Karnataka: 63 percent prisoners in state are under-trials

By Newzfirst Bureau 6/5/13

 Delhi/Bangalore – More than 60 percent of the prisoners in various jails across Karnataka state are under-trials. This information was Wednesday given by the State’s chief minister Siddaramaiah in the Chief Ministers’ Conference regarding Internal Security held at New Delhi.

Out of 13,572 prisoners in the State, 4 % are women prisoners, about less than half of them being women convicts and the rest are under-trials. About 63 % of the prison population constitutes under-trials and 34 % are convicts, Siddaramaiah said in his speech.

Mentioning that prisons are integral part of the Criminal Justice System and function as custodians of prisoners he said that his Government is making all efforts to treat the prisoners in a humane manner and towards the reformation, correction and rehabilitation of prisoners.

Saying that Karnataka Government has recognized the importance of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), he stressed that some safeguards are necessary before setting up NCTC so that they are not given unbridled powers to encroach upon the States’ domain.

Talking about the Left Wing Extremism he said that the State has witnessed Naxal activities in the four western districts  of Chickmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Kodagu .

He also said that a total of 30 naxalities have been listed and named and a search is being organised to trace them.

The Anti-Naxal Force has been in hot pursuit and has been successful in busting several Naxal camps. It has successfully carried out encounters against prominent Naxals and destroyed several Naxal Camps, he said.

The State Government have been very pro-active in increasing developmental activities and by harnessing the youths in these areas to divert them away from Left wing extremism’s ideology and activities, he said.


Karnataka: Another RTI activist found murdered; whistleblowers demand CBI probe

By Newzfirst Correspondent1/12/13


Bangalore – Less than two months since the murder of an RTI activist from Bangalore, the state Saturday witnessed a brutal murder of another whistle-blower. This time Vasudeva Adiga hailing from coastal district of Udupi followed the fate of Lingaraju, who was allegedly murdered by the local corporator for exposing corruption last November.

The body of a missing RTI activist Vasudeva Adiga has been found in brutally murdered state on Saturday. Adiga, who hails from Vandaru village in Udupi district, had gone missing since Monday, 7 January.

The body has been found at Kadur of neighboring Chickmagalur district, about 225 kms from Udupi, with multiple injuries and its face smashed beyond recognition.

At the same time other whistle-blowers from Udupi district have alleged the involvement of local influential politicians, businessmen and top level government servants behind the murder. They have also demanded CBI enquiry into the murder.

Adiga had drawn the wrath of some local politicians and high-rank officers of the district for being very instrumental in exposing the corruption at various levels, said Shreeram Diwan, a journalist cum RTI activist.

Recently he had obtained some vital documents regarding alleged irregularities in much-delayed Varahi irrigation project, affairs of Mandarti temple and Nirmiti Kendra through RTI, he said.

While Varahi irrigation project has been delayed since three decades, Mandarti temple comes under Muzurai department of Government of Karnataka. The Nirmiti Kendra headed by the Deputy Commissioner of the district serves as a seminal agency to generate and propagate innovative ideas on housing and participates in tender of any government or private organization and executes the same in line with the objectives. It can undertake the government construction projects that cost less than 1 crore rupees.

“Adiga has been abducted and murdered after he determined to complain Lokayukta over misappropriation of public funds that run in multiple crores.” explained Diwan.

According to Diwan, Adiga had played crucial role in exposing huge irregularities by the stone quarries at Goliangadi recently. Following the complaints, the mining department had fined those companies upto Rs.4 crore.

“He even questioned the district authorities over granting permission to those blacklisted stone-quarries, which had not even paid the fine amount imposed by the department, to operate at other places.” he added.

Sources said that Adiga was approached by those officials, couple of days back to his abduction, for a compromise for which he did not budge. He was also threatened of dire consequences, the sources said.

Adiga went missing on the night of 7 January while he was returning to his home in 2-wheeler along-with some important documents obtained through RTI.  Family members found his deserted mobile, footwear, pen and two-wheeler on following day about 12kms away from his village, but not those documents he was carrying.

