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Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

GRI - February 2010 3

Cover Reports 3
WAR ON YOUR HEALTH :: Prof. Dr. Leo Rebello 3

On the Himalayan Glaciers controversy 6

Future Electricity Supply Options for India 8

International 12
Central Banks Gear up for Financial Inclusion 12

Iran: End Persecution of Baha’is 12

Dr Christopher Noonan will soon commence as Chief Trade Adviser (CTA) for Forum Island Countries (FICs) 14

URGENT ACTION APPEAL - Amnesty International USA 14

Trapped mongoose in Samoa 15



International PEN celebrates 50th anniversary of Writers in Prison Committee with year-long campaign 17

Reports 19
DoPT has no say in Appointment of Information Commissioners, claims Secretary 19

India: Minority human right Defender threatens to raise the issue of the minority weaver. 20

Mau District Administration doesn’t give a fig for the Constitution of India (Right to Information Act 2005) 21

Right to Shelter vis-à-vis the Latest Delhi High Court judgment 22

Students' views on demand for separate states 23

Senior Citizens to get 5 % property tax rebate in Mumbai 27

Prevention and Punishment of Sectarian Violence and Rehabilitation of Victims Law, 2010 28

Dr Ghazal Srinivas creates Another Guinness World Record Singing in 125 World Languages 28

Seema is a human right worker, not a ‘Naxali’ (Letter to the National Human Right Commission, New Delhi) 29

Lift accidents in Mumbai-Pune: RTI documents reveal underlying causes 30

Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) demands withdrawal of false cases booked against Christian youth in
September 2008 32

Columns 33
Don’t make a mash of it: Sunita Narain (CSE) 33


Citizen power to get FIR registered 34 1
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Food insecurity, Price rise and derailed Governance 37


Rage against road kills 39

No peace without justice (displaced Muslims in the Gujarat state) 39

Aid policy for elderly in India : Revision of NPOP 41


About Ground Report India 44

Publication Policies: 44

Email Policies: 45

Disclaimer: 45 2
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

GRI - February 2010

Cover Reports

WAR ON YOUR HEALTH :: Prof. Dr. Leo Rebello

Our modern world is not only crazier than we think, but crazier than we can possibly imagine. This can be proved by the following

• The Court in Minnesota orders a parent to poison her 13-year-old boy with chemotherapy as it believes chemo is the only
treatment for cancer that works (parental and child rights be damned).

• London-based epidemiologist Malcolm Law says that all those above 55 years be put on toxic blood pressure drugs,
regardless of the health status of the person. He says that the “polypill” (containing statin) would be an effective way to cut
the number of heart attacks and strokes.[1]

• Massachusetts Senate passes a law allowing mandatory vaccinations of all citizens and a $1,000 / day fine for those who
refuse. It also legalizes health care "interrogations" of citizens, forced entry into their homes, "involuntary transportation" of
people into quarantine camps, etc.

• Soy protein is contaminated with a toxic chemical solvent Hexane that’s a byproduct of gasoline refining. Hexane (a lethal
neurotoxin) is found in soy protein that’s used in infant formula, protein bars, and other soy products.
Austrian investigative journalist, Jane Burgermeister, filed a lawsuit in Vienna (in July 2009) against the companies (Baxter
and Avir), which are preparing the vaccine against the resulting pandemic on the grounds that they are preparing a global genocide
designed to substantially reduce the world’s population. [2]

This sinister agenda goes back to the Rockefeller family, which had supported the Nazi’s racial agenda and which today controls
virtually 100% of the US bioengineering industry, as well as the UN.

As part of the Population Control Pogrom, various wars, in the name of Health, are waged against you. Like the carpet-bombing of
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, vaccines, drugs, carcinogens, steroids, statins, anti-retrovirals, antibiotics, aspartame, fluoride and
other chemicals are pumped into you. More people are killed in normal times, in hospitals – by devils called doctors -- than all the war
casualties put together.

Under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, upon the declaration of a “public health emergency,” public health officials
can: * Force individuals with “infectious disease” to undergo medical examinations. * Force persons to be vaccinated, treated, or
quarantined for infectious diseases. * Control public and private property during a public health emergency, including nursing homes,
other health care facilities, and communications devices. * Mobilize all or any part of the “organized militia into service to help
enforce the state’s orders.” * Impose fines and penalties to enforce their orders.

The arrogant medical scientists instead of educating the parents what causes genetic disorders are trying to create artificial sperm and
artificially inseminate a woman. But they won’t inform that junk food, drugs, tobacco, alcohol cause a loss in sperm quality in the first
place. They will also keep mum that after a hundred years of medical domination, they have yet to create a single cure for anything:
Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, Alzheimer's, kidney stones or a thousand other health conditions.

These ‘sickos’ who cannot think beyond insane profits, have also turned pregnancy (a natural phenomenon) into a disease -- evidenced
by the way pregnant women are rushed into hospitals for all sorts of poking, prodding and blood testing. There is no willingness in
modern medicine to simply let pregnancy, childbirth or fertility happen naturally. It’s all about intervention and profits.

It is high time, says Robert Butts that we can solve any high profit problem by deprofitising the problem. But the septuagenarian
committed to Water Cure and Salt Treatment [3], like several others, does not understand the cloak and dagger Laws of the
Pharmaceutical Industry.

The governing principles of the medicine mafia

1. By last count, the medicine mafia has produced some 30,000 diseases.

2. ‘Pharma Industry’ was strategically developed over an entire century by the same investment groups that control the global
petrochemical and chemical industries. 3
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

3. The huge profits of this industry are based on the patenting of new drugs. These patents essentially allow drug manufacturers
to arbitrarily define the profits for their products.

4. A key strategy to accomplish this goal is the development of drugs that merely mask symptoms while avoiding the curing or
elimination of diseases.

5. They expand their market by continuously hoodwinking the patients. For example, Bayer’s pain pill Aspirin is now taken by
over 50 million healthy US citizens under the illusion it will prevent heart attacks.

6. Another key strategy is to cause new diseases with drugs. For example, all cholesterol-lowering drugs on the market are known
to increase the risk of developing cancer.

7. The known deadly side effects of prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the industrialized world. [4]

8. Prevention and root cause cure of diseases decrease long-term profitability; therefore, they are avoided or even obstructed by
this industry.

9. To protect its investment business against the threat from effective, natural and non-patentable therapies, the pharmaceutical
industry has – over an entire century - used the most unscrupulous methods, such as:

(a) Withholding life-saving health information from millions of people; for example, Vitamin C is available in fruits,
vegetables and herbs (God’s pharmacy) in plenty and it can prevent and cure cancers without any costly intervention.

(b) Discrediting natural health therapies – this is done through global campaigns that spread lies about the alleged side effects
of natural substances used for millennia. Or lies of homeopathy being placebo, etc.

(c) Banning by law the dissemination of information about natural health therapies. To that end, the ‘Big Pharma’ has placed
its lobbyists in key political positions in key markets and leading drug export nations.

10. Pharma business is the biggest con in human history. The product “health” promised by drug companies is not delivered.
Instead, the “products” most often delivered are the opposite: new diseases and frequently, death of millions.

11. The survival of ‘pharma’ is dependent on the elimination of effective natural health therapies. Yes, these traditional and
natural therapies have become the treatment of choice for millions of people despite the combined economic, political and
media opposition of the world’s largest investment industry.

You see we are doing everything to help you is the usual refrain. Fluoridation, for example, gives you Germ Free Aqua Pura. Let us
look at this claim.

Fluoridation is a practice in which a relatively small number of people, with limited scientific qualifications, are intent on
fluoridating drinking water supplies worldwide with very little to no understanding of fluoride’s toxicology. [5]

The worldwide ambitions of this dental lobby was revealed in November 2006 when the WHO (supported with a lot of cash from the
US as well as the sugar lobby), IADR (for whom the fluoridation practice represents the gravy train for dental research) and the FDI
(funded by the toothpaste, sugar, pharmaceutical and chemical industries) organized the “Global Consultation on Oral Health
through Fluoride” in Geneva and Ferney Voltaire, 17-19 November 2006. These bodies (WHO, IADR and FDI) issued a declaration
containing this preposterous phrase: “universal access to fluoride for dental health is a part of the basic human right to health.”

Fluoride was first used in the concentration camps of WW2 to keep the prisoners subdued and sterile. If you do not believe they
mean to calm us all by this method, please consider the fact that moods altering medications or calmers, such as, Prozac, are around
94% fluoride. So, a very expensive to dispose of, toxic waste, is bought by our taxes to add to the water to help our teeth.

In the mean time, more and more people die of cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes etc., fertility is reduced lowering the birth rate. Someone
who dies from smoking-induced cancer is listed as dying from cancer, not smoking. Someone who has fluoride induced cancer...cancer
instead of fluoride poisoning.

Laws have been made to protect the pharma and water companies from lawsuits for mishaps or damages. Even fluorosis of the teeth
(affecting approx. 78% of children in Ireland) is listed as being cosmetic, not treatable under the NHS dental services.

Eleanore Dunn, Nutritionist, comments: “All these things lead to the destruction of the probiotics, the metabolizers in our
bodies that make the elements bio-available. Everything alive on the planet needs probiotics to survive. We need to focus on this issue
since it is the root cause of all of the diseases. We need to clean the water with hydrogen peroxide since a virus, bacteria, pathogen or
cancer cannot survive in a liquid oxygen environment. This is the cure for swine flu, cancer, AIDS, etc. and is so easy to prove
scientifically. Just have them test the rainwater for probiotics as they create our hydrogen peroxide, the immune system”. 4
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Now since they say Swine Flu is raging, let us do quick calculations. Assuming you believe the vaccine works, it turns out you would
have to vaccinate 200,000 people to prevent the death of just one person from swine flu. And vaccinating 200,000 people would
probably result in the harm or death of several just from the vaccine side effects. But it will mean trillions of dollars of profit.

If any further proof of ‘pharma con’ is required, this message received on 1st Sept. 2009, via email should put the nail in the coffin of
the killer ‘Big Pharma’.

I am the author of the book "The Medical Mafia". [6] Among the many topics mentioned in this volume, I was revealing the
ineffectiveness and dangers of vaccination. At that time, I was a practicing physician in Quebec, Canada, under the name of
Ghislaine Lanctôt, and the owner of numerous medical clinics. Because of my professional status, my words weighed significantly in
the public eye. The Medical Board’s reaction was immediate and strong. Its leaders demanded that I resign as a physician. I answered
that I would do so as long as they could prove that what I had written was false. The Medical Board replied with a call for my

An 11-day trial followed (1995), where I appeared without any lawyer. The arguments rested mainly on vaccination. As I witnessed the
disproportionate reaction of the Medical Board, I realized that, for the health establishment, the subject of vaccination was taboo. I
discovered that, despite official claims, vaccines have nothing to do with public health. Underneath the governmental stamp of
approval, there are deep military, political and industrial interests.

Throughout the trial, the Medical Board brought many physicians as public health “experts”. During the cross-examination of one of
these, Dr. Richard Massé, I used an episode from the March 11, 1979, 60 Minutes TV show from CBS. This episode talked about the
tragic and massive vaccination in USA during the 1976 swine flu outbreak.

None of the physicians at the trial took this information seriously. Since this trial, these same physicians have continued their career in
public health and now hold honorable positions. They are the very ones who are pushing the public toward a new worldwide
epidemic. This A(H1N1) pandemic is concocted and orchestrated by the WHO, and serves the same military, political and industrial
interests as those of 1976.

I am emerging from a long silence on the subject of vaccination, because I feel that, this time, the stakes involved
are huge. The consequences may spread much further than anticipated. Here are the most important ones:

* Compulsory inoculation of vaccines containing a deadly virus.

* Massive and targeted reduction of the world population.

* Through vaccines, possible introduction of tiny microchips for mind control.

* Establishment of martial law and police state.

* Activation of the concentration camps built to accommodate the rebellious.

* Transfer of power from all nations to a single .New World Order.

“Ghislaine Lanctôt has decided to take sanyas. She has given up her identity cards, bank accounts, insurance, driver’s license and has
decided to let her Canadian passport lapse and was just released from jail. I wonder how this 66-year old lady will survive. This is how
Medicine Mafia operates” wrote Thomas Victor, an Indian-American Health Activist, in Sept. 2009.

Louis Pasteur, originator of the “Germ Theory” of disease on which the concept of vaccines are predicated, recanted his entire
theory on his death bed when he capitulated to his biggest critic, Antoine Beauchamp, by saying “The germ is nothing, the terrain is
everything". By “terrain” Pasteur was referring to the amount of dissolved oxygen in the body. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in
1931 for his discovery that no virus, no pathogen can survive in an oxygen rich environment. This finding has been massively
suppressed by the pharmaceutical industry, which is the biggest con of our times and yet it has the stranglehold of “religion” on the
minds of even well educated people.

Virologist Bill Deagle was approached by the CIA a few years ago wanting his help to develop a weaponized flu and weaponized
vaccine for population control purposes. After pouring over their documents he refused to help them and at the risk to his life became
a whistleblower. [7]

How many of you know that Codex Alementarius has come into effect on the midnight of 31st December 2009,
which will mean: Quality nutrients would be banned and only foods that were GMO, irradiated, hormone or antibiotic infused etc.
would be available? Toxic chemicals presently banned would be allowed, and, of course, pharmaceuticals not touched at all.

Mahesh Bhatt, an Indian filmmaker, adds a new dimension to the growing rage against GM food. In the film, Poison on the Platter,
he says the health hazards of genetically modified food would dwarf all catastrophes like nuclear attack, floods, cyclones and the world 5
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
wars. It is bioterrorism, he emphasizes, and it has the potential to wipe out life from the planet, in its entirety. After all, he argues,
everyone needs food and if that is poisoned, what could be more devastating?
Harm from GM food is not a myth, says Bhatt as he portrays the havoc wrought by the GM food supplement L-Tryptophan on
American Citizens. Jeffrey Smith, author of Genetic Roulette, proves it led to scores of deaths and thousands were taken ill by the time
the source of the problem was discovered.

Dr. Gregory Damato gives an idea about what GM food can do to us. (a) There is no increase in yield with GM. (b) Gene insertion
has unintended cascading effects. (c) One gene insertion can have more than one uncontrolled effect. (d) Decrease in fertility, very
serious and deep-rooted immunological changes, and allergies. (e) A single gene insertion caused uncontrolled changes in 1016 genes
of mice under experimentation. (f) The after effects were more pronounced in the third generation. (g) Emergence of newly expressed
proteins with allergenic potential.

We need to wake up to fight this war on our health, now, for tomorrow may be too late.

3. www.watercure2.
4. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 15, 1998.
5. www.FluorideAlert.Org
7. Jeff Rense interviews Bill Deagle on
Additional Resources
Dr. Leonard Horowitz:
Dr. Leo Rebello:

Article by:
Prof. Dr. Leo Rebello

(This is an abridged version of the Chapter of eponymous title from Dr. Leo Rebello’s inspiring book “World without Wars”.
For more details see his popular website:

On the Himalayan Glaciers controversy

A huge controversy has been generated in recent days over the much quoted lines in the IPCC’s 2007 report: “Glaciers in the
Himalaya are receding faster than in any part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by
the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate” (Working Group 2, page 493). We do
need to question how a statement of such magnitude, without peer review, made its way into the IPCC report. That it was discovered,
externally, more than two years later raises concerns about both the mindset and the weakness of the processes of the IPCC in
checking and correcting information they collate, information that is so vital in the global debate. However, to question the credibility
of the science of the global warming, supported as it is by a wealth of empirical evidence, or to question IPCC’s work, as is happening
in some quarters, is gross exaggeration and sometimes driven by dubious and malafide intentions.

More importantly, the ongoing debate ignores four key issues:

one, that glacial melting, happening extensively in many regions and altitudes of the Himalayas, is already impacting people’s lives in
the Indian Himalayan states;

two, science ignores people’s own perceptions of their reality and their context;

three, the critics have not properly placed the issue in the overall context and fragility of glaciers globally; and

four, that the situation is going to unavoidably worsen, hence deepening an unfolding crisis of access to water.

Since the Earth’s average warming gets amplified into much higher levels of warming in the mid-level Himalayas and at higher
altitudes, the impacts there are already huge and varied. At a public hearing on ‘Impacts of Climate Change on the Himalayan
Region’, organized by Oxfam India in late 2009, people from different Himalayan communities presented testimonies of extensive
melting, receding and disappearance of small glaciers in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand based on
their lived experience over the years. One professional guide who has traversed high altitudes for many years talked of the
disappearance of numerous small glaciers over the last 20 years in J&K. Small glaciers, said another speaker, have disappeared from
the Sarva Valley. Sigri and Chhotadhara glacier, both in Himachal, are receding rapidly. The Dhani Nara glacier, also in Himachal 6
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Pradesh, does not exist any more. Numerous presenters talked of lessening and irregular snowfall in recent years. This has obvious
impacts on glacial mass and melting in the medium term. Women spoke of how water sources have dried up, already causing distress
in their daily lives, impacting drinking water access and water supply for agriculture.

People’s observations of their lived reality over time and of the impacts of global warming on their lives need to be given greater space
and credence than is being done at the moment by formal science. This is particularly relevant in the area of glacial melting in the
Himalayas given that many authorities, including the minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh, have acknowledged that
Himalayan glaciers have been little studied. Why has the Himalayan glaciers issue received such inadequate attention until now? Of
the thousands of glaciers in the Indian Himalayas, reliable baseline data exists for relatively few. In the absence of baseline data, it
would be crucial to tap the lived experience of people who have lived in the vicinity of glaciers for decades.

