#India- Companies like #Vedanta are brazenly taking over #Governance


How Big Business Gets Its Way

Tagged Under | governance | Vedanta | capital cronyism
Nexus
Dongria Kond tribals protesting atop the Niyamgiri hill (Photos: MIHIR SRIVASTAVA)

Dongria Kond tribals protesting atop the Niyamgiri hill (Photos: MIHIR SRIVASTAVA)

» Ratan Tata, weeks before relinquishing control of the Tata Group, has warned India of crony capitalism. In a recent interview with PTI, asked if the problem was getting worse, he replied, “Yes. It’s just an observation, I have no facts or figures to prove it.” Asked about a statement he made on the erosion of values and ethics in India, especially within the business community, he said, “I hold that view.”

» Indian Parliament has come to a standstill again as reports surface that the US-based retailer Walmart has spent Rs 125 crore since 2008 on ‘lobbying’ in India for market access among other things.

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LANJIGARH, ODISHA ~ Since late 2009, when transcripts of the Radia Tapes were published in Open, questions of corporate governance and the influence of business houses over government policy have dominated public discussions in India. But as Ratan Tata’s statement reveals, the problem only seems to be getting worse.

In this report, we focus on the case of Vedanta, and specifically, on its Lanjigarh refinery in Odisha, where despite reports of problems on the ground and consistent local opposition, the government is going out of its way to ensure that the bauxite refinery’s closure is only a temporary setback to the company.

Vedanta Resources, a conglomerate owned by the Patna-born and London-based billionaire Anil Agarwal, has always been controversial. Currently, it is engaged in two cases at the Supreme Court. One is a case involving its purchase of Cairn Energy’s stake in Cairn India, which shares oilwells in Rajasthan with the Government-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd. On this, The Herald of Scotland has reported: ‘Westminster secretly lobbied the Indian government to give the go-ahead to a controversial multi-billion pound deal with a leading Scottish oil company, internal emails passed to the Sunday Herald reveal… UK government officials, briefed ‘over dinner’ by Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy, offered to ‘polish’ and send a letter drafted by the company. At a lunch, they also urged a key Indian government minister to back the deal. The Indian government subsequently gave permission for Cairn’s £5.5 billion agreement to sell off the bulk of its Indian oil business to Vedanta…’

The other is a case filed by the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) challenging a decision of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to withdraw its clearance for bauxite mining in Niyamgiri, a tribal belt in Kalahandi district of Odisha. From the very beginning, mining operations here—by OMC to supply Vedanta—have been controversial, with opposition parties in Odisha and at the national level demanding a CBI probe of all mining agreements, alleging that they violate forest laws and the state’s mineral policy—a sellout of the state’s interests.

The MoEF had cancelled its Niyamgiri forest clearance to the OMC-Vedanta project in 2011, after protests by tribals that got wide media coverage. The Ministry had also admonished Vedanta for its violation of ecological norms and expanding its refinery—a facility to turn bauxite into alumina, used as raw material to yield aluminium via electrolysis—without a mandatory environmental clearance. But no explanation has yet been offered for the ease with which the MoEF let the project go ahead in the first place.

When Vedanta shut its refinery in Lanjigarh on 5 December, it was a move widely seen as aimed at exerting pressure on the state government. Deepak Kumar Mohanty, director of mines in the Odisha government, says that ensuring production at the refinery is a priority for the government as per a 2004 agreement signed by the state with Vedanta, by which it was to supply the refinery with bauxite. “The Karlapat deposit has already been reserved for OMC,” he says, “We are trying to identify new sources of bauxite. It will take three to four months for resumption of supplies.” He refuses to comment on the wisdom of signing the 2004 agreement, claiming that the matter is in court. Mohanty is not the only state government official who appears to have made Vedanta’s concerns his own. At least he is bound by an agreement. But other state officials act under no such constraints. From the state police to the environmental authorities, Odisha’s administration seems keener on acting in the interests of the UK-based conglomerate than that of its citizens. Days before the refinery shut down, Open visited Lanjigarh to assess the scenaro.

THE MYTH OF TRIBAL CONSENT

Vedanta has gone to great lengths to describe the ‘consultative process’ that is undertaken with locals ‘to provide comprehensive details about the potential environmental and social ramifications of the proposed project’. The company claims to have sought the ‘opinion, views and suggestions’ of Dongria Konds—the group of tribals affected—on the project. The company also claims to have got an overwhelming response to its overtures to them: ‘Nearly 3,000 people have voluntarily supported the project and have approved its operations by inscribing their signature/

thumb impressions.’

