Thursday, January 31, 2013

[rti4empowerment] Depleting underground water: a crisis situation.



I have picked up an article from the Blog of Ms Shailaja Chandra, former Chief Secretary about emerging crisis in National Capital Territory of Delhi. Depleting water table is leading to a crisis situation in most of the cities as traditional water bodies and small lakes have dried up as land is used for colonizing and under-ground water is exploited more than the recharge.

Most of the Urban Local Bodies are lax in monitoring the declining water table and have been unable to take effective measures to overcome the problem. Citizens should be aware of this problem and shake the apathy of their municipality and ground water authority, by raising pertinent questions like:

(A) Is decline in underground water table being monitored? If so, what is the trend during last five years ?

(B) What measures have been taken to arrest this decline?

(C) How many cases of illegal boring of tube-well have come to notice? What penal action been taken against the offenders?

(D) What measures have been taken to generate public awareness about this problem ?

Dhirendra Krishna

Wake up before it's too late
January 30, 2013 at 10:00 PM | Posted in Bureaucracy, Governance and Sarkar | Leave a comment

That Delhi is terribly water-stressed is well known. But recently, Sushil Gupta, member secretary of the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), made a startling revelation about the level of extraction that continues in the city: "Some excavations [for water] run deeper than the height of the Qutab Minar". Gupta says: "Our water resource is like a combination of a fixed deposit and a savings account in a bank. Over-exploitation from aquifers means over-drawing from the fixed deposit."

The south and south-west districts of Delhi have been relentlessly mining water and the exploitation in these areas has increased by almost 240% in the past 12 years. The same holds true for Gurgaon and Dwarka. The water table being somewhat higher in the trans-Yamuna and north Delhi areas, they might face less problems in times to come, but only comparatively.

Despite the overall water crisis, the new CEO of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Debashree Mukherjee, is benignly doling out incentives to consumers willing to undertake rainwater harvesting. Instead of treating consumers like children, the DJB should bring in a law to make rainwater harvesting mandatory and give itself enough powers to heavily fine non-compliance. Although over-exploitation of water also happens in rural India, the saving grace there is that it goes for irrigation. In south Delhi, it goes disproportionately to maintain lavish lifestyles.

To evade detection, Delhi residents have employed ingenious ways to camouflage their illegal borewells. Meanwhile, the water lords in Delhi's unauthorised colonies commit daylight robbery, relentlessly digging into groundwater, even destroying the water mains. Each year, the Delhi government issues directions and appoints officers to seal bore wells and launch prosecutions.

The custodians of law are the district deputy commissioners. But they are ill-equipped to barge into palatial homes, get past formidable gates and sentries to curb the menace of illegal boring. When private electricity companies can command uniformed security, why doesn't the largest supplier of potable water have a police force to protect its officials?

Delhi is today serviced by water sources as far as 250 kilometres away and non-release of water needs annual intercession by Delhi's chief minister, along with her counterparts in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Threats of invoking contempt of the Supreme Court order (which has embargoed depriving Delhi of water) are regularly brandished, but are disregarded once irrigation demands peak.

Sermons about efficiency and conservation make good advertisement copy, but when half the water allotted to Delhi is lost or stolen in transit, parroting homilies becomes meaningless. The city treats less than half the wastewater it generates. The Delhi cantonment and the NDMC areas get five times more water than the rest of Delhi. Every day, millions of litres of sewage and industrial effluent flow into the Yamuna. Half a million new people come into the city each year, multiplying the demand for water, sewage and waste disposal. Slum dwellers beg, borrow and steal water, the acute deficiency taking its toll on health and sanitation.

Over the next 15 years, the DJB expects the demand for water to double in Delhi, but in south Delhi it will spiral five times. So it is shocking that building construction policies are encouraging more floors. The DJB is "happy" that the BJP-led Municipal Corporation of Delhi now "consults" it before sanctioning additional floors. But when asked how often the DJB denied permission due to the absence of water, not one instance was cited.

Given this state of helplessness, the authority to say no to more construction in water-scarce areas should rest with an independent regulator that is assisted by the CGWA, a body which has extensive knowledge about mapping water scarcity and could even access Geographic Information System technology to deal with the situation. Irresponsible building policies and soft handling of a dire necessity like rainwater harvesting are making Delhi unliveable. The time for soft options is long over.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

[rti4empowerment] मजिस्ट्रेट की दादागिरी और माफ़ी मांगना


जब ये खुली सड़क पर ऐसे पेश आते हैं तो न्यायालय में , जहां इनका एक छत्र राज्य होता है , कैसे पेश आते होंगे कल्पना किजीये और सोचिये ये जनता के अधिकारों की किस प्रकार रक्षा करते होंगे| धन्य है भारतीय न्यायपालिका जिसके कन्धों पर न्याय का भार है !

