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December 28, 2009

Stop politics on new states

Sanjay Pandey, the convener of Bundelkhand Akikrit party presumes that the central government may look for its political mileage on the issue of formation of separate states but the government should not forget the factor of public opinions & mass participation behind the demand for corresponding regions as new state. Today, the reorganization of states has become a burning issue, especially after the Telangana issue many different regions are strictly emphasizing on their demands for statehood. It is a very big challenge for Central Government to get out of this crisis with righteousness as approving one separate state and rejecting other may come up with a huge cost. Although this is a fact that there is a strict need for reorganization of states in the country today because of rapid increase in population which is affecting the economic growth rate of huge states and also depleting administrative efficiency of development authorities, he adds..

Although, there is a struggle by several areas for the formation of separate states but Bundelkhand, Telangana, Koshal and Vidarbha are essentially eligible to be named as separate state. Being Neglected since independence, these most backward areas today are quite undeveloped. Thus these regions need to be made separate provinces, so that focused development may bring them parallel to other developed states . On the other hands demands of some other states are trying hard to come up in this revolution for development. For example, Western Uttar Pradesh in itself is a well developed region but demanding for separate identity. Hence such superfluous requests should be avoided. Though the mass of such regions may get displeased but the central government should display its strong will power, consider the only reasonable demands. But, for justified demands there should be no reluctance to initiate the constitutional process for formation of new States like Bundelkhand.

Copenhagen quibbles while earth sizzles

The Environmental News Network of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in one of its recent newsletters cited a report of the Telegraph of UK that polar bears of the Arctic have turned cannibals. According to the report, new photographs show that polar bears are beginning to cannibalise each other as global warming destroys their hunting grounds. The images taken in Hudson Bay, Canada, show a male polar bear carrying the head of a cub that it had killed for food.

Living in the frozen Arctic, polar bears, a beautiful but highly endangered species, mostly subsist on seals, hunting them from platforms of sea ice. The melting of sea ice, warmed by rising global temperature, has deprived them of the platforms, particularly in their southern range, the Hudson Bay being a part of it. Now, mostly land-bound, hunting seals have become difficult for them leading to malnourishment and starvation. Cases of drowning are also being frequently reported as the bears, though excellent swimmers, have to swim far out into the sea in search of food. If this is what is happening in December, which is well into the Arctic winter, one can imagine what's going to happen during the summer. Already the sea ice in the southern range of the Arctic is melting earlier in the spring and forming later in the autumn reducing the time available for the bears on the ice, adversely impacting their energy stock to survive through the summer.
The entire Arctic region, which is the habitat of polar bear, is increasingly showing signs of the effects of global warming.

As recently as on 14th December 2009 Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of United States, told the UN Climate Conference being held in Copenhagen that new data suggests that the Arctic polar ice cap may disappear in the summers as early as five to seven years from now. Polar scientist had told him only on the previous day that the latest data suggest a 75% chance of the entire polar ice cap melting in summer within the next five to seven years. Arctic Ocean sea ice has shrunk to record low levels during the past several summers. Global warming has raised temperatures twice as fast in the north as elsewhere, say the scientists.

While the Hudson Bay habitat of the polar bear is in the process of disappearing, their habitat elsewhere in the Arctic is also under threat. Melting ice is making the Arctic more and more accessible for exploitation of its vast natural resources, threatening and degrading their habitat. Global warming seems to have got its first major victim. Large carnivores being sensitive indicators of the health of their ecosystems, cannibalism setting in among the polar bears is a matter of great concern. Soon it may lead to disaster for the species, even to its extinction.
With the unmistakable signs of habitat loss for other species gradually a similar fate is likely to overtake them all ...yes, even us, humans!

One wonders whether this is really it – the shape of things to come!
Whether bells are, after all, tolling for life on earth!
Are we slowly but surely approaching apocalypse?

And, what are we, humans, doing about it? Only quibbling – over steps for mitigating carbon concentration from the atmosphere! Sitting at Copenhagen, pretty close to the melting Arctic, leaders of humanity do not seem to see eye to eye even now for taking effective measures to save the earth! When life on the planet is in peril, we, the humans, having divided ourselves among several nation-states – few rich, many poor and some surviving on the very edge and highly vulnerable – are bickering over who will do what and how much to cool the planet to make it hospitable for life.