The latest of these series of consultations was that of the Gram Sabha of Rengopalli, which took place on 15 March this year. This came some weeks after a serious scuffle on 21 January, in which parts of people’s land had forcefully been taken away by Vedanta with the help of the police and local administration. There had been a protest against the acquisition, but it was squashed by a heavy police force that broke up a human chain formed by tribal men, women and children who were trying to block the way of landmovers on the site. The scene was captured on video by local journalist Mohammad Aslam. Tehsildar Sushant Petel is seen in the video telling the protestors in Oriya, “This land belongs to the company and there is Section 144 in force [which prohibits gatherings of people]”. Force was used to disperse the crowd, and as many as 47 people were arrested and put in jail under Section 307 of the IPC on such charges as attempted murder. They were released after 20 days.

What happened at the 15 March ‘public hearing’ has been captured on video by Aslam as well. Operating on a shoestring from a backhouse in his family home in Bhawanipatna, he makes it a point to document such interactions between the state and its people. His video of the ‘public hearing’ reveals exactly how local consent is manufactured in this tribal zone. It has to be seen to be believed. A large tent is set up and snacks are served to officials. Among those who are present are the local Block Development Officer (BDO), Tehsildar and village Sarpanch, and Vedanta’s law officer. There is also a big gathering of villagers. The proceedings start with residents of the village asked to put their thumb impressions on blank sheets of paper in a register. This is even before they are told anything, as if this is some sort of roll call for attendance being taken. The BDO then prompts the Sarpanch to say something. He does not have much to say beyond “You will get jobs”. Vedanta’s law officer, Nabal Kishore Sharma, has more to say. He speaks of the proposed rehabilitation of those willing to part with their land, and then in Oriya, offers to have all pending criminal cases against the 47 arrested withdrawn if they go along with the company.

District Magistrate Gobind Chandra Sethi, contacted by Open to discuss complaints of locals about police atrocities, non-payment of land compensation and unkept promises of jobs in Vedanta, refuses to comment on any of it. “I am too busy with an assignment from Bhubaneswar,” is his brusque response, “[I have] no time to talk on these issues.”

Aslam is worried about the fallout of his video. “They may declare me a ‘Maoist sympathiser’ one day and put me behind bars. I have no influence or support.” It is a valid fear, given what has been happening here.

CRIMINAL CASES AS ACTS OF COERCION

Many tribals opposed to the project have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, on such charges as theft of scrap iron from construction sites, and put behind bars for months. In villages like Belamba, Turigurha, Boringpada, Chattarpur and Kendiguda, there is hardly anyone left who has not gone to jail on some unproven charge or the other.

Chattarpur village lies about a kilometre from the Lanjigarh refinery. As we walk into the village, we are soon surrounded by a small crowd of youngsters keen to tell us of their suffering. All of them have been to jail and are now out on bail. Apart from theft, some have been slapped with charges as serious as dacoity, which can have them sent to prison on life sentences. Their real crime, they say, is that some of them have been fighting for their due compensation, while others have refused to part with their land for the project. At the time of our visit, four residents of Chattarpur—Senapati Naik, Karuna Naik, Barik Takari and Nilamber Harijan—were still in jail.

Others, such as Nain Majhi, 35, who lost part of his land to the project, have been waiting for compensation since 2003. Majhi was instead sent to jail on another false charge two years ago. Nelkantha Bisal, 40, who has spent 45 days in jail, has no illusions about the state. “The police is with the company,” he says, “They will sell us to the company.”

Two brothers from the village Bandiguda, Deka and Prapula Majhi, both in their late thirties, have become symbols of local resistance against the company’s move to usurp their land. They have refused to part with their plots, which lie along the route of a conveyor belt being built to transport bauxite from Niyamgiri hills to the refinery. The yawning gap in the conveyor belt is a source of local pride, upset as they are with Vedanta’s apparent failure to deliver on its promises of job creation and prosperity in the area.

“The collector and the commissioner and other high officials visited me,” says Deka, “They offered money and then when we refused, threatened us.” His brother shows us a copy of the police complaint they have made on these threats, a complaint that has not been registered so far. “They will send us to jail and then forcefully take the land,” says a fearful Deka, explaining the standard operating procedure used for errant tribals like him.

