Although two very important ministers have only now openly acknowledged the pervasive and rampant practice of extortion in the transport sector, their plan to deal with a long running nefarious practice sounds absurd and raises questions about the rationale behind their feather glove approach to the problem. Both the home and shipping minister have prescribed warning to the perpetrators to desist from a very damaging practice which happens to be the preoccupation of apparently some very powerful and well linked people in this country.
One doesn't have to narrate the deleterious consequences of extortion. The most palpable is on the prices of food products carried from the outline districts to the capital particularly. And when the intelligence agencies have identified definitively the people involved in extortion one wonders why such a soft approach. And how long will the last warning last, and what would the likely action be if the last warning went unheeded?
Asking refrain from those that have been engaged in this trade is like asking the devil to listen to the scripture. This will not see any let up in extortion; it will only encourage them to indulge even more vigorously in it. And it will create a perception in the minds of the public that the reason why the authorities are unwilling to take stringent measures is because those involved in it, reportedly, belong to the ruling party, transport workers union, government service and even some in the list are members of the police force and journalists. Extortion is a disease that needs a strong medicine to cure. Warning is surely not the appropriate one.