Time seems to be running out fast. Global warming, which only a few years back was like a distant clap of thunder, suddenly looks very real and far too ominous. It is time each one of us gets our act together to fight it and do our utmost to prevent it from engulfing the entire humanity. The signals are loud and clear and there is hardly any time to be lost. No longer can it be "business as usual". Copenhagen or no Copenhagen, all of us – governments, organisations and individuals – have to chip in. Everyone has to take well-measured determined steps, whatever the costs, for mitigating carbon from the atmosphere – the root cause of global warming.

It is a long and hard battle that we have to fight – the battle that will eventually decide whether we survive or perish!

December 27, 2009

Today's youth: A responsible youth

CHILD RIGHTS and You (CRY), is a national organisation, which exists today, to intensify the voice of children. CRY volunteers are none but ordinary people like any of us, with a vision of bringing about a change for the betterment of millions of underprivileged children.

They are college students or young professionals with zeal to help the deprived. They are teachers with a vision to fight for the voiceless sections of the society. They are journalists and lawyers, who apart from their daily work, take out some time to highlight and address the issues of the neglected.

A group of CRY volunteers in Kolkata took a firm stand to find out the problems which are acting as severe hindrance to education for the children of Topsia, one of the most densely populated pockets in Kolkata.

They conducted rigorous surveys in different government and private schools of this area so as to recognise the main roots of such mass violation of the ‘Right to Education Act’. Moreover, a household survey was conducted to dig out the reasons for school dropouts and parents’ attitude. Many parents could not admit their wards to schools because of high fees.

Basically, the residents of Topsia belong to the poor section of the society; their monthly income varies between Rs 2000 and Rs 2500. There are many students who didn’t get an opportunity to study in government schools due to inadequate vacancies. The average number of family members in Topsia are five to seven, wherein the ratio of male:female is 2:3 and adult:child is 1:2; hence as they are totally poverty stricken, schooling of all the children of the family is not affordable. Thus, the dropout rates are very high, especially for the girl child.

Volunteers worked together for filing of a number of right to information (RTIs) to get hold of required data. Some of the RTIs were filed to get related information on the number of schools, teacher vacancies in the schools and the total student strength in the government schools. Some of which revealed some crucial information.

Later on, the volunteers presented their findings in community hearings attended by politicians, ward officers and renowned lawyers.

Few volunteers published their articles in the media to bring this issue in front of the public at large. Furthermore, meticulous work is being done for completing the groundwork to take the legal recourse route to enable children can go to proper school.

ND TIWARI EXPOSURE

Andhra Pradesh Governor ND Tiwari is in the centre of an alleged sex scandal after a Telugu channel telecast video clips showing his escapades with three women. Andhra Jyothi channel showed the video on Friday morning claiming the clips were shot in one of the bedrooms of Raj Bhawan.

The telecast of the video was however stopped after the Andhra Pradesh high court issued an injunction. However, the channel had by then shown the video clip for at least an hour and it showed an elderly person, which the channel claimed was N D Tiwari having romps with three women.

The telecast has led to shock and anger among the people in the state and most of the opposition parties have demanded that either the Governor should be sacked or he should quit from the post. Tiwari, however, has denied that he was part of any any such activity.

Tiwari said that reports of his involvement in the sex scandal were malicious and had not substance and truth. The Governor's office said that the video was fabricated and false and aimed to tarnish the image of the governor.

Video shown by Andhra Jyothi showed three women and an elderly man engaging in sexual acts, which the channel claimed was Governor N D Tiwari. A woman named Radhika claimed that she had known Tiwari since long and provided intimate details of what was going on in the Raj Bhawan.

Radhika alleged that Governor often conducted his official duties, while the women remained in his bedroom in the Raj Bhawan. She alleged that the Governor was as a man, who indulged in relentless sexual escapades in the Rajbhawan and also claimed that some Congress MPs were also involved in the same.

