Team Anna rejects probe
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on May 1, registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) into Team Anna’s allegations of irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks to private companies between 2006 and 2009 and has already started its investigations. But Team Anna squarely rejected the CBI probe into the alleged ‘coalgate’ saying the agency that works under the Prime Minister cannot investigate his conduct without fear or favour. A PE, as the name indicates, is not a full-fledged case and a PE only determines whether a full fledged FIR needs to be lodged in the case or not. Investigations under the PE will cover the role of bureaucrats, officials, private companies and ministers concerned. Sources said the CBI will examine the auction process of the coal blocks between 2006 and 2009 and will determine loss due to any irregularities in the auction process, but will not look into policy issues. The CBI has registered the PE against “unknown persons”. It has also received from the Central Vigilance Commission the complaint of BJP leaders Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir who had alleged that the UPA government had deliberately taken the first-come-first-serve basis rather than the auction route to benefit some private companies. The CBI move comes a day after the CVC referred the matter to the CBI for investigation of coal block allocation between 2006 and 2009 which has put in question the role of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
ARVIND KEJRIWAL, Team Anna member: The CBI probe into the matter is just an eyewash. The CBI reports to the Prime Minister so it is obvious that after six-seven months of investigation, it will give a clean chit to him. We have no faith in the CBI probe at all and that’s why we demand a probe by an independent agency. During 2006-09, the Prime Minister was the in-charge of the Coal Ministry. We want to know why during this period at least 145 coal blocks were allotted in haste as compared to mere 75 allotted in previous 12 years period.”
BJP finished it with positive note
Asim Kumar Mitra
If the recent election to the six municipalities in the state is any yardstick for considering the political mood of the state, it can be said that Communists are not yet acceptable to the people of West Bengal as they have out rightly rejected them. Among six municipalities Trinamool Congress (TMC) has captured four municipalities while Congress and Communists have shared the other two. This electoral success of the ruling TMC who has just completed its one year-rule in the state on 21st May, 2012, has boosted up the morale of the ruling party i.e. TMC.Recently there was a survey on the latest political situation in West Bengal, done by reputed organisation in this field— ACNielsen. The result of the survey said that if general election takes place just now or near future then one third of the total voters voted for TMC would not cast their votes in favour of the party they have chosen last time. On the other hand Communists’ share of votes would be 20 per cent less. Supporters of both the parties are disillusioned if not totally, to a very great extent. But the question is which way the drop out voters of both the parties i.e. TMC and CPI (M) would go in the event of any election coming next? The answer to this question given in the survey report is not clear enough to suggest that the disillusioned voters of the TMC would either support Congress or Communists. For supporters of Communists the choice is even more difficult. Although throughout the history we have seen that in such kind of difficult situation their natural choice used to be Congress. But this time the tottering condition of UPA-II is not at all attractive for Communists.Hence a gap or you can say political vacuum has been created. Now the natural conclusion reached by almost all political pundits that it is the BJP who can fill in the gap. In West Bengal, this situation has compelled the state BJP leaders that they would become the natural choice of the people of the state. Of late, under the leadership of state president of BJP Rahul Sinha, series of agitation programmes have been organised and the successes they have registered were very much enthusiastic for them. Then came election for six municipalities of the state. Although municipal elections are fought on strictly local issues, generally they don’t have any impact on the state politics let alone national politics. But this election has assumed a unique character which is very interesting. Firstly, although TMC and INC were in alliance in the state, still they fought this election separately. Secondly, In the last election in these six municipalities—Haldia, Panskura, Durgapur, Nalhati, Coopers’ and Dhupguri, TMC could constitute only one Board of Panskura municipality that too with the help of Congress. Thirdly Nalhati municipality was won by the Congress in last election. But later all Congress members of this municipality have joined the TMC.Same is the situation in Coopers. This municipality is always held by Congress. This time also they have maintained the same tradition. In a total of 129 seats in six municipalities, BJP had captured only three seats. Impact wise these three seats have attracted extra attention towards BJP. TMC got 72 seats with an addition of 52 new seats. Last time Congress had got 29 seats. But this time they had to be satisfied with 15 seats. Left Front had lost 42 seats; they could retain only 38 seats. Only one Independent candidate has won. According to the state BJP, they have got a right reason to rejoice this small victory in a big way because this is going to be a trend setter for future elections for them. It is a fact that the expectation of TMC was not fulfilled in this election. Even their election manager for Haldia, Shubhendu Adhikary, MP accepting the responsibility of defeat, wanted to resign from the post. Haldia was under this zone of East Midnapore district from the TMC had resurrected. So BJP thinks the support base of TMC has started reducing and it is an opportunity for them only to grab this vacuum area. And it is especially important to note that Communists have lost their moral power to face the electors. To substantiate their premise, the BJP leadership had put forward the following arguments: a) in Dhupguri, BJP candidate got 164 more votes than TMC candidate. Last time they won the seat by getting only 93 more votes than the Left Front. Percentage wise the vote share has gone up from one per cent to 8 per cent. In Durgapur, BJP wrested one seat by fighting against three strong opponents — Congress, Communists and TMC and the BJP candidate defeated Communist candidate by 331 votes. Their vote share has gone up from 1.5 per cent to 4.38 per cent. In Nalhati, BJP had defeated TMC candidate by 271 votes. In Panskura and Haldia, BJP could not win but their vote share is 5.35 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively.
Mamata’s Imam issue boomeranged
Didi did not conceive of such a situation might have arisen while declaring monthly stipends to the Imams of mosques of the state. Didi, the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, knew it very well that the majority community will come down on the decision with severe criticism and she had planned beforehand how to tackle the situation with the majority community. So she was not so much perturbed with the protestations coming from the majority community. But she was really taken aback when she found that almost the whole of Muslim community of not only this state but whole of the country has gone against this particular decision taken by her. Md. Ali of Lucknow Seminary had declared in a statement saying who she to interfere with our religious system is. Because Mosque Authority is solely authorised to pay the money to the Imams in the form of remuneration or honourarium and no other person or organisation is entitled to do this job. Hence Muslims will not tolerate interference by the West Bengal government in this regard. Very big group of Muslims in the state follow the dictum of Lucknow Seminary. So they had separated themselves from the ‘Aam’ Muslims. In this connection one point should be kept in mind that the state government is not directly paying the money to Imams. They are paying the stipends through the Waqf Board. Siddiqullah Chowdhury of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, had already started their movement against the government decision as they think that ‘government-money’ is mixed with ‘interest-money’ which they earn and Islam gives no permission to accept money earned by interest. There are two more groups who have differed from the decision of the government of paying Imams a monthly remuneration. Nevertheless there is a very big group of Muslims who not only support the government