Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal gets new coalition partners, wins vote of confidence

For the second time in 70 days, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-MC) and Nepal Prime Minister won vote of confidence in the Parliament of Nepal on March 20, 2023 with the help of new coalition partners. Dahal secured 172 votes in the 275-member Nepal's House of Representatives. 89 lawmakers voted against him and one legislator abstained. Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Centre, Rashtriya Swatantra Party, Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party Nepal, CPN-Unified Socialist, Janamat Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party, Rashtriya Janamorcha and Aam Janata Party voted in Dahal's favour. CPN-UML and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party voted against him. In the voting process, Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party abstained. Dahal was born in Pokhara, Nepal. He received a diploma of science in agriculture from Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal.

According to Nepal's Constitution, the Prime Minister is required to take a vote of confidence within 30 days after political parties supporting the government withdraw their support. The incumbent Prime Minister had to take a vote of confidence before March 26.

Dahal was forced to seek a vote of confidence as two parties in the seven-party alliance – Rastriya Prajatantra Party and CPN-UML– withdrew their support to his government. These two parties opposed his proposal to back Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel for the position of president. Earlier he had passed the first floor test on January 10, 2023 with 268 votes after all parties except the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party and the Rastriya Janamorcha voted in favour of the government.

Dahal was sworn in as the country’s Prime Minister on December 25, 2022 for the third time after the 2022 Nepalese general election, with an alliance with political parties including CPN (UML), Rastriya Swatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party. In the first floor test, Dahal secured over a 99 per cent vote of confidence from the parliament on January 10, 2023. He had to seek a vote of confidence for a second time after he he formed a 9-party coalition supporting the Nepali Congress Presidential candidate. 

Dahal held the prime ministerial post from 2008 to 2009 as the first prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. He again became the Prime Minister from 2016 to 2017.  

'Prachanda', the Nepali Prime Minister is expected to visit India soon on his first foreign trip after becoming PM for the third time.


Supreme Court orders for payment of salaries to Patna High Court judges Shailendra Singh, Arun Kumar Jha, Jitendra Kumar, Alok Kumar, Sunil Dutta Mishra, Chandra Prakash Singh and Chandra Shekhar Jha

In Justice Shailendra Singh v Union of India, the Chief Justice headed 3-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court directed that "The salaries of the petitioners which have been withheld, shall be released to them on the basis of the position as it obtained prior to the letter dated 13 December 2022 of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice." This order brought relief to the seven judges of the Patna High Court, namely, Justices Shailendra Singh, Arun Kumar Jha, Jitendra Kumar, Alok Kumar, Sunil Dutta Mishra, Chandra Prakash Singh and Chandra Shekhar Jha. (Photo: Justice Shailendra Singh)

Prior to their elevation to the High Court from the State Judicial Service, these judges were covered by the National Pension Scheme (NPS). Later, their NPS contributions were transferred to the GPF accounts given to them after their appointment as High Court judges. 

Earlier, on February 4, 2023, the Chief Justice headed bench of Supreme Court had issued notice and passed an order that recorded that  Mr K M Nataraj, Additional Solicitor General appears on behalf of the respondents. Having due regard to the fact that the petition impinges upon the conditions of service of Judges of the High Court, who have been recruited from the district judiciary, K M Nataraj, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) fairly states that he would have the matter duly looked into at the appropriate level of the Government of India so that this Court can be informed on the next date of hearing of the decision which has been taken to remedy the grievance. 

Senior Advocate K.V. Vishwanathan and Advocate Prem Prakash, AOR appeared for the petitioners. The respondents were represented by K.M. Nataraj, ASG.  The case will be heard again on March 27 2023.


Friday, March 10, 2023

Law, Environment & Development Journal, University of London publishes paper on "Journey of Agricultural Produce Market Committee Law in Bihar"

The current issue of Law, Environment & Development (LEAD) Journal has published a paper titled "Journey of Agricultural Produce Market Committee Law in Bihar: An Inquiry into the Implications of Repeal of Bihar APMC Law". The paper dwells on Prime Minister's apology, Chief Minister's silence and digitalisation of agriculture through contract agreements with firms like Microsoft, Amazon, Patanjali. The LEAD Journal is managed by School of Oriental and African Studies(SOAS), University of London & Geneva based the International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC).

The paper examines the context of the establishment of the Agricultural Produce Market Commission (APMC) by the Bihar government through the enactment of the Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1960 and the reasons for its repeal in 2006.

It looks at the Act’s constitutionality and the unconstitutionality of its repeal in light of the orders by the Supreme Court and the Patna High Court, as well as the Indian Constitution. Agriculture is a state subject under the Constitution. 

The paper examines the central Bypass APMC Act, 2020 and its repeal. It undertakes a comparative study to trace the impact on agricultural marketing infrastructure and farmers' plight. It draws inferences from comparing APMC with government schools and hospitals created for economic justice, equity, and equality.

