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Not in a heli-hole

No soft landings for Jairam Ramesh. He wants nothing to do with noise from private helipads.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2010 00:05 IST

You’ve got to give it to some of our UPA ministers. They really put their hearts into making things better for the aam aadmi. The latest, but muted, effort comes from our leonine-maned Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who has discerned a discordant note in the noise created by helicopters owned by the rich and powerful. So new helipads for choppers have got the ministerial chop.

Yes, indeed, many are the nights that some of us have lain awake unable to sleep wondering whether Apocalypse Now was playing in the background. We suppose from the rarefied heights that our netas live in, a helicopter taking off could constitute noise pollution. Where we come from, it’s not quiet like that. Our day begins with the dulcet tones of vegetable vendors and sundry salesmen screaming gently into the morning air. As we proceed to work, we have the philharmonic orchestra of horns and abuses from passing drivers. As we grizzle through the day, we are assailed by the comforting sounds of hawking, spitting, mooing, and on a good day, elephantine trumpeting.

But we are grateful to the minister. We wouldn’t want to add to the repertoire of aural assaults by helicopters taking off from our roofs. The minister has further reasons as to why he wants to ground these flights of fancy. It’s all about equity and equitable access to atmospheric space. We don’t know when we last saw our atmospheric space through all the polluting clouds of particulate. If the minister gives in on this one, the floodgates will be opened. Every industrialist worth his sweat equity will want to take a mile and seek a private game reserve or at least a pet tiger or two. So, it’s only in the fairness of things that the minister ensures that such ideas as private helipads don’t take off. Hence the slightly precipitous crash landing.