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VOL 1 ISSUE 10 DECEMBER, 2011

NATIONAL POLITICAL NEWS MAGAZINE

FEAT

SPLITTING

THE HEART OF INDIA

www.lokayat.co.in

UNDER FIRE !


VOL 1 ISSUE 10 DECEMBER, 2011

SHREE MAA PRAKASHAN PVT. LTD.

INSIDE

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FEAT UNDER FIRE

Group Editor M.K. Tiwari Editor Vinod Varshney Executive Editor Dr. Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratana Consulting Editor Balram Assistant Editor Anjalika Rajlakshmi Campus Editor Javed Usmani Cine Editor Meera Singh Special Correspondent A.K. Chaturvedi Regional Editor M.P. Aaditya Tewari Regional Editor C.G. Gopal Thawait

14 UTTAR PRADESH: WHY SPLIT THE HEART OF INDIA ?

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20 DELHI: CHHATH PUJA A BIG POLITICAL ISSUE 28 GUJARAT: ADVANI-MODI PLAYED GAME OF POKER

Senior Graphic Designer A.N. Sahani

34 WEST BENGAL: MAMATA'S THEATRICS

Graphic Designer Ashi Sinha Adithi Sonali

36 FIRST CHRISTIAN CHIEF MINISTER IN ARUNACHAL

Regional Office Office Incharge Tamanna Faridi U.P.: B-121, 1st Floor, Prince Complex, Hazratganj, Lucknow-226001 Ph.: 0522-4003911 E-mail: lokayatlucknow@gmail.com

46 KARNATAKA: LIFELINE FOR YEDDY

40 KERALA: FIRST PAY DAMAGES THEN SEEK BAIL 56 SCIENCE: ARHAR GENOME-A TUG OF WAR FOR CREDIT 66 TRAVELOGUE: NOSTALGIC RETURN TO PARADISE

SAARC REMAINS LEAST INTEGRATED REGION

M.P. : Paraspar Colony, Chunabhatti, Kolar Road, Bhopal-462003 Ph.: 0755-4030162 E-mail : bhopal@lokayat.in

70 SPORT: METAMORPHOSIS OF CRICKET 72 FORMULA ONE HAS TRULY ARRIVED IN INDIA

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NITISH'S LOKPAL SENT JITTERS

MAMATA'S THEATRICS

LIFELINE FOR YEDDY

REGULARS 07 WITH CANDOUR 47 CAMPUS 53 HEALTH IS WEALTH

58 COOKERY 61 BOLLYWOOD 62 REGIONAL FILMS

63 HOLLYWOOD 76 BUSINESS & ECONOMY 78 EARTHY DREAMS

Published, printed, edited & owned by M.K. Tiwari Published from A-133, Pocket-B, Mayur Vihar Phase-II, Delhi-91 Printed at Vrindaban Graphic, E-34, Sector-7, Noida (U.P.)


LOKAYAT

LETTERS

RULE OF LAW PREVAILED IN BIHAR The very fact that the rule of law prevailed in Daraunda by-election in Bihar looks to a common man outside Bihar as a happy surprise. It totally changes the popular perception about Bihar. Sole credit for turning a jungle raj into a decent state should go to the effective leadership of Nitish Kumar.I fully agree with the report that Lalu-Rabri ruled for 15 years to serve themselves only. MANVENDRA KUMAR, DELHI

NO NEED OF SUPPLEMENTS The article is really useful. There are advertisements which lure people to use all kinds of supplements whether they are needed or not. There is need to create more awareness on this issue. SOMEN SHUKLA, RAIPUR

VANDE MATARAM

Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to all irrespective of caste, colour, creed or religion.In such a situation ignorance of the national song or boycotting it in the name of religion is nothing short of treason. For a true Indian the interest of the nation should be above all. This is a commendable research of the Professor of Aligarh Muslim University which proves that Muslims of India in the early last century had no objection to Bande Mataram. Even now there are millions of secular Muslims in the country. But the political vested interest spoils the secular environment in the country. Such people are in all the parties. RUCHIRA GUPTA, BHOPAL

WHO IS A DELHIITE ?

HISAR SIGNALS‌..

The article 'Fighting corruption in Universities not easy' was an eye-opener. Teachers and greedy education-businesswalahs have ruined the education of the country. Recently I read a World Bank report which also said the education of India is in doldrums. I have heard about Dr Chaturvedi since he was in Ravishankar University, and I appreciate his efforts to contain corruption. The nation needs such persons. I was more shocked to read about the state of affairs in the Nalanda University even before it was started. The appointment of the Vice Chancellor there, seems questionable.

Politicians play games in election times and lure people by committing many absurd things which later are forgotten till next elections. So I was not surprised at the article-who is a Delhiite? Announcing 85 percent jobs to Delhiites has truly been described as a political gimmick like so many played from time to time. The article raises the right question about who basically is a Dilliwalah as most of the Delhiites are migrants. The restriction should be only on those who in order to get jobs claim they are Delhiites though they might have come here only a few months ago. Anybody who has been living in Delhi for last ten years should be designated as Delhiite. Aadhar Card should make things easier on this issue.

Whether anybody gives credit to Anna factor or not, it is obvious that voters did punish Congress in Hisar. It was a reflection of people's anger towards the arrogance shown by congressmen of varied shades against those who raised the issue of corruption, black money and demanded a strong Lokpal. My hunch is Anna's crusade against corruption carries support of people across the country. So, Congress needs to be on its guard. The latest diatribe of Sonia Gandhi in Uttaranchal is not the right response. If Anna's core team is not spotless, then they should be punished, but at the same time, it should not become a ground to poohpooh the demand to establish an anticorruption system whether it is Lokpal or something else.

ANMOL GUPTA, BHOPAL

MUKESH DHAWAN, DELHI

CORRUPTION IN UNIVERSITIES

DHARMENDRA PAL SINGH, CHANDIGARH

E-mail your letters at lokayat01@gmail.com / vinodvarshney@hotmail.com

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DECEMBER, 2011


SAB JAG JAHIR HOI

LOKAYAT

Baba Ramdev's certificate to Digvijay Singh mear campaigns draw better media glare, whether they are in Delhi or elsewhere, in political arena, yoga camp or Kabaddi field. Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh both seem to know too well how to grab media attention. They are a perfect match for each other. And when it comes to war of words, they never know to withdraw or surrender. In the wake of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections approaching fast, their rivalry is getting murkier and creative both, with Baba calling Singh a Rakshasputra (son of a monster) and even Charitraheen (characterless) and Digvijay terming him a fraud transforming the ongoing wordy duel into a free entertainment to millions. The mercurial Congress leader had started trading his guns on Ramdev long before, especially when Baba was seen siding with the Saffron party (BJP), wanting to go against the Congress in the forthcoming elections. Digvijay used his political acumen and invoked strategies to neutralise Baba's impact by unearthing stories about the venalities of this so called righteous propagandist, just as he did with other members of civil society like Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, and Arvind Kejriwal, among others. On the other hand, Baba extracted his Ayurvedic steroid and oxygen from the vapours emanating from over half a dozen mega scams of the UPA government at the centre, especially the issue of the black money stashed in foreign banks. Humiliation of having suffered the crackdown, which forced him to run away in woman's dress in the midnight from the battle ground of Ramleela Maidan in Delhi, has generated enough bile in his body and mind to wage a relentless strike against Congress, especially against Digvijay Singh the Congress incharge for Uttar Pradesh. Baba is leaving no stone unturned to expose and characterise the general secretary Digvijay Singh. He is touring the length and breadth of the state exhorting people to teach lesson to his perpetrators, who are rakshasas. In this battle he has extended support to Mayawati, perhaps imagining her Ma Kali by and threw up a statement that she would be a better PM than Rahul Gandhi. One can imagine how much pained Digvijay Singh might be at this as he is the one who has vowed to make Rahul the PM, his only and perhaps the mission in politics. So why accuse of vendetta when Digvijay Singh insists that Baba Ramdev's outfits should be investigated for alleged tax evasion and money laundering.

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–Narad DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

PUB TALK

Sari ke ooper kaun! he mind loses its sanity in defeat. This is evident from the utterances of CPM leaders in West Bengal. See the example of Biman Bose, chairperson of the Left Front who chose to salaciously describe the nature of relationship between the Congress and Mamata Banerjee. This bordered on vulgarity. He blurted mockingly:" How can I say whether the Congress will decide to stay over the Trinamool's sari or under it"? The use of sexist symbol for Mamata Banerjee is not a new thing for Marxists in West Bengal. One can remember with horror the crude remarks against Mamata during the electioneering. The former Arambagh MP Anil Biswas chose to liken her to a 'whore of Sonagachi", who got rich clients from America to finance her election campaign! It is no wonder that in Marxist's thinking the contempt for capitalism gets morphed to prurient gaffe. For a mindset intolerant of any dissent so common in communist organisations it looks natural, even inescapable. Okay comrades, keep your hatred, but spare the fair sex from sexual innuendoes, please.

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Katjujee, Badhe Chalo‌.! assing judgment is his vocation. And passing comments? He does that too aplenty, whether needed or not. The more bizarre the comment, the better publicity it gets. When Justice Markandey Katju chose to lash the media, he found it was a ball game altogether different from the court room semantics. It virtually led to a slanging match. The judge said a majority of the media was full of imbeciles who could not understand philosophy, economics or any other serious stuff, yet they were journalists! He took upon himself not only to gauge the intellectual capacity of media personnel, but also chose to provide the right recipe to 'treat' them. He suggested fines, suspension of publishers' licenses, etc. among other things. Thank god, he did not think of sending all media persons to rehabilitation camps, lunatic asylums, jails or worse! Justice Katju's jurisprudence suggests that this fourth pillar of democracy is so wayward in its behavior that it should be kept in the guardianship of any of the other three pillars. Champions of democracy and free press may be mad at his judgment, but in contrast to this we see many gloating over his stance, especially those, who had been at the receiving end of various expose. They might be shouting in their dreams: Katju jee badhe chalo, ham tumahare saath hain!

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DECEMBER, 2011


WITH CANDOUR

LOKAYAT

Tell the US, enough is enough! hat kind of deportment do we expect from a country with which we are developing strategic partnership? It cannot be on big-brother, small- brother terms. Otherwise, it will not be sustainable. But the U.S. seems to think differently. It has no regard for mutuality. It is still suffering from the hangover of cold war years when it practised brutal unilateralism. It may not be short of money and power, but it surely suffers from huge deficit in culture and manners. It is routine for the U.S. to display their annoyance and arrogance, if we happen to disagree with them on any point. For several years India was stomaching humiliation silently as part of standard diplomacy. This silent suffering should end now. We should put in its place 'deterrent' diplomacy. Prakash Karat of CPM put it bluntly–tit for tat. Brazil has shown the way. When the US started body checks of Brazilian tourists, it returned the 'compliments' to US citizens travelling to that country, though Brazil exempted visitors from other nations from the ordeal. Karat spoke about the Brazilian formula while protesting the objectionable treatment the US officials meted out to our venerable former President APJ Abul Kalam. Despite knowing Dr Kalam's true identity and illustrious status, he was subjected to frisking at JFK airport in New York, not once but twice–once in the airport terminal and the second time while he was inside the plane. And, this was not the first incident of the kind either. In 2009 also he was subjected to body search by the staff of the Continental Airlines at our own Indira Gandhi International Airport although there is a protocol that Presidents and former Presidents are exempt from frisking. The news of US officials' reprehensible behaviour was received with palpable anger and pain by people across the country. What makes it more painful is that it was done because he was a Muslim. We may recall that in 2009 Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was pulled aside for interrogation at the New York Liberty International Airport while he was on way to join India's Independence Day celebrations in the US. Again because he was a Muslim. Not long ago Hardip Singh Puri, our Ambassador to the United Nations, was also made to go through the irksome procedure. Because he was a Sikh? Or is it a reflection of the American ire towards India because we do not always say 'yes' to them ? Strangely ambassadors and ministers routinely get such degrading treatment. Ambassador Meera Shankar, the first woman envoy to the US, for instance, was subjected to hands-on search some years ago despite her revealing who she was. In her case also it was done twice. In 2002, our Defence Minister George Fernandes was stripsearched at Dulles Airport once when he had gone there on official visit and again while he was en route to Brazil in mid 2003. Last year the former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was subjected to a pat-down at Chicago airport. This seems to be the special American hospitality reserved for all VVIPs; the less said about the reception lesser mortals get in the US, the better. So, no matter what differences we have, we stand united in upholding the honour of the country and its citizens. We too have our self-respect, let us keep it zealously.

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DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

COVER STORY

Raman Singh's achievements

“

The charismatic leader of BJP and Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh has skillfully avoided all intra-party controversies dogging his party in various states. He has delivered very high growth rate to the state. His major thrust is now to benefit farmers in a big way so that Chhattisgarh continues to improve its farm produce and productivity both.

�

By Anjalika Rajlakshmi

hhattisgarh has been described for decades as the 'rice bowl of India'. It is a place where several varieties of crops are grown in abundance as it has three climatic zones to support the diversity. But rice cultivation is preponderant and some 90 percent of the state's population is directly or indirectly dependent on it. Chhattisgarh used to have thousands of varieties of rice, but thanks to modern agricultural practices, now only a few high- yielding varieties are popular with farmers.

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DECEMBER, 2011


COVER STORY

LOKAYAT

under Congress fire

Recently the state got Krishi Karman award for the highest increase in production of rice. The paddy crop in the picture justifies this.

Talk of strong Lokpal Bill is giving jitters hhattisgarh is planning to introduce a strong Lokpal Bill on the lines of the one Uttarakhand has passed. This may be causing sleepless nights to those politicians whose sole aim is to fill their personal coffer. It may alarm the bureaucracy as well. It is particularly bad news for the Congress as passing a strong Lokpal Bill will make the Anna factor effective in Chhattisgarh too. Besides, the Congress will find it difficult to defend the weak Lokpal Bill which the UPA Government presumably intends to present in the winter session of Parliament.

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Recently the state won accolades from the Centre as it won the 'rice race'. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh handed an award to Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh for record production of paddy. But the Congress is jealous of this credible achievement of the BJP Government; out of power for the last ten years, it is getting impatient and is hell-bent on returning to power in the 2013 elections. The saga of Chhattisgarh's achievements in agriculture is quite interesting. For ages its farmers had been cultivating low-yielding varieties of

The Congress leader and first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Ajit Jogi not giving credence to the success of Dr Raman Singh in bringing about major change in rice productivity in Chhattisgarh

crops. Irrigation facilities were primitive and use of chemical fertilisers unheard of. In such conditions it had not been able to harness its full potential. Under the dynamic leadership of Dr Raman Singh this dismal picture changed and the agricultural sector got the boost it deserved. No wonder the state bagged the top honour-- Krishi Karman Award- for rice production. The marked increase in production was brought about by using highyielding seeds, fertilisers and better irrigation facilities. Timely good

Chhattisgarh has achieved several milestones in the area of agriculture, however, it is yet to harness its true potential.

DECEMBER, 2011

9


LOKAYAT

COVER STORY

The state produced record 61.59 lakhs tons of rice registering around 50 percent increase over the last year. Productivity also increased.

monsoon also helped the process. Thus the state produced last season a record 61.59 lakhs tonnes of rice-an increase of 50 percent over previous year. Productivity-wise it scaled 1640 kg per hectare which was substantially high in the Chhattisgarh environs, but below the national level.

Congress attitude weird Local Congress leaders, however, ridicule the achievement at public meetings, especially in rural areas. They lampoon the state government for showing huge increase in paddy production and cornering an award for it. Their argument is trite and foolish. It may sound sensible only to simple people, the illiterate country folk. When the land under rice cultivation has shrunk, when large tracts of agricultural land have gone to industry, how could production increase, they ask. Their innuendo is that the state government had fudged the figures. None other than

Through efforts of NGOs like Dharohar Samiti, attempts have been made to use modern techniques to grow the traditional rice varieties.

NAND KUMAR PATEL HINTS AT STATE WIDE ongress President Nand Kumar Patel, who is focussing more on the general plight of farmers to revive the chances of the party till next elections, has accused in a telephonic conversation with 'Lokayat' correspondent that Dr Raman Singh government discriminates and does not buy paddy from farmers during the months of March-April; they do it only in the months of NovemberMarch. "The state government buys paddy worth Rs 6,000 crore every year, but why farmers whose paddy comes in the months of MarchApril should be neglected and not given the advantage of the centreapproved minimum support price."He accused that this was done to benefit rice millers and traders who bought paddy at lesser rates than

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Nand Kumar Patel, the Chhattisgarh Congress president, whose strategy is to raise issues of farmers more and more to revive the prospects of the party, which has tasted defeat twice in the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh at the hands of BJP

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DECEMBER, 2011


COVER STORY

LOKAYAT

The state government buys paddy worth Rs 6,000 crore every year, but ignores those formers whose paddy comes in March–April.

The Union Minister of State for Agriculture from Chhattisgarh Dr Charan Das Mahant has evoked new hopes in the farmers of the state, but he has yet to put something concrete on the ground.

Dr Charan Das Mahant, Union Minister of state for Agriculture has questioned the veracity of the data. These detractors either forget, or hide the fact that currently the expert advice is to use less land for optimum yield of food grains by adopting modern agricultural practices, so as to release more land for other urgent, productive purposes. And, it is a fallacy that more land means more production. The watch- word is "intense use". Anybody can see that such intelligent allocation of scarce resources has produced dramatic results. Who can deny the very high rate of economic growth registered by Chhattisgarh ? Last year it was more than 11 percent, the highest in the country! Official sources admit that some land has been allotted to set up power plants and industries. It was a deliberate decision. The state could not ignore the need to industrialise in order to expand the job market and improve the living

FARMERS’ AGITATION the minimum support price. Recently he visited Bagicha block of Jaspur constituency where a potato growing farmer Bal Bhagvan Yadav had committed suicide. He says the government should look into why farmers of this area do not get fertilisers at the right price. Mr Patel said if fertilisers are not provided to farmers at the right price, then we would launch a state wide agitation.Interesting thing is Nand Kumar Sai, the BJP Rajya Sabha member also lamented the general plight of farmers. He said the farming has not remained remunerative any more for the farmers. Something big and serious needs to be done as majority of people of Chhattisgarh directly or indirectly depend on farming.

Nand Kumar Sai the BJP Rajya Sabha member from Chhattisgarh wants a bigger change on the ground as the farming has not remained remunerative for the farmers.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

COVER STORY

No bonus to paddy farmers

Last year, Chhattisgarh registered more than 11 percent economic growth, the highest in the country and better than China. The state is heading for the same this year, too.

standard of its growing population. But utmost care has been taken to ensure that as far as possible only wastelands are acquired for industrial use --records show 70 percent of land acquired was fallow, 17 percent was of low productivity and only 8 percent was paddy fields. Dr Raman Singh was lucky in so far as the monsoon in 2004-2008 was concerned: it came on time for the kharif crop. His government made special arrangements to provide seeds and fertilisers to the farmers in time. As a result production went up by 20 percent since the time of Ajit Jogi in the first phase of his rule. After a gap of one year the monsoon favoured Dr Raman again. And rice production went up further by 50 percent compared to the previous year, when the monsoon was inordinately weak. The good monsoon apart, the government tried to bring some virgin area under the plough. According to the officials, during the 2010-11 kharif, the acreage under cultivation was increased from the previous year's 3.48 million hectares to 3.51 million hectares. The agricultural production growth in Chhattisgarh is attributed to new irrigation facilities also. The off-take of fertilizer also suggests that farmers use more of it, which contributed to the higher production. Supply of certified good quality seeds is another factor that might have helped. Certified seeds distribution in four years from 2000 to 2003 was 174, 725 quintals, whereas it was 405, 620 quintals in a single year in

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DECEMBER, 2011

2010, which was more than double the quantity distributed in four years of Congress rule! So, this is the secret of enhanced rice production in Chhattisgarh, a fact the Congress is reluctant to concede. However, one thing is worth noting: the monsoon is crucial for Chhattisgarh as it has only 30 percent irrigated land. Thus a big task ahead for any government is to increase irrigation facilities so that food grain production remains high on a sustainable basis.

Rice comes across borders too The Congress has used one more deadly barb to fling at Dr Raman Singh. The state procured 6.34 million tonnes of paddy in 2010-11 as compared to 6.24 million tonnes the previous year. Of these, 5.11 million tonnes was procured through government agencies while 1.23 million tonnes was purchased through traders. Congress leaders question these figures. They allege that since the procurement price in Chhattisgarh was higher than that paid by the neighbouring states in border areas, the traders unloaded huge quantity of rice across into the state. There seems to be some truth in it as the government has decided that from November 1 this year it would not allow entry of any paddy into Chhattisgarh without permission of the Controller of Food and Civil Supplies. Collectors of the border districts too have been instructed to keep vigil during the coming kharif season.

