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Saturday 14 April 2012

What is Public Utility Commission?

What is Public Utility Commission?
Honorable Smt Kiran Walia,
MLAs, Councilors regularly met RWAs and always made promises for decades but nothing or little progress is made on verbal – sometimes even written promises because no Binding Orders are delivered. Public Utility Commissions Chaired by Elected Political Leaders assisted by representatives of PWD and Private Experts – do the same thing'Complaints and Suggestions' are 'Officially Heard and Disposed Off for Implement in Hours With Binding Orders'.
These procedures ensure 'Public Participation in Democracy', Thus PUC are every effective tool in Governance and improved Quality of Public Services.
The main problem in India is that we continued to follow Colonial Laws and Governance procedures so that just about 100,000 Foreigners rule the country and every law was administered from Delhi through Courts – Supreme Court, High Courts, District Courts.
Most of the Central Laws we made since Independence 'Couldn't be Uniformly Applied' – Eligible age for marriage in India is 21/18 years but still in many states over 50% of marriages violate Central Law. Dowry was practiced by Few Communities but the Dowry Act was applied to All Communities – leading to its rampant abuse by all communities.
Worst of all Stray Dogs can't be removed or destroyed by local authorities – High Court and Supreme Court interfere in Local Administration. There are over Three Crore Dog Bites in India every year – Annual Bite rate is one per dog population. In 12 years there over 40 crore Dog Bites – almost none of Bite Victims was compensated for loss of work, sufferings of family and medical expenses.
When we had Electricity Problems of fast meters – consumers had to go to High Court at huge cost when it is local matter that should go to Public Utility Commission headed by Local MLA who may summon local Officials and resolve the dispute instantly and if required 'Could Check The Meter On the Spot.'
Similarly when there are 'Water Supply and Water Quality Issue or Bad Roads' there is no institution that can address the problem and order immediate remedy. 
Every MP, MLA and Councilors promised to relocate MCD School in a Park and build 'Club and Community Center' in Hauz Khas – since 1962 – dozens of schools were built since then but 80 students, none from local residents could be transferred and Park Vacated for Playground, Community Center and Club. For some times RWA was promised to release 66% of it and Rebuild School on 33% area – but school was rebuild but no Play Ground, Club and Community center was developed.
Can we deprive people of residential colonies of Playgrounds, Community Centers and Recreational Facilities?
Unauthorised Constructions, Encroachments of Roadsides and Illegal Vendors are daily nuisance.
There is no one Accountable for Poor Services - Transport, Energy, Communications, Water, Health, PDS and Education.
There is no one Accountable for Substandard Products sold to consumers.
Your government at State and Central level should address the issues.
Ravinder Singh
Inventor and Consultant
April10, 2012
'Delhi Public Utility Commission' to Oversee Civic Services
April09, 2012
Honorable Smt Kiran Walia,
R-120, Greater Kailash-i, New Delhi
Respected Smt. Kiran Walia,
Please refer to your political meet at Shiv Mandir Sunday April08, 2012.
Since you have Political Science background, Teaching Political Science and practicing Politics for many decades – it is interesting to learn that inUSA there are Public Utility Commissions to 'Protect Public and Consumers from Substandard Product and Services', and Chairman of the PUC are Elected Representatives. In Democracy you (Lt. Governor, Chief Ministers, Ministers and MLAs) are 'Lawmakers' thus all Public Utility Commission orders are'Constitutionally Valid' – That's why Every County and State in USA has different laws except for Central Taxes, Patents, National Security.
For example – If a School or Electric Utility or Road in your constituency are violating Service Standards – PUC has right to 'Cancel the Licenses' of the School, BRPL and Contractor and Courts should not interfere in PSU order.
Delhi may have honorable Lt. Governor as Delhi State Public Utility Commission Chairperson. Districts may have District Public Utility Commission and Constituency Public Utility Commission. (Malvia Nagar Public Utility Commission.)
PUC functions like Courts – where procedures are Quick and Simple.
For example 'Road Built' in your constituency is not built as per quality standards. Public Affected or RWA make simple representation in writing to MNPUC, next day it shall call the concerned Executive Engineer who may visit the site in advance and direct the 'Contractor to Re-pave the road again.' and Compensate Affected Public or RWA.
Ø      Similarly for all other services and products.
Yes you are right – Our Consumer Courts and many other institutions have been corrupted – and new law could 'Also Be Compromised.'
But the 'Difference Is PSU Shall Not Be Guided By Any Law – Even Supreme Court Orders - But Only Greater Public Interest.'
In Santa Cruz County PUC of less than 60,000 Population recently 'Stayed Installation of Electronic Computerized Smart Meters With Continuous Monitoring of its working' though Smart Meters were approved by Central Electricity Authority of USA.
Similarly 'Dog Bites' is a serious Health Concern and Stray Dogs greatest public nuisance though erroneously approved by Courts also.
As Chair Person of MNPUC, after brief Hearing you can direct Concerned NGO or MCD to Either 'Destroy Them' or 'Blunt The Sharp Canines and Front Teeth of All Dogs' or Direct NGOs to pay compensation of Rs.20,000 per dog bite victim etc.
Continue to Memo Posted Earlier. Thank you, sincerely
Public Utility Commission for Delhi
November07, 2011
Honorable Chief Minister of Delhi,
Smt. Sheila Dikshit,
Secretariat Building,
New Delhi – 110002
'Providing Global Standard Public Services in New Delhi'
Respected Madam,
India and states required Public Utility Commission like in USA than RTI or Lokpal or Regulators to ensure high quality services at reasonable prices to people of India and to keep relentless watch on the functioning of public services Transport, Energy, Communications, Water, Health, PDS and Education.
New Delhi has all the resources to be among World's Best cities unlike most other Metros Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru that are overcrowded or have water shortage – Delhi has much less population density.
Delhi enjoyed Excellent Water Supply, Power Supply, Transport, PDS, Healthcare, Education and Communications till 1990 when unauthorized colonies were regularized and unauthorized, unscientific and unplanned large scale construction activities were allowed all over Delhi, leading to deteriorating and deficient public services when population almost tripled.
In the absence of Public Utility Commission government departments ignored Professional Advice and Public Grievances. I vigorously petitioned to GOI & Delhi Government on Public Services since 1980 but there was no response – for example I reported bad planning of water supply in 1980 that was acknowledged by Sanjay Gandhi and American Water Works Association but neither Central nor state Governments took them seriously. (Copies enclosed) DJB didn't respond or implement any suggestion or properly attended to 99% complaints. Consumers had to install Inefficient Booster Pumps, Storage Tanks & Water Purifiers.
