The last few weeks have had me in a rage. Just a deep simmering rage. This morning when I read about the “injustice” being heaped on Payal Abdullah, I snapped.
What set me off this morning was a report in the Times of India on the plea by Payal Abdullah the estranged wife of Omar Abdullah. Payal was living in a bungalow in Lutyens Delhi. This bungalow was allotted to Omar Abdullah when he was a minister in the Congress Government. Later his entitlement to the bungalow was consequent to him being the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir. In the interregnum, he lost his minister ship and filed a petition for divorce. The beauteous Payal continued to stay in the bungalow. Years passed. Finally, the Jammu & Kashmir Government – which is now hostile to Omar – took steps to evict Payal from the bungalow as neither she nor her husband were entitled to live there. Of course she resisted but, the law prevailed and she was evicted.
Promptly on her eviction she has file an application in the divorce proceedings claiming Rs 15 lakhs per month as alimony/maintenance as consequent to her eviction she has been rendered “homeless”. I was aghast at reading this. How much Payal claims as alimony/maintenance is really not my concern. But to say, on oath, that she has been rendered “homeless” is simply ridiculous. She was living in state accommodation. Not only living there but living there as an illegal occupant as she had lost her entitlement to the bungalow. She was simply squatting. And now, on eviction, she has the gall to say that she is “homeless”! I guess there are no limits to freeloading and taking public property as your own.
On similar lines, of course, is the matter of the hallowed Bombay Gymkhana. It is shocking how similar the two cases are. The Bombay Gymkhana is located on land leased to it by the Collector i.e. the Government. The lease expired 10 years ago and has not been renewed. Leaving aside all the noise surrounding the matter, the Government has said that they would like to take a strip of land on the rear border of the Bombay Gymkhana to widen the road. This is the road that runs from the old VSNL Building past Royal China Restaurant to VT Station. Please understand what I am writing. The Government wants to take a strip of land owned by the Government, for a public purpose, on which the Bombay Gymkhana is a squatter under an expired lease, and the Bombay Gymkhana is protesting this! How can this ever be correct? Simply boggles my mind.
There is yet another matter.
You will no doubt recall that His Holiness Sir Sir Ravishankar had held a massive function/event on the banks of the Yamuna a few months ago. Over very own Pradhan Mantri Shri Narendra Modi attended the function. Besides all the hoopla that surrounded the event, there was one matter which had everybody lathered up. The National Green Tribunal had “slapped” a financial penalty on the Art of Living Foundation which had held the event. The reason for “slapping” this fine was basically that the flora and fauna on the Yamuna banks was destroyed by the stages and platforms erected. Of course, in typical Indian fashion, the fine was not paid, it was disputed and now everyone has lost interest.
Now, turn your attention to the Ganapati Visarjan event that happens all over India. Millions of idols made with Plaster of Paris - which does not dissolve in water – along with tons of flowers, decorations and God know what else, are immersed in the sea and rivers and lakes all over India. Forget the rest of India, look at just Mumbai. I cannot imagine how many idols are immersed. The tons of attendant garbage, the truck belching exhaust gasses while the unwashed masses dance like maniacs, are all highly polluting. Destruction of flora and fauna, polluting the sea water? Yes indeed. What is the National Green Tribunal doing? I am certainly not suggesting banning the immersion of idols, but surely banning of idols made of non-bio degradable material could be a way forward with appropriate certification. Instead of regulating Ganapati Mandals, how about regulating the idol makers?
Forget what the National Green Tribunal is doing, what are our intellectuals, tree huggers and other similarly disposed people doing? No PIL?
Sometimes I really wonder how India has become the world leader in doing everything illogically.