Sunday, November 23, 2008

Motihari awaits Central Univarsity

Farmers offer land for setting up Central varsity

PATNA: Land acquisition has proved to be a hard nut to crack for state governments across India with farmers not willing to part ways with land. In extreme cases (read Singur), it has also led to bloody battles.

Bihar's East Champaran district, however, appears to be on the course of adding a totally different chapter on this front. For, the farmers of this district have made a beeline to district magistrate's office for providing their land for setting up a Central university.

This, after CM Nitish Kumar during his visit to Motihari, the district headquarters, on November 20, urged locals to provide 1,000 acre of land for setting up a Central university. He also promised that farmers willing to give land would be compensated according to the new land acquisition policy.

His assertion did wonders as within two days of this announcement the office of the district magistrate received proposals for land measuring well over 1,200 acres.

"People of Bihar have understood the importance of development and CM's announcement that farmers would be adequately compensated gave impetus to it," Motihari BJP MLA Pramod Kumar said.

Ramashray Singh, local leader and former MLA of erstwhile Sugauli assembly constituency, echoed Kumar and said, "Local farmers have realised that setting up a Central university would bring many a benefits hence they came forward for giving land."

Incidentally, the land on which this university would be set up falls between Motihari Bapu Dham and Semra railway stations under the Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj section and villagers of Ajgari, Mahmadpur, Siswania, Gobri, Mokhlishpura and Pachrukha have come forward for giving land to this ambitious project.

"Getting adequate compensation is just one of the factors, but what has inspired us is the fact that this area has not witnessed any development since independence. Setting up a Central university would certainly address this problem to a great extent," said former Mukhiya of Siswania Panchayat Sheikh Iqbal who is willing to part ways with 15 acres of his land for the project.

And Iqbal is not alone with such a positive mood rather many villagers of Siswania and adjoining villages too spoke almost on the same line.

Encouraged by the response of these villagers, most of whom are farmers, the district administration will be sending a proposal to the state headquarters on Monday itself regarding likely availability of the land needed for the proposed Central university.

"The way things have moved, we expect to complete the land acquisition work within six to nine months," East Champaran DM Narmadeshwar Lal told TOI over phone on Sunday.

He said that the proposal so far received was well over 1,000 acres of private land despite the fact there was already over 450 acres of government land available in the area.

The demand for setting up a Central university in East Champaran, from where Mahatma Gandhi started his movement way back in 1917, is being raised for quite some time. Local BJP MLA Pramod Kumar had earlier written to the Centre raising this demand. The chief minister's announcement that the state would pursue Centre for setting up a Central university here after acquiring land has instilled a sense of hope among the locals.


Controversy over Justice R.M. Lodha's Appointment as Supreme Court Judge

Patna High Court Chief Justice R.M. Lodha's Appointment to the Supreme Court is being contested by the Union Law Ministry

Union Government's decision to suggest a rethink on the move by Chief Justice of India (CJI)to propose the names of A K Ganguly, Chief Justice of Madras High Court, R M Lodha, Chief Justice of Patna High Court, and H L Dattu, Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, for elevation to the apex court has created a stalemate.

An advocate has moved the Supreme Court for a declaration that the President is bound to issue warrants of appointments to the three judges, recommended by the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan.

In his writ petition, R. K. Kapoor said that as per the various apex court judgments the recommendations of the judiciary on appointment of judges were binding on the executive. If the executive sat on the matter or delayed the appointment, the apex court could issue appropriate directions for performance of those functions in the public interest.

“If there is a deadlock between the judiciary and the executive on the issue of appointment of judges to the apex court, as a result of which the vacancies continue [and] arrears of cases go on piling up, the deadlock has to be broken by the judiciary itself by issuing appropriate directions.”


The petitioner said he was concerned at the controversy over the elevation of the Chief Justices of the Kerala, Madras and Patna High Courts, H.L. Dattu, A K Ganguli and R.M. Lodha, to the Supreme Court, with the government sending back the files to the CJI and the collegium reiterating its earlier recommendations.