The Congress is castigating Dr Raman Singh government again for not giving bonus to paddy farmers. Congress leader Ajit Jogi last month reminded the government to pay Rs 270 per quintal as bonus because Dr Raman Singh had promised this during the elections. But officials say that since MSP (support price) is enhanced regularly by the Centre ( which is Rs 1080 per quintal for ordinary paddy and Rs 1111 for quality varieties) and, on top of it, huge amount of money is spent by the government on inputs to increase production which raises farmers' total income, the bonus payment is unnecessary. BJP leaders maintain that it is in the best interest of farmers to spend money on inputs, additional irrigation facilities and provision of cheap loan. They enhance the overall production capacity of farmers and thus benefit them. Bonus is a valid instrument in those years when the monsoon fails and farmers suffer. If one analyses the productivity and reward for paddy growers, it would show that farmers already earn extra income through higher production. That was why Raman Singh government had announced bonus last year but not now. Congress leaders have come up with another charge against the government. They say that in the Janjgir-Champa, Korba and Raigarh regions thermal power stations are spewing so much ash into the environment that it cuts productivity of the land drastically. They cite figures released by environmental agencies to show that the ambient temperature of the area has changed by 5 degrees C affecting the crops. But according to BJP leaders this is a canard put out to discount the highgrowth initiatives taken by the Chhattisgarh government in power generation. It is worth noting that the state is on the highway of producing so much electricity that it will make up 50 percent of the shortage in the country in the next decade.


COVER STORY

LOKAYAT

Dr Raman Singh Seeks US Investment Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh is a 'development man' far removed from any controversy. Even UPA ministers appreciate his peopleoriented welfare measures. According to him, the key to successful administration lies in ensuring good co-ordination with the bureaucracy. Raman Singh, who does not tolerate corruption at any level, is a great votary of the Jan Lokpal Bill authored mainly by Anna Hazare. On the occasion of the birth-day of former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani 'Lokayat' correspondent interviewed the CM. Excerpts:

You have just returned from an 11-day tour of the US. What did you gain from the visit? Chhattisgarh has gained a lot in these 11 days. I have invited Indian diaspora and American entrepreneurs to participate in the rapid development of the state by investing capital here. And they have evinced keen interest in the proposal. I met Darrell Steinberg, president of California Senate in San Francisco in this connection and discussed possibilities of technical cooperation in areas of renewable energy and information technology How much has Chhattisgarh developed during your tenure? I have no hesitation in saying that during my stint as CM, Chhattisgarh has developed at a fast pace. The economic growth rate has been 10.5% during the last five years. The GDP growth rate was 11.49% in 2009-10, which rose to 11.57% in 2010-11. At this high rate Chhattisgarh is among the top three in India. The per capita consumption of

electricity in the state has risen from 354 units to 1547 units in the last 10 years. That is a good record for a state making great strides on the path of development. New Raipur is being built on the lines of Chandigarh. This new capital is being developed in the publicprivate partnership mode. What is special about your Food Security programme? Thirty four lakh people under the poverty line are getting benefit under this scheme. Success of the public distribution system depends on the supply chain and network. Chhattisgarh has made great strides in this direction. Food at low price is being provided to the poor from private shops. People are fed up with the price rise. What steps have you taken in this regard as the Chief Minister? Everything is not in the hands of the state government. If the Central Government raises the price of petrol 15 times a year, what can we do? The

Centre should take state governments into confidence before doing any such thing. The UPA government seldom consults the states even on matters concerning them. In such a situation, whatever we could do, we are doing. Chhattisgarh is badly hit by Naxalism. How do you cope with this menace? Naxalism is the greatest threat to the security of the country. The Prime Minister has reiterated this fact several times and the entire country agrees. Some parties, however, play politics on this matter which is undesirable. Chhattisgarh is highly vulnerable to this problem. I think it should be rooted out from the entire country with people's cooperation. Violent methods will not, should not, succeed. It has no place in this land of Mahatma Gandhi. I am sure democracy will win in the end. India is a great democracy but some misguided elements want to destroy it.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

UTTAR PRADESH

Why split the heart of India ?

WHAT AND WHY A resolution passed by the UP Assembly proposed to split the big state into four smaller states, namely, Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Paschim Pradesh. Here is a brief description of the proposal and the political shape which the new states would acquire : Purvanchal (27 districts): Being one of the most backward regions of UP, there has always been a political demand to make it into a separate state. The Uttar Pradesh government in 1991 established the Purvanchal Vikas Nidhi to fund regional developmental projects to advance balanced development, meet local needs and redress regional disparities. Recently the ex- SP leader Amar Singh gave the demand a new impetus. Manoj Tiwari, a close aide of Singh and a known actor of Bhojpuri cinema, also bolstered the demand. The most commonly spoken language in Purvanchal is Bhojpuri. This area sends maximum number of MPs and MLAs among all four proposed states. Purvanchal would comprise:-

By Vinod Varshney

ttar Pradesh situated in the heart of India is bigger than most countries of the world, except China, the US and Indonesia, and is considered unmanageable because of its huge size and population which exceeds 20 crores. The founder of our Constitution Baba Ambedkar was in favour of smaller states, and this was the rationale Mayawati gave when hurriedly-- within ten minutes without debate -she got her proposal of splitting

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DECEMBER, 2011

UP into four states passed in the Vidhan Sabha. It is not just Mayawati who has come out as a great votary of dividing UP; BJP had always extolled the merits of smaller states. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, three new states-- Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand --were created. Ajit Singh inheriting Charan Singh's legacy had been demanding Harit Pradesh, which is akin to what Mayawati has

named as Paschim Pradesh. The Congress has created several new states in the past, but now in the context of the intense agitation for separate Telangana, it is wary. Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party is extremely angry at Mayawati's move, raising 'the pride of UP' as his reason, but actually because , if it happened, the influence of SP would shrink to just one small state. It would make a world of difference to his sphere


UTTAR PRADESH

Only the Centre can decide and execute

OF THE PROPOSAL Allahabad, Azamgarh, Mau, Ballia, Bahraich, Basti, Siddharth Nagar, Deoria, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Ghazipur, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Jaunpur, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Shrawasti, Sant Kabirnagar, Chandauli, Balrampur and Kaushambi. Awadh Pradesh (18 districts): Awadh has been a historical region, which has always maintained its own identity and culture; hence arose a demand for a separate state with Lucknow as capital. The people in this region known for Nawabs feel some kind of pride in their distinct culture. The new state would comprise:-Pilibhit, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Lucknow, Kanpur Nagar, Kanpur Dehat, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Barabanki, Rae Bareli, Unnao, Kannauj, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Kanshiram Nagar, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar, Auraiyya and Hardoi. Bundelkhand (7 districts): The demand for Bundelkhand had started as early as the 1950s, when the States Reorganisation Commission was to start work. When the demand was not heeded, most of Bundelkhand's princely states eventually became part of Madhya Pradesh, while the parts that had been directly ruled by the

of influence! He had been thrice chief minister of such a big state which could even ensure prime ministership if time and tide of alliances became favourable. So, there is reason for his declaring that he would not allow the proposed split to happen at any cost. This apart, he flayed the method by which the proposal was declared passed. He said the entire procedure was illegal. Other opposition parties have labeled the move as a political gimmick,

LOKAYAT

British, became part of UP. The demand might not have been heeded, but it never died down entirely. Instead a Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha was founded in the 1990s and Jhansi became its epicentre. The Morcha demanded 14 districts from MP and 7 from UP to constitute Bundelkhand. It is one of the most backward areas of the state. The Districts to come from UP are:Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jhansi, Jalaun and Lalitpur. Paschim Pradesh (22 districts): Ajit Singh, the chief of RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal) has been vociferously demanding it, calling it Harit Pradesh. Others demanded it by the name of Braj Pradesh, as the region incorporates the historic areas of Braj. If formed, this would be among the richest states of India, as it has several industrial centres like Noida and Greater Noida, from where maximum revenue comes to the state. It will have in it:-Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Bijnore, Moradabad, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Rampur, Agra, Aligarh, Mathura, Firozabad, Mahamayanagar, Panchsheelnagar (Hapur), Prabudhnagar (Shamli), Etah, Mainpuri, Budaun and Bheemnagar (Sambhal).

a ploy to reap benefit in the assembly elections early next year, and to divert attention from the various scams and controversies dogging the government. Independent experts, however, say it would be a good thing from the point of providing better administration, but this should be done with caution. Many of them assert that UP remained backward because of its mammoth size. It is an ordeal for people to travel long distances to reach the capital (

ayawati might have got the resolution passed by the Vidhan Sabha, but the Centre alone can take a final call on such important matters as the state's division. The constitutional process is lengthy and cumbersome-it may take 5 to 10 years! According to Articles 2-4 of the Constitution, once the state gives its nod, a Bill on the matter has to be introduced and passed by both the houses of Parliament. Thus the ball is in the 'Central' court and Mayawati is watching from the sideline.

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Lucknow) or the High Court at Allahabad for umpteen matters. It takes a lot of energy, time and money and people without these are terribly handicapped. Cultural differences are also cited in support of smaller states. Experts say western Uttar Pradesh resembles more like Haryana and Rajasthan than eastern UP. Likewise, eastern districts of UP resemble Bihar and districts coming under Bundelkhand have cultural similarity with the regions falling in Bundelkhand of Madhya Pradesh. And Awadh has a culture of its own. About the criticism from her opponents Mayawati asserts that the decision to divide the state had been taken after long deliberations and threadbare analysis of the pros and cons. She refuted that it was a political 'stunt'; she reminded that she had written to the Centre about the demand as early as 2007, but there was no response. Therefore the recourse to the resolution in the Vidhan Sabha . The BJP has demanded that a second Re-organisation Commission be set up to consider demands for creation of new states: four from UP, Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, Gorkhaland from West Bengal and Vidarbha from Maharashtra. The Congress appears to concur with the idea.

DECEMBER, 2011

15


LOKAYAT

NATIONAL

No Adjournments, Please! Winter session is most crucial

The time has come for Parliament to prove to the nation and its people that it is really serious about caging the monster of corruption. We fervently hope there will be no lengthy adjournments so as to scuttle this most important issue before it, and the winter session will deliver to the country a well-deserving new year gift. By Deepak Razdan

arliament's winter session has got off to a stormy start on 22nd November. Predictably, the first week saw logjam and no worthwhile business undertaken. The BJP and the Left insisted on their adjournment motions on black money and price-rise. The Government finally settled with the principal opposition, and decided to face BJP's adjournment motion on black money. The Left's price-rise debate will be under Rules which do not require voting, and therefore less trouble. But the problem does not end there. The Telangana brigade is showing more "violence," and takes the major credit for the first adjournments. The Government has shown determination to go ahead with policy decisions and to give its mind on the issue cleared FDI in multi-brand retail, which might be fiercely opposed by the BJP and the Left. A youth's slap on the Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar's face after a

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public function in the heart of the Capital is going to overshadow both inflation and corruption debates. There is no chill in Delhi yet, and the Winter Session is going to be a season of hot politics. The major issue of corruption is still not resolved. The Government bought peace with Team Anna and the Opposition by promising a strong Lokpal Bill. The Bill is nearly prepared by the Standing Committee but the Prime Minister's inclusion is not clear because of differences. It is difficult to say if the draft will satisfy the social activist, Anna Hazare, or the Opposition which found the issue a Godsend to attack the Government. If the civil society led by Anna Hazare or the Opposition finds it lacking in spirit and content then definitely the Government will have a bumpy ride. The reports of looming economic slowdown, high interest rates, revelations of black money deposited in tax havens

abroad and so on are also agitating the MPs. They would pummel the government seeking clarifications on fresh disclosures on the 2G spectrum scam, and the scandals connected with the working of the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and the rural health scheme. The Finance Ministry's 25th March note exposing the then Finance Minister Chidambaram's role in not insisting on the auction route for the 2G licenses would be powerful ammunition for the Opposition to attack both P.C. and P.M. Elections to the Assemblies of five States --Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa --are scheduled to be held by May next. It is a matter of few months now. The month-long Parliament session will certainly be coloured by "election-politics." The hottest issue would be Mayawati's 'bomb' to divide UP into four smaller statesAwadh Pradesh, Paschim Pradesh,


NATIONAL

LOKAYAT

The Bills That Await Passing Urgently Some of the Bills the Government hopes to pass during the winter session of Parliament which began on 22nd November, 2011 are: The Bill on FDI in retail, The Lokpal Bill, The Whistleblowers Bill, The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, The Life Insurance Corporation of India Amendment Bill, The Seeds Bill, The Educational Tribunals Bill, The National Commission for Heritage Sites Bill, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, The Prasar Bharati Bill, The Women's Reservation Bill, The Copyright Amendment Bill.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and opposition leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj

The Bills proposed to be introduced include: The National Food Security Bill, The Prevention of Money Laundering Amendment Bill, The Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, The Consumer Protection Amendment Bill, The National Sports Development Bill, The Companies Bill. Purvanchal and Bundelkhand. The Telangana protagonists are bound to get ample encouragement from the UP development and this would have powerful echo in Parliament. In Uttarakhand, the BJP Chief Minister Maj Gen (Retd) Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri deftly enacted a Lokayukta Act that was hailed by Team Anna as "cent per cent" in tune with the Jan Lokpal Bill. His was a master stroke because it not only dealt a body blow to the UPA Government but he salvaged his own party's image which had been in the mud under the previous Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. In Punjab, rocked by numerous scams in recent months, the State Lokayukta has ordered an inquiry into a land- grabbing case involving the Akali Dal Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal. All these state-level issues have a bearing on the national politics and will reverberate in Parliament. The issue of internal security, recurring demand for the withdrawal of

the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir, the Naxalite and Maoist menace engulfing Central India and West Bengal will also generate pretty much heat during the fourweek session of Parliament.

China's military build-up on the border Debates will be sought on foreign policy issues not only because of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's several foreign jaunts during recent weeks but also due to pregnant issues like China's build up on the border and presence of Chinese troops in the Pak-occupied Kashmir. Pakistani infiltration across the border may also come up for discussion. But the biggest headache of the treasury benches could be the anticorruption Bill. Anna Hazare demands not only the Lokpal enactment, but also a debate on the quality of Indian democracy. The all-pervasive corruption in the administration and the need to stem the rot through effective legislation have

Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley

revived the people's desire for reforming the country's democratic institutions. The Opposition parties may have got on the band wagon against corruption for their own ends, but they will have to lend their weight in reforming the outrageous system if they do not want to expose themselves in the people's court. Meanwhile the entire industrial sector is in ferment and is demanding wholesale reforms. The Wipro chairman Aziz Premji recently said, "complete absence of decision-making" in the Government was the country's biggest concern today. Similar views were expressed by Mukesh Ambani also. Edits in pink (business) newspapers have echoed identical concern about the government's total policy paralysis. If there be only minimal disruptions during the winter session, Parliament can find time to exorcise the ghost of corruption, restore credibility in the country's democratic institutions and help rebuild the Government's capacity to provide clean administration.

DECEMBER, 2011

17


LOKAYAT

INTERNATIONAL

SAARC remains the least integrated region By Lokayat Correspondent

he SAARC has been in existence for 26 years, yet efforts to make it a resurgent economic grouping like the ASEAN or the European Union have not succeeded. In spite of some recent progress, South Asia remains the least integrated region in the world. Intra-regional trade as a share of the total for South Asia remains at about five per cent-- the lowest for any region. It is 50 per cent in the case of ASEAN. On the basis of other parameters like cross-border investment, movement of people, sharing of ideas, communication as measured by telephone calls (only seven per cent of international telephone calls are regional, compared to 71 per cent in East Asia), and transfer of technology and royalty payments, the showing is unimpressive. South Asian countries have registered high economic growth in recent years, yet mass poverty persists – half the world's poor are found here. Why has SAARC not worked for the removal of this crying shame? For the dismal performance of the organisation, the chief responsibility should lie with Pakistan which has made hostility towards India an important instrument of state policy and uses all international fora including the SAARC to promote that policy. Pakistan is particularly jealous that SAARC would help India boost its

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SAARC convention centre at Addu in Maldive

PakToo TardyTo Reciprocate ccording to the World Trade Organisation, the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status means you cannot discriminate between countries, rich or poor, weak or strong, in the matter of trade. If you open your market for certain services or goods, you have to do so for all countries you have granted the MFN status. India had granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 and demanded it to reciprocate, but it did so only just before the recent SAARC summit in Addu (Maldives).

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clout in the region. The 17th SAARC Summit hosted by Maldives, according to many observers, was just a talking shop and participants,

as usual, mouthed pious intentions. Its main agenda was implementation of the provisions of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) without


INTERNATIONAL which the region could not become prosperous. Since its entry into force in 2006 the trade volume under SAFTA barely touched $ 1.3 billion. Analysts say that even by 2035 it may not reach the level of 10 per cent. Theme for the Summit was 'Building Bridges'. Obviously the region needed many 'bridges', mental and fiscal, to overcome reservations, suspicions and plain inertia and help establish stronger people-to-people contact and promote regional integration. The SAARC has created a few institutions for the purpose. They include the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO) in Dhaka, Arbitration Council in Islamabad and a development fund called SDF in Thimphu. The South Asian University in New Delhi opened its doors to Masters level students from the region in August last year. Three campuses-one in Bangladesh-- of the university are to be set up soon elsewhere, but the very first campus is still in a state of disarray. It may be some time before the university overcomes its teething troubles. An important issue before SAARC countries is evolution of a system of mutual recognition of academic and professional degrees and harmonisation of academic standards. A lot needs to be done in this area. Another interesting proposal considered was about a regional railway network among SAARC countries. For this an agreement between member nations had to be concluded. A demonstration run of a container train from Bangladesh to Nepal via India was suggested. It is to be seen how soon India can make this happen. An Indian Ocean Cargo and Passenger Ferry Service has also been mooted . Preparatory work has been going on for some time in this regard. Creation of an electricity grid in the SAARC region is another fascinating idea: a few member nations are rich in energy resources while others have

LOKAYAT

Addu city where SAARC summit took place last month

China scores a point in SAARC bservers, especially China, made hectic lobbying to upgrade their status within the SAARC which has eight members-Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka--and nine Observers-the US, China, Japan, Myanmar, Australia, Iran, Korea, Mauritius and the European Union. Many of these Observers want a greater say on issues concerning the SAARC region. Among these China sought the status of a dialogue partner. India had reservations on this matter in view of China's habit of seeking to promote its strategic interests in South Asian countries with the help of Pakistan. To begin with, India was not comfortable to have China even as an Observer and, it was to counter China's influence that India brought in Japan and South Korea. It may be mentioned it was at India's initiative at the 15th Summit in Colombo, that a moratorium on admission of more Observers was imposed.

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Addu atoll in Maldives

technological edge and experience to generate electricity. To make it possible to trade electricity among the nations, it has been decided to have a Regional Power Exchange. Similarly to take care of shortage of foodgrains a Food Bank may be made functional by next year. There has not been much cooperation among the SAARC countries in the war against criminals and terrorists. Illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and small arms is rampant in the region. A SAARC convention has to be ratified for mutual assistance in this important area.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

DELHI

Chhathpuja became a political issue in Delhi By Madhurendra Kumar

n view of the impending MCD elections early next year, the Congress and BJP, both are trying hard to lure Purvanchali voters in Delhi who are estimated to be around twenty lakh, a sizeable vote bank to make or mar the political fortunes of any party. To lure Purvanchalis the Delhi BJP did a bizarre populist act of declaring public holiday on Chhathpuja for the MCD employees and demanded that it be declared a gazetted holiday for employees of Delhi Administration too. Congress leaders say that the MCD Act does not allow it to declare holiday as such; this right rests with the Lieutenant Governor or the Delhi government. However, the issue is so emotive to Purvanchalis that it created a dilemma for the Congress Party in Delhi whether to support the demand or go along the opinion of Sheila Dixit, the Chief Minister of Delhi. It may be noted Chhathpuja is a restricted holiday in Delhi since 2001. But seeing the political heat created by the BJP on the issue, Congress finally demanded that it should be declared a gazetted holiday. Chhath Puja is known as the most auspicious festival in Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern UP. The issue acquired bigger political momentum in Delhi when the demand of

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Chhathpuja being celebrated on the bank of Yamuna in Delhi.

gazetted holiday in Delhi was reinforced by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar who wrote a letter to his counterpart Sheila Dixit in this regard. But she did not budge from her old decision of this being a restricted holiday. BJP understands the political implications of this demand more than anybody else as it has already tasted the bitter defeat during the last Assembly elections as Purvanchali voters favoured Congress more. Things for the party became difficult when Poonam Azad, one of the Purvanchali faces in the BJP was denied ticket, which ensued an uproarious disgruntlement within the party. Denial of ticket was interpreted as not giving due importance to the voters

belonging to Purvanchal. The infighting of the BJP on this issue benefitted the Congress. Having learnt the lesson BJP has changed its strategy and is trying hard to gain the support of Purvanchal migrants. In these circumstances the BJP took no time in accusing the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of giving 'step motherly' treatment to the city's residents from eastern part of the country. Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta took a delegation to Sheila Dixit to press for the demand, but she enlightened them with the argument that there was a prescribed limit for gazetted holidays and Delhi Government had already exhausted the limit. However, any employee of the


DELHI

LOKAYAT

Delhi has now approximately 40 lakh residents hailing from Purvanchal. This demographic change of Delhi has caught the attention of all political parties. Delhi BJP which had ignored them in the past has learnt the lesson well after the last defeat in the Assembly elections and has changed its attitude towards them...

