The Death Of A Waterfall in Orissa — thanks to Mining

The Death Of A Waterfall
The mining scourge reaches the sacred Khandadhara. Will it turn ‘raktadhara’?
Madhushree Mukerjee, Outlook

A rugged, tree-covered mountain range sweeps vertically into a brilliant blue sky. Out of a cave on its western side gushes a natural spring, its lacy, white water tripping 244 metres over a sheer black-and-red cliff face to fall into a blissful rock pool, before cascading further downhill. The site is of ethereal beauty, evoking awe, elation, a sense of rejuvenation.

One of India’s highest and most sacred waterfalls, Khandadhara in Sundergarh, Orissa, is cherished by tens of thousands for the life it brings to all in its vicinity. “It’s because of the Khandadhara that my life flows with power,” says a Munda resident of Bandhbarna village, which lies near the foot of the mountain. Although a migrant from Jharkhand, he shares the reverence of all the indigenous peoples here—including the Christians—for the Khandadhar mountain and its waterfall.

By common consent, the guardians of the range are the Pauri Bhuiya, a tribe of shifting cultivators who traditionally live in the dense sal forest that covers the peaks. Genetic research finds that about 24,000 years ago the Pauri Bhuiya shared a common ancestor with the Jarawa of the Andaman Islands—a reminder that India’s indigenous peoples directly descend from some of the first modern humans to wander the earth. The Pauri Bhuiya are also unique among Orissa’s tribals for speaking a version of Oriya, rather than an entirely different language: they claim theirs is the original Oriya.

A Pauri Bhuiya legend speaks of how their mountains came to be so munificent. The Sundergarh branch of the community was once possessed by a rapacious goddess named Kankala Devi, who consumed trees, soil and everything else. In despair, the Pauri Bhuiya placed her on a rock, which she ate through as well—creating a deep hole from which poured out the Khandadhara (split-rock waterfall). So they had water. Then a couple from the community went to visit relatives at the eastern, or Keonjhar, end of the Khandadhar mountain range. Their prospective hosts were away but a pile of grains had been left outdoors and, amazingly, not even the birds were eating it. Inside the heap, the couple discovered a small goddess, Khand Kumari, protector of the region’s prosperity. They stole her and brought her back to Sundergarh, and so her bounty became theirs.

The mining firms call the Khandadhar range the “jackpot”; Orissa govt has promised Posco 2,500 ha of it.

The Pauri Bhuiya never cut down a shade or fruit tree, so the mountaintop abounds with nourishment. The pristine, ancient jungles are home to elephants, sloth bears, leopards, gaur, pythons, peacocks, tigers and a rare limbless lizard—a keystone species that testifies to the richness of the ecosystem. The thick jungle absorbs monsoon rain, releasing the water in perennial streams that feed the Khandadhara. But in the ’90s, some 80 Pauri Bhuiya families were shifted by the Pauri Bhuiya Development Agency (PBDA) from the mountaintop to the plains, under the pretext that their shifting cultivation was damaging the forest.“Here we have nothing,” laments Kalia Dehuri, who now lives in a PBDA settlement. “Our houses are as small as latrines. They promised us five acres of land each but gave us just a little over one acre. When we lived in the forest, if I cut my leg I could find a plant to heal it. Now I have to walk miles in the sun to the doctor, who tells me to come back another day.” The despair and hopelessness is palpable. Of the families brought down, at least 15 have since returned to the mountain. “There it is cool,” says Dehuri, “and they have fruit, water, wood, tubers.”

Not for long. The strikingly coloured rocks that give Khandadhara its beauty are red jasper and black hematite—both made of iron. Downstream of Khandadhara, one can pick up massive, gleaming chunks of largely pure iron. The mining companies call the Khandadhar range the “jackpot”, and at this very moment the Supreme Court is deciding which of several contending firms has the winning ticket. The Orissa government has promised the Pohang Steel Co of South Korea (Posco) as much as 2,500 hectares of Khandadhar—essentially the entire Sundergarh section of the mountain range.