Focusing on the erroneous date 2035 alone glosses over the already precarious state of glaciers worldwide, including in many parts of
the Himalayas. A study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service in 2005 of 442 glaciers stated that 90% of them were receding. The
much respected glaciologist Lonnie Thompson has said recently that of the 800 Himalayan glaciers being monitored, 95% are
receding (Guardian, 20 January 2010). That tropical glaciers are receding worldwide are indicative of the fate of subtropical
Himalayan glaciers. Ren, Jiawen, et al state: “Many glaciers on the South slope of the central Himalaya have been in retreat, and
recently their retreat rate has accelerated … due to reduced precipitation and warmer temperatures” (Annals of Glaciology, vol. 43,
no. 1, Sept 2006). Anil Kulkarni, et al’s oft-quoted study of 466 glaciers in the Baspa, Parbati and Chenab basins indicates greater
fragmentation of glaciers, and reduction in glacial area by 21% since the mid-20th century (Current Science, vol. 92, no. 1, 10 Jan
2007). A study of mass balance of glaciers, of “all published Himalayan-Karakoram measurements” shows that overall “they are
more negative after 1995”. Though increase in mass loss rate “need not be true of every part of the region … the mass loss rate is
consistent with the global average (Jeffrey Kargel, et al, ‘Satellite-era Glacier Changes in High Asia’, AGU conference, December
2009). Dobhal and Mehta’s study of the Dokriani glacier in the Bhagirathi basin says that “The present snout … is continuously
retreating, like other glaciers of the Himalaya” (Himalayan Geology, n.d.).

Glaciers have also been thinning at high altitudes. Lonnie Thompson, in an interview to Nature said: “Back in 2006, we drilled three
cores in the southwestern Himalayas. At 6,050 metres, where these glaciers reach their highest elevation, we found that … the glaciers
are being decapitated. Not only are they retreating up the mountain slopes, but they are thinning from the top down” (Nature Reports
Climate Change, 9 July 2009).

This precarious state of glaciers is going to unavoidably worsen because of further global warming in the pipeline, since there is a
25-30 year lag between emissions and warming. As it is, the drying of water sources is being exacerbated by indiscriminate damming
of rivers and creation of run-of-the-river projects in the Himalayan states, in the face of considerable resistance from people across
these states. All of this is going to worsen the water crisis unfolding for the poor, particularly poor women, in the Himalayas. Any
debate on the Himalayan glaciers needs to keep them at its centre.

Rather than view glaciers collectively, it would be more appropriate to view them in a disaggregated way, since impacts on specific
glaciers affect specific communities and people dependent on them. Not only is there a compelling need to carry out a comprehensive
study of Himalayan glaciers in cooperation with other nations who are part of this rich ecosystem, the process also needs to have the
people as a vital and engaged constituent. And the resultant information needs to be in the public domain.

Melting glaciers and the more irregular rainfall patterns in recent years makes the creation of appropriate small and large water
harvesting structures absolutely urgent. In which both the government and local organizations have a crucial role to play. The
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) can be usefully deployed towards this end, but this requires greater political
will by local elites and the administration at different levels than they have displayed thus far. There is clearly an urgent need to
anticipate and prepare for acute water stress in the Himalayan region and beyond.

Article by:
Delhi Platform
Nagraj Adve
---------------------------------- 7
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Future Electricity Supply Options for India

The country is facing multitude of problems in power sector. Despite huge investments since independence and considerable increase
in generating capacity, electricity is still out of reach for about 40% of the population. In the backdrop of escalating demand for
electricity, the social, economic and environmental implications of large addition of conventional power stations, the very need for
huge extension of grid based electricity supply systems need to be carefully reviewed not only from the point of sustainability of the
present practices, but also from the perspective of looming crisis of Global Warming. Inequity and injustice being meted out to the
rural poor because of the inherent shortcomings of the centralized system of electricity supply need to be at the centre of our policy

The country is facing multitude of problems in power sector. The electricity scenario in the country since independence has been a
sad story of power cuts, both scheduled and unscheduled; low & high voltages; frequent collapse of the grid either locally or at state
level or at regional level; unsatisfactory customer service; poor operational & financial performance; electricity injustice between rich
and poor, and between urban and rural populations; the escalating demand from the urban population for electricity; poor quality of
power even during few hours of nominal supply; ever increasing electricity prices; unsustainable subsidies; mounting losses of the
supply companies; fast dwindling coal reserves; increasing uncertainty in the availability of gas and nuclear fuel for power generation;
growing concern on the socio-environmental impacts of large power projects including dams and the consequent opposition to new
power projects; huge inefficiency of the existing facilities etc.

Despite the massive investments in the power sector since independence, the successive governments have been arguing that due to
low per capita electricity consumption of about 650 kWH (in 2009)in the country, which is one of the lowest in the world, there is a
need for massive addition to the installed capacity in order to provide electricity to all. However, the socio-environmental impacts of
large power projects are posing serious obstacles in the form of strong opposition in the implementation of such additions. Though
there have been massive additions to the installed capacity since independence about 40% of the households in the country is still
without access to electricity. While the per capita consumption of electricity of urban India is escalating the rural communities are
struggling even to get electricity for basic needs. Such disparity between the urban and rural communities is seriously affecting the
overall development of the country, because the per capita consumption of electricity of a small section of the urban rich is reaching
the level of developed economies, and demanding more of installed generation capacity.

Energy consumption is closely associated with a substantial part of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions leading to Global Warming.
Of various forms of energy electricity alone is responsible for about 42% of global CO2 emissions and about 24% of all GHG
emissions. Though the official stand of the govt. has been that its per capita electricity consumption will not exceed that of the
developed countries, the total GHG emissions of India’s large population, even if the per capita consumption were to reach only 25%
of the largest consumer nation, will be huge. In the backdrop of such Climate Change concerns, even though there is clearly a huge
disparity between the countries in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, the question is whether India should continue with the
fossil fuel driven economic development pathway. Table 1 gives an indication of per capita emission and electricity consumption.

Whereas the grid based centralized generation system based on large size fossil fuel based or dam based power stations has failed to
meet the basic energy needs of the majority of the country’s rural population, the same is proving to be very costly to the society in the
form of economic, social and environmental impacts. The escalating growth of conventional electricity power plants based on fossil
fuels and dams in the country are not only adversely impacting the rural communities around such plants, but also are attracting world
attention because the country is seen to be emerging as one of the biggest contributors to the Global Warming.

The poverty alleviation, rural electrification, decentralized electricity supply system based on renewable energy sources, human
development, mitigation and adoption to Climate Change are all intricately linked, and hence need to be addressed with an integrated
approach. A paradigm shift is needed in the way we look at the future electricity needs of our country.
please See Table 1: Global Electricity Consumption and CO2 Emission (Year 2007)

Indian Electricity Scenario – a bleak picture

The electricity scenario in the country since independence has been such a sad story that the sector has been recognized as one of the
main hurdles in adequate development of the society. Even if we leave out the first decade after independence as a point in our
learning curve in managing our own affairs, one cannot look back at the performance of the sector during last five decades with any
pride, except that there has been massive spending in the power sector resulting in phenomenal increase in the installed generating
capacity, transmission & distribution network, and the demand for electricity.

The installed generating capacity has gone up from few thousand MW at the time of independence to a level of hundred fifty
thousand MW, with thermal power providing about 65% of the capacity, hydro providing 25% and the remaining in the form of new
& renewable energy sources with a very small contribution of 2.9% from nuclear power.
Please See Table 2: Fuel-wise Installed Capacity (as on 31.8.09)

Though there have been deficits in electricity supply both during peak demand hours and in annual energy requirement, the problem
generally has been acute in meeting the peak hour demand. Between 1996 and 2009 the peak power deficit has touched a maximum 8
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
of 18% and annual energy deficit has gone upto 11.5%. Power supply position as indicated in the table below for the period
1996-2009 can be viewed as typical for the entire country during last two decades.

All the five regions and almost all the states have been experiencing power cuts. Though power deficits were recorded for every year
during 1996-2009, the total installed capacity and per capita consumption has been increasing continuously. The urban areas have
recorded nearly 100% electrification, and the per capita consumption of a small section of urban elites seem to have reached the level
of that in the developed countries. Between 1996 and 2009 the energy availability in the country went up by nearly 90%; and between
1992 and 2006 the country recorded an increase of 52% in average per capita electricity consumption, but the 40% of the population
remained without access to electricity.
See-Table 3: Power Supply Position in India (Year 1996 to 2009)

The deficits experienced during the last two decades can be attributed to two main reasons. One reason is the huge growth in demand
for electricity, mostly from industries and agriculture. Urban residential load also has seen considerable growth largely because of the
penchant for energy guzzling gadgets like air conditioners, refrigerators, water heaters, computers and many types of entertainment
tools. The other reason is the unbelievable level of inefficiencies at all stages between electricity generation and its end use. India has
been known to be exhibiting one of the lowest levels of efficiency in the overall management of a vital resource like electricity. The
average Plant Load Factor (PLF) of the coal power stations is reported to be about 63% as against best figure of more than 90% in the
best run plants of NTPC. With a total coal power capacity of about 80,000 MW, improved PLF of 85% national average would have
provided additionally about 17,600 MW for usage with the same installed generating capacity. This is in stark comparison of about
18,000 MW peak deficit recorded between 1996 and 2009. There have not been serious efforts to improve the efficiency levels to the
international best practice levels, which alone would have eliminated the deficits completely.
please See- Table 4: Power Sector Efficiency in India

The other blunders of the industry are: the unscientifically targeted subsidies which have become unsustainable; huge losses incurred
by the electricity supply companies, which alone is reported to be about Rs. 25,000 crores a year; corrupt political interference in the
affairs of these companies; lack of social and environmental responsibility for these companies; and poor work practices in these
companies. Such deficiencies for decades have resulted in serious problems for the society as a whole.
As per the Integrated Energy Policy of the Planning Commission “by 2031-32 the power generation capacity must increase to nearly
800,000 MW from the current capacity of about 160,000 MW inclusive of all captive power plants.” Such a large scale addition of
conventional power capacity in a short period will have profound impact on social, environmental and economic aspects of our
society. It is pertinent to note here that the Integrated Energy Policy has also contended that despite the increase of the electricity
generation capacity /supply by 5 to 6 times by 2031-32 the energy security cannot be assured at least until 2050. This indicates the
inadequacy / failure of the grid based centralized electricity supply system to meet the energy demand of a huge population of a
diverse country.
please See Table 5: Major issues for the society with conventional technology power sources

Future Supply Scenario – towards a sustainable supply option

Inherent with a grid based centralized generation system are the need for long lengths of transmission lines, complex network of
distribution systems, and the associated equipment such as transformers. Each of these add to the complexity, reduced reliability and
increased capital & operational costs. Such centralized generation systems also need huge organizational structure with large
manpower leading to human resource issues, including the human induced errors. These centralized generation systems also are found
to be economical only with large size power plants and concentrated loads. But Indian villages are wide spread and cannot provide
any substantial loads individually as in the case of towns and cities. Because of these reasons the rural India, with more than 70%
population, is getting poor electricity supply; villages are the last to get supply but the first to be disconnected in case of shortages.

The total installed generating capacity in the country has gone up from 58,012 MW in 1989 to 1,52,148 MW in 2009, a whopping 162% increase.
Total monthly generation from conventional sources has increased from 43,596 MU in March 2000 to 65,057 MU in March 2008, an increase of about
National per capita electricity consumption has gone up from 283 kWH in 1992-93 to 429 in 2005-06, an increase of 52%.
But 40% of the households, mostly in rural areas, have no access to electricity even in 2009.
{Source: as per Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) & Press Information Bureau, Govt. of India.}

Urgent measures such as improving the generating plant performance; reducing the T&D losses; minimizing the wastage in end usage;
optimize the demand side management (DSM); and maximising energy conservation will be able not only to eliminate the existing
deficits, but also will be able to meet a good portion of the future electricity demand.

The deficiencies, complexities and societal costs inherent in the grid based centralized generation system in India cannot provide any
assurance that the rural-urban divide will be eliminated soon and that the electricity supply at the national level will be satisfactory in
the near future. There is clearly an urgent need for a paradigm shift in our energy policy: instead of blindly adding millions of MW of
additional capacity based on conventional power sources and centralized power supply system, we need to adopt an ‘integrated energy
resource management’ approach which will have renewable energy sources and decentralized supply systems at its core. 9
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
There is growing conviction that in view of the huge societal costs associated with economic, social and environmental aspects of grid
based centralized generation system of conventional power sources, the decentralized electric supply systems based on renewable
energy sources are hugely economical in the long run. They are found to be the best option for the accelerated electrification of
smaller loads and rural house holds. Many recent initiatives in the private sector to provide electricity to un-electrified villages through
stand alone community based renewable energy power plants fed by bio-mass OR wind OR solar OR micro-hydel power have
established that they are the appropriate solution to the energy requirements of most sections of the country. The major advantages
which are associated with these alternatives are the shorter gestation periods, low societal impacts, and their immense suitability to
rural needs. India has huge potential in renewable energy sources, and a combination of two or more such sources (Hybrid systems)
have huge potential to be used in urban areas also, and are already being used in various combinations.

A recent survey by Greenpeace India has indicated a clear divide between rural and urban supply scenario across the country. While
the substantial part of the annual power sector investment is going towards increasing the per capita consumption of the urban areas
the rural population continues to get denied of even the basic electricity supply. A number of pilot projects across the country have
indicated that decentralized supply systems based on renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, bio mass etc. are the best supply
options to most of the rural areas of our country. Many of these renewable energy sources such as solar water heaters have already
become established as good sources of renewable energy in urban areas like Bangalore, while solar photovoltaic panels are getting
widely used in rural areas. Adequate support by the state and central government in the form of well targeted subsidies and/or
suitable tariff policies to encourage feed-in-tariff mechanism has the potential not only to drastically reduce the pressure on the
existing grid but also to reduce the future load on the grid. The decentralized supply systems based on renewable energy sources
appear to be the only way of achieving 100% electrification in the near future.
Table 6 indicates the huge potential of renewable energy sources in the country.
please See Table 6: N&RE potential in India

Huge emphasis is needed on decentralized energy options in the future energy policy. Major options which have
been considered as techno-economically viable are:

1. Roof top solar Photo Voltaic systems, which can meet most of the domestic and smaller loads, such as lighting, TV,
computers etc. These are being increasingly used in countries like Germany and USA not only to meet the domestic
necessities, but for even exporting the excess power to the grid through a mechanism known as Feed-in- tariff.
2. Solar water heaters have established themselves as very effective tools to provide hot water for houses, nursing homes, hotels
etc. at very economical prices. They are found to be very popular in Towns and cities, but can find good use in rural areas
3. Community based bio-mass systems are highly suited for rural areas, which generally have very good supply of bio-mass.
4. At places where there is good average wind speed throughout the year, wind mills can provide very cheap power either at the
community level or at the individual house holds level.
Such decentralised power systems have the potential to meet most of the rural loads when they are used in hybrid mode of one or
more individual systems, and can provide many other sustainable benefits:
• Will greatly reduce the burden on the grid based power supply system; drastically reduce the T&D losses; and vastly improve
the power supply to those consumers essentially needing the grid supply;
• Will drastically reduce the need for fossil fuel based, dam based power stations and the associated transmission & distribution
• Will assist in drastically reducing the GHG emissions;
• Provide a sustainable, environmental and people friendly energy supply model;
• Will accelerate the rural electrification due to shorter gestation period of individual projects;
• Will lead to increase in rural employment opportunities, and hence in minimizing urban migration.
What can individuals /communities do to overcome the crises?
The public including the industries, commerce, residences and institutions can undertake the following measures:
• efficiency improvement measures to optimise the electricity consumption;
• energy auditing in industries to conserve energy ; widespread usage of energy efficient CFLamps;
• meet lighting, water heating and small pumping energy needs from solar energy;
• minimum life cycle cost purchase of electrical equipment like motors, transformers, capacitors, lighting fixtures, refrigerators
• maximize the benefits from time-of-day (TOD) tariffs; night time water heating, night time use of large ovens etc. co-
operative society concept to meet the energy needs of a group of industries, as in an Industrial Estate;
• consider setting up a captive gas fired power generator to cater to a group of industries to eliminate the uncertainties
associated with grid supply;
• widespread use of renewable energy sources wherever feasible;
• opt for decentralized electricity supply system by a combination of solar, wind and bio mass for individual small scale
industries OR communities;
• lobbying for policy changes for adequate investment in T&D sector, efficiency improvement, demand side management,
subsidy on NCEs, rationalization of tariff for agricultural sector, energy conservation in homes, offices, schools, street lights,
decorative purposes, etc.
• industries can explore Carbon Trading by adopting innovative electricity saving measures;
• educational campaign on the need for high efficiency and energy conservation;
• participate effectively in important decision making; understand the rationale behind major policy decisions;
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
• encourage public debate on all major energy related issues;
• lobby for legislation on effective public consultation on all major policy issues.

Conclusions – ensuring energy security

Since the country has not reached a mature stage in the development of electricity infrastructure unlike the case of developed
countries, there is a very good opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes and adopt a suitable model for the country. The multitude of
crises facing the electricity industry in India must be converted into an opportunity to herald a new era where social and
environmental responsibilities will occupy the highest priority; where long term sustainability of the development path is well
considered; and where the equity and energy justice is ensured for all sections of our society.

Whereas the grid based centralized generation system has failed to meet the basic energy needs of the majority of the country’s rural
population, the same is proving to be very costly to the society in the form of economic, social and environmental impacts.

A paradigm shift is needed in the way we look at energy options; not just as some business models only but as sustainable
developmental tools. There can be no doubt that the country will come under increasing international pressure to contain its GHG

Taking all the relevant issues into objective account the best option for the country towards a sustainable future electricity supply is to
take an ‘integrated energy resource management approach’ where the world best practices are deployed in the existing system, and
decentralized supply options based on renewable energy sources are widely adopted to cater to most of the future loads.