Urgent Appeal to Media and Press in the North east

This is an urgent appeal on behalf of the north east community living in Bangalore and other cities outside of the north east. As you are aware the situation in many cities has been tense fuelled by rumours of potential violence as well as stray incidents, which have resulted in many people leaving these states and returning to their respective homes in Assam and elsewhere.

As the trains start arriving in Assam and elsewhere there will be an urge to interview people to get a sense of what has been happening and we fear that some of thee stories may be based not on facts but on hearsay and rumour. We urge the media to exercise refrain in the way they carry the stories. The reality of the situation in Bangalore for instance is that community leaders and representatives from the north east and the Muslim community have been hard at work to build trust between these communities and restore peace here. If there any backlash that takes place in Assam as a result of the stories that are carried there is a danger of there being repercussions in cities like Bangalore.

We urge the media to be aware of the important role that they have in trying to bring back trust within all the communities and report without sensationalizing anything which could be used by troublemakers. The media in the north east has played a very vital role in promoting democratic values and ensuring the safety and security of people and we hope that at this critical hour all of you will join hands in promoting a more peaceful and stable future.

Friends and members of the north east community in Bangalore

Karnataka mining scam may have cost exchequer Rs 50,000 crore #Indiashining


NEW DELHI: The scale of the Karnataka mining scam seems to be getting bigger with the estimates of an expert committee suggesting that the alleged robber barons who engaged in illicit mining may have cheated the state of Rs 50,000 crore in taxes and other levies.

The mining syndicate which thrived across regimes claimed that it was taking out just 50 million tonnes of iron ore every year whereas inspections showed that in reality, another 30-40 million tonnes of ore was illegally mined and siphoned off.

Considering that the recent e-auction for just 26.58 million tonnes brought in Rs 1,496 in various levies, the loss to the state exchequer works out to Rs 7,000 crore every year over the last one decade.

The Supreme Court’s environment panel, Central Empowered Committee (CEC), submitted its report to a bench of Justices Aftab Alam, K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar on Thursday and said till July 31, 26.58 million tonnes of iron ore was sold through e-auction for Rs 6,416 crore.

“In addition to the sale price, about Rs 1,496 crore has been recovered and paid by the monitoring committee to the government — Rs 606.24 crore as royalty, Rs 594.06 crore as forest development charges, Rs 270.65 crore as VAT and Rs 25.11 crore as CST,” said the report submitted to the court by CEC’s member secretary M K Jiwrajika.

CEC sources said if the private lease holders had sold the iron ore for Rs 6,416 crore, then they would have paid income tax of over Rs 2,100 crore to the government. So, along with the various levies, the government would have got almost Rs 3,600 crore from the entire transaction.

Before the apex court banned mining completely, private lease holders had declared sale of 50 million tonnes of iron ore per year on an average and inspection showed that another 30-40 million tonnes of ore was illegally mined and siphoned off.

If sale of the total 80-90 million tonnes of iron ore was shown as legal by the private parties every year, then they would have earned around Rs 18,000 crore, over which income tax would have been Rs 6,000 crore. In addition, the government would have got nearly Rs 1,500 crore as royalty, FDC, VAT and CST. This means the government would have got around Rs 7,500 crore every year. But what the government actually got was only around Rs 500 crore from the private parties.

Thus, an estimated loss of Rs 7,000 crore to the exchequer per year happened for nearly a decade and CEC sources said the entire illegal extraction of iron ore and under-reporting of sale and extraction could have cost the exchequer Rs 50,000 crore.

The bench asked the Karnataka government to file its response to the CEC report after amicus curiae Shyam Divan and A D N Rao informed the court that the reclamation and rehabilitation plan for 16 mines had been prepared. But the bench insisted that it would permit resumption of mining in these mines only after the rehabilitation plan was implemented on the ground.