Red waste The Kurmitar mountain now

All the region’s tribals know what will happen if Posco comes, because they have had a foretaste. Deep inside the range, invisible from normal roads, rises a horrific sight: the blood-red carcass of Kurmitar mountain, flayed of its skin of trees and topsoil and terraced into a giant pyramid by a spiralling road for trucks laden with iron ore. Dynamite blasts have pulverised the underlying rock into a fine dust that gives the mine its brilliant red colour. Behind this Mars-scape, the partially shaved surface of another mountain rises—readied for mining by clear-cutting the trees. Dust smothers the jungle for hundreds of metres around, but in the distance one can see the undulating green of what remains, for now, of the Khandadhar reserved forest.

The Kalinga Commercial Corporation Ltd (KCCL) operates the 133-hectare Kurmitar mine. It boasts on its website of having exceeded production targets by several hundred per cent, and of exporting iron ore to China and manganese ore to an unnamed Korean company. Hanuman is said to have carried on his shoulders a portion of the Himalayas in order to find a medicinal plant to save Lakshman’s life. The Samal family of Bhubaneswar, which runs kcc, could be even more powerful: it is transporting an entire mountain to China and beyond.

Kurmitar was a “devisthan”, the abode of a goddess, say the Pauri Bhuiya. It was covered with dense jungle in which thrived elephants, bears and luscious kakri fruit hanging from vines. No doubt driven out by the blasting and loss of habitat, the elephants have begun emerging in the plains. A tigress appeared in January near Phuljhar, at the foot of the mountain. In April, the forest department burned down the huts and food stores of some 20 Pauri Bhuiya families who had come off the mountain and were sheltering in jungles that had been their own.

Just as frightening, the destruction of the forest and the diversion of a mountaintop stream by KCCL has caused the Khandadhara waterfall to partially dry up. Its water no longer reaches the Brahmani river as it used to, and a canal that Bandhbarna’s residents used for fishing, bathing and irrigating crops has been bone-dry for two summers now. All over the region, tubewells are becoming defunct as the water table falls. Streams by Phuljhar and other villages run red with mining dirt, killing fish and polluting fields. When it rains, even the Khandadhara bleeds red, transforming into a ‘raktadhara’ that flows from the mountain’s gaping wounds. If a 133-hectare mine can cause such havoc, the devastation to be wreaked by Posco’s 2,500-hectare lease is beyond imagination.

To begin with, the Khandadhara waterfall will completely dry up, depriving tens of thousands of the water of life. “The miners are demons…they not only eat the soil and trees and rock, but even the water,” says a Pauri Bhuiya woman in Phuljhar. “Kankala Devi gave us this water, these demons will consume it too. We have to get rid of them or they will eat up everything.” All around the Khandadhar range, the tribals are gearing up for a fight—not only for their own survival, but in defense of a common heritage of humankind.

(Mukerjee is author of Churchill’s Secret War and The Land of Naked People.)

Victim of custodial sexual violence – attempts immolation

PTI-  June 16,2012


Sitamarhi: A Maoist woman prisoner on Saturday suffered minor burns after attempting a self-immolation in prison alleging that her modesty was outraged by a jail official in Bihar‘s Sitamarhi district, police sources said.

Shivani poured kerosene oil on herself before setting herself alight but was saved by jail guards who immediately covered her with a blanket, the sources said.

She accused the jail superintendent of outraging her modesty, a charge that was denied by the official, they said.

She was treated at the jail hospital for minor burns on her hands, they said. An investigation was also being made into her allegation, they said.