1. Water & Sanitation and Floods: - DJB supply water invariably mixed with sewage in view of intermittent supply and leaking sewage and water lines. Open drains pass through city. Yamuna carry sewage and drainage of Haryana as Delhi's entitlement to Yamuna River waters. Encroachment of drains & no Dam Storage has contributed to intensification of floods inDelhi during monsoon.
DJB do not observe any quality and service standard. Stick brooms are used to clean roads that throw up dust clouds laden with disease causing germs. Delhi has the unique distinction of breeding 'DelhiSuperbug' or drug resistant bacteria and over 100m Indians – 2m people in Delhi already carry this Delhi Superbug. This is over $500b social Cost, $20b for Delhi. PUC would ensure both water quality and service standards.
2.  Transport: - More than 90% of population was served by either public transport or people used to Bicycle around till 1980, now public transport serve 20% and rest of population depend on private motor vehicles and autos and taxis. Delhi Metro built at huge cost serve less than 5% of Delhipopulation and fare charged per kilometer is more than economy class air travel to UK or USA.
DTU in 1975 to 1980 or so used to consult RWA and introduce some special routes through colonies for the convenience of residents. Just about 10% population is served by DTC these days.
20-50 Passenger Buses may be introduced as feeders and Multi User Taxis, 20% exclusively for women, to be introduced on shorter connecting routes and Numbers of autos may be doubled.
Instead of GPS system resisted by Auto Unions each Auto & Taxi toMaintain Logbook and have Mobile Phone registered with Transport Authority to address security, service & over charging issues. Mobile Number of Autos and Taxis be Painted in back sides and inside of vehicles.
Residents now depend on 7 million cars and motorcycles for transport, very few have garage for parking and for vehicle security have Gated Colonies allowing only one or two exits. Even government colonies had installed boundary walls for security of cars and motorcycles.
Ordinance to 'Keep 30ft Roads or Main Through Roads in Residential Colonies Open for Light Vehicle Traffic for One Way Traffic and 40+ roads for Two Way Traffic' between 7AM to 9PM with conditions first no horn use, second speed limit of 30kmph and third only silent vehicles with effective silencers would be permitted. Any violation is to attract Rs.5000/- fine. This alone would reduce traffic jams, reduce pollution and driving cost. This will allow Ambulances, Police and Fire Service attend complaints speedily.
All Mid and Large size car owners to compulsorily own a Two Wheeler to avoid cars use for shopping in local markets. Parking fees to be charged based on three sizes of cars Small, Medium & Large. For security of Residents High Resolution Cameras be installed to record any violation of speed or law.
Phase III Delhi Metro is most unintelligent – running along or parallel to Inner and Outer Ring Roads, and 103 km route to cost Rs 35,242 croreis twice more expensive than lines already operational need becompletely scrappedDelhi may introduce High Capacity Electric Tram Bus Service – each set carrying up to 500 passengers on BRTroutes.
Circular Railway and Interstate Rail Routes be developed for local services on existing lines could be cheaper and faster than Mumbai Local Trains, two times faster than Delhi Metro and average speed could exceed 60 kmph in Delhi. New Shatabdi- Rajdhani Railway Terminalbe located at Safdarjung Bus Terminal so as to link with Metro Lineand Aurbindo Marg to link with Barapul Elevated Road. This shall freeMain Platforms at stations for starting & terminating other important trains.
Going from Dadar to KalyanDirection : DOWN Between time: 19:00 - 20:00
Distance to be travelled : 45km Estimated Travel time: 56 to 75 min 
Second Class one side Ticket: Rs. 12
New Kashmere Gate – Central Secretariat route is most undesirable. Since Kashmere Gate – ITO bypass is already operational; One Way Traffic through Daryaganj would provide Circular Traffic flow address the traffic problem at no cost.
Peak Hour Restrictions: - Single passenger cars to be restricted on congested roads during peak hours.
3. Energy: - Power supply in Delhi was surplus until 1990 and losses under 20% but after regularization of unauthorized colonies and illegal constructions theft, low voltage, power cuts and losses mounted and Delhiexperiences power cuts and interruptions during Summer & Winter months.
Consumers have installed Inverters or generators that add to cost of Rs.4000 per year for Battery & Maintenance and Rs.2000 per year for continuous power use.
Around 10% of Domestic & Commercial consumers use over 40% power primarily to run Airconditioning & Heating loads who could be required to install solar heating systems and restrict business hours or supply Airconditioning Loads upto 5 PM. Instead all consumers are subjected to power cuts and forced to install Standby Power systems.
4.  Communications: -  Since 2002 Delhi has Optic Fiber network laid by Reliance, Tata, Airtel, MTNL and Vodafone but not utilized to even 1% of its capacity.
Delhi and Metros can have Optic Fiber based High Speed internet, Telephone, VOIP, IPTV etc at par with Global Standards in 12 months economical than anywhere in the world.
5.  Healthcare: - Private Hospitals are not treating 25% patients free as per terms of land leases. Delhi government may revise the terms and acquire 25% of room space in such hospitals and employ Government Doctors to provide free Healthcare to Delhi residents.
In less than 12 months Delhi shall have much improved Healthcare for its citizens.
6.  Education: -  Similarly Delhi government to operate Evening Shift in Private Schools on leased land for Weaker Section students, transferring MCD school staff and students.
MCD schools that have low enrollment of below 500 or have poor infrastructure or are more than 200 meters from Bus or Metro Stations be returned to RWAs for building Community Centers, Clubs & Playgrounds.
7. PDS: -  Super Bazaar, Kendriya Bandar, RWA Co-operatives Mother Dairy, were common in 1960-80 supplying food and essential commodities and all RWAs to have a Co-operative Stores for 1000 population for supplying food and essential commodities.
Delhi government to support Collective Procurement Centers inNeighboring States to source supplies directly from farmers for Cooperatives and PDS avoiding 4-5 middlemen in supply of essential commodities.
Farmers Co-operatives in neighboring states be licensed to operate2000 Nos 3T trucks for Morning Fresh Fruit & Vegetable distribution from 5AM to 8AM and 500 such trucks for door to door supply between 11AM and 4PM.
8. Disneyland: -  Safdarjung Airport site is ideal for 'Disneyland',Delhi may lease around 100 acres of land to 'Disneyland Company' for Development.
Public Utility Commission for Delhi On Expert Advise & RWA Consultations Shall Integrate and Re-Model Public Utilities At Par With Developed Countries in 1-3 years.
Thank you,
Ravinder Singh*
Inventor & Consultant
Y-77, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110016
*Ravinder Singh, WIPO awarded inventor specializing in Power, Transportation, Water, Energy Saving, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Technologies, IT and Projects.