Ruchika Girotra case: Time for instant action

FIRST-EVER woman President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil should feel worried on the shocking exposures made by father and brother of Ruchika Girotra on the way family was tortured only because the family refused to withdraw molestation-case against the then almighty Haryana director general of police SPS Rathore patronised and shielded by nexus of politicians, bureaucrats, fellow police-persons and others when the shrewdly smiling culprit got instant bail after a symbolic punishment for a crime which made the victim girl ultimately commit suicide.

Despite strongest protests made in media and civil society, there is just lip-talk by authorities like National Commission for Women and others without taking any instant step to ensure sending SPS Rathore immediately behind the bar.

Apart from re-opening the case by including charge of abetment to suicide under section 306 of Indian Penal Code, a Judicial Commission should also be set up to enquire in to roles of politicians, bureaucrats, police-persons and others who acted to assist, patronise and shield SPS Rathore even including dropping the most vital charge of abetment to suicide or giving such a mild punishment with instant bail. In fact, some one in high judiciary should have taken immediate sue-motto cognisance of situation like was taken in similar Jessica Lal or Priyadarshini Muttu murder case to maintain people’s faith in country’s judicial system.

N D Tiwari resigns as Andhra Governor

Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari, who has been embroiled in a sex scandal after a channel showed a video clip, alleging that the Governor was indulging in sex escapades has resigned from the constitutional post.

The reason for his resignation was purportedly given to be health issues. Senior Congress leaders have welcomed the move by N D Tiwari and said that this decision was appropriate in view of the importance of the constitutional post of the Governor.

Congress spokesperson said that his decision was in line with the highest level of conduct expected from senior party leaders.

Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari was in the centre of the alleged sex scandal after a Telugu channel telecast video clips showing his escapades with three women. Andhra Jyothi channel showed the video on Friday morning claiming the clips were shot in one of the bedrooms of Raj Bhawan.

The telecast of the video was however stopped after the Andhra Pradesh high court issued an injunction. However, the channel had by then shown the video clip for at least an hour and it showed an elderly person, which the channel claimed was N D Tiwari having romps with three women.

The telecast has led to shock and anger among the people in the state and most of the opposition parties have demanded that either the Governor should be sacked or he should quit from the post. Tiwari, however, has denied that he was part of any any such activity

December 25, 2009

Sambalpur lawyers to lead separate state stir

The District Bar Association (DBA) of Sambalpur that has been demanding a high court bench in western Odisha, on Wednesday declared that it would also remain in the forefront of the agitation for a separate state.

Since the State Government is callous about the popular demand and intentionally keeping the region underdeveloped for years, the Bar Association has taken such a stand for formation of a new State, said DBA president Pradeep Kumar Bahidar.

He said the DBA would support any non-political organisation that is willing to would launch a movement for a separate state. Since students’ organisations in Balangir and Sambalpur have come forward in support of a separate State, the Sambalpur DBA would extend its support wholeheartedly, he added.

Bahidar, general secretary of DBA Chitta Ranajan Panda and all senior and young lawyers further alleged that the State Government is in a planned manner doing everything to spoil the very future of this region. Water is diverted to industries instead of agriculture and forests are being denuded. Local youth have a little share in employment and businesses opportunities in the new industries. They warned the Government to refrain from the divide-and-rule practice since people are now well aware of this policy of the coastal leadership.

Bahidar also informed that the cease-work stir by lawyers in the last three days of the month would be held from 23rd to 26th of the current month in view of the State-level lawyers’ conference at Rairangpur.

SAMBALPUR THE HIGH COURT BENCH

Lawyers of Sambalpur are on indefinite relay strike in support of their demand for a bench of the Orissa High Court.

Sambalpur should certainly get the High Court bench and every right thinking man of Orissa should support the demand.

The State Government as well as the Orissa High Court should take prompt steps in this favor and the lawyers of Cuttack should cooperate.

Peoples have every right to move courts without any disadvantage.

But who moves a Court? Only the disadvantaged peoples move the Courts.

When a person is disadvantaged by some other person(s) or system, he or she moves an appropriate Court for justice. A severely disadvantaged person, whose life and liberty fall into jeopardy, needs the High Court.

But seeking justice from the High Court of Orissa is often more disadvantageous than the disadvantage a litigant wants removed, if he or she does not live in or around the City of Cuttack, where the High Court sits.