The full paper is available at https://lead-journal.org/content/a1804.pdf

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay is no more, but his judicial legacy remains alive

Justice (Dr.) Anil Kumar Upadhyay was to demit his office as judge of Patna High Court in December 2024 but he demitted his human form on March 1, 2023, at a hospital in Chennai. He was serving as judge since May 2017. Prior to that he worked as a law teacher and a lawyer. 

His judgment in Neeraj Kumar v. State of Bihar provides an insight into his judicial mind. In this case the petitioners challenged the Departmental Notification issued vide Memo No. 514 dated 15/06/2020, whereby it was clarified that the cut-off date for acquiring of academic and training Patna High Court CWJC No.6664 of 2020 dt.15-12-2020 70/78 eligibility, for the purpose of appointment on the post of teacher had been 23/11/2019 and as such candidates who have subsequently passed the e Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) examination in the month of December 2019 would not be eligible for appointment in light of Departmental Notification issued vide Memo No.482 dated 08/06/2020 as same has been exclusively issued for candidates, who have passed 18 months in-service course of D.El.Ed. conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for which order has been passed in the case of CWJC No.19842/2019 (Sanjay Kumar Yadav v. State of Bihar) by the High Court. 

Drawing on Supreme Court's decision in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Aravind Kumar Srivastava (2015), Justice Upadhyay observed that "it has been settled by various judicial pronouncements that when a particular set of employees is given relief by the court, all other identically situated persons need to be treated alike by extending that benefit. Not doing so would amount to discrimination and would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. This principle needs to be applied in service matters more emphatically as the service jurisprudence evolved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court from time-to-time postulates that all similarly situated persons should be treated similarly. Merely because they did not approach the court earlier, they are not to be treated differently." He provided the reference for it saying, "Reference be made to (2015) 1 SCC 347, para 22." A joint reading of both the decisions reveal that the subsequent para of 2015 decision has also been relied upon by him. 

Notably, on February 7, 2022, in R. Muthukumar v. Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd., Justice S. Ravindra Bhat too reiterated the decision in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Aravind Kumar Srivastava "where it was held that a public employer is bound to extend non-discriminatory treatment to all candidates, regardless of whether they approach the court or not, and offer employment to similarly situated candidates and employees." 

In his decision Justice Upadhyay wrote, "a judgment in rem is generally said to be a judgment declaratory of the status of some subject matter, whether this be a person, or a thing. Where the intervention of the court is sought for the adjudication of a right or title to property, not merely as between the parties but against all persons generally, the action is in rem. It is a judgment of a court determining the status of a person or thing." He drew on Supreme Court's decision in the case of Deccan Paper Mills Co. Ltd. v. Regency Mahavir Properties (2020). 

He observed, "viewed from the said angle it is apparent that the decision of the court in CWJC No. 19842 of 2019 was a decision determining the status of the class of persons i.e. D.EL.ED candidates from NIOS who were held to be eligible and hence being a decision in rem and therefore will cover not only the writ petitioner therein but all other similarly situated." He recorded that "the petitioners have already explained that even the B.Ed. degree holders are similarly situated to that of the D.EL.ED. candidates as they are treated equally for appointment to the post of teachers in terms of the advertisements without any distinction. Thus, once the qualification of D.EL.ED. candidate is considered on basis of the eligibility date on the last date of submission of the form in terms of notification dated 08.06.2020, the other candidates as well possessing the required qualification as on last date of submission of the application form also requires to be given similar opportunity, failing which it will be discriminatory and violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India."

He engaged with the submissions of P.K. Shahi and Mrigank Mauli for the Respondents, Y.V. Giri and Ashish Giri for the petitioners. He appreciated the arguments of Shahi and Mauli. But he found the submissions Giris based on Sanjay Kumar Yadav v. The State of Bihar to be misconceived because "It is well settled that a judgment is an authority of what it decides and not what follow logically." He observed that "Sanjay Kumar Yadav case and not an independent decision for universal extension of time for submission of application."

For these reasons, he dismissed all the 345 writ applications against State of Bihar through Principal Secretary, Education Department, Deputy Secretary, Education Department, Director, Primary Education and Director, Secondary Education, Government of Bihar.

Justice Upadhyay was born on December 4, 1962. His father Vidya Dhar Upadhyay worked as Section Officer, Patna High Court and retired on August 31, 1982. He did LLB, LLM, Ph.D. from Patna University. He worked as part time lecturer faculty of law in Commerce College, Magadh University from August 22, 1988 to 2010. He worked as part time lecturer in Patna Law College from 1989 to 1996 and 2004 to 2006 and also worked as Visiting Faculty in Chanakya National Law University from 2007 to May 2017. He worked as Standing Counsel, Patna High Court, Patna from December from 2010 to May 2017. He was a Counsel for Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Samastipur from 2010 to 2016, Bihar Agriculture University, Sabbour, Bhagalpur from 2010 to April 2017, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University, Pusa from January 2017 to May 2017 and worked as Panel counsel for Dental Council of India from 2015 to May 2017.