Despite thousands of complaints filed by locals—of various kinds, though broadly about the pressure being mounted on them by Vedanta—not a single first information report (FIR) has been registered against the company or any of its functionaries.

THE PROMISE OF JOBS

By Vedanta’s count, 121 families have been relocated, of which 76 have a family member employed by it, while the rest have opted for cash instead. Of the 1,846 project affected people—who lost part of their agriculture land but not homestead—1,372 were provided one-off monetary compensation, 110 of them opted for employment training schemes, and 87 got jobs. The report makes no mention of the other 364.

The case of Manjo Mahapatra is interesting. He is a resident of the village Bandiguda right next to the refinery. From the village’s only educated family, he saw merit in the company’s campaign that promised jobs and a better life, and became a vocal supporter of the project. He was not employed by the company, but made money on some contracts it gave him during the project’s construction phase. He soon moved to the nearest city Bhawanipatna. But after three years, he found himself at a loose end with no source of income. “No locals who lost their land to the company have got jobs, with the exception of six,” he says.

Mahapatra does not direct his ire at the company; he blames the government for misinforming people of Vedanta’s real intentions. He mentions the former District Magistrate of Kalahandi, Sharswat Mishra. “He promised us jobs and other benefits on behalf of the company. I want to ask the district magistrate, have they ever tried to verify how many locals actually got jobs? If so, where is the data, why not make it public?” He accuses Mishra of working as an agent of the company, something that won him the dubious title of ‘Sterlite Mishra’ (Sterlite being a Vedanta group company). As widely reported, Mishra had told locals in Oriya that they had no claim to anything more than a foot deeper than the surface of their land. “What’s below that belongs to the state,” he had told them.

Mishra, coincidentally, is managing director of OMC, which holds a mining lease for Niyamgiri hills and has an exclusive sale agreement by which it must supply Vedanta bauxite at a preset price. “This issue has been extensively reported by the media all over the world…,” he says, “Since the matter is in the apex court, I am not interested in a story at this point of time.” He refuses to comment on any specific charges.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

The land acquired at Rengopalli—the village featured in Aslam’s ‘public hearing’ video—was used by Vedanta to construct an extension of the refinery’s red mud pond. This pond is used to store about 92 billion litres of toxic residue from the bauxite refining process that reportedly includes some heavy metals and even radioactive traces.

It was subsequently reported that the red mud pond developed a crack on its western side, resulting in the dangerous residue leaking into nearby water bodies—a serious health hazard to the people of Lanjigarh. The matter was investigated by various government agencies of Odisha, including the State Pollution Control Board, whose team was led by member secretary Siddharth Das.

The video footage recorded by Aslam of Das’ interaction with the engineers representing Vedanta is revealing. Das reprimands Vedanta’s representatives for raising the height of the embankments of the red mud pond without the required permission. An unidentified man believed to be a representative of Vedanta informs Das that the company hardly ever takes permission. Work is usually done first and permission taken later, he says, making it sound like a mere formality. He then says that this particular move to raise the height of the embankment was taken on the advice of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). To this, Das retorts, “Are they the statutory authority to do that?” There is silence. Das then tells them that the company will have to stop work until further orders. They look at him with bewilderment.

But the official record is different. The work never stopped. Das confirms over the telephone that he had inspected the site, and says that he did not find any violation of norms, and that no crack appeared and no leakage occurred. On the question of the embankment’s height being raised without permission, Das says, “It was done on the basis of a scientific study by the IISc to seal the pool inwards—so there is no issue.”

THE COMPANY

For Dongria Kond tribals, Vedanta is just ‘the company’. They claim the company’s writ runs everywhere in the region.

I am accompanied to the Vedanta refinery site by a local journalist called Kailash who works for a local daily. While visiting the villages of Lanjigarh block, I had noticed he was in regular touch with the public relations officer of Vedanta, Sandeep Sethi. Kailash had informed Sethi that someone from Delhi would be talking to people and taking pictures. Kailash, I found, was instructed to get details on the purpose of my visit and to get me to meet him. I declined to do so at Kailash’s behest, but called Sethi the same evening and asked for a meeting.

“I exactly know the set of people you met and what they told you,” says Sethi when I meet him. It turns out to be untrue. The people of Chattarpur village, he surmises, had complained to me of widespread skin diseases and held the company responsible for their ailments. They had not; they had actually discussed the false cases against them. Sethi then expresses regret that Kailash was not discreet enough in following his brief, and then justifies the surveillance of outsiders by saying that the media in Delhi and the foreign press are biased against the company, and that its version of events is never reflected in their reports.

