Archive for July, 2011

Bridging the gap

July 20, 2011

The narrow 2 lane Zuari Bridge was completed in 1983 and has been under constant repair since 1987 following the discovery of severe horizontal cracks in the middle sections. It is supposed to carry all traffic through Goa on the main highway, but heavy vehicles have been banned for many years. It is the main link from the airport to the capital, Panjim, and the North Goa tourist hot spots. Surveying engineers reckon its useful life to be three years; the planned suspension bridge replacement will take five years to build; the existing bridge took eight years to build.
The government of Goa has as usual been prevaricating; it is doubtful if the needful land has been acquired. No doubt a risky solution will be found.The real problem, if one local politician is to be believed, is that it is now Indian government policy for all new roads to be toll roads. Given this will be unpopular with the local populace, the Goa government doesn’t know how to go forward as the central government is refusing to budge. See The Navhind Times for more.
On the subject of roads. In Margao all the main roads were dug up just before monsoon arrival and as usual promises were made that they would be back to the (sub-standard) norm before the onset of the rains. So of course they are now worse than sub-standard. We are hopeful, as we struggle through water-logged craters, that the task of the one man and his rickshaw full of rocks will be to raise the bottom of the crater to somewhere near the surface of the road before our next passage and that next day he will manage the same with the next one. On our 4 mile journey to and from our work place, there are about 30 to negotiate.


Oh, to be a temple elephant

July 11, 2011

More on Indian animals and gods. This time it’s Ganesh – the hugely important ‘remover of obstacles (something much required in India). Ganesh has an elephant’s head, and so the huge pachyderms are widely revered across the sub-contintent. Not that they don’t have to work for their living. They work so hard that a big temple in Thrissur, in Kerala, has decided that its elephants need a one month spa break, complete with baths and oil massages. Ever considered that you have arrived in this life in the wrong life form?

Click here to read more. Just a shame there aren’t any pictures.

Monkeys with your recuperation?

July 9, 2011

If you thought Britain’s NHS had problems, spare a thought for Delhi’s flagship hospital – the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The monkeys that have long roamed the campus have worked out how to get through the motion-sensor doors. Consider waking up from your operation to find a rhesus macaque in your bed, or playing with your glucose drip. And just when you thought it was safe to walk down the corridor, you get attacked from above by the monkey hiding in the false ceiling.

What to do? Kill them, scare them off, trap them? Not options in Hindu India, where monkeys are considered gods and relatives of the patients are even feeding the marauders in the hopes of speeding up their loved ones recovery.