Maharashtra against Aadhaar-LPG link #UID

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Published: Thursday, Feb 14, 2013, 6:31 IST
By Dhaval Kulkarni | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The state government has red-flagged the Union petroleum and natural gas ministry’s plan to launch the Aadhaar-linked liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidy project in Mumbai. It has pointed out that this has caused panic among consumers and could lead to a law-and-order problem in the city.
State officials said that although the ministry had asked consumers to provide Aadhaar numbers to LPG dealers by March 15, failing which they might have to buy cylinders at market prices, this was not feasible as just 60 per cent of Mumbai’s 1.25crore population has been covered.
The state has said it will complete maximum enrolment by December 2013, following which it would be in a better position to roll out large-scale Aadhaar-linked services.
Across the state, only 45.7% of the 11.23 crore population has enrolled for Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) cards. The Centre has rolled out the direct benefit transfer scheme in Mumbai city district and Mumbai suburban district, Pune, Wardha, Amravati and Nandurbar.
In a recent letter to Dr Neeraj Mittal, joint secretary, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, state information technology secretary Rajesh Aggarwal pointed out that the announcement has “created a panic-like situation in the city, especially among the middle class… resulting in huge queues at Aadhaar enrolment centres and a potential law and order concern in the city”.
“This is an issue that touches almost every household. It is tough to make it compulsory unless the enrolment reaches an 80%- 90 % range,” an official admitted.
“Advertisements released by [the] ministry of petroleum and natural gas, Government of India, have completely disturbed the Aadhaar enrolment ecosystem in the state, especially in Mumbai.
We would request you to reconsider the timelines for implementation of Aadhaar-linked LPG subsidy and withdrawal of the advertisement campaign, which in turn would help us in conducting the Aadhaar enrolment in a smooth, systematic manner and would be beneficial to the residents,” the letter added, while stating that the linkage would be a “workable idea” only in Wardha, which has maximum UIDAI coverage in Maharashtra at 83.6%.
President of All India LPG Distributors Federation, Pratap Doshi, said that Aadhaar could not become sacrosanct.
“Lots of customers have not received their Aadhaar cards,” said Doshi, adding that panicky consumers were crowding showrooms of LPG distributors. Mumbai has 25 lakh LPG consumers.
Gorakh Avhad of the Rationing Kruti Samiti too demanded that the Centre not rush into the implementation of the plan.
Follow Dhaval Kulkarni@dhavalkulkarni




All the perfumes of Arabia #Narendramodi


February 15, 2013

Markandey Katju

Eighteen people were allegedly burned alive in this house in Gulmarg colony in Ahmedabad during the 2002 violence.
AP Eighteen people were allegedly burned alive in this house in Gulmarg colony in Ahmedabad during the 2002 violence.

People clamouring for Narendra Modi should realise the only policy which can take India on the path of progress is equal respect and treatment for all communities

Narendra Modi is being projected by a large section of Indians as the modern Moses, the one who will lead the beleaguered and despondent Indian people into a land of milk and honey, the man who is best suited to be the next Indian Prime Minister. And it is not just the Bharatiya Janata Party and RSS who are saying this at the Kumbh Mela. A large section of the Indian so-called ‘educated’ class, including many of our ‘educated’ youth, who have been carried away by Mr. Modi’s propaganda is saying this.

I was flying from Delhi to Bhopal recently. Sitting beside me was a Gujarati businessman. I asked him his opinion of Mr. Modi. He was all praise for him. I interjected and asked him about the killing of nearly 2,000 Muslims in 2002 in Gujarat. He replied that Muslims were always creating problems in Gujarat, but after 2002 they have been put in their place and there is peace since then in the State. I told him this is the peace of the graveyard, and peace can never last long unless it is coupled with justice. At this remark he took offence and changed his seat on the plane.

The truth today is that Muslims in Gujarat are terrorised and afraid that if they speak out against the horrors of 2002 they may be attacked and victimised. In the whole of India, Muslims (who number over 200 million) are solidly against Mr. Modi (though there are a handful of Muslims who for some reason disagree).