Cong won’t get joke

Cong won't get joke

New Delhi, April 13: The Congress leadership today took care not to rub Mamata Banerjee the wrong way despite its apparent unease over a cartoon episode that led to the arrest of a professor in Bengal.
There were instructions from the top to exercise restraint and spokespersons were told to avoid making any direct comment. At the official briefing, party spokesperson Manish Tiwari repeatedly said he was not aware of the details and making any comment without ascertaining the facts would be undesirable.
He articulated only a general principle that "the Congress otherwise believed in freedom of speech which is intrinsic to the democratic ethos of our country".
Tiwari took pains to explain that he was not passing judgement on the cartoon episode as he did not know the facts.
The party's strategic decision to avoid locking horns with Mamata before the presidential election may have forced its leaders to remain silent.
The Congress's Bengal in-charge Shakeel Ahmed told The Telegraph: "I am not discussing this issue as I don't know the facts." Asked if he agreed in principle with such radical responses from any government, he said: "I won't comment." Several TV channels invited him to debate this issue but he politely declined.
Many other senior leaders refused to entertain queries. One leader said: "Why should we keep defending Mamata? But we are avoiding any criticism also as there is no political gain in confronting her at this stage."
The timing is crucial as the Congress is busy garnering the support of all its allies and other secular parties to install a President and a Vice-President of its choice. The crucial finance bill, too, will come up in the second half of the budget session for passage.
The majority of Congress leaders, however, feel this action was avoidable. One leader said: "At times we suspect somebody has advised her to do things in exactly in the same manner the CPM used to do. Otherwise, why should she ban newspapers in libraries?"

Shah Rukh question hinges on ‘J’ visa K.P. NAYAR

Shah Rukh question hinges on 'J' visa

Washington, April 13: India's high-level intervention over the delay in clearing Shah Rukh Khan's entry into the US has taken place before New Delhi verified if the actor had arrived for his talk at Yale on the right visa.
If it emerges that the actor arrived at New York's White Plains airport on the wrong visa, New Delhi runs the risk of being accused of jumping the gun.
US homeland security department officials are unwilling to reveal what type of visa Khan used in his attempt yesterday to enter the US citing privacy rules which prohibit discussing individual immigration cases.
But it is clear from their conversations on background that US authorities would have been well within their rights to turn away the actor and refuse him entry into America altogether.
Instead, they questioned him for two hours and then let him in after clarifications, although the delay disrupted Khan's entire schedule at Yale, where his otherwise endearing conversation with students, academics and South Asia experts came to be dominated by the airport flap.
External affairs minister S.M. Krishna was scathing in criticism of US authorities in the middle of his visit to Moscow and Krishna's ministerial colleague Rajiv Shukla, a friend of the actor, appears to have swung into action to extricate Khan from the airport.
Since the purpose of his current visit to the US was to speak at Yale, Khan should have secured a "J" visa before leaving India. This category of visa is meant for academic exchange visitors. When Khan was similarly detained at a US airport in 2009, he should have arrived with an "" visa meant for artists invited to perform in America.
It is understood from multiple sources that Khan normally travels to America on a "B-1/B-2" visa which is used by most Indians arriving at US airports. This type of visa allows them to travel for pleasure, tourism, temporary business or medical treatment.
US embassies are more liberal in issuing "B-1/B-2" visas than other categories and they are popular among Indians because such visas are, more often than not, issued for a 10-year period. That eliminates the need for applicants to go through the cumbersome and expensive exercise of repeatedly applying for US visas.
From the point of view of US consular staff, the extended validity of "B-1/B-2" visas, the most popular category, relieves their workload and saves administrative expenses for the state department, a major factor in issuing such visas to Indian applicants for a decade each time.
Homeland security department officials said that even when artists like Khan arrive in the US for cultural events or for academic programmes, the letter of the law requires that they obtain the "appropriate" visas for such travel. They said such additional visas can be obtained without cancelling the "B-1/B-2" visas which can be used for tourism on subsequent occasions.
Explaining the procedure in considerable detail, one official pointed out that journalists, such as this reporter, were told to get "I" category media visas while travelling with Indian Prime Ministers to the US even when they had valid "B-1/B-2" visas.
Although Indian ministers were quick to pander to popular sentiment and criticise the US government's treatment of Khan, it is clear that Indian diplomats here are not getting into any tizzy on this issue, notwithstanding ministerial reaction back home which may suggest otherwise.
Fully aware that there are several aspects to the Khan episode and conscious of the possibility that immigration authorities in White Plains may have a water-tight case, Indian officials here are proceeding with caution.
As a first step, they have asked Khan to send them copies of his passport and visa — or visas — along with details of his invitation and other relevant material. Only after examining the legality of such material will they confront the homeland security department.
Meanwhile, to satisfy political bosses back home, they may give an appearance of acting on ministerial ire.
Indian diplomats also must take into account another factor: Khan's name appears to have raised the red flag when it was punched into the homeland security department's computer.
After September 11, no immigration official will ignore such an alert even if George Washington himself had arrived at the immigration counter instead of Khan. It would be futile for Indian diplomats to argue that the Indian actor should be waved past them because of name recognition when his name alerts them of potential danger, howsoever false.
Islamophobia is a hard fact of contemporary American life and no amount of Indian protests over Khan or former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is going to change that.
In private, one Indian diplomat pointed out that one of the most potent weapons against Barack Hussein Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign was his middle name and the false rumour-mongering that the President was a closet Muslim.
One US diplomat who served in India during the years when Indian Airlines had a monopoly of Indian domestic skies compared American apologies, such as the one made over the furore in India over the White Plains incident, to the state-run airline's apology over the public address system each time its delayed flights finally took off.
"They used to apologise, but we could be certain that the return flight and most subsequent flights would also be delayed. And every time there would be an apology for the inconvenience caused by the delay," the diplomat said.
In a sense, the external affairs minister said as much. "This has become a habit of detention and then apology…. We need an assurance that this won't happen again," Krishna said.
Those who met the actor yesterday said he was furious over his detention although he joked about it during his address at Yale.
One homeland security department official said immigration agents often use their discretion and admit academic exchange visitors who arrive without the mandatory "J" visas, especially if they are in the US on a short visit as in Khan's case, although they are subjected to detailed questioning.
Such discretion is used also when the visitor is not earning any study credit or getting a degree or a certificate for academic activity. This is partly because technically, a visitor using a "J" visa is required to have a "two-year home-country physical presence" after each visit. That could be interpreted to mean that the "J" visa holder must stay in his home country for two subsequent years and may not be allowed re-entry into the US during that period, a requirement that Americans are not keen to impose on people like Khan.
Many performers like him are reluctant to apply for the mandatory "" visa because the criteria for getting that visa have become increasingly rigorous in recent years. The New York Times reported two days ago that there had been a 25 per cent decline in people arriving on "" visas between 2006 and 2010 because of new restrictions.
When actors like Khan are allowed in for professional appearances in the US, assuming they arrive without the required visa, immigration officials are actually bending their own rules and doing the visitors a favour instead of simply sending them back.