The petitioner cited the apex court ruling in the SC Advocates on Record Association vs. UOI case, in which a nine-member Constitution Bench accorded primacy to the collegium in judicial appointments saying “The opinion of the CJI, forwarded in the manner prescribed, shall be primal. No appointment can be made by the President under Articles 124(2) and 217(1) unless it is in conformity with the opinion of the CJI.”

On the government claim that seniority of some High Court Chief Justices was overlooked, the petitioner quoted the Constitution Bench’s observation: “The appointment to the Supreme Court shall be by ‘selection on merit.’ Inter se seniority amongst judges in their respective High Courts has to be kept in view while considering the judges for elevation to the Supreme Court.”

Kapoor said: “In view of the several judicial pronouncements, the Centre cannot withhold the files containing the collegium’s proposal on elevation of the three High Court Chief Justices.”

Justice Lodha had assumed office of Chief Justice, Patna High Court on 13th of May 2008.

The Supreme Court on November 21 declined to give an urgent hearing to a petition seeking direction to the government to go by the advice of a panel headed by the CJI on the issue of appointment of apex court judges. When the petition was mentioned, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, showed its disinterest in hearing the matter on an urgent basis.

The Bench also questioned the advocate for his submission that the government was sitting on the file cleared by the collegium, a panel of five judges, for the elevation of three Chief Justices of High Courts to the apex court.

"Who is sitting over the file," the Bench wanted to know from the advocate who filed the petition.

Realising that the court was not inclined to hear the matter, advocate R K Kapoor who has filed the petition said he will wait for the matter to be heard in the routine course on January 5, 2009.

The petition filed by the advocate has contended that the President was bound to go by the advice of the CJI-headed collegium on appointment of apex court judges. Quoting the Constitution and judicial pronouncements, the advocate has maintained that the Supreme Court's collegium, a panel of judges headed by the CJI, has the final say on elevation of High Court chief justices' elevation to the top court and not the PMO or any other executive authority.

The government had sent back the file on the elevation proposal to the collegium for a rethink on the ground that three other senior HC Chief Justices — A P Shah (Delhi High Court), A K Patnaik (Madhya Pradesh) and V K Gupta (Uttarkhand) — had been overlooked in the process.

मां गंगा! अब तुम राष्ट्रीय नदी हो

समग्रता की कमी है
गोपाल कृष्ण

आखिरकार, भारत सरकार ने महसूस कर लिया कि गंगा को राष्ट्रीय नदी मान लेना चाहिए. राष्ट्रीय होने के लिए जो जरूरी सरकारी उपाय हैं वे पूरे किये जाएंगे और किसी दिन धूमधाम से फाईलों में गंगा की बजाय नेशनल रीवर गंगा लिखा नजर आने लगेगा. लेकिन राष्ट्रीय होने की यह चिंता इतनी देर से क्यों हुई जब यह भविष्यवाणी की जा रही है कि सन २०२५ तक गंगा का पानी सूख जाएगा.