Article by:
Shankar Sharma
Consultant to Electricity Industry
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010


Central Banks Gear up for Financial Inclusion

Port Vila, Vanuatu - February 24

Central banks of the Pacific are becoming active in building more inclusive financial systems. Representatives of five Pacific central
banks met today to discuss how to extend financial services to the unbanked, including how to oversee new technologies such as
mobile phone banking while protecting clients. It is estimated that only 30% or less of Pacific Islanders currently have access to basic
financial services making it the least banked region in the world.

Mr. Odo Tevi, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu, opened the meeting saying “The geographical set up of Vanuatu with
70-80% of the population living in rural areas gives us all the more reason to embrace the financial inclusion concept.” He further
added that “we will learn from each other and provide leadership to ensure that our people have access to better financial services and
are literate to exploit the opportunities.”

The Reserve Bank of Vanuatu played host to the meeting organized by the South Pacific Central Bank Governors Meeting and the
Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme. Discussions among the central bankers were facilitated by experts from the Alliance for
Financial Inclusion (AFI), an association of central bankers from developing countries to which the Pacific central banks are members.

Alyson Slater of AFI noted “the Pacific central banks are interested in exploring what they could do together to move more people
into the formal banking system – and to tap into the global network of central bankers to benefit from their knowledge of policies that
work.” As part of their work, AFI facilitates peer learning events so that central bankers can learn and share ideas with others that
hold their same positions. The Alliance has 80 central banks as members.

Tillman Bruett, of the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) says that “it is impressive the degree to which the Pacific central
banks have made financial inclusion a priority.” He noted that central bankers around the world have begun to make access to
financial services a policy priority and realizing that affordable and accessible savings, money transfers, credit and financial literacy
training are vital to the economic health of

The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme is funded by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), European Union,
AusAID and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre in Suva, Fiji.

The Alliance for Financial inclusion (AFI) is a network of policymakers from 80 developing countries that provides resources for its
members to share their knowledge of policies that work for financial inclusion. It is located in Bangkok, Thailand, is funded by the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

Iran: End Persecution of Baha’is

New York

The Iranian government should immediately stop harassing and arbitrarily detaining members of the Baha'i community, Human
Rights Watch said today. (Dozens Detained Without Charge; Leaders Face Charges Carrying Death Penalty)

The detention of 13 Baha'is on February 10 and 11 follows the arrest of 13 others in early January. The government alleges that those
arrested in January helped to organize recent anti-government demonstrations but has not made public any charges against those
detained in February. These arrests come during a broad government crackdown on opposition activists.
"The Iranian government seems to be using the post-election unrest as a cover for targeting the Baha'i community," said Joe Stork,
deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "These arrests are only the latest chapter in the government's
systematic persecution of the Baha'i."

Unlike Iran's Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian communities, which are accorded constitutional protection, the Iranian government
does not recognize the Baha'i Faith and considers its adherents to be apostates from Shi'a Islam. Since the Islamic revolution in 1979,
the Iranian government has put in effect various discriminatory policies against the Baha'is, including limiting access to education and
Since October 2009, authorities have detained at least 47 Baha'is in Tehran, Mashhad, Sari, Semnan, and Yazd, according to the
United Nations office of the Baha'i International Community (BIC) in Geneva. In May 2008, the government arrested seven leaders
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
of the Baha'i community in Tehran, who have been held in detention since then. Their trial began on January 12, but has been
postponed to April 10.

The Judiciary has charged the seven community leaders with a range of national-security-related offenses, including spying for the
benefit of foreigners, propaganda against the system, establishing and spreading illegal organizations, undermining the image of the
Islamic Republic in the international community, and spreading "corruption on earth." Most of these charges carry the death penalty.
During the more than a year and a half that the five men and two women have been held, they have been allowed only limited visits
from family and lawyers.

One of those detained on February 10 was Alaeddin Khanjani. According to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters in Iran,
Ministry of Intelligence (MOI) agents entered his home in Tehran at about 2:30 a.m., searched the premises, confiscated personal
belongings including a computer and religious material, and took him into custody. Khanjani is the son of Jamaloddin Khanjani, one
of the seven Baha'i leaders on trial in Tehran. Ministry of Intelligence agents had also arrested Alaeddin Khanjani's adult daughter in
January. Within several hours of Alaeddin Khanjani's arrest, agents arrested seven more Baha'is, claiming they were being detained for
their involvement in recent public demonstrations. On February 11, agents arrested five Baha'is in their homes in Tehran. No charges
have been filed against any of the 13.

On January 3, MOI agents also raided the homes of 13 Baha'is and detained them, releasing three of them after they indicated they
would not participate in further public demonstrations. In addition to the others arrested on February 10, one of those arrested on
January 3 and then released was rearrested on February 10.
In a press statement on January 12, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the Tehran general prosecutor, said that the 10 Baha'is who have been
held since January 3 faced charges of "organizing the unrest on Ashura [December 27] and sending photos of the unrest abroad." In
a previous statement on January 8, he claimed that authorities had found arms and ammunition in some of their homes. Dolatabadi
denied that the arrests had anything to do with their Baha'i affiliation. Security forces have reportedly arrested hundreds of Iranians
for their alleged involvement in the demonstrations on Ashura, a Shi'a day of mourning.

The authorities are holding those arrested on January 3 in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj and have not allowed them to contact their
lawyers. According to the BIC, a few of them were allowed to contact family members after spending several weeks in prison.

The BIC also indicated that 60 Baha'is are currently in detention, with an additional 90 having been released but awaiting trial. Since
2004, 99 Baha'is have been convicted of various charges, including acting against national security, teaching against the Islamic
Republic, propaganda against the regime, involvement in establishing illegal groups and organizations, and insulting the sacred
institutions of Islam. These individuals are free pending appeal. Scores of others have been summoned and interrogated by security
and intelligence agents without being taken into custody, according to the BIC.
The five Baha'is arrested in Tehran on February 11 are: Taraneh Ghanouni, Naghmeh Ghanouni, Shaida Yousefi, Aria Shadmehr,
and Riaz Firouzmandi.

In addition to Alaeddin Khanjani, those arrested on February 10 are:

Ashkan Bassari, Maria Ehsan Jafar, Bashir Ehsani, Romina Zabihiyan, Houtan Sistani, Simin Ghaffari, and Pedram Sanaei.
Those arrested on January 3 are: Mehran Rowhani, Farid Rowhani, Babak Mobasher, Leva Mobasher Khanjani, Payam Fanaian,
Jinous Ghazanfari Sobhani, Artin Ghazanfari, Nikav Hoveydaei, Ebrahim Shadmehr, Zavosh Shadmehr, Negar Sabet, Mona
Hoveydaei Misaghi, and Nasim Beiglari. Negar Sabet, Mona Misaghi, and Nasim Beiglari were released on January 3, but Mona
Misaghi was summoned to the MOI agency's office again on February 10 and rearrested.
The seven members of the Baha'i leadership whose trial began on January 12 are: Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif
Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm.

Due to governmental restrictions on openly practicing their faith, Baha'is in Iran are unable to convene and administer a National
Spiritual Assembly as in most countries where Baha'i communities exist. Instead, they have formed an informal coordinating body
known as the "Friends of Iran." The seven members facing trial consist of six leaders and the secretary of this coordinating body.

Haifa, in present-day Israel, is the final resting place of Baha'ullah - the founder of the Baha'i Faith - and the faith's administrative
headquarters since 1868, when Haifa was under Ottoman rule, Despite the fact that sites in and around Haifa were considered holy to
the Baha'is well before the creation of the state of Israel, the Iranian government has repeatedly used the connection as an excuse to
accuse Baha'is in Iran of spying for Israel, with which Iran has hostile relations.

During a recent review of its human rights record before the United Nations Human Rights Council, Iranian officials dismissed
numerous concerns by member states regarding the government's treatment of its Baha'i minority. Mohammad Javad Larijani, the
head of Iran's UN delegation, stated on February 15 that "no Baha'i in Iran is prosecuted because he is a Baha'i," and the government
rejected recommendations put forth by other governments calling for "an end to discrimination and incitement to hatred vis-à-vis the

Human Rights Watch
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Dr Christopher Noonan will soon commence as Chief Trade Adviser (CTA) for Forum Island Countries

Dr Christopher Noonan will soon commence as Chief Trade Adviser (CTA) for Forum Island Countries (FICs) to support their
participation in the regional PACER Plus negotiations.

PACER Plus refers to a proposed comprehensive free trade and economic development agreement that will be negotiated between
Australia and New Zealand, and Forum Island Countries.

Dr Noonan has signed the exchange of letters which covers his employment as CTA. He will be leaving his position as Associate
Professor and Deputy Head of Department (Commercial Law) at the University of Auckland to take up his appointment as CTA.

"I am pleased that we are now able to move ahead with the work of the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA)," said Mr Slade.
"The CTA has much important work ahead of him as I believe that PACER Plus will play an important role in furthering regional
economic integration and in creating opportunities for economic growth and prosperity in Forum Island Countries."

Among his key tasks, the CTA will be responsible for the establishment of the OCTA, to be based in Port Vila, Vanuatu and assisting
the FICs prepare for PACER-Plus discussions and negotiations.

Dr Noonan will commence duties as the CTA in Port Vila by 29 March 2010.

"I feel very honoured to have been appointed by the FICs to the position of CTA," said Dr Noonan. "I am looking forward to working
closely with the FICs in what promises to be a challenging role."

Dr Noonan was appointed by the Trade Ministers of Forum Island Countries in Brisbane in October 2009. The initial funding for the
OCTA has been provided by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

To ensure the independence of the OCTA's advice and assistance to FICs, it will operate separately from the Forum Secretariat with a
Board of Governors made up of FIC representatives.

The OCTA will provide FICs with the technical assistance necessary to support their engagement in PACER Plus related activities
and negotiations.

The decision to commence PACER Plus negotiations was made by Forum Leaders at their meeting in Cairns in August 2009. A
Special Forum Trade Ministers Meeting was consequently held in Brisbane in October 2009 which identified a range of issues for
priority consideration including trade facilitation, rules of origin, labour mobility and development cooperation.

Mue Bentley Fisher
Communications Officer
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Suva, Fiji.

URGENT ACTION APPEAL - Amnesty International USA


Human rights defender Pattani Razeek has been missing since he was apparently abducted on 11 February in the town of
Polonnaruwa, in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province. He may be the victim of an enforced disappearance, and could be at risk of
torture or other ill-treatment. It is not clear what the authorities are doing to investigate his case.

Pattani Razeek, aged 55, is the head of the Community Trust Fund (CTF), a Sri Lankan NGO based in the town of Puttalam in
North Western Province. He was returning from a visit with colleagues when their vehicle was intercepted by a white van. Pattani
Razeek approached the men in the other vehicle, and exchanged greetings in Arabic. He returned to his CTF colleagues and said he
would join the group in the white van, which according to him was headed for Valaichchenai, a town in Eastern Province. He assured
his colleagues that he would meet up with them later. However, they did not see him again, and he never returned home.

On 16 February, Pattani Razeek’s family obtained records of calls made to and from his mobile phone. The records revealed that a
number of short calls were made from Pattani Razeek’s phone on the evening of 11 February, the day he went missing. On 15
February, a call from the phone was made to a CTF driver, who did not answer. When the call was eventually returned, there was no
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
answer. A text message sent on 15 February to a member of Pattani Razeek’s family said that he was in Polonnaruwa and that he
would be home soon. Since then, there has been no further communication.

His family lodged a complaint with the local police in Puttalam, and also reported his disappearance to the Human Rights
Commission of Sri Lanka. However, colleagues say the Human Rights Commission failed to give his relatives a reference number
which they could use to follow up on the case. Nobody from the Commission has subsequently contacted them. Although Pattani
Razeek’s disappearance was reported to the police, colleagues say that police have not been following up leads in the case.

The CTF works to protect human rights and promote equality. It also provides emergency assistance to civilians affected by Sri
Lanka’s internal conflict.

Since 2006 there have been numerous reports of people being subjected to enforced disappearance after being abducted by the
security forces or armed groups. White vans have been used frequently in such abductions. Some victims have been held for ransom;
others have been detained “for questioning” by the authorities and held incommunicado. Anyone held this way is in clear danger of
torture and other ill treatment. Many people reported missing in Sri Lanka have never been located.

Trapped mongoose in Samoa

In less than 24 hours after traps were laid in Samoa a male mongoose was caught, however the island nation is not relaxing the effort
yet as this may not be the only one.

Samoa has no known established population of the mongoose, but the animals are common in Hawaii and Fiji, having been
introduced to control the rats that were damaging the sugar cane fields. Despite this, mongooses do not reduce rat damage, and the
IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) has listed the mongoose as one of the 100 worst invasive species because
of the impact it has on native birds and animals. In Fiji it is considered the main cause behind the extinction of several bird species on
Viti Levu, the largest island.

The first report of a mongoose was in December last year, when a conservation team working on another project happened to see a
mongoose crossing the road. After much consultation with surrounding villages it appeared that the mongoose had been sighted as far
back as 2008.

This prompted the Samoa National Invasives Task Team (SNITT), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and
partners to establish an eradication project for the mongoose.

A proposal for funding was presented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to the Critical
Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), to buy DOC250 traps that were designed in New Zealand for stoats, ferrets and similar animals,
and tested with good results on mongoose in Hawaii.

"Initially we ordered 30 of these traps via the Pacific Invasives Initiative (PII) in New Zealand. The first night we laid out 10 traps,"
said Mark Bonin the Pacific Invasives Learning Network (PILN) Coordinator, "and although a mongoose was caught within the first
24 hours, we plan on continuing to trap in the area for at least a year."

The male mongoose appeared to be sexually mature and weighed 750 grams and had a head-body length (HBL) of 36.8cms.

The carcass was taken to the Principal Animal Health Officer with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Vailima and tissue
samples were prepared which will be sent for further investigation and DNA analysis to help determine the exact origin of the animal.

Despite the good fortune and the rapid trapping of a mongoose, the late discovery of the animal in Samoa is cause for concern. It
took over a year for the animal to be officially reported and, this was only a result of a chance observation by the MNRE team.

Samoa is no stranger to the damages that an invasive species can cause. In 1993 a taro leaf blight outbreak devastated the staple crop
decimating farmers' incomes from both the local and overseas markets.

"It's essential that we strengthen invasive species awareness and develop a campaign to let everyone know of the threats of invasive
species to our biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods," believes Bonin.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
"If you see something you think is a new 'invasive', then report it and explain why you think it's different from anything else you have
seen. We always take a cautious view that if there is something that seems new, then it is worth investigating. We can't take the risk of
something breeding or developing its own population in Samoa without addressing it."

On the 10th of February, the first 10 traps were put around the Aleipata wharf area, the most recent sighting of the mongoose. The
20 remaining traps will be set in other nearby sighting locations later this week. While the exact origin of this particular mongoose
cannot be confirmed yet, the sightings coincided with the construction of the new wharf in Aleipata.

"We are not finished with this mongoose eradication activity. We'll have to continue until we are 100% confident that the last animal is
captured. Of course we encourage the general public that if they see something to please report it as soon as possible."
Nanette Woonton
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme


When Sri Lanka recently went for Presidential election, many people around the world thought that the country’s democratic system
has matured and Sri Lanka will be able to overcome its problems before long. While the election debate was acrimonious when several
personal allegations were made, the observers did not mind it , terming such exchanges between the political parties as part of normal
electoral process in a democracy.

Unfortunately, after the elections were over, the successful candidate has gone to the extent of arresting the defeated candidate, and in
the process spreading cancerous animosity and distrust around the country. Certainly, this development should have been avoided.

The President of Sri Lanka would have done well if he had shown magnanimity and treated his opponent with respect and good will.
This should be the condition in a healthy democratic society.

We have heard several times this kind of stories in under developed and developing countries of the government accusing the political
opponents of indulging in anti national activities and putting them behind bars. One should not forget that even Nelson Mandela was
accused of treason and put behind bars in South Africa for several years and the world admires Nelson Mandela today. Even in India ,
during the national emergency a few decades back, great stalwarts like Jayaprakash Narain were put behind bars for what the then
government said as “anti national activity”.

In all such cases in the past, we have found that the governments which arrested the opponent political leader were found to be at the
fault later on and lost reputation. One wonders as to why the Sri Lankan government has not learnt from such historical development.
Is personal animosity clouding the vision ? Is it not a fact that great statesman have always acted in a dispassionate manner and did not
allow personal feelings against anyone to come into political decisions ?

Even if the Sri Lankan government would genuinely feel that the opponent Presidential candidate had ulterior designs, it could have
taken steps to prove it in a court of law, instead of arresting him which gives an impression of vindictiveness. How to believe that a
man who was the Chief of Army and worked closely with the same person as the head of the state and fought the war together would
all of a sudden become an anti national person ?

The people of Sri Lanka has suffered enormously during the last several years. The Sri Lankan Tamils underwent miseries and are
desperately looking for better days. Because of the prolonged internal war, all the citizens of Sri Lanka had to sacrifice, as
development projects got delayed and several opportunities for growth were lost. Such people fervently hoped that after the
Presidential elections ,there would be better times, more healthy public debate and both the ruling and opposition parties would work
keeping the interests of the country in view. Certainly, they would not have expected that one candidate would arrest another
candidate and put the country’s political system into chaos and turbulence.