Titanic challenge: Dive, don’t damage

Titanic challenge: Dive, don't damage

Calcutta, April 13: Visit the ship by all means but do not plunder or damage its remains.
That is Robert Ballard's plea to the tourists queuing up to dive 12,000 feet into the depths of the north Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Newfoundland, for a view of the wreck of RMS Titanic, which sank on April 15, 1912, on the centenary of history's biggest maritime disaster.
Ballard, 69, deep-sea explorer and oceanographer, had discovered the wreck in September 1985.
To buttress his plea, he has made an hour-long documentary for National Geographic,Save the Titanic, which will be aired across the world. In India, it will air at 10pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday, following a companion show titled Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron.
"The wreckage of the Titanic is a site of tragedy, but at the same time it has an elusive history which has made it the most famous shipwreck of our time," Ballard told The Telegraph over the phone from London.
"The deep sea is the largest museum of human history on the planet, and yet there is no guard at the door. I am deeply concerned about not only the Titanic but all the ancient history that is now at risk."
The Titanic has been progressively stripped of hats, boots, handbags, rings, watches and thousands of other items belonging to the 1,500-plus victims that have become part of public displays or private collections.
The debris field around the wreck contains numerous items that fell from the ship and survived decay. The biggest emotional tug for Ballard is the sight of the shoes.
"It takes about seven years in the ocean for a human skeleton to dissolve, so now what is left behind are the shoes that were attached. All around the Titanic are pairs of shoes — crew's shoes, mothers' shoes with babies' shoes who must have died hand in hand. Those are their tombstones. Their resting place must not be disturbed."
The damage to the structure has been substantial. "We could document the Titanic before people started visiting the site," Ballard said.
"We took photographs and made a mosaic. Years later, after many such (tourist and scavenger) visits, we made a second mosaic. We put the two mosaics side by side and we could see exactly where the submarines were landing because they had crushed the deck."
Ballard's 2004 expedition to assess the state of the wreck revealed many more changes since its discovery. The main mast had been knocked out and sundry objects, such as the ship's bell and light, had been torn off.
In the film, Ballard travels to the Belfast shipyards in Northern Ireland to retrace the path of the doomed ship. As evidence mounts that the sunken ship, under siege by natural forces, careless visitors and rogue salvage operators, might not survive another 100 years, the man who found it teams with the families of victims and survivors to protect its legacy.
Ballard's hero on the Titanic was Thomas Andrews, who designed the ship and was on board representing the builders Harland and Wolff Shipyards.
"He was the one Captain Smith sent to assess the damage after the Titanic hit the iceberg. He reported that the iceberg had opened up five compartments and the Titanic was definitely going to sink," Ballard said.
"But I didn't know there were eight others with him from the company. It turns out that whenever they build a ship they select nine people to represent it on its maiden voyage. It's a great honour to be selected. They all perished. Nobody knew much about them as their bodies were never found and their families would not talk about it. Finally they have come forward to speak on camera."
Ballard asked them how the ship should be treated. "They agreed that the ship should be treated as a memorial to all the people who perished that cold April night."
Ballard's concerns are real. Cashing in on the centenary craze, several tour operators have announced Titanic excursions on submersibles that can withstand the enormous pressures at these ocean depths (around 6,500 pounds per square inch).
According to an advertisement put out by one such agency, the dive, lasting 11 to 12 hours, will cost about $60,000 and through the viewing port, will treat passengers to images, illuminated by powerful lights, of the Titanic's "huge anchors, larger than the submersible, and the capstans, the bridge and the famous grand staircase… the massive boilers, the propellers and the Marconi Room, from which the world's very first SOS was broadcast".
The tourist visits have been criticised as disrespectful, especially by the victims' families. Ballard, who has discovered other shipwrecks such as that of the German battleship Bismarck, says he doesn't mind people visiting the site.
"But you don't have to land on the ship and destroy it. Also you don't leave all your trash down there and you don't just take what you want."
Ballard believes that steps can be taken to preserve the ship's remains.
"Clean the surface and paint the whole of Titanic. You have the technology and the equipment for people to go down and do it. Lower down in the hall, the paint is still there and it means slow erosion. If we really want to preserve human history in the ocean, let us start with the Titanic," he said.