Turban Legend- Shivaji underground in Bhimnagar- Shanta Gokhale #Sunday Reading

Turban legend


Mumbai Mirror

The play is in Marathi, the title is in English. Marathi theatre loves this combo. But the title is not your innocuous All the Best or Lovebirds. It is
Shivaji Underground in Bhimnagar Mohalla. Sounds potentially explosive. In times when we dare not touch Shivaji, not in plays, novels, short stories, reminiscences or history, particularly not in history, this play puts him upfront in the title itself. I look over my shoulder to see who else has noticed and is rolling up his sleeves for action.
Anyway, why is Shivaji underground? Isn’t he always on a magnificent Arab steed, raised sword in hand? Or sitting majestically on an opulent throne? More than why, where has he gone underground? In Bhimnagar of all places? What’s he doing hobnobbing with Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar’s followers?
The whole thing is a mystery. But if the title isn’t intriguing enough to take you to the nearest theatre where the play is showing, the three names attached to it should do the trick. The first is Shahir Sambhaji Bhagat’s. He is the radical balladeer whose rousing call to the exploited of this country to wake up and recognise the faces of their enemies, ‘Inko dhyaan se dekho re bhai/ Inki soorat ko pehchano re bhai,’ has become an all-time hit. The concept of the present play, its music and its songs are his. The second name is Nandu Madhav’s. He’s the actor who gave flesh, blood, passion and madness to the character of Dadasaheb Phalke in Paresh Mokashi’s multi-award winning film, Harishchandrachi Factory. He directs this play. The third name is Rajkumar Tangde’s. We first heard of him when Nandu Madhav brought him and his group of farmer actors down from Jalna to perform their play Aakda in Mumbai. It was about stealing power, and was staged in near-darkness to give the audience an immediate taste of what life in the actors’ villages was like without power. Tangde wrote that play, and has written this.
So there I am in Shivaji Mandir, a-tingle with expectation without quite knowing what to expect. This much I know. With these three names attached to it, the play cannot be a wishy-washy regurgitation of a formula. It has to be something new and energising. And it is.
The curtain goes up on a large ensemble of actors placed geometrically on different levels, dressed in costumes suggesting the era of Shivaji. Two performers of gondhal (a ritual performance that marks celebrations) begin singing a traditional mythological tale. A woman interrupts them saying, we are fed up with mythology. Come into the present and sing about today.
This introduction gives us an idea of which way the play is headed. Through song, humour and discussion, it pits mythology against history with a hilarious running gag that often brings the house down. Yama (Pravin Dalimbkar) has being sent to earth to fetch Shivaji up, along with his ideas. Shivaji forgets his ideas and returns to earth to get them. He leaves his turban behind as surety, but doesn’t return. Yama (now Yamaji) runs around looking for a head on which the turban will fit. The turban thus becomes a symbol of Shivaji’s ideas; and the political party headed by the opportunistic Akka (Ashwini Bhalekar), which is all set to celebrate Shiv Jayanti, proves that it is the least likely candidate for the turban.
The central idea of the play is that Shivaji has been mythologised by the very people whose ancestors had opposed his coronation because he wasn’t a Kshatriya, but who now claim him as their idol for political mileage. The argument culminates in a brilliant jugalbandi between Dharma Shahir (Sambhaji Tangde), a minion of the myth-makers and Milind Kamble (Kailas Waghmare), who sees Shivaji’s greatness not only in his wars but in his policies regarding women, caste, religion, agriculture and revenue which made him such a just and compassionate king.
Unlike the typical urban middleclass play that confines itself to drawing rooms and kitchens, folk forms offer theatre the freedom to address the big issues of the day. This play comes close in form to the old Ambedkari jalsas, mixing music, humour, even slapstick, with pure didacticism.
Nandu Madhav rehearsed the cast for 100 days, mostly in the fields of Jalna. His hard work shows in the easy precision with which the actors speak and move. Finally, you are so grateful to see Shivaji taken away from myth-making chauvinists and given his true greatness by those who know and respect history.


Forced Labor, Human Trafficking and Mental Health

Refugees, Gare de Lyon, Paris (LOC)