गंगा नदी तो शायद रह भी जाए लेकिन वह गंगा नहीं रह जाएगी. एक सरकारी व्यवस्था ६० साल की कोशिशों के बावजूद भी जितने लोगों का भरण-पोषण नहीं कर पायी उससे ज्यादा लोगों का भरण-पोषण गंगा अपने दम पर करती आयी है. दुनिया की १/८ आबादी गंगा मैया के वरदान पर निर्भर है. हर १० मे ४ भारतीय को मां गंगा पालती है. भारत ही नहीं, अब पड़ोसी देश हो चुके बांग्लादेश में भी गंगा लोगों को रोजी-रोटी देती है. ऊपर नेपाल और भूटान भी गंगा के प्रभाव और प्रसाद से अछूते नहीं है. एक नदी मां का दर्जा ऐसे ही थोड़े पा जाती है. मां होने के लिए जिस समग्र सेवा का भाव चाहिए वह गंगा निर्बाध और अबाध रूप से अपने बेटों के लिए करती आयी है. सदियां आयीं और गयी लेकिन सगरपुत्रों को तारने से लेकर आज तक कोटि-कोटि जनों को गंगा ने पाला-पोसा और इस लोक ही नहीं उस लोक में भी अपने पिता के साम्राज्य में स्थान दिलवाया. लेकिन आधुनिक विकास की अंधी दौड़ ने उस प्राणधारा को ही काटने का काम शुरू कर दिया जिससे कोटि-कोटि जन इस लोक और उस लोक में सम्मानजनक स्थान पाते थे. औद्योगिक पागलपन की एक ऐसी अंधी दौड़ शुरू हुई कि हमारे लिए गंगा बिजली बनाने, नाला गिराने, औद्योगिक कचरा बहाने तक सीमित होता गया. इन्हें रोकने की राजनीति हुई, आंदोलन हुए लेकिन कभी रूका कुछ नहीं. मानों गंगा ने भी इसे अपनी नियति मानकर स्वीकार कर लिया था. अगर लोग यही चाहते हैं कि गंगा विदा हो जाए तो फिर गंगा यहां जबर्दस्ती धरती पर क्यों बनी रहे?

ऐसे मुश्किल दौर में गंगा को राष्ट्रीय नदी बनाने की घोषणा क्षणिक तौर पर सुकून तो देता ही है. लेकिन इस घोषणा में वह समग्रता नहीं है जिसकी आज के समय में सबसे ज्यादा जरूरत है. तात्कालिक राजनीतिक परस्थितियां देखें तो गंगा नदी को राष्ट्रीय नदी घोषित करके प्रधानमंत्री ने एक तीर से तीन शिकार किया है. उनका पहला शिकार हिन्दू वोट बैंक है. दूसरा शिकार वे हिन्दूवादी नेता और आंदोलनकारी हैं जो गंगा बचाने का आंदोलन चला रहे थे. और इस घोषणा का तीसरा और सबसे महत्वपूर्ण शिकार उत्तर प्रदेश की मुख्यमंत्री मायावती हैं. इस घोषणा से मायावती की बहुउद्देश्यीय गंगा एक्सप्रेसवे खटाई में पड़ सकती है क्योंकि गंगा को राष्ट्रीय नदी घोषित करने के साथ ही अब बात केवल नदी की धारा और प्रदूषण तक सिमटकर नहीं रहेगी. बात पूरे गंगा बेसिन को बचाने की होगी. लेकिन कैसे? पानी बचाने की योजना बिना माटी बचाए कैसे संभव होगी? माटी और पानी बचाने के लिए जीवन दर्शऩ को भी बचाने की जरूरत होगी, उसे खारिज करके जिस गंगा को राष्ट्रीय बना देंगे तो वह कितनी राष्ट्रीय रह जाएगी?
प्रधामंत्री की इस घोषणा में सोनिया गांधी की सलाह साफ दिखाई दे रही है. सितंबर की शुरूआत में सोनिया गांधी बनारस गयी थीं. इस साल बनारस में एक ऐसी घटना हुई जिसे लेकर गंगा के प्रति संवेदनशील बनारसी लोग बहुत चितिंत हैं. वह यह कि पहली बार शायद गंगा और बनारस के इतिहास में ऐसा हुआ है कि गंगा ने अपना पाट छोड़ दिया था. इसी वक्त में सोनिया गांधी का बनारस जाना अच्छा मौका था कि लोगों ने अपनी गंगा चिंता उनके सामने रखी. वीरभद्र मिश्र ने बहुत कारूणिक अंदाज में सोनिया गांधी को याद दिलाया कि कैसे राजीव गांधी ने प्रधानमंत्री बनने के बाद सबसे पहला बड़ा निर्णय यही लिया था कि गंगा नदी को कैसे साफ बनाया जाए. इसके लिए उन्होंने १९८५ में गंगा एक्शन प्लान बनाने की घोषणा की थी. यह एक्शन प्लान सरकार के साथ जनभागीदारी करके गंगा को बचाने की मुहिम थी. बीरभद्र मिश्र ने यही सब सोनिया गांधी को याद दिलाया. सोनिया गांधी भी भावुक हो गयीं.

