Just as justice must not only be done but also seen to be done, governments too must not only move but also seen to be moving, even if in reverse. Some bright spark, in the secretariat perhaps, who must have seen the connection and its immense potential has lost no time in getting the percept put into practice, and fast-tracked the execution process to procure over a hundred new SUVs for the riding pleasure of ministers and legislators. A curious reading public, often treated to intimidating phrases like “the project has been in the pipeline for an untold number of years” is likely to be disappointed to find Project SUV as no such thing but almost a close relative of Ordinations that require only a wish to be uttered. If that is some consolation for people waiting endlessly for other projects in the pipeline to fructify, like the Rs 44,000 crore or the Rs 21,000 crore relief and rehabilitation package for flood-hit Kashmir, it has come at the most opportune and felicitous moment – right on the eve of the first anniversary of a deluge that many thought would put the Valley on a new world map of redemption, or approximately within striking distance.
While that may require an encouraging nudge every now and then, with only uncertain guarantees of success, unfair speculation that the first anniversary gift to the public could also be the rulers’ self-aggrandisement in mufti – or plainclothes – must be put at rest with the sobering fact that local-made means of locomotion have only a snowball’s chance in a hot summer to score against phoren-made products particularly when the latter are about to have a go at showing their mettle. The present war-footing of metalling the city’s roads cannot but have common motorists’ interests in mind, contrary to the ungrateful assumption that it is ways being paved for the ministers’ new SUVs. The question, however, still goes abegging whether the now-obsolete view of ministries and legislatures being less about Sports and more about Utility, or Utilities, will get a new lease of life. Sedans, on the other hand, being many cuts above the rest, unless it is saloons (of the six-door type, lest any motives be imputed) have necessarily to be chauffeur-driven in keeping with the dignity of august office and to avert unfavourable comparisons with a rather youthful incumbent averse to being seen anywhere without being strapped to the seat of a sporty variant.