ANDHRA PRADESH

Event `covered'

The Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation meeting reminds one of the goings on in the Assembly with members from both the ruling party and opposition, rushing to the `well' at the slightest opportunity. Reporters are allotted seats at the other end of the meeting hall. With members around the dais it is hardly possible to see what is happening. A string of cameramen literally `covering' the event do not help. Also with members speaking simultaneously, it's difficult to make out who was saying what.

The gallery for reporters, who need a better view of events, should be close to the dais. Alternately, an elevated gallery can be provided at the present slot.

Sportspersons of Andhra Pradesh are now receiving help from the Government, which was not even dreamt of in the past.

The reward is hefty but more sportspersons would get it if the norms were strictly followed, say some sports administrators.

The AP Chess Association welcomed the Chief Minister's announcement of a cash award of Rs. 2 lakhs each to P. Harikrishna and D. Harika, who won the World Junior championship and World under-14 titles respectively.

But before becoming the world champions the two had become Grand Masters (Harika became a Woman GM) and International Masters, a performance, which should be considered on par with winning a medal in an international event and be given a cash award separately, says the president of the AP Chess Association, V.R. Bobba.

The Navy Day celebrations this year impressed everyone who witnessed them. But the mad rush once again thoroughly exposed the inept handling of traffic by the police. Though such a huge turnout was anticipated, not many policemen were seen regulating the high volume of traffic.

As soon as the function was over, the VIPs including the Pondicherry Lt. Governor, M.M. Lakhera, zoomed out in their convoys with police escort. But the people who came with their vehicles had a tough time finding a way out. The problem was further compounded by buses. For instance, a naval bus carrying mediapersons took more than one hour to reach RTC complex via the road adjoining Ramakrishna Mission -- a distance of less than a couple of kilometres.

At least going by the increasing number of spectators at the Navy Day fete, the police should be more careful in enforcing traffic regulations from next year onwards.

The officials and staff of the public sector Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) do not seem to have shaken off their lethargy even after private players started eating into their pie. Many of the employees are still under the impression that it is the public (subscribers) who are dependent on them and not the other way round.

A journalist friend who was vacating his house and shifting base to Hyderabad, went to the Lalithanagar Exchange at 9.30 a.m. to surrender his instrument. The official on duty coolly asked him to come at 11.30 a.m. as the computers would be switched on only then. The journo went back to the exchange at 12 noon only to be told to come again at 3 p.m.

He was not even allowed to enter the office premises on the plea that the office floor has been cleaned and kept ready to provide lunch for the Ayyappa Swamis. When he contacted the next higher official, he got the same reply.

The scribe wondered as to why the gullible public has to be inconvenienced to feed the devotees. The lunch could have been arranged at some other place. He asks, "Is it fair to keep the subscribers waiting for three long hours for no fault of theirs?"

Well, it is for the higher officials to decide.

By G.V. Prasada Sarma, G. Narasimha Rao, Santosh Patnaik and B. Madhu Gopal

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