A part of Delhi will become Singapore, East Delhi will remain like UP & Bihar inally the behemoth, the MCD which is the second largest municipal corporation in the world after Tokyo, is going to be split into three. The Union Home Ministry gave its nod to the proposal of Chief Minister Sheila Dixit with minor amendments last week. Mrs Dixit is going to present the Bill related to it on November 30, and most likely, it would be passed the next day on the force of majority the Congress has in the Vidhan Sabha. The split would ensure that parts of Delhi would shine like Singapore, and the East Delhi, where one third of the population lives in abysmal conditions, may find further deterioration in civic amenities and services and remains only like UP & Bihar. The revenue collection by way of property tax in East Delhi is just 10 percent of the entire city. But its needs more to spend to match rest of Delhi, however, resources would dwindle after the split. Up till now entire Delhi used to be treated as one. BJP too had in the past deliberated upon and wanted smaller municipalities but could never formulate a clear cut structure of governance in the city with disparate state of development in the same city. The split would increase the control of the Delhi government over the municipal bodies andthey would lose their autonomy substantially in many matters. This has to be seen how the people of Delhi react to this in the next elections for Vidhan Sabha which are to take place in the April next year and the notification for which may come in February. It is expected that the split would be formalised with the assent of the President Smt Pratibha Patil by January. With the split the reservation for women candidates would go up to 50 percent from the existing 33 percent on the pattern of Bihar.

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Delhi administration can take holiday on Chhathpuja as it is already a restricted holiday. Sensing the possibility of losing of Purvanchal voters, the Delhi Congress president Jai Prakash Agarwal wrote a letter to the Chief Minister demanding public holiday on Chhathpuja. It had become rather necessary in view of the fact that Congress MP from Delhi belonging to Purvanchal Mahabal Mishra had extended his support to this BJP demand. To contain the damage expected by not conceding the demand of gazetted holiday Sheila Dixit visited many ghats of Chhathpuja and utilised the opportunity driving home her point of view on the issue. The BJP, in power in the MCD, had called a special session of the house to declare Chhathpuja a gazetted holiday. Congress councillors accused the step was being taken with political motives though the local body had no such power. The resolution of the house was finally turned down by the Lieutenant Governor. With Chhathpuja gone, the issue is fast losing its emotive appeal for now, but it may flare up again as one of the issues when the politicking for the MCD elections picks up.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

UTTARAKHAND

By Lokayat Correspondent

his indeed is a great moral victory for the BJP as well as the people of Uttarakhand, which has become the first state in the nation to have passed a Lokpal Bill, which has been certified as very near to their Jan Lokpal Bill by many prominent members of Team Anna like Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal. This single act of Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri has increased immense moral pressure on the Congress and the Manmohan Singh government to follow suit. It has put to shame Manmohan Singh's lieutenants, who had been crying hoarse against the demand of strong Lokpal and reeling out bizarre arguments, especially Kapil Sibal on various demands of Team Anna, imputing civil society cannot dictate terms to the elected political class. Truly, Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri, the new Chief Minister of Uttaranchal has shown exceptional sagacity in capturing the mood of the moment, which is anticorruption and courageously accepted those stipulations, which frighten Congress party to the bones and UPA government at the centre. The Bill includes all government servants except High Court judges in the ambit of Lokpal. The Bill has given powers to the Lokayukta to dismiss corrupt officials and permanently blacklist business entities that benefit from corruption. It also has powers to recommend cancellation or modification of a

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Uttarakhand's truly strong Lokayukta Bill passed It is historic first for the Uttarakhand. Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri would always be remembered for this ‌.

Chief Minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri

government contract or agreement and to recommend a stay on enforcement of any government decision.

Like the Jan Lokpal Bill of the activists, the Uttarakhand law prescribes a minimum punishment of 6

months to the maximum 10 years imprisonment but goes on to add that in "rarest of rare cases, the punishment may extend up to imprisonment for life". The Bill, first of its kind, covers ministers, government servants including IAS and IPS officers, besides lower judiciary. It will also have former CMs, ministers and retired officers under its purview, but leaves Uttarakhand High Court judges out of it. Lokayukta is also empowered to conduct departmental inquiry against corrupt officials and recommend dismissal, removal and reduction in their ranks. The recommendations will be binding on the government. For speedy trial, there is also a provision for setting up of special courts, where the charges will be filed after completion of investigation and the period of investigation has been restricted to only 12 months. Political commentators opine that Khanduri's historic master stroke has made up the loss done by the previous chief minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. It may be noted that a Team Anna members had offered Khanduri government their help to draft the Bill, and they participated in three meetings with government representatives. But similar exercise at the centre has been very different. The Centre remains hesitant in including the judiciary in Lokpal, along with other important issues.


PUNJAB

LOKAYAT

Three cornered fight in Punjab

Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal

Gurudas Singh Badal, the younger brother of the Chief Minister

By Lokayat Correspondent

rakash Singh Badal, the Chief Minister of Punjab is pitched against his own younger brother and long time political associate Gurdas Singh Badal in the fight for the Assembly elections early next year in the state. Gurdas, the octogenarian father of Manpreet Singh Badal (chief of Peoples' Party of Punjab), always worked at building the party remaining a backroom player in Akali politics. He had remained with his elder brother Pash (Prakash Singh Badal) in the rough and tumble for decades, but political ambitions of their sons finally forced them to come down to the lowly battle ground.

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The forthcoming elections are becoming more exciting with the news of Manpreet, the leader of the 'Sanjha Morcha' hobnobbing with the Congress. Taking advantage of the situation, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister charged Manpreet for ditching the people of Punjab, especially the people of Gidderbaha and Lambi, the areas which have long been the bastion of senior Badal brothers, by forgetting the role of Congress in 1984's riots and entering into a secret understanding with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who offered the Chief Ministership to him if he could break the SAD.

Manpreet, graduated from the University of London and the former finance minister in the Badal government, is trying to ride over the wave of aspirations generated by the youth gravitating towards him because of his fascinating personality and developmental agenda. People are frustrated at the 'tu-tu main-main' between SAD and Congress, widespread corruption in the state and the shallow populism both mainstream parties adopt to score over each other. But Manpreet, seen as a visionary and techno-savvy politician of the state has created a deleterious

controversy. In his effort to crack political deals in the state, apart from wooing voters, he recently met Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the controversial head of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, which has lent him in real trouble, as the alliance partner CPI-M snubbed him for hobnobbing with the communal forces, though, another alliance partner CPI has displayed leniency. The elections have created a do or die situation for all the three political groups. On the one hand Manpreet has to prove his political worth, on the other Captain Amrinder Singh of the Congress, in no way wants to let this opportunity go out of hand. For Akalis it is a matter of survival. The 2009 Lok Sabha elections had been disastrous for the SAD-BJP combine, as the Congress easily triumphed over the formidable combine by winning 8 seats out of 13. Now only time will tell how they fare in the coming assembly elections. The SAD-BJP combine had won 68 seats (SAD-49, BJP-19) out of 117 seats in the previous Assembly elections in 2008. But with the emergence of the Sanjha Morcha, the next assembly elections might be three cornered with no group sure of its victory.

DECEMBER, 2011

23


LOKAYAT

HARYANA

Hard time for Hooda Ratia and Adampur by-elections on November 30 will be a fresh test of Congress' popularity in Haryana. Two women candidates are at the forefront and both have thrown a daunting challenge to Hooda's stewardship. By Satish Shrivastava

he second time Congress Chief Minister of Haryana; Bhupinder Singh Hooda is facing a big challenge. After the humiliating defeat in the recent Hisar parliamentary byelection where his hand-picked candidate Jai Prakash lost his security deposit, Hooda is under psychological pressure to seek win for Congress candidates for the two Assembly byelections due on November 30. The Congress has the daunting task of capturing at least one of the two seats to salvage Hooda's, as well as the party's reputation, lost in the battle of Hisar. But the task seems difficult at both the places. Adampur is in Bhajan Lal family's sphere of influence. The byelection here is necessitated because its MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi of the Haryana Jan Congress (HJC) resigned after he won the Lok Sabha by-election from Hisar. The by-election to the Ratia (SC) seat which had been with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for three consecutive terms is caused on account of the death of the sitting MLA Gian Chand. The INLD has now fielded Giand Chand's widow Sarfi Bai who may benefit from the sympathy factor. The Congress candidate is Jarnail Singh who had licked defeat last time at the hands of Sarfi's husband. The third candidate, BJP's Mahavir Prasad expects

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support from the JHC and the SAD. This constituency has sizeable number (some 50,000) of Sikh voters. Both the INLD and the BJP are wooing the Sri Akali Dal (SAD) for votes. Congress leaders admit that both Ratia and Adampur pose tough challenge. One is traditionally the stronghold of Chautala and the other Bhajan Lal's pocket borough. Bhajan Lal's family has never lost from Adampur. Adampur is challenging for the Congress as Renuka Bishnoi, wife of Kuldeep Bishnoi, has been fielded by the HJC-BJP combine. Congress has fielded Kulbir Singh and the INLD's candidate is Ram Singh Baswana. The Ratia by-election has sparked off an interesting debate on the economic development of the constituency with senior leaders of various political parties making allegations and counter- allegations. Chief Minister Hooda claimed that an amount of Rs 272.92 crore was spent there from 2005 when he came to power, against Rs 78.51 crore spent by Chautala during his six-year tenure from 1999. It was Chautala, who initiated the debate when he alleged that the present Hooda government had forsaken Ratia, and had not spent a penny since 2005. The HJC supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi, whose party is supporting the BJP

candidate Mahabir Prashad, accused both Hooda and Chautala for the "poor development" of Ratia. Campaigning by Team Anna against the Congress candidate in Hisar had brought that election into the national focus. The Anna team is not campaigning this time, but the byelections look equally prestigious. Ratia (SC) in 2009 Gian Chand (INLD)

: 50, 095 votes

Jarnail Singh (INC)

: 46, 713 votes

Ratia has been essentially an INLD seat as it had been with this party since the last three elections. It borders Punjab and has 50,000 Sikh voters and the support of SAD is a crucial factor here. This time it is triangular fight as INLD, Congress apart; BJP has also fielded its candidate. BJP candidate is supported by HJC. Adampur in 2009 Kuldeep Bishnoi (HJC) : 45.77% Jai Prakash (Congress) : 40.06 Adampur has been the pocket borough of Bhajan Lal family. Most of the time, this seat has remained with Bhajan Lal. If he did not contest then his wife contested and won, and when in 2009 Bhajan Lal's son Kuldeep Bishnoi contested he also won.


BIHAR

LOKAYAT

Nitish puts himself under Lokayukta Nitish is going to enact a Lokayukta Act, which will give Lokayukta the power to investigate corruption charges against the Chief Minister also. The Lokayukta would be able to confiscate the property of corrupt government servants‌ By Umanath

itish Kumar government in Bihar, though criticised by the Team Anna for shying away from the promises it had made to them, is working on bringing a new Lokayukta Bill on the lines of the one adopted by Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri government in Uttarakhand. This Uttarakhand Bill was described by Team Anna perfectly in line with their Jan Lokpal Bill. The Bihar Lokayukta Bill in the new revised form is much stronger than the one being contemplated by the Centre. Thus Bihar is going to be the second state, after Uttarakhand to have reworked its Lokayukta laws which will bring the Chief Minister under its ambit. Under the new legislation, unlike the Bihar Lokayukta Act-1973, Lokayukta will also have investigation and prosecution divisions and can pass order to confiscate the assets of a government employee (public servant) accused of corruption, or recommend his transfer or suspension. To give security and stability to the chairman of the body, the process of removing Lokayukta has been made very tough, as the governor will need to convince the Apex Court of the nation first before making such a move. Bihar government had invited suggestions on the draft Bill from across the society, including all political parties. It received over 100 suggestions

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too, none came from Team Anna, though Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and even Shanti Bhushan--key members of the team, had pricked Nitish Kumar, accusing him of backing out of the promises and terming the draft, a copy of the Central bill. The Bill drafted after studying the laws of the Centre, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and other states is set to be passed by the cabinet and will be taken up by the Assembly in the winter session starting in the month of December. All the members of the proposed anticorruption body including one secretary would be selected by a designated committee and appointed by the governor. According to the proposed law, the chairman of the institution can order a preliminary inquiry and if necessary further probe and government will ordinarily accept the recommendation unless it is not possible for administrative reasons. If the Chief Minister or a minister faces an inquiry, the Lokayukta can file a case in the special court and send a report to the governor. For others, the Lokayukta can also recommend disciplinary proceedings, which are to be initiated by the governor. The Lokayukta can recommend more special courts for cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, or the Bihar Special Courts Act, 2009. The new Bill brought out by the

Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar

Nitish government is the outcome of the nationwide movement led by Anna Hazare, which broke the myth that the middle class can't descend on the street to oppose anything ugly and unfair. For Nitish, who is credited with restoring the rule of law in the state, has taken several path breaking steps to tackle the menace of corruption like bringing into force 'Right to Service Act', appointing Lokpal in 12 districts till date and uploading clips of complaints against officials who allegedly sought bribes, confiscating the property of corrupt officials and converting them into school, the first such move in the country. Enacting a harsh anti-corruption law would be yet another milestone.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

MAHARASHTRA

MAHARASHTRA LOCAL BODY

“

They say it would be mini-general elections in Maharashtra. But the biggest worry before political parties is how to

By Lokayat Correspondent

ith elections to the local bodies just around the corner, Maharashtra these days is abuzz with political activities. The atmosphere is rife with sloganeering, chanting and maneuvering, indicating that parties are getting into a fierce competition mode. Local bodies come under different sizes and denominations, like Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis, Zila Parishads, Municipal Corporations and municipal councils. There are 27 Zila

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these elections is that the Congress and the NCP of Sharad Pawar- partners of the coalition government-have not decided to join hands for the local body polls, though they have been termed as mini-general elections by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan who has just completed his one year in office. It is certain that these elections may prove to be a severe test of nerve for the CM, who has always been seen as a poor choice for the post simply because several stalwarts are there in his own party-- the Congress-- and his ally the NCP, who have not taken kindly to this technocrat-turned

collect money to contest elections. Congress alone requires Rs 500 crore. But the fear of Anna Hazare coupled with increased vigilance by the income-tax department and the CBI; the fundraising efforts are badly hit. In Anna's state, no politician is ready to be a fund-raiser!

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DECEMBER, 2011

The technocrat Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan

Sharad Pawar, the iconic face of NCP, now losing the popularity chart

Parishads and 14 Municipal Corporations for which elections are to be held. Dates are yet be announced. But the expectation is that they may take place between December and February next. As of now the state may witness three-cornered fights among the Congress, the NCP and the BJP-Shiv Sena combine. The interesting part of

Mr Clean. The maneuverings in his own backyard apart, Chavan has to take on the formidable opposition coalition consisting of the BJP, Shiv Sena and the RPI (A) of Ramdas Athawale. An intriguing fact is that though the Congress and the NCP have been together for around a decade, they have never behaved like natural allies. In fact


MAHARASHTRA

LOKAYAT

ELECTIONS: A TEST OF NERVES they have always shown a visible trait of distrust for each other, and it is only political expediency that makes them stay together. And now when the support base of the NCP is shrinking in the western parts of the state – Sharad Pawar's and his nephew and heirapparent Ajit Pawar's charisma is weakening – the Congress may take the opportunity to write the obituary of the NCP by further marginalising it and emerge as the sole party to fight the saffron brigade. But several scams which came to the fore one after another in recent months have demoralised the rank and file of the Congress and disgraced its

The problem for the Congress does not stop here. The biggest worry appears to be dearth of funds. In the wake of Anna Hazare's high-voltage campaign against corruption, coupled with increased vigilance by the incometax department and the CBI, the fundraising efforts are badly hit. This is true for all political parties. According to a conservative estimate, the Congress alone needs at least Rs. 500 crore for these elections, but the fund managers are looking helpless. In Anna's state, no politician is ready to be a fund- raiser ! The sluggish pace of decision

trying to put up deserving candidatesnot relatives of politicians or candidates with shady antecedentsthanks to Anna. To emphasise the new wind of change blowing in the Congress Party it has announced 50 percent reservation of seats for women in the local bodies. Chavan has also tried to ensure transparency in the party, long plagued by corrupt practices. He has already announced remunerative prices for crops with a view to prevent suicides among farmers. He is also moving to introduce reforms in the real estate sector which had brought

BJP National President Nitin Gadkari has a big stake in Maharashtra local bodies' polls as he has to prove that BJP chances have increased in his presidentship

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thakre

Ram Das Athawale, the RPI (A) President, a new ally of BJP-Shiv Sena

leaders who were once the stars who fetched funds and votes for the party. Meanwhile Shiv Sena seems to be gaining ground again with its divisive politics. It was in the dumps for some time after taking severe beating from the emerging Raj Thakarey's MNS. Shiv Sena's longtime ally BJP too has bolstered its image with recent electoral wins in the state.

making under Chavan severely hampering economic activities does have a bearing on the fund-raising prospects of his party. To undo the damage and retrieve the lost ground Chavan recently travelled across the state wooing electorates. However, Shiv-Sena and the BJP too are doing the same. One redeeming fact visible in this election scene is that all parties are

notoriety to the state in recent times. These steps may help undo some of the damages and re-make the Congress image, but they may not be able to stop or slowdown the BJP-Shiv Sena juggernaut. So, altogether the scene is hazy but what is clear is that if any party would be a loser it would be the NCP. And it would lose heavily.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

GUJARAT

Advani & Modi played game of poker with Yatra in gujarat News of cold vibes between Modi and Advani were blown up out of proportion in media. The fact is both need each other as ever and they have to sink their differences whatever they may be.

By Pramod Pagedar

ujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has acquired a larger than life persona, thanks not just to his admirers who are a legion but also to his diehard detractors who dog him constantly with media in toe. Whatever Modi does or doesn't do instantly becomes "breaking news". So it was with Modi's handling of the Gujarat leg of BJP leader L.K. Advani's Jana Chetana Yatra. Advani's very first whistle-stop in Gujarat at Vapi could have become one of the highlights of his pan-India Yatraso impressive was the audience turnout at his public address there. Instead, a vacant, throne-like silver chair with velvet draping that set Advani and Modi quite apart on the dais at Vapi under the glare of the 24x7 news TV became a

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highly visible symbol of the distance that has been growing between the mentor and his chela. The Vapi incident, BJP sources say, was meant to be a part of Modi's continuing sulk against the BJP leadership. He is not as cut up with Advani as he is with the BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and his other detractors in the party. But Modi is sore that his mentor has done little or nothing to support him publicly against certain elements in the BJP and NDA in general who constantly try to box him (Modi) into the "communal" image and thus confine him to Gujarat. The Gujarat CM perceives this as a devious attempt to deny him bigger role on the national stage, he thinks he deserves. The spark for the fresh round of cold

vibes between Modi and Advani was provided by slanted reports that started appearing in newspapers in Patna a little before the Yatra commenced from Bihar. The burden of the song in these reports, which were picked up by the national press later, was that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had agreed to flag off Advani's rath on condition that Narendra Modi would be kept out of the launch. Sources say Modi believes that these reports were planted by none other than Nitish Kumar himself. Modi was upset that Advani, instead of coming out with a strong rebuttal against these slanted reports, chose to remain silent. "Our party (BJP) garnered greater percentage of votes than Nitish's Janata Dal in the last Bihar Assembly polls. “Why should our leaders then cringe before Nitish and


GUJARAT

LOKAYAT

sheepishly take such insidious attempts by him to cut down one of our own tall party leaders (read Modi),� an angry Modi acolyte wondered.