After an 11-Judge Bench of the Patna High Court suspended the operation of an order passed by Justice Rakesh Kumar highlighting corruption in the judicial system, a full Bench quashed the same. Justice Kumar had ordered a CBI probe and an enquiry by the Patna district judge into how a former IAS officer whom he had denied anticipatory bail in a corruption case was granted regular bail by a trial court.

A full bench of the Patna High Court, headed by Chief Justice A.P. Sahi, set aside Justice Kumar's order, terming it as an instance of judicial and administrative overreach and a complete nullity.  The bench declared the order "to be coram non judice". However, the High court's full bench, comprising justices Anjana Mishra and Anil Kumar Upadhyay, restored judicial work to Justice Kumar that he had been stripped of the day he passed his order questioning the grant of regular bail to the former IAS officer by the trial court a day after Justice Kumar and Chief Justice AP Shahi reportedly met Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Justice Kumar had passed an order on August 28, 2019 order, taking suo motu cognisance of the bail granted by a lower court to the retired IAS officer in a corruption case. He took up and disposed of an anticipatory bail plea filed by former IAS officer KP Ramaiah in connection with the multi-crore Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission Fund Scam. By an earlier order dated March 23, 2018, Ramaiah’s plea was already dismissed by the High Court.  During the proceeding, Justice Kumar took on record a news report published in Dainik Jagran, a Hindi newspaper whereby, on the date that Ramaiah surrendered before the trial court, the regular Special Judge (Vigilance) went on leave. Thereafter, Ramaiah surrendered and was granted bail by the judge on the same date.  Taking note of the turn of the events, Justice Kumar had opined that the way Ramaiah was granted bail required a deeper probe. Justice Kumar ordered an inquiry to be conducted by the District Judge, Patna to check and verify the news report. He also ordered an inquiry as to whether on the date of granting bail, the regular vigilance court was on leave due to a genuine cause or went on leave in a calculated way.  Additionally, the District Judge was also asked to examine the record of cases disposed of by the in-charge judge in the last six months.

Setting aside Justice Kumar's order the high court's full bench headed by Chief Justice Sahi said, "A wrong order requires setting aside if it has travelled beyond the objective boundaries and has far-reaching consequences in setting a trend which no law recognizes.  The passing of such an order has the inherent danger of creating uncertainty and a feeling that all things can be set right on exercise of authority by a judge even though he may not have legal power to do so. Justice Upadhyay was part of this "historic" Bench. 

Subsequently. Supreme Court Collegium recommended transfer of Patna High Court Chief Justice Sahi to the Madras High Court, and it recommended the transfer of Justice Kumar to the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Justice Upadhyay's view on these transfers would have been insightful.  


Monday, February 27, 2023

Drainage Crisis in Kosi River Basin

Drainage crisis in the Kosi river basin has become an annual ritual of aerial surveys, flood relief, dubious assurances, and constitution of committees, judicial probe and the like. Kosi is a major tributary of the Ganga river.

Nothing can illustrate the fate of various committees, commissions and Task Forces constituted to study flood and drainage problem since 1950s to 2008 better than what R Rangachari, Chairman, Expert Committee on the Implementation of the recommendations of Rashtriya Barh Ayog said on August 19, 2008. He said, `I am not aware as to what follow up actions were all taken on this Report. It is my impression that really not much has been done to implement the suggestions made by the committee's report. Rangachari was on Prime Ministers Task Force on Flood Control constituted in 2004. 

Justice Rajesh Balia judicial inquiry commission constituted in the aftermath of breach in an embankment was given nine extensions to undertake a comprehensive probe on six terms of reference related to the flood-drainage crisis in Kosi river Basin. It submitted its report in March 2014 with recommendations for remedial measures. So far there has been no remedial action. 

It is noteworthy that National Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the Government of India announced in 2004 made a solemn pledge to the people of the country to undertake Long-pending schemes in specific states that have national significance, like flood control and drainage in North Bihar (that requires cooperation with Nepal as well). Despite acknowledging the problem, it is shocking to observe that neither central nor Bihar government `conducts any survey to assess the effect of flood control measures on socio-economic condition of the society. This hold true for Nepal as well. Given the fact that the coalition government in Bihar comprises of parties that had adopted the CMP, there is a compelling logic for them to reiterate their pledge and act on it. 

A look at the statements of the Indian Prime Ministers, the Nepalese Prime Ministers and the Bihar Chief Ministers reveal how they remain enveloped in the technocentric approaches that caused the calamity in the first place. 

After the breach in the embankment at Kusaha in the Kosi region, Bihar Chief Minister requested India's External Affairs Minister on 19 August, 2008 to approach Nepal Government to ensure law and order as per Kosi Agreement in order to repair the breach that took place in Nepal. 
On 20 August, 2008, Nepali Prime Minister took stock of the post-calamity situation in the Kosi region and said "Koshi agreement was a historic blunder" and "People are suffering due to this agreement". The agreement led to the construction of embankments and proposals for a high dam.   

