Thursday, August 23, 2012

Open Letter to Ye Who Stop Formula 1!

To all those who filed the Public Interest Litigation against Narain Karthikeyan's Formula One demonstration drive in Trivandrum,

First of all thank you for the immense concern shown in upholding the letter, if not the spirit, of the law on speed regulation on the roads of Trivandrum. If it had not been not been for your timely intervention, surely the citizens of Trivandrum would have been put in grave danger by speeding Formula One cars, after all aren't those things dangerous even if driven by an expert driver and even if the roads are cleared and secured?! Even if we are not run over, we would be all so inconvenienced by the disruption of traffic on the road. Who cares if the Formula One demo drive would have gained national attention and perhaps garnered a few measly extra tourists. A State like ours that can afford Billion dollar bullet trains doesn't need extra revenue from tourism, does it? Of course not, the 40 Km/Hr speed limit is sacrosanct, a true holy cow!

Even if some may call such activism Personal or Publicity Interest Litigation, we appreciate the Public Interest behind your actions. Now, in case, you are on the lookout for worthy, if not equally important subjects, to file further PILs, here are a few which may benefit the rest of us:

A) Why hundreds of Crores of taxpayer money has been wasted thus far because the honorable High Court does want to take up a demand expressed unanimously (twice!) by the elected Legislature of the State to establish a Bench of the Court in the State Capital in order to avoid unnecessary expenditure related to litigation involving the State Government?

B) Why successive Governments have placed the State's most important infrastructure project, the Vizhinjam deep water port, far from the top of their agenda and why the most recent bid process took a lazy 12+ months to move through its evaluation and approval even with a bevy of Kerala ministers at the Center?

C) Why is no action being taken by the State Government to resolve the waste management crisis in the capital which puts the health of two million people at grave risk and has probably put hundreds into the hospital, if not into the grave? This despite a clear directive from the highest Courts in the land to resolve the crisis, by force if necessary?

D) Why are contracts worth hundreds of Crores being handed out without tender in the case of projects near and dear to certain parties in the current Government when critical infrastructure projects like Vizhinjam, the Karamana-Kaliyikavila road and so on lie idle for want of funds?

E) Why are a dozen MLAs heading on tour to China to study the "model of development" in a totalitarian regime, which gives no property ownership rights and which prints its own money, when there is apparently a paucity of funds to buy modern fire-fighting equipment even in Kerala's biggest cities?

Oh yes, and please include these too:

F) A PIL against every political party under the Sun for openly flouting directives issued by the High Court and Supreme Court against gatherings along public roads and for disrupting public life. (You can start with this one and do make sure your full name and accurate addresses are provided in your PIL - since you are no more concerned about the local cadre of the aggrieved political outfit paying you a friendly visit as you are about aggrieved F1 fans)

G) A PIL against the blocking of traffic for any religious event or community gathering. After all, we shouldn't disrupt public life be it for Narain Karthikeyan, Vishnu, Jesus or Allah! Oh yes, no blocking traffic for Dr Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee or Mitt Romney either.

F) A PIL against any VVIP car or escort going over 40 Km/Hr within city limits unless there is a real emergency, which excludes coffee breaks, inauguration ceremonies, free lunches at marriages et al. Not to mention, the unmarked luxury cars and SUVs that seem to be speeding about the roads of the capital with police escort these days!

....and maybe one against the Monsoon for cheating of us of our god-given Right to Rain, threatening our power supply and drinking water, while you are about it.

Do let us know if you would like white paper (or legal sheets), pens, inks, stamps or tongues to lick those stamps, we will all be glad to chip in.

Yours Thanksfully,

The Adoring Public whose Interests you have Litigated for!

If any of you folks who read this know the gentlemen who care more for maintaining the 40 Km/hr speed limit in Trivandrum than anything else in the world, please show this open letter to them, tweet it to them, email it to them or take a print out and stick it on their front door!

Seriously, if this is the most important issue worth filing a PIL for, then perhaps I am writing about a Trivandrum in a parallel Universe, where Vizhinjam is the world's busiest port, we have 300 Km of operational monorail lines and honey/beer runs in the gutters! 

Sadly, the Tourism Industry that would have benefited the most (other than the purveyors of street food along the route of the demo drive, wait, we exterminated them along with shawarma!) should have been up in the arms to ensure that the event happened, unfortunately they are too busy trying to sabotage the project that would deliver upwards of 60,000 high-paying foreign tourists every year to them. As for the honorable Tourism Minister, he is in Kashmir - probably busy researching how to "promote tourism"! With no help in sight from the Government, the HRT F1 car is stuck in Frankfurt and will not reach Trivandrum for the drive.

Fear not, we may get a demo with a bunch of toy cars or perhaps Narain can chauffeur VVVIPs for Emerging Kerala. Hats off to him and his friends who made a brave effort to showcase Kerala on the world stage, but it looks like we would rather preserve the sanctity of our speed limits!