Modi had suggested to start Yatra from Bihar Insiders say that Modi felt slighted by this development especially because it was he who had in fact suggested to Advani to launch his Yatra from Bihar. Advani was initially keen to start the Yatra from Gujarat because he was sure he could make a grand start with Modi mobilising massive public support for it. Modi was not averse to the idea but wanted Advani to start the Yatra from Sardar Patel's birthplace on the latter's birth anniversary date for its symbolic value. Advani turned down the idea because that would have thrown his time schedule completely out of gear as also the plan to wrap up the Yatra in Delhi on the eve of Parliament's winter session. It was then that Modi suggested Bihar as an alternative for the Yatra launch. Modi's reasoning for this was impeccable. It was from Bihar that the late iconic leader Jai Prakash Narayan had begun his nation-wide Navnirman Andolan against the autocratic Congress regime. What could be a better symbolic place than Bihar for Advani to launch a similar campaign against another Congress government? No wonder, the old fizz in the otherwise warm relationship that Modi and Advani shared with each other earlier evaporated by the time the Yatra reached the Gujarat border. What happened thereafter throughout the remaining passage of Yatra was the game of poker Advani and Modi played with each other as a matter of political expediency, with the media blowing up the issue out of all proportions. If Advani praised Nitish from the dais at Vapi and gave the "politically conscious" people of Gujarat the credit (and not Modi) for the state's spectacular growth, Modi paid Advani back in the same coin during the stopovers in other towns later by breaking the time-

Hindu Hridaya Samrat Narendra Modi garlands his mentor Lal Krishna Advani.

honuored practice of letting Advani speak first. Once Modi addressed the audience first in his inimitable oratory and worked up the crowd into applause and frenzy, Advani who followed him, sounded a bit drab and boring with his rhetoric on corruption. With media going for overkill on the differences between the two leaders, Modi and Advani did attempt damage control by heaping high accolades on each other during the remainder of the Yatra. But clearly it was too little and too late. However, contrary to reports, Modi, who is himself a big draw for crowds, accompanied Advani during all his stopovers in Gujarat and did mobilise sizeable audiences for him. Baroda was

the only exception where internal rivalries among the local BJP activists, selection of out-of-town venue and sizzling afternoon timing for Advani's public meeting turned it into a flop show. Sources say that despite what happened during the Yatra, Advani and Modi need each other as ever. Gujarat being an unassailable bastion for the party, Advani needs Modi's support to get himself elected from a safe haven. Modi, on his part, has realised that his constant sulking may be seen as he is trying to be above the party itself. He needs a broad spectrum support in the BJP vis-a-vis other party rivals, including Advani himself, for his ambition to reach the national stage.

DECEMBER, 2011

29


LOKAYAT

RAJASTHAN

One more chance to Ashok Gehlot

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, once a favourite of Sonia Gandhi, was in deep trouble owing to sex scandals of his ministers and killing of ten Muslims in Gopalgarh. But the High Command allowed him to act according to his own plan to salvage the image of the party and government.

Rajasthan's top Jat leader Mahipal Maderna who was sacked from the cabinet for his alleged involvement in Bhanwari Devi sex scandal alleges that he had been a victim of some conspiracy

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By Tarun Jain

olitical instability for now is over in Rajasthan with Ashok Gehlot having been given one more chance. It had widely speculated that he might be on his way out as High Command in Delhi was deeply sore at his failures so much so Sonia Gandhi reportedly at once stage told him point blank that she would not accept his proposal to bail him out in the name of salvaging Congress image. She told him to see Rahul Gandhi and convince him. But he persisted and had three meetings with her and other senior leaders. This may be recalled that he had been specifically handpicked by Sonia Gandhi for the Chief Minister in 1997 amidst fierce opposition by Jat leaders. This happened again in 2008. And now in 2011, he seems to have been given the last chance. This time, however, it was the Anna fear and the forthcoming elections in UP that salvaged his position. When the news of High Command's disenchantment with Gehlot went around, it created stormy turbulence within the Congress Party in Rajasthan while people at large were agog with eerie suspense over disclosures by CBI on Water Resource Minister Mahipal Maderna's relations with the beautiful Auxiliary Nurse Midwife Bhanwari Devi, who suddenly disappeared three months ago. The major trouble for the Congress was that Jats were angry with Gehlot's handling of the issue, who form a sizeable chunk of the voters, some 12 percent, who can make or mar the electoral chances of the Congress in the next elections, Assembly or Lok Sabha. But the way he could seek the resignation of the entire cabinet and then changed his cabinet without a

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RAJASTHAN murmur of dissent, shows that he still enjoys the full blessings of Sonia Gandhi. In his cabinet reshuffle he has taken care of the fact that the disenchanted sections are given their due, notably Dalits, Jats and Muslims. Readers are aware that Muslims were seething with anger at the shocking alleged killing of ten Muslims by the police at Gopalgarh. This was being cited as the failure of governance of Gehlot government. As though these two incidents were not enough to roil the reputation of Congress government, disclosures related to another Jat minister, who has been alleged to have romantic relationship with several women including the one who died in mysterious circumstances.

The shape of new cabinet ll 25 Rajasthan ministers resigned to bail out the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, but he accepted resignations of only five ministers Bhanwarlal Meghwal (Education), Pramod Jain Bhaya (PWD), Ramlal Jat (Forest), Golma Devi (Khadi and Gramodyog) and Bharosi Lal Jatav (Motor Garage). Golma Devi, the wife of Meena strongman Kirorilal, had resigned several months ago but her resignation was held back by Gehlot to keep Meena voters in good humour. Bhaya and Bhanwarlal were accused of corruption in their respective departments, while a case was registered against Jatav and his two sons after a court order, on charges of illegal mining. Interestingly, those who have been shown the door were first-timers. The five new ministers are Virender Beniwal and Dayaram Parmar as MoS with independent charge, and Manju Meghwal, Naseem Akhtar and Vinod Chowdhary as MoS. Raghu Sharma was named the new Chief Whip with Cabinet rank while Information and Public Relations Minister Ashok Bairwa was elevated to Cabinet status. Interestingly, Kaman MLA Zahida, against whom FIRs had been filed following Bharatpur riots, has also been inducted as Parliamentary Secretary, along with six others With the reshuffle, number of ministers, including Gehlot, is 27, which include 13 cabinet ministers and 14 ministers of state. Ashok Gehlot announced seven new parliamentary secretaries taking the tally to 13.

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Minister of tourism in Rajasthan Ms Beena Kak, a senior and decent politician was also a probable candidate for the top post in case Ashok Gehlot was told to resign.

Durru Miyan not obliged Reliable sources maintain that Rahul Gandhi was extremely angry at what happened in Rajasthan during last few months. All indications were that High Command wanted a change in the leadership. But who should be made the Chief Minister, was the troubling question which the party found difficult to resolve. Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Dr CP Joshi and Union Home Minister of State Bhanwar Jitendra Singh wanted to grab the opportunity. Another name which made rounds was Beena Kak who is told to have easy access to 10, Janpath. Bhanwar Jitendra Singh is known to be close to Rahul Gandhi who recently insisted his induction as the union state minister of home. But finally High Command did

LOKAYAT

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways was another strong contender if Gehlot was removed as the Chief Minister

Union State Minister of Home Affairs Bhanwar Jitendra Singh was also a powerful candidate in the race for the next Chief Minister as he is known to be very close to Rahul Gandhi.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

RAJASTHAN

Bhanwari Devi was killed, the day she was abducted BI has yet not been able to get any breakthrough in the Bhanwari Devi abduction case even after 91 days though it has doubled the reward to Rs10 lakh for providing information on the missing nurse. She is not traceable since September 1. But Shahbuddin, a close aide of Mahipal Maderna is believed to have told to the CBI that Bhanwari was killed the day she was abducted. Rajasthan High Court had slammed the agency for the tardy progress in the case. The CBI has questioned Mahipal Maderna, the former Water Resources Minister several times, who when he was shown the sex CD, in which allegedly he was in compromising position with the beautiful 36-year old Bhanwari Devi, admitted he had consensual relationship with her. He insisted that he had no hand in her alleged abduction, however, Bhanwari's husband Amarchand had alleged she was abducted at the behest of Maderna. Sources say that the two CDs show that the same room was being used to shoot the sexual escapades with several important people. This has been explained that perhaps the video shooting was a planned conspiracy. It is suspected that Bhanwari was being used by some blackmailer and she was promised that she would be paid Rs 7 crore. Others say it was a ploy to recover sex CDs from her. And in the process she was abducted and perhaps killed. Sources say that she was acting on Sohan Lal Bishnoi's instructions. In an audio clip, she had reportedly claimed Sohan Lal Bishnoi was trying to make a deal of Rs 7 crore with some people in Delhi for the CD. Among several accused CBI has not been able to trace Sahiram, a former district council deputy chairman. It is suspected that Sahiram might also have been killed. CBI has declared an award of Rs 5 Lakh for giving clue about Sahiram also. Many things got revealed when the CBI could lay hands on a four-minute audio clip also which allegedly contains conversation between Bhanwari Devi and Indira Bishnoi, sister of Malkhan Singh, Congress MLA from Luni. The talks indicated she was going to get Rs 7 Crore from the Minister. At the behest of Sohan Lal Bishnoi, a local contractor, Shahbuddin brought Bhanwari Devi to Bilara from where she is said to have disappeared on September 1.

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Ramlal Jat, Environment & Forest Minister, who resigned peeved at media reports about his alleged role in the mysterious death of Paras Devi

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not take the risk of removing Dalit Chief Minister before the UP elections. All probable names that have been suggested, were members of Lok Sabha and making any one of them as the Chief Minister would have also meant that Congress would have to face a byelection for the vacated seat, which party wanted to avoid in view of what happened in Hisar recently where Congress candidate Jai Prakash forfeited his deposit due to Anna factor. Sources say that Ashok Gehlot, known as a master strategist in Rajasthan Congress is known to have discussed several formulae to the High Command.

Today's most talked about woman of Rajasthan-Bhanwari Devi, who is not traceable since September, and a sex CD showing her in compromising position with several important people including ministers of Rajasthan brought about a political storm in Rajasthan and entire cabinet was told to resign.

He played with the UP election card where Dalits and Muslims votes were most important for the revival of Congress. There was a lobby in the Rajasthan Congress which wanted the Health Minister Aimaduddin Khan 'Durru Miyan' be made the deputy chief minister, which would douse the anger of Muslims. Ultimately the opinion which helped rescue Gehlot most was that if Gehlot was removed, it would make BSP stronger not only in Rajasthan, but would anger Dalits in UP also, where the Congress has termed the Dalit leader Mayawati as enemy number one.


JAMMU & KASHMIR

Omar adamant on AFSPA withdrawal The demand of partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Kashmir has been described as a political master stroke of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. It has certainly deflected attention from his stark failures on several counts, including governance. By his vociferous articulation on this issue he has won over the support of even the extremists who still hold some sway in the valley.

Chief Minister of J&K Omar Abdullah

Defence Minister AK Antony

By Lokayat Correspondent Kashmir. Its chairman Dileep

ull withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) had been the demand of extremist organisations like Hurriyat and some human rights organisations that had international links. But now the Chief Minister is raising his heckles on this issue and has put his foot down that at least partial withdrawal should be effected from the areas where there is no record of violence. Sources say that gradual withdrawal of AFSPA has also been recommended in the report of the three interlocutors on Jammu &

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Padgaonkar told media the other day that the Disturbed Areas Act should be denotified in certain districts that had not witnessed violence in the past six months or so. Government can periodically review the situation, and call the Army again if needed, he added. Jammu and Kashmir has been under the AFSPA for nearly two decades. The state was declared a disturbed area and AFSPA was imposed to combat insurgency, which posed a grave threat to political stability and integrity of the country. However, the military has a different view on the

withdrawal of AFSPA. It feels that it would be a recipe for secession of the Kashmir from India as the Pak inspired secessionists are still active and though there may be peace in some areas but the situation may worsen any time. Defence analysts too say if anything of the sort is done, then it should be done with extreme caution as this is a time when Chinese troops are trying to establish bases in Pak occupied Kashmir. Worsening security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan must also not be taken lightly, as that too would have its bearing on the security scenario of the state.

LOKAYAT

In this context it was a good decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security to leave the matter on the Unified Command. However, Omar Abdullah made hectic lobbying to convince the top leadership including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Army chief V K Singh. Sources say he has been advised to wait for a few more months, before the partial withdrawal takes place, as every stake holder needs to be taken on board. Before meeting the PM and other top guns, Omar went to the extent of saying that 'No' is not an option and the partial withdrawal of AFSPA would have to take place and he was fully authorised to revoke the act. But the Army has equally been firm on this issue so much so one of its commanders said that if this happens Kashmir would secede by 2016. The Army has repeatedly said that the Pakistan Army, its spy agency ISI, separatists and terrorists were unrelenting when it comes to creating trouble in Kashmir and elsewhere in India. In such a situation, it wouldn't be proper to even think of partial withdrawal of the Army from the state. The Army has advised Omar to explore political, social and economic measures to take full advantage of the peaceful environment than raising tempers on the AFSPA.

DECEMBER, 2011

33


LOKAYAT

WEST BENGAL

Mamata's theatrics

Whether it is the issue of bringing back Maoists to the talk-table or revamping the poor health care system or opposing the hike in petrol prices by the Central government, Mamata's actions are theatrical. However, people may not be entertained for long by theatrics. They need real change on the ground in West Bengal‌.

By S Santhanam

est Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has virtually been sitting on the wall doing theatrics, unable to decide which way to go. It has been the case with the Trinamool Congress chief on almost all issues. Whether it is the battle against the Maoists in the state or the mal-functioning of state-owned hospitals or several issues with the

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UPA government at the Centre, Ms Banerjee has not been able to take any clear step. She indulged only in making dramatic noises. Her latest rant about withdrawing support from the UPA government on the issue of hike in the petroleum prices for the fifth time in the year turned out a flop drama, exposing her weakness in resolve and sincerity.

The West Bengal chief minister is also displaying a tendency of either blaming the previous Left Front Government for all the evils and malfunctioning in the state or the UPA government for its decisions at the national level. She doesn't have the courage to hit out strongly at her opposition (in the case of Bengal) or her partner (in the case of the Centre,


WEST BENGAL the UPA) because she knows very well that she had been a party to most decisions taken by the UPA government, including the decision to leave fuel hike to the oil companies. After the Maoists rejected her talks offer under threat, Mamata Banerjee swiftly opened back channel to convince them to come to the negotiation table to settle the Jangalmahal issue amicably. Mamata's initial attempts to talk with the red ultras failed when Maoists state secretary Akash issued a statement claiming that the chief minister's move to hold talks was nothing but an eyewash. He had also expressed his doubt on the chief minister's seriousness in holding talks. On the issue of hike in petrol prices, this is not the first time that the Trinamool Congress chief had threatened to pull out of the UPA Government and withdraw its support. She had been issuing statements frequently against the UPA government's decisions which, according to her "go against the interests of aam aadmi.'' However, as she continuously needs the support of the UPA government at the Centre for introducing and implementing her welfare programmes in the state, Mamata Banerjee's hands are tied. She merely issues warnings and threats from time to time so that she is not held or seen as an anti-people leader.

Mamata needs to start 'Poriborton' now Something is clearly rotten in state hospitals. Recently, at least 40 infants died in the state in a matter of less than 10 days. In a particularly shocking incident, the death of a newborn was attributed to its being swabbed with toilet acid instead of antiseptic. The series of deaths at Kolkata's only children's hospital – B C Roy Hospital – and Burdwan's Medical College and Hospital have underlined the state's appalling public health system. Voters who solidly backed the Mamata

LOKAYAT

Maoist leader Kishenji killed in an encounter readed Maoist, the third most important leader in the hierarchy, Malojula Koteshwara Rao, popularly known as Kishenji, is finally killed in a fierce encounter in Paschim Midnapore district of West Bengal. This may be a matter of relief to the Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister in Delhi, but the task to end Maoism will continue to remain tortuous, difficult and bloody for many more years as the attractive package of laying down arms of Mamata Banerjee has been vehemently turned down. This is ironic that Mamta had taken support from Maoists to reap the political advantage in the Assembly elections, however she realised the reality very soon and removed all doubts about her resolve to take on the looming menace saying Maoists are more dangerous than terrorists. It is true also from the example of Kishenji, who was believed to lead 22,000 armed Maoist insurgents. He has been able to keep cut off the Jangalmahal area in Bengal from the state administration for nearly 18 months since 2009. Mamta as a true democrat first extended her hand of compassion for the suffering Maoist cadre and announced a handsome package to surrender. A few surrendered also. For example a top Maoist commander Jagori Baske who inspired awe and terror in Jangalmahal in West Bengal, bade farewell to arms with her husband and rebel commander Rajaram Soren surrendering before Mamata Banerjee a few days ago. Jagori was accused in over 30 cases, including horrific murders. The awe-inspiring former rebel has a five year son, and it is said that love for her son and concern for his future finally led her to say goodbye to the arms struggle against the state. Jagori and her husband revealed to the forces several facts which are considered to be instrumental in targetting and killing of Kishenji Another rebel cadre Rabi Mandi, a teenaged action squad member gave himself up before the Purulia police. The 18-year-old is the sixth Maoist to surrender in the past one month responding to Mamata Banerjee's call.

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Banerjee-led party and her slogan of 'poriborton' now expect her to bring about that change. Mamata Banerjee's government cannot absolve itself by just blaming the previous Left Front government for the health sector's desperate plight. True, the Left Front had done precious little for public health, particularly in districts and villages. But that does not explain why the chief minister has kept

with herself charge of eight important ministries including the health, home, land reforms, education and agriculture. This can only lead to poor delivery. If Mamata Banerjee is serious about revamping the health and other sectors in the state, she should appoint full-time and competent ministers. Her attitude shows her lack of confidence and trust in her colleagues.

DECEMBER, 2011

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LOKAYAT

NORTH EAST

Tuki becomes the first Christian Chief Minister of Arunachal By Lokayat Correspondent

against the outgoing CM Jarbom Gamlin. This became evident from the fact that 40 Congress legislators adopted a onepoint resolution asking party Chief Sonia

ith Nabam Tuki succeeding in becoming the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, the political and social unrest in the state seems to be over for at least now. The demand for change of the Chief Minister had taken a serious turn during the last two months with several incidents of violence and vandalism in the capital city Itanagar. A five time MLA Tuki, in reality made the central leadership of the party to concede to his demand after a resolute revolt

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Gandhi to choose Gamlin's successor. Congress controls 42 of the 60 assembly seats. Tuki becomes the first Christian chief minister of a state where conversion had been a big issue a decade ago. This is a remarkable example of secularism succeeding in the country. A beautiful state ensconced in the lap of nature, Arunachal Pradesh went through a serious turmoil right from the death of Dorjee Khandu, a popular CM of the state, in a chopper

crash on April 30 this year. The political vacuum inspired the warring factions camping in New Delhi to lobby for their leaders. In fact, Tuki with MLAs supporting him, stayed most of the time in Delhi persuading central leadership in his support. The political fight had also led to cases of violence between supporters

and opponents of the two factions in the eastern-most state of India leading to imposition of prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC. This also created disharmony among different tribal and religious groups who have been living in peace for ages. Itanagar virtually remained tense for the past two weeks over a series of demonstrations. Tuki had strongly objected to the hurried and arbitrary manner in which Gamlin was appointed the CM after Khandu's death and the manner in which portfolios were distributed.

The brewing dissension came to the fore in July when a group of Congress legislators led by Tuki openly revolted against Gamlin's leadership accusing him of dictatorial rule and failure to control law and order. Tuki, 47, is the first chief minister from the Nyishi community. He was a PWD and UD minister in the outgoing ministry and has served before as minister holding various important portfolios since 1995 in the Gegong Apang, Mukut Mithi and Dorjee Khandu governments. A Congress stalwart, Tuki has been serving the party uninterrupted since 1983 in various capacities before becoming the APCC president on 30th August 2008. Though, he has promised to ensure an inclusive government and participation of all indigenous communities, every leader and every citizen of the state for the development of the state after being sworn in on November, 1 by the governor, Gen (Rtd) JJ Singh, at a function attended by union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and other central and state leaders, but it is yet to see how he translates his promises into action, taking into view the highly volatile nature of eastern states where different insurgent groups have been ruling the roost.


