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Uttarakhand:Devastation RELIEF MEASURES CRITICAL, By Insaf, 21 June, 2013 Print E-mail

Round The States

New Delhi, 21 June 2013

Uttarakhand Devastation


By Insaf


Uttarakhand devastation should send warning bells ringing in States as well as the Centre. The cloudburst and aftermath has once again put a big question mark on the effectiveness of the disaster management machinery. In fact, some may say what’s new, given that we are known to act post-disaster forgetting the idiom that prevention is better than cure. Thus, expectedly, the State authorities have reportedly been “non-functional” with no programmes in place, as what the CAG states. Worse, even the Supreme Court had to step in directing the Government to evenly spread rescue and relief operations in the flood devastated areas around the char dhams. With the toll in what is being termed the Himalayan Tsunami would run into ‘thousands’, relief measures for those having survived it would need to be undertaken on a war footing. While the Centre has offered Rs 1,000 crore relief and States such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, UP, Orissa, Gujarat and Haryana have too chipped in with a couple of crores each, the Congress Government would need to deliver. The ‘national calamity’ has evoked a responsible response from the people at large. Donations are pouring in. Let these not go waste or into wrong hands. The State can ill-afford another disaster.  

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Bihar’s Bitter Separation

Bihar has little to cheer about. The ruling JD (U) may have won the war but not yet the battle. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expectedly sailed through the trust vote in the 243-member Assembly on Wednesday last, after breaking away from a 17-year-old alliance with the BJP-led NDA. However, it has been a bitter separation and left a bad taste not only on both sides, but political onlookers across the country. The two parties together had ushered in a welcome change in governance of the State on various fronts, be it law and order, electrification, roads—development per se. The Nitish-Sushil Modi team had worked well, despite coalition glitches. But to now see it trading charges is unpalatable. While the JD (U) is harping on upholding secular principles, and revelling in taking pot shots at Gujarat’s Narendra Modi, the BJP is busy releasing Nitish’s speeches to punch holes in his ‘holier than thou’ stance. Surely, the two must realise that the people are no fools. Sadly, the drama unfolding is for the big chair -- kaun banega Pradhan Mantri (who will be PM?). While Nitish may not be able to put aside his personal ambition, at least he should try that it doesn’t take away what the State and its people have gained. Good governance should not be a casualty. 

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TN Big Fight

Tamil Nadu is bracing for the big fight. With Rajya Sabha biennial elections to be held on June 27, both the AIADMK and DMK are busy getting their numbers, even if it means forging interesting alliances. There are six seats and seven candidates. For starters, Chief Minister Jayalalitha had a pleasant surprise for the CPI, when she dropped one of her candidates to accommodate sitting member D Raja, who could not have made it on his own. Though many would see this as a move to make it tougher for rival DMK to get its one seat, it may well also be the beginning for Jayalalitha to play a role if and when a Third Front emerges for the bigger battle--2014 elections. Likewise, a worried DMK got a breather with MMK moving across to its camp to support M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi’s candidature. The DMK chief, however, is burning the midnight oil to woo the Congress, which as of now is showing signs of keeping its distance from the 2G-scam tainted party and preferring to back the DMDK, which has too fielded its candidate. While the suspense would be over in less than a week, it would be worth a watch how the new alliances work out for the future.

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Jharkhand ‘Politricking’

Jharkhand is in the midst of hectic political activity. With a year-and-a-half still left for the 82-member State Assembly term, JMM and Congress leaders in Ranchi are trying to reach an understanding to avoid State elections and do away with the President’s rule since January 18. The JMM chief Shibhu Soren, who had pulled the rug from under its alliance partner, the BJP, has been supporting the UPA II from outside, since the breakaway in the hope that the Congress would veer around and help JMM come back to power or have it as a coalition partner. However, the Congress top brass simply gave him the cold shoulder. But no more. The reported softening could be on two counts: one that the JVM (P), which was once its alliance partner, is seeking dissolution of the Assembly and elections. Two, which appears more probable, is that in its calculations for the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress hopes to gain in the numbers game. It does so given the background that in the 2004 General elections the JMM-Congress alliance had won 10 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, as against two and one respectively in 2009, when they went their separate ways. Will there be a re-marriage, political pundits wonder?      

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West Bengal Histronics

West Bengal may well end up having enough of its Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s histrionics. In her penchant for outdoing her detractors, the TMC firebrand supremo forgets that people will take her word only so much and no more. The latest being her visit to Kamduni village. Angry over the protests against her by the village women, who were upset over the handling of the rape case of a college girl last week, Mamata sought to make amends by stating the absurd: There was a Maoist-CPM plot to kill her during her village visit! The women protestors were their members, she was being targeted and her security was blocked.  Recall that her remarks on Park Street rape case, or getting a professor arrested for his anti-Mamata cartoons did raise a stink in Kolkata, putting a question mark of the vote for change amongst the city goers. Now is it the turn of the rural folk? If only someone could give her a piece of advice, provided however she is willing to listen. 

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SC Raps Mumbai Police

Mumbai has sadly given foreigners a taste of what many Indians face -- police brutality. On Wednesday last, the Supreme Court gave a hard knock to the Mumbai Police observing “the country gets a bad name because of acts of few officers.” The rap was prompted by three Ugandan nationals, including a parliamentarian, approaching the apex court after the Mumbai police impounded their passports and restrained them from leaving the country. The reason: They had come to the city on April 17 to resolve a business dispute with a big industrial house, which in turn filed a complaint with the police. The latter readily obliged and filed an FIR, which the court described as “baseless.” It directed the police to immediately release the passports and allow the three to go back to their country. Liberty cannot be restrained by the police because of a business dispute, was the clear message. Besides, the Ugandan nationals should have been helped rather than harassed. Hope the message travels wide and far to other States too. --- INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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