Refugees, Gare de Lyon, Paris (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Forced Labor, Human Trafficking and Mental Health: The Experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in MalaysiaResearch Report by Health Equity Initiatives
 Report (ATTACHED) and available  online  here
Malaysia is host to one of the largest refugee and asylum seeker populations in Asia. The absence of refugee protection in the national legal system is an overarching structural issue that gives rise to many issues and concerns. Unable to work legally in the country, many refugees and asylum seekers survive on low-paying jobs in the plantation, construction, manufacturing, or service sectors – albeit without legal protection and with increased vulnerability to human trafficking and forced labor. Although Malaysia has ratified 5 out of 8 core ILO conventions, notably the C29 Forced Labor Convention (1930), the rights of non-citizens under these and other domestic laws apply only to those deemed legal. Refugees and asylum seekers are considered “ illegal immigrants” under Malaysian law, specifically the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155).
Malaysia is considered to be a destination country and to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for persons experiencing human trafficking – including for forced labor. The Malaysian government has undertaken several measures to address human trafficking in the country. However, protection and psychosocial assistance to people who have experienced forced labor and human trafficking, and the specific vulnerability of refugees and asylum seekers to forced labor and human trafficking, are emerging areas of concern in Malaysia – although lacking in systematic inquiry. Equally, the medical and psychological consequences of forced labor are a relatively under-examined research topic. This report, seeks to address these gaps.
The findings of this study were first released at a National Consultation on the Health Dimensions of Human Trafficking and Forced Labor: The Malaysian Experience and Response, co-organized by Health Equity Initiatives, the Malaysian Bar Council and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, on 26 July 2011.
For more information, please email
For the reports on the National Consultation on the Health Dimensions of Human Trafficking and Forced Labor: The Malaysian Experience and Response, please click here.
Warm regards,

Health Equity Initiatives

Open letter to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) #NPCIL #KKNPP

June 16, 2012

The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P.O – 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Tamil Nadu

The Chairman

Atomic Eneregy Regulatory Board

Niyamak Bhavan
Mumbai 400 094

Dear Sir:

Greetings! We, the members of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy and people of southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, write to demand immediate halt of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) at Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, and a thorough scrutiny of the following issues before AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) gives a green signal to the commissioning of the Koodankulam project.

The KKNPP reactors from Russia are being set up without sharing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Site Evaluation Study and Safety Analysis Report with the people, people’s representatives or the press. After a 23-year-long struggle, we obtained a copy of the outdated, incomplete and erroneous EIA only a few months back. No public hearing has been conducted for the first two reactors either. The KKNPP project has been imposed on an uninformed and unwilling population throwing all democratic precepts and values of our country to the wind.

The Central Information Commissioner (CIC) has ordered “to provide an attested photocopy of the Safety Analysis Report and Site Evaluation Report after severing any proprietary details of designs provided by the suppliers to the appellant before 25 May, 2012.” But the NPCIL refuses to share these two public safety reports by arguing that the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) “is a ‘third party document’ and therefore, without the prior consent of the third party, the same cannot be shared with anyone.” Obviously, the NPCIL is more interested in the safety of the Russian company and the Russian benefactors but not in the safety of the people of India.

NPCIL has informed the CIC in their recent letter dated May 18, 2012 that “the ‘Site Evaluation Report’ for Reactor I & II at Koodankulam could be made available to the Appellant. Accordingly, a copy of the said ‘Site Evaluation Report’ has been sent to the Appellant.” On May 17, 2012 we received a letter and a bunch of 12 lose papers without any head or tail as the ‘Site Evaluation Report.’ When we questioned the validity and integrity of this so called SER, Dr. S. K. Jain, the chief of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), claimed that it was the executive summary and not the whole report.

The KKNPP and the NPCIL officials have not conducted any mock drills and evacuation drills in the 30 km or even the 16 km radius of the project. On June 9, 2012, the Tirunelveli district administration and the NPCIL officials conducted a haphazard safety drill in a remote hamlet called Nakkaneri of hardly 300 people and claimed that the mock drill was a great success. If we organize fire drills in all the schools and movie theatres all over the country, should we not conduct nuclear safety drills in all villages and towns in the project area?

More than 1.5 million people live within the 30 km radius of the KKNPP which far exceeds the AERB stipulations. It is quite impossible to evacuate this many people quickly and efficiently in case of a nuclear disaster at KKNPP.

According to AERB instructions of 1998, the Koodankulam project requires two sources of water from the reservoirs of Pechiparai and Upper Kodayar in Kanyakumari district to ensure adequate supply in the event of a loss-of-coolant accident. Since water from Pechiparai and Kodyar is ruled out, four desalination units, each producing 106,000 litres of water an hour, are provided for the first two units of KKNPP. The desalination plants that are close to each other and vulnerable to accidents and terror attacks cannot be the reliable sources of fresh water. However, the Site Evaluation Report clarifies that Pechiparai dam water will be taken for the KKNPP reactors. There are so many conflicting and contradictory reports about the fresh water needs of KKNPP and its fulfillment.