वे दिल्ली लौटकर आयीं तो जल संसाधन मंत्री से कहा कि वे इस बारे में कुछ करें. जल संसाधन मंत्री ने पर्यावरण मंत्रालय के साथ मिलकर एक बैठक की. बैठक में तय किया गया कि गंगा को समग्र रूप से देखने की जरूरत है. अभी गंगा राज्यों में बंटी हुई है. अगर गंगा को संरक्षित रखना है तो एक ऐसा प्राधिकरण बनाना चाहिए जिससे गंगा रक्षा के लिए लागू की जा रही सारी योजनाओं की समीक्षा हो सके और नयी योजनाओं को लागू किया जा सके. गंगा की कुल लंबाई २५१० किलोमीटर का समग्र रूप से अध्ययन किया जाए. आम सहमति बनने के बाद प्रधानमंत्री ने ४ नवंबर को यह घोषणा कर दी कि जल्द ही गंगा को राष्ट्रीय नदी घोषित कर दिया जाएगा. इसका मतलब है कि गंगा को अलग-अलग राज्य सरकारें अभी तक प्रोजेक्ट के रूप में देखती और उसके पानी के उपयोग-दुरूपयोग का निर्णय लेती थी. राष्ट्रीय प्राधिकरण बन जाने के बाद अब यह प्राधिकरण ही गंगा के बारे में ही सारे निर्णय लेगा.

अगर सिर्फ इतना भर होने से ही गंगा राष्ट्रीय नदी हो जाती हैं तो फिर उम्मीद की किरणें एक बार फिर धूमिल हो जाती है. महत्वपूर्ण तो यह है कि क्या गंगा के प्रति सरकार का नजरिया बदल जाएगा? क्या औद्योगीकरण की नीतियों में कोई बदलाव आयेगा? क्या गंगा को केवल गंगा के रूप में ही देखा जाएगा या फिर उसकी सहायक नदियों के बारे में कोई विचार किया जाएगा? उत्तर में गंगा यमुना, रामगंगा, गोमती, शारदा, कोसी, महानंदा, घाघरा और गंडक को अपने साथ लेती है तो दक्षिण से आनेवाली चंबल, केन, बेतवा, सोन, दामोदर को साथ लेकर चलती है. अगर इन नदियों की दुर्दशा जारी रही तो अकेले गंगा को राष्ट्रीय नदी बना देने से क्या हो जाएगा? क्या उस दृष्टिकोण में कोई बदलाव आयेगा जो नदी को संसाधन मानकर उसका दुरूपयोग करता है? यह मानसिकता भी तो इसी प्रणाली की उपज है. अगर सरकारी महकमा गंगा को केवल संसाधन ही मानता रहा तो इस तरह की घोषणाओं का क्या मतलब है?