For the company’s viewpoint, I also track down Dr Mukesh Kumar, president and chief operating officer of Lanjigarh Alumina Refineries . The meeting takes place in the lobby of Bhubaneswar’s Hotel Mayfair Lagoon at 11:30 at night.

Kumar launches into a diatribe against what he sees as a campaign against the company designed to “create panic” . He displays little interest in what I have seen or answering my questions. “We have nothing to hide,” he says. “Vedanta meets the highest global environment safety parameters. The Vedanta alumina plant is a zero-discharge plant. Not one drop of treated or untreated effluent mixes with outside water. Not only that, good water management practices have ensured that water consumption of the plant has gone down by 40 per cent.” He says that the red mud pond is a place where dry red ash is collected carefully so that it does not mix with the surroundings. “Where is the question of pollution?”

“Why are we in the firing line?” wonders Kumar, “OMC is the project owner and the mining lease owner. We have just entered a sole purchase agreement with OMC at a predetermined price.”

In the meantime, Vedanta has come out with a 150-page report titled The Lanjigarh Development Story: Vedanta’s Perspective that attempts to present a comprehensive counterview. According to this report, ‘The Lanjigarh project is regarded by the local population as a significant opportunity of progress and growth’ in a region that has seen ‘virtually no major development interventions since independence.’

The reality, it appears, is rather different.

 

An appeal To The Voters Of Gujarat State


By R. B. Sreekumar

09 December, 2012
Countercurrents.org

I have been immeasurably grateful to the people of Gujarat for their abundant support and affection given to me in my policing job since my appointment in the Gujarat cadre of IPS in 1971. I deem it to be quite appropriate to make an appeal to the voters of Gujarat about the crucial matters to be kept in mind by them while choosing their candidates in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

The self-evident truth about the most deplorable facet of Modi rule since 2001 is that the Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters from the Sangh Parivar, are responsible for the massacre of nearly 2000 Indian citizens in 2002 riots and destruction of many symbols of Islamic culture from medieval times. This man made communal holocaust has inflicted an indelible blot on our motherlands’ symbiotic syncretic heritage from the Vedic period.
Publicity specialists of Modi are projecting the so called “development” without progress, distributive justice and ecological sanity – as a monumental achievement that should overshadow and nullify the ghastly sin of mobocratic genocide of a section of Indian population in 2002. In this context the voters should ponder over the following questions before choosing their candidates and party on the polling day.

Do you know that the infrastructural foundations created by the Chief Ministers from the formation of the Gujarat state to the introduction of privatization, liberalization and globalization policies by Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh team had naturally motivated investors to start industries in Gujarat than in less developed states? Can Modi appropriate achievements of all his predecessors in Gujarat to himself?

Do you know that the rate of economic development in Gujarat was 15 – 20% during the tenure of CM Madhavsingh Solanki and now it has come down to 8 to 10%.

Do you know that construction of Narmada Dam was sanctioned by Rajiv Gandhi – long pending for ecological clearance – at the instance of the Gujarat CM Chimanbhai Patel, by cajoling the then Secretary Environment Shri T. N. Seshan?

Do you know that over 70% of targeted beneficiaries of Narmada irrigation schemes are bereft of their benefit due to delay in creation of channel system?

Do you know that many farmers are committing suicide due to multiple adverse factors including the inadequacy of feeder canals?

Do you know that nearly 90 types of untouchability are practiced in Gujarat as per a study by an NGO “Navsarjan”? The percentage of conviction in atrocity cases is reportedly lowest in Gujarat State.

Do you know that over 40% of tribals from districts of Panchmahal (Godhra), Dahod, Sabarkantha etc – a floating population – live in sub-human conditions in urban construction sites?

Why the Modi govt. had failed to create barrack type labour shelters for these half starved unskilled workers in construction areas?

What kind of vibrancy in Gujarat we should be proud of when the poorest of the poor – the original inhabitants of Gujarat – suffer in their own make shift tents in the open spaces by the side of major roads in the capital city of Gandhinagar?

Do not Modi and his Ministers experience foul smell emanating from these road side slums when they travel through Gandhinagar city roads?

What is the justification for non-appointment of Lok Ayukta in Gujarat even years after the relevant legislation was enacted by the Assembly?

Why report on high level corruption in Sujalam – Suphalam Project uncovered by the Public Accounts Committee is not released to the voters so far?

