THAT State of Maharashtra has the highest number of polluted rivers in the country, is a grim commentary by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the state of environment. Maharashtra has other distinctions as well, like, it is the most urbanised State in the country and its economy the richest. These attributes are sure recipe for the ugly condition of rivers in the State. The NGT’s observation is also a sad commentary on the failure of the State as well as local self bodies in several districts and towns to manage disposal of solid waste. Because of failure to manage waste, the filth finds its way into rivers. Consequently a day will not be far when these water bodies would not be in a position to fulfill the basic needs of the people as most rivers are already decaying and dying due to unchecked discharge of urban waste. The problem is not typical to Maharashtra’s eco system, the rot is all-pervasive. The Yamuna is dying because Agra and Delhi cities have failed to take care of the river. Ganga is meeting similar fate. This is an issue that needs nationwide outlook.
THE call by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, asking airlines operators to enhance availability of domestic flights to curb the rising airfares, points to a deep malaise that has set in in India’s aviation sector. One of the prime operators, Jet Airways, has found itself in a financial muddle that looks to lingering on for a longer period. Air India, the national carrier, is already grappling with huge outstanding debts with no solution in sight for its disinvestment. Such a scenario has led to grounding of aircraft in large numbers which in turn is taking toll on passengers’ pockets. Jet, which has a fleet of 119 aircraft, is flying only 26 due to non-payment of dues to lessors. Budget carrier SpiceJet has been forced to ground 12 “737 Max” aircraft after a global outcry against the aircraft. The move to raise airfares due to shortage of flight looks contemplated by a few players and needs immediate intervention by Aviation Ministry. A deadline must be in place for these airlines to spell out their plans to combat the problem with increased flight frequency.