Poverty fall Jharkhand numbers better than Bihar, Chhattisgarh; but chief minister Munda beset with own problems

Poverty fall

Jharkhand numbers better than Bihar, Chhattisgarh; but chief minister Munda beset with own problems

Ranchi, April 13: Controversial as it may have become, Planning Commission data indicates that poverty levels have fallen in Jharkhand in spite of well documented bouts of political instability that have often plagued the Maoist-hit state.
The latest data released by the commission suggests that the number of poor in Jharkhand dipped by 6.2 per cent between 2004-05 and 2009-10, a period which saw two spells of President's Rule and the scam-tainted tenure of Madhu Koda as chief minister.
The decline in poverty in the rural areas has been significant. It dipped by 10 per cent to log 41.60 per cent from 51.60 per cent. However, urban areas display the opposite trend with poverty levels rising to 31.10 per cent from 23.80 per cent.
Jharkhand's performance in poverty alleviation is dismal when compared to states like Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand which have registered a drop of 20, 12.3 and 14.7 per cent, respectively.
But the state's figures look good when compared to neighbouring states like Bihar and Chhattisgarh that have managed to bring down the poverty head count only marginally by 0 .90 and 0.70 per cent.
The latest estimates, based on a new poverty line reached through the Tendulkar methodology, has stirred a debate on the effectiveness of the measure in capturing the actual number of people living below the poverty line.
The Planning Commission's claim that the proportion of BPL persons — who can spend Rs 22.40 per day in rural areas and Rs 28.65 a day in urban areas has gone down by 7 per cent between 2004-05 and 2009-10 — has also come under attack.
But commission member S. Mahendra Dev has defended the approach. "There is some degree of arbitrariness in all poverty lines but once it is defined, it helps as a yardstick," he told The Telegraph.
Regional director of Institute of Human Development Harishwar Dayal said the latest data on Jharkhand's poverty levels was a fair indicator of changing patterns of consumption and migration.
"The data suggests that the poverty level has gone down by around 2 per cent per annum, which is satisfactory. It means that the consumption level of the people has improved," said the St Xavier's College economics professor.
"The increase in urban poverty levels implies that the poor from rural areas have migrated to urban locations in good number and they have not been absorbed in the urban economy," he pointed out and added that since the Tendulkar Committee had drawn the poverty line based on monthly per-capita consumption expenditure, it would suggest that income generation, particularly in rural areas, had improved.
"Even if people migrate they send money back to their homes," Dayal said.
The irony is that the improved social indicators of Jharkhand have left the state government in a quandary as it receives funds from the Centre which takes into account Planning Commission data as the upper limit cap while fixing state-wise allocations for welfare schemes.
"Since, the identification of BPL families has to be done by the state, it finds itself in a dilemma now that it will have to screen the number of poor," the professor pointed out.
No wonder chief minister Arjun Munda was quick to criticise the commission's poverty data, saying the yardstick followed was faulty and that it would bring down the number of BPL families in the state at a time when demands were pouring in from all quarters to include more people in the classification.
"It has failed to capture the actual number of the poor which has grown with the steep price hike. In fact, the Centre's economic policy has created anger among the poor. So, the figures are misleading," he told The Telegraph.
On the rise of urban poor, Munda, however, said that the people had certainly migrated to urban areas from villages, a trend that needed to be stopped for inclusive and overall growth of the state.
The commission's data also suggest that among various social groups, STs recorded the highest levels of poverty (47.4 per cent) nationally, a fertile constituency for Maoists to nurture, especially in states like Jharkhand with a considerable tribal population.

