Thursday, August 23, 2012

While you slept

The kind of treatment the Assam riots have received in the media should be a wake up call for every single one of us. The media has ceaselessly painted a one sided picture of the same - and if it were not for the internet (and a few notable exceptions), the true picture would never be known.

The same media which prides on coverage of Gujarat 2002, even 10 years down the line has forgotten the peaceful protests of 11th August in Mumbai. Those protests resulted in the self combusting of a few OB vans and about 40 odd policemen tripping over themselves (kudos to this slideshow by Mid-day) and falling on stones and injuring themselves. The Amar Jawan Smarak in CST, Mumbai was desecrated (incredibly, see the low number of msm reports on this one) as well and there was not much outrage on it. The media has not yet taken the organizers to task. This was followed up yet another peaceful protest in Lucknow which resulted in the desecration of a Mahaveer statue in the full view of cameras. The Times of India had a despicably apologetic report written on it.

And in both places police barely lifted their lathis. Two communal secular activists wrote in praise of police inaction - (Madhu Trehan wrote a scathing rejoinder) and the police commissioner who was caught on camera reprimanding his junior for catching a rioter. (Yes, you heard that right). There were a few who raised their voice. At last count, Kanchan Gupta has been rewarded by his twitter profile being blocked for doing so.

Predictably, none of this has resulted in the media running their marquee shows asking if these groups ought to be banned or taken to task. The same media which ran in a loop footage of a dargah demolished in Gujarat few years back is scared to run the Mahaveer statue video or the speeches delivered in Azad Maidan on 11th August. Ask yourself why.

And the government has responded by blocking various twitter handle, websites etc. While you slept, this is the story of the government that rules you and the media that seeks to inform you. While seeking to block groups that supposedly incite hate, the government has also gone ahead and blocked respected journalists who were telling the truth. While seeking to block internet sites that did carry hate propaganda, the government has calmly turned a blind eye to physical, real threats that resulted in quite a few people from NE India to return home from many parts of the country (Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore).

As someone pointed out on twitter, this government has given us Chinas Freedom and Indias infrastructure. Jai Ho!

More updates on this with links etc., when I get some time...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

BMTC Volvo and Corona

The phenomenal success of the BMTCs airconditioned bus service have not made it smug. It continues to innovate and push boundaries. However, one of its recent experiments, I am afraid is not great. Not for the user atleast.

BMTC currently has two tiers of airconditioned service – which is an amazing feat come to think of it. Most cities barely survive with one, here BMTC plays around with two. One, the premium Volvo services (not counting the Airport ones) and two the Marco Polo service. The differencebetween the two is obvious. The Marco Polo are underpowered buses, really and the AC works, but not really as much as a Volvo and on any given road the Volvo will beat the Marco Polo by a mile.You can see the Marco Polos struggling up a flyover while the Volvos cruise over them.

Now what BMTC has done is introduce yet another bus – the Corona into this. However, they have missed a trick when they priced the Corona in the same bracket as the Volvo. There is no comparison. 

The Coronas are marginally better than the Marco Polos, but are still beaten to pulp by the Volvos. One may not realize it in the city roads, but on the ring roads where the buses race past each other, the Volvo is a clear winner. And after my first few experiences losing precious time after boarding a Corona, I refuse to take it – since the Volvo following it, almost certainly overtakes it. it is not just speed – in my many travels, the airconditioning of the Corona has always been substandard as compared to the Volvo. Sorry BMTC, at this price, the Corona gets a thumbs down - and I use your service practically 7 days a week.

I am no motoring geek, but the Volvo carries labels of B7R (the old one) and 8400 (the newer ones). Simple googling tells me that the buses are powered by engines that deliver about 290HP. The Corona engine on the other hand delivers about160HP. Go figure which works better for passengers comfort.

So, BMTC, can you please reduce the fares on the Corona?