NORTH EAST

LOKAYAT

Manipur: Petrol Rs 200 a litre, and gas cylinder for Rs 2000 By Lokayat Correspondent

ven when the prices of petro items are raised every now and then in our country, can you believe the petrol prices reaching Rs 200 a litre and LPG gas cylinder as high as Rs 2,000. But, this is true of Manipur, where, thanks to the 92 days long economic blockade, people had to cough up this much to keep the life going. People might have heaved a sigh of relief when on November 1, 2011 the blockade was called off following a written assurance by the state government to create a new hill district accepting the demand of Kuki tribals. However, it is just a partial relief, as another group of tribals--Nagas are yet to withdraw the blockade which may ensure that there is no change on the ground for the common people. Irony is this group's demand is not to create the new hill district. The agreement between the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) and the state government was signed around midnight in the capital Imphal, sending a wave of joy among the Aam Aadmi who were the worst sufferers of the economic blockade. The SHDDC had launched the blockade on August 1 on two national highways-Imphal-Dimapur- Guwahati (NH 39) and Imphal-Silchar (NH 53) to press their demand for conversion of Kuki tribal majority Sadar Hills area into a full-fledged district. However, tribal Nagas inhabiting the area are opposed to creation of a Sadar Hills district. In support of their demand the Nagas launched a counter-blockade on the same day ie., August 1 on the two highways. The Naga counter-blockade is

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Congress Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh

It was a harrowing experience for the people of Manipur whose life became hell due to 92-day long economic blockade imposed by two groups of tribals raising conflicting demands. The blockade has only been partially lifted and the spectre of scarcity still looms over‌

being led by the United Naga Council (UNC). The almost three month -long blockade led to shortage of essential goods, petroleum products, cooking gas cylinders and even life saving medicines, as no trucks carrying them was allowed to enter the state. It is noteworthy that these two highways are the lifelines to Manipur as supplies of all essentials are brought to the state from adjoining Assam and other parts of the country. There have been historical rivalries between these two tribal groups which have claimed till date thousands of lives. Taking into account the serious deficit of

Activists not allowing trucks carrying essentials

trust between these two warring tribal groups, union home minister P Chidambaram, too, appealed to the agitating Nagas to withdraw their strike, forget the past and come to the negotiating table to discuss their problems in an atmosphere of mutual trust for better future. Seeing the misery of the people, Supreme Court too, expressed dismay saying no mobocracy be allowed to exist and ordered the centre to bring out a solution.

DECEMBER, 2011

37


LOKAYAT

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Dismal apple production spoils Dhumal's popularity over-drive By Keshav Narayan

Poor road conditions exist currently in many parts of Himachal Pradesh. The Apple transport corridor would be a boon to apple growers as well as tourism.

weather. Many farmers say they have not seen such a low output ever in the last 30 to 50 years. With the apple season almost over, the overall apple production is just 31 per cent of last year's bumper harvest. The total output is not likely to cross 1.40 crore boxes, compared to last year's bumper production of 4.46 crore boxes. The result is the super markets and fruit shops of India in many cities are selling apples from New Zealand rather than

Himachal Pradesh. Mandi sources say besides apples, fruits like cherries, pears, peaches, apricots, kiwi, strawberry, olives, almonds and plums are the major commercial crops of the state. Their production also dipped due to hostile weather. This year, there was frequent rain and snow in higher areas. Extremely cold weather caused major damage to blooming of trees. Also, in May and

Dhumal government pushes year after Himachal Pradesh won the for an 'Apple Corridor' State Agriculture Leadership Award, o facilitate better price for farmers through export of there is disastrous Himachal apple to the rest of the country, Dhumal situation for the government has planned an Apple Transport Corridor for apple farmers in smooth and speedy transportation. Once this corridor comes the state. The into existence during the peak season, fruit-laden trucks would apple output Forty percent of the apple production takes place not be clogging the roads for tourists too, which also contributes this year is 69 in Himachal Pradesh. But this year the crop has badly failed hurting the political rise of the Chief immensely to the economy of the state. percent lower Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. State government has submitted project report to the Planning than last Commission, which would require Rs 117 crore to implement it. year's bumper Sources say the plan is sure to be approved from the Planning Commission of India. harvest. This Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta has already discussed the plan with Planning is the lowest June, the Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. For decades, apple growers in the since 1999. standing crop hill state have been facing problems in transporting their produce due to poor condition And definitely was damaged of roads. In the interior part of Himachal the roads are even worse and many truckers it would have by frequent refuse to lift fruits from those areas. some political hailstorm, The proposed transport corridor would pass through Chhaila-Chopal in Shimla implications too, further affecting district before crisscrossing Sirmaur and Solan districts and then would join as it has impacted the output. the national highway at Rajgarh. The corridor would mainly benefit the income of the HP produces 40 growers of Shimla, Kinnaur and Solan districts. He said the farmers badly though per cent of the country's corridor would not only benefit the apple growers, but for consumers in the apples. The rest of the tourism will also boost in this region. country had to cough up crop is produced mostly in almost the double the price of Jammu & Kashmir. In recent last year. Dismal production this years, Uttarakhand has also started year is essentially because of bad producing some apple.

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HIMACHAL PRADESH

LOKAYAT

An apple garden near Manali

Himachal Pradesh has been endowed with a wide range of agro climatic conditions which make it possible to grow a large number of horticulture commodities like fruits, flowers, vegetables, mushrooms, hops, tea, medicinal & aromatic plants. Amongst the fruit crops, perhaps all kind of fruits grown in the country, except those which are grown in the warm humid coastal regions, can be produced in Himachal Pradesh. Government sources say that efforts have been made to promote horticulture in a big way so that this 'Fruit Basket of India' may produce every kind of fruit in the state. The dismal production is an exception. Apple Re-plantation Project is also underway replacing the old and low yielding variety apple trees with quality and productive varieties of apple root-stocks. This project alone is of Rs 85 Crore. The technology mission is intended to improve the productivity of existing horticulture plantations. This apart, there would be quality

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Govt plans to bring improved fruit varieties and root stocks from advanced countries and then supply them to farmers to increase the productivity and quality of fruits.

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improvement of horticulture produce. Normally trend is to grow only a few fruits, which becomes a fad with farmers. The attempt would be to diversify the horticulture. However, big challenge would remain to produce virus free certified planting material. According to officials improved fruit varieties and rootstocks from advanced countries would be imported. A system to multiply them in laboratory conditions and then supply them to farmers would be taken up. 'Another issue is the planting density in the fruit orchards, which is low-density as of now, but the future goal is to promote high-density plantation, which would increase the productivity of quality fruits per unit area.' Even otherwise horticulture was contributing significantly towards the GDP of the State. But once the Horticulture Technology Mission would be fully implemented, the state is able to see a new prosperity for its growers.

DECEMBER, 2011

39


LOKAYAT

KERALA

FIRST PAY THE DAMAGES TO Violent agitations on road represent the political culture of Kerala, which now has been seriously questioned by Courts and restrictions have been imposed. It has to be seen how long it takes for political parties to change their attitude on this issue. The left parties denounce these restrictions as curtailment of their democratic rights. By Lokayat Correspondent

n keeping with the increasing LDF-UDF rivalry for political domination in the state there has been a steep rise in recent years in the number of bandhs and strikes, often sponsored by the Left Democratic Front (LDF). In fact there has not been a single week without an agitation disrupting pubic life here. And, ironically, these agitations held in the name of people, have invariably been putting the very people to much hardships including destruction of properties, bloodshed and deaths. As it happens public property bears the brunt of

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the violence, the losses often running into lakhs. Damages to private assets, too are substantial. For years this state of affairs continued with the police adopting an ostrich-like stance because either the coalition partners had given call for the bund/ strike, or the government had extended tacit support. This situation in which the police remaining a mute witness to the violent proceedings has to end now. The High Court of Kerala has issued orders to the law and order authority to take strict cognizance of any property destruction, fix responsibility and allow bail applications of

accused in such cases conditional on furnishing amount equal to the damages. In other words, it wants to apply the 'polluter pays' principle. The court justified the stringent view on account of the fact that first, nobody ever owned responsibility for the damages and secondly, in many a case the loss could not be made good by money. For instance, land records, sale and succession papers, documents pertaining to births and deaths, etc. having lasting value kept in village offices, collectorates and survey offices, if lost, can cause inconceivable

difficulties to people. In the absence of proper records court cases could not be conducted, let alone decided. Hence arose the need for imposing severe conditions to deter violent and destructive agitations.

Law exists, but not enforced A law does exist in Kerala the Prevention of Government Property Destruction Law - to deal with such situations. Enacted in 1984, it contained provisions stipulating requirement of bail amount equal to the damage caused to public property. A


KERALA

LOKAYAT

THE PROPERTY, THEN SEEK BAIL Supreme Court - appointed Justice K.T.Thomas Committee had also recommended detailed guidelines on the basis of which the loss had to be computed. However, it was not enforced. The apex court had chided the State Government for not enforcing it. (V.S.Achuthanandan, exChief Minister referring to the Supreme Court rebuke had said that such laws are not to be enforced!) This climate of passivism and anarchy may change now. A silly incident which erupted into senseless violence and caused heavy damages prompted the High Court to take the serious view. The police in the course of routine patrolling in Kozhikode on 29th September last had detained a person on suspicion of driving a bike under the influence of alcohol and taken him for medical examination. That was enough for a band of 25 Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) activists to take the law into their hands. In an attempt to free the suspect from custody they attacked the police station at Chevayur, and damaged the police jeep and other properties. Eight people were detained in this connection and it was while considering their bail application that Justice K.T. Sankaran made the scorching observation and invoked the path-breaking law.

Leftists can't take the Court order lying down

Hardly goes a day in Kerala cities when there are not a few strikes or demonstrations on the streets causing disruption of public life.

High Court of Kerala has issued orders to law enforcing agencies to take congnizance of destruction of property during violent demonstrations. Bail would be granted only when the damages for property destruction have been paid.

The court agreed to grant bail but stipulated that apart from a personal bond of Rs 25,000, each of them had to provide two sureties for the like amount. Besides, they had to appear before the inquiry officer whenever asked for and report at the local police station regularly at intervals to be specified.

Following the court order the Director-General of Police has instructed all police stations to file FIRs in all cases of violent agitations and collect detailed data on damages separately for public and private properties, names of parties and individuals involved in destruction and video records of the incidents.

But will the Leftists take the new court order lying down? There is no hope, going by the experience. For instance, there is a ban on bunds in the state but it is defied with impunity because of the Government's timidity. In fact there is a growing propensity among the Left Front activists to challenge the established authority -the police and even the law courts. A glaring example of this arrogance has now become a cause cÊlèbre in the state. The High Court issued, on the basis of a private citizen's complaint, a directive prohibiting rallies and demonstrations on public roads because they put people to inconvenience. A CPI (M) leader irked by the restriction allegedly called the judge a fool/ignoramus. The court has now proceeded against him for bringing the court to ridicule in the public eye. Undeterred by the on-going case two senior party leaders have now questioned the court's power to frame regulations. Thus, violations of the court's order against use of roads for rallies and agitations are multiplying-over 505 cases have been registered so far. In order to handle such rising numbers the State Government has decided to set up fast track courts on the lines existing in other states.

DECEMBER, 2011

41


LOKAYAT

KERALA

MLAs can become smarter by use of IT

By Lokayat Correspondent

ecently we carried an item telling how Kerala MLAs put aside their busy routine and attended lectures on such esoteric subjects as management of time, money, material and personnel. The condensed talks by eminent subject specialists at the Indian Institute of Management (Kozhikode) gave the 'politician-students' a fair insight into the topics and explained how they could get maximum output out of themselves as well as the personnel under them without unduly taxing their energy or efficiency. After the two day-long tutorial the MLAs conceded they had profited hugely by the exercise. It is a measure of the benefit the IIM classes bestowed on the MLAs that they

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were ready for another similar session under the tutelage of their colleague, M.V. Shreyams Kumar. This time the topic was the immense possibilities opened up by the Information Technology (IT) and how the MLAs could become 'smarter' at managing their affairs with the magic tools of IT. Through a power-point presentation Kumar first impressed on his colleagues the need for and versatility of the new tools. Our world and its working are getting immensely fast and complex; an individual finds it increasingly difficult to cope with it in a 24x7 schedule, he said. MLAs with responsibilities to their increasingly demanding constituency especially, cannot do a winning job without IT tools.

Most countries have gone far ahead and become a more efficient place to work and live, just by employing these tools. Hence we can postpone doing the same only at our peril. The brave new world that the IT tools open will streamline their work, remove drudgery, save time and bring about greater transparency. For instance, as MLAs they can use these tools to track representations and fund utilisation and allow their constituencies easy access to the work in progress, status of their petitions and so on. Besides, even while away from the Secretariat they themselves can follow movement of their files and plan their work accordingly.


ANDHRA PRADESH

LOKAYAT

Telangana stalemate continues Dismayed over the attitude of the party on the issue of separate Telangana state three Congress legislators quit the party and joined Telangana Rashtra Samiti. They have blamed that the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy was responsible for stalling Telangana statehood. They also criticised Telangana ministers and MLAs for failing to do anything concrete which has emboldened the party to harden its stand against bifurcation of the state. By Lokayat Correspondent

ven as the Telangana stalemate continues and the UPA government in no hurry to settle the issue either way (separate Telangana or status quo), more Telangana MLAs have been threatening to quit the party if the demand for a separate Telangana is not immediately conceded to. Coming good on their recent threats, three Telangana MLAs -- Jupalli Krishna Rao, Somarapu Satyanarayana and T Rajaiah -- said goodbye to the ruling Congress and joined the TRS. Krishna Rao and Rajaiah sent in their resignation letters to the PCC President Botcha Satyanarayana and then announced their decision to join the TRS in the presence of K Chandrasekhara Rao. Somarapu Satyanarayana was an associate member of the Congress. Therefore, there was no need for him to send his papers to the PCC president. The three legislators have blamed the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy for stalling Telangana statehood. They also criticised Telangana ministers and MLAs for failing to do anything concrete which only delayed any decision and emboldened the party to harden its stand against bifurcation of the state. It is learnt that there were pressures from several quarters on the three MLAs to quit the party before they decided to quit. Krishna Rao's stock went up after he

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Jupalli Krishna Rao

Somarapu Satyanarayana

T Rajaiah

resigned his cabinet berth as the fallout of a dispute with minister D K Aruna and undertook a padyatra in favour of Telangana. Somarapu Satyanarayana, who represents Ramagundam in Karimnagar district, has also been a vocal separatist and did not yield to pressure from the government to try to break the Singareni Collieries miners' strike a few weeks ago. He is a prize catch for the TRS as he has a good support among Singareni employees in his constituency. T Rajaiah of Warangal district was very active in the Telangana Sakala Janula Samme and figures in some of the cases filed against the strikers by the government. He was a hardliner who insisted that the movement would not gather momentum unless elected representatives resigned. Meanwhile, 97-year-old freedom fighter Konda Lakshman Bapuji underwent a week-long satyagrah demanding separate statehood for Telangana. Bapuji, who is also the chairman of the Telangana Freedom Fighters' Forum, was joined by a dozen more freedom fighters in the satyagraha. He underlined the need for all political parties in the Telangana region to unitedly fight for statehood rather than resorting to vote bank politics. He asked the UPA government to start the process to form a separate Telangana state.

DECEMBER, 2011

43


TAMILNADU

LOKAYAT

Jaya's Regal Demeanour In the local body polls Jayalalithaa's party captured all the 10 corporations and a majority of the municipalities, town panchayats, district panchayat wards and panchayat union wards. The Congress drew completely blank everywhere. This has given a high degree of confidence to her mien which was evident in her behaviour during her trial in the disproportionate assets case. By Lokayat Correspondent

t was reminiscent of a queen's ceremonial procession to her court to accept the tributes of a grateful native king. There were pilot cars in front, jeeps carrying high police officers in tow and a convoy of nine limousines full of her personal staff making up the retinue. The area itself was made impregnable for any unsolicited person with security measures fit for a royalty.

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But it was not a queen, nor was it a royal court about to hold a durbar. It was Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, proceeding to attend a criminal court in Bangaluru, in response to the summons issued by the Special Court Judge Mallikarjunaiah hearing the Rs 66.6 crore disproportionate asset case against her. The tight security enforced around the court was ordered by the Supreme Court to guard against a perceived threat to Jaya's personal safety. Because of the threat perception she arrived in a special aircraft at the HAL airport from where she was airlifted in a copter to a special pad set up near the court premises. Jaya's close

A total of 1339 questions were framed on the basis of evidence gathered from 259 witnesses of which 567 were answered by Jaya during 12 hour long questioning spread over two days.

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DECEMBER, 2011


TAMILNADU friend and aide Sasikala and her relative Ilavarasi, both accused in the case, followed her in a separate vehicle. V.N. Sudhakaran another accused and considered an adopted son of Jaya joined them later. In order to show solidarity with their leader in her hour of trial, about 2000 AIADMK workers including most of the party MLAs, MPs and cabinet colleagues also descended on Bangaluru. But because the prohibitory orders were in force the security staff did not allow any of them near the Special Court sitting in Gandhi Bhawan in Parappana Agrahara, a building close to the Central Prison. Even the 30 odd Madras High Court lawyers who reached the city to demonstrate their loyalty to Jaya were not allowed in. They were not needed anyway; Jaya had hired a battery of 16 top advocates to assist her in the case. Media too was kept away.

For 14 years Jaya could manage to get the case postponed Initially Jaya tried to postpone or at least delay the proceedings under some excuse or the other. For well-neigh 14 years she succeeded in the game. Her objections started when the trial venue was shifted to Bangaluru during her tenure as Chief Minister earlier [199196] on the prosecution's contention that the case could not be conducted fairly in Chennai because of the fear that she might influence many of the witnesses. The Supreme Court conceded the point. About the Bangaluru venue she first expressed the fear that security arrangements were inadequate for her safety. At the apex court's direction the Karnataka government took stringent measures and assured Jaya of the foolproof arrangements. The Court then told Jaya firmly that she would have to attend the Special Court proceedings at Bangaluru as scheduled. Then she found fault with the present venue which was under some minor

renovation. She pleaded to shift the court to a new building or to postpone the hearing until work on the present one was over. Actually Jaya's disapproval stemmed from the fact that it was at the same venue where trial of some sensational criminal cases held recently and it was fresh in people's memory. The Special Prosecution Judge rejected her plea and asked the Public Prosecutor B.V. Acharya who had four advocates to assist him, to start the proceedings. The method adopted by the Prosecution to save time was to ask

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Throughout the question-answer sessions Jaya maintained a regal demeanour, a studied dignity and assurance seen never before.

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Jaya a series of questions and record her answers. A total of 1339 questions were framed on the basis of evidence gathered from 259 witnesses of which 567 were answered by Jaya during 12 hours spread over two days. The rest of the questions were to be taken up on the following days but Jaya found the allotted time clashing with her prior engagements. So the proceedings were to be resumed on November 8. Bent on scuttling the trial Jaya again approached the Supreme Court pleading that further

LOKAYAT

proceedings be quashed but was rebuffed. Most questions put to Jaya so far pertained to her properties including jewellery, sarees, footwear, silverware and the companies in which she had stakes. Jaya answered some of them straight and crisp, but there were others which she either evaded or pleaded ignorance. Samples: she denied knowledge about certain assets acquired by various companies named in the casesaid, she was only a silent partner. She claimed that the jewelry seized from her house was over-valued and the diamonds had been acquired before she became Chief Minister. Some jewellery were old or were re-done, she said. Jaya alleged that some of the silverware and sarees were planted by the vigilance and anti-corruption personnel to trap her. To a question she agreed that she had drawn a salary of just one rupee during her earlier stint as Chief Minister. Throughout the question-answer sessions Jaya maintained a regal demeanour, a studied dignity and assurance seen never before. This change of mood reflects probably her party's excellent showing in the recent by-election to the Assembly and the local body polls. The AIADMK fought alone and retained the Tiruchi West seat defeating the DMK candidate K.N. Nehru for the second time in six months by increasing the margin twice over. All other 14 candidates lost their deposits. In the local body polls the ruling party captured all the 10 corporations and a majority of the municipalities, town panchayats, district panchayat wards and panchayat union wards. The Congress drew completely blank everywhere. It is certainly an endorsement of Jaya's policies and programmes in the last six months. She reversed the land-grabbing deeds of DMK musclemen, arrested perpetrators of the atrocities and re-established the law and order situation with a firm hand. That alone sent her stock sky-high among the people.

DECEMBER, 2011

45


LOKAYAT

KARNATAKA

LIFELINE FOR YEDDY !

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Yeddyurappa is keen to assert his superiority in the party in Karnataka. Some of his followers have already started a campaign to make him the state party president. Yeddyurappa knows very well that the BJP will need his services if it wants to keep the party in power in Karnataka.

