb to head injuries.
       The government needs to come out with a clear mandate on this and people must start wearing helmets for their own safety,’’ said Rohit Baluja, president of Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE). 

         Traffic police records reveal that about 1,64,090 two wheeler riders and another 45,193 pillion riders have been prosecuted so far in 2008 for riding without helmets. But even after such a massive crackdown, two wheeler riders continue to die in accidents, mainly because of lack of awareness.
       ‘‘There is a tendency to buy a uncertified helmet from the roadside to save money or not wear a helmet at all because it gets suffocating in the heat. People need to understand that they need to adhere to this law for their own safety,’’ said Rupinder Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), headquarters. 

           Interestingly, the law about helmets states that merely having a helmet on your head is not enough. According to section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, every two wheeler rider must put on safety head gear, which is certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The helmet has to be fastened to the neck or one is liable for prosecution. 
         Similarly, under powers given to it by the Act, the Delhi government has excluded women riding pillion from wearing helmets. ‘‘Are women’s heads resistant to injuries?
Megha Suri | TNN

Andher Nagari :Delhi : Confusion in Lajpat Nagar

      The city of Delhi, the capital of India, has  many masters. Innumerable  government organisations and departments   conspire to make the lives of citizens miserable to the extent they can. Roads and parking areas come under PWD, NDMC, MCD, Traffic Police, LG, Chief minister and who have you.

       Instructions are issued independently by many departments on the same issue.           

Result is absolute confusion on the ground and misery for the citizens.

An extract from an article on the travails of citizens of Lajpat Nagar. 

  Visiting Lajpat Ngr? Check today’s parking plan  Megha Suri | TNN  New Delhi: Owning a car in Lajpat Nagar is becoming a problem what with every other day a new team of officials doing the rounds of Central Market and effecting changes in traffic and parking arrangements. The latest in line is the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee, which visited the area on Tuesday and ordered a complete crackdown on parking. 

      The multiple and often contradictory changes in the circulation pattern of traffic have left shopkeepers, residents and shoppers baffled and a state of complete anarchy prevails in the area at present.
   ‘‘On Tuesday, the monitoring committee ordered that only one lane of parking will be allowed on Veer Savarkar Marg while all parking on Feroze Gandhi Marg has been prohibited. Some parking has been provided in the area in front of 3Cs cinema and a few other similar pockets on that side of the road. Shopkeepers and residents will not be allowed to park their cars in the area,’’ said a senior traffic police official. The police are planning a crackdown on unauthorised parking in the area from Wednesday. 

      Locals will reportedly be provided alternative parking space away from the market, which residents say is ridiculous. ‘‘We met the commissioner and were told that parking spaces will be earmarked for shopkeepers and residents within a day or two at MCD parks and a government hospital. Parking lots in the main market will be reserved for shoppers,’’ said Ashok Manchanda, president of the market association. 

         Said Arpita Sahni, a resident: ‘‘How can I park my car half a km away from my house all the time? This is completely ridiculous.’’

         Residents are also confused about the exact traffic circulation plan, which the traffic police have already changed thrice. The police clarified that the original plan — a one way movement with vehicles entering from Veer Savarkar Marg and exiting from Feroze Gandhi Marg will be reverted to.

       ‘‘There is so much chaos. Everyone goes everywhere. What was the point of making the main roads one-way if the direction of movement keeps changing every other day?’’ said N P Singh, another resident.

       Only last week, the MCD had banned all parking on the main roads on the grounds that it was causing congestion. According to MCD officials, parking was only allowed near the nallah, which was grossly inadequate to accommodate the rush of vehicles to the market. A week before that, the mayor had said that parking in the market will be handed over to the traders association, an idea which didn’t take off. 

          The traffic police, meanwhile, also wrote to MCD two weeks ago asking it to restrict parking to just one lane on the main road as people were illegally parking the vehicles on the main carriageway, constricting road space and leading to jams.

        As for the traffic circulation plan, the traffic police had reversed the direction of one-way circulation of vehicles from clockwise to anticlockwise last month, which meant that vehicles were entering the market from Feroze Gandhi Marg and exiting on Lala Lajpat Rai Marg from Veer Savarkar Marg.

       But this is being reversed again from Wednesday.

NRI:Confusing Reports on the Death of Indian Student

‘Indian student in US may have committed suicide’

      Confusing reports are being received about the demise of Akkaldevi Srinivas.          Earlier reports said that it was a case of murder. Now there are rumors that it may be a suicide.

      What is the truth?       Police were searching for clues on the motive behind the suicide by a young Andhra Pradesh medico who was found dead in Pennsylvania in the US. They said the investigations so far pointed that it was not a case of murder.

After six hours of probe, the investigators said Akkaldevi Srinivas, 29, whose body was found in a pool of blood with wounds to his neck on Saturday, committed suicide. The coroner is also understood to have said that Srinivas had ended his own life.

Srinivas, who hails from Korutla in Karimnagar district, cut the vein of his neck, sources said. This may have guided early reports that it was a case of stabbing, they said.

Srinivas was an intern in a hospital in Scranton town but Scranton State University said he was not their student.

Sources said a suicide note was found but declined to reveal the contents citing ongoing investigations.

The medico’s father was on his way to the US to claim the body and the Indian Consulate officials in New York said they were ready to give all assistance needed by the family.

Meanwhile, about 50 people, mainly residents from the Scranton-Temple Residency Programme(STRP) at Mercy hospital attended a memorial for Srinivas at a funeral home where his body was kept.

extracts from TOI

Sania Mirza: Flag Case: In the clear for now

        Even though Sania has been cleared now the way things are going on it will not be very long before another eccentric trouble maker takes advantage of our laws to harass her.

 Madhya Pradesh HC dismisses plea against Sania in flag row  

JABALPUR, March 5: Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed in a Bhopal court seeking registration of a case against tennis star Sania Mirza for allegedly disrespecting the national flag during a tournament in Australia.

Justice Rakesh Saksena, who heard the case after the High Court took suo motu cognizance of the plea filed before Chief Judicial Magistrate Court on January 18, dismissed it on the grounds that the Centre’s permission should be sought before registering any case as the incident had taken place in a foreign country.

CJM Ajay Shrivastava had issued summons to Sania on January 7 directing her to appear in person for hearing on the petition accusing her of disrespecting the tricolour during the Hopman Cup tournament in Perth.

The petitioner, who submitted photographs and published material to support his charges, had alleged that Sania was sitting in such a manner that her feet pointed towards the national flag.