Polavaram Dam: Corrupt interests at the expense of noble alternatives గురువారం, అక్టో 25 2012 

Observational Report on the Polavaram Dam Project and Surrounding Areas
– Drew Bahr
, HELP International Intern

During the summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to personally witness the proposed construction site of the Polavaram Dam as well as interview three engineers and environment experts with alternative proposals and view the conditions of the people in the proposed area of displacement that would be created by the Dam. During this three-day journey from Hyderabad to northern Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, I was surprised to find that many things are not as they were officially described by the government.

Our trip began with an effort to document the present existence of canals to provide irrigation for the surrounding countryside from the Godavari River to refute the claim that the Dam is necessary to provide irrigation for rice and other crops. Although government engineers seem to ignore their presence, we visited perfectly working canals and pumping stations from the river alongside new canals which were supposedly built to take water from the Godavari River to the Krishna River Basin. These larger canals, however, seem to have displaced an inordinate amount of farmers and did not provide means for their local use through pumps or other forms of access.
(మరింత…)

ప్రకటనలు

Anti dam stir in Northeast – Nitin Sethi మంగళవారం, జూన్ 5 2012 

Small numbers drown northeast anti-dam stirs
Nitin Sethi, TNN June 5, 2012

NEW DELHI: It’s a tough one to sell to the rest of India. A dam in northeast India displaces a much smaller number of people than, say, a Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh that would displace more than a lakh. Or a project on the Narmada in Madhya Pradesh that threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands.

So when the gigantic 1,750-MW Demwe Hydroelectric Project comes up on Lohit, a tributary of the Brahmaputra in Arunachal Pradesh, just a couple of hundred households of the small Miju Mishmis and Digaru Mishmis tribes are displaced. India hasn’t heard of them.

This number of people could fit into a single block of a Delhi housing colony. Moreover, they are not ‘us’. For the rest of India, Arunachal Pradesh has been India’s border land, not someone’s home.

The government assesses that the dam is needed for ‘strategic’ reasons as much as for the power it would generate. So the impact on the flora, fauna and environment comes second.

The few hundred families in the way can be taken care of with contracts, jobs dole – a minor cost of development. No one questions if the dam would wipe out an entire community’s way of life. Such as in the case of the Tipaimukh hydroelectric dam in Manipur, where the Zeliangrong Nagas stand to lose their sacred spots and half their fertile hills or the sacred mountains of Sikkim’s Lepchas in the case of dams on the Teesta. (మరింత…)

Caste of corruption – Shekhar Gupta ఆదివారం, డిసెం 25 2011 

National Interest: The caste of corruption
Shekhar Gupta
Indian Express, December 24 2011

Is there a caste or communal link to corruption and crime? Or, are your chances of being involved (and getting caught) in corruption cases higher as you go down the caste ladder? Nobody in his right mind would say yes to either of these. But let’s examine some facts.

Why is there a preponderance of this underclass among those charged with corruption, or even targeted in media sting operations? Here is a roll call: A. Raja and Mayawati (Dalit), Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren (tribal), Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav (OBC), are all caught in corruption or disproportionate assets cases. Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashok Argal and Mahavir Singh Bhagora, caught in the cash-for-votes sting, are all SC/ST; among the BSP MPs in the cash-for-queries sting, Narendra Kushwaha and Raja Ram Pal (who is now in the Congress) are OBC, and Lalchandra Kol a Dalit. Of course, there are also some illustrious upper-caste representatives in the net: Sukh Ram, Jayalalithaa, Suresh Kalmadi. But there are far fewer of them. Could it be that the upper crust tends to be “cleaner” as a rule, or could it be that the system is loaded against those in the lower half of the social pyramid? The Sachar Committee report on the condition of Muslims also tells us that the only place where our Muslims have numbers disproportionately high in comparison to their population is jails. So, face the question once again: do Muslims tend to be more criminal than Hindus, or is the system loaded against them?