To move the High Court one needs a lawyer who practices there. And, once a lawyer is fixed, the litigant falls into a labyrinth where he / she seldom finds the remedy within reach. The more eminent the lawyer the more becomes the cost of his advice and service and the more distant becomes the horizon of justice.

Let me cite an instance of how litigants from remote corners of the State feel suffocated by depending on lawyers of Cuttack. A young friend from Sambalpur, Sri Biswanath Mohapatra, disadvantaged in the matter of his rank in government service, had requested me to recommend an efficient lawyer of Cuttack, whom he should hand over his case.

Like all highlanders, Mohapatra is a simple natured upright person. And such a person usually does not like to be deliberately harassed by another person or any authority. And highlanders are by orientation too law abiding to resort to ‘Bijuism’ against miscreant mandarins in administrative offices.

Bijuism is a typical synonym of hooliganism.

When Chief Minister after decades long public rejection, Biju Patnaik was instigating the peoples of Orissa for beating the bureaucrats as and when any of them was hit by any bad orders issued by any office.

It had given birth to such anarchy that his own secretariat staff had assaulted Biju himself and the peoles of Orissa had thrashed him to dustbin in the subsequent elections.

So a person like Mohapatra could never have resorted to Bijuism to avenge the injustice he was subjected to. The only best remedy a man like him could have besought, was moving the Court for justice.

And, the appropriate Court (for him the High Court) was situated in Cuttack. This is why he had wanted me to find out a Cuttack based lawyer for him.

Amongst my many lawyer friends of Cuttack there is a senior one who is nationally well known and whom I personally respect. I asked him if he could help. He agreed. I informed Mohapatra. He came from Sambalpur with his file. The lawyer perused it and agreed to take up the case. He did not charge any consultation fee; but specified the amount that he would take in advance to conduct the case. The entire amount of money that he had demanded was paid in my presence.

The case was filed, was admitted and was registered vide a number of 2002.

And, the matter perhaps rests there.

Till date, Mohapatra has visited the lawyer many times and every time has paid for the juniors of the senior lawyer. But till date he has not been informed of any development.

How long is the period from 2002 to 2009?

The Court has many cases to settle and the lawyer has many cases to handle, he hears whenever he visits the chamber of the lawyer.

Who can stop the delay?

Should the lawyer not honestly say as to whether any case registered after this case in the year 2002 has so far been taken up or not?

Should the lawyer not think of the distance of Cuttack from Sambalpur and the turmoil his client must be going through during fruitless journeys in pursuit of justice?

Why he is not explaining him the real reason of delay?

As a man who had recommended this ‘eminent’ lawyer to Mohapatra, I am deeply embarrassed over the lackadaisical manner the seeker of justice is being treated with.

But this is not a solitary case.

This is just a sample of how peoples are being harassed because of the geographical distance of the citadel of justice from their places of dwelling.

On the other hand, the lawyers practicing in peripheral Courts suffer from acute mental agony when the inordinate delay in disposal of the appeal cases preferred by their clients in the High Court under their advice eclipses their professional credibility in the eyes of the persons disadvantaged by the lower Court verdict(s).


I support the demand for a bench of Orissa High Court at Sambalpur and specifically at Sambalpur for the very reason that it is the peoples of Sambalpur that had facilitated creation of Orissa High Court.

It is here the peoples had revolted against disadvantage caused to them in seeking justice when Hindi was promulgated on 15.1.1895 as the court language by the then Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces to which the British had arbitrarily annexed the Sambalpur district.

The peoples’ movement for restoration of their mother tongue Oriya as the Court language so that justice shall not stay beyond their reach had made the British to review the position.

In July 1901, the peoples of Sambalpur District had placed their specific demands before the new Chief commissioner Sir Andrew Fraser, wherein they had stressed that if the Government does not appreciate to restore Oriya language in the Sambalpur District under the plea that it may be inconvenient for the administration to have a particular District of the Central Provinces managed by a language different from that of the province, the Sambalpur District be immediately separated from the CP and be merged in the Oissa Division.

Sir Fraser extensively traveled through out the Sambalpur District and noted the stark disadvantage the peoples were pushed into by denial of justice in their language and by keeping Courts out of their reach.