SONAR BANGLE - Joke arrests spread scare


- Joke arrests spread scare
We submit to you that Ambikesh Mahapatra (and) Subrata Sengupta… sent, from the mail of the (co-op society) board, an obscene printout and message in the name of the honourable chief minister at 7.38pm on March 22, 2012, to all the members of the said board. Besides, they visited the house of each board member and maligned the characters of the chief minister and other central ministers and used obscene language. Therefore, we humbly request you to arrange for the strictest of the strict punishment for them
Excerpts from a complaint filed by a man who identified himself as a Trinamul member at East Jadavpur police station. Based on the complaint, the Jadavpur University professor and the retired engineer were arrested at 12.40am on Friday
If you are still not wearing such handcuffs in Bengal, Subha Nava Varsha and read on...
Calcutta, April 13: A Jadavpur University professor and a 72-year-old retired engineer have been arrested for allegedly circulating clips of an Internet joke about chief minister Mamata Banerjee and charged with trying to outrage her modesty.
Fittingly, the police crackdown got off the ground 40 minutes past the appointed hour for the dreaded midnight knock.
The professor and the retired engineer were granted bail this evening though police had sought judicial custody for a fortnight.
By the time the surreal events had ensured that the joke with subtle rapier thrusts, inspired by one of the most loved films of Satyajit Ray, had taken on a life of its own and grown into the talk of the country, the contours of an unsettling picture had emerged in Bengal.
First, you can't laugh in Bengal at the expense of those in power.
"This is very autocratic…. I earlier did not want to use the word 'scary' but I have to admit that this scares me," said economist Abhirup Sarkar, who has been a vocal supporter of the new government on several issues.
Second, even the everyday act of circulating something that you have found humorous could cause you bodily harm and invite police action.
Third, if you happen to be the secretary of your residential society and if someone uses the society's mail to send jokes that the ruling party finds offensive, you are in trouble.
Fourth, the offence of attempting to outrage the modesty of a woman has been given a mystifying definition. The Telegraph is publishing the cartoon (left) so that readers can make up their own mind if it outrages the modesty of anyone and if it is obscene as charged.
Sukanta Chaudhuri, the renowned academic known for measured words, expressed incredulity. "When the chief minister of the state is a woman, then should every criticism of the government now amount to insulting the honour of a woman? Then any speech becomes impossible!" said Chaudhuri, professor emeritus, Jadavpur University.
If you manage to escape or survive all the tribulations mentioned above, you still can be beaten up near your home and forced to sign a confessional statement — the fate that awaited Mahapatra, the chemistry professor, on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.
The arrests, based on a complaint signed by a Trinamul Congress local committee member, took place after the professor was beaten up outside the gates of his co-operative housing society at New Garia, on the south-eastern fringes of the city.
The attackers, some of whom Mahapatra said he recognised, forced him to sign an undertaking that said he was an "active CPM worker" and had forwarded the mail to the other members of the housing society with a "motive".
'I was crying'
"I was crying. I was begging for my life. They kept beating me. I had no option but to give the declarations," he said after being released on bail on Friday evening.
The police booked Mahapatra and Subrata Sengupta, the secretary of the New Garia Development Co-operative Housing Society Ltd, on charges of intent to insult the modesty of a woman through words and gesture, defamation and dissemination through computer of information that they knew was false but was meant to "cause annoyance, inconvenience, criminal intimidation", etc.
The joke has been in circulation on the Net since Mukul Roy was sworn in as railway minister on March 20. Between then and now, those who trawl the Net for jokes on the chief minister would have had ample time to sample the clip. Those who had not read the joke till now were made aware of it today by the police action.
Insiders familiar with the workings of the police in Calcutta said the arrest of a Jadavpur University professor could not have taken place without the chief minister's knowledge.
"Usually, before a formal complaint has been registered, we try to assess the motive of the accused. If we see no malice, the person is let off with a warning," said an officer at Lalbazar.
ID apology
Mahapatra, the assistant secretary of the housing society, had forwarded the mail on April 3. Three days later, he sent an apology to all the recipients because he realised he should not have used the housing society's official ID to forward a joke.
Retired engineer Sengupta, who repeatedly pleaded with the attackers to spare Mahapatra last night, was arrested because the mails from the society's official ID were deemed to have been sent on his behalf.
An officer of the East Jadavpur police station said they responded to a call last night and went to New Garia. "We got a call at the police station saying someone who had tried to malign the chief minister had been caught. A team was sent to the spot and the accused taken to the police station."
A senior officer of the south suburban division added: "By the time the accused had been brought to the police station, a section of the people who had handed them to the police had reached the police station and lodged a complaint."
Mischief, says CM
The chief minister appeared to defend the arrest. At the foundation stone-laying for a private medical college in Durgapur, she said: "If someone commits some mischief, what will police do? Won't they arrest him? And if somebody is arrested, the CPM's two channels and a handful of newspapers will start a slander campaign against us. They will show it through the day."
Sending a message to the CPM, she added: "I will feed you well, dress you well, let you sleep in a cool room and ensure all comforts but you have to go to sleep for 10 years."
Mahapatra said he used to send mails on Sengupta's behalf as the latter was not savvy with computers. "I had forwarded the mail to 60-odd people. But some of my neighbours told me they didn't approve of my using the official ID. So, I mailed an apology to all the members of the society on April 6 for using the co-operative's mail ID."
The beating
Mahapatra was returning home from the university around 8 last night when the alleged Trinamul supporters pounced on him.
Led by a building materials supplier, they had allegedly been harassing the members of the housing society since the afternoon and claiming dues worth Rs 17 lakh. The complex 2km south of Peerless Hospital has 550 houses.
The group had gone there armed with printouts of the joke, although the stated purpose of the visit was collection of dues. Society sources confirmed some outstanding payments but disputed the amount.
Waving the printout, the alleged supporters cried insult to the chief minister. "We know what you are up to," a neighbour of Mahapatra quoted the attackers as saying.
They left in the afternoon and returned late in the evening. Seeing Mahapatra, they screamed "Dhor byata ke (Catch him)."
"There were 20 to 25 people who first asked me why I had sent such a mail. I told them it was a mistake and apologised but they started beating me up mercilessly," the professor said.
The victim turned the culprit when the police came. Sources said the attack and the police complaint appeared "pre-planned because of the speed at which the formal complaint was lodged", almost at the same time as the arrival of the accused at the police station.
Mahapatra and Sengupta were among five men named in the FIR.
Asked why only the two of them had been arrested, an officer of East Jadavpur police station said: "Because they were the ones handed over to us. The complainant held Ambikesh as the main accused. We are conducting a probe against the three others."
Mahapatra, popular among his students and neighbours, told The Telegraph he was a Left supporter but not an activist.
Wife's fears
His wife, who teaches chemistry at a college, said the family had been apprehensive since the change of guard because of his political leanings. "But I could never have imagined him being beaten up the way he was," Jolly Mahapatra said.
Although she was home, she had not realised her husband was under attack until he called her from a police jeep on the way to the police station.
At the Alipore court, the police sought a fortnight's jail custody for the two. "The sections under which they have been booked are bailable," said defence lawyer Sanjeeb Ganguly. Acting chief judicial magistrate Suparna Roy granted them bail.
Mahapatra, who identified Sonar Kella as one of his favourite films, clarified he had apologised only for having used the official ID, not for circulating the joke

