Over the past few years, the inflow of pilgrims in Uttarakhand from neighbouring states for the Kanwad fair has assumed colossal proportions. According to a rough estimate, more than 3.5 Crore Kanwadias arrived in Haridwar district within a span of three days during the culminating phase of Kanwad Yatra this year. The local people have to face many hardships due this humongous burden of Kanwadias as bus services on important routes get disrupted, supplies of essential commodities gets halted and the schools on route of Kanwadias have to be closed. Despite all hardships people welcome these self confessed foot soldiers of Lord Shiva but sadly enough this religious journey has become a recreational expedition for many. For them the Yatra is a license to indulge in open intoxication and engage in hooliganism on the entire route. Such elements have infested the ranks of the Kanwadias who instead of covering the distance from Ganga to their villages on foot prefer motorbikes and other vehicles for Yatra. The number of such Kanwadias has surged in last decade or so. Moreover instead of limiting themselves to Haridwar and Rishikesh, hordes of bike and car borne Kanwadias have now started visiting ecologically sensitive Gaumukh in Gangotri to fetch the holy water. Instead of limiting itself only on crowd management and showering petals on Kanwadias from a helicopter, the state government should now ponder over limiting the negative repercussions of this activity. Deliberations with religious preachers for issuing some advisory and instruction to the Kanwadias could be one such initiative.
Intense competition among the private hospitals to attract more business has ushered in the unethical trend of using patients as trophies. In Dehradun, the unhealthy practice intensified with entry of a big brand in the business of hospital care some years ago. This hospital, with luxuries and facade of a five star hotel concentrated hard on garnering publicity and creating pomp and show to attract patients to its fold. With the sole endeavour of extracting maximum profits from the hapless patients so the cash register of the hospital keeps ringing, the management of this hospital started using the patients as trophies in press conferences. During such events, a set pattern is followed in which the manager of the hospital makes lofty claims about some major surgery or procedure which is usually followed by a power point presentation of the unique feat (?) by one of the doctors. The feel good exercise normally culminates with the patient heaping praises on the hospital for saving his/ her life. In one such conference held recently, the hospital displayed a two year old child along with his parents while claiming the usual first of its kind procedure in the state.
An overenthusiastic MLA representing one of the assembly segments of Dehradun district received a firm rap on the knuckles from chief minister TSR during the recently held ‘Conclave of the Himalayan States’ at Mussoorie. Driven by innate urge to hog the limelight irrespective of whether the occasion demands it or not, the MLA tried to push his way forward to the podium during interaction with the media at the famous hill station. Irked by his foolhardy act, TSR gave a public dressing down to the MLA while asking him to back off so that chief ministers of other states and other prominent dignitaries get a chance to talk to the media. Incidentally the incident is not first for the brawny MLA involved in the infamous ‘Shaktiman episode’ where he was reprimanded by senior leaders of the party. On one such occasion he was sternly asked by the all powerful national president of his party to keep distance and refrain from indulging in pushing others to come forward for a photo opportunity. However it appears that the MLA has not learnt any lesson from these unsavoury incidents.
Friday, 02 August 2019 | Gajendra Singh Negi