E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Ace Political Expert (APE) is also looking at the calendar like everybody else these days in Karnataka. Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary was never so eagerly awaited as much; not to bow before Bapu but to see whether there will be a Godse in the murky picture.
I collared the APE at a nearby restaurant and ordered his favourite mallige idli with benne and chutney.
I asked him about, what else, the “transfer of power”.
“What power are you talking about? It is already transferred. The real power is not in Bangalore or Mysore any more. It is in Hassan. It will have a ring road soon and the sulking power minister has made sure to get his 50 crores out of the total project cost of 250 crores. Further, the Hassan airport runway will be longer than the Bangalore international airport coming up Devanahalli, so that as the planes land, the mannina makkalu there can graze their cattle along the extended grassy runway! Hassan is already the capital of Karnataka!”
The APE was emphatic.
“Will there will be any other town or village competing with Hassan?” I asked.
“Only Ramanagara, I think. With the amount given for training in computerisation and possible Wi-Fi for Ramanagara, Bangalore will no more be the IT Capital of India, but it will be ‘Bangalore-South’ which is the new name given to Ramanagara by our CM.”
I asked the APE about the visit of our MLAs to China.
“I don’t know what they would have learnt from the study tour when they come back. Just make sure you don’t accept toys as gifts as also chocolates. Their toys have enough lead to kill children in a locality. The Chinese love all kind of worms and have even stuffed them in their chocolates too! I hope our MLAs do not come back with slit eyes.”
As we started sipping filter coffee, I asked about the chances of government abandoning the Chamalapura Power plant.
“Governments all over the world are abandoning coal-based thermal plants because of the havoc they create for the environment. Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh forced Karnataka to shelve a power plant planned in Belgaum on grounds of pollution it would bring in. Still our government wants to go ahead with a coalbased power plant in Chamalapura .If I were a supplier of coal, I would be interested in the power plant coming up! I don’t have to break my head over environmental problems and all that. Some scientists will study the impact later on, anyway!” said the APE.
“I hope you are not trying for rate contract for supply of coal! Looking in to the widespread objections, do you think the government will still go ahead with their earlier decision?” I asked.
“It is like a hot potato. Along with power there are some juicy spin-offs like supply of coal, etc. There are huge proven disadvantages. The CM will ultimately leave the decision to the deputy CM, if he becomes the CM. But that is only a big ‘if’!” said, the APE as we left the restaurant.