He sent to the Government of India a thorough report depicting the correctness of the peoples’ demand and suggested that the Sambalpur District should be separated from CP, “if it was thought impossible to have Oriya as the language of one of the Central provinces”.

Kula Gaurav Madhu Sudan Das on behalf of the Oriyas of Sambalpur moved a memorandum to the Government strengthening the same with Fraser’s findings, which the British Officer had also elaborated in his work “With the Rajas and Rayats”.

Though the Government did not agree to separate Sambalpur from CP, it decided to desist from keeping the Courts beyond the peoples’ reach and restored Oriya as the Court Language.

This administrative experience latter convinced the British to agree to restoration of Oriya speaking tracks to a Province and thus modern Orissa was created as the first State of India created on the basis of mother tongue.

Had there been no modern Orissa, there would never have been the High Court of Orissa.

To keep peoples of Sambalpur devoid of getting a bench of the Orissa High Court is not only an offense against the people of that area, but also an offense against history.

The entire population of Orissa must support the Sambalpur lawyers who are leading the most justified demand of the people who in fact had contributed their best to birth of Orissa.

December 24, 2009

Sonia has no right to decide on Telengana issue

THE DECISION of the AICC President Sonia Gandhi and the UPA government has wreaked havoc on Andhra Pradesh today. If they would have heard the words of the late YSR in the 2004 elections, this situation might have not arisen. Then he opposed the tie up with TRS but, due to the pressure of some Telangana senior leaders, Sonia yielded to their words, ignoring the advice of YSR

YSR…it was a name which terrorized all those Telangana Congress leaders, who wanted to talk about a separate statehood. The TRS President KCR had to be silent because of his debacle in 2009 elections. After YSR's death however, every leader of the Telangana Congress become a hero. They are indirectly encouraging the TRS and Chandrasekhara Rao with their inappropriate statements.

The Congress Party has always deferred the Telagana issue to Sonia Gandhi. The question that arises is that why should the AICC president Sonia Gandhi decide whether Andhra Pradesh ought to be bifurcated or not, when it is an issue that must be deliberated upon by the parliament.

With the constant tussle between those supporting the creation of a Telangana separate state and those opposed to it, it is Andhra Pradesh which is suffering. While the issue did not raise its head under the YSR regime, it has arisen now, in his absence. The high command is left deliberating the pro and cons of this issue as the leaders who are demanding a separate state for Telangana are growing more and more aggressive.

Telangana Turmoil

THERE ARE two types of revolutions; one the real while the other being self claimed. Although both are called as revolutions, the two hardly belong to the same elevation. The Berlin wall collapsed without any political instigation. Russian revolution sprouted from the anguish of a common man not a political force.These were the public outcries against injustice and suppression.

Indian freedom struggle too belongs to the same genre.

But there are few moments, which are claimed to be revolutions by the initiators to gain political mileage. Telengana issue is one such. K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) has attempted every possible gimmick to carve an image "Ultimate worrior of Telengana."

There might have been a need of separate state hence people of the region received him fairly well in the 2005 elections. But when separate state was his agenda, he should have rejected the cabinet positions that were offered to his party men.

The post election drama of 2005 stamped down the hope for the separate state. The election re-election and finally the grand elections of 2009 painted TRS as just another political party. Rather than being two separate entities, telangana and Andhra are two interdependent regions. If Andhra accounts for major food production, Telangana region is rich in minerals. Both the regions have Telugu as their main language. This is why telengana is no Jharkhand or Uttarakhand.

Further if Telengana is declared, the disputes over border would be endless. The issue about Hyderabad, Bhadrachalam etc will create a hostile environment in the state.
The moment when the "T" bill is introduced in the Parliament or when/if an SRC is constituted, the government will be forced to consider the plights of Gurkha land in west bengal, south Tamil Nadu in in the south along with the proposal of Konkan state.

The list is endless. Breaking the country into such smaller units increases regionalism in indian poltics. Further it is a multi-crore task for the government and funds for the formation of so many states cannot be accommodating in the forthcoming budget. Although the claim for separate state is ridiculous, governments must understand the need to maintain uniform and sustained growth through out the state.

Before we think about all these lets hope that KCR's agitation will come to a peaceful end without violation of human rights and destruction of public properties.