Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MIG 21's Saga! Where Lies the Truth?

Last week after long long time I went to see the movie Rang De Basanti in a hall. There was a freshness in the way the story was narrated. Though the climax was a bit too dramatic to my liking. But then issue raised in the movie was too close to my heart i.e. frequent accidents of our MIG 21 fleet over the years. This question was hovering from long time in my mind but the movie again forced me to ponder why such a thing is happening in this free democratic India? What are the issues involved & who is to blame? And here what I found out ....

THE POINT :Losses of IAF Fighter planes/Pilots Alarming, May 2001
It has become a routine to read the news regarding MiG 21s crashes quite frequently. The worst accidents are that the fighter pilots do not even get a chance to bail out which facility all the fighter planes have. Recently we lost another MiG 21 near Tezpur when it had just taken off and was piloted by Squadron Leader Ram a qualified flying instructor (QFI). This cannot be attributed to a pilots’ error, because this has been piloted by a qualified instructor. Each pilot costs to the IAF Rs 44 crore and a MiG costs about Rs 100 crore. Why are we playing with the lives of the fighter pilots by forcing them to fly obsolete aircrafts is not understood.........
The loss of more than Rs 900 crore to the exchequer for the crash of fighter planes of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in accidents are not only alarming but also worrisome for the country as well as for the IAF. The IAF has lost about 92 fighter aircrafts, most of them ageing MiG 21’s, in air accidents in the last five years.........
To read further Click Here.
COUNTERPOINT : MiG-21: Much Maligned! July 2002

The media gets overexcited whenever there is an accident involving a MiG aircraft of the IAF. There is surely cause for concern for the number of accidents that plague IAF. But all MiG types are labeled "flying coffins" or "widow makers" without bothering to see if common causes or versions of the aircraft are involved. Most often the headlines read, another “MiG-21 crashes -….” Very recently, an accident involving MiG-23 in Rajasthan sector was reported as that of MiG-21.
It is also not realized that over the last several decades, accident rates have come down dramatically. This gives the false impression that fight safety is being compromised more than ever before.
It is fashionable to allege that MiG-21s are getting old and hence more prone to accidents. MiG-21s are the mainstay of IAF fighter fleet and are flown for the maximum amount of hours. In the words of previous CAS, Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis, “MiG-21s are most in numbers and in use operationally”. PAC had observed that, in the last decade, 62% of IAF accidents had occurred on the MiG-21. It is seen that the accident rates are in proportion to the fleet strength of MiG-21s, which constitutes 60 % of IAF fighter strength. Infact, the accident rates of the MiG-23 and MiG-27 are higher than that of the MiG-21.
To read further Click Here
12th MARCH 2005. The Defence Ministry has constituted another experts committee to recommend measures to check the increasing number of MiG-21 crashes As many as 161 pilots had lost their lives in 321 MiG crashes in the country in the last few years. ``We are trying to make them usable. We will have to improve the standards of training. The accidents are bad. When it snuffs out lives of young IAF personnel it is much more,'' he said.
14th December 2005 MiG crashes in Assam, pilot safe (PTI) Guwahati, December 13: In the fourth crash of the MiG fighter aircraft series this year, an IAF MiG-21 today went down near the Tezpur airbase in Assam but the pilot managed to eject safely. Squadron Leader S Bansal, who was piloting the aircraft, managed to eject safely. A court of inquiry had been ordered in this regard.
What the youth of our country could do in such a situation? What's ur take on the issue?

Friday, February 17, 2006

I really miss these things.... Do U ?

Got this message as a forward in my mail and its content was such that I thought hey its what i always feel....

