OMNIPRESENT THEY aren't. Only 11 of the 550-odd owners have so far traded in their vehicles since the Supreme Court ordered that polluting tempos be replaced by Maruti omni vans.
The Omnis that have made it to the roads find it difficult to pick up fares. The main reason for commuter apathy is that, unlike the tempos they replaced, no routes have been allotted for the vans. Most drivers gather at MY Hospital, railway station and the bus stand in the hope of garnering sufficiently large number of passengers to make a trip financially worthwhile.
This modus operandi, however, depends chiefly on the luck of the draw. Not surprisingly, given the haphazard approach, most vans fail to gather the required number of fares.
Frequently van commuters awaiting the arrival of other fares are squirreled away by tempo conductors who, unlike Omni drivers, aggressively canvass passengers. Again, many women shy away from using the vans owing to the lack of space. While Omnis carry up to six passengers, tempos easily accommodate ten fares or even a dozen, at a pinch.
In effect, then replacing tempos with Maruti vans has meant substituting a larger passenger-capacity vehicle with one that carries fewer commuters. Something that goes against the very grain of public transport, which aims at maximising commuters while minimising the number of vehicles.
The wedding season is peaking and so are nighttime decibel levels. Grabbing some shuteye after a hard day's work has become nearly impossible thanks to filmy songs issuing from next door until the wee hours.
A particular favourite is Kajra re, played endlessly and at ear-splitting volumes. The song makes one launch into deliciously violent fantasies about another kind of 'kaare naina' - the black eye one would like to give the neighbours. But these, although exceedingly gratifying, offer only temporary relief.
Speaking of weddings, the proposed relocation of marriage gardens to City outskirts is yet to take place. The Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) made perfunctory attempts to prevent on-road parking in front of marriage gardens earlier in the year, but the drive has petered out. Most visitors park their cars right on the road near LIG Square, Vijay Nagar and other stretches on the ultra-busy AB Road.
A large number of invitees down at least a few 'chhotas' before heading back home. Attempts by tipsy drivers to join the speeding AB Road traffic may well have disastrous consequences unless remedial steps are taken.
Indore to Goa…
They've stopped taking potshots at each other, at least in public. But things between Mayor Uma Shashi Sharma and IMC Speaker Shankar Lalwani aren't quite hunky-dory. This becomes evident by the manner in which the lady scotched his chances of a junket in sunny Goa.
Lalwani was recently invited to Goa to receive an award on the Corporation's behalf for its performance during the last general council, when he served as a Mayor-in-Council (MiC) member in charge of public works. The IMC administration, however, kept delaying clearance for the tour on grounds that it had not been sanctioned by the mayoral council.
By the time the MiC meet was eventually convened the programme date had passed. Why was a go-ahead in advance mandatory for the Speaker when tours by the Commissioner himself (Canada, Singapore), MiC members, corporators (Hyderabad) and senior officials (Kathmandu) are cleared by the council weeks, sometimes months, after their return? No one is willing to say.