ANDHRA PRADESH

The dreaded call

That one anonymous call which sends shivers down the public apart from throwing the police into a tizzy still calls the cards in the twin cities.

If it was the Lifestyle building in Begumpet all these days that was the target of pranksters who did nothing much but just call up the police control room to say that there was a bomb which could go off any moment in the crowded shopping mall, the focus has now changed.

The crowd at the Prasad's IMAX theatre had their adrenalin pumping and nerves jumbled up recently when there was a sudden announcement that there was a bomb planted in the complex. After the sniffer dogs went about their regular stuff, the police said all was okay and that it was just a hoax.

The fact remains that even when there are ultramodern tracking systems and special voice recognition systems available with our police force, a simple call from any public call booth can make all the complicated technology seem so meaningless, and useless too.

Peculiar is the style of Hyderabad police officials. They clamour for publicity even for discharging routine duties like seizing pirated VCDs, but are stubborn when they have to part with information relating to incidents like private persons opening fire with firearms.

The other day, a businessman's son opened fire in a pub at Panjagutta following an argument with the disc jockey. The pub manager, flodged a complaint only two days later. Incidentally, the city police who attach undue importance to announce seizure of porno VCDs are not willing to announce the arrest of the accused in the firing case. More or less was the same was case with the Reinbazaar police. A youth sustained a bullet injury after a person had opened fire into the air allegedly in an inebriated condition in the area. However, they were not willing to say where the victim was admitted for treatment.

Well, it seems seizure of porno and pirated VCDs is a great achievement for Hyderabad police than catching the culprits opening fire into the air.

For a while now the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad has been talking of road-widening and finally it started work in the busy Somajiguda section on Sunday. Many interesting facts came to light during the exercise.

Initially, mall-owners and shops-owners tried to halt the corporation staff from going about the space-cutting exercise. "No prior notice... we have special permission... " were some of the explanations they put forth. This, however, did not cut much ice with the authorities.

"You have misused the cellar and occupied the public road. You have to cooperate with us in road widening to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution," senior MCH officials said. The Babu Khan Mall managers, to begin with, were successful in halting the demolition in front of their building when they pleaded: "Sir, this is 150 per cent public road but we will remove it ourselves by tomorrow. Please give us time." Just when the officials appeared to be relenting, the neighbouring mall objected to this `selective' action. Soon the excavators were back in action to remove the tiles.

V. Geetanath

Dennis Marcus Mathew and Marri Ramu, V. Geetanath

Dennis Marcus Mathew and Marri Ramu,

V. Geetanath

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