All this clearly demonstrates how although the more things change on the ground, the more they remain the same. A Fact Finding Mission on Kosi that visited the flood affected parts of North Bihar and Nepal demanded a White Paper on the current deluge and drainage in the Kosi basin in general and North Bihar in particular in order to address the drainage congestion crisis that has resulted from the so-called solutions. A White Paper on South Asia's biggest environmental crisis in Kosi river basin is long due. 

Following the eighth breach in th embankments in August 2008, besides four panchayats in Nepal, four North Bihar districts- Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura and Araria- got worst affected by floods. In addition to these twelve districts -- Purnia, Katihar, Khagaria, Muzaffarpur, West Champaran, Saran, Sheikhpura, Vaishali, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Patna and Nalanda were affected by the floods as well. An estimated 35 lakh people suffered due to the flood crisis. As per Bihar government own reports, 48 lakh people in 22 districts were in need of assistance due to flood. Despite the institutional memory of crisis in Kosi river basin, it ends up creating a situation where "contractors love drainage crisis". The primary function of floodwater is to drain out excess water. It has not been allowed to perform its functions due to unthinking engineering interventions.

Any judicial or executive probe that does not fix criminal liability is suspect because the fate of such commissions and committees are a foregone conclusion. It is a routine exercise of no consequence. However, since the terms of reference of Justice Balia Commission was focused on Kosi High-Level Committee, a multilateral body, it merited attention. But the biggest limitation of the Commission was that it did not and could not question the institutional status quo that is guilty of perpetuating the crisis. Dozens of such reports prepared by Commissions of all ilk gather dust and are moth eaten. At most they become campaign tools during elections.

The Inquiry Commission should have recommended fixing charges of criminal neglect against the members of the Kosi High-Level Committee, who waited for the calamity to happen despite having sufficient information that could have at least led to evacuation of the people on time prior to the man-made crisis. However, it is quite sad that the Terms of Reference of the Commission was so devised as to create a rationale for Kosi High Dam in Nepal. The Commission has underlined in its report that relevant departments of the state government did not provide the information it sought. The report of Justice Balia Commission met the fate of the reports of the Rangachari Committee and Rashtriya Barh Aayog. 

Drainage problem in Kosi has failed to alter the policy regime of the State that favours structural solutions regardless of the natural drainage it may impede. Proposals like High Dam on Kosi is as good as jumping from the frying pan into the fire if the experience with embankments is anything to go by.

Even when one chooses to ignore changing morphology of the river, the estimated lifespan of a dam and embankment is 25 years and 37 years respectively underlines the transitory nature of technocentric interventions.

For several decades, each and every proponent of embankments, Multi-purpose Kosi High Dam, and diversion of rivers for Interlinking of Rivers project have merely been shouting I have all the facts about the dynamic and unstable geology and violence of Kosi to scare people in order to make people surrender their judgement. People seem to have unquestioning and unsuspecting respect for facts. Governments in India and Nepal relied on these very facts to sign Kosi agreement. Now the Nepal Prime Minister has regretted the suicidal agreement on Kosi, signed in 1954, as the main cause behind the flooding of the Nepali territory every year. Nepals sense of grievance regarding Kosi may be justified because the treaty reveals itself as outdated and unfair to both the parties. The proponents of High Dam and diversion of rivers seem to feign ignorance about decommissioning of 1,797 dams in USA since 1912 to make room for the free flow of the rivers. Notably, 69 dams were removed in 2020 alone. 

Counting on the Kosi treaty, Union Ministry of Water Resources misled the Rajya Sabha on March 11, 2008 on the issue of Floods in North Bihar by claiming, Government has taken various steps in the direction of water management to stop the flood in north Bihar coming from the rivers of Nepal. There has been no significant shift in the way the Kosi issue was perceived in the 1950s and in recent times. 

The treaty has remained quite pronounced because a carrot of Kosi High Dam, first raised in 1948, has been dangling before the flood victims as one of the `permanent solutions to the problem of recurring floods. Ironically, embankments as temporary solution have become reasonably permanent whereas the `permanent solution has remained elusive. What is `permanent and how permanent is `permanence? It must be acknowledged now that there is a manifest and condemnable insincerity in proposing Multi-purpose High Dam for flood control because the dam is proposed to tap the hydro-power potential. The multiple purposes (irrigation, power-generation, flood-control, etc) are conflict ridden because objectives of flood-control, irrigation and power-generation would require opposite functions from the reservoir. This is ignored since well-entrenched beneficiaries across political lines have an incestuous relationship with the structural solutions like embankments, dams and their victims that prevents rational vulnerability assessment based interventions to remove the impediments to the drainage of the ecological flow of water. 

All endeavours at course correction at this stage must take into account how did the transformation of flood dependent agrarian regimes into flood vulnerable landscapes took place since it was primarily driven by the need to secure private property in land, which was a key concern of the colonial powers. It `soon disrupted natural flow regimes and ended up aggravating flood lines and thereby opening up the deltas to enhanced flood vulnerability; Constructed a network of roads, railway lines, and bridges, which by running in the east- west direction ended up interrupting natural drainage lines that mostly dropped from north to south! These structures, in time, not unexpectedly, began to unsettle a complex and fragile arrangement for drainage. Thus, north Bihar has been deprived of the most fertile land in the world. The Royal Commission of Agriculture had blamed lack of adequate drainage for it. Traditional systems made the agricultural districts of north Bihar Ganga basin prosperous in the early part of the 19th century. The neglect of that system over the years led to the area being impoverished by the late 19th century. 