Certainly, the world thought both the main political candidates in the election fought for Sri Lanka together during the ethnic war and
would compete with each other in directing Sri Lanka in the path of progress in the post ethnic war period. Unfortunately, this is not

Those in the positions of power and authority and guiding the destiny of the nation should know history and should be able to think
beyond themselves and beyond the immediate time. The opportunity to lead the country come to very few people and when they
would fail to create an atmosphere of amity and goodwill, the citizens, both at present and in future, will feel cheated.
Article by:
N. S. Venkataraman
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Port Vila, February 6, 2010

University of the South Pacific student, Miss June Atomea is the winner of the Human Face story competition. Twenty-two year old,
Ms Atomea, who is from Northern Malaita in the Solomon Islands submitted her essay titled ‘Silent cry of John, a village boy’.
Organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the essay competition was open to young people in the Pacific, aged
18–25 years, who were asked to write about how they feel the global economic crisis is affecting them or those around them.
June will receive her prize in Port Vila, from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Helen Clark on the
evening of Wednesday, February 10th. Ms Clark will be in Vila to attend the Pacific Conference on The Human Face of the Global
Economic Crisis from February 10-12th.

UNICEF Social Policy Officer, Ms Mereia Carling said that, “June's story was chosen because it was clearly time-bound to the impacts
of the economic crisis and it highlighted a number of impacts and the compounding nature of these. She describes the 'human face'
of the crisis and the struggles made to survive. Her point is made clear - those who are currently on the brink of survival are the ones
who will not survive the crisis.”
The essay competition links to the Conference on The Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis where heads of international and
regional agencies, heads of Pacific Island states, non-governmental organisations, academics and young people will discuss the impacts
of the crisis in their countries, learn from experiences shared and prepare for any future crises.
A pre-conference for Pacific children and youth coordinated by UNICEF, will be held in Port Vila from February 8–9, to prepare
delegates for their participation in the main Conference. Young people will have the opportunity to raise their concerns and issues
related to the impact of the crisis.

Background Information:
The Pacific conference on The Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis will be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu from February 10-12,
2010. More than 220 people including government ministers, parliamentarians, development partners, UN agencies, youth and
women’s groups and civil society organizations will be attending. The conference is organized by the Government of Vanuatu with
support from the United Nations, Asian Development Bank, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Secretariat of the Pacific Community
and the University of the South Pacific.


International PEN celebrates 50th anniversary of Writers in Prison Committee with year-long

International PEN announced today the launch of a year-long campaign in celebration of the Writers in Prison Committee's 50th

The campaign-Because Writers Speak Their Minds-marks 50 years of defending freedom of expression around the world.
"International PEN was created out of the scars of World War I to bring societies back together through their literatures," said
President John Ralston Saul. "Constant violence against writers quickly forced us to realize that free speech and literature are one and
the same thing. PEN is the foremost and oldest freedom of expression organization in the world and since 1960 the Writers in Prison
Committee has set the standard around the world for defending not just the rights of writers, but the free speech of everyone."

What began as a committee of three individuals in 1960 is now a Committee of more than 70 PEN centres worldwide. The annual
case list now consistently contains the names of almost 900 writers, editors, journalists and internet writers.
The campaign celebrates the work over fifty years with fifty emblematic cases of the Committee, including prominent historic writers
like Josef Brodsky and Vaclav Havel, more recent cases (Anna Politkovskaya, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Salman Rushdie) and current cases like
those of Lydia Cacho and Liu Xiaobo. PEN centres around the world will participate with events and campaigning on current cases.
The International PEN festival of world literature, Free the Word! (London, 14-18 April) will mark the anniversary with several events.

"We'll also look to the future, to see how the WiPC must evolve and adapt to meet new challenges," said WiPC Chair, Marian Botsford
Fraser. "The 50th anniversary is an opportunity to honour (and in some cases remember) writers on whose behalf we have written
letters, lobbied governments, made great noises in public places and quiet agitations in diplomatic channels. But it is also the
springboard for ongoing work in the defence of freedom of expression."
The name of the campaign, Because Writers Speak Their Minds, is taken from the 1960 speech formally proposing a Writers in
Prison Committee.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
The first 50th anniversary mini-campaign concerns Iran, and will be launched with a coalition of other freedom of expression
organizations, in mid-February. There will be ongoing work on behalf of Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, the only one of the
emblematic 50 cases currently serving a prison sentence.

Originally founded in 1921 to promote literature, today International PEN has over 140 Centres in 100 countries across the globe. We
believe that writers can play a crucial role in changing and developing civil society through the promotion of literature, international
campaigning on issues such as freedom of expression and translation, and challenging and breaking down barriers and access to
literature through publishing and distribution at international, regional and national levels.

International PEN
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

DoPT has no say in Appointment of Information Commissioners, claims Secretary
New Delhi

“Absolutely every decision pertaining to the selection of Central Information Commissioners (CICs) is made by the Selection
Committee headed by the Prime Minister,” said Mr Shantanu Consul, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT),
Govt of India. In a meeting with eight RTI activists from six states here on Friday, 12th February, Mr Consul claimed ignorance of
how the name of his predecessor, then DoPT Secretary Satyananda Mishra, had appeared in the short-list of candidates that DoPT
had presented to the Committee in July 2008, culminating in his appointment.

DoPT officials present at the meeting included Additional Secretary S.K. Sarkar, Joint Secretary C.B. Paliwal, Deputy Secretary
Anuradha Chagti, and K.G. Verma, Director in-charge of RTI.
The eight activists, led by Madhav Vishnubhatta from Chennai, made a formal representation regarding the need for introducing
ethical and transparent norms for CIC selections. The representation urged Mr Consul, as head of the primary rule-making body and
custodian of the Right to Information Act 2005, to adhere to its own stated guidelines for direct recruitments, by issuing circulars and
advertisements to invite applications from all over the country. Pointing out that the RTI Act specified that persons from all walks of
life should be appointed as CICs, Bimal Khemani, a delegate from Uttar Pradesh, asked why, in a country of 1.1 billion, most CICs
were connected to Dilli durbar.

The selection of CICs has been questionable since the seeming self-selection of Mr A N Tiwari as one of the first Information
Commissioners of the country in October 2005, while he himself was the DoPT Secretary. The case that clearly established the
murkiness in the process of CIC selections was that of Mrs Omita Paul. Mrs Paul, advisor to Cabinet Minister Pranab Mukherjee,
was hurriedly selected as CIC one week before the General Elections, even while the Election Code of Conduct was in force. After the
UPA government returned to power, she immediately resigned to rejoin the government as advisor to Mr Pranab Mukherjee the same

Other members of the activists’ delegation were Vishwas Bhamburkar from Ahmedabad, Vinod Varshney from Aligarh (UP), Dr
Arun Agrawal from Gurgaon (Haryana), Rakesh Agarwal and Rasheed Qureshi from New Delhi, and Krishnaraj Rao from Mumbai.

When the delegation members repeatedly pleaded with him to at least publicly disclose the procedures adopted so far for appointing
commissioners, as mandated by Section 4 of RTI Act, Mr Consul refused to be drawn into the issue, and concluded that he would
refer all suggestions to the Selection Committee, which comes into existence only at the time of appointments, and is promptly
disbanded thereafter.

Asked whether he would himself become Information Commissioner soon, Mr Consul remained non-committal, and urged the
activists not to be overly suspicious on matters like RTI amendment and CIC appointments.

Representation to DoPT secretary:

Photo of 8 RTI activists

The mysterious case of Mrs. Omita Paul:

Past instances of Malpractices in CICs Selection:

DoPT’s Guidelines for Selection 1:

DoPT’s Guidelines for Selection 2:

Report by:
Krishnaraj Rao
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

India: Minority human right Defender threatens to raise the issue of the minority weaver.
Uttar Pradesh

Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) got information from its associated Human Rights Defender Aftab Alam
being threaten by the village head of Bhatti, as he highlighted the issue malnutrition, tuberculosis and hunger death in the Lohta
locality of Dhannipur(Bhatti), weaver dominated area of Kashi Vidyapith Block of Varanasi district in India.

Case detail:

Aftab Alam son of late Shamshuddin is permanent resident of Dharmariya (Lohta), Kashi Vidyapith block of Varanasi district, Uttar
Pradesh. Mr. Aftab Alam is weaver. He is associated Human Rights activist in Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
(PVCHR) and currently working as consultant fellow on education in the project funded by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) and is
elected member of Block Development Committee (BDC).

On 9th February, 09 when Aftab Alam went to Dhannipur village for his routine visit, meanwhile he got life threatening call from
mobile no. +91-9936036962 at 12:16 pm on his mobile phone +91-8081961866. Village head of Bhatti Mr. Sujeet Yadav alias
Lakkad Pahalwan and other influenced people gave threat and abuse Aftab not to again enter in this area.

After two hours Aftab Alam informed the entire incidence to Mr. Harun Shah. While returning from Dhannipur (Lohta) in the way
Mukhtar Ahmad stopped and inquired about the case of Istiyaq Ahmand. Aftab Alam highlighted the case of Istiyaq Ahmad for
immediate relief and he gave letter to village head. (Istiyaq Ahmad is resident of village Sabha Bhatti. Istiyaq is weaver and from last
three month he is unable to do work due to serious illness. His wife stitches blanket and earn 10 -15 Rupees in a day and hardly
manage to meet the two ends of her three children).

Meanwhile village head with few other influenced people arrived and threat him "walk off and don't come back here". Aftab Alam
gently said "what is my mistake? Why you are behaving like this. They forcefully tried Aftab Alam to sit on his motor bike and other
person was assisting him. Aftab Alam cried for help, Gulzar Ahmad initiated for help, but on the threat of the influenced person he
back foot and did not dare to proceed against the village head.

Aftab Alam got panic after facing the unexpected life threatening incidence and anyhow managed to rid away from any unexpected
happening. PVCHR and Aftam wrote a letter to DGP and NHRC in this regard.

Background Information:

Since 2004 Aftab Alam is working on the weavers issue in the area of Lohta, a weaver dominated area. He highlighted the issue of
malnutrition, tuberculosis and hunger death and the condition of weavers after plight of the weaving industry. In May 2008 he
highlighted the malnourishment of 14 children in Dhannipur. Administration admissions there were 106 children suffering from
severe malnutrition in Dhannipur alone. This is happening because auxiliary health staff assigned to look after the children does not
visit the area. 30 quintals of grains meant for distribution among the poor weavers of the village was lying undistributed till Ishrat
breathed his last. He brought the issue at German Radio.

Please visit given below URL for more information:

Report by:
Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Mau District Administration doesn’t give a fig for the Constitution of India (Right to Information Act
Uttar Pradesh

There are an average 85 departments by administration in non-metro backward districts in the Uttar Pradesh State. According to
Right to Information Act 2005, a complete list of Public Information Officers and First Appeal Authorities for each department must
have published within 120 days of enaction of the RTI Act 2005.

An application under RTI Act 2005 was filed to the District Administration Mau by Arvind Murti a known & ground activist for
Right to Information, by asking information for Public Information Officers and First Appeal Authorities of the departments in Mau

District Administration Mau replied for 54 departments but did not reply for more than 30 departments. Please have a look on
departments, district administration has no information on Public Information Officers/ First Appeal Authorities.

• Social Welfare Department

• District Supply Department
• Minority Welfare Department
• Basic Education Department
• Health Department
• Forest Department
• DUDA (Urban Project Department)
• DIoS (District Inspector of Schools)
• Registrar of Cooperative Socities
• Small-scale Irrigation Department
• Revenue Department
• District Council
• Registrar Department
• Sport Department
• District Food & Supply Department
• PANCHAYTI RAJ Department
• Dairy Development Department
• District KHADI & Village Industry Department
• Women & Child Development Department
• Hand-loom Department
• Land Conservation Department
• Sub Divisional Agriculture Officer’s Office
• District Agriculture Protection Unit
• NEDA (Solar Energy and other)
• Ground Water Department
• Public Works Department (PWD)- First
• Information & Public Relation Department
• Veterinary Department
• National Savings Department
• Public Account Department
• others

All above departments are highly funded and directly related to public welfare and have no information about Public Information
Officers/ First Appeal Officers. District Collector told to Arvind Murti that all information are available in website of district
administration. Arvind Murti has visited website of district administration many times in a hope to get information but……
Mau District Administration doesn’t give a fig for the Constitution of India.

Report by:
GRI Reporter
Mau District, Uttar Pradesh
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Right to Shelter vis-à-vis the Latest Delhi High Court judgment

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Narmada Bachao Andolan and National Alliance of People's Movements welcome the judgment
delivered by the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Ajit Prakash Shah on February 12, 2010 on the eve of his retirement. This
decision will go a long way in the struggle of the poor dwellers and their multiple displacements which started a few decades ago. The
Court observed that “jhuggi dwellers are not to be treated as secondary citizens and are entitled to no less an access to basic survival
needs as any other citizen".

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhr delivered the judgment on a bunch of petitions
seeking proper relocation of jhuggi dwellers whose slums set up at various places across the Capital were demolished without
relocating them at alternative sites. Dismissing the argument of the Delhi Government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi that
these jhuggi dwellers did not deserve to be relocated as they had set up their jhuggis on public roads and thus violated the "right of
way", the Bench said: "This Court would like to emphasise that in the context of the Master Plan for Delhi-2021, jhuggi dwellers are
not to be treated as secondary citizens. They are entitled to no less an access to basic survival needs as any other citizen" and observed
that "It cannot be expected that human beings in a jhuggi cluster will simply vanish if their homes are uprooted and their names
effaced from government records. They are the citizens who help rest of the city to live a decent life they deserve protection and the
respect of the rights to life and dignity which the Constitution guarantees them".

Directive Principles of the Constitution mandates the state to provide socio economic justice which needs to be reflected in the form of
guarantees. The right to shelter, which forms the part of the right to an adequate standard of living under Article 11 of the
International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, finds no corresponding expression in the Directive Principles of
State Policy. Although right to shelter has been included in the unenumerated rights under Article 21 of the constitution in the case of
Unni Krishnan v. State of A.P.[1], right to rehabilitation of the displaced, which has been held in this latest judgment of the Delhi
High Court sets it apart from the previous decisions. Meanwhile the Government of India has declared the National Housing &
Habitat Policy 2007 following which many of the states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerela have too brought in respective state
housing policies but urban development has become synonymous with demolitions anf forcible evictions all over the country, hopefully
this judgment would come as a respite for the millions of slum dwellers all over the country.

The background can be seen in the judgment of Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation[2]. In 1981, the State of Maharashtra
and the Bombay Municipal Council decided to evict all pavement and slum dwellers from the city of Bombay. The petitioners
contended that since they would be deprived of their livelihood if they were evicted from their slum and pavement dwellings, their
eviction would tantamount to deprivation of their life. The Court held that the right to life, in Article 21 of the Constitution, includes
the right to livelihood since, “if there is an obligation upon the State to secure to citizens an adequate means of livelihood and the
right to work, it would be sheer pedantry to exclude the right to livelihood from the content of the right to lie.” However, this right was
held to be not absolute. The Court declined to hold that evicted dwellers had a right to an alternative site but instead made orders
that: (i) sites should be provided to residents presented with census cards in 1976; (ii) slums in existence for 20 years or more were not
to be removed unless land was required for public purposes and, in that case, alternative sites must be provided; (iii) high priority
should be given to resettlement.

In this case, the court was not prepared to go that far. It denied the contention of the petitioners, saying: No one has the right to make
use of a public property for a private purpose without requisite authorization and, therefore, it is erroneous to contend that pavement
dwellers have the right to encroach upon pavements by constructing dwellings thereon . . . If a person puts up a dwelling on the
pavement, whatever may be the economic compulsions behind such an act, his use of the pavement would become unauthorized."

Later benches of the Supreme Court have followed the ratio of Olga Tellis with approval. In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v.
Gurnam Kaur[3], the court held that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had no legal obligation to provide pavement squatters
alternative shops for rehabilitation as the squatters had no legal enforceable right.

Articles 38, 39 and 46 mandate the State to provide socio-economic justice to minimize inequalities in income, opportunities and
status. It also includes within its ambit the responsibility to provide adequate shelter and rehabilitation of the displaced community to
an alternate site. This latest judgment of the Delhi High Court, delivered by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah on 12 February, 2010, is
indeed, path breaking. It is a step ahead of the earlier judgments as it lays down that the government has to rehabilitate the slum-
dwellers even if they were encroaching upon the public land. The case has been argued by Mr. Prashant Bhushan to move the court to
take a decision like this. The judgment is commendable from the human rights angle and shows the humanistic approach of the court
in the dispensation of justice.

[1] AIR 1993 SC 2178.

[2] (1985) 3 SCC 545.
[3] (1989) 1 SCC 10.

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan,
Narmada Bachao Andolan and
National Alliance of People's Movements
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Students' views on demand for separate states



Objective of the competition

The recent demand for smaller states from several quarters and related violent incidents have led to considerable concern about the
future of the federal structure of India , with serious long term implications for the prosperity and progress of the country. Several
University students are reported to be taking part in the agitation for separate states.

In order to give an opportunity to the college students all over India to express their view on the subject and enable them to assess the
problems in proper perspective, Nandini Voice For the Deprived organized All India Essay competition.

Participation of the students

Number of college students from all over India participated in the essay competition. While a few of them are of the view that there
may be sound reasons for creating separate Telangana state, most of the students are of the view that creating separate Telangana
state will open the pandora box and the present Government of India, lacking strong leadership quality, cannot face the consequent
situation. According to the students, creating separate Telangana state is a calculated risk and should better be avoided at this juncture.
Almost all the students also suspected the motives of the politicians from all sides who have been clamouring for separate Telangana
state or against it.

While politicians and several people in public life and lawyers discuss about Telangana issue from various view points, it is gratifying to
see the clarity of thought in the essays written by the students. Most of the essays have been of reasonably high standard and should
do the nation proud.



Telangana problem is due to dishonoured commitments

The “gentlemen’s agreement” of 1956 was signed by the Chief Ministers of the states of Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh which says
that Telangana will have a separate Regional Committee which will have the right to provide legislation on economy, local self
government, public health, agriculture, education and industries among other things.