The issue of liability for the Russian plants has also not been settled yet. Defying the Indian nuclear liability law, Russia insists that the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), secretly signed in 2008 by the Indian and Russian governments, precedes the liability law and that Article 13 of the IGA clearly establishes that NPCIL is solely responsible for all claims of damage. If the Russian reactors are the best in the world, as claimed by Russians, why do they refuse to offer any liability?

Most importantly, the VVER reactor under commissioning at Koodankulam nuclear power project differs from the one featured in the inter-governmental agreement between Russia and India. According to documents published in 2006, there was no weld on the beltline (middle portion) of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV). NowAERB says that there are two welds on the beltline of the RPV installed at KKNPP. This is a breach of the contract by the supplier in Russia. NPCIL officers who have known this are guilty of installing an unsafe machine with high risk of RPV failure leading to offsite radiological contamination besides causing financial loss to the company in case of premature retirement of the reactors. By consenting to its erection, AERB has also reneged on its responsibilities. If the reactor is hot-commissioned, it will be virtually impossible to subject the vessel to a detailed inspection. This will lead to destruction of evidences of the crimes. From a safety perspective, the IAEA-mandated study of pressurized thermal shock (PTS) has to be done before commissioning the reactors at Kudankulam.

The people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are deeply concerned about our safety and wellbeing as the KKNPP reactors pose grave and serious threats. The actual siting of the reactors, the quality of construction and the pipe work and the overall integrity of the KKNPP structures have been called into question by the very workers and contractors who work there in Koodankulam. Our own Expert Team has identified several serious safety issues with regards to the geology, hydrology, oceanography and seismology issues of the KKNPP project such as Karst, geysers and sub-volcanic intrusions in our locality; slumps in our sea and possible tsunamis; recurrent huge earthquakes in the Indian Ocean and so forth. Our Expert Team’s findings and our long struggle against the KKNPP are completely ignored by the concerned authorities and the governments ignoring our safety and wellbeing completely.

In the light of the above situation, we would very much like to request you to intervene in the KKNPP matter, halt its commissioning immediately and order a thorough enquiry into all of the above issues.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon, we send you our best regards and all peaceful wishes.


S.P.Udayakuamr, Ph.D. M. Pushparayan M. P. Jesuraj Fr. F. Jayakumar

Copies to

The Head
Safety Research Institute
IGCAR Campus
Kalpakkam 603 102
Tamil Nadu

International Atomic Energy Agency
Vienna International Centre
P.O. Box 100
A-1400 Vienna

United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
PO Box 30552, 00100
Nairobi, Kenya

International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la paix
CH 1202

Amnesty International
1 Easton Street
Lonndon WC1X 0DW

International Alert
346 Clapham Road
London SW9 9AP

Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue
34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299

International Commission on Radiological Protection
280 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5S9

Greenpeace International
Ottho Heldringstraat 5
1066 AZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Five Star Hospitals take advantage of Charity laws, but poor patients ignored