Dubious spontaneity

It is claimed by Modi supporters that what happened in Gujarat was only a ‘spontaneous’ reaction (pratikriya) of Hindus to the killing of 59 Hindus on a train in Godhra. I do not buy this story. First, there is still mystery as to what exactly happened in Godhra. Secondly, the particular persons who were responsible for the Godhra killings should certainly be identified and given harsh punishment, but how does this justify the attack on the entire Muslim community in Gujarat? Muslims are only 9 per cent of the total population of Gujarat, the rest being mostly Hindus. In 2002 Muslims were massacred, their homes burnt, and other horrible crimes committed on them.

To call the killings of Muslims in 2002 a spontaneous reaction reminds one of Kristallnacht in Germany in November 1938, when the entire Jewish community in Germany was attacked, many killed, their synagogues burnt, shops vandalised after a German diplomat in Paris was shot dead by a Jewish youth whose family had been persecuted by the Nazis. It was claimed by the Nazi government that this was only a ‘spontaneous’ reaction, but in fact it was planned and executed by the Nazi authorities using fanatic mobs.

In terms of historical evolution, India is broadly a country of immigrants and consequently, it is a land of tremendous diversity. Hence, the only policy which can hold it together and put it on the path of progress is secularism — equal respect and treatment to all communities and sects. This was the policy of the great Emperor Akbar, which was followed by our founding fathers (Pandit Nehru and his colleagues) who gave us a secular Constitution. Unless we follow this policy, our country cannot survive for one day, because it has so much diversity, so many religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups.

India, therefore, does not belong to Hindus alone; it belongs equally to Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees, Jains etc. Also, it is not only Hindus who can live in India as first-rate citizens while others have to live as second or third rate citizens. All are first-rate citizens here. The killing of thousands of Muslims and other atrocities on them in Gujarat in 2002 can never be forgotten or forgiven. All the perfumes in Arabia cannot wash away the stain on Mr. Modi in this connection.

It is said by his supporters that Mr. Modi had no hand in the killings, and it is also said that he had not been found guilty by any court of law. I do not want to comment on our judiciary, but I certainly do not buy the story that Mr. Modi had no hand in the events of 2002. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time when horrible events happened on such a large scale. Can it be believed that he had no hand in them? At least I find this impossible to believe.

Let me give just one example. Ehsan Jafri was a respected, elderly former Member of Parliament living in the Chamanpura locality of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. His house was in the Gulbarga Housing Society, where mostly Muslims lived. According to the recorded version of his elderly wife Zakia, on February 28, 2002 a mob of fanatics blew up the security wall of the housing society using gas cylinders. They dragged Ehsan Jafri out of his house, stripped him, chopped off his limbs with swords and burnt him alive. Many other Muslims were also killed and their houses burnt. Chamanpura is barely a kilometre from a police station, and less than two kilometres from the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner’s office. Is it conceivable that the Chief Minister did not know what was going on? Zakia Jafri has since then been running from pillar to post to get justice for her husband who was so brutally murdered. Her criminal case against Mr. Modi was thrown out by the district court (since the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court found no evidence against him and filed a final report), and it is only now (after a gap of over 10 years) that the Supreme Court has set aside the order of the trial court and directed that her protest petition be considered.

I am not going into this matter any further since it is still sub judice.

Mr. Modi has claimed that he has developed Gujarat. It is therefore necessary to consider the meaning of ‘development’. To my mind development can have only one meaning, and that is raising the standard of living of the masses. Giving concessions to big industrial houses, and offering them cheap land and cheap electricity can hardly be called development if it does not raise the standard of living of the masses.