Do you know that people of Gujarat had lost one lakh and forty thousand crore rupees in land scams of Modi govt in which govt. land plots were given to big corporate groups on cheap rates?

Do you know that manual scavenging (people carrying human waste on their heads) is still prevailing in some parts of Gujarat?

Do you know that graft and corruption for getting legitimate services at the grass root level govt. officers – Police Station, Mamlatdar’s Office, Primary Health Centre, Taluka Development Office etc have unprecedentedly increased during the regime of Modi Govt, thanks to the postings of “favourites” of ruling party in important lucrative posts?

Do you know that about 10000 riot victims of 2002 communal violence live in sub-human conditions as govt. is not providing them even basic facilities?

Do you know that riots were state patronized, promoted, facilitated and enabled and that officers in two cities – Surat and Rajkot – and nine districts, out of twenty six, have maintained public order remarkably in 2002 communal riots by enforcing Communal Riot Schemes, Criminal Procedure Code, Bombay Police Act and the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in Gujarat Police Manual and numerous govt. instructions?

Do you know that all those officers – in charge of 11 areas – were treated badly by the Modi govt. – a few were transferred in the thick of riots, some were not promoted and charge-sheeted etc. Cases against some of these officers are still pending in the courts?

Do you know that officers (IAS/IPS) who acted as collaborators to the govt. to execute its anti-minority carnage were rewarded with good postings, out of turn promotions and post retirement assignments?

Do you know that 90% of riot cases reinvestigated on the Apex Court orders in 2002 by Gujarat police ended in filing of final reports and not in arrest and prosecution of accused persons?

Do you know that many riot cases investigated by Gujarat police ended in acquittal of accused because allegedly the police had pressurized the key witness to turn hostile?

Do you know that in many riot cases riot victims who registered FIRs against accused from the Sangh parivar were forced to go against their own complaints as a condition precedent for their rehabilitation in pre –riot places and vocations?

Do you know that the Special Courts, the Gujarat High Court and the Apex court had passed severe strictures against Gujarat Bureaucracy and police for their unprofessional, illegal and pro-riot accused posture? The Apex court called Gujarat bureaucracy “the modern day Neros“ in 2004.

Do you know that for the first time in the judicial history of India the Apex court had appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI Director, Dr. R. K. Raghavan to probe into nine gruesome multiple murder cases during the riots?

Do you know that for the first time in the judicial history of India the Apex court was forced to appoint a Special Task force (STF) headed by justice Bedi to probe into alleged fake encounters killings?

Do you know that for the first time in the history of Gujarat police, many police officers including 4 IPS officers were arrested for extra judicial killings and are in jail since April 2007?

Do not you think that rewarding of officers who aided, abetted and enabled the rioters to kill people in 2002 and punishing those who enforced the Rule of Law would have adverse impact on the morale and motivation of well meaning policemen, loyal to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India, from constable to DGP?

Do you know that for families of police officers in jail for their culpable role in riots (only two Police Inspectors) and fake encounters are orphaned and marginalized for no fault of theirs?

Do you know that Dr. R. K Raghavan the Chairman, SIT which gave a clean chit to Modi and police officers from the rank of Dy SP to DGP (only two Police Inspectors arrested) for riots allegedly has been serving TATA Group as a Paid Adviser?

Do you know that the TATA group allegedly got Rs. 5000 crore worth of benefits from Modi Govt?

Do not you think that there is clash of interests between the requirements of justice to riot victims and Dr. R. K. Raghavans’ alleged financial obligations and subservience to TATA Company?

Do you know that Dr. R. K. Raghavan, on an average stayed only 5-6 days in a month in Gujarat for supervising investigation of nine important massacre cases, though he has been paid Rs. 1.5 lacs per month by Gujarat govt. (since June 2008), besides other privileges?

Do you know that Dr. R. K. Raghavan, allegedly, had unauthorizedly got the traveling expenses spent on his journey from London (where he visited for private purpose) to Ahmedabad on 2 occasions – in August 2008 and July 2009 from Gujarat Govt?

Why the State govt. had refused to provide information on travelling expenses paid by it to Dr. Raghavan, on flimsy ground that SIT is not covered by RTI Act? What is the secrecy about Dr. Raghavan’s past travels?

Do you know that Dr. R. K. Raghavan did not record or verify the statement of a single witness of all important cases investigated by him?