The coming by-election to Bellary will prove where Yeddyurappa stands! Whether he still holds significant power in the state will be eagerly looked forward to by his followers and opponents alike! By Lokayat Correspondent

ormer Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is keen to take full advantage of his 'lifeline' after he was granted bail by the High Court after 25 days, in a graft case. Yeddyurappa was able to prove that he was still the supremo when it came to the BJP in the state. That the former chief minister continues to receive significant support in the ruling party could be gauged by the turnout of ministers and legislators outside the prison well before his walk to freedom. They followed him to the temple and his residence where his children performed an 'aarti' and applied 'tilak' on his forehead as part of the rituals to welcome him home. The

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manner in which he was greeted by his followers on release from the jail certainly pointed out that he had not lost his support. Yeddyurappa has already indicated that he was ready to campaign for the BJP candidate in the coming by-election in Bellary. That has put the national BJP High Command in some awkward position as the party's national leader Lal Krishna Advani had indicated during his Rath Yatra that he did not favour tainted persons clinging on to power. It was even rumoured initially that Advani may not tour Bangalore as part of his Rath Yatra as he might face the embarrassment from Congress opponents who criticised Advani's

The High Court had granted a conditional bail in one case a few days earlier, took little time in approving the other bail applications of the former chief minister Yeddyurappa and former minister S N Krishnaiah Setty in case relating to denotification of land on the outskirts of Bangalore.

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'double standards.' However, Advani did make his trip to Bangalore although it did not revoke much response. Yeddyurappa will be keen now to assert his superiority in the party in the state. Some of his followers have already started a campaign to make him the state party president. With the present state chief minister his own man, it may not be difficult for the state party to hoist Yeddyurappa at the helm of party affairs in the state. The former chief minister, who has said that he was put behind bars for political reasons, has vowed to fight against his opponents. 'Truth will prevail as I have done nothing wrong,' Yeddyurappa claimed repeatedly after his release from jail. For the moment, Yeddyurappa will make the best use of the 'lifeline' he has got and try to assert himself in state politics. With the Congress and other opposition parties also not proving to be strong, Yeddyurappa's task of reclaiming his position as a leader of importance may become easy.


CAMPUS

LOKAYAT

Tamilnadu Agricultural University Starts Farm Technology Degree

Dr. P. Murugesa Boopathi, Vice Chancellor of the Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.

Tamilnadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore

By Lokayat Correspondent

armers too need modern science education relevant to them to better manage their agriculture. Keeping this in mind the Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore has started a novel degree 'Bachelor of Farm Technology' for adult practising farmers for which the basic education required is only high school. There is no upper age limit to acquire this education. Other agriculture universities need to emulate the initiative ‌ The wind of hunger for knowledge has been sweeping Tamilnadu as well. Reports say that some 200 odd farmers ranging in age between 27 and 75 years have been attending classes in the Agricultural University, Coimbatore for the last few months with more dedication than their sons and grandsons show. They are learning latest farming methods to increase production. Many of the 'studentfarmers' did not have any degree or diploma, let alone a degree in agriculture, but they knew that things

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were happening in agriculture as in many other fields and that without a good grounding in these developments they would be at a great disadvantage if they wanted to remain in the field. So, they are in the University with books and other paraphernalia to bridge this knowledge gap. It was the good sense and foresight of the Vice-Chancellor Murugesa Boopathi which made this novel approach to farm education possible. During a visit to Israel he found that even 10th class dropouts were doing farming there exceedingly well. He found their knowledge level comparable to our Ph D scholars! It was then that he thought of introducing a new course in his university to update traditional farmers as well as those who chose farming as a vocation back in India. After detailed discussions among the faculty and interaction with farmers he was able to formulate a course content which turned out to be very popular.

Mercifully in this scheme of things the 'students' do not have to attend regular classes. It is a three-year open, distance education course divided into six semesters and the 'students' are awarded a Bachelor of Farm Technology (BFT) degree at the end. The main purpose of the course is creation of awareness about the new technologies, various crops and their characteristics, application of inputs, post-harvest processing , available government subsidies and effective management of labour. It is a pioneering experiment of its kind in India. Those registered for the first year include persons from such diverse backgrounds as retired officials, young entrepreneurs, sales executives, businessmen and so on. There are women as well. The only thing common among them is their eagerness to learn and desire to take up farming as a vocation seriously. There is no upper age limit for joining the course and 10th pass is enough to apply.

DECEMBER, 2011

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CAMPUS

LOKAYAT

A few things that Universities Steve Jobs in one of his lectures revealed to students about his life in students. He was a college drop-out, yet he could become one of message to students was 'Stay hungry, Stay foolish'. He asserted that

Steve Jobs

never graduated from college. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you

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want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

I did not want that all the savings of life of my parents was spent on the degree that the university would give me, so I dropped out. But did I lose anything after staying away from the classroom?

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And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the b e s t decisions I ever made. The minute I

My mother gave me for adoption on the condition that I would be sent to college, but when I was sent there, I did not stay for more than six months. Why I dropped out? Steve Jobs expired on October 5, 2011 after brave struggle with a rare type of pancreatic cancer for eight years. He has been acknowledged as a visionary and creative genius of the present time.

dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that


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LOKAYAT

do not teach to their students a most candid manner. It turned out a fascinating and inspiring story for the best creative and visionary entrepreneurs, the US ever produced. His final he had always wished that for himself. Here are the excerpts from his lecture. looked interesting. It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed.

out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. Steve was the son of an unwed mother Joanne Carole Schieble who fell in love with her Syrian teacher Abdulfattah "John" Jandali in the university of Wisconsin.

Story about love and loss I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents' garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4, 000 employees. We had just released our finest creation -the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired

learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating. None of this had even a hope of any practical It was one of the best application in my life. But ten decisions of the life to years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh drop out of the college. I computer, it all came back I co-started Apple in my to me. And we designed it slept on floors on friends' all into the Mac. It was parents' garage at the age rooms. To get a good meal the first computer of 20, which in ten years with beautiful every Sunday I would walk 7 typography. If I became a company with miles to Hare Krishna had never dropped in on that single over 4,000 employees. But temple. course in college, the ten years later at the age of 30, Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or I was thrown out from the proportionally spaced fonts. And company I had founded. Because I had dropped out and didn't since Windows just copied the Mac, have to take the normal classes, I it's likely that no personal computer decided to take a calligraphy class to would have them. If I had never dropped

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from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologise for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me - I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.

is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle. Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, biological father of Steve Jobs

It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

You have got to find what you love

Death is the single best invention When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world's first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation I loved what I did. You studio in the world. In a have got to find what you remarkable turn of events, Apple bought love. The only way to do NeXT, I returned to great work is to love what Apple, and the technology we you do. If you have not developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's found your love yet, keep current renaissance. And looking until you find it. Laurene and I have a wonderful family together. I'm Don't settle. pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't last day been fired from Apple. It was of my life, would I want to do awful-tasting medicine, but I It turned out later that what I am about to do today?" And guess the patient needed it. whenever the answer has been "No" for Sometimes life hits you in the head getting fired from Apple too many days in a row, I know I need to with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm was the best thing that change something. convinced that the only thing that kept Remembering that I'll be dead soon me going was that I loved what I did. could have ever happened is the most important tool I've ever You've got to find what you love. to me. It freed me to enter encountered to help me make the big And that is as true for your work choices in life. Because almost as it is for your lovers. Your one of the most creative everything - all external expectations, all work is going to fill a large pride, all fear of embarrassment or part of your life, and the only periods of my life. I could do failure - these things just fall away in the way to be truly satisfied is to do what I loved most to do. face of death, leaving only what is truly what you believe is great work. important. Remembering that you are And the only way to do great work

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CAMPUS going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10

LOKAYAT

Reed College was as costly as Stanford and very soon Steve realised that his parents' entire life savings would be gone for the degree which he would get from here. He chose to drop out of the college after six months.

crying because it turned out to be a very else is secondary. rare form of pancreatic cancer that is When I was young, there was an curable with surgery. I had the surgery amazing publication called The Whole and I'm fine now. Earth Catalog, which was one of the This was the closest I've been to bibles of my generation. It was sort of facing death, and I hope it's the closest. I like Google in paperback form, 35 years get for a few more decades. Having lived before Google came along: it was through it, I can now say this to you with idealistic, and overflowing with neat a bit more certainty than when tools and great notions. death was a useful but Stewart and his team put out several purely intellectual issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and Almost everything–all concept: No one wants to then when it had run its course, they put die. Even people who want to out a final issue. On the back cover of expectations, all pride, all go to heaven don't want to die to their final issue was a photograph of an fear of embarrassment or get there. And yet death is the early morning country road. Beneath it destination we all share. No one were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay failure–just fall away in the has ever escaped it. And that is Foolish." It was their farewell message face of death, leaving only as it should be, because as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Death is very likely the Foolish. And I have what is truly important. Death single best invention of always wished that Life. It is Life's change for myself. is life's change agent. It makes agent. It clears out the old you realise that time is to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, limited. but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry years to tell them in just a few months. It to be so dramatic, but it is quite No one wants to die. Even means to make sure everything is true. people who want to go to buttoned up so that it will be as easy as Your time is limited, so possible for your family. It means to say don't waste it living someone heaven don't want to die to your goodbyes. else's life. Don't be trapped by I lived with that diagnosis all day. dogma - which is living with get there. And yet death is Later that evening I had a biopsy, where the results of other people's the destination we all share. they stuck an endoscope down my thinking. Don't let the noise of throat, through my stomach and into my others' opinions drown out your No one has ever escaped it. intestines, put a needle into my pancreas own inner voice. And most Death is very likely the single and got a few cells from the tumor. I was importantly, have the courage to sedated, but my wife, who was there, follow your heart and intuition. best invention of life. told me that when they viewed the cells They somehow already know what under a microscope the doctors started you truly want to become. Everything

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Forty Four Deemed Universities may soon lose their recognition Fate of 2 lakh students at stake ! here are at present 130 Deemed Universities in the country. To be a deemed university is a great recognition as this status is conferred to an institute when it is known for high quality education. Once an institute becomes a Deemed University, it can award its own degrees for conventional/ general degree programmes leading to B.A/ B.Com/ B.Sc or M.A. M.Sc. The deemed university status enables not just full autonomy in setting course work and syllabus of those institutes and research centers, but also allows it to set its own guidelines for the admissions, fees, and instructions to the students. But during the time of Arjun Singh as the HRD Minister in 2008, this status was doled out like anything to colleges. After receiving complaints about them, Tandon Committee was constituted to look into the quality of Deemed Universities. It recommended that 44 Deemed Universities be derecognised as they do not fulfill the criteria.

T

Kapil Sibal

By Kusum Varshney

he fate of forty four impugned deemed universities is sure to be doomed. Thanks to the Supreme Court there is little chance this fraud would be tolerated any more. Since this was going to be a deeply embarrassing issue for the Congress Party, the green signal was sought from the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before taking a decision to de-recognise them. The decision to derecognise them was formally taken on the basis of Tandon Committee report which in October 2009 found many of these institutions are run as family fiefdoms and not following the required rules and regulations. But the HRD ministry's decision was challenged in the Supreme Court. In January this year, these universities requested the apex court to grant them more time to rectify shortcomings. Following the directives of the court on April 11, the government then set up

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a panel of experts to review the findings of the Tandon Committee and functioning of these universities. But these universities have again been found to be lacking in several areas by the panel of three members. There are a few Deemed Universities which were approved during Murli Manohar Joshi's time also, but majority of these dubious institutions got the coveted status during the Arjun Singh's tenure. The question arises whether de-recognition would not spoil the future of more than two lakh students who are getting education there. Ministry says that students would not be harmed much. They would be allowed to complete their courses and obtain degrees from the affiliating universities, of course not from the Deemed Universities. In case a particular Deemed University is not able to get affiliation from the state universities, then migration and re-enrolment of students

would be facilitated. Of the 44 questioned Deemed Universities, Tamil Nadu has the distinction of having 16, 15 of them private and one government-sponsored. Among those found undeserving of deemed status in Tamil Nadu is Bharath Institute of Higher Education & Research-with six constituent institutions-run by DMK's S Jagatharakshakan, MoS information & broadcasting. Karnataka has six derecognized deemed universities; Uttar Pradesh four; Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Maharashtra three each; Gujarat, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar one each. The three government-run institutions to be de-recognised are Nava Nalanda Mahavira in Bihar, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Tamil Nadu, and National Museum Institute of the History of Art, Conservation and Museology, New Delhi.


HEALTH IS WEALTH

LOKAYAT

Eating eggs daily may invite diabetes new study has shown that people who eat eggs every day may substantially increase their risk of type-2 diabetes. India is already the diabetic capital of the world and continuing promotion of eating eggs every day will add to the burden. In the study men with the highest level of egg consumption, seven or more per week, were 58 percent By Dr KK Agrawal more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat eggs, and women were 77 percent more likely to become diabetic if they ate at least an egg a day. The study done by Dr Luc DjoussĂŠ of Brigham is published in 'Journal Diabetes Care'. The bottom line of the finding is: Diabetes is more common in men and women who reported eating more than the average one egg a week.

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DEAR INDIANS, YOU ARE AT A HIGHER RISK OF DIABETES! o matter where you live, in India, Australia, Brazil or America, if you are born in India, you live with the highest risk of getting diabetes. A new study published in 'Diabetes Care' has shown that people who immigrated to the United States from India have the highest rate of type-2 diabetes (which sets in generally after forty years of age). The study showed that people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan have the highest rate of diabetes among any ethnic group in New York. Diabetes has been increasing in India over the last few decades because of consumption of more calories, not exercising regularly and a shift of diet from high complex carbohydrates to high refined carbohydrates.

N Other salient features 1. Levels of egg intake above one a week incrementally increased diabetes risk in both men and women 2 .Egg is a major source of dietary cholesterol (about 200 mg per egg) 3. Each egg adds about 1.5 g of saturated fat to the diet 4. Eggs influence glucose metabolism primarily through their effect on cholesterol. 5. Each egg also contributes about 0.7 g of polyunsaturated fat, which neutralises the risk to some extent only. 6. The average one-egg-a-week consumption was not associated with increased diabetes risk. The study included 20,703 male doctors without baseline diabetes and 36,295 similarly diabetesfree female health professionals. The persons under study were followed up for 20 years in men and 11.7 years in women.

Diabetes can be reversed nother study published in 'Diabetologia' has shown that newly developed type-2 diabetes can be reversed. This can be achieved by reducing dietary intake. When people with diabetes were kept for 8 weeks on the diet of just 600 Kcal a day in place of routine around 1,800 Kcal, their fasting sugar level came down to the level of healthy people within a week. All other parameters proving that diabetes is gone were confirmed within eight weeks of low calorie diet regime. Similar results were observed within 12 weeks at Moolchand Medcity study which was conducted with the diet of 1200 Kcal. The diet included consuming less caloric food at one go. The diet includes zero transfats (vanaspati ghee), zero refined carbohydrates (sugar, maida & white polished rice etc) and only one complex carbohydrate (legumes, starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, coarse rice and grain products) based meal a day. In one patient, the requirement of insulin reduced from 150 to 30 units and in others, from 100 to zero unit. Similar changes are seen after any bariatric surgery. These days, bariatric surgery is becoming very popular. Recently BJP national president Nitin Gadkari also went for this. But before contemplating bariatric surgery, an aggressive lifestyle management programme for diabetics should be attempted.

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HEALTH IS WEALTH

LISTERIA–A SERIOUS BUG Listeria is a bacterium that exists naturally in many foods. If it is allowed to proliferate, especially in the kitchen, it can create dangerous complications. ... By Dr Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna

LISTERIA LISTERIA was first discovered 75 years ago, but it was only as recent as 1985 that the incidence of the disease among humans was monitored and reported by Centres of Disease Control. Listeria causes disease called listeriosis, which initially was thought to strike only cattle, sheep and goats. Amongst these animals, listeriosis would cause encephalitis that would lead to spontaneous abortions. In man, the disease is transmitted through uncooked food and unhygienic living conditions. Although the incidence of listeriosis is low, its fatality rate is high-between 30 to 57 per cent. In the US, for example, 625 out of 1,950 people seriously ill with listeriosis, die each year. In a 20 year study of 'Acute Meningitis in Adults' researchers found that Listeria Monocytogenes caused seven per cent of bacterial meningitis in adults. In normal circumstances, the bacterium monocytogenes or listeria occurs frequently in the human gut without causing disease. However, if infected, symptoms will begin with a fever, and progress to muscle aches, sometimes nausea or diarrhoea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, then the symptoms will include headaches, a stiff neck, disorientation and loss of balance or even convulsions. It could lead to meningitis. Pregnant women and adults with depressed immune functions caused by old age, illness and weakness are particularly susceptible. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than healthy adults. The disease could result in spontaneous abortion or stillbirths and listeriosis leads to intrauterine infections of the foetus. Neonatal infections occur during the passage of the baby through the birth canal. Worse, it could result in meningitis after birth.

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Transmission of Listeria Listeria is an organism that is widely found in nature. The bacterium has been isolated in soil, fresh vegetables, in poultry, meat, milk and milk products. It finds its way from contaminated soil to plants, and is thus transmitted to herbivorous animals that graze on the infected plants.


HEALTH IS WEALTH

LOKAYAT

ON THE MOVE ...! Evidence around the home... Until now, Listeria has been thought of as a food poisoning bacterium, commonly associated with foods such as soft cheese and fresh as well as frozen meat and vegetables. However, latest research has revealed that the bacteria also thrive on inanimate objects around the house, such as chopping-boards, knives, toothbrushes as well as in the fridge. A recent research has revealed that the spread of Listeria goes beyond food products to exist in other suitable environments like dish cloths, washing brushes, toothbrushes, bathrooms, showers, kitchen sinks and vegetable compartments of refrigerators. The study covered 213 diverse households, with varying socio-economic groups.

Test control A blood test would be necessary to diagnose Listeria. But pregnant women would also have to do a spinal fluid examination to determine the extent of the infection. Considering the threat of these micro-organisms, it is advisable to take the following precautions: All vegetables and meat must be thoroughly washed. Special attention must be paid to raw vegetables used in salads. All vegetables and meat must be thoroughly cooked, as high temperatures destroy Listeria and other pathogens. Milk must be pasteurised as this kills Listeria that's naturally present in fluid milk. Regularly disinfect dish cloths in a sodium hypochloride solution. Clean and disinfect kitchen work surfaces, chopping boards and other surfaces that people frequently touch, such as tap handles, etc. Keep your fridge clean and cold (between 0-4 degree centigrade). Store raw meat away from cooked meat and keep it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Clean and disinfect moist areas like sinks, bathrooms, toilets, toilet plug holes, toilet seats and bowls, tap handles and toilet flush handles regularly. For high-risk groups like pregnant women and the elderly, doctors recommend the following additional precautions: Avoid all soft cheese. All pre-packed ready-to-eat foods should be cooked until steaming hot to destroy the organism.

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SCIENCE

ARHAR GENOME DECODED BY Tug of war going on to take credit Arhar is an important legume crop grown primarily by small farmers in many semi-arid tropical regions of the world. It is the second most important pulse crop of India. Recently a global team led by Dr Rajeev Varshney from International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

By Shruti Gupta

bout 85 percent of the world arhar is produced and consumed in India. It is a key crop providing major source of protein to Indians. The green revolution in India eluded this crop and its productivity is still what it used to be sixty years ago. In India it is just 650 kg per hectare, it is

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based in Hyderabad has published the genome sequence of Arhar (pigeon pea) in Nature Biotechnology, highest ranked journal in the area of biotechnology. In parallel, another group led by Dr NK Singh from National Research Centre of Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) based in New Delhi published the genome sequence of the same variety in Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology. This is the first orphan legume plant genome sequenced that will ultimately improve food security in many developing countries mainly in India. But a tug of war has erupted on who did the pioneering work in this sequencing.

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Genome sequence of pigeon pea, an orphan legume crop of resource-poor farmers (source: Nature Biotechnology 2011 doi:10.1038/nbt.2022)

marginally higher in other countries, but now with the Arhar genome sequenced recently, it would be possible to take it up to 2,500 kilograms per hectare. This surely would ensure protein security for the vegetarian Indian population as well as help in lowering its market price which is running at an unaffordable level. Currently to meet the growing

DR Rajeev Varshney of ICRISAT, Hyderabad

demand of the country some 3 million tonnes of Arhar is imported from Myanmar at the cost of Rs 7,000 crore. No developed country was interested in Arhar. That is the reason, it is known as an orphan crop, neglected by scientific community of the developed world. The need to increase the productivity of Arhar through improved varieties has always been felt. But much could not be done as the genetic information of Arhar was not available. Pigeon pea (Arhar) genomics research mainly started from 2006 from the financial support of Indo-US Agriculture Knowledge Initiative, Global CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme and National Science Foundation of US. A significant amount of genomic resources were generated in different projects mainly led by ICRISAT. Now since Arhar genome has been sequenced, it will help development of super Arhar varieties. So far as the sequencing of the genome is concerned, scientists at ICRISAT chose the most popular Arhar variety 'Asha'. According to these two papers, ICRISAT-led team has identified 48, 680 genes in the


SCIENCE

LOKAYAT

TWO GROUPS

Arhar, one of the most popular pulse in India Dr NK Singh of NRCPB, New Delhi

Why Arhar has more genes than animals ll living beings, plants or animals, depend on genes. But hardy crop Arhar like many other plants has higher number of genes than animals. It may be so because plants have to perform additional biological functions, like converting solar energy to chemical energy and non-living matter into organic compounds. Arhar has evolved in peculiar circumstances and it has many genes which can take care of drought conditions. This is the reason farmers of regions who do not have access to the irrigation facilities grow this crop. Plants even otherwise also need a large number of defense mechanisms, therefore defence genes to survive in the open nature as they cannot run away like animals when weather becomes inclement. But this should not hurt the ego of man who takes pride at being at the apex of the animal evolution as they have more number of genes for highly developed senses, intellectual capacity and locomotion related functions.