Questionable progress

Today, 48 per cent of Gujarati children are malnourished, which is a higher rate of malnourishment than the national average. In Gujarat, there is a high infant mortality rate, high women’s maternity death rate, and 57 per cent poverty rate in tribal areas, and among Scheduled Castes/Backward Castes. As stated by Ramachandra Guha in his recent article in The Hindu (“The man who would rule India”, February 8) environmental degradation is rising, educational standards are falling, and malnutrition among children is abnormally high. More than a third of adult men in Gujarat have a body mass index of less than 18.5 — the seventh worst in the country. A UNDP report in 2010 has placed Gujarat after eight other Indian States in multiple dimensions of development: health, education, income levels, etc.

Business leaders no doubt claim that Mr. Modi has created a business friendly environment in Gujarat, but are businessmen the only people in India?

I appeal to the people of India to consider all this if they are really concerned about the nation’s future. Otherwise they may make the same mistake which the Germans made in 1933.

(Markandey Katju, a former judge of the Supreme Court, is Chairman of the Press Council of India)


#Karnataka -MoEF closes Gogi mines file

By Ramkrishna Badseshi & Bhimashankar Kakalwara | ENS – GULBARGA

15th February 2013

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has closed the project file relating to uranium mining plant at Gogi village in Shahpur taluk and has delisted it from the pending list of projects.

A letter by Director of Ministry of Environment & Forests Dr Saroj to the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd on December 28, 2012,   was made available to Express on Thursday. According to the letter, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has noted that the public hearing panel going into the setting up a mining extraction plant at Gogi was chaired by Yadgir Assistant Commissioner though he was not the competent authority. Under Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006, the deputy commissioner should chair the panel. Hence the hearing is not valid and has to be conducted afresh according to procedures prescribed in EIA Notification, 2006, it stated.

The letter further stated that since the public hearing was postponed without following procedures, the ministry has decided to close the project file. Yadgir deptuy commissioner F R Jamdar said that as far as the district was concerned, the “uranium mining chapter is closed”.

Jaitapur a critical issue: It’s all about money, honey!

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...


IndiPublished: Friday, Feb 15, 2013, 8:00 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

India and France on Thursday reviewed the progress on the controversial Jaitapur nuclear project, which is being constructed by French nuclear giant Areva and India’s public sector nuclear company Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), even as issues related to cost of this this multi-billion dollar deal remains pending.

“Today, President Hollande and I exchanged views on a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest. We reviewed progress on the Jaitapur nuclear power project and reiterated our commitment to its early implementation as soon as the commercial and technical negotiations, which have made good progress, are completed,” prime minister Manmohan Singh said.

India had signed agreements for the 9,900 MW nuclear power project in 2010 but owing to different factors such as protests from locals, difficulty in land acquisition, liability in case of accident and cost of the project, it has not moved ahead a great deal. Environmentalists have also critically opposed its construction voicing concern about seismic activity in the area specially after the Fukushima incident in Japan.

However, the Indian government has reiterated its commitment to go ahead with the project several times but has also admitted that there are issues pertaining to the cost of the project and technology.

In a joint statement released here on Thursday, French president Francois Hollande and Manmohan Singh expressed satisfaction regarding the project. “In the field of energy, the leaders expressed satisfaction in regard to the ongoing collaborative projects in R&D on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and agreed to further strengthen bilateral civil nuclear scientific cooperation,” the joint statement said.

“Recalling the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 4 February, 2009 between NPCIL and Areva for setting up of 6 x 1650 MWe EPR units at Jaitapur, the leaders reviewed the status in regard to the first two EPR units and noted that NPCIL and AREVA were engaged actively in techno-commercial discussions. They expressed hope for the expeditious conclusion of the negotiations. It was emphasized that the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur would incorporate the highest safety standards,” the joint statement noted.

Meanwhile, sources in the central government told DNA: “There has been satisfactory progress on talks regarding the nuclear project. As far as safety issues are concerned, Areva is bringing the latest technology. And even before the reactor at India would be built they would have built nuclear reactor using same latest technologies at several other places. So by the time it would be built in India all those things the company would learn while building those could be incorporated in Jaitapur plant.”




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