For another example, look at the BJP. Two of its senior leaders were caught on camera accepting cash. One, Dilip Singh Judeo, caught taking Rs 9 lakh, was a mere MP, but of a high caste, and was happily rehabilitated in the party, fielded in the election, and is now back in Parliament. The other, Bangaru Laxman, caught taking just Rs 1 lakh, was ranked much higher in the party; he was, in fact, the president, but much lower on the caste pyramid, a Dalit. He has been banished and isolated and is fighting the charges in that Tehelka sting case by himself. I am sorry to use this expression, but the party treated him as an utter outcast even as it continued to defend Judeo. What is the difference between the two except caste? You want to take this argument to the judiciary? It has been loosely insinuated by many prominent people, including by some notable members of Team Anna, that a large number of our former chief justices have been corrupt. But who is the only one targeted by name (however unsubstantiated the charges)? It is Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, currently chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and, more importantly, India’s first Dalit chief justice. (మరింత…)

Hyderabad Zindabad: City to thrive & survive whatever be its political status గురువారం, జూలై 14 2011 

Hyderabad Zindabad: City to thrive & survive whatever be its political status
Sreekala G, Sai Deepika Amirapu & Hema Ramakrishnan, ET Bureau, 10 Jul, 2011

For a city that came up as an alternative to Golconda, Hyderabad has done quite well for itself in the past 430 years. While Golconda lies as a magnificent ruin, Andhra Pradesh’s capital towers over the Deccan , proclaiming its vitality and zest for life. Hyderabad has overcome wars, invasions and disease, emerging stronger from each trial. Today, as it faces another test, it seems to be charming its hot-blooded claimants into submission. As the Telangana agitation reaches a crucial phase, Hyderabad is back in the spotlight. The proponents of Telangana, where Hyderabad is located, say the city should be the capital of a new state that they hope will be carved out of Andhra Pradesh. For the people of the rest of Andhra Pradesh , there is deep unease. They have huge stakes in the form of emotional, cultural and financial investments in the city. (మరింత…)

To hell with world cup, celebrations, yagams, vacations సోమవారం, ఏప్రి 25 2011 

Opinion/Open Page, The Hindu April 24,2011

Our farmers are dying, to hell with the World Cup
Narendra Shekhawat

Yes, you read it right; to hell with the World Cup; to hell with the celebrations; to hell with all the free land and money being showered by different governments on the players. How can I jump, scream, have gallons of beer and cheer for the nation when a few kilometres away the farmers and feeders of my country are taking their own lives in hordes?

Do you know that, on average, 47 farmers have been committing suicide every single day in the past 16 years in our shining India — the next economic power, progressive with nine per cent growth? (మరింత…)

Vaikuntam’s rural Telangana మంగళవారం, ఏప్రి 5 2011 

Familiar figures
Gargi Gupta / Business Standard, April 02, 2011 New Delhi

Despite what the title of his latest exhibition claims, Thota Vaikuntam’s subject of choice remains images from Telangana.

In the increasingly city-centric world of Indian art, Thota Vaikuntam is one of the few painters who continues to be preoccupied with rural India. Though he has been living in the city of Hyderabad for many years now, the men and women Vaikuntam saw as a little boy growing up in his native Boorugupally village in rural Karimnagar continue to people his canvases.

He has painted them again and again over the past three decades, capturing them in all their vivid splendour — bright printed saris and colourful jewellery, their foreheads, palms and feet anointed with large tikas in red and yellow. These are not realistic portraits, but flat, caricatures that are delightful nonetheless. They have become Vaikuntam’s signature that assures him both loyal collectors and a healthy premium in the art market. And over the past few years, his stock has been rising with a large, untitled canvas from 2007 topping Rs 30 lakh at Saffronart’s winter auction in December 2010. (మరింత…)

3rd party EIA for Polavaram Dam or same old joke ఆదివారం, మార్చి 20 2011 

Environment assessment is a joke, says Jairam; wants 3rd party EIA

Business Line, 19 March 2011

“The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) in the current form is a bit of a joke as it is self-assessment by the company. Instead, we will have a third party EIA,” Mr Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment and Forests, said.