There is a compelling logic behind seeking immediate review of Indo-Nepal Kosi Treaty that created the rationale for embankments and dams. Continuing with it would tantamount to riding a dead horse. The treaty must acknowledge that technology can only help create irreparable problems. If technology is indeed the answer, surly the technologists have got their questions wrong. Drainage congestion in North Bihar and Nepal is the question that has remained overlooked for several decades.
The litmus test for a sane, credible, fair and democratic treaty lies in providing treatment for permanent water-logging that has come to characterize the Kosi region.

Floods or Earthquakes or hurricanes or tornadoes or tsunamis cannot be controlled. But the catastrophe they can cause be predicted, anticipated and preventable. If that is the case the best flood proofing mechanism since times immemorial is rely on simple truths and beware of the law of unintended consequences. The simple truths being drainage of the river must remain sacrosanct come what may besides early preparedness, timely evacuation of human and animal population and establishment of robust public health system.   
Given its distinct geo-morphological features and complicated hydrological characters,  Kosi is one of the Himalayan rivers that has yet to be understood in its entirety. There is no substitute of reversing the past policies, as is being done world over to combat adverse planetary changes. Land use changes such those attempted in the past and those proposed are acknowledged to be significant contributor to it. It is high time policy makers gave up their outdated "conquest over nature" paradigm and acknowledge "we shall have to learn to live with floods". 

Instead of pretending to be surprised by river's natural functions, scientific logic of water cycle creates a compulsion for re-visiting the Kosi Agreement to factor in fragility of Himalayan watershed, Ganga Basin Master Plan, decommissioning of numerous dams in Europe, South America, USA, and China and the UN report "Aging Water Infrastructure: An Emerging Global Risk".

Besides recognising the rights and duties of the riparian parties, the revised legal agreement will have to ensure that the natural right of the river  is recognized the way it has been done in rights of rivers Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, Ecuador, New Zealand, Uganda, Canada, Northern Ireland and Bangladesh. Unless primacy is accorded to the legal rights of Kosi river, human suffering due to drainage crisis will remain a permanent feature of the river basin as an outcome of a myopic and misplaced "temporary" engineering "solution". 
Dr. Gopal Krishna
The author is Co-author, Report of Peoples' Commission on Kosi River Basin (February 2023), Member, Peoples' Commission on Kosi River Basin (2022), Co-author, Kosi Deluge: The Worst is Still to Come (September 2008), Member, Fact Fact Finding Mission on Kosi River Basin (March 2008) and Co-author, Disputes Over Ganga (2004)

Friday, February 24, 2023

कोसी-मेची नदी परियोजना सहित सभी नदी जोड़ परियोजनाए अवैज्ञानिक व जल चक्र विरोधी है : कोसी जन आयोग रिपोर्ट

(फोटो में: कामरेड केडी यादव,  डॉ. नरेन्द्र पाठक, भाकपा माले के विधायक संदीप सौरभ, डॉ. गोपाल कृष्ण, मेधा पाटकर, कांग्रेस के विधायक संदीप सिन्हा, अरशद अजमल, राहुल यादुका, महेंद्र यादव)

कोसी जन आयोग द्वारा कोसी के सवालों पर 24 फ़रवरी को पटना के ए. एन. सिन्हा इंस्टिट्यूट के सभागार में कोसी जन अधिवेशन का आयोजन किया गया जिसमें आयोग की कोसी क्षेत्र की वर्तमान स्थिति और समाधान पर रिपोर्ट जारी की गयी।  विश्व बांध आयोग की आयुक्त रह चुकी जन आंदोलनो की नेता और कोसी जन आयोग की सदस्य मेधा पाटकर ने कहा कि जब हम नदियों को माँ मानते है तो उसके साथ विकास के नाम पर क्रूर व्यवहार क्यों करते है? उन्होंने कहा कि आपदा आने पर लोग पूछते है कि यह आपदाएं प्राकृतिक है या मानव निर्मित है जबकि असल में ये आपदाएं शासन निर्मित होती । उन्होंने कोसी नदी, बाढ़, विस्थापन वहां के तटबन्ध के भीतर और बाहर के लोगों के सवालों को लेकर बनी रिपोर्ट की अनुशंसाओं को लागू करने की बात उठाई। धँसते जोशी मठ और दरकते हिमालय की घटना का जिक्र करते हुए उन्होंने सरकारों को विकास की गलत अवधारणा की चर्चा भी की। मेधा पाटेकर ने जल-जंगल-जमीन, खनिज संपदा और कोसी की समस्या समाधान करने हेतु सरकार एवं विधायकों से विधानसभा में सवाल उठाकर ठोस नीति बनाने की अपील की। उन्होंने कहा कि यदि सितम्बर तक सरकार इस पर ठोस कार्रवाई नही करती है तो कोसी के लोग पैदल चलकर राजधानी में डेरा डालने आएंगे।