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Arhar genome, of which 152 genes are probably associated with tolerance to drought, heat and salinity. Because of these genes this is known as a hardy crop. The finding is of particular importance due to the drought-tolerant nature of pigeon pea which can flourish in hard climatic conditions. On the other hand, NRCPB team has identified 1,213 genes for disease resistance in pigeon pea. In a parallel a team of 31 agricultural scientists drawn from ICAR institutes, state agricultural universities and Banaras Hindu University led by Nagendra Singh of National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology have also decoded the genome of Arhar. It took some six years of extensive research. Sources tell that genome sequencing work was underway for last two and half years through the global team and NRCPB was part of the team. The first glimpses of the pigeon pea genome were presented by the global team in several scientific meetings as early as in January 2011. Their research work has been published now in the highly reputed international journal Nature Biotechnology. But an unseemly controversy has erupted to take credit by the other group, though their paper was published a few days earlier but in much less reputed local journals.

Dr Rajeev Varshney who works for Applied Genomics research group at ICRISAT told that with the help of Genome sequencing results, it would be possible to identify which genes make the crop drought-tolerant. This knowledge can be used to make other legume (pulses) crops equally drought resistant. He also tells that in the normal course, the development of new variety takes some ten years, now it may reduce this time into half, however breeders need to come forward to utilise the full potential of the genome information. He told, "When two drafts of genome sequence have become available, we should work towards achieving improved version of the genome. Instead of spending our time in controversy and race to take the credit, let us move on and plan work in collaboration towards utilising the genome sequence information for pigeon pea improvement." He further added, "Enhancing the genetic base of the gene pool in parallel to utilising the available genome information in breeding should be the first priority for the pigeon pea researchers". In fact, India needs to put more money now for carrying research related to developing new varieties of Arhar on the fast track. That would end the era of protein malnutrition in the country and lower pulses' prices as well.

DECEMBER, 2011

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COOKERY

GUILT-FREE SWEETS... ! Sweets no longer mean you have to gain weight…a few tips how you can avoid doing so this season... By Uma Prasad

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ar-fetched as it may seem, it is possible to make your gastronomic splurge guilt-free. And since excesses in fat, sugar and cholesterol are the main concern of nutritionists the world over, here are a few tips to cut down on this terrible trio in your goodies:

Replace whole milk in traditional sweets like 'kheers' and 'kulfis' with skimmed milk or skim milk powder. This reduces the fat content, and what's more, improves the nutrition score a good deal, too. For recipes (like 'rabri') which call for sweetened condensed milk or 'mawa', use skimmed milk thickened with flour or arrowroot powder. Bake items like 'shakkar pare, sev, gathia, karanji', etc, instead of frying them. It cuts down calories in a trice. Reduce the sugar content in your dishes either with aspartame or other accepted artificial sweeteners. Fruit 'sheera' and 'shrikhand', and other

fruit drinks require fresh fruits that bring their natural sweetness into the dish, here you need add a lot less sugar than is normally done. Fruits consist mainly of water and fewer than 10 per cent carbohydrates. Limit the use of nuts like almonds, cashew nuts and dry fruits like figs, apricots and dates-they drip calories! Instead, use black currants and raisins, which are comparatively low in fat and are a superb source of vitamin C. However, when you use black currants you may need higher amounts of sugar to counter the acidity and tartness of the currants. Using strong flavourings like cardamom, saffron,

cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla can mask any reduction in sugar or the bitterness that artificial sweeteners might give. Desiccated coconut contains more fat than fresh coconut simply because it contains less moisture. Therefore, try and use fresh coconut in 'karanjis' and other stuffed items. This might mean that these items will not last as long, but it's worth it.

carrots where most of the starch is converted to sugar, and you can cut down drastically on the amount of sugar. Substitute chocolate and cocoa butter with cocoa powder. Unlike the former two which are bountiful in calories and fat, cocoa powder has a negligible fat content.

Coconut milk is a safer bet than ground coconut because it contains less fat than the latter.

If you have to use chocolate, use dark, bitter chocolate. It is better than ordinary chocolate, since it has less sugar and also provides several valuable minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium.

Dry roast grated carrot, with no added fat, in a non-stick pan, and then add the required amount of sugar for carrot 'halwa'. Another tip: Go in for sweet

Replace butter (100 per cent saturated fat, high cholesterol), with a soft margarine made from corn or safflower oil (which has zero cholesterol).

There you are--no need to feel deprived or left out. You can relish all the flavours of the season and not worry about tipping those scales. Enjoy!

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COOKERY

LOKAYAT

GULAB JAMUN... GULAB JAMUN (Here's a recipe trimmed at the edges to make it tasty)

For the jamuns: 3/4 cup skimmed milk powder 1/2 cup flour 1 tsp butter curd a pinch of cardamom powder

For the sugar syrup: 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup water rose essence for flavour

To make the jamuns: Mix all the ingredients together, knead and roll them into small balls. Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry the balls on high heat till they become golden brown. Remove from oil and drain well on an absorbent paper.

To make the syrup: In a wok, heat sugar, water and rose essence, till it forms a syrupy consistency. Soak the jamuns in the hot syrup. (The traditional recipe requires the use of mawa, which is very high in fat and contains twice as much sugar)


LOKAYAT

INTERVIEW

An interview By Jyothi Venkatesh with Rohit Dhawan How did the basic idea for the film Desi Boyz come about? The basic idea to make my film Desi Boyz basically stemmed out of what I saw around me in 2008, when the terrible economic crisis came and people did not know how to cope with financially, especially in USA and UK where jobs were laid off in large numbers and lakhs of people became jobless in every sector. How did you prepare to be a director? I did a four year course in writing and direction and also dabbled in a basic course in cinematography in New York City Tisch School of Arts in New York University. I was never interested in taking up acting, though my younger brother Varun has always been keen on being an actor. Varun has learnt Busienss Administration in Nottingham in U.K. Though I rule out the possibility of me ever taking up acting, Varun may even take to direction, since he is the son of a director like David Dhawan. How tough was it for you to get a busy star like Akshay Kumar on board? Frankly speaking, I knew Akshay Kumar from the time I have been an assistant to my dad. Fortunately Eros International came forward to be on board at a nascent stage. It was after Akshay Kumar introduced me to Kishan Lulla that I narrated the English drafts to him. Dad did not know Lulla at all on a one to one level personally or for that matter professionally. I was fortunate enough that though Kishan Lulla had a lot of scripts on hand, he decided to pick up my subject and back my film.

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Why did you not seek your father's help to launch your film? My father has to his credit as many as 43 films as a director, right from Taqatwar to his last release Rascals. I had assisted my father in films like Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, Partner and last but not the least Hook Or Crook I knew that I would never have the comfort of his producing a film to launch me as a director, because he does not like to produce a film. Instead he prefers sticking to direction even today. I never wanted my dad to help me launch myself as a film maker. What I liked about my dad is that he told me in a frank man to man talk that my mistakes should be mine and my success also mine and I should set out to prove my own individual worth on my own steam and come out of his shadow. How was your experience as a director? I have okayed a scene if I felt that I liked it, because every director feels that the audience also will like a scene if he likes it first. These days, directors have become very personal about their work. I should say that honestly it has been a very nice and crisp experience for me as a director, considering the fact that I am actually making my debut with Desi Boyz. What next, after Desi Boyz? I have just wrapped up Desi Boyz . Though I should say that I am a lot funnier than my film, mine is a masala taste palette film and has a slight edgy element too to it. I am waiting with bated breath for its release and the feedback that I am going to get. I have not frankly thought of my next film at all.


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VIDYA BALAN REALLY LOVES YOUR LOCAL SAREEWALA idya Balan will be wearing a saree purchased from a local shop while travelling to your city for promoting her next film, The Dirty Picture. Since the promos have gone on air, everyone has been raving about Vidya Balan’s look in The Dirty Picture especially the one where she is wearing a red saree. It is alleged that she is playing the sexy Silk Smitha, whose life went through a lot as part of the industry. Now, the news is that Vidya Balan will be wearing a local Saree purchased from a famous local shop and will also get a blouse stylized by a local darjee. She will ask the local darjee to style the blouse which is the current famous style in this city.Vidya Balan is travelling to your city in next two weeks and wants to dress in a local saree, she is very clear that it has to be red in colour and the design has to be famous local design. Vidya Balan is extremely excited to visit the city and wear a locally handmade saree available at a local shop. Her saree look has become a huge rage. The unit of Dirty Picture is getting in touch with local shops and dharji to decide on the saree.

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AARTI CHABRIA SAYS NO TO OFFER TO ACT WITH AKSHAY KUMAR IN ROWDY RATHOD

LOCAL BARBER COMES TO ARJAN'S RESCUE

e all know the lengths an actor can go to, to get the perfect look for his role. So no wonder director Maqbool Khan wanted his actor Arjan Bajwa's look perfected to the tee for his film Lanka. While the cast of the film was shooting in Bijnor the director went to the local barber and let him snip a few inches off his hair before Arjan got his manes chopped. "I wanted the perfect look for his character, and when we were starting to shoot, I still wanted a little change in Arjan's style. So I looked for a local barber and tried him out. I convinced Arjan to go for it too, "says the director. Arjan Bajwa says, "It's true that my look in the film is not styled by some renowned hair stylist as happens in most of the films. I was scared and reluctant to get a hair cut at some local salon, but trust me this is one of my best hair cuts and the experience was amazing. If it wasn't for the film, I would have never done something like this," says Arjan..

W hough Aarti Chabria , who was offered an action oriented role in Rowdy Rathod, was quite excited and happy to work with Akshay Kumar after Khatron Ke Khiladi 4 Torchaar & Awara Pagal Deewana and was comfortable with the entire setup, she was not completely convinced about her role and wanted to read the script. Since the production house was hesitant to part with the script as they were working on it, Aarti opted not to go ahead with it.

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REGIONAL FILMS

DEOOL BAGS AWARD AT SOUTH ASIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL he Nana Patekar Sonali Kulkarni-Naseeruddin Shah strarrer Deool directed by Umesh Kulkarni who had earlier directed Vihir has received a lot of acclaim at the recently concluded South Aisan International Film Festival held in New York. What is interesting to note is the fact that besides the jury of the festival, the film has also been lapped by the audiences all over USA in whichever cinema house it was shown. The film was also shown recently in MAMI International Film festival in Mumbai and sets out to drive home the message that superstition thrive in our country in the form of blind faith in god and temples and there are people who exploit the gullible masses because of this trait.

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TANTYA BHEEL IS A FILM ON A LITTLE KNOWN INDIAN FREEDOM FIGHTER

film has been made on the life and times of the little known freedom fighter Tantya Bheel by Mukesh R.K. Chauksey, who had assisted filmmaker N. Chandra. Mukesh has not only played the title role in the film titled Tantya Bheel but also directed the film, produced by Sharad Yadav. Says Mukesh R.K. Chauksey, Bhagat Singh and others figure in history because Indians had written about them but Tantya Bheel was a freedom fighter who has not been given his credit by the British when history was written. Ironically though five books have been written on Tantya, all of them have projected him as a dacoit because they were written from the point of view of the British by Indians who sought to curry favours from the British. With encouragement from Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, I shot my film free of charge in the jail premises in Barrack No 5, where Tantya was incarcerated. Kailash Vijay Vargiya, the Minister for Industry and Lakshmikant Sharma, the Minister for Culture also helped me a in completing my film, which also has Kader Khan, Surendra Pal, Pramod Moutho Preeti Chowksey, Manish Yadav and Amrit Pal. Though the producer wanted to cast Ajay Devgn as Tantya Bheel, Mukesh, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Tantya , felt that since Ajay did not suit the role, he would enact the role himself.

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MIRANDA KERR CREDITS FITS BODY TO BREASTFEEDING

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ictoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr has admitted that breastfeeding her baby Flynn has helped her get in perfect shape for the upcoming show.

The proud mommy is well prepared ahead of taking to the runway and strut the stuff. In an interview to a daily she said: "I've waxed, shaved, done laser. I'm prepped at this point." "It's milking time. I'm still breast feeding. I'm pumping, and it's going well," the Daily Mail quoted Kerr as telling the New York Post. Miranda will walk on the ramp sporting a 'fantasy Treasure' bra, which has a price tag of $2.5 million and have nearly 3,400 precious gems. 

PATTINSON CRAZY FOR KRISTEN STEWART BIEBER DENIES FATHERING CHILD WITH FAN op sensation Justin Bieber slams the allegations put on him by one of his fan, Mariah Yeater, that he is the father of her child. Bieber denied that he fathered a child. The fan claimed a paternity suit against the teen star saying that he had unprotected sex with her in October last year. The crooner made out with her during one of his concerts at Los Angele's Staples Center. The 17-year-old singer said: "I know I'm going to be a target, but I'm never going to be a victim. It's crazy, every night after the show I've gone right from the stage right to my car, so it's crazy some people want to make up such false allegations. But to set the record straight, none of it is true." There will be a hearing on Yeater's claim on December 15 this year. 

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wilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson is "desperate for affection" from Kristen Stewart. The onscreen pair is an item in real life and adorable together.

The couple plays teenage lovers Edward and Bella in the Twilight Saga and their real life is more or less the same. A close coterie reveals: "Pattinson is crazy for Kristen and he is always worried about her leaving him. She will blow him off, and it makes him crazy." While the 25-year-old hot actor is ready to settle down, Stewart is far from ready to tie the nuptial knot. 

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TRAVELOGUE

NOSTALGIC RETURN TO By V.S.P. Kurup

hen I first went to Bangkok, capital city of Thailand, 32 years ago, I had practically no pre-conceived notions about that metropolis. It was just the capital of Thailand. For me the visit to this dreamland of tourists on an assignment was, however, a lucky break from the grueling schedule of my work in the Times of India. For 18 days I roamed the city and the sight and sound I imbibed then had got me totally bowled over. Now long retired and away from all hectic activities, I was bored and often felt the

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need to recharge. So when my spouse and daughter, who had fondly remembered the vivid description I painted of my visit to Bangkok three decades ago, wanted to make a trip to that fairyland themselves, I lost no time to decide and offered to be their escort. With passports in our hands, tickets and visa were no problem. We -- five of us including my son- in-law and granddaughter-landed in Bangkok one afternoon. Bangkok is amazingly touristfriendly. The hotel where we had made reservations in advance had sent a hostess who picked us up quickly, completed the arrival formalities and put us in a waiting car. About 40 minutes' drive through broad, beautiful avenues lined with tastefully arranged statues and clipped plants in various shapes all the way was a new travel experience. Despite the fast and heavy rush either way, there was not a single traffic red light impeding our smooth sailing. As soon as our luggage was delivered to our 18th floor rooms

we were invited to a free welcome drink at the restaurant. Refreshed and back in our rooms we had the first grand view of the city glowing in the evening sun. The Bangkok skyline had changed expectedly in the last three decades but the transformation I saw was beyond belief. For our first outing we chose to go to the famous floating market some 40 km. away. At a nodal point on a river bank we hired a boat with out-board motor to go on the exotic 'river-run'. It took us nearly two hours for the to-and-fro trip that combined sight-seeing as well as shopping. The river was full of other tourists like us as also vendors of assorted wares in country boats. Both banks also had shops displaying textiles, flowers, fruits, vegetables and handicraft. We were warned to be wary of buying these things because often the peddlers quoted two to three hundred per cent above the selling price. Forewarned, my daughter made no mistake. On the way back the resourceful cabby took us to a 'country cultural show'. It was very interesting to see, because it provided glimpses of Thai traditions and culture in a nutshell. The items presented


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A TOURIST PARADISE

included jugglery, mock Thai wedding, boxing, candle dance, harvest dance, ordination into monkhood, fingernail dance, karate, mock duel that looked like Kerala's kalari payattu, bamboo dance similar to the one in Nagaland and a circle dance in which members of the audience were invited to join .

Land of Golden Buddhas Next day we visited some of the Buddhist temples with their sky-high shining pagodas Bangkok is famous for. First we went to see the largest Golden Buddha in the world. It is 12 feet 5 inches in diameter and 15 feet 9 inches in height. Weighing nearly five tonnes and claimed to be made of pure gold, it is 700 years old. For several centuries it remained covered with plaster to conceal the gold from invading forces and then it was forgotten! The plaster cover was broken by accident while moving it to the present site in 1955 and only then it was re-discovered to be made of gold. Another famous tourist landmark is Wat Pho, the temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is a huge, 46-metre long and proportionately big golden image, seen through 12 doors! The sacred temple enclosing the image itself is in an ornate quadrangle around which are hundreds of golden, Buddhalike 'images' in various

sitting poses. It was said they were not Buddhas, but images of Buddhist monks in attendance on the reclining figure. While we were inside the sanctum sanctorum with numerous other tourists, there were dozens of monks on one side sitting silently in their traditional ochre robes offering prayers It is said Thai massage started here and the service is still available at the temple.

of the world. Truly speaking only when the sun sets, Bangkok springs to life-- it becomes an altogether different city. The tourists who want to enjoy have a range of entertainments to choose from--state of art discotheques with the latest gadgetry, streets full of pubs and bars offering choicest

Scintillating Night-life One night I went out to re-visit and see what made Bangkok the sex capital

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TRAVELOGUE

liquors, talented singers, night-time shopping extravaganza, Thai boxing events, romantic night-time river cruise, debauchery of every kind imaginableliterally overwhelming for any firsttimer. What arrests a visitor most is the pervasive promiscuity. One cannot escape noticing it. Going by the country's law, prostitution is illegal, but in practice it is silently tolerated. The police say that sex with a girl under 18 is strictly no-no; does that mean sex with others is okay? There is no official ruling. So much so, Thailand is known the world over as a sex tourism destination. And a large majority of tourists and businessmen come here just for the thrill of this Thai 'hospitality'. In fact for many Thai girls prostitution is a way of life -- the main means of living. A Chulalongkom University (Thai) researcher estimated that in Thailand there are over 2.8 million regular sex workers who contributed something like three percent to the country's revenue. They run their "business" openly - since soliciting is only vaguely defined, it is silently tolerated and not considered offensive-- under numerous labels like, massage parlours, go-go bars, hostess bars, karaoke bars, bath-houses, personal service providers, saunas and so on. What is more, they promise everything-from instant thrill to ultimate bliss. Their colourful, pictorial flex boards that leave nothing to imagination, with rates for various services, are conspicuously

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displayed everywhere in Bangkok . The extremely liberal sexual mores of Thai women is all too visible in the way they-the youngsters-- dress and carry on their daily routines. Most of them wear only the minimal of cloth to cover their body-short and slim as they are with atomic 'assets', too much gear may be unnecessary and even look excessive. So they are happy with a twoinch strip on the loin and a similar apology across the bosom. At first one may be legitimately embarrassed; but after a few minutes on any Bangkok street, occasional sight of a fully dressed (say, Indian) girl may seem very odd and irrational. That Thai society is tolerant to the extent of being indifferent to questions of morals and ethics is illustrated by the glaring example of Chuwit Kamolvisit, owner of a chain of massage parlours in Bangkok and considered the godfather of prostitution in that country. In 2003 he revealed that he paid over the previous ten years more than 1.5 million Sterling Pounds in bribes to run his business, mostly to senior police officers and politicians. In 2005 he was elected to the Thai House of Representatives, though a year later the constitutional court unseated him.

Familiar Echo We discussed with a few local citizens to know the political environment and were surprised to note that there are many arenas in


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Super highway of Bangkok

Floating market of Bangkok

that country where things look surprisingly familiar for Indians. Employment situation there is as bad as it is here and minimum wage level is not much higher. The labour unions have threatened strike unless it is raised to the equivalent of about Rs 500 per month by January next. Signs are they will get it because the present government of Yingluk Thaksin came to power on that promise. It may be just a coincidence, but telecom spectrum allocation is making similar turbulence there also. Despite conduct of periodic elections and parliamentary form of governance, political functioning in Thailand is very weak. Political parties suffer from lack of mass support, absence of any firm ideology and commitment to a welfare state. They are also prone to manipulation by money bags and the unscrupulous. The king is a nominal

A roof top sky-bar

Thais hold dogs in high esteem as Hindus do cows lmost 84 per cent of population in the country are Thais (Chinese 12 %, Muslims 4 %) and of these 95 per cent are Buddhists (of Theravada school). They worship Buddha as deeply as they adore their constitutional king (and queen). They will react strongly to slighting of either by anybody.