The Uncharitable Trust Hospitals

A huge amount of capital is being invested in multi-specialty hospitals in Maharashtra which take advantage of the Public Charitable Trust Act, 1950 and avail of tax waivers and land concessions. However, the mandatory benefi ts to poor patients in lieu of these waivers are totally ignored. There should be an investigation into this social and economic crime and the loss to the exchequer should be recovered along with penalties imposed on these hospitals.
Ravi Duggal, EPW, June  2012
The Public Charitable Trust Act, 1950 was enacted to enable private entities to set up charities that would serve the deprived sections of society. To encourage and incentivise such investments, the Act provided for waiver of income tax for such charitable insti­tutions. Historically, many seths (merchant capitalists) invested in setting up charitable hospitals. The initial trend was to build and equip the hospital and even provide working capital annually and hand it over to the government or the municipality to run it. Their only expectation was that the particular hospital should be named after a close relation. Thus many of the top public hospitals we have in Mumbai today, including the teaching hospitals, like the J J Hospital, Cama Hospital, KEM Hospital, Nair Hospital, and the two Bhabha Hospitals were established through charities and later became government or municipal hospitals.1 Apart from this, many small hospitals and dispensaries were set up by businessmen and their charities, by missionaries and other motivated individuals to provide healthcare to those in need.
Post-Independence the trend changed. Bourgeois capital entered the fray and began to use the Public Trust Act to set up hospitals, instead of using the Companies Act, so that they could get the advantage of the tax waiver benefits. While a number of them began with being genuinely charitable, over time most of them have become hospitals for the use of the elite or those who can afford health insurance. The classic examples are the Jaslok, Breach Candy, Bombay Hospital, Leelavati, Hinduja, Nanavati, and Ambani Hospitals apart from others that no longer engage in any form of charity or follow the minimal provisions of the law for providing free services in lieu of the tax breaks. Thus their not-for-profit status needs to be challenged and all taxes that were forgone along with appropriate penalties should be collected from them. The Maharashtra assembly has rightly raised the issue of having the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) investigate the ­finances of these hospitals. Further, the issue is not only the tax waivers but also a host of other benefits they may have received like concessional land2 or a cheap lease rent, extra floor space ­index (FSI), concessional utility rates, waivers or concessions for other taxes like octroi, customs duty, etc. All these benefits add substantially to the surpluses of these hospitals. And if there is no charity forthcoming from them, it amounts to a huge economic and social crime that should be investigated.
Loss to Society
What is the economic loss to society due to this state of affairs? I have inquired into the finances of large public and private hospitals3 and found that on an average a multi-specialty hospital has a net expenditure between Rs 15 and Rs 20 lakh per bed per year (turnover between Rs 25 and 35 lakh per bed per year, the difference being their gross profit). We have over 70 trust hospitals in Mumbai that have an estimated total of 10,000 beds. This means roughly a minimum turnover of Rs 2,500 crore per year and a gross profit of nearly Rs 1,000 crore across these hospitals. As for-profit ­entities such hospitals would have contributed Rs 300 crore in income taxes to the state exchequer. We know that these hospitals are exempt from taxes but there is a quid pro quo. They are obliged to ensure that 10% of the beds are free and another 10% are given on concessional rates to poor patients. The free beds in this case would mean 1,000 beds or an expenditure of Rs 150 crore and the 10% concessional beds would be at half the rate or an additional Rs 75 crore. Together this is much less than the taxes forgone by the state and if the land and indirect tax benefits are ­included then the loss to the state exchequer is much more. If we add up all the years of the non-compliance of trust hospitals to the legal provisions then we are looking at lakhs of crores which could have been added to the health budgets of the government.
Civil society groups and health activists have been demanding that such institutions should be made accountable for over two decades now, including filing a public interest litigation to make these hospitals provide all benefits as mandated by the law of the land. The government on its part has been very lax and the concerned authorities like the charity commissioner and the income tax department have failed to monitor, audit and assure the rule of law with ­regard to these hospitals. The efforts of the government in response to the Bombay High Court orders to set up committees to review the situation and suggest action points or draft schemes to utilise these benefits have been piecemeal, and lacking in political commitment and ­seriousness. The committee set up under Ratnakar Gaikwad recently consists entirely of bureaucrats and is doomed to failure. The issue here, apart from the failure of the trust hospitals to comply with legal provisions, is one of the ­accountability of the government agencies and the government goes and ­appoints only bureaucrats on this committee! How can they be expected to be self-critical and take action against their own fraternity?
Finally, the insurance-based Jeevandayi Yojana scheme of the government is in itself a questionable scheme, and the move to link it with the benefits due to the poor under the Public Trust Act provisions is problematic. The Trust Act benefits are in lieu of income tax waivers to these hospitals. If they want to be a part of the Jeevandayi Yojana then they should engage with the scheme independent of the Act. This scheme should not be confused with the 20% free and concessional beds which are due to poor citizens as a right under the Trust Act. The government too seems to be inclined to maintain the confusion. This is illegal and will further complicate matters relating to the uncharitable trust hospitals.
1 Government of Maharashtra (GoM) 1986, Gazetteer of India – Maharashtra: Greater ­Bombay District, Vol III (ed. K K Chaudhari), Gazetteer Department, Government of Maharashtra, Bombay.
2 The recent CAG Report on Maharashtra revealed that a number of hospitals received land in fraudulent ways at a huge loss to the state exchequer, including the Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital – CAG, 2011: Audit Report (Revenue) Maharashtra 2010-2011, Chapter 4: Land Revenues,
3 Ravi Duggal (2011), “Financing the Cost of Universal Access to Healthcare”, mfc bulletin 348-50, August 2011-January 2012, pp 8-12.
Ravi Duggal ( is with the International Budget Partnership.