It even went as far as saying that if the Chief Minister were from one region of Unified Andhra Pradesh, then the Deputy Chief
Minister will be from the other region.

These commitments were never honoured from day one.

Hence the people of Telangana have always been dissatisfied with the treatment handed out to them. Hence on the ground in
Telangana, a deep sense of betrayal and lost pride is being felt among the people, which in turn has led to the demand of the
formation of Telangana.
Imagine India with umpteen states – More states mean more disputes
Imagine India with umpteen states. What frame does that unfold before us?

More institutional establishments, increased number of political outfits, high level of accommodative politics and appeasement
measures, many more inter state disputes and same setup. In short, no great change in efficiency, productivity or development.

To put it in realistic terms, it would result in formation of more Cauveri Water Commission type bodies or more cases of the kind of
Periyar Dam dispute.

And did I forget, the most vial consequence – the loss of unity and integrity of India.

Demand for states due to self centered politicians

India has heeded to many claims for states in the past, but the present state of affairs warrants an alternative approach.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
The current demands are not toward the cause of unification but based on self centred politics of greedy regional level politicians and
their family members .

Larger states in USA are governed well

The argument put forth by the promoters of small states that “smaller states directly correspond to better governance” –is not correct.

Countries with thrice the land area as India, viz. China, Canada and United States of America – have proportionately larger states
and have better governance.

Will lead to demand for many more states

Granting of demands for more states would only embolden all the sectarian forces to call for further more states, which in short would
imply sounding of death knell to the very federal system advocated by the Constitution of India.
European countries moving towards each other – Our states moving away

While the European countries which had been fighting amongst each other for centuries have moved on and now shed off their
differences to form a European Union with the aim of forging a unified alliance, India is making its way towards more states and
disintegration of federal structure.
Countries crumble due to internal crisis

History has it that countries have ruptured more often not out of external war, but out of internal differences and due to the act of
selfish politicians and India shall be no exception.

Nothing else but India’s internal unrest and fissiparous tendencies can imperil the integrity of the country.

The primary roots of jeopardizing the setup lies in fracturing the inter state boundaries on political consideration.
How India split after Mughal Empire ?

Let us not forget as to how India broke into fragments after the decline and disintegration of the Mughal Empire.

Many ex-governors of the Mughal principalities called “subahs” declared their independence. And by the middle of the 18th century
there were congeries of `rajas’ and `nawabs’ who held sway over 600 principalities across the sub-continent. It was this India that
Robert Clive defeated and subjugated after the historic Battle of Plassey in 1757.

It is believed that history is the best teacher that should make us realize our mistakes and reform and refine ourselves for the
betterment of our society.
Splitting India is easy; cementing is difficult

To unite as many as 554 states was definitely a tough task, but splitting it up once again into 30 to 35 states will just take a couple of
our politicians to do a “fast unto death”.

But cutting the cake into many tiny pieces can lead to it forming crumbs and nobody being able to enjoy eating it.
The newly formed states have not done better

In 2000, three new states were formed – Uttaranchal (now called Uttarakhand) out of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand out of Bihar and
Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh.

The main rationale for the slicing was the marginalization and underdevelopment of these regions while they were within the larger

But almost a decade after these states got their own bureaucracies and politicians, there have not been much transformation.
Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are reeling under Maoist insurgencies that the state governments have not been able to handle effectively.

Decentralization and statehood do not seem to have made any significant dent in the poverty, hunger and malnutrition prevailing in
the states.

Nothing matters for our corrupt selfish politicians
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
For our corrupt selfish politicians , nothing matters as long as they can call themselves the Chief Minister of a state, even if the state is
small and does not have any significant resources for economic development.
We will end up with hundred odd states

Each part of our country is so unique in itself that if we were to divide the country into states keeping in mind their identities and
culture and customs, we will end up having at least a hundred states, which is not desirable.
Colonial view of India

The colonial view of India was that it could hardly ever become a `nation’. Are we confirming the colonial view
Do not exploit the gullible public and students

Encouraging the student community and common public to protest against the government, bringing entire administration to
standstill, seeking media attention by undertaking fast unto death, claiming rights over national property and physical features affects
the pillar of democracy.
Better governance is the need

Economic disparities need to be addressed, but bifurcation is not the way out. This is not a feasible option because disparities exist in
every state.

Probably, the argument that better administration is possible if the state is smaller is valid and worth taking note of, but that is
certainly not the only solution. Democratically functioning local development boards (with more powers, responsibilities and funds)
can most definitely fulfill the objective.
Every division brings more miseries

I and many others like me would be totally against any bifurcation or further division of India if they know that every division brings
in untold miseries to some common people, while there are politicians and opportunists who gain a lot in turn. Division does not
guarantee development.

A smaller state means fewer MPs in Parliament and hence less representation at the national level and reasons alike.
Lack of development no reason for splitting

But still if lack of development is a reason for the creation of separate state, almost two thirds of the country should be divided into
such small states.
Design of China

Historical evidence suggested that India as a nation never really existed in history. It was held together by decadent Hinduism which
encouraged caste system and exploitation.

Long ago, a Chinese think tank and strategist suggested in an article that China with a little help of other countries should break up
the Indian Union into 20 to 30 nation states like Europe.

It was suggested that China in its own interest should join forces with different people in regions in India like the Assamese, Tamils and
Kashmiris and support the latter in establishing independent nation states of their own out of India.

With the present prevailing fiasco of Telangana and demand for smaller states, China could get a golden opportunity by bringing into
its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support ULFA in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of
Tamils and Nagas, give political support to Bangladesh enabling the latter to encourage ethnic Bengalis in India to get rid of Indian
control and unite with Bangladesh as one Bengali nation and lastly recover the 90 000 sq. km territory in southern Tibet and
disintegrate the so called Great Indian Federation.
Call it United States of India

With the way things are going and the number of demands for statehoold, the new number of states may well cross 50. And in that
case, we may as well call ourselves the United States of India instead of India. Is it necessary to move towards this path?
Regional parties exploiting national parties
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
The hold of fissiparous tendencies had lightened after the major national parties started roping in the all sort of communal / regional
outfits to get local communal votes to win elections and even gave their `leaders’ an undeserved status in ministerial offices, without
regard to their honesty and capacity to rule.Such development have created demand for more states.
It is sad that a few hired goons can change the picture

The `interest groups’ in every locality can dictate terms to government after collecting a few thousands of unemployed / hired goons
to shout in the streets. It is not the people but some groups of unprincipled elements who raise the issue of separate statehood.
Regional mind set is still prevalent

The developments highlights the fact that people of India have not yet discarded the regional mindset that started from the Mauryan
Empire, which is very disgusting and shocking. This mindset is not good to country, which is aiming to become world economic
superpower 2030.
Smaller states prone to political instability

Small states are more prone to political instability hindering the development of the state, due to the small number of legislators in the
assembly. Changing of sides by a handful legislators can potentially force change of government and hence cause instability in the

The demand for smaller states will undoubtedly lead to disintegration of India.
Is poverty elimination so simple by splitting the country?

If poverty of a region could be abolished by carving out a separate state then this approach would have been pursued by our
government long back.

Common men want only two square meals a day

In reality, common man is not concerned about whether Telengana is formed or not. If a party can assure him that he would be able
to procure two square meal a day by living in “Telengana”, he would then be a part of the movement gladly. Sadly this bribe is given
to the locals to garner their support for this movement.

Need for strong central leadership

If we consider the history, there is a view that India as a union under a federal structure is still in the making. A federal structure can
remain only so long as there is a strong central leadership.

In the absence of such a leadership, the very spirit of the Indian Constitution favouring federal structure of the country is getting
diluted and resulting in disintegration.
Put off the fire

The ones who wanted to light the fire have done so, now we must at least try to put off the fire before more oil is added to make the
problem in a large scale.

Following 10 students have been awarded prizes

* Mr.R.Raghav,
II Year Undergraduate Student
School of Mechanical Sciences,IIT Bhubaneswar

* Ms.Gitanjali Maria
IVth Year , B.Tech,(Chemical Engineering)
Sardhar Vallabhabhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT),Surat

* Ms.Vaishnavi,
B.Sc., Psychology,
PSG College of Arts & Science,Coimbatore

* Ms.Divya Ramesh
II year M.A. Historical Studies,
University of Madras,Chennai
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

* Mr. Abhishek Kumar,

4th year ,
Chanakya National Law University, Patna

* Mr. Pratap Premnath,P.,

B.E. (Mech). VIII semester,
College of Engineering,Guindy, Anna University, Chennai

* Mr.Subhojit Panda
2nd Year Engineering ,Bhubaneswar, Orissa

* M.Subhashini
II B.Sc., C.S `D’,
Srimathi Indira Gandhi College,Trichy

* Ms. Ritupriya Gurtoo

Ram Manohar National Law University,

* Mr. Vinod Kumar Yadav

B.A.II Year (History Hons)
Nalanda Open University,Patna (Bihar)

---Nandini Voice For The Deprived congratulate all the students, who participated in the essay competition and wish them all success
in their endeavours. The very fact that there are students like the above participants who think on such progressive lines give hope
about the future.

Report by:
N S Venkataraman

Senior Citizens to get 5 % property tax rebate in Mumbai


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to give senior citizens a five per cent rebate in property taxes. Those above 65
years of age will also not be charged for admission in BMC-run hospitals.

The civic body has drawn up the proposal and will pass it next week at its group leaders’ meeting. Niyaz Wanu, NCP corporator and
group leader, said it is BMC’s duty to help senior citizens as most complain that their children do not take care of them. “It is very
difficult for senior citizens to meet their daily expenses.

If the BMC gives them some concessions, they can manage their lives better. We have decided not to charge any admission fee if they
come for treatment to BMC-run hospitals,” said Wanu.

Once the proposal is passed, senior citizens will not pay any entry fee at civic zoos including the Jijamata Udyan at Byculla, and get 75
per cent concession at BMC swimming pools. “We will reserve 10 seats in the front rows of BMC theatres across the city for senior
citizens and charge them only 50 per cent of the ticket cost.

Read More:

Good thought by BMC but we need to have Uniform Age for classification of Senior Citizens. Age of 60+ should be treated as Senior
Citizens. You retire people at 60yrs. This all is happening due to solid work by FESCOM and its associate NGO's like Silver Inning
Foundation Advocacy. Now BMC should go ahead an start Day Center for Elderly - Enrichment centers, Dementia Day Center and
Geriatric Wards in all BMC Hospitals.They should rope in NGO's working for Elderly to manage services.

Report by:
Sailesh Mishra
Founder President - Silver Inning Foundation
Founder – ARDSI Greater Mumbai Chapter
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Prevention and Punishment of Sectarian Violence and Rehabilitation of Victims Law, 2010
Bangalore/ New Delhi

Prevention and Punishment of Sectarian Violence and Rehabilitation of Victims Law, 2010 with amendment of Criminal Proecdure
Code.Sanctioning Authority shifted to either the District Judge or the State Legal Services Authority. New law with freshly inducted
jurisprudence that draws from the Geneva Covention (Convention Against Genocide) and the International Criminal Court (ICC)
arose out of the sectarian violence in India

Global Council of Indian Christians(GCIC) now appeal to the Union Government not only passes the Law but passes a Law well
conceived to address the issues that arose out of the carnages of 2002 (Gujarat), 1993-1994 (Bombay), 1984 (New Delhi) 1987 (Meerut
Maliana) and 1989 (Bhagalpur) ,2007 and 2008 Kandhamal,Orissa. Events in Kandhamal had their impact in Europe and elsewhere.

The justice Somskhar commission ,a commission of inquiry instituted to probe the 2008 church attacks in Karnataka State ,in its
interim report, recommended a ban on all communal organisations regardless of their religious affiliations and forfeiture of their
assets.The commission headed by Justice B K Somasekhara also indicated that senior police and district administration officers
colluded with Sangh Parivar outfits when various churches across Karntaka.

The idea for a new law with freshly inducted jurisprudence that draws from the Geneva Covention (Convention Against Genocide)
and the International Criminal Court (ICC) arose out of the sectarian violence in India, in its long term recommendations had
recommended the establishment of an independent and permanent National Statutory Crimes Authority to come into force whenever
the integrity and secular fabric of the country was threatened.

The UPA I government’s Common Minimum Programme (CMP) in consideration of the recommendations of the NHRC and the
CCT vowed to enact such a law. In Two official Draft Bills were thereafter presented over which the cicvil society had consultations
and suggested drastic amendments and alterations.

The creation of an independent statutory authority (that could under this law have its powers vested in the National Human Rights
Commission) that is empowered to intervene, order forces, investigate and prosecute the crimes when circumstances as outlined under
this Law prevail. Definitions of Crimes should be Drawn from the Geneva Convention and the ICC.

The tendency in the official Bills has be to define Crimes as those already listed under the IPC, Arms Act. Explosives Act and so on. .
Hence the crimes need to be defined clearly to address pogroms/carnages where groups are singled out, targeted, demonised, subject
to boycott, women and children targeted and then subjected to sever violence in all its many dimensions.

Apportion Criminal and Administrative Liability to those Officers and Politicians who fail to perform their duty.
One major lapse in the official Bill (s) has been the failure to cl;early lay out a “Command Structure of Responsibility of State Actors’
to ensure and enable that administrators/policemen and politicians empowered under the Constitution and service rules to act and
protect life, liberty and property are effectively penalised and prosecuted when they fail to do so.

One of the major limitations against prosecuting State Actors is the ‘sanction’ provision –section 197 of the Criminal Proecdure Code.
There is an anxiety among civil servants and bureaucrats that removing this provision completely could lay them vulnerable to
malicious and frivolous complaints. Hence it is proposed that the CRPC be amended and the Sanctioning Authority be shifted to
either the District Judge or the State Legal Services Authority.

Dr. Sajan K.George
Global council of Indian Christians(GCIC)

Dr Ghazal Srinivas creates Another Guinness World Record Singing in 125 World Languages
Guinness Record holder, "Maestro" Dr Ghazal Srinivas created another Guinness World Record for singing and recording the song
"The Golden Dreams of Gandhiji" in 125 world languages as an audio Album "The Path of Mahatma Gandhi"with same theme-
same musical composition in the category of Most languages sung in an audio album.

Among the 125 languages, 65 are foreign languages and 60 are Indian languages. With same theme and same
Musical composition.

Arabic, Armenian, Bahasa, Burmese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Amharik, Dari, Pashtho,
Balochi, Persian, French, German, Swedish, Esperanto, etc.are some of the languages among Foreign languages.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Hindi, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Urdu, Mythili, Angika, Awadhi, Marathi, Bengali, Bodo, Odisha, Malayalam, Tamil, Konkani, Kannada,
Tulu, Haryanavi, Maarvaadi, Gujarathi, Sanskrit, Telugu, Himachali, Punchi, Sindhi, Dogri,Assammese, Manipuri, Nadgameese,
Bhojpuri, Chattisghari, Bundelkhandi etc are among 60 Indian languages.

The theme of the song is the philosophy of Satyagraha, Non-violence, Peace and Love.

Dr Ghazal Srinivas, said “ The dedication ceremony of The Path of Mahatma Gandhi " audio album for world peace will be held in
New Delhi in 2nd week of February this year.

The audio album will be distributed all over the world through Aditya Music Private Limited from March 2010. Aditya music is
planning place the album in all International and domestic airports and also in various international musical outlets. It is also making
arrangements for online purchase of the album through their official website.

Dr Ghazal Srinivas received the Guinness Certificate from the Guinness Record authorities. Dr Ghazal Srinivas broke the world
Record of Miss Taliya of Israel who recorded the song “Wild Flower “ in 18 world languages in 2004.

Dr Ghazal srinivas previously created a new Guinness world Record for singing in 76 world languages in a live concert, in a new
category "most languages sung in a live concert in 2008.

Dr Ghazal Srinivas is now making preparations to launch a website in the name of “The Path of Mahatma’, ‘The Golden
Dreams of Gandhiji’, and the song that has been sung n the 125 World languages will be available in the proposed website from which
the song(s) can be downloaded freely. It is the Mission of Dr. Ghazal Srinivas to make ‘Peace, a World Religion’.

Seema is a human right worker, not a ‘Naxali’ (Letter to the National Human Right Commission, New

The Chairperson,
National Human Right Commission
New Delhi,


We want to acknowledge you that Seema Azad ,journalist ,human right worker and executive member of peoples Union for civil
liberties (PUCL), and her husband former student leader Vishwavijay and friend Asha, were detained by the police on Allahabad
Railway Junction without any proper reason on Saturday(6th Feb 2010). Both of them were returning from World Book Fair, New
Delhi by the Reewanchal Express. According to police they all are Naxalite.

Sir, the organization wants to highlight the background of detention. PUCL has continuously raised the voice against the atrocity
done by the police-Bahubalies nexus in kachhari region of Allahabad and Kausambi district on the sand mining labours. Due to the
pressure of politician and Bahubalies , DIG of Allahabad has framed many fraud cases against the labour movement leader. DIG had
banned the ‘Lal Salam’ cited it as against the nationality. PUCL had condemned the ban saying that it was natural address of
Communist party. According to PUCL ‘Lal Salam’ is a common address of labourer across the world. Raising the cause of fighting
labour against the illegal collection and illegal mining of sand in Nanda ka Pura village of Kausambi, the minster Seema azad and
advocate K. K. Roy of PUCL has issued a report on human right violation. In past one month the police and PAC jawans has
unleashed the Lathicharge couple of times in Nanda ka Pura village. Police had torched the local office of CPI (ML) New Damocracy
in Nanda village. And their leader were detained in the jail for several days in fraud cases. The voice against them , doesn’t suit the
mood of DIG of Allahabad and police. Police doesn’t want that the voice should be raised by any organization against their working
style. The arrest of Seema Azad , her husband Vishwavijay and friend Aasha is done by the police in the revenge. Seema Azad has no
any connection with the Naxalite and she is working in the field of human right for past several years. She is also editor of a monthly
magazine ‘Dastak’. She has made report on serious issues like human right situation in eastern Utter Pradesh, labour movement, SEZ,
situation of Mushar cast and Encephalitis disease. Vishwavijay, husband of Seema Azad , and his friend Aasha were active student
leader of Central university of Allahabad for a long time. They have strongly raised the concerned problem of students under the
banner of ‘INQUALABI CHHATRA MORCHA’. The persons which are naxalite, according to the police, are working in between
students and labour for a long time.