जनपक्षधर फिल्मों की बेहतर संभावनाएं

जनपक्षधर फिल्मों की बेहतर संभावनाएं

डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्मों में भी रोचकता और कल्पनाशीलता की ऊंचाई होती है. युवा फिल्मकारों की डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्मों  ने पूरे फिल्म फेस्टिवल के दौरान उनके गहरे राजनैतिक-सामाजिक सरोकार को उजागर किया और फिल्मों को बदलाव का माध्यम बनाने की नई संभावनाओं की ओर संकेत किया...
सातवां गोरखपुर फिल्म फेस्टिवल 
भगतसिंह न इतिहास की वस्तु हैं और न भविष्य के यूटोपिया के माध्यम, बल्कि अपनी शहादत के बाद भी वे जनता के रोजमर्रा के संघर्षों में जिंदा है. अपना देश इसलिए बचा हुआ है कि लोग आज भी भगतसिंह की परंपरा में संघर्ष कर रहे हैं. प्रतिरोध का सिनेमा भी उन्हीं संघर्षों के साथ खड़ा है. मौजूदा दौर में जब कि चंद लोगों का विकास और अरबों का विनाश हो रहा है, ऐसे दौर में सिनेमा समेत कला की तमाम विधाओं को आम आदमी की आवाज बनना होगा.' 23 से 26 मार्च तक आयोजित 7वें गोरखपुर फिल्म फेस्टिवल का उद्घाटन करते हुए जन संस्कृति मंच के महासचिव प्रणय कृष्ण ने यह कहा. 
अभिनेता रघुवीर यादव : जनपक्षधर फिल्मों के पैरोकार
प्रतिरोध का सिनेमा अभियान अब सातवें साल में प्रवेश  कर गया है. 7 वां गोरखपुर फिल्म फेस्टिवल पूरे देश  में आयोजित होने वाला इस तरह का 26वां आयोजन था. इस माह के अंत में बनारस तथा अगले महीनों में आरा, इंदौर, गंगौली हाट में फिल्म फेस्टिवल होने हैं. भिलाई, नैनीताल, लखनऊ, इलाहाबाद, पटना आदि शहरों मे आयोजन तय हैं.
गोरखपुर फिल्म फेस्टिवल के मुख्य अतिथि फिल्म अभिनेता रघुवीर यादव ने कहा कि प्रतिरोध का सिनेमा अभियान के जरिए छोटे शहरों के लोगों तक अच्छे सिनेमा को पहुंचाने और उन्हें जागरूक बनाने का प्रयास बहुत सराहनीय है. समाज के संघर्षों पर फिल्में बनाना जरूरी है. उन्होंने दर्शकों की मांग पर अपनी आवाज में गाने भी सुनाए.
दिल्ली से आए चित्रकार सावी सावरकर ने कहा कि प्रतिरोध को जीवन का हिस्सा बनना चाहिए. हम मनुष्य को प्रगति के लिए सौंदर्य की जरूरत होती है. लेकिन हम सौंदर्य के साथ जीवन नहीं जीते, बल्कि पूरा जीवन असौंदर्य को सौंदर्य समझने में बीता देते हैं. उन्होंने कला के क्षेत्र में सबाल्र्टन सौंदर्यशास्त्र के अभाव पर चिंता जाहिर की और दूसरे दिन अपने पॉवर प्वाइंट प्रेजेंटेशन में उन्होंने सोमनाथ होड़ और रामकिंकर बैज के चित्रों की व्याख्या की तथा कहा कि हमारे पास हाशिए के लोगों को चित्रित करने की एक लंबी परंपरा है, जिसे नए चित्रकारों को आगे बढ़ाना चाहिए.  
पहले दिन के दूसरे सत्र में प्रसिद्ध दलित लेखक शरण कुमार लिंबाले की आत्मकथा 'अक्करमाशी' पर आधारित लोकेश जैन की एकल नाट्य प्र्रस्तुति मानो इसी सौदर्यशास्त्र की एक बानगी थी. उत्तराखंड के मशहूर रंगकर्मी जहूर आलम के अनुसार प्रतिरोध का सिनेमा कारपोरेट प्रायोजकों और सरकारी मदद के बजाए जनता के चंदे से चल रहा है, इसी कारण इसका वैचारिक तेवर बरकरार है. 
फिल्मोत्सव आयोजन समिति के अध्यक्ष प्रो. रामकृष्ण मणि त्रिपाठी ने कहा कि डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्मों में भी रोचकता और कल्पनाशीलता की ऊंचाई होती है. इसी कारण इस बार कई युवा फिल्मकारों की डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्मों को फेस्टिवल में शामिल किया गया. सचमुच युवा फिल्मकारों की डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्मों  ने पूरे फिल्म फेस्टिवल के दौरान उनके गहरे राजनैतिक-सामाजिक सरोकार को उजागर किया और फिल्मों को बदलाव का माध्यम बनाने की नई संभावनाओं की ओर संकेत किया.
लोकेश जैन : संघर्ष की प्रतिभा
फिल्मों के प्रदर्शन की शुरुआत डॉ. गौरव छाबड़ा की फिल्म 'इंकलैब' से हुई जो भगतसिंह और गांधी दोनों की वैचारिक भूमिकाओं को आज के संदर्भ से देखती है और बदलाव के स्वप्न, आकांक्षा की अभिव्यक्ति के लिए एक ताकतवर माध्यम की जरूरत को भी चिह्नित करती है. डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्में किस तरह जनता के संघर्षों के लिए एक ताकतवर माध्यम हो सकती हैं, दूसरे दिन प्रदर्शित युवा फिल्मकारों की फिल्मंे इसी का उदाहरण थीं. 
इस व्यवस्था में आम आदमी के लिए न्याय पाना कितना दुष्कर है, इस कटु सच्चाई को सुमित खन्ना निर्देशित फिल्म 'ऑल  इज फॉर  योर ऑनर' ने बड़े कारगर तरीके से दर्शाया. ऑनर किलिंग की त्रासदी से गुजरे परिवारों से मुलाकात के जरिए बनाई गई नकुल सिंह स्वाने की डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्म 'इज्जत नगर की असभ्य बेटियां' तथा आजमगढ़ के नौजवानों को आतंकवादी बताने की राजनीतिक साजिश के खिलाफ फिल्मकार शकेब अहमद की फिल्म 'दास्तान-ए-खामोशी आजमगढ़' ने अपने वक्त के ज्वलंत सवालों को बड़े संवदेनशील तरीके से उठाया. 