...When gulli-danda and kanche (marbles) were more popular than cricket ...
...When we always had friends to play aais-paais (I Spy), chhepan-chhepai and pittoo anytime
...When we desperately waited for 'Yeh jo hai Zindagi'
...When chitrahaar, vikram-baitaal, dada daadi ki kahaniyaan were so fulfilling... When there was just one tv in every five houses and When bisleris were not sold in the trains and we were worrying if papas will get back into the train in time or not when they were getting down at
stations to fill up the water bottle
... When we were going to bed by 9.00pm sharp except for the 'yeh jo hai jindagi' day
... When Holis & Diwalis meant mostly hand-made pakwaans and sweets and moms seeking our
help while preparing them
... When Maths teachers were not worried of our mummys and papas while slapping/beating us
... When we were exchanging comics and stamps and chacha-chaudaris and billus were our heroes
... When we were in nanihaals every summer and loved flying kites and plucking and eating unripe mangoes and leechis
... When one movie every Sunday evening on television was more than asked for and 'ek do teen
chaar' and 'Rajni' inspired us
... When 50 paisa meant at least 10 toffees
... When left over pages of the last years notebooks were used for rough work or even fair work
... When 'chelpark' and 'natraaj' were encouraged against 'reynolds and family'
... When the first rain meant getting drenched and playing in water and mud
and making 'kaagaj ki kishtis'
... When there were no phones to tell friends that we will be at their homes at six in the evening
... When our parents always had 15 paise blue colored 'antardesis' and 5 paise
machli wale stamps at home
... When we remembered tens of jokes and were not finding 'ice-cream and papa' type jokes foolish enough to stop us from laughing
... When we were not seeing patakhes on Diwalis and gulaals on Holis as air and noise polluting or allergic agents ...
the list can be endless ...
on the serious note I would like to summarise with
... When we were using our hearts more than our brains, even for
scientifically brainy activities like 'thinking' and 'deciding'
... When we were crying and laughing more often, more openly and more sincerily
... When we were enjoying our present more than worrying about our future
... When being emotional was not synonymous to being weak
... When sharing worries and happinesses didnt mean getting vulnerable to
the listener
... When blacks and whites were the favourite colors instead of greys
... When journeys also were important and not just the
... When life was a passenger's sleeper giving enough time and opportunity to enjoy the sceneries from its open and transparent glass windows instead of some superfast's second ac with its curtained, closed and dark windows ...
I really miss these things .. do u?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Memorable Win...

It was just like any other ordinary Sunday. Woke up & went online to find my Hindi blog vanished from the net. Though somehow it got restored in the afternoon not before giving me some anxious moments. Anyway chatted for a while, made a call to my net pal and then proceeded to play this match.

Every year all the SAIL units in Ranchi organise a cricket tournament . The players involved are in the age group of 25-50. So to keep the participation level high it is played with the tennis ball:). This time our team has not done well as we could win only 2 of the 4 matches in our group. Our batting has failed miserably and yours truly is also one of the culprits. So even after qualifying for the second round we started with carry over of two losses.

And today with three of our key players missing from the side it was an uphill task for us. To make the matter worse only 10 players reached the ground at scheduled time. The 11 th player was contacted and it was found that he is having his lunch in a nearby restaurent :). And as we feared we lost the toss and were asked to field. Anyway 11th player reached the venue in nick of time saving us the blushes.

We have some good bowlers but our fielders let them down. as many as 8 boundaries were hit after the ball went thru fielder's legs. So with the help of these extra freebies at the end of 20 overs our opponent team scored 149 for 5 .

So far this much of a total was not chased in the tournament and with the state of our batting line up it sure looked a daunting task.

But then today was another day. Our openers did a grt job and we scored 104 runs for 2 wkts in first 15 overs. By 17 th over it was around 125 for 4 with me and my fren Trivedi at the crease.

The next two overs we converted four singles into two and for the last couple I lost my stamina and my legs totally went numb in the middle of the pitch but then with a full length forward despo dive a la Kaif I landed on the crease in nick of time. So it was 146 for 4 after 19th with Trivedi was on strike.

So no pressure on me all i told him to try singles and we will be through. But as the luck would have it my fren was bowled on first ball of the over. Still 4 runs and 5 balls to go. Next delivery was wide & on next we ran a single. So 4 balls and just 2 runs with all fielders closing in.

I pulled the next ball only to find the diving hands of shot square leg fielder. Next delivery was again pitched on leg & middle & this time I managed to sweep the ball past close in fielders to score two runs. We have won with 2 balls to spare!

And my god the team was delighted with players rushing to congratulate us with open arms. It was one of the cherished moment of joy for me! More so because I was able to play my little part by giving my 100%.
We have still to win many more matches to move in last 4 stage but at least the hope & self belief is restored among the team members after this win & thats where half the battle has been won.:)