Sir, in past also UP Police has threatened the leader of PUCL working for the human right concern. PUCL has raised the questions
against the encounter of Kamlesh Chaudhoury in Chandauly dated 9th November. After that , in a press conference dated 11th
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
November 2009, DGP Brijlal has articulated that “the action would be taken against the PUCL leader” (see Dainik Hindustan of
November 12, 2009). The Allahabad arrest of Seema Azad is a chain of the same retaliation.

Hence, we appeal for the prompt action in the matter and also we appeal that police atrocity and human right violation should be
stopped. We also demand that Seema Azad and her friend should be released as soon as possible.

- Sincerely
Vandana Mishra, General Secretary, PUCL, U.P.
Chitranjan Singh, National Secretary, PUCL
K.K. Roy, Advocate, state executive member, PUCL
Ravikiran Jain, state executive member, PUCL
Satendra Singh, Convener, People’s Union for Human Rights(PUHR)
Sandeep Pandey, winner of Magsaysay award and state executive member,PUCL
S. R. Darapuri, former police director, state executive member,PUCL
Anshu Malviya, Shehri Garib Sangharsh Morcha
Shahnawaz Alam, Organization Secretary ,PUCL
Rajeev Yadav, Organization Secretary,PUCL
Vijay Pratap, Freelance journalist and human right worker

Lift accidents in Mumbai-Pune: RTI documents reveal underlying causes


5th February 2010, Mumbai: Bhupendra Singh Gulati, 52, opened the lift door at the 7th floor while talking on his mobile phone, and
stepped inside. He plunged six floors down the empty lift well, and died after landing on top of the lift car. This tragedy happened on
3rd June 2008, at Violet Building, Viman Nagar, Pune. Cause of accident: a defective landing door’s lock which allowed the door to be
opened, even when the lift was not present. The lift, erected by Escon, had no maintenance contractor.

On the afternoon of 23rd October 2008, 38-year-old Ajay Baliram Ghayatkar was entering the elevator on the 6th floor. When it
suddenly started moving upwards, Ajay fell half inside and half out. He was crushed between car ceiling and landing door, with his
back and legs hanging two feet below the landing ceiling. This shocking incident happened in Pune’s Bhosale Shinde Arcade, near
Deccan Gymkhana, on 23rd October, 2008. The lift was made by Kinetic Transportation, and maintained by Icon Elevators. Causes:
Firstly brake slippage; secondly, difference between the counter weights was not as per the rules.

These are a few of the lift accidents mentioned in a log book by PWD’s Lift, Energy and Labour Department. Mumbai RTI activist
Mohammed Afzal accessed these records under Right to Information after his brother Mohammed Farooq, a diabetic patient with
multiple clots in his brain, had a traumatic experience in a lift some weeks earlier. On 14th January this year, instead of flying kites,
Mohammed Afzal and his fellow activist Krishnaraj Rao inspected the documents of this department’s office at Chembur. (Read
Afzal’s RTI application here: )

The RTI documents revealed three shocking facts which contribute to accidents:

Administrative deficiency:
Maharashtra PWD’s Lifts Department is woefully understaffed for doing the work that it is supposed to do. According to Section 11 of
Bombay Lifts Act 1939, it is the responsibility of the State Government to inspect each lift twice a year, and recommend to the owner
of the lift rectification of various faults. If necessary, it can order the closure of a lift that seems dangerous. The department has
73,324 registered lifts in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune region, and only 11 inspectors to handle them. This means around
6,500 lifts per inspector. Assuming that each inspector routinely inspects and reports on an average of 30 lifts per six-day week – a high
average considering government holidays, casual leaves, the time taken to file reports, investigate accidents etc. etc. – it will take
around four years to inspect each lift even once. In other words, there is a need for at least eight times as many inspectors to ensure
bare minimum compliance with the legal requirement of inspecting each lift twice a year. (Read the supporting documents here: )

Frequent deficiencies in maintenance:

The department’s list of defects is quite comprehensive about the various ways in which maintenance of lifts is neglected: However, for want of reqular inspections by the statutory authority, such defects are not
pointed out in time, and go unnoticed or are neglected by penny-pinching building societies or sloppy maintenance contractors. Often,
maintenance contractors remove crucial parts like switches for maintenance without shutting down the lift. This seems to cause quite a
few fatal accidents. However, such instances rarely seem to result in police cases, court trials and convictions.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
A fatal technological flaw:
Doors open at the wrong time, when the lift car is not at landing. Conversely, lift cars move when called from upstairs or downstairs,
even when doors are still open. A study of the accident log books from 2002 onwards indicates that an overwhelming majority of the
accidents have happened because of a technological flaw that allows lifts to start moving even when the door is open, or, alternatively,
allows doors to open even when the lift is not in position. After studying the log files and translating some accident reports, RTI
Activist Sunil Ahya, who is himself a manufacturer of sundry equipments, observed that it is surely possibly to device ways to make
the door mechanism absolutely foolproof. “It is shocking that in this day and age, we put up with such an obvious technological flaw
that kills people. With the present level of technology, it is not rocket-science to build lifts where the door will absolutely never open
unless the lift car is at the landing floor, and conversely, the car will absolutely never move when the lift door is open.”

In the bulk of the fatal cases, the story goes like this: A person was entering lift, which someone upstairs or downstairs called it. And so
the unfortunate person fell and either got crushed between the lift and the landing, or plunged into the lift well.

Mr Sanjay Bhasme, Electrical Inspector (Lifts) of Mumbai, wrote a letter to his superiors asking for around 109 additional personnel
to be appointed to various posts on an urgent basis. He pointed out that every year, around 5,500 new lifts were being registered in his
jurisdiction of Mumbai-Thane-Pune region, whereas only around 1,200 inspections were currently being carried out. Read his well-
reasoned letter in Marathi:

The question is: Is Maharashtra government listening? Or will a big disaster have to happen before netas and babus sit up and take


Note: Log Books of Fatal and Non-Fatal Accidents, which are handwritten and in Marathi, are too large to scan; Xerox copies can be
made available on request. These books give exact details of lift accidents – categorised as fatal and non-fatal. Below are a few
specimens of accidents, minus details such as names of victims, buildings, maintenance contractors etc.


30th April 2002, Kalwa: Door open, lift moved, child crushed between doors.
26th July 2002, Kalyan: Lift door opened at wrong time, Man tried stepping out, lift moved.
9th Oct 2002, Nagpur: Lift moved when man was entering lift, man crushed
25th Feb 2003, Mumbai: Lift moved when someone upstairs pressed the button. Man entering the lift was crushed.
8th April 2003, Pune: Child was crushed between inner and outer doors of lifts. Children were playing inside the lift, when the inner
door suddenly opened, causing the child to fall out between inner and outer doors.
25th June 2003, Mumbai: Woman put her head into the lift well when the outer door opened without the lift being in place. Her head
was torn off by the lift car which suddenly came from above.
4th July 2003, Mumbai: Man was crushed between the doors and the lift when he was entering. The doors closed when lift was called
from above.
… and so on.


23rd May 2005, Mumbai: An 8-year-old girl lost her hand when she tried to close the outer door, and someone called the lift. As the
lift started unexpectedly moving, it cut off her hand.

19th Sept, 2007, Thane: The lift travelling down with eight persons, failed to stop at the ground floor, and crashed into the spring
buffers in the pit.

25th Oct 2007, Mumbai: An NDTV photographer and five other passengers travelling upward in the lift were injured when it
suddenly fell down from the third floor and crashed into the buffer pit. It was found that the lift was not erected in compliance with
Rule 6 of Mumbai Lift Rules, 1958.

And so on…

Article by:
Krishnaraj Rao
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) demands withdrawal of false cases booked against
Christian youth in September 2008

Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) welcomes Justice Somasekhara Commission interim report. We urge Karnataka Chief
Minister Mr. Yeddyurppa to live up to the solemn promise of prompt action given on the occasion of appointment of Justice
Somasekhara Commission.

Justice Somasekhara Commission is in the “impression” that “top police officers and the district administration and other authorities
and Panchayat heads...colluded with the members of Bajrang Dal and Sri Rama Sene directly or indirectly in attacking the churches”.

The commission also said the police committed excesses while trying to bring the law and situation when they cane-charged Christian
protesters who had taken to the streets as well as “unjustifiably” caused injuries to innocent people, including women and children.

1. Ensue protection for all religions and their institutions in particular to minority institutions.
2. Plea for adequate compensation for institutions and prayer halls affected during the violence against Christians from 2008.
3. Ensure steps to stop vilification campaign against Christians by anti social religious outfits.

Hundreds of false cases are registered after suffering brutal attacks from the police and the anti social elements. GCIC appeals to the
Honourable Chief Minister to withdraw all false cases registered against the youth giving them a new leaf of life to be productive law
abiding citizens of our nation.

Article by:
Dr. Sajan K George
National President
Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC)
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Don’t make a mash of it: Sunita Narain (CSE)

As I write this page, the Union minister for environment and forests is deliberating whether Bt brinjal can be grown and eaten in
India. So, at the outset, let me make my own bias clear. I am not an anti-GM person; I have no ideological problems with the use of
genetically modified technology to improve crop yield. But I am definitely anti-Bt brinjal: I believe it should not be given clearance.
My reasoning is as follows.

First, we are talking brinjal: genetically modifying, for the first time ever, a vegetable that, moreover, is a common food of near daily
use in all our homes, sometimes uncooked. So we cannot judge such technology modification at par with Bt cotton, which is at best
used as fodder or processed to make cottonseed oil. Indeed, all other GM crops used widely across the world are either eaten in
processed form (soya) or used after industrial refining (corn or rapeseed oil). Thus, in this case, simplistic correlations-that genetically
modified crops are safe, or known to be so-cannot be applied.

Second, the jury is out and still arguing about the tests done to establish the safety of this gene-modified vegetable vis-a-vis our health.
The debate centres around two issues: whether enough has been done to study the chronic impact of eating this daily vegetable on our
bodies and health, and who has done these studies.

The studies by Monsanto-MAHYCO - the owner company-show the bulk have looked at acute toxicity, a lethal dose 50 or more, a
dose at which there would be mortality of 50 per cent or more. The company has also done studies on allergic reactions and skin
irritation. On the other hand, studies on sub-chronic toxicity are few-90 days on rats, rabbits and goats. The question that then
emerges is: are the studies good enough to understand the long-term impacts of ingesting Bt brinjal? The company says yes,
maintaining 90 rat days are roughly equivalent to 20-21 human years. Opposing scientists say no, the chronic impacts need a different
protocol of study.

Furthermore, there is still the issue of how the Cry1Ac toxin breaks down in food and in our bodies. The company says its data shows
the protein breaks down in cooked food and in our digestive system, but admits it remains active in an alkaline medium. The opposing
view is that brinjal is sometimes eaten raw and that even our digestive system is mildly alkaline. The jury, as I said, is still out.

Then there is the big issue whether you and I, who are going to eat this vegetable, can ‘trust’ the research largely been conducted by
the company, the same that stands to gain the most if the go-ahead is given. Currently, all research is funded by companies and then
presented to regulators for clearance. This leads to an enormous lack of credibility-people do not believe what the companies say has
been done. And, given the horrific and scandalous track record of private research misguiding policy in the case of drugs or food, why
should this be surprising? It is clear we need a new system: research must be publicly funded and openly scrutinized. The money must
come from companies, but in the form of a cess collected into a fund. Without that, even good research will be tainted by bad public

My third reason for rejecting Bt brinjal is more basic and fundamental. Fact is I want the right to decide if I want to eat Bt brinjal or
not. But India has no labelling system to distinguish the GM-hybrid from its lowly, ordinary cousin. You and I will have no choice.
Furthermore, it is virtually impossible to set up a labelling system for a vegetable, in a country the size of India, where tests would have
to be done on the farms of GM and non-GM crop growers.

Labelling also demands the country must have a laboratory network and a functioning regulatory system, so that GM-content can be
analyzed and told to consumers. This is far from the set-up we have in the country. CSE, for instance, tried to get edible oil checked for
GM traces but was turned away by most laboratories in India: they could not test or had limited facilities; the tests were prohibitively
expensive or not possible. With Bt Brinjal, therefore, arises a similar problem of wanting ‘modern’ technology without ‘modern’
facilities to ensure safety and regulation. The same deadly combination.

Over and above this, there are concerns about what this ‘foreign’ introduction will do to the biodiversity of brinjal—India is the centre
of origin of this vegetable, over 2,500 varieties of which are grown here. While company scientists say Bt brinjal will not contaminate
other varieties, research also shows that cross-pollination is definitely possible. Can we risk losing these staples-long, short, round or
twisted-of our table?

To me the outcome is clear: Bt brinjal is not worth the risk and the uncertainty it presents. This is not a verdict on GM crops. It is a
demand for choice: to eat or not to eat. The minister’s decision, I hope, will be equally categorical.

Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

Several developing countries in Asia and Africa proudly proclaim themselves to be democratic countries. To prove to the world about
their democratic credentials, they hold elections with much fanfare. There are countries in Asia and Africa where the ruling group end
up getting almost 100% votes, making the democracy itself to be a mockery. Several army generals who climb to power by adopting
dubious means and overthrowing regimes by coercive methods , also hold elections and declare themselves as President or Prime

Now, we need to realize that while elections are part of the democratic process, elections are not the be all and end all of democracy. If
the elections would not lead to peaceful and conducive atmosphere for initiating welfare measures and assuring liberty to the people,
then such elections can be viewed as counter productive and even as farce. This is the reason that several so called democratic
countries in Asia and Africa , really do not have the credibility, not measuring up to the concept of democracy.

Most of the world public opinion applauded Sri Lanka when it went for Presidential election recently and it was the widespread view
that Sri Lanka showed maturity and confidence by holding Presidential elections immediately after the ethnic war. The admiration
even grew a level higher , when the Chief of the Army staff who was instrumental along with the President in successfully ending an
internal war, resigned his position voluntarily and contested the Presidential election. The whole world thought that there cannot be a
better example of a vibrant democracy.

Unfortunately, all this euphoria ended in deep disappointment for the world observers and became an anti climax, when the President
and the former Chief of Army staff who were the prime candidates , became bitter enemies and burying the culture of democracy in
the process. The situation turned so bad that the former Chief of Army Staff who lost the election was arrested and is now facing
court martial threat.

While this is the scenario, another parliamentary election will now take place in Sri Lanka. Obviously, the citizens who voted in the
recent elections and who can think for themselves would wonder whether such elections do any good at all , considering the bitterness
and enmity that they cause. They may hesitate to go and vote once again.

If those who contest elections do not have the caliber and quality of mind to maintain correct attitude and concern about the
opponent candidate, then in that case the spirit of democracy fails and elections become a wasteful exercise.

In such situations, holding elections will do more harm than good.

Column by:
N. S. Venkataraman

Citizen power to get FIR registered


The law called Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) gives us the right to get an FIR registered when we witness a serious offence being
committed. Such offences include encroachment of public spaces etc. which are happening unchecked all around us. Registering FIR
-- First Information Report -- sets in motion the police and legal machinery against a crime, even if the name of the perpetrator is not
known. It is the duty of the police to investigate and find further evidence, and file a charge-sheet before a magistrate (or alternatively,
and to close the case citing insufficient evidence etc.)

While registering FIR, the police officer must only see whether a cognizable offence is made out by the evidence offered by the citizen.
The citizen making the complaint does not have to prove that the evidence is true, or that the accused person has committed the
offence. That will be for courts to decide during the trial. Therefore, the police cannot refuse to take the citizen’s complaint on the plea
that the evidence may be false; he must only see the whether there is enough prima facie evidence of the crime.

Our right to get an FIR registered is at least as important as our right to information. But this is a neglected area. Without this, we are
powerless to seek remedies to the wrongs happening all around us.

How right of complaint is diluted and taken away

Currently, the police and administration throughout the country have an unwritten policy that even when our complaint clearly
reveals a cognizable offence, an NC (non-cognizable offence) is registered, which cannot be investigated without specific directions
from the court. Alternatively, our complaint is taken as an entry in the Police Diary, which has zero value. Thus, the police assume
discretionary powers that are not theirs by law.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
FIRs are usually registered to favour influential people such as Municipal Councillors, MLAs, MPs and IAS officers. Also, FIRs are
freely registered whenever police or civic authorities want to curb citizens who are asking inconvenient questions. With this, they abuse
their powers of arrest to terrorize citizens and occasionally extort bribes.

Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) makes it clear that registering FIR is a key power of the common citizen, and it makes it
mandatory for police to register FIR. Please read and understand:

All this means that in order to get an FIR registered, you must approach the following authorities in the order given below:
1. Approach the officer in charge of the concerned police station u/s 154 (1) of CrPC with a report of an offence and register a
complaint. You may show any evidence of wrongdoing, including photographs and videos on mobile phone etc. The
concerned police officer must accordingly put these into writing, and use these details to fill up the FIR form. You may also
try to convince the cop to register an FIR, with reasoning based on legal provisions of IPC etc. The cops cannot shout or
threaten you for doing so. You must insist on a copy of the FIR, which must be registered immediately, or at most within 48
hours in exceptional cases. This is mandatory as per Judgment of full bench of the Mumbai High Court in Sandeep
Rammilan Shukla vs State of Maharashtra 2009: . Please note that as Maharashtra
has not gone in appeal against this order, it may be accepted as the final legal position in Maharashtra. As for the rest of
India, this issue is under the active consideration of a 3-member bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Lalita Kumari vs
Govt of UP & Others. But in the meantime, the Supreme Court has already taken as strong position against Superintendents
of Police in July 2008:

2. Approach Superintendent of Police u/s 154(3) of CrPC, in case the concerned police station refuses to register the complaint
within the stipulated period.

3. Approach any Magistrate of the First Class u/s 190(1) of CrPC, or any Magistrate of the Second Class if empowered u/s
190(1) or 190(2). They have the power to order the police to register an FIR and to investigate.

To exert moral pressure on the police stations to promptly register FIR, Mumbai activists may cite the recent circular dated 18th
January 2010 issued by the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai:

Which offences are cognizable and therefore suitable for registering an FIR? Generally speaking, any offence which attracts seven
years of imprisonment is cognizable and requires an FIR to be filed, as against a mere NC or diary-entry. However, for more specific
details, refer to this table:

For filing complaints, you may cite the relevant sections of:
Indian Penal Code:
Criminal Procedure Code:
Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act:
Other bare Acts may be found here:

Column by:
Krishnaraj Rao


I recall the day two months before, when I had the opportunity to attend a seminar at the outskirt of Delhi. The hot topics, to be
bothered and discussed in the gathering was: “Pollution of River Ganga & its Control and Preservation” (i.e. Ganga ka
Pradushan … Ganga Bachao”).

And so, so early reached at the venue ignoring the shivering cold weather. However, it happened so, probably due to the chilly cold
situations, that VIPs- honourable guests and invited respected audience reached one by one…. at last to conclude it to be ‘a late affair’!

But the topic started in somehow odd and mysterious way. It was a wonder to search the matters of the seminar’s topics in the speech
of the opening orator. However, soon I and people like me could understand that the depictions by the orator, were going far away
from the topics of discussion – today.

After some lapse of time we felt that the lecture was unworthy of belief and the total situations became unendurable. So, like me
many lost their concentrations and naturally started feeling cold too much!... After nearly two hours, when many of the audience
started putting questions before the opening – orator, some chaos resulted in. So, the organizers opened the dais for the orators, next.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Thus, some interesting newness appeared before the gathering to listen – but none could feel the subject of today’s discussions i.e.
“Pollution of River Ganga & its Control and Preservation” (i.e. ‘Ganga Ka Pradushan & Ganga Bachao Abhiyan’). Yes the discussions
covered by the orator – next – were not targetted to : the ‘Pollution of Ganga’ & ‘Save Ganga Exploration’.

But they were discussing on various constructed dams and barrages on River Ganga, taking those as committed disasters. These
aspects caused deep meditation in many of us. We could recall that not a single of such dam or barrage exists in

River Ganga at the stretch of the plains of Rohilkhand and Gangetic Plains….. so, no question arises for inundations of cultivation
lands and villages – at all – due to stored water body at upsides of dams and barrages, the terrains having flat contour. But Farakka
Barrage on River Ganga, in West Bengal, has got its specific needs and importance for our country and for Bangladesh also.

During the short recess break, we discussed a lot among us – having identical ideas and faith. For the constructed dams on the hilly
terrains of Uttaranchal – across the networks of the River Ganga and its enriching subsidiary rivers at sources – nothing wrong is
existing to worry about. Yes, due to the constructed dams – since post independence period, so far – no village or cultivation land have
gone below stored water mass in the laps of the valleys, remarkably. But against the constructed tunnel – heads, any adverse likewise
comment, shall depict motive – something else.

Whatever these controversies might be, at that time we liked to render and convey our gratitude to the people and the Govt. of India,
for the installation of so many dames since independence in Uttaranchal - to produce approximately 2000 M Watt clean, pollution
free energy i.e. Hydro Electricity. We were so much bothered that also conveyed our best regards to the people and Govt. of
Uttaranchal as they have planned to produce more than 4000 M. Watts of Hydro – Electricity at the earliest.
We were gossiping on truth outside the auditorium, when could listen the announcement for the start of the second session of the
running seminars. So all of us went inside immediately and could listen : “now our orator is Shree Gopal Kishan Pal before you…..”
and onwards we could listen… then more and more, as Shri Gopal was on:
Our respected President, seniors, conveners and learned audience ... with your consent I dare to produce before you my statement on
the subject matters of discussions today. During the process of exchanging thoughts and ideas, difference in our opinions may step in
along with unwanted mistakes covered…and so I beg apology from you in advance.

Today, on this dais, discussions – conversations – seminar has been arranged … and the topic is very much grave : “The Pollution
Control of River Ganga & its Preservation!”-- having deep desire to make the flow of holy River Ganga ever clean!!

It is certainly a great effort on behalf of the respected organizer and I convey my best gratitude to you all for considering me capable
to deliver my speech on this occasion… on this great dais!

For the kind information to everybody common, I state that since pre-historical era … ever perennial… ever auspicious mother River
Ganga is the custodian of all ancient civilizations… and is having three enriching holy streams mainly : one the Bhagirathi, emerging
out of Kamet and Bandarpunchh high mountain – glaciers, namely holy
‘GANGOTRI’ - Second, the Alaknanda, coming out of the glaciers of Badrinath and Duna Giri mountains… and the third, the
Pindar Stream, emerging out of Milan glacier of Nanda Devi Mountain and Trisul mountain’s Pindar glaciers ! ….. Thus, by these
three holy stream’s sangam i.e. combination, the holy River Ganga is formed flowing down south through Rishikesh and Haridwar,
the two heavenly places of pilgrimages of India! ... And then flows down south-east along with parallel natural drainage basin, called
Ramganga – through the historical glorious plains of Rohilkhand of Uttar Pradesh!! Yes, the ancient civilization is the ‘Gangetic

However, respected gentle audience, please listen: it might not be referred to Yamuna river in past era, but for mother Ganga river
cordial prayers were organized many times earlier, as : “Hey Ram--teri Ganga Maily-!” … “Raksha Karo Mahadev… Har-Har
Mahadev!” [i.e. ‘Oh Lord Rama – yours Ganga is nasty - !”… “Save…Save… protect – Oh Lord Shiva!!”].

So, today’s matter of discussions are never new for becoming afraid of … or becoming worried! But definitely all are the matter of
shame that for the project-acts of cleaning Ganga river’s flow, till no solid plan has been truly adopted by the Governments … central
and state’s !- Mother Ganga is still flowing … perennial, becoming polluted and nasty day-by-day!!

Yes, before thinking and proceeding further, sorrowful feelings are arising in my mind and soul! Yeah, certainly yes!!... My ego is full of
deep distress, as if for ever separation…. yes : “Ganga aaye kahan se…Ganga jaaye kahan re!”

….. I am sure that feelings and perceptions of you all are similar! Yes, somehow the pattern may not be the same seating on the bank
of Ganga at Rishikesh and Haridwar… again at Kanpur – even at Varanasi, the flowing Ganga River, the Mother, may not appear
and make us so much cheerless! But I can assure you : in summer, specially in the quiet noon, please come and seat on the bank of
Mother Ganga at “Garh Mukteshwar – Gajraula’ … or at ‘Allahabad / Prayay’ … or at ‘Danapur’… next at ‘Mahendru Ghat –
Patna’ … or at ‘Kahelgaon / Bhagalpur – Rajmahal’ – even at ‘Farakka’, and feel the holy flow of perennial Mother Ganga !! I am
sure that your entire mind-heart-soul-and body will get all such feelings, perhaps called: ‘heavenly – blessings’!! You all will weep…..
shall listen someone singing somewhere near to your soul: “Ganga aaye Kahan
Se … Ganga Jaaye Kahan re --- lahrate pani me jaise dhup – chano me !!’ … [i.e. “From where Ganga is coming… to where Ganga is
separating – along with the waves and ripples full of rays and shadows!!”]
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Listen, we say that : purity of Ganga water is such that it never gets perished and full of worms – at rotten states in jars or elsewhere.
We also take it granted that by the sprinkling of Ganga water, everything – man – woman – animal, all become sacred! … But,
perhaps, these faiths are not at all justified now. The Burning World is approaching fast,hoever, days are coming soon when the Ganga
water will be full of bacteria – germs – and nasty matters! … Everyone knows the causes, still in brief I state that : on date, everywhere
it is a conventional fact to dispose, every moment, nasty water – waste liquids – poisonous liquids and solid into nearby drains! -- Then
onwards, all these polluted materials, are flowing to merge in River Ganga … at every place of Ganga – banks always!

So? Nothing to add further : ‘Ram teri Ganga maily hoti-a-rahi hai, hoti jayegi…’, every moment pollution is growing … will be

So, my dear friends, we all know about all these committed nuisance and facts … we know the criminals… off Industries – Homes –
Institutions etc. in India ….. but keeping ‘MUM’ … no ‘SLOGAN’ … no ‘SOCIAL ACTION’!!!

Excuse me! Now I conclude … Oh! Wonderful sin indeed! The powerful : ‘labour unions – workers – neighbours -- panchayats –
Administrators – Governments’ know all about the dangerous Ganga Water Pollutions ..... all the technical know how for Waste Water
Treatment / Sewer Water Treatment / Septic Tank – technology / Five Years Planning … all are available in our great country …
but still then all are silent onlookers and’CYPHERS’ !!!
….. But certainly the God, Lord, Parwardigar are still existing … looking into all the facts and sins to bestow ‘PUNISHMENT’ to us
… yes … the actions of Burning World, thus approaching fast !!!

Article by:
Gargrishi Shantanu

Food insecurity, Price rise and derailed Governance

In the aftermath of sixty first republic day the people of India are not sure when will cease the skyrocketing prices of food grains and
basic and bare necessities for life; lot of them are not sure about having two meals a day; they are uncertain about their future and that
of their families. This is the sad story of India’s teeming millions. The middle class is equally insecure, as the price rise has eaten up
heavily their earnings and salaries.

In the last few decades it hardly happened that the country and aam admi got as much insecure for their basic necessities to feed
themselves and their families. In the last one year the price of the food grains and commodities has risen to such an alarming stage
that has pointed the finger towards pathetic governance by the blue blooded gentries seating in their comfortable chambers in the
national capital.

The Honorable Union Minister of Agriculture having additional portfolio of Food and Supplies seems unimpressed and stoic about
the plight of the people. His prophecies for the price rise of basic commodities are encouraging the hands of brokers, black marketers
and share market bulls. The sugar price soared to all time high of Rs. 50 a kilo from Rs. 16, three times high in a calendar year- once
he made the announcement that price is expected to increase. The similar situation is regarding other commodities especially rice,
wheat and pulses. Government can do far better than issuing instructions to the people to eat less sugar and get prevented from
diabetes. What about the spiraling price of green vegetables?

His latest prophesy is regarding the price rise of milk in northern India. He announced on January 20, 2010: “We are facing
insufficient availability of milk, especially in northern India. In October, we had taken a decision on prices. Today, there is a demand
that we should hike the prices”. Full-cream milk such as Amul and Mother Dairy is selling in the retail market for Rs 30 per liter. In a
year the price has gone up by near 100 per cent from Rs. 18 to Rs. 30. No doubt the congress leadership has instructed the minister to
address the problem rather than merely parroting about the same. There had been a record production of food grains in the last
three-four years and so despite a 23 per cent monsoon shortfall, the impact would not been that much.

Merely instructing the state governments for do’s and dont’s can’t cure the malaise as did: “My appeal to all State Governments is that
they should take the issue of price rise very seriously to protect the interest of the consumers, otherwise it will be difficult,” he said.
Chief Minister of Bihar Mr. Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Ms. Mayavati have slammed Sharad Pawar’s
statement for passing the buck on state governments for controlling price rise. The wrong import and export policy of the union
government by allowing export of commodities like sugar at minimum price, poor storage conditions of food grains in Food
Corporation of India godowns, unholy politician-capitalist nexus are the prime reasons behind the problem, which the government
has failed to tackle.

Prime Minister’s statement that India is committed to price stability is not enough to treat the malaise, unless effective steps are taken
to address the issue. If the current food insecurity situation has to tackle the prime minister need to impose confidence among the
people by assertive action by controlling inflation, reviewing the import-export policy, ensuring poise in the supply demand of the
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
basic commodities etc. As the wholesale price-based inflation escalating to 7.31 per cent for the month-ended December, 2009 and
food prices increasing by over 17 per cent, although Reserve Bank of India has taken steps to restrict flow of money supply, however
that should not cause to be retrograding to already stressed banking sector. However how effective such steps will be only time will tell.

Article by:
Om Prakash
Assistant Professor
National Law University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India


More than the economic and political concerns, the fall in the moral climate in the country is a more grave issue that has to be tackled
at the earliest. There cannot be any difference of opinion that the increasing incidents of murders, violence in personal life and the
corruption and nepotism in public life are due to the falling value system in the society. This problem cannot be solved without
attacking the root cause.

Obviously, the root cause for the fall in moral climate is the conduct of the politicians and the media and both have to be disciplined at
the earliest.

The politics in the country has become a free for all affair with no entry barrier. As the politicians, who get into power through the
electoral process largely by using money power and muscle power control the government machinery, the characterlessness of the
politicians are transforming the government machinery into a corrupt, inefficient and dishonest den. The bureaucrats , who are
supposed to be better educated and trained for their job , are not resisting the negative trends in any visible manner but many of them
have succumbed to the temptation and are becoming a willing tool in the hands of the corrupt and self centred politicians. In the
process, they themselves have become beneficiaries of the corrupt conditions to some extent. In such scenario, the common men
remain helpless and the country’s slide remains unchecked.

In recent times, the rowdies and thugs who would take to violence and nefarious activities readily have become bold and more
confident, since they have developed political affiliations and some of them have successfully entered politics and are in political and
ministerial positions. Those who could not get into positions in politics still find that they are wanted by the politicians from time to
time , particularly while contesting in the elections at various levels or to settle political and personal scores. Sadly, such elements have
become integral part of the political system in the country today. Therefore, we find a situation that many rowdies and thugs are able
to dictate terms and create fear in the minds of the law abiding citizens. the burglaries and paid murders are increasingly becoming
common and frequent due to the collusion between the politicians and thugs. The law enforcing agencies seem to remain helpless in
tackling such elements, as they have to d
erive their authority only from the government which is in control of the politicians.

With the money power and muscle power at their command and administration that has been corrupted, the politicians and the thugs
are able to paralyse the society and administration at their will by indulging in violence , breaking street lights , stoning the vehicles
and creating a sense of unrest. A dispassionate analysis will indicate that today the law abiding citizens are at the mercy of these sort of
people, making many wonder as to whether the existing pattern of electoral process and democratic system has become counter
productive in the country.

Many people seem to think that the present political leaders are really no different from dictators. It is seen that dictators in several
countries also hold elections and win elections.

While this is the condition created by the politicians, the media in the country has become largely exploitative. The bitter truth is that
the media has largely gone into the hands of business houses and vested interests. Principled and courageous journalists do not have
any more meaningful role to play in most of the media sector. Money making has become the be all and end all of the media activity
for several media groups, which can be done only by increasing viewership / readership , putting paid news and getting advertisement
revenue. Therefore, the focus of the media is to sensationalise the news to the maximum extent possible , irrespective of the merit of
the news. The media are all the time looking for bad news like rape , murders, illicit relationships and vituperative remarks of
politicians. This is why the media is full of such news, which is at the cost of good and positive news , which are also taking place in
equal measure. Such attitude of media en
courages and cultivates the climate of violence , corruption and amoral activities in the country.

Now, what is the solution ? Constant protest by right thinking people by holding meetings and writing in the print media , electronic
media and through blogs are the only way that would be in tune with the democratic spirit that should govern the country. Concerned
citizens who understand the gravity of the situation should actively participate in large number whenever protest meetings or
discussions and debates take place and they should express their disapproval of the state of affairs at every opportunity.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
This would put some sort of concern amongst the politicians and the media and they would see the compelling need to correct
themselves. Peaceful and strong protests from citizens can work wonders in improving the situation.

Today, the concerned citizens largely remain as mere armchair critics and the country is paying a price for this.

Article by:

Rage against road kills


Pune-based activist Vilas Kane has been documenting road kills of animals in Maharashtra. In the hill station of Mahabaleshwar
alone he reports 600,000 snakes crushed by vehicles in a single year. So many kills can disturb the ecosystem.

One thing led to another. For Pune-based documentary filmmaker Vilas Kane, a 20-minute film titled The End of an Innocent Life,
shot over three years ago, led to a serious deliberation on how and why animals die attempting to cross highways and roads cutting
through forests.

Two years ago, his NGO Sakshatkar conducted a survey in the hill station of Mahabaleshwar, located around 305 km from Mumbai,
and came up with the startling fact that almost 600,000 snakes were crushed by vehicles in an area of just 150 sq km in the span of a

Kane wants to take the issue further and has initiated a survey of road kills across the state of Maharashtra. To do so, he has asked
hundreds of volunteers and wildlife enthusiasts to send him documented evidence of any road kill they happen to come across. In just
over six months, Kane has been able to build up a huge databank of road kills, most of which were spotted on highways during the

“This is just the beginning. We have to cover 10,000 km of roads that run through the state,” he says.

What will he do with all the data? “The idea is to shock people with the figures. I want people to become more sensitive whilst driving,
especially when passing through forests,” he says.