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But what kind of Buddhist philosophy do they practice, one may wonder when it is realised that the preferred food of the monks, leave alone others, is meat. To my over-curious question what meat, do they like, quick came the reply from our driver: everything except the dog meat. They hold dogs in high esteem just as some Hindus in India feel about cows.

figure-head and absolutely nonintrusive. So the real power ought to lie with the elected government headed by the prime minister. But it is not. Since political parties are weak besides being

corrupt, often the army steps in causing power struggles, anarchy and bloodshed. Abuse of laws like detention without trial for long periods and human rights violations is rampant in Thailand.

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SPORT

Metamorphosis Of Cricket!

Mohammed Asif

Salman Bhutt

Mohammed Aamer

The influence of lucre has practically overshadowed the larger interest of the game. In fact cricket can be likened to a gambler's delight. It has helped develop a betting mind, very much like that of a cardsharp or race-goer or any one of the closed room disciplines with millions of dollars at stake. And like in all these games where luck is only a catalyst, human greed or want is limitless.

By Ramu Sharma

t is transition time for world cricket, changing from an old world game to set a distinct pattern, quite in contrast to established norms but well within the accepted framework. It is still cricket but not always played to qualify as a gentlemen's game. The laws that govern it no longer conform to the ones laid down in the MCC Rule Book. Now there is an additional umpire who sits outside the ground, in a court of law.

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And it is in one of these courts in London that a jury and judge held three cricketers from Pakistan guilty of gross indiscretion on the playing field and sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment just like any other criminal. The three, Salman Butt, Md. Aamer and Md. Asif, have gone down in history as pioneers with the dubious distinction of setting a rare precedent. They were judged not on the field by the umpires designated but by a judge in a court of law. It's a sad time for the game which once flourished as a simple, week-end village entertainment before spreading the world over as cricket and its many

ramifications. It took the form of Test Cricket and other tentacles to become a craze for crores of people around the world. Its growth has been phenomenal and following unbelievable. So much so that from a mere sport to be played, cherished and enjoyed, it has become big business. Ironically this very progress has been its biggest stumbling block for huge amount of money generated brought with its many associated ills which normally follow wealth. Pulling horses is a term in racing. In cricket there is match-fixing and during the England -Pakistan series last year there was a new word coined, spot fixing or bowling no-balls at given time and at

will. All for huge amounts, cash which would make millionaires of poor. And over the years, particularly from the early 90s onwards cricket became a gambler's delight. Almost all the countries were accused of harbouring players involved in some ugly practices but not many were caught. Then suddenly the bomb exploded, one after the other, each one a bigger bang. And nearly always there was a suspicion of an Indian finger in the transactions. The sub-continent indeed figured more prominently with Pakistan's Salim Malik and Ata-ur-Rehman banned for life in 2000 A.D. Then came the Indian chapter, with Azharuddin, the captain falling under the guilty spell. Other Indians too came under the scanner and Ajay Sharma and Manoj Prabhakar paid due penalties, one banned for life and the other for five years. What, however, shook the world was the involvement of Hansi Cronje, the captain of the brilliant South African team. He was charged for accepting money from the bookmakers and forecasting the result of matches. He was caught by an Indian police officer and had to bow out of the game. He later died in an air crash. Cronje's guilt and confession shocked the cricket world and till this latest and rare incident of cricketers being jailed, has been the biggest blow to the game. Now with three men in jail for not playing the game according to rules cricket has taken a big beating. It will take a long time for it to recapture its glory.


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HONORARY COMMISSIONS! By Lokayat Correspondent

o, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Abhinav Bindra have been decorated with the rank of Honorary Lt. Colonel in the Territorial Army. Very commendable. It is an honour for the sportsmen, recognition of their achievements in the international sphere and at the same time, in a way an honour for the Army too which can boast of two more outstanding personalities in its ranks. This bestowing of ranks on civilian heroes is also a means of sustaining a tradition in the country. Dhoni and Bindra are not the first from the list of sporting heroes to be so honoured and will also not be the last. India thinks much of its sportsperson and gives its all to cherish their performances. It is however not just the Army. The Air Force too has welcomed sportsmen to its ranks, the latest being Sachin Tendulkar who posed proudly with the rank bestowed on him by the warriors of the skies. These gestures by the Services have been welcomed by the sportspersons all over the country. These are treated as added incentives to Arjuna Awards, Padma Awards and the like along with a bit of cash to go along. Free travel is an additional bargain for those being honoured by the government. There is a school of thought which while appreciating the gestures by the Services draw a line when performances on the field prompt the offer of jobs in the police. This is a practice followed religiously to encourage sportsmen in Punjab and elsewhere and no doubt has helped many among the needy stalwarts to settle down in a vocation. They go through the normal training schedules and earn their ranks and go on to excel in the field of their choosing. But there is

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Lucky Cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Super lucky Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra

Cricket, football, hockey and athletics are all right in their own places but there should be no compromise in the selection and responsibilities of another a police officer. category which is not very conducive and needs to be curtailed. I am pointing out to the policy of the police in particular to offer senior positions in a knee-jerk reaction to cricketers in particular and other sport. I have in mind the offer of a senior rank job to off-spinner Harbhajan Singh following his devastating inaugural series against Australia. Nothing wrong in the offer but the manner in which it was made certainly not very flattering to the Police Service. The State was delighted with the offspinner's skill and performance but surely it requires something other than proficiency in the bowling department to

excel as a senior police officer. There must be thousands of young men ambitious of joining the police force and a lot of sweat poured for each such job. It is unfair to these aspirant officers when a direct appointment is made without even a rudimentary knowledge of what is normally required for the job. A senior police officer's job is a serious one requiring considerable skill and knowledge. One can't be given an officers rank just for bowling or batting. One sincerely hopes these instances are minimum in numbers.

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SPORT

By Ravi Kant Singh

ven though the F1 carnival rolled in and rolled, it managed not only to create a lasting impression but also put the country on the international radar as possible destination for top class sports. The Indian Grand Prix weekend was only October 28-30 but the blood, sweat and toil that went behind more than half a decade of preparation was there for the world to witness. The success of the Indian GP was entirely the fruition of a private effort - the Jaypee group of builders and developers took it upon themselves to bring the high octane action to the country. Given the enthusiastic response that F1 received, the Jaypee group is confident of breaking even within four years. For the time being, F1 owners signed only a three-year contract with Jaypee but there seems little doubt that the Indian grand prix is here to stay. In fact, so encouraged are the local organisers that they have already begun negotiations in right earnest with other motorsports events like the MotoGP and Superbikes. The principle reason for that is the thumbs-up given by F1 to the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. The track was appreciated by all drivers and technical personnel of the participating teams, despite the fact that they had erred in ordering the wrong type of tyres for the event. The tyres were found to be too soft for the firm track surface and were leaving too much rubber behind. That made steering at the phenomenal speeds that much more difficult. All teams have promised to come better prepared next time. And that means a keener race in 2012 unlike the inaugural edition which 24-yearold two-time world champions Sebastian Vettel drive his Red Bull to victory after starting from pole. It is

E Formula One has well and truly arrived in India

Motorsports in India is still in a fledgling state. And with almost no backing from the government, it may take time to set roots in the country. But that seems hardly a deterrent for cash-rich franchises like the F1.

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no small tribute to the German that he kept his focus despite having sealed the world championship in South Korea itself. Veteran Michael Schumacher gave ample evidence of his extraordinary talent. Even at the age of 42, a ripe old age in terms of F1 racing, the seven-time world champion used his experience to climb to fifth after starting at number 11 on the grid. Evidence from the team radio said that with nine of the 60 laps of the 5.127 km circuit remaining, the technical director of the Mercedes racing team gave Schumacher the goahead to race full-on. This means that the German's car was performing up to expectations and was looking good for giving some of the better machines and drivers a run for their money. With Schumacher at the wheel, the Mercedes factory team for the first time in its history has been competitive this season and even at the BIC that was in full evidence. Little surprise that Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of McLaren Mercedes continue to fight like school boys in a back alley. That neither was anywhere close to a podium has

LOKAYAT

been the sad story for both teams and drivers and perhaps the time has come for F1 authorities and FIA (international automobile federation) to crack before someone on the racing track comes to grief. Victory and defeat may be just different faces of sport, but F1 attracts plenty of glamour as well. The event proved a public relations triumph for the Uttar Pradesh government. Despite being hamstrung by lack of recognition by the Union Sports Ministry and Supreme Court ruling on entertainment tax exemption, the UP chief minister Mayawati roared in and out just like the racing cars. F1 proved that Greater Noida has arrived on the international stage. A welcome respite from the recent land-acquisition controversies that have dogged residential projects in the area indeed as the Taj Expressway also awaits completion to connect the national capital with the popular tourist destination of Agra. Vettel was one of those that braved a trip to see the Taj Mahal. And he was impressed. So was the rest of the world with the show that India put up!

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BOOKS

THE STORY OF EMERGENCY FROM That was a strange time when it looked the Judiciary may finally emerge as "committed", but no, there were a few judges and many advocates and even larger number of people who did not allow this to happen. It is interesting to read the legal story of that harrowing time of India which we call the Internal Emergency.

BEFORE MEMORY FADES An Autobiography By Fali S. Nariman Publisher: Hay House India Pages: 460

By Joseph Maliakan

ali S. Nariman requires no introduction to those who have been following legal and political developments in the country. This volume describes Nariman's life beginning in Rangoon (then capital of

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Burma) to the present. Widely respected, Nariman was born in Rangoon on 10 January, 1929. He is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India. He began his career at the Bombay High Court in November 1950. Over the years he has held several important positions both at the national and international levels. There have been many "turning points" in his life. His arrival in New Delhi marked the first turning point in his life. Landing as a refugee from Burma, uprooted from hearth and home. He is referring to the Japanese invasion of Burma and his family's trek to India in 1941. Nariman was admitted to Bishop Cotton School (BCS) in Shimla which was a Presbyterian school. "We had a padre as principal. He was a Canon in the ecclesiastical hierarchy a step below a Bishop. "I am not a Canon that goes off", was his pet joke. Each year Canon Sinker bid farewell to his students who passed out of school with the dismal words. "My boys, I wish you all a life full of difficulties". When you meet with difficulties early in life the way in which you confront


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THE PEN OF A LEGAL LUMINARY and overcome them helps to build your character. Nariman's autobiography is full of interesting as well as informative narration. "The hallmark of a great educational institution is whether after more than 50 year you can still remember with gratitude those who taught you. I recall with admiration and affection three outstanding teachers of my time." Rev Fr Heras was a familiar figure to generations of Xavierites. He had long silken white hair and long silken white beard, and looked like a minor prophet from the old testament or more appropriately like a Rishi from the Himalayan snows. A historian of the Indus Valley Civilisation, it was father Heras who first deciphered the script of Mohenjo-daro. He was one of the very few historians who maintained that Mohenjo daro (which means " the city of the dead" ) was Dravidian in origin, and not Aryan. The best part of the biography to my mind is the chapter entitled the Internal Emergency. In the internal emergency Nariman writes "one of the lessons of the Internal Emergency was not to rely on constitutional functionaries. These

functionaries failed us-ministers of the government, members of the parliament, judges of the Supreme Court, even the President of India." After this proclamation of the emergency on 26 June 1975 under article 352 of the Constitution, the presidential order issued on 27 June 1975 (under article 359 of the constitution) suspended the right of all detenus to enforce any of the rights conferred by article 14 (the equality clause) and article 21 and 22 (safeguards for personal liberty) of the Constitution. All rights conferred by article 19 (right to freedom) stood automatically suspended (under article 368 of the Constitution) with the declaration of Emergency. The question was whether those preventively detained were entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of the high court under article 226 of the constitution and whether the high court could issue writ of Habeas Corpus (literally, a writ commanding a person to be brought before a judge to investigate the lawfulness of their detention). Nine high courts in the country including the high court of Allahabad, Bombay, Delhi, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, held that,

notwithstanding the imposition of the emergency and the presidential order, courts were empowered to examine whether order of detention was in accordance with the maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) under which detenus were detained. During the hearing of ADM Jabalpur in the Supreme Court, the then Attorney General of India was specifically asked by justice H.R. Khanna whether there would be any remedy of a police officer because of personal enmity and for reasons , which had nothing to do with the state, taking into detention a law abiding citizen and even putting an end to his life. The answer of the Attorney General was unequivocal, "consistent with my argument," he said "there will be no judicial remedy in such cases as long as the emergency lasts", the Attorney General then told the judges. "It may shock your conscience, it shocks mine, but consistent with my submission no proceedings can be taken in a court of law on that score during the emergency." This extreme contention found favour with four out of five senior most judges of the

Supreme Court who sat to decide ADM Jabalpur Vs Shukla euphemistically called the Habeas Corpus case. The judgements of the High Courts, which took the contrary, more liberal view, were declared erroneous, and set aside by the apex court. By denying Habeas courts had set the clock of liberty back, proclaiming its helplessness against arbitrary arrests and malafide detentions. The lone dissent was that of the senior most judge in the Supreme Court Justice H.R.Khanna, who refused to rationalise tyranny. "Life and liberty are not conferred by any Constitution", he said "they inhere in men and women as human beings. In this autobiography Nariman has made great effort to justify his accepting the job as lead counsel for Union Carbide in the case against the Indian government over the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in which more than 2,500 people died and almost 200,000 were disabled. May be like former Chief Justice of India P.N.Bhagwati who recently expressed his regret on his decision in the 1976 Habeas Corpus case, one day Nariman also may feel sorry.

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LOKAYAT

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Flexible labour laws resently closure of any industrial unit causes a great deal of hue and cry, inviting wrath of workers, their unions and sometimes even government. The cumbersome procedure of exit policy blocks funds and capital assets which discourage investors, especially foreign investors, affecting the overall health and growth of industry and economy. The new policy would have a provision of labour insurance so that in the event of closure of a factory the compensation would be paid by the Insurance Company. The compensation will be equivalent to twenty days average pay for every completed year of continuous service or any part thereof in excess of six months. Existing compensation is 15 days average pay, but to retrench workers in big companies is very difficult due to labour laws. Apart from ensuring payment of compensation and provident fund, the mechanism has been suggested to redeploy the retrenched labour to some other units where workers are needed.

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Ten crore new jobs in next ten years through new manufacturing policy

Key features of the New Manufacturing Policy Increase the share of manufacturing in the country's GDP from the current 16% to 25% by 2022 Create 10 crores additional jobs in the next decade Industrial training and skills development programmes Establishment of National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) equipped with world-class infrastructure that would be autonomous and self-regulated developed in partnership with the private sector Flexible labour laws and simplified & expeditious exit mechanism for sick units Relaxation in environmental regulations Financial and tax incentives to small and medium enterprises Incentives to states for infrastructure development Incentives for Green Manufacturing Rationalisation of business regulations to reduce burden of procedural and regulatory compliance on businesses Increased focus on employment intensive industries, capital goods industry, industries with strategic significance and those in which India enjoys a competitive edge and the SME sector. Make industrial land (land acquisition) available through creation of land banks by states.


BUSINESS AND ECONOMY By Lokayat Correspondent

ecognising the need to change the poorly performing manufacturing sector, the UPA government, though very late, has come out with a National Manufacturing Policy, which promises to cure the ill of poor share of manufacturing in the GDP of the country. The new policy sounds ambitious as it intends to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector from 16 percent to 25 percent of the GDP by 2022 and through this to create 10 crore new job opportunities. This may bring India in the league of other Asian countries like China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, where the share of manufacturing is between 25-34 percent.

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sector has more or less been stagnant between 15-16 percent, with the share of service sector reaching around 65 percent. Moreover, inspite of the high growth of recent years the situation of employment, especially among the semi-skilled population has not improved. Manufacturing sector is known to generate the highest number of employment for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower alike per crore rupees of investment. Moreover, compared to Asian economies like South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, India's manufacturing share and productivity are much behind these economies, which have serious bearing on the country's competitiveness in the globalised economy.

EMPLOYMENT GENERATION n order to take care of the prevalent skill gap and unemployability, a plan has been suggested. This proposes to create a three tier structure for skill development: (1) Skill building among large number of minimally educated workforce; (2) Relevant vocational and skill training system in PPP mode; (3) Specialised skill development through establishment of Polytechnics. There will be a provision of Instructor's Training Centre in each NIMZ. For the skill building of the minimally educated workforce which constitutes the maximum percentage of the unemployed, programmes like 'Farm to Work' and 'School to Work' have been devised. Apart from PPP formula, to encourage private sector to effectively participate in the skill development initiatives, government has decided to give several encouragements to the institutions and units who will be giving training in local languages and preferable to local people. The concept of apprenticeship to improve the employability of the workforce has been emphasised.

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The policy envisions creating adequate world class physical infrastructure, inspiring regulatory environment and boosting investment in manufacturing space of the country. While the Indian economy witnessed a dramatic structural shift in the composition of economic activities from agriculture to service sector in 1990s after economic liberalisation, the share of the manufacturing

The new manufacturing policy would develop several National Investment and Manufacturing Zones which would be given several incentives. These benefits may be termed discriminatory as the rest of the Industrial estates in the country would not be entitled to them. The policy has the provision of allowing companies to shut down and retrench labour in case the company wants to do so with moderate compensation.

LOKAYAT

Clean and Green technologies romotion of green technology would get an impetus in these new industrial zones. Under the new scheme a system for defining and implementing greener and cleaner technologies shall be devised and companies will be encouraged to adopt such technologies and for doing so some incentives would be given to them by the government. The parameters with regard to green technologies would be set by the Green Manufacturing Committee, comprising sectoral experts and government representatives of the concerned ministry. The criteria will be consistent with the objective of the national action plan on climate change and the strategy for inclusive sustainable growth. To ensure that green technologies are adopted, environmental and water audit will be mandatory for industrial and institutional units. Wastewater treatment will be a must for every unit. Apart from that, there will be separate provisions for rain water harvesting, renewable energy and green buildings.

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LOKAYAT

EARTHY DREAM

Invoke fear in the media! any people in India entertain the questionable notion that press freedom is misused, and the media is often negligent or ignorant of its social role, but the way Justice Markandey Katju verbalised the matter in a TV interview shows that he does not understand how the media functions and ignores the fact that in spite of its shortcomings, it has performed superbly as the fourth strong pillar of Indian democracy. It has not only made the roots of our democracy deep and strong but effected essential changes in the policies and programmes of the government intimately affecting the people. Justice Katju may not know that its strident vibrancy has earned unstinted kudos from the free world. But peculiar people are omnipresent. There are people who believe the press should be committed, others want it reined in. Such opinions keep on emerging, and after a vigorous while they subside with the vast majority concurring that there should be no compromise on the press freedom. When Justice Katju asserted in the interview that he wanted fear instilled in the media to set it right, there was palpable dismay and anger in the entire spectrum of the media. When he said, "I want power to stop government advertisements, to suspend license and impose fine when it misbehaves , " the intellectual world looked aghast. To its mortification he wanted the electronic media to be brought under regulation rather than leave it to self- regulation as was being done currently. A section of the electronic media might be perverse or wanton, but he ignored totally the fact that in its 16 years of existence it had passed many important milestones in the cause of democracy. The entire media may not be all right always just as other pillars of democracy are not. It is unfair to paint the whole spectrum with the same brush. It is an enigma to many why such an erudite and enlightened person as Justice Katju who as the Supreme Court Judge had earned the respect and admiration of the media, legal pundits and the general public alike, could not understand the true worth of a free and fair Fourth Estate. His opinion that majority of media people are of poor intellectual caliber with no sense of economic theory, political science, philosophy or literature smacks of arrogance. In this context I recall a recent lecture by Justice Ruma Pal wherein she mentioned seven sins of the higher judiciary. One of them was the intellectual arrogance along with hypocrisy and plagiarism. One can only suspect that she had Justice Katju in mind when she said so. Ironically Justice Katju did not find anything wrong with the intellectual apparatus of the political class who framed laws through legislatures, on the basis of which the judges made judicial pronouncements. Mercifully Justice Katju found only the media people made of inferior stuff. Justice Katju's invaluable opinion has unfortunately been discarded by most of the media organizations and even by the chairman of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (and the former Chief Justice of India), JS Verma. I welcome the scathing condemnation of Katju's "ill-considered, sweeping and uninformed comments" by the Editors Guild of India.

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Lokayat English December 2011