Thursday December 13, 2018
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Varanasi-Kathmandu ‘friendship’ bus service comes to a halt

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Lucknow: The ‘maitreya’ (friendship) bus service between Varanasi and Kathmandu, which started amid much fanfare, has been put to a halt, allegedly due to administrative and financial issues.

Photo credit: www.uttamup.com
Photo credit: www.uttamup.com

The service, which was started around five months back by the Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) to strengthen bilateral ties through people-to-people contacts between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency and the Nepalese capital, has been “prematurely shelved” owing to “poor management and bad revenue,” the source said.

Despite the hype generated, not even a contract was signed with Kaushik Logistics, the company roped in to run the service, the source said. The service was launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and state Transport Minister Durga Prasad Yadav on March 4.

The bus ran into rough weather initially as the load factor was abysmal but slowly picked up and the bus started running to packed capacity until technical and operational glitches emerged as stumbling blocks.

While the service was hit briefly by the devastating April 25 Nepal earthquake, it started suffering as the company running it withdrew as neither “a written formal contract nor any parameters were set for (providing) diesel”.

Officials said that initially the file pertaining to these two issues was moved but then UPSRTC additional managing director K. Vijyendra Pandyan did not take a call and returned the file. He was soon transferred and even his successor, on emergency basis, Chief Principal Manager (Administration) Surendra Kumar, did not pay heed to the file.

Tired and disgusted at the callous attitude of the state-run transporter, Kaushik Logistics earlier this month sent it a letter throwing up its hands in despair and saying it could not run the service in these conditions.

Kaushik Logistics Manager Wadihul said that the company had given an August 20 deadline but the state government failed to respond. Hence they were forced to stop the service, “which had enough promise if handled well and seriously”.

With inputs from IANS

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Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

Social media, a double-edged sword, is an evolving forum of communication in the internet media

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Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook needs to fix itself. Pixabay

Social media is a strange place that connects millions of people worldwide. It is a platform that keeps people engaged in several trending issues. However, the point of concern being, how do they react? This makes social media a double-edged sword.

Let’s take an example. Once, a photo of a young schoolboy from a poor family went viral. The boy was sitting outside a Noida metro station, trying to earn money through a weighing scale and studying at the same time. He caught the attention of one of the commuters. A picture was taken and uploaded on Facebook. The picture went viral. Now, there were several people who came forward to help. One of them was the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, who promised to ensure full opportunity for them to study without having to work.

ALSO READ: Social Media: Here is how it is creating Lifestyle pressure on Youth!

social media
Twitter, the microblogging site has 23.2 million Monthly Active Users in India, which is 2nd largest in Asia-Pacific after Japan with 26 million MUAs. Pixabay

This was one example or the so-called ‘positive side’ of social media. Now let’s turn the page and look at the other side of the road. Here the ‘other-type’ instances on social media:

  • In 2012, morphed pictures and videos of earthquake victims went viral. The morphed images were aimed to show that these were Muslim victims of civil riots in Assam and Burma. This was done to provoke riots by vested interests.
  • There were instances of hate and revenge messages being spread against Hindu migrants living in South India. This resulted in a mass exodus of people from the North East.
  • At an individual level, there are many examples where when a relationship went sour, one of the partners uploaded intimate pictures, videos or information, in revenge against their former partner.
  • Another point of concern is the easy access to all types of porn by minors. This is resulting in rapidly changing social behaviour and redefining morality.

The major problem being stated is that the society as a larger whole is unable to keep pace and social media is, hence, increasing the gap between older and younger generations rather than bringing them closer.

social media
There are over 30 Million LinkedIn Users in India, while 467 million users globally. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Teenagers using Social Media more likely to suffer sleep deprivations: Study

Should there be government intervention in the use of social media?

India is witnessing increasing internet and mobile penetration. With first-time users onto these platforms, the risk of mass hysteria or communal reactions increases. It is imperative for the government to get together all stakeholders of civil society and try and address the issue of balancing media freedom with media regulation.

Putting regulations or any type of curbs on the internet will be a sensitive subject in any type of free society and of course, it will result in certain opposition. However, what we need to understand is, each society is different. Therefore, every society has to develop its own mechanism to address the negative consequences of social media.

social media
There are 16 Million Instagram users in India. Pixabay

For example, the Indian government had blocked internet services in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the period of eid in 2015. It was a preventive measure. However, despite the ban, there were clashes with the police and violence. The point of concern being, the situation could have been much worse had the internet and social media been accessible.

With the world getting increasingly connected through the web and India on the cusp of a ‘Digital’ revolution, the government must take up establishing clear cybersecurity laws and cyber management policies on an urgent basis. Social media could work as a development catalyst or could become a national threat.