कुंडकुलम परमाणु सयंत्र के खिलाफ हो रहे जनांदोलन पर आधारित अमुधन आर पी की फिल्म 'कुंडकुलम', विदर्भ के किसानों की आत्महत्या के कारणों पर केंद्रित नंदन सक्सेना और कविता बहल की फिल्म 'कॉटन फॉर  माई श्राउड', शैक्षणिक संस्थाओं में दलित छात्रों के साथ किए जाने वाले भेदभाव और उत्पीड़न के खिलाफ उनके संघर्ष को अभिव्यक्त करती राजेश, निखिला, नागेश्वर, शोंरिछोन, श्वा कुमार निर्देशित तमिल डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्म 'आई एम नागेश्वर राव स्टार' तथा एक अच्छी खबर की तलाश के जरिए अपने दौर की व्यवस्था को प्रश्नचिह्नित करती अल्ताफ माजिद की असमिया फिल्म 'भाल खबर' दर्शकों को काफी विचारोत्तेजित करने वाली फिल्में थीं. 
तीसरे दिन की शुरुआत बच्चों की फिल्म 'स्टैनले का डब्बा' से हुई, जिसकी कहानी संसाधनों के अभाव में पलते एक अनाथ बच्चे के खाने के डब्बे के इर्द-गिर्द घूमती है. जहां इस फिल्म में निर्देशक अमोल गुप्ते की निगाह एक अनाथ बच्चे पर थी, वहीं प्रसिद्ध नारीवादी चिंतक और इतिहासकार उमा चक्रवर्ती की पहली फिल्म 'छुपा हुआ इतिहास' इतिहास की उपेक्षा  की शिकार एक स्त्री सुब्बुलक्ष्मी की जिंदगी पर केन्द्रित  थी और जिसके जरिए दर्शक स्वाधीनता आंदोलन के उस वक्त के इतिहास से तो अवगत हुए ही, उस स्त्री का जो 'छुपा हुआ इतिहास' था, उससे भी रूबरू हुए. 
पूर्वांचल की खतरनाक बीमारी इनसेफलाइटिस, जिसके कारण पिछले तीस साल में  हजारों बच्चों की  अकाल मौत हो चुकी है, इस त्रासदी पर आधारित गोरखपुर डायरी श्रृंखला के तहत संजय जोशी और मनोज कुमार सिंह निर्देशित डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्म 'खामोशी' का पहला प्रदर्शन इस फिल्म फेस्टिवल में हुआ. मनोज कुमार सिंह ने बताया कि इस फिल्म को पूरे पूर्वांचल में दिखाये जाने की योजना है ताकि इस बीमार के इलाज के लिए उदासीन प्रशासन और सरकारों पर जनदबाव बन सके. 
उड़ीसा के फिल्मकार सूर्या शंकर दाश की 'सुलगती जमीन की कहानियां' शीर्षक वाली छोटी फिल्में उड़ीसा में जल जंगल जमीन पहाड़ पर हक-अधिकार के लिए आदिवासियों के संघर्ष और कारपोरेट कंपनियों, सरकार, प्रशासन और मीडिया की साजिशों और दमन को बड़ी कुशलता से सामने लाने और जनांदोलनों मे फिल्म माध्यम की प्रभावशाली भूमिका को रेखांकित करने में कामयाब रहीं. सूर्याशंकर दाश ने कहा कि वे स्पष्ट तौर पर जनता के आंदोलन के पक्षधर फिल्मकार हैं और यह पक्षधरता कतई गलत नहीं है. ये फिल्में जनता के संघर्ष पर हैं और उनके संघर्षों को ताकतवर बनाने के लिए हैं. 
रोहित जोशी और हेम मिश्रा की फिल्म 'इंद्रधनुष उदास है' ने भी उत्तराखंड के संदर्भ में आर्थिक उदारीकरण के विकास माडल पर सवाल खड़ा किया और चिह्नित किया कि इसी के कारण उस इलाके में भूस्खलन की घटनाएं बढ़ी हैं. लघु फिल्मों की श्रृंखला में लुइस फ़ॉक्स की फिल्म 'स्टोरी ऑफ़  स्टफ' ने चीजों के निर्माण, उनकी कीमत और वितरण की प्रक्रिया के जरिए जनविरोधी उपभोक्तावादी अर्थनीति की समझ को बड़े सरल तरीके से समझाया. 
बर्ट हान्स्त्र की 'ग्लास' और 'जू' तथा 'राबर्ट एनरिको की 'ऐन आकुरेंस एट आउल क्रीक ब्रीज' जैसी फिल्में दर्शकों की कलात्मक बोध को समृद्ध करने वाली फिल्में थीं. इंकलाबी शायरों की रचनाओं को बड़े पोपुलर तरीके से गाने वाले पाकिस्तान के लाल बैंड की म्यूजिक वीडियो को दर्शकों ने काफी सराहा. भारतीय फिल्म के निर्माण में दादा साहब फाल्के की ऐतिहासिक भूमिका पर केंद्रित दस्तावेजी फिल्म 'हरिशचंद्राची फैक्टरी' भी इस बार के फिल्मोत्सव का आकर्षण थी. 
gorakhpur-film-festival-janjwarआखिरी दिन की शुरुआत जो जान्सन निर्देशित आस्कर सम्मान प्राप्त फिल्म 'अक्टूबर स्काई' से हुई. एक कठिन जिंदगी और विकल्पहीनता के बीच से निकलकर वैज्ञानिक बनने वाले एक इंसान की जिंदगी पर यह फिल्म आधारित है, जो बार-बार असफल होने के बावजूद जिंदगी में हार नहीं मानता. फिल्म विधा के छात्र यशार्थ मंजुल की फिल्म 'एक अवाम' भी बेरोजगारी और असफलताओं के बीच एक नौजवान द्वारा जिंदगी के अर्थ तलाशने की कशमकश को सामने लाने वाली फिल्म थी, जिसकी पृष्ठभूमि में हबीब जालिब का एक मशहूर नज्म लगातार चलता है, जो नायक के कशमकश को मुखर करता है. 
इसी तरह एक मीडिया इंस्ट्टियूट की छात्रा अरमां अंसारी की फिल्म 'वीपिंग लूम्स' बुनकरों के पेशे को विषय बनाती है, जिनकी आर्थिक स्थिति आज अच्छी नहीं है. रुचिका नेगी और अमित महंती की डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्म 'मालेगांव टाइम्स' में पावर लूम और सिनेमा के नाजुक रिश्ते की झलक देखने को मिली. 
इनके अतिरिक्त पंकज जोहर की फिल्म 'स्टिल स्टैंडिंग', शबनम बिरमानी की 'हद अनहद', ईशा पॉल और सुशोवन सरकार की 'डर्टी पिक्चर हॉल ', फातिमा एन की 'माई मदर्स डाउटर', तहा सिद्दीकी और जयाद की फिल्म 'डिशेंट ओवरडोज' का भी इस फिल्मोत्सव में प्रदर्शन हुआ. इस फिल्म फेस्टिवल ने युवा फिल्म निर्देशकों, खासकर उदीयमान फिल्म निर्देशकों की बेहतर संभावनाओं की ओर संकेत किया. विषय और शिल्प दोनों लिहाज से ये फिल्में जनता के सिनेमा के भविष्य के प्रति उम्मीद बंधाती हैं.