Why Dr. Raghavan had refused to conduct Narco test on Shri R. B. Sreekumar and Shri Sanjeev Bhatt (police officers who gave a lot of evidence about the complicity of Modi government in riots), even though both had unconditionally volunteered for the same?

Do you know that Dr. R. K. Raghavan did not conduct reconstruction of crime of Godhra train fire on 27-02-2002, though Shri R. B. Sreekumar suggested for the same, to find out the veracity of conspiracy theory behind the train fire incident?

Do you know that Dr. Raghavan did not accept information produced by Tehelka journalist Ashish Khaitan in “Operation Kalank” as evidence though the court in Naroda Patia judgment had accepted it as extra judicial confession?

Do you know that the killing spree by Sangh Parivar supporters of 96 people including infants in Naroda Patiya on 28-2-2002 from 9 AM to 7 PM (10 hours) was not stopped by police – from Inspector to the Commissioner of Police of Ahmedabad City, as per Naroda Patia judgment by Judge Dr. Jyotsna Yagnik?

Do you know that SIT did not find anything wrong with the police officers, from Inspectors to CP Ahmedabad, whose criminal negligence of their mandated duties resulted in violent mobs moving in Naroda Patiya during curfew hours and killing innocent Muslims (58 were killed during the curfew hours)?

Do you know that Modi Govt. did not take remedial measures on intelligence inputs about prejudicial actions and posture of police officers against riot victims resulting in faulty registration of FIRs, not including names of prominent Hindu leaders responsible for violence in FIR , not recovering property looted by rioters etc. (these professional lapses of police are condemned by the Court in Naroda Patia judgement) submitted by Gujarat State Intelligence Branch (SIB), from 9-4-2002 to 17-9-2002?

Do you know that nearly 80% of 98 accused convicted (life imprisonment for anti-minority riots in 2002) do not have previous criminal records, and have been acting as programmed human robots on the motivation of the ruling party and support by collaborating and enabling police officers?

Do you know that the families of convicted persons for riots (all Hindus) are orphaned for nearly 20 years for no fault of theirs?

Do you know that for claiming excellent crime control by the Modi govt., police officers from police station level upwards are avoiding registration of FIRs of property offences particularly FIRs of property offence crimes like chain snatching, thefts etc and even murders in case of recovery of dead bodies with pre-mortem injuries?

Do you know that police are hesitant in taking actions against law breakers having support of the ruling party, and belonging to affluent sections and this approach of police has resulted in drunken teenage driving, killing many innocent people in hit and run cases; theft of cars, mobiles, computers etc. for fun by teenagers from richer sections etc.?

Do you know that Modi govt. from 2002 riot days had used mobs to carry out its hidden agenda like anti-minority violence, stoppage of screening films like Persania and Aamir Khan’s films, attacking NDTV office in Ahmedabad city for their “offence” of giving importance to the late artist M. F. Hussain?

Do you know that police morale in Gujarat is on the declining trend due to:

a) Encouragement given by the govt. to a coterie of officers who enjoy extra hierarchical accessibility to political leadership and de-facto undue authority.
b) Delay in promotions (4 DGP) posts kept vacant for two years (August 2010 to Sept 2012).
c) Inadequacy of staff.
d) Over deployment for VIP duties etc

Do you know that success in govt. programmes can be achieved only through efficacy of every employee and not through the oratorical skill and publicity drive of a single individual – Narendra Modi?

Do you know that bureaucrats and police are suffering from severe Modi-phobia and are reluctant to exercise their mandatory authority freely to ensure smooth functioning of the Criminal Justice System and prompt service delivery for distributive justice to the under-privileged and marginalized downtrodden sections?

Do you want to live in an atmosphere of fear of a domineering government which does not give any room for culture of democracy, tolerance to diversity of opinion, and different socio-religious cultures?

Please do not accept Modi govt’s propaganda on law and order, development , delivery of justice, efficiency and promptness of govt. services basing on macro level statistics projected by the govt., instead judge the govt. on your micro level personal experience and what you have seen at grass root level.

Please see that there is no mismatch between your answers to the above questions and your choice of candidates or party on the polling day.