कोसी जन आयोग के सदस्य, पर्यावरणविद् व न्यायशास्त्री डॉ. गोपाल कृष्ण ने रिपोर्ट में कोसी की समस्यायों के विवरण और समाधान के लिए सुझाए गए मार्ग का जिक्र किया।  पटना हाई कोर्ट और सुप्रीम कोर्ट के नदी जोड़ने के संदर्भ मे दिए गए आदेशों को अवैज्ञानिक और जल चक्र विरोधी बताया। कोसी हाई डैम और नदी जोड़ जैसी परियोजना उस दौर की है जब जलवायु संकट की वैज्ञानिक समझ का अभाव था। आज के युग मे दुनिया भर में हजारों बड़े बाधों को नदियों की अविरलता और निर्मलता के लिए हटाया जा रहा है। सरकार को उससे सबक लेना चाहिए। उन्होन याद दिलाया कि 1937 में हुए पटना बाढ़ सम्मेलन में तत्कालिन मुख्य अभियंता जी एच हॉल तटबंध की तीन सीमाओं का रेखांकित किया था। रिपोर्ट का हिंदी संस्करण 48 पृष्ठ का है। इसके पृष्ठ संख्या 32 पर लिखा है: "बिहार सरकार के मेची नदी को कोसी नदी से जोड़ने की परियोजना है। मेची और महानंदा नदियों से जोड़ने के लिए कोसी मुख्य नहर से तनमाटर् का प्रस्ताव है। इसे सिंचाई के साथ-साथ कोसी की बाढ़ के समाधान के रूप  में प्रचारित किया गया हैं। हकीकत में न तो सिंचाई हो सकेगी और न ही बाढ़ की कमी पर कोई असर पड़ेगा। ये सभी नदियां एक ही मौसम में उफान पर आ जाती हैं और बाढ़ आ जाती है। बाढ़ के मौसम में बाढ़ के पानी को मोड़कर कम करने का दावा तथ्य की कसौटी पर खरा नहीं उतरता। इसके गंभीर पारिस्थिक परिणाम भी होंगे। कोसी कुछ महत्वपूर्ण जैव विवधता का घर है, जिसमे लगभग 300 गंगा नदी डॉलफिन, कई जल पक्षी प्रजातियां, कछुए और एक छोटी घड़ियाल की आबादी शामिल  है। घाघरा नदी को कोसी नदी के जलग्रहण क्षेत्र में भी स्थान्तरित करने के प्रस्ताव पर चर्चा चल रही है। जल संसाधन कायों की राजनीतिक अर्थव्यवस्था नदी जोड़ो परियोजनाओं को चलाती हैं। यह बिहार की राजनीतिक अर्थव्यवस्था का एक आवश्यक घटक है"। आयोग की रिपोर्ट का अंग्रेजी संस्करण 33 पृष्ठ का है।  शोधार्थी राहुल यादुका ने कोसी जन आयोग रिपोर्ट की सभी पहलुओं को बयान किया। रिपोर्ट कोसी नदी और बाढ़ नियंत्रण की यात्रा, कोसी परियोजना का मूल्यांकन आदि विषयों के संदर्भ में सुझाव प्रस्तुत करती है 

अधिवेशन को संबोधित करते हुए भाकपा माले के विधायक संदीप सौरभ ने 1937 में हुए पटना बाढ़ सम्मेलन के हवाले से बताया कि तटबंध बाढ़ से होने वाले नुकसान को बढ़ाते है। वे समस्या को एक स्थान से दूसरे स्थान पर स्थान्तरित करते है और तटबंध झूठी सुरक्षा की भावना पैदा करते है। कोसी जन आयोग रिपोर्ट के मुद्दे को विधानसभा में उठाने की बात कही।

कांग्रेस के विधायक संदीप सिन्हा ने कहा कि कोसी पीपुल्स कमीशन द्वारा जमीनी अध्ययन के आलोक में प्रस्तुत एवं पारित प्रतिवेदन के मुद्दे को विधानसभा में मजबूती से उठाएंगे। (फोटो में: संदीप सिन्हा, डॉ. विद्यार्थी विकास, के.डी. यादव, डॉ. नरेन्द्र पाठक, संदीप सौरभ, डॉ. गोपाल कृष्ण, मेधा पाटकर, राजेंद्र रवि, महेंद्र यादव)

भाकपा माले की केंद्रीय कमिटी के सदस्य व वरिष्ठ नेता के.डी. यादव ने कोसी के लोगो के संघर्षों के साथ एकता का इजहार किया।

जगजीवन राम शोध संस्थान के निदेशक डॉ. नरेन्द्र पाठक ने रिपोर्ट में कोसी के लोगों के उठाए सवालों की चर्चा की।