The End of an Innocent Life is a 20-minute film that was shot over a period of eight days in Mahabaleshwar. It was the sight of a
checkered keelback squashed by a speeding car that led to Kane unearthing 172 such deaths in a week. “The road kills of larger
animals have always generated debate and awareness campaigns, but similar cases of snakes have been ignored. What we have to
realise is that so many kills can disrupt the entire ecosystem, and the repercussions will be known only after a certain period,” he says.

Armed with a digital video camera, Kane scouted around for dead snakes and realised to his horror that almost 45% of them
belonged to the shield tail species which is endemic to the Western Ghats.

For the Complete Story and News on other Social Issues log on to

Article by:
Dev Sinha

No peace without justice (displaced Muslims in the Gujarat state)


If they return to their village they may not survive. If they stay on in their resettlement colony they will never have basic education,
healthcare or livelihoods. Eight years after the Gujarat riots, this is the status of thousands of displaced Muslims in the state, amongst
them 51 families from Kidiyad housed at a camp in Modasa, who are still waiting for official confirmation -- and then compensation --
of 62 deaths of their kin.
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
Al-Fallah Nagar is a resettlement colony of Muslim refugees on the outskirts of Modasa town in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district
bordering Rajasthan. It is one of five resettlement colonies that have come up in the town after the wave of unprecedented violence
that swept through the state in 2002. Modasa too witnessed violence and arson that led to five deaths in police firing. But there hasn’t
been a major flare up since then, perhaps because the two communities have kept to themselves. “This town is about 700 years old
and it has always been this way. Muslims live on one side of the main road, Hindus on the other. Each keeps to his area,” Gujarat
Amir (president) of the Jamaat-i-Islami Muhammed Shafi Madni says. The town’s BJP MLA since 1995 Dilipsinh Parmar concurs:
“Muslims vote for Congress, Hindus vote for us.”

Modasa is a booming town of 90,000 residents. The town is cleaved into a Hindu half and a Muslim half. The ratio of the town’s
Hindu-Muslim population is said to be roughly 55:45. The main street, a state highway passing through the town, serves as the
dividing line between the communities. The noisy and chaotic traffic on this street confirms the town’s reputation as the region’s
transport hub and centre for agricultural exports, some 30 kilometers off the national highway 8, which is part of the Golden
Quadrilateral connecting Delhi and Mumbai, and passes through the state’s capital Gandhinagar and commercial city Ahmedabad.

The main town comprises the traditional residential quarters and the commercial buildings that have been added to the typical rural
setting in recent decades by the predominantly Muslim lorry fleet owners and majority Hindu farmers-turned-commodity traders.
The latest addition to this town setting are the new colonies of refugees located a couple of kilometers away from the hustle-bustle of
main town and consisting of rows of identically-built concrete houses amidst the old neem trees and vast open fields in the vicinity of
a typical Muslim pocket.

A modest, single-storey bungalow at Al-Fallah Nagar, freshly painted in various shades of green, stands out, hinting at the social status
of its owner. Salimbhai Sindhi is former sarpanch and chairman of a local dairy cooperative from Kidiyad, an interior village around
25 km from Modasa, in Malpur sub-division of the district. “Out of the 550- odd families in the five resettlement colonies in Modasa,
51 families are from Kidiyad. We are the largest group of refugees in the region, allotted houses at Al-Fallah Nagar in 2004,”
Salimbhai says. “Before the houses were built, we spent nearly two years in makeshift camps in the nearby open fields after fleeing our

Makeshift camps for Muslims displaced in 2002 dot the region -- Modasa and Khedbrahma in north Gujarat, Dahod, Lunawada,
Godhra and Chotta-Udepur in central Gujarat -- as also other places in the state. An official report by a senior police official to the
state home department in August 2002 says: “An estimate about communal riots victims migrated from various districts indicates that
over 75,500 persons from 13 districts have been shifted to other places… During the communal riots, 10,472 houses, 12,588 shops,
2,724 larri/galas (handcarts) were damaged or destroyed due to arson, while 1,333 shops were ransacked.”

The Gujarat riots broke out on February 27, 2002, when a Muslim mob in Godhra town set alight a train coach carrying Hindu
pilgrims on their way back from Ayodhya. The incident, which claimed 59 lives including women and children, sparked three weeks of
murderous reprisals by right-wing Hindu mobs, followed by low-intensity violence that left over 1,000 people dead across Gujarat. In
2009, seven years later, 228 ‘missing’ people were declared dead, pushing the official death toll to 1,180.

Independent activists and academicians maintain, however, that the toll is closer to 2,000 and the number of displaced nearly 1.5 lakh,
with over 900 villages and 150 towns in 19 of the state’s 25 districts affected by the riots. Communalism Combat and Citizens for
Justice and Peace have noted, in a 2003 petition to the Gujarat High Court that the number of relief camps in the state of Gujarat
during the peak of the riots was 121, out of which 58 were in Ahmedabad city alone. These relief camps accommodated 132,532
persons, the petitioners say.

The survivors continue to live in camps seeking safety in numbers A majority of the survivors continue to live in camps seeking safety
in numbers. Even today they refuse to go back to their homes. “Ninety-five per cent of (displaced) Muslims do not want to go back to
their villages or localities. They prefer the security offered by a Muslim ghetto like Juhapura in Ahmedabad,” observes social
anthropologist Dipankar Gupta, who spent 2009 studying how victims of ethnic violence gradually re-establish themselves, although
rarely ever regaining what they had in the past.

For the displaced from Kidiyad, the 2002 ordeal is still fresh in their minds. On March 2, Salimbhai and other elders from the village
decided to move to a secure place when news of arson and killings started pouring in from nearby villages. “There was no help
forthcoming from the police. To ensure the safety of women, children and the elderly, we packed around 120 of them in two tempos,
escorted by some young men,” he recalls. Among those fleeing were Salimbhai, his wife, and 15-year-old son. The trucks had travelled
only a short distance from the village when they were stoned and stopped by mobs that lynched and burnt 73 people.

Salimbhai remembers how another group of around 100 Muslims hid themselves in the wheat fields near Kidiyad during the night,
and trekked seven kilometres to reach the taluka headquarters in Malpur. One of them, elderly Subbumiya, was tracked down and
killed by the mob as he was too weak to endure the trek and was left hiding in the fields. “The total casualties from Kidiyad were 74,
but the police could recover only 12 dead bodies. There is no evidence to this day of 62 persons who were either killed or burnt in
such a way as to leave no sign of their dead bodies,” Salimbhai says.

In Kidiyad, all that remains of the Muslim homes are the damaged red brick-and-mud walls. Salimbhai says: “How can we go back
when the killers of my wife and son are still roaming in the village? Is there anyone in my village who will help us find the killers of so
many innocents? Some of the bodies were so badly burnt, nothing was left. You could not make out if this was a child or a man or a
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
The residents of Al-Fallah Nagar say they are learning to live with this nightmare, even while complaining of a lack of basic facilities
like potable water, sanitation, electricity, an approach road, and the absence of health and education facilities in their new colony. “We
are living in barely human conditions… as if marooned,” Aminaben Sindhi, an elderly woman, says. The men complain about work.
Most of them, once fairly well-off cattle dealers, agriculturists, traders and transporters who used to employ others for unskilled jobs,
are now reduced to working as trainee masons or carpenters for paltry daily wages. Some of them have opened makeshift snack stalls
or paan shops; others work as drivers.

The complete story can be found at


Article by:
Dev Sinha

Aid policy for elderly in India : Revision of NPOP


The Centre is enriching a 10-year-old policy for the elderly that has so far remained on paper, offering financial support, healthcare,
shelter, protection from abuse and exploitation as well as a battle against dementia.

The National Policy for Older Persons (NPOP) of 1999 is being upgraded with special focus on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of
dementia as part of a National Dementia Strategy.

The existing policy has virtually seen no implementation on the ground with most states failing to show interest, a Union social justice
and empowerment ministry official admitted.

He said a “determined” Centre would this time tighten its monitoring and withhold NPOP funds to the states if they did not carry the
policy out. “We want the NPOP implemented in letter and spirit,’’ the official said.

The highlight of the new NPOP would be the measures against all forms of dementia.

“India is said to have millions of people with dementia and it is imperative that we prepare to deal with the socio-economic
repercussions of this,’’ the official said.

A report by the Alzheimer’s Disease International says there are 36 million people with dementia in the world, of whom three million
live in India. The number may rise to 10 million by 2030, the report says.

“We want to create awareness about the disease because it can be prevented if we take the right precautions,’’ the official said.

Scientists say people who engage in intellectually stimulating activities, such as social interaction and the playing of a musical
instrument, significantly lower their risk of developing dementia or, at least, delay its onset.

The revised policy will ask the states to ensure quick disposal of cases relating to property transfer and property tax involving the aged.
It will also require the states to provide special identity cards to everyone above 65 to make it easier for them to claim benefits such as
fare concessions and priority in the allocation of gas and phone connections.

Read More:

Article by:
Sailesh Mishra
Founder President - Silver Inning Foundation
Founder – ARDSI Greater Mumbai Chapter
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
It is observed that Indian Railways have very recently arranged betterment of train coaches to facilitate passengers comfort during
journeys. Much attention is given for upkeep ness by cleaning of the coaches. Railway may consider to add and rearrange the under
noted provisions made in compartments for betterment as well as easement to elderly and disabled persons. Incidentally it is felt that
the proposal will involve barest minimum additional cost to Railways.

1). Presently one western type of commode system lavatory is provided in each reserved compartment with sufficient toilet papers.
Most of the passengers do not use toilet papers as the system is not prevailing and popular in this country. More over sufficient papers
supplied, vanishes quickly for reasons known to every body and as such no useful purpose is served. Since water tabs are provided in
compartments for washing facility, Railway may like to consider providing Jet spray system fixed at each commodes so that every body
(including aged & disabled person) are benefited. Jet Spray system at commode system has become very popular now a day by
common people as the system is very advantageous / useful to aged and disabled person.

2). Although there exist instructions from Railway authority that effort will be made for providing lower berths to passengers aged
above 55 / 60 years, but in various cases it is observed that aged passengers had to travel by upper berths under compelled

Unfortunately the ladders / steps provided in coaches to climb upper berths are not friendly to general passengers including aged
persons and this also disturb lower berth holders by upper berth passenger during use at night journeys. Under the circumstance it is
urged that Railways will reexamine the issue in view of constraints explained and consider providing ladder friendly to passengers in
general to climb / get down upper berths.

3). Suggestions made earlier for improvement of passenger amenities etc by Railways are reproduced for consideration and

a). Some 20-25 years back we used see a white line mark of 1Mtr along the both side edge of a road for slow speed pedestrians and
vehicles where foot paths are not available. On a high speed busy traffic road this white demarcated area was considered as a safe area
for very sickly and disabled persons. Reintroduction of this system will definitely be very useful to PWDs as well as others sickly
personal at various railway premises.

b). At different major railway stations it is always very difficult to move, proceed further to board in a train by sickly, old aged and
Person With Disability. At times even persons having full sympathy towards PWD and old aged persons failed to help due to rush for
trains. Situations become very grave at stations like Sealdah, Chhannai, Howrah, Mumbai and Delhi where hundreds of local
passengers used to travel daily. Railway administration may like to consider marking a passage width of 2Mtrs from main entrance up
to each platform with white or any international accepted color so that PWDs and other week persons may avail conveniently. This
demarcated area for PWDs and like others will however equally availed of by all passengers but will allow easy passage to PWDs and
like other disables. Time to time announcement will serve as a consciousness of the general public. Simply demarcation as proposed
will be of immense help to PWDs.

c). Similar action is proposed to be introduced by Metro Railways of the country. As a large number of office commuters had to catch
trains according to their own schedule, they had to run violating every thing but a clear and visible 'Demarcation' and there by
resultant general consciousness will definitely demand allowing PWDs and others allowing passage way. Demarcation as proposed if
implemented will be very much helpful to PWDs, sickly and old aged persons.

d). It is seen that hand railings are not provided at star case of different old office / railway stations / commercial buildings for going
to upper floors / pathway. As it becomes very difficult for sickly, PWDs and Old Aged persons to move in an easier manner it is
necessary to provide hand railing facility to all such areas where hand railing facility do not exist. A proper guide line in this regard
needed be issued by the appropriate authority of Government of India.

A common scenario may be seen everywhere at different railway stations, especially at metro stations that space available along the
hand rails are occupied by young boys and girls for reasons not connected with traveling purpose. The said occupation of space
tantamount to create inconvenience to other commuters including PWD, sickly and old aged disables. Proper announcement in this
regard and time to time clearance by departmentally engaged unit may be helpful to arrest the unwanted problems.

Incidentally it is to mention that in the year 2004 I have requested Sri. A. Gupta, Chief Engineer, M.Rly./ Kolkata to provide hand
railings to all star cases for convenience of PWD commuters which was accepted by him and had issued necessary instructions on spot.

e). Being a PWD while traveling in AC coach it has been experienced at the time of detraining at major stations like Delhi, Chennai,
Howrah, Hardware etc. that huge numbers of collies enters into compartments and jamming the entire passage in hunt of customers.
In most cases numbers of collies entered in the compartment are 2 / 3 times greater than that of number of passengers boarded in
compartment. As a result most of the collies do not get customers for them and thereby being dissatisfied / aggrieved starts either
forcing or starts arguing with the remaining slow moving sickly, old aged, PWD and female passengers taking advantage of very few
passengers remaining in the compartment and inside compartment not visible from outside because of AC glass sealed coach. During
my last visit to South India while detraining at Chennai Egmore station we had not engaged any collie in a similar situation as were
having only some hand bags with us. Some collies started arguing in local language and behaved in ugly manner with my daughter
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010
which I had to protest. As I am a physically challenged PWD they did not touch me but followed up to main road abusing me in local
language. Some local people having sympathy for us wanted to know the issue. Since I cannot talk to them I wanted to express my
trouble to them with local language interpreter, Tamilian friend from Kolkata over my Mobile phone. But alas, my mobile phone and
money bag pick pocketed at compartment while I was being pushed out by said collies. Definitely no body will appreciate such
situation to happen in future. Railway administration may like to restrict entrance of collies in all AC compartments where inside is
not visible from out side and ensure restriction is implemented properly to avoid unwanted situations in future. Only one collie may be
allowed to enter on demand by a particular passenger.

f). Traffic control system for a city have been introduced considering easy movement, safety and hazard less utilization of both by
vehicles and pedestrians. There is no doubt that the best system available has been introduced for traffic control. PWDs specially
persons who can move a few yards with the help of an escort finds it difficult to attend to an office situated at a spot where either a
vehicle is prohibited or entering / getting down not allowed. In certain areas garaging of a vehicle not allowed. Had to get down from
vehicles far away from Howrah station main or nearby any approachable gate and had to walk through running vehicles / large
number of commuters running to catch their local trains. The problems of PWDs who cannot move freely were discussed with
different traffic controller, traffic experts of the city who opined as follows:-

Authority controlling traffic may like to consider as a special case for PWDs holding Handicapped Certificate issued by Government
authority for more than 50%Disablity with them allowing to enter with vehicles to a restricted area for traffic(Other than Prohibited
Areas) and by earmarking a suitable gate at Howrah etc stations for entrance of vehicles carrying PWDs having H.C over 50%
Disability. Traffic controlling management may like to review the situation keeping in view the difficulties faced by PWDs to solve
problems and betterment.

Article by:
Chinmay Kar

Any suggestions for further betterment of Railways & beneficial to railway commuters are invited. Suggestions may be posted at
appropriate space provided or may be sent to Kodakkal Shivaprasad at or Chinmay Kar at
Ground Report India (GRI) February 2010

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,ाउ.ड *रपोट2 इ.*डया भारत % लोग? की वह अावाज N जो *क जमीनी यथाथ2, *वचार, जमीनी ग*त*व*धयQ तथा अिभEयिFत % Gवात.Hय % िलR N। 
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!काशन नी'तय*:

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भी eप I fजा जा सकता N।  fजM समय *नgन hबiअ? I Yोjसाहन अkिcत N।
• अापका Yोjसाहन अkिcत N, य*द ,ाउ.ड *रपोट2 इ.*डया सामािजक म^l? अौर अराजनm*तक अाbटकल की अkcा रखती N ।
• अापका Yोjसाहन अkिcत N, य*द *रपोट2 की सjयता % Yमाण YGत^त करa की अkcा की जाती N ।
• अापका Yोjसाहन अkिcत N, य*द अाbटकल % मौिलक होa की अkcा की जाती N ।
• य*द ,ाउ.ड *रपोट2 इ.*डया *कसी अाbटकल या *रपोट2 को Yकािशत कर पाa I असमथ2ता EयFत करती N तो कnपया अाप ,ाउ.ड *रपोट2 इ.*डया की
असमथ2ता को अ5यथा नहo dp।  Yकािशत ना हो पाa % कारण? की चचq का Gवागत ,ाउ.ड *रपोट2 इ.*डया सदmव करती N।
• अापका Yोjसाहन अkिcत N, य*द ,ाउ.ड *रपोट2 इ.*डया *कसी ऐV अाbटकल या *रपोट2 को Yकािशत कर पाa I असमथ2ता EयFत करती N
िजसका अाधार %वल *कसी EयिFत *व[ष या स.Gथा *व[ष को लाभ पs.चाना हो । 
• अापका Yोjसाहन अkिcत N, कापीराइट्स % अ*धकार? को मानa ।
• अापका Yोjसाहन अkिcत N, य*द ,ाउ.ड *रपोट2 इ.*डया अkcा करती N *क य*द *कसी कारणवश *कसी अौर का अाbटकल Yकाशन % िलR
*दया गया N तो अाbटकल % ज5मदाता या म@ल अ*धकार रखa वाd का अाभार EयFत *कया जाR ।
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