Warm regards

R. B. Sreekumar (IPS Retd) Former DGP Gujarat rbsreekumar71@yahoo.com

 

Mumbai- the city that never sleeps, the city that never speaks…. #musicalactivism


 

I am proud to share the new contribution of friend and rapper  Ashwini Mishra  aka  @alistrap in the field of Musical Activism  called ‘ Mumbai– ‘City Of Gold’

Ashwini Mishra  a.k.a A-List, has been a rap artist and performer since 2004 . Since then, he has performed on a number of platforms such as the St. Xaviers and Bhowanipore college fests in Kolkata as well hosted and performed at a number of hip hop shows in club BED.More recently, he opened for Zero and Parikrama at the MICA collegest fest- MICANVAS back in 2008 and has been performing at open mics across Mumbai over 2010. He performed as one half of rapper-drummer duo “Various Artists” at Concert By The Bay in January 2012.

Ashwini, joined in JUSTICE AND PEACE FOR ALL (JAPA), a  voluntary network in Mumbai, a  platform for musical activism, he rapped on ,Let me tell you a story of this place Naxalbari.This song speaks of the Naxal areas in and around Chattisgarh and how messed up things are for the tribal community with both the police forces and the naxalities exploiting and murdering them.The song refers to soni sori, custodial torture and rape, Dr Binayak SenAnna Hazare andIrom Sharmila  among many others. This wa also an award winning rap

 

Coalgate caused a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore: CAG Report


 

Coalgate caused a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore: CAG

 

 

The CAG’s final report on the coal block allocations will be tabled in the Parliament today The report is not naming the Prime Minsiter’s Office (PMO) PMO or the states and the blame is put solely on the steering committee, reports CNBC-TV18’s Pallavi Ghosh quoting sources.

 

 $33 billion-Coal scam”report by CAG tabled today in the parliament that lists Tata group, Naveen Jindal group, Essar group, Abhijeet group, Laxmi Mittal‘s Arcelor and Vedanta among the beneficiaries.

 

The report on coal blocks allocation suggests that it could be an even bigger embarrassment than the 2G spectrum allocation scam with top private companies making a windfall of Rs 1.86 lakh crore due to lack of bidding.
The final draft of the CAG report on the coal blocks allocation, says that the allocation of captive coal mines from 2004 to 2006 was not transparent. Notably, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held the Coal Ministry portfolio from 2006 to 2009.
It further said that a six-year delay in moving to competitive bidding led to huge losses to the state.
The CAG report lists Tata group, Naveen Jindal group, Essar group, Abhijeet group, Laxmi Mittal’s Arcelor and Vedanta among the beneficiaries.
However, CAG does not mention the role of the PMO and state governments in the coal blocks allocation.
The auditing watchdog has blamed the steering committee recommendations that gave away captive coal mines without bidding.
The CAG report has said that the delay in introducing competitive bidding, first suggested in 2004, led to major benefits to the private sector, but the rules for auction only got finalised six years later in 2012 after a series of controversies.
Till 2004 June, only 39 blocks were allotted, but in order to improve the production, 142 allotments were made between July 2004 and 2006 to private and government companies.
The CAG says the allocation made by the steering committee was not transparent and helped many private players. As many as 15 blocks given to private players did not even start production till March 2011.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also investigating the coal scam. Initial reports of the investigating agency suggest they are looking at the role of state governments in allocating without bidding.
(With inputs from Ibnlive.com)

 

Threat of Violence against women activists at TATA STEEL Public Hearing – March 12th


THE TATA STEEL PUBLIC HEARING

DATE0 MARCH 12TH, 2012

time- 11am – 1pm

VENUE- D. A V SCHOOL,  Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO ) , Noamundi ( which is a violation of MOEF, history repearing again )

Noamundi is a census town in Pashchimi Singhbhum district in the Indian state of Jharkhand. It is also an administrative ‘block’. It is a small mining town in close to the Orissa border. It lies near to Jamshedpur and 64 km (40 mi) from Chaibasa. Nearby towns include Padapahar, Barajamda, Kharsawan, Gua and Kiriburu.Noamundi, in the West  Si n g h b h u m d i s tr i c t o f  Jharkhand, is the iron ore
capital of India. Most of the  mines here are being run by  the Tatas.The area is also one  of the most polluted. Red iron ore dust from mining activity around Noamundi  covers every surface affecting crops, animals and humans.
For more infromation contact-  09471315165 for more details

 

 “On 12th March their Noamundi mines TATA STEEL is having a public hearing for extension of lease their mines. They have tried it in 20054 and the villagers drove them away. This time they are using all kinds of pressure tactics on Omon Mahila Samiti and JMACC threatening violence etc. The former CM of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi has guaranteed the TATAS that he will get this public hearing done at any cost. Babulal send a journalist to Oman telling them that if they oppose then the State will brand them as Maoist. We fear violence on that day. Journalist who can please help by covering the news. “