To make available adequate quantity of iron ore for iron and steel plants dependent on the ore extracted from Bellary-Hospet, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts, the bench sought an update from NMDC, which alone has been allowed by the court to undertake limited mining operations.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for NMDC, said the PSU had the capability to extract 10 lakh tonnes of iron ore but it faced problems in transporting the extracted mineral and lack of assured long term demand.

The Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturers Association and Federation of Indian Mineral Industries through senior advocates C S Vaidyanathan and T S Andhyarujina said their clients were ready to lift the mineral. The bench asked representatives of industry associations, ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and NMDC to sit with the CEC on Monday to chalk out long-term e-auction scheme and place it before the court on August 17.



Medha Patkar Refuses Basava Award

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

Image via Wikipedia

Lokshakti Abhiyan Begins its 4th Phase with Lokmanch in Mumbai

*New Delhi, February 8* : “It would have been an honour to receive this [Basava] award in the name of revolutionary saint poet, philosopher Shri Basaveshwara of 12th century who promoted social change, reform and communal harmony. *However, collective opinion of movements I am associated with suggests that Karnataka Government has not been able to deal with the mining scam and other scandals. *The Lokayukta controversy is not yet over and there are disagreements with people’s movements on certain policies related to farmers, workers, unorganised sector workers, slum dwellers and government’s attempt at privatisation and corporatisation of scarce natural

resources – land, water, forests and minerals. *I, therefore, would like to state with humility my inability to accept the award which you may be free to give to any other deserving activist.” Medha Patkar said at a public meeting in Belgaum, Karnataka yesterday. *

Department of Kannada and Culture, Government had announced bestowing the Basava Puraskar 2010 to Medha Patkar by a government notification dated December 3, 2011. *Award contains a citation and Rs. 10 Lakh for contribution towards social change and promotion of the principles which Saint Basaveshwara championed. *

Medha Patkar is leading Lokshakti Abhiyan which started its fourth phase campaign on February 6**th** from Mumbai.* The Abhiyan is being joined by farmers, activists, academics from different states and will travel through Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. *The Lokshakti Abhiyan has already been to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. * Other members of the Abhiyan in this phase include Suhas Kolhekar, Suniti

S R, Roshanlal Agarwal, Nageh Tripathy, Vedvati, Raj Singh, Naseevar Babu, Kamlesh, Seela Manswanee, Madhuri Shivkar, Gee Ammena, Ashu and others.

On February 6th Feb a Lokmanch was organised in Mumbai where candidates & party spokespersons of different parties came to a common dais to address the people on several of their issues. Thousands of people gathered to listen to the candidates and engaged in a dialogue with 15 of the candidates who came on different issues concerning the working class people of Mumbai living in bastis.

Most of the candidates who came belonged to political parties or an alliance or People’s fronts but Congress, NCP as well as BJP and Shiv Sena kept away from this due to a fear of people exposing their fraud or scam whether in the State Government or the Municipal Corporation of Greater

Mumbai(MCGM). *However, RPI, BSP were represented by several spokespersons or a few candidates at the Lokmanch. Only one Congress candidate turned up. The larger number was that of independent candidates, many of who belonged

to newly formed People’s front, Mumbai.

Many of the candidates came with no special preparation for the Lokmanch. None of them had even read Nagar Raj Kanoon or Rajiv Awas Yojana, however, listening to the strong presentations by the people themselves, the candidates had to respond to the various issues raised and also commit to support the people on their issues. There was not a single disagreement on any issue.

Mr. Sonawane of RPI had to face the queries on RPI, SS, BJP Alliance. Mr Sonwane responded that RPI did not agree with Hindutva as agenda, but the alliance was purely “political”.