Seika Braille Displays- Committed to enable the disable #disability



Sparsh presents to you Seika Braille Displays. Seika Braille Displays are most economical and are highly efficient. They are available in 3 models

1.    Seika Mini – 16 cell Braille Display with bluetooth and notetaking features

2.    Seika V3 – 40 cell Braille Display

3.    Seika V5 – 40 cell Braille Display with Bluetooth

1.  Seika Mini

Seika Mini is a portable 16 cells Braille display with note taking and a suite of powerful applications. Mini Seika is compatible with several popular screen reading softwares for mobile phones and PC, so it will work well in conjunction with a mobile phone and PC via Bluetooth or USB cable.

Mini Seika includes the following applications: PC connection via USB or Bluetooth, Notepad, File Manage, Read, Clock, and Calculator.



l  8 dots Braille

l  16 Braille cells

l  16 Touch cursor keys

l  10 Braille keyboard

l  2 Navigation joysticks

l  2 Navigation key

l  Memory 4GB (Embedded Micro SD card)

l  Bluetooth

l  Micro SD‐card slot

l  Mini USB interface

l  USB socket

l  Lithium battery

l  Size: 6.3(W) x 3.78(D) x 0.9 (H)inches

l  Weight: 300g

l  Compatible software: SuperNova ScreenReader, Jaws, Window-Eyes, NVDA, VoiceOver(Apple Mac and iOS)



Notepad: create, read and edit *.txt *.brl or *.brf files.

Reading: displays the files in the flash disk U-disk or Micro SD-card.

Clock: Set and display the system time.

Calculator: execute calculations using plus, minus, divided and multiplied.

Power Management: display battery level, Low battery alarm.

Update: assist the user in updating to the latest firmware version.

Screen Reader: working with the screen reader through USB or Bluetooth

2. Seika V3 Braille Display

It has a Display System of 8 dots Braille with a Display Capacity of 40 cells. It has 8 cursor keys and its light and compact design makes it easy to carry anywhere. It is compatible with software’s like Dolphin Hal, Dolphin Supernova, Virgo, Jaws, Window-eye and has the interface support of a USB power source connection thus eliminating the need for an extra adapter.



l  Display system: 8 dots Braille

l  Display capacity: 40 cells

l  Cursor key: 8 keys

l  Touch cursor key: 40 keys

l  Interface: USB

l  Size 12.99(W) x 3.58(D) x 0.98 (H)inches

l  Weight: 600g

l  Compatible Software: SuperNova ScreenReader, Jaws, Window-Eyes, NVDA, VoiceOver(Apple Mac and iOS)

3. Seika V5 Braille Display

Seika V5 has built in battery and supports a USB memory card, so that you can take Seika out. You can also connect it to your computer with a USB cable or with Bluetooth. It only weighs 640 gram and is very compact. As it supports USB memory, you can read saved data, and using Seika’s keys to handle fast- forward, rewind or cue. So you can take your favourite book as Braille data and read it wherever you like.

Lithium-ion battery: Lithium-ion battery for up to 6 hours use.

Bluetooth: With wireless bluetooth, you can connect with your computer a lot more easily.

External interface: There are two USB ports which enable Seika V5 to be connected to a computer as well as other external interfaces simultaneously. It gets power through either a computer or its own AC adapter.


l  Display system: 8 dots Braille

l  Display capacity: 40 cells

l  Cursor key: 8 keys

l  Touch cursor key: 40 keys

l  Interface:  USB/Mini USB/DC

l   Power supply: Bus power/AC adapter/Battery

l  Size: 12.99(W) x 3.58(D) x 0.98 (H)inches

l  Weight: 640g

In case of any query or information required please let us know.

