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Saturday, September 12, 2009

VVIPs and Laws/ Rules of our Great Land

It is with a heavy heart that I’m forced to write this note when the aftermath of the sad demise of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is taking place. India had been the country of Maharajas and lots of so called privileged people at the cost of millions of homeless and deprived sections. In the modern democratic India, we come across new avatars of Maharajahs, in the forms of democratically elected representatives of people and the bureaucrats who serve them (not the people).

We, the common citizens of India get our thin temperament tested, whenever our beloved leaders are frisked or questioned inside (very unusually) or outside the country. We take it as an offensive towards our prestige/ ego, self esteem or whatsoever it is called…?! We immediately tend to compare the sops we offer all those so called VVIPs from abroad (Many a times, even the security guards are garlanded) and cry that we are offering this facility of exempting the law for just an individual and we expect them to do the same for our politicians. When they call a spade a spade, we make lots of noise and of late, we try to give all these incidents a colour of racism. However, in most of the cases (if not all), the truth is that the outside world understands the purpose of the rule and act accordingly, regardless of the personal charisma or fan following of the individual…!!

There are very stringent and far sighted rules made by our predecessors for the ultimate safety and security of the citizens of India and there have been continuous amendments incorporated according to the varying contexts, technologies and market gaps. However, what I noticed is the confidence/ guts of influential people who flout any law with the help of either money or power.

People who violate the laws/ rules on security checks or making it controversial when checked do not understand the purpose of every such checks and by flouting it they not only put themselves in danger, but also others, who are present there.

When it comes to air safety, despite the fact that there is a ban/ warning on flying in adverse conditions by DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), most of the VVIPs push their way through without understanding the serious consequences of such a move. This is because our VVIPs do not properly understand/ realize the danger or the possible consequences of such decisions.

Let me quote some relevant parts from an article published in Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad dated 6th September, 2009 for your info….

“Helicopter pilots agree that even in cases where VIPs become adamant, it is bureaucratic and political hangers on who are the bigger problem. ‘Kuchh karo jee’, they will insist even when you have told them the weather is impossible.”

“I have known senior politicians and bureaucrats to stomp in frustration and start shouting when flights have to be cancelled.”

“He refused to listen so we took off only to encounter dense clouds and lightening soon. His confidence turned to panic and he screamed ‘Wapas chalo! Wapas chalo!’. Half an hour later, we were back in the airport, where we started from…”

These are the various accounts of experiences by some of the senior pilots who fly VVIPs across the country.

Now, we need to set up a permanent mechanism for continuous education to all those who fly frequently on the norms with the examples and video clips to keep everyone’s memory afresh on such issues. Most of them ignore the warnings to keep up their schedule, but fail to understand that it can cease their schedule forever…!! In the process, these VVIPs put the entire crew’s life in danger too. This is very sad and our people should realize that every rule is made with a purpose and it should be followed to serve the purpose.

Another suggestion evolved out of various discussion groups is to have a very stringent law and more stringent execution to cancel the license of the pilots who fly despite the warning by DGCA. This may give the pilots some firmness to respond to such pressures…!!

At the same time, the people who are supposed to execute the rule should be educated to understand the purpose of the rule and interpret it logically to serve the purpose of the rule and not just to follow the rule blindly to block the public/ public servants in the pretext of a rule….!!

As an irony of life, I shall write about some funny experiences later, where the rules are followed vigorously to deny or deprive people of their facilities without understanding the purpose of it.

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