ANDHRA PRADESH

Out to con the `king'

NO CATCH or match-fixing. No * or . (small dot) with conditions apply... etc. -- reads an advertisement. The sponsor of this advertisement may be forthright, but it clearly exposes as to how consumer durable companies, financial institutions and other commercial firms exploit customers with a `catch', despite the fact that their advertisement proclaim something else. For instance, you might have come across several advertisements with a catch `Get a refrigerator for just Rs. 279 or get a car for Re. 1, get an interest-free loan and buy this and go to Kathmandu with your spouse'. In an age where everybody admits that consumer is the king, it is hoped that gullible consumers are not lured to walk into a booby trap.

ANY PARK can be a rendezvous for lovers, and an idyllic spot developed by Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) atop Kailasagiri can be no exception. But what worries the VUDA Vice-Chairman, Dasari Sreenivasulu, is the misuse of the place by school-going children after bunking classes. "The other day when I was on an inspection visit to Kailasagiri, I was astonished to notice a boy and a girl, clad in their school uniform and carrying satchels, engrossed in chatting. From what they were talking I could understand that the twosome were not siblings and that they were indulging in calf love of sorts," he told reporters on Monday and sought their opinion on tackling this menace. Several scribes suggested that this could be checked at the entry level itself by disallowing children who were not accompanied by responsible elders. One reporter favoured the administration of a veiled threat to the truant children that the matter would be reported to the school management, as only the fear of being put to shame could restrain them. Mr. Sreenivasulu said that he intended to discuss the issue with representatives of school managements.

OUTSPOKENNESS IS a virtue seldom practised in any walk of life. For politicians, it is patently unadvisable. But old-timers believe in speaking their mind out.

The Endowments Minister, M. Satyanarayana Rao, believes in it. When he was in the city on a visit last week, a good number of followers of the China Jeeyar Swami were present. Some presspersons were talking to him and inevitably, the issue of 1,000-pillar mandapam at Tirumala cropped up. The devotees, who came to represent that the reconstruction of the mandapam be taken up, had passionately appealed to him on the matter.

But Mr. Rao traced the origin of the controversy, the reasons behind the Government's immediate action and how it intended to tackle the issue.

Some women approached him and in an emotional tone urged him to take steps for the reconstruction of the Mantapam. But the Minister was firm on his views.

R. Sampath, G.V. Prasada Sarma

By Santosh Patnaik, R. Sampath, G.V. Prasada Sarma

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