With regards,


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Sparsh Products
Committed to enable the disabled
151-5, Rajpur Road
Dehradun 248 001, India
Phone: +91 135-3299873
Ph/Fax: +91 135-2735011
Time zone: +5.30 GMT

Seven booked in Aadhaar fraud #UID #Nandan Nilekani

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mahesh Buddi, TNN | Jun 17, 2012, 01.07AM IST

HYDERABAD: Seven persons, including four Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) employees and a ration shop dealer, have been booked by the police in the Aadhaar card fraud.

Police have named Shaik Afsar, a former data entry operator of IL&FS from Talabkatta, as the prime accused. He was assisted in committing the fraud by Shabbir, technical co-ordinator, and Imran, supervisor of the Aadhaar card registration project by IL&FS in Old City.

Police zeroed in on Afsar after UIDAI confirmed that all the authorization fingerprints used for the enrollment of the 60 persons in biometric exception category were his. Afsar, who used to work as a data entry operator with IL&FS, had quit the job in August 2011.

Subsequently, he was approached by Gopal, a ration shop dealer (shop number 256) of Talabkatta, who sought new Aadhaar cards in the names given by him. Afsar, who had already quit his job, took the help of an Aadhaar card broker Rafiq and lured Shabbir and Imran to lend him an authorised laptop (No: 20193 – Baba Nagar enrollment office) used by IL&FS to do Aadhaar registrations for a few days.

Using the laptop, Afsar had done 60 fake entries under the physically disabled category between October 14 and 29, 2011. Police found that Gopal had asked for only 13 Aadhaar cards on specific names so that he could continue to utilise the set of fake ration cards available with him even after government makes Aadhaar mandatory for drawing essential items at ration shops. Gopal had paid Afsar Rs 4,000 for the job.

Police are yet to ascertain on whose request and for what purpose Afsar had done the rest of the fake registrations. After the probe, the investigating officers have named two top IL&FS officials, Yashwant and Vinay, as accused for knowingly ignoring the fraud.

Police have seized the laptop and took some of the accused into custody. However, prime accused Afsar has gone to Oman in March 2012 for employment and police are planning to issue a red corner notice against him. “So far, UIDAI has given details of enrollment related to 60 cards and we have finished the probe in that regard. As 30,000 more such registrations are there, the list of accused might increase and we will do further probe once UIDAI gives us details,” a Charminar police officer said.

Activists cry foul over Koodankulam-plant’s Russian parts

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author: Express News Service, June 17,2012

Activists, some of them belonging to the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), on Saturday alleged that Russian firms were supplying substandard equipment for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, posing a serious threat to its safety.

Activists, some of them belonging to the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), on Saturday alleged that Russian firms were supplying substandard equipment for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, posing a serious threat to its safety.

Addressing a press conference here, they claimed that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) have accepted these low-quality equipment.

The activists sought to prove the charge by citing “two new documents that the PMANE had unearthed recently”.  According to them, the contract for the plant envisioned a Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), which houses the reactor core and the coolant system, without “welds”.However, when the PMANE perused two different documents, authored by the NPCIL scientists in 2005 and 2008 respectively, it came to light that the scientists, who, initially sought RPVs without welds, had taken supply of one with two “welds”.

R Ramesh, a scientist attached to PMANE, said that the RPV, which surrounds the core of the plant, is most impacted by neutron bombardment. Therefore, when there are welds in the RPV, they could become brittle due to corrosion and may force the RPV to break.

“This will result in a nuclear disaster of great proportions,” he warned. The activists said the 2008 document, which was produced by the AERB, cites safety issues that would arise from the welds.

“Curiously, the Core Damage Frequency (CDF) figures were also increased by 100 times when you compare the two documents, indicating that the AERB was fully aware of the implications,” they alleged. There was no information on the tests conducted to address this safety issue, they added.

Also, once the fuel rods are inserted, a stage that the first unit of the plant was now reaching, the activists said it would be close to impossible to conduct the tests.

“We demand that the government come out with entire information on the plant immediately and stop steps to insert fuel rods before the issues are sorted out,” they said.


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June 2012
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