Day of elderly- A reality show

October 1, the day for the elderly has been commercially exploited like other name sake days, while the real issues and concerns of the aged stay out of focus.
In contrast to charitable homes that have existed for a long time, a number of luxury homes for the aged have sprung up in different parts of Mangalore, and unfortunately greed has taken the cue. A choice of homes of different standards and rates, presenting good facades and camouflage, soothing the conscience and ego of the young to outsource their responsibilities, are available. The hardships of the elderly are simply swept under the carpet by operators who in no way qualify for taking up serious responsibility.
What is urgently needed is a regulatory statutory body to monitor old age institutions where fees/donations are the rule.
The watchdog bodies must be armed with fitting powers. The homes need to present transparency and accountability, and meet the norms of consumer protection. Acceptable care and nursing should be ensured for the security of vulnerable elders who are neglected the moment they are ill and not in control.
Helplines for the aged must be adequately manned and empowered.
 Apart from providing ID cards, basic rights, human dignity and social security must be ensured. Food rations, gas and essentials for those with no pensions are minimal requirements even if they are in institutions.
Marking the needs of elders is not just a one day affair, but should become a continuous process. It is impossible to understand how little the aged sick can do to take care of their needs. In the circumstances, a rationale for the aged is urgent.
Sooner or later, every one will face this phase of helplessness and misery, unless good steps are taken now.

I J S Shet, Bolar.

Full-fledged passport office

Mangalore has one passport collection centre inside DC office premises. Though the people of Dakshina Kannada and other organisations have been demanding for a full-fledged passport office here, it has just remained an unfulfilled dream. Government has also promised to establish a full-fledged passport office here but failed to fulfil its promise till date. The decade long demand to upgrade the present office to a full-fledged passport office has been ignored by the UPA-led central government. The contention of the government is that in order to qualify for a full-fledged passport office, it should receive over 50,000 applications annually. But the statistics shows that more than 56,000 applications are received annually. Then how did the external affairs ministry open full-fledged passport centres in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra where they receive a meagre of 22,000 applications? On what authority has the government given concurrence to open more than two centres at the above places? What is the reason for this disparity?  Even the passport facilitation centre, which was supposed to come up during May/June as promised, has not been opened. This shows that our MPs are not at all bothered about establishing a full-fledged passport centre in Mangalore. It is nothing but lack of political will.

J F D’Souza, Attavar

Wide roads needed

Mangalore City Corporation had started the work of laying four-lane road from Fr Muller’s Road to Morgan’s Gate junction. But some organisations have protested the proposed developmental work with the intention of saving 43 trees, which was marked by MCC to uproot while widening the road. They conducted prayers and tied colourful ribbons to save trees. Two days later, some miscreants drilled several holes in the trunk of trees near Jail road and filled with asafoetida with an intention of killing them. Recently, in Jeppu, another organisation tied a big banner to branches of a tree asking public to decide whether they require footpath or wide road. With these separate incidents one can judge that one group is against the other and that trees are the victims of their war. Actually, the residents of Jeppu need good and wide roads. Wide roads are very essential for a growing city like Mangalore. Hence both the organisations should sit together and decide whether developmental works without damaging environment is possible?

K P A Rahim, Jeppu