What will happen on march 12, 2012, a  Repeat of Septemebr 25th 2004 

LATEST UPDATE

Jeshoda Das is a nurse at the TISCO Mines hospital in Jodda Orissa some km from Noamundi in Jharkhand. For the past two weeks she is being mentally tortured by the GM of TISCO. Her fault? Her elder sister Ambika Das is the leader of Oman Mahila Sangathan leading the movement against the Public Hearing to be held on 12th of March. The GM and others from their personnel department has told her that she will loose her job if Oman does not withdraw the agitation against the mines extension.

Jeshoda has told the GM point blank that they can throw her out but she does not want her people to suffer because of her job.

The other good point in the movement is that a majority of the Adivasi Traditional tribal chiefs known as Mundas are with Oman. TISCO is trying to purchase them. Rice beer and cash is being poured into these villages to divide the people.

WE HAVE ALSO JUST RECEIVED NEWS THAT THE POLICE HAVE BEEN GIVEN ORDERS FOR A LATHI CHARGE. AN ORDER FOR LATHI CHARGE MEANS THAT A FIRING ORDER TOO IS IN PLACE. THE JUST APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF TATAS CYRUS MISTRY HAS COMPLETED A TOUR OF THE NOAMUNDI MINES THIS WEEEK IN PREPARATION FOR THE PUBLIC HEARING.’

Jharkhand’s  Curse.

Natural water resources have been drying up or polluted over the decades due to mining and consequent change in weather conditions. Noamundi used to get tons of rain in the early 90s but now there is no method to the rains in Noamundi. Local people attribute this to the devastation of forests and indiscriminate mining.

For a better part of the 20th century, Tata Steel went on to become synonymous with Indian industrialisation, social philanthropy and ethical capitalism. Long before fair labour practices were enshrined in Indian law or adopted in the West, the company introduced an eight-hour working day, equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits, worker’s accident compensation and profit-sharing bonuses. For five decades at the helm of the Tata business empire, JRD Tata was credited with infusing Tata Steel with a “people-first” approach that earned the company its continuing competitive edge – strong loyalty and high productivity from its workers, allowing it to produce good quality steel at low costs. All the leading business figures of the Tata family set personal examples by bequeathing large portions of their personal wealth to philanthropic trusts, run by the Tata holding group for social welfare and advancement.

Fast-forward to the post-liberalisation era of the 90s and slowly, Tata Steel’s ethical tilt began to appear more like an ethical veneer. The company’s head of communications, Sanjay Choudhary had been quick to dismiss Kalinganagar as “a stray incident [that] should not derail a good thing.” In reality, it was not a stray incident. In August 1997, two women were crushed to death during a protest rally against Tata Steel’s proposal to set up a steel plant in Gopalpur-on-Sea, a coastal town in Orissa. Three years later, the company was forced to abandon the proposal following protests from over 20,000 people. In 2000, three tribal youth were shot dead by the police during a peaceful demonstration near a proposed Tata Steel bauxite-mining site in Rayagada district, Orissa. In Kalinganagar itself, since the 2006 incident there have been a dozen more mining-related deaths, of which — were due to protests against Tata Steel, according to news reports.

In  2004  in Noamundi, the September 25 public hearing was held inside the premises of the Tata Iron and Steel Company — something which was a violation of the Environment Ministry’s statutory norms. According to Chokro Khandait of the Chaibasa-based Jharkhand Organisation for Human Rights (JOHAR), the villagers fear TISCO’s expanded mining operations will lead to the loss of their lands. They wanted to speak out in the public hearing, to air their views. But the police stopped them  before they  could come near the premises. But according to TATA official Release -300 people from nearby villages attended the hearing , which actually mostly  TISCO employees.

SO, now what will TATA STEEL do, hire goons, no why should they when they have the State support.

But how come, the legality of this meeting is not questioned if it is against the   Environment Ministry’s statutory norms.

Please share  widely THE TATA STEEL PUBLIC HEARING FOR EXTENSION OF LEASE IS ILLEGAL, until and unless the affected villagers are heard and convinced , the mining lease cannot be extended.

Lets all PROTEST

so please share widely on your  blog, website, twitter, Fb page


UNMASK TRUE FACE OF TATA CLICK

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