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

[rti4empowerment] Your reaction to an order as regards Population Policy


Dear Friends,

My wife Dr Nutan Thakur had filed a PIL No 446 of 2013 in Hon'ble Allahabad High Court where she prayed that two-child norm is adopted as the National Population Policy along with suitable incentives and disincentives. She had said in the petition that the current National Population Policy is vague and non-specific and has failed to serve its purpose to the required level, hence there is a need to adopt a definite and specific two child norm.
To this the Hon'ble Court gave the following order-
"Heard the petitioner in person and learned Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the Union of India.
According to petitioner, majority of problems and ills facing this country, are on account of uncontrolled population of the country. This writ petition by way of Public Interest Litigation has been filed to seek intervention of this Court so that State authorities may be directed to work out a policy for controlling the menace of ever increasing population in India.
No doubt the issue is of some significance for the country but it has been submitted on behalf of the Union of India that the matter relates to framing of policy and should be left in the hands of the Legislature or the Executive.
All evils facing the country cannot be eradicated only by the State authorities or through law. People can play a major role in tackling the contentious social problem of increasing population. Each individual or concerned N.G.O. is required to do so on its own in spreading the awareness and education relating to the issue. At this juncture, we are unable to grant any positive relief to the petitioner in this public interest litigation.
Hence, this writ petition is dismissed."

I would humbly request my friends to kindly give their reaction to this matter, including how they react to the order of the Hon'ble Court, either as a generalist or as a legal-expert, so that this extremely important matter may be taken up further.

Amitabh Thakur
# 94155-34526

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

[rti4empowerment] Read US Judgement -The Shoe Bomber is sentenced


The Judge is proud of his modern court and Justice system. Can an Indian or Indian Judge be proud of badly maintained courts and its justice system which is defferent for VIP's and bad for commonmen!.......Alok

[  P.S. As a sequel to this shoe bomb incidence  all passengers in USA , before boarding an aircraft are required to take out their shoes for shoes' X ray check as a part of passenger security check.

 Passengers in India are not subjected to this part of security check so far. 
Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court. 

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say. 

His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid  admitted

his 'allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah,' defiantly
stating, 'I think I will not apologise for my actions,' and told the court 'I am at war with your country.'

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:
Judge Young:  'Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.
On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the  United States  

Attorney General.  

On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count,

the sentence on each count to run consecutively.  (That's 80 years.)

On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. 


The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million. 

The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the

amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it.

But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes.  It is a fair and just sentence.  It is a righteous sentence. Now, let me explain this to you.  


We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans.  We have been through the fire before.  There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.  Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals.  


As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant.  You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war.  You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature.


Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier, you are not-----, you are a terrorist and we do not negotiate with terrorists.  We do not meet with terrorists.  We do not sign documents with terrorists.  We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. 

You're no warrior.  I've known warriors. You are a terrorist.  A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. 

In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody

And you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal. 'You are no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able  United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly

as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific.  What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty of and admit you are guilty of doing?  And,I have an answer for you. 

It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom.  Our individual freedom. 

Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.  Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom.  It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. 

It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom, so that everyone can see,

truly see,that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. 

It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

We Americans are all about freedom.  Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties.  Make no mistake though.  It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. 

Look around this courtroom.  Mark it well.  The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here.
The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this place, however, will long endure.

Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America , the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. 

The very President of the  United States  through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mould and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid?  That's the flag of the United States of America .  That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten.
That flag stands for freedom.  And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer.  Stand him down.

So, how much of this Judge's comments did we hear on our TV sets?  We need more judges like Judge William Young.


Pass this around.  Everyone should and needs to hear what this fine judge had to say. Powerful words that strike home.



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[rti4empowerment] save kodagu or coorg - petitions