पहले भी प्रधानमंत्री की देखरेख में बाघों को बचाने का प्राधिकरण काम कर रहा है. क्या हुआ? कितने बाघ बचे? यह बात सच है कि प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय का सीधा हस्तक्षेप रहने से प्राधिकरण उतना लापरवाह नहीं हो पायेगा जैसा कि आमतौर पर कोई सरकारी विभाग हो जाता है. फिर भी राष्ट्रीय नदी की राजनीतिक घोषणा से आगे निकलकर बहुत कुछ किये जाने की जरूरत है. सरकार और राजनीतिक दल दोनों को अपनी नदियों, मिट्टी, साधन और संसाधन के बारे में उधार की मानसिकता से सोचने की जरूरत नहीं है. नदी हमारी है, लोग हमारे हैं, हम लोगों को ही नदी बचानी है ताकि हम बचे रहें. सरकार में बैठे अफसर और कारकून जब तक इस हकीकत को स्वीकार नहीं करेंगे ऐसी घोषणाओं से कुछ खास हासिल नहीं होगा, सिवाय इसके कि अगली बार सरकार में आने के लिए कुछ वोटों की व्यवस्था और हो जाए. ऐसे सतही राजनीतिक दृष्टिकोण से गंगा राष्ट्रीय नदी भले ही जाए आम भारतीय का भरण-पोषण करनेवाली मां शायद ही रह पाये. गंगा के बारे में जब हम सोचें तो यह सोचें कि यह राष्ट्रीय नहीं अंतरराष्ट्रीय नदी है और सीमाओं में बंटे लोगों में बिना भेदभाव चार देशों के लोगों को सम्मानजक जीवन ही नहीं, मोक्ष का भी रास्ता दिखाती है.

Lalu inaugurates Bikramganj-Piro & Piro-Ara-Sasaram rail section

Railway minister also inaugurated the 18-km Bikramganj-Piro rail section and Piro-Ara-Sasaram section

Sasaram (Bihar), Nov 23: Railway Minister Lalu Prasad laid the foundation stone wagon and coupler factory at Dalmianagar in Sasaram.

The proposed factory at Dalmianagar would manufacture high axle-load wagons and bogies couplers having 32.5 tonnes axle-load capacity.

Describing railways as the lifeline of the country, Lalu said the railway would generate electricity on its own to run its services.

The minister also inaugurated the 18-km Bikramganj-Piro rail section and Piro-Ara-Sasaram section.

Raghvendra Pratap Singh, RJD's likely candidate from Ara

Delimitation prompting several RJD MPs to seek new seats

Patna, (Bihar Times): As the RJD chief and railway minister, Lalu Yadav, is busy allotting seats for the coming election several sitting party MPs, including ministers, want change in their parliamentary constituencies.

Thanks to the delimitation many of them are feeling insecure. Prominent among them are Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, Ram Kripal Yadav, Kanti Singh, Sadhu Yadav, Raghunath Jha
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According to reports Union minister Kanti Singh is now no more keen to contest from Ara. Rather she wants to shift to the newly hewed out Karakat parliamentary constitutency. This is simply because post-delimitation the caste equation would suit her in Karakat and not Ara. Lalu is thinking in terms of fielding an upper caste candidate from Ara. Former MLA, Raghvendra Pratap Singh, is likely to be the choice.

Union minister of state for water resources development, Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, wants to move out from Munger. It is said that Jai Prakash fears that the state Janata Dal (United) president, Lallan Singh, may throw his hat as Barh and Mokamah assembly segments have been included in the Munger parliamentary seat. There is a sizeable upper caste voters in these two segments and this may tilt balance against Yadav.

The Patna MP, Ram Kripal Yadav, is thinking in the same term as Patna has now two constituencies: Pataliputra and Patna Saheb. Ram Kripal will be comfortable in Pataliputra but speculations are rife in the media that Lalu himself wants to contest the seat as it has sizeable Yadav population. Ram Kripal, in such a case, would opt for some other place, may be Patna Saheb.

Sadhu Yadav is also finding himself in a tight spot as his Gopalganj seat has been declared reserved.

Jailed MP Mohammad Shahabuddin is not likely to contest poll from Siwan this time. In that case his relative and former minister, Ejaz-ul-Haq, is likely to contest. Similarly the party is in the look out for a strong candidate from Madhepura as another jailed MP Pappu Yadav may not be able to contest.