*The issues of people’s right to housing, water, sanitation, education and health were raised in the Lokmanch. Slum eviction and Slum Rehabilitation was opposed by the basti people one after another. The candidates who spoke on the same pledged their support to the people on the issue of right to housing. It was agreed that whether a slum settlement was declared or not declared, classified as legal or illegal, it is the right to housing that was being blatantly denied by the Government. Whether it is the demolition of slums by Shivalik Ventures, Lavasa, Hiranandini or Adarsh Builders, it was highlighted that it was the unholy and corrupt nexus between the builders and the government that was illegal .This results in the denial of a fundamental right to life granted by the Constitution of India.

The basti people were urged to exercise their right to vote carefully,choosing only the candidates who they thought would represent and take forward their issues.* The people demanded from all the candidates that they should take the position on following critical issues:

Nagar Raj Kanoon with rights to the bastis(urban communities should be fully implemented & no projects to be taken up on land of the basti/ward without their consents.

Panchayati Raj should be appropriately amended on the basis of 74thConstitutional amendments.

Not builder prone SRA but RAY (Rajiv Awas Yojana) with self reliant housing should be promoted and be implemented with immediate effect.

Pension, provident fund and other social security measures should be granted to the 93% insecured workers.

There should be fisheries rights to the fish workers.

There should be no cut-off date for providing development benefits to urban poor, housing, water & sanitation.

Candidates of Alliance People’s front & Political parties on Lokmanch ultimately concluded to give their perspectives in writing regarding issues raised by people. Area to area wise Lokmanch will be organized neither with political benefits to the parties nor with organization. People also took the pledge to not to take/distribute liquor or money for vote.

On 7th February 2012, the Lokshakti Abhiyan team reached Kolhapur where Medha Patkar, Roshanlal Agarwal, Nageh Tripathy, Vedvati, Raj Singh and Naseevar Babu spoke about the various aspects of the corruption issue and the scope of an involved movement around it.

Medha Patkar* took the example of the Ambani brothers, Tatas, Mittals and Birlas – all large business families who reap profits at the expense of the rest of the population. She showed the audience a book titled “*Don’t Rely on Reliance*” to make her point against large scale corporate looting due to privatisation in almost all the sectors. It is because the government works against the people of its own country and helps these business tycoons and private companies make profits, that our country is in such a terrible condition. If adivasis and other forest dwellers, fisher people,

urban poor, dalits and farmers were to come together on the struggle against corruption, as it is an issue that affects all sections of society, directly or indirectly, it will make our side stronger and help us achieve our aim of making one more step towards a pro people government. The lack

of accountability on the part of the so called representative of the people holding office in the government service needs to end and it is our responsibility to keep an eye on the workings of these officials to ensure a corrupt free government. *She further highlighted that it is Lok Shakti

[people’s power] that is of supreme importance not Neta Shakti [leader’s power]. *

*Roshanlal Agarwal put forward a novel idea that there should not be a Below Poverty Line mark but an “ **Ameeri Rekha**”, to heavily tax the rich of the country so that it can be used for social redistribution.* *Vedvati*, an icon of courage at the age of 76 years who is a part of Bhoomi Bachao Andolan in Kanjhawala in New Delhi has been fighting for the past 4 years to assert her right to land against repeated attempts to grab it by the State government of Delhi. Vedvati, with her never dying optimism said that it is not the people who are weak but the politicians who come begging for votes during each election who are weak.

The Abhiyan later held public meetings in Neepani and Belgaum. The National Alliance of People’s Movements hopes that with the Lokshakti Abhiyan, the fight against corruption and all the related issues will travel to all the areas that it visits and beyond and that we can work towards a more people friendly government that ensures at a very minimum the fundamental rights of every citizen guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

On February 8th and 9th Lokshakti Abhiyan is touring different parts of Goa and holding meetings with activists and civil society members on the issues of mining, SEZs, fish workers rights and others. Lokshakti Abhiyan will be in Pune on 10th February, Aurangabad on 11th and Nagpur on 12th and 13th.

*National Alliance of People’s Movements *

*For more details call Seela Manswanee : 9212587159 or Madhuresh Kumar

9818905316 or write to napmindia@gmail.com*


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