Subject: save kodagu or coorg - petitions

Its initial Signature Goal is 50 and is yet to be signed by the petition creator with his comprehensive / detailed personal views. Unlike the other two petitions (02 and 03), the petition creator's been unable to update the petition number 01 on his own. He's to unfortunately depend on the site staff to belatedly update it for him (if possible) each and every time. So, there's an apprehension of the petition content getting misaligned when/while/if it is being/getting updated by the site staff. But unlike the earlier / previous years from/between 2010 to 2013, the petition 01 fortunately seems to accept more than 925 characters as views / opinion / comments (if any) by/of/from the potential petition signers. 
(Fully featured and comprehensive with 03 captioned photos of Kodagu/Coorg from India's National Newspaper - The Hindu. Its initial Signature Goal is 10 and is yet to be signed by the petition creator with his comprehensive / detailed personal views.) 
(Its initial Signature Goal is 10. The petition creator is yet to assign / give his comprehensive / detailed reasons for signing the petition 03 as the petition 03 got signed in his name automatically by default.
Madikeri/Mercara is a hill station town and the district headquarters of the Kodagu/Coorg district. Kodagu occupies an area of 4,102 square kilometres (1,584 sq mi) in the eco-sensitive Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka. The Kodagu/Coorg district has only Madikeri, Virajpet and Somwarpet as its 03 taluks/talukas. The eco-system of Madikeri/Kodagu is too fragile and therefore cannot withstand  urbanisation, concretisation, industrialisation and construction of (3 or 5) star hotels and airports in the name of development, eco-tourism and creation of a greater/bigger Madikeri. 
My late mother was the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) and District Educational Officer (DEO) of the Kodagu/Coorg district from/between 1987-1988. She'd met the late Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa (1899-1993) in/at his Madikeri residence ('Roshanara') in her official capacity in 1988. Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa was the first Indian Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. He is among only two Indian Army officers to hold the highest rank of Field Marshal (the other being Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw). 
I'm yet to sign all three above-mentioned petitions with my detailed personal views on Madikeri and Kodagu (Virajpet and Somwarpet) regarding their towering lush green and fully grown trees, rivers, valleys, fog on the hills both during the day and at night, torrential rains, soft water of river Cauvery/Kaveri, serpentine roads, huge ups and downs, pleasant and cool summer of 1988, peace, serenity, tranquillity, much lesser number of vehicles/automobiles in 1988, much lesser concretisation / pollution in 1988 etc.
The only sound one could hear in the DDPI's designated quarters in Madikeri in 1988 was that of the clock ticking as there was no noise pollution and the number of vehicles were very less. I had been to Madikeri only twice after 1988 and have not stayed there for more than an hour since 1988. I have seen the progressive escalation in the ecological / environmental destruction, concretisation and urbanisation of Madikeri during my visit in 1994/1995 and in 2003.
When there is shortage of drinking water and electricity in the Madikeri town, Kodagu district and the Karnataka state, a musical fountain has been unnecessarily / needlessly constructed installed at the Raja Seat in 2012. Earlier (in 1988) people used go to the Raja Seat to enjoy/experience its greenery, peace, serenity and tranquillity and to see the trees, plants and flowers in the garden while looking at the lush green Madikeri-Mangalore Road below (downhill). I just do not have enough words to describe the peace, serenity and tranquillity of the lush green and evergreen Madikeri and Kodagu of 1988.
Unfortunately the unscrupulous and corrupt elements in India are unlikely to spare Madikeri/Kodagu, Karnataka and India in the name of infrastructure, development, eco-tourism, resorts, hotels and industrialisation / industrialization.
No metre guage (1,000 mm or 3 ft 3 3⁄8 in), standard guage (1,435 mm / 4 ft 8½ in) and Broad gauge (1435 mm 4ft 8½in) rail/railway line should be constructed/laid in the Kodagu district. The construction of eco-friendly 2 ft (610 mm) and 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)  narrow gauges should be considered for passenger traffic in Kodagu if and only if it is environment friendly and that too if it can/could lead to reduction in the number of private vehicles on the state highways of Kodagu.
Since some non-green NGOs of Kodagu seem allergic to Unesco's World Heritage Site tag to the eco-sensitive Western Ghats in Kodagu none of these petitions have sought the heritage tag as I will / may / might create a separate petition requesting the Karnataka state government to officially and gracefully declare the Western Ghats as a World Heritage Site.
Syed Tanveeruddin, Mysore, Karnataka 
Santosha Sangeetha - Kannada song from the film Edakallu Guddada Mele. This song's been picturised in the hilly Kodagu/Coorg district in the 1970s when its forest cover was 86%. Now the forest cover is less than 16% because of development. Motorcycle/Bike in the video: Royal Enfield Bullet.
Madikeri Sipayi (Soldier of Madikeri) - Song in Kodava and Kannada Language from the 1990 Kannada Film Muthina/Mutthina Hara/Haara based which portrays war and its consequences. This song has been picturised in Madikeri which includes the garden near the Raja Seat. The full fledged ecological / environmental destruction of Kodagu/Coorg (in the name of development) had already started much before the picturisation of this song.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

[rti4empowerment] Second IRDS Film Awards


Second IRDS Film Awards declared

In view of the great impact of cinema on Indian socio-cultural life, Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS) presents the second IRDS Hindi Film Awards for films concerned primarily with social issues.

The Best Hindi film award has been given to OMG: Oh My God, a religious satire. Best male character award is given to Army-athlete turned dacoit Paan Singh Tomar played by Irrfan Khan while the Best female character is given to linguistically troubled Shashi Godbole in the film English Vinglish played by Sridevi. The Best director award goes to Dibakar Banerjee for the film Shanghai presenting intricate web of politics, finance and society. Vicky Donor related with sperm donation issue written by Juhi Chaturvedi is the Best story and "Mehangai" from Chakravyuh written by A M Turaz depicting the hardship of rising prices is the Best song.

The awards were picked by a Jury headed by me.
I would request you to kindly respond to this.

Amitabh Thakur
# 94155-34526

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