Speaking to reporters at the CII-Green Business Centre, Mr Ramesh said, “I have been concerned about this. Supreme Court also expressed its concerns. We want a cumulative EIA.” (మరింత…)

Political career of cine stars- beginning of the end? శుక్రవారం, మార్చి 4 2011 

Whither Stardom In Politics?
Assessing Chiranjeevi’s Future

K Naresh Kumar, Power Politics, March 2011

Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh has raised questions about the shifting political patterns and trends in southern India. From Hyderabad to Chennai, the two cities where film stars could get into a political career whenever they wanted, at least till two decades ago, the doors are slowly being shut on the overarching political ambitions of superannuated superstars, argues K Naresh Kumar from Hyderabad.

In many ways, the rude reality check was just waiting to happen. Only that it was sooner than expected.

The early February 2011 merger of megastar Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh, unconditionally at that, has once again raised important questions about the shifting political patterns and trends in southern India.

From Hyderabad to Chennai, the two cities where film stars could get into a political career whenever they wanted, at least till two decades ago, the doors are slowly being shut on the overarching political ambitions of superannuated superstars.

Earlier, in at least as far as a host of illustrious stars like M G Ramachandran, N T Rama Rao and the temperamental Jayalalitha were concerned, it only looked’ natural’ for them to move on to the political stage and keep serving the fans who had kept them at the numero uno slot for a long, long time. Not anymore.

It does mean, at least for the present, that a successful hero is not an automatic choice for the chief minister’s post. Chiranjeevi’s example is a stark reminder of this fact. In a region where reel merged seamlessly with the real, it no more seems to be an open and shut case. (మరింత…)

AP’s disastrous irrigation schemes slow down మంగళవారం, నవం 3 2009 

Jalayagnam comes to a virtual halt

NM Satheesh  Indian Express 3 Nov 2009

HYDERABAD: Jalayagnam, the favourite scheme of former chief minister the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy, seems to have slided down in the list of priorities of the present government.

Leave alone the progress of the programme at the field level, even a review of it by the government has become rare in the last two months.

According to sources in the irrigation department, funding of the programme has come to a halt and the pending bills are piling up with the government.

It seems that the government is not going to spend the allocated budget Rs 18,000 crore in this financial year. The government has not released even Rs 1,000 crore for the projects in the last two months. It was decided by the regime of Rajasekhara Reddy that the government should release about Rs 1,400 crore every month to keep the projects going.

According to officials, the government has already halted payment of Rs 4,000 crore which was spent by the contractors and the construction of projects like Pulichintala which has been completed to an extent of 70 per cent is not progressing as per the schedule.

Irrigation officials say that the time table fixed by the government for the completion of 82 major and medium irrigation projects under Jalayagnam will go awry.

The YSR government had contemplated Jalayagnam to bring about one crore acres of land under irrigation facility. Under the scheme 82 projects are to be constructed at a cost of Rs 1.50 lakh crore. (మరింత…)

Jai Telangana మంగళవారం, అక్టో 6 2009 

BOOK WATCH
By Anita Joshua

Jai Telangana

Telangana: The State of Affairs, M. Bharath Bhushan and N. Venugopal, AdEd Value Ventures, Rs. 250.

Telangana book

Ever a festering issue in Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana question assumed national significance after a three-decade hiatus since the Jai Telangana Movement in the wake of the 2004 electoral alliance between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.

Sensing the widespread ignorance outside the State about the Telangana issue, M. Bharath Bhushan and N. Venugopal have sought to explain the rationale for the demand for separate Statehood in this collection of research articles on the region and literature from the area. Through these varied approaches, the attempt is to explain the reasons for the sense of alienation felt by the people of Telangana; traced in a 1969 vintage article by Duncan B. Forrester to the region being under Nizam’s rule for 200 years, cut away from the “rest of the Telugu country”.

Given that Telangana has become a major election issue in the State, the book examines whether polls foster separatism and uses government data to show how the region is lagging behind the coastal and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh to make out a case for a separate identity. Also thrown in are two short stories in translation — the delightful “Golla Ramavva” by former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and “Bhoomi” by the doyen of Telugu short stories, Allam Rajayya.

Source: Literary Review, The Hindu, Oct 4, 2009 http://www.hindu.com/lr/2009/10/04/stories/2009100450060200.htm

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