ए एन सिन्हा इंस्टिट्यूट के सहायक प्रोफेसर डॉ. विद्यार्थी विकास ने कहा कि सरकार को अलग से कोशी के लिए बजट बनाने के अलावे विधान सभा में अलग से कमिटी बनानी चाहिए जिससे इस मुद्दे पर सतत कार्यक्रम चल सके।

कार्यक्रम की अध्यक्षता पर्यावरणविद राजेंद्र रवि एवं मंच संचालन कोसी नवनिर्माण मंच के संस्थापक महेंद्र यादव ने किया।

अधिवेशन की शुरुआत बाढ़ पीडित बृजेंद्र यादव द्वारा जनगीत प्रस्तुति से प्रारंभ हुई।

कोसी क्षेत्र के रामचन्द्र यादव, इंद्र नारायण सिंह, प्रियंका कुमारी, चन्द्रबीर यादव, राजू खान, रोहित ऋषदेव ने कोसी के तटबन्ध के बीच और बाहर की अपनी अपनी समस्यायों व पीड़ा बताते हुए जन आयोग  की प्रक्रिया व रिपोर्ट में उनकी बातें आने पर एकता कायम की।

इस मौके पर पूर्व शिक्षा पदाधिकारी विनोदानंद झा, समाजिक कार्यकर्ता चेतना त्रिपाठी, देश बचाओ अभियान फरकिया मिशन के संस्थापक अध्यक्ष किरण देव यादव, लेखक पुष्पराज, पत्रकार अमरनाथ झा, सविता सीटू तिवारी, विनोद कुमार, कनिष्का, सैफ खान, दिलीप झा, ज्ञानेश कुमार, प्रियतम मुखिया, रिंकी कुमारी, कुमुद रानी, सन्तोष मुखिया, श्रवण, धर्मेन्द्र, मनीष, मनोज, रमन, अखलेस,जहिब अजमल, किरनदीप, बीरेन्द्र प्रभात, एडवोकेट मणिलाल आदि उपस्थित थे।

 (फोटो में: इं.गजानन मिश्र, डॉ. गोपाल कृष्ण, मेधा पाटकर व राजेंद्र रवि) इससे पहले 23 फ़रवरी को पटना में कोसी पीपुल्स कमीशन द्वारा प्रस्तुत रिपोर्ट को कोसी जन अधिवेशन में  सर्वसम्मति से पारित  गया।


Sunday, December 18, 2022

कीड़ों-मकोड़े की घटती आबादी खाद्य सुरक्षा के लिए खतरे की घंटी

गोपाल कृष्ण, पर्यावरणविद्

यदि नदी को बहने दिया जाता है, तो वे भूमि निर्माण का कार्य भी करती हैं. संपूर्ण गंगा घाटी की भूमि इसी प्रक्रिया से बनी है. नदियां भूवैज्ञानिक समय से यह कार्य करती आ रही हैं. इस प्राकृतिक प्रक्रिया को व्यापारिक निगमों और सरकारों के अदूरदर्शी इंजीनियरिंग हस्तक्षेपों के कारण नदी का अपना प्राचीन काम बाधित हो रहा है. इससे भी कृषि भूमि निर्माण रुक रहा है और खाद्य संकट को आमंत्रित किया जा रहा है.

कई अध्ययनों से जाहिर हो चुका है कि दुनिया के कीड़े-मकोड़ों की जनसंख्या हैरतअंगेज तरीके से घट रही है. रासायनिक कीटनाशकों, अंधाधुंध शहरीकरण और औद्योगिकरण, अदूरदर्शी कृषि भूमि उपयोग परिवर्तन, मोनोकल्चर (एकधान्य कृषि), प्राकृतिक वास का नुकसान और मोबाइल टावरों से निकलनेवाली रेडियो तरंगों से कीड़े-मकोड़ों के सेहत के लिए खतरनाक साबित हो रहा है.

कीड़े-मकोड़े खेती और पर्यावरण के लिए अत्यंत आवश्यक है, क्योंकि वे खाद्य उत्पादन में महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाते हैं. पक्षियों और मधुमक्खियों की आबादी तेजी से घट रही है. वर्ष 1989 से पश्चिमी जर्मनी के कीटवैज्ञानिक ओर्बोइचेर ब्रूच ने आरक्षित प्राकृतिक इलाके में और नार्थ राइन-वेस्टफेलिया के 87 अन्य स्थानों में टेंट लगा कर कीट जाल बिछाते हैं और कीड़े-मकोड़ों की जनसंख्या का अध्ययन करते हैं. अपने निष्कर्ष को उन्होंने जर्मनी के संसद के समक्ष रखा तो संकट की घंटी बज गयी.

वैज्ञानिकों ने बताया कि 1989 के मई और अक्तूबर में उन्होंने 1.6 किलो कीड़े-मकोड़ों को पकड़ा और 2014 में उन्हें सिर्फ 300 ग्राम कीड़े-मकोड़े मिले. जनवरी, 2016 के ‘कंजरवेशन बायोलॉजी’ में प्रकाशित अध्ययन से पता चला कि जर्मनी के जिन क्षेत्रो में वर्ष 1840 में कीट की 117 प्रजातियां थीं, वह 2013 में घट कर केवल 71 रह गयी थीं.

