BY BIKRAM VOHRA
If you took the hundred smartest children in India and asked them why we need governors in each state they would have no answer.
I do. To maintain the lawns and the buildings of all these mind boggling Raj Bhavan estates at a prodigious cost to the exchequer. For this investment they do diddley in return but ponce about having a paid holiday. I once had to be stranded in traffic for thirty tedious minutes because a governor was going to inaugurate a bonny baby show.
And I was still okay with this post retirement all-expense paid vacation till I read that governors are entitled to a midwife. I don’t know if it is true but if you have already tottered into antiquity what the heck do you need a midwife for?
At this point I had this Machiavellian revelation. We don’t need them. Governors are dead, like the parrot in the Monty Python-John Cleese skit. All these residences should be turned into jails for white collar criminals who would have to pay per night for the length of their sentences. A plain single room in the ample servant’s quarters would go for Rs 10,000 and scale up to the Jayalalitha apartment complex at Rs 2 lakhs. The Sahara suite would go for Rs 5 lakhs and the Kalmadi corner would be about the same. Telecom Minister A. Raja could then be charged top whack for a wi fi connection. My idea is deliciously evil and totally valid. You want to see a movie in the Sanjay Dutt auditorium that’s 2000 bucks but the popcorn aint free.
After all, what exactly is the point of putting very rich people who have robbed the till into tacky places like Tihar and Yerwada and Rajamundhry and then paying for their upkeep through national taxation? Make them pay, is what I say. At least you will get some of the money back.
Look at the spinoffs. You can then charge visiting fees for friends, relatives and sundry sycophants. In their thousands, they shall descend upon the place en masse.
We could even have a public ‘Open’ day.
You can outsource din din menus to a five star hotel chain and mark up prices with 10% tax, 15% luxury tax and 15% Incarceration levy. Whenever I go to a swank restaurant (on someone else’s paisa) I first read the bottom line in italics. So why should the Indian people feed them? Hooray. A dosa and idli combo would go for Rs 2000…you want it, you pay for it.
As it is these guys start up a racket in the real jails. They get major concessions, they bribe and have flunkies from the lower prisoner strata doing their bidding (not to mention the many merry mafias) buying up the guards, running the show with veiled threat and the public is coughing up for all this. Remember Arjun Singh and Lalu being VIP prisoners? What is that as a category?
And it is not just the politicians. What about Shahid Balwa, once the 50th richest man in the country? Guys involved in the 2G gang. Make them work their magic from within and tax them 90% till the ‘khatha’ is cleared.
Such a waste of so much genius. Harness it.
This is the right time. With hundreds of potential Swiss bank holders on the cusp of captivity now is the time, this is just the beginning of what could be the crowning glory of free enterprise.
It gets even better if we give it a chance. No governors, no screaming cavalcades. Wealthy swindlers paying for their upkeep and enough money in the coffers to tend to the gardens and the buildings.
Heck, you could even hike the gardeners’ salaries.
And dump the midwife.