Drink to death in Bihar; Chaotic Delhi airport; Reality test of renewable energy

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Opinion Watch

Drink to death in Bihar

Almost 20 people lost their lives in Saran in Bihar after consuming illicit liquor. The hooch tragedy would refresh memory with similar incidents taking place almost regularly in Bihar. Worse, the people are avoiding disclosing that they have fallen ill because of consuming illicit liquor because of fear of being summarily sent to jails. But Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, is as stubborn as ever with his prohibition policy, as if he is the moral god of Bihar.

The Pioneer in a hard-hitting Editorial stated that the prohibition policy is a big failure in Bihar where corruption is rampant. It added that it’s not the business of the government what the people will eat and drink, while stating that the National Family Health Survey 2019-20 revealed that 15.5 per cent men in Bihar consumed liquor. Kumar brought prohibition in 2016. The daily said Kumar had a ‘sansakri’ BJP as an ally in past, which watched over policy bankruptcy of the Chief Minister, and his current allies too have to stay in power.

Kumar by all accounts would come out as India’s one of the most non-performing Chief Ministers, who despite being in power for 17 years has not been able to change the socio-economic outlook of the state even to match the snail’s pace. Now, he’s losing his tempers too often, getting hysterical in the Assembly, and they are signs for his party colleagues to retire him gracefully from politics.     

Chaotic Delhi airport

For over two weeks, Delhi International airport has been chaotic, with harassed travelers sharing their woes on the social media platforms of agonies such as standing in a queue for three hours and more. Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia visited the international transit areas and assured of actions.

The Indian Express in its Editorial stated that incidents of airport congestion are being reported world over following the easing of the pandemic norms. But the daily lamented that it’s regrettable that a country that aspires to be the third largest economy could not ramp up infrastructure at the airports to handle rising number of travelers. The daily stated that Indira Gandhi International Airport was ranked 10th busiest airport in the world, handling 70 million passengers annually. The government has called for reducing number of flights during peak hours.

India has taken over the G20 Presidency, and states are gearing up with mega events throughout the year. The government is also making a pitch for India grabbing a bigger pie in international tourism, which is currently less than two per cent. That calls for crucial infrastructure such as international airports to be ahead of time.     

Reality test of renewable energy

The Hindu in its Editorial has given a reality test of the existing capacities of the renewable energy of India against the commitments made by the country at the international forums. The Chennai-based daily stated that while India had committed 1,75,000 MW by the end of 2022, with 100,000 MW coming from solar power, the actual installed capacity was just 61,000 MW.

The government was aiming for 61 solar parks, but only one-fourth of them could come up. The government has attributed reasons for missing the target to issues such hurdles in getting environmental clearances in Gujarat and Rajasthan. At a time when the loss and damage finance as discussed at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh promises $100 bn annually in climate mitigation efforts it would be crucial to address bottlenecks.   

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