ऐसे हालात जर्मनी तक ही सीमित नहीं हैं.

कैलिफोर्निया के स्टेनफोर्ड यूनिवर्सिटी के 2014 के वैश्विक अध्ययन से स्पष्ट हुआ कि कीटों की आबादी दुनिया के सभी स्थानों में घट रही है. रोडोल्फ डरजो के नेतृत्व में हुए इस अध्ययन से पता चला कि पिछले चार दशकों में कई कीटों की आबादी 45 प्रतिशत घट गयी है. डरजो के अनुसार 3,623 कीट प्रजातियों में से 42 प्रतिशत लुप्त होने के कगार पर हैं.

पराग के छिड़काव पर असर

लंदन के जियोलॉजिकल सोसाइटी के सर्वे रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक, कीटों की आबादी घटने से बड़े जानवरों के भोजन स्रोत पर और कृषि के लिए महत्वपूर्ण पराग के छिड़काव पर खतरनाक असर पड़ेगा. वैज्ञानिकों के अनुसार अभी तक केवल 10 लाख प्रकार के कीटों के बारे में जाना जा सका है.

उनका अनुमान है कि 40 लाख कीटों का पता चलना अभी बाकी है. यह भी आशंका है कि उनका पता लगने से पहले ही बहुत सारे लुप्त हो गये हों या हो जायें. सरकारों और निगमों की प्रकृति के प्रति अघोर उदासीनता से तो यही लगता है कि जब तक लोग इस दूरगामी घटना पर गौर करेंगे, तब तक काफी देर हो चुकी होगी.

खाद्य और कृषि संगठन के 2015 के रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक, आज भी दुनियाभार में 725 करोड़ लोगों के लिए भूख एक चुनौती है. इनमें से 78 करोड़ लोग भारत जैसे विकासशील देशो में हैं.

आर्थिक संकट के संदर्भ में अमेरिकी लेखक मार्क ट्वेन ने लिखा था कि- भूमि खरीदो, अब भूमि बनना बंद हो गया है. ऐसी सलाह उन्होंने 19वीं सदी में दी थी. वर्ष 2012 में फ्रेड पियर्स में अपनी किताब ‘द लैंडग्रेबर्स’ में इसका उल्लेख किया है कि अफ्रीका, दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया और दक्षिण अमेरिका में चल रहे भूमि हड़पने के पराक्रम में किया है.

अवैज्ञानिक सलाह और प्रकृति की प्रक्रिया की नासमझी

इससे पहले टाइम पत्रिका ने वर्ष 2009 में अमेरिकी कांग्रेस को एक मेमो (ज्ञापन) लिखा, जिसमें मार्क ट्वेन की सलाह का उल्लेख करते हुए कहा गया कि अमेरिकी सरकार 2007-2009 के आर्थिक संकट के सवाल के जवाब में भूमि खरीद कर कदम उठा सकती है. आसन्न खाद्य संकट के संदर्भ में मार्क ट्वेन की बात को याद करना इसलिए जरुरी है, क्योंकि उनकी सलाह अवैज्ञानिक है और प्रकृति की प्रक्रियाओं की गहरी नासमझी को दर्शाता है. ऐसा इसलिए है, क्योंकि यदि नदी को बहने दिया जाता है, तो वे भूमि निर्माण का कार्य भी करती हैं.

संपूर्ण गंगा घाटी की भूमि इसी प्रक्रिया से बनी है. नदियां भूवैज्ञानिक समय से सदैव यह कार्य रही हैं. इस प्राकृतिक प्रक्रिया को व्यापारिक निगमों और सरकारों के अदूरदर्शी इंजीनियरिंग हस्तक्षेपों के कारण नदी को अपना प्राचीन काम बाधित हो रहा है. इससे भी कृषि भूमि निर्माण रुक रहा है और खाद्य संकट को निमंत्रण दिया जा रहा है.

भूमि और जल सदैव सह-अस्तित्व में रहे हैं. औपनिवेशिक विचारधारा के प्रभाव में भूमि और जल के अस्तित्व को अलग करके उनका प्रबंधन और शोषण किया जा रहा है. इससे निकट भविष्य में भयानक पर्यावरण और खाद्य संकट का मार्ग प्रशस्त हो रहा है.

नेशनल ब्यूरो ऑफ स्वाइल सर्वे एंड लैंड यूज प्लानिंग और इंडियन काउंसिल ऑफ एग्रीकल्चरल रिसर्च के मुताबिक, भारत के 32.86 करोड़ भूमि क्षेत्र में से 14.68 करोड़ भूमि क्षेत्र अनेक प्रकार के भू-क्षरण या मिट्टी के कटाव से प्रभावित हैं और यह प्रति वर्ष 16.4 टन प्रति हेक्टेयर की दर से हो रहा है. पर्यावरण के प्रति सरकार और समाज की अनदेखी देश में खाद्य संकट को न्योता दे रही है.