Border disorder

While privatisation of toll tax collection may be bringing in better revenues to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, it has led to chaos at the city border as often the personnel manning the booth block more than half the road with barricades to rein in the commercial vehicles that are supposed to pay entry tax.

Be it the entry to Noida from the Noida Bund Road near Sector 15 or the U.P. Gate border on National Highway 24, the writ of those manning the toll booths runs large. The worst aspect of the whole problem is that while the improper conduct of the personnel leads to long queues of vehicles at the barricades, the Delhi Police personnel posted close by choose to ignore the issue altogether.

What gets the goat of the motorists is that while the personnel employed by Banas Sands and deputed to man the booths are supposed to ensure that all commercial vehicles pay the toll tax, nowhere is it written that they are authorised to set up multiple barricades on the highways for performing their duty.

Also, many times when they catch hold of commercial vehicles that are trying to give them a go-by without paying the tax, the personnel get drawn into long arguments with the drivers in the middle of the road. To them it is only money that matters; the immense inconvenience they cause to other motorists is the least of their concern. And why would it matter to them because even the MCD and the Delhi Government have gone in for privatisation in diverse fields such as parking and power supply which have not only made a huge dent in the pockets of the people but also made their lives more miserable?

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Discipline first

Despite the drive launched recently by the Delhi police to discipline erring auto-rickshaw drivers, there seems to be little change in the situation.

The other day a friend working in Connaught Place rushed to an auto-rickshaw stand in the Inner Circle as she was running late for a meeting at India Habitat Centre on Lodhi Road. After being refused by all six drivers waiting at the stand, who gave various excuses, she stood by the road hoping to come across someone more compliant. Every auto-rickshaw that went by either completely ignored her or didn't bother to stop.

All this took place in full view of a Police Control Room van situated just across the road where she stood. Finally, a young driver with the latest Himesh Reshammiya song blaring from his speakers stopped just inches away from her. He offered to take her to her desired destination for Rs. 80 and refused to negotiate.

However, her luck changed in the nick of time when an elderly auto-rickshaw driver appeared on the scene and offered to take her to her destination and charge her by the meter. She reached her destination and paid Rs. 45.

While the Delhi Government has ambitious plans to teach English to taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games-2010, it should make a start by first drilling some basic discipline and do's and don'ts into their heads.

Staff Reporter

Mosquitoes hit hard

To tackle the mosquito menace in the Capital, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has found a new technique that has proved successful in many areas where the mosquito-breeding index is on the higher side. As the threat of dengue and malaria outbreak is greater this year, the MCD has started using the method in a big way to check breeding.

"For the past couple of years we have been using synthetic pyrethroid, a kind of chemical solution that kills mosquitoes, in several areas of the Capital and it has proved to be very effective," says a senior MCD Health Department official.

The chemical was used on a trial basis in the city's three most mosquito-prone areas -- Okhla, Burari and Shahbad-Daulatpur -- after which people reported less breeding in their areas. After successful trials in three civic zones -- Central, Rohini and Civil Lines -- the MCD is now using it in other areas also.

"This year the mosquito breeding index is on the higher side in many areas, so we have decided to use synthetic pyrethroid in a big way. The solution is used indoors by spraying on curtains and it kills all breeds of mosquitoes. Its effect lasts two to three months and has no side effect on humans," the official adds.

Sandeep Joshi

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