RJD won 22 seats from Bihar in 2004 election while it won two from Jharkhand.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

'Development' unites political adversaries

Nitish, Paswan, Lalu 'unite' for Bihar's development

BEGUSARAI: For the first time after years, they shared the dais. That, however, didn't prevent Bihar politics' bigwigs -- CM Nitish Kumar (JD-U) and Union ministers Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) -- from taking potshots at one another.

The occasion was the foundation-laying ceremony for the reconstruction of the closed Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation plant at Barauni. In keeping with the occasion, the trio swore they are united for the development of Bihar. But the political overtones were more than pronounced in their speeches.

Railway minister Lalu was the first to speak and he showered lavish praise on his cabinet colleague and Union fertiliser minister Paswan for reviving the closed fertiliser unit. ''It is only due to the massive effort of Paswan that this closed unit has been able to see this day,'' Lalu said and added there is no politics on the issue of development of Bihar which has been the subject of gross injustice during the last six decades.

Lalu also sought to pat himself as he said the railway ministry under him has given the state rail projects worth Rs 65,000 crore. ''But Nitishji claims all the projects were initiated when he was the railway minister,'' the RJD supremo said, taking a dig at Nitish.

Nitish said there were no differences on the issue of development among the three leaders. ''However, Laluji and Paswanji, being Union ministers, are better placed to put pressure on the Centre to take action against the Bihari-baiters in Maharashtra,'' he said.

Nitish did not forget to remind Lalu that when he (Nitish) was the railway minister, he used to invite both Lalu and Rabri Devi at official functions. ''But Laluji has not reciprocated probably fearing I will attack his policies,'' he said and assured Lalu that this would not happen.

Paswan, who laid the stone at the ceremony, said the days of caste and creed-based politics are over and ''it is high time we focussed on development of the state''. He said the plant is likely to start production by 2012.

13 Nov 2008

New saviours for Bihar?

Patna, Nov. 13: They had helped the Patna Municipal Corporation realise long-pending holding taxes from habitual defaulters. They also came to the rescue of the poor slum-dwellers when the local administration began razing their huts and shanties located in the state capital without making arrangements for their rehabilitation. With these feats in their kitty, eunuchs in the state seem to be a ray of hope for ridding Bihar of its evils.

And, now that top state leaders are still on the fence over the attacks on Bihari migrants, the saree-clad, heavily made-up transvestites have once again come forward to fight for their rights. Peeved at the role of the state leaders ~ now looking more concerned about playing the political game of one-upmanship than registering a strong protest ~ the eunuchs have resolved to strongly oppose the “atrocities” on the Bihari migrants soon.

Earlier this week, a large number of eunuchs under the banner of the Akhil Bhartiya Kinner Sabha gathered at Koelwar town in Bhojpur district, close to Patna, to at on their plans. The meeting chaired by Suresh Hizra alias Sheela, president of the organization, condemned the continuing hate campaign against Biharis by the MNS activists and assailed the leaders for their failure to muzzle divisive forces on the one hand and to curb such incidents on the other. “It's shameful that eunuchs have to take up the issue since nothing perceivable has been done by the leaders,” they said.

The issue ~ attack on Biharis ~ has left three top state politicians, RJD chief Mr Lalu Prasad, chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar, JD-U, and the LJP president Mr Ram Vilas Paswan locked in the game of one-upmanship as Biharis continue to be attacked. Their unity bid split barely hours after they came together sinking their political difference for this cause.

While all the five JD-U MPs have resigned from the Lok Sabha, the RJD chief has proposed that MPs and MLAs of all parties, including the ruling NDA and its chief minister Mr Kumar, should resign to launch a nation-wide campaign over the issue.

The LJP too has criticised the resignation of JD-U MPs saying: “They tried to present themselves as martyrs by simply trimming their nails”. “If they really are serious over this issue, the JD-U's Rajya Sabha members too must resign. Presently, only its Lok Sabha members have resigned when just four months of their term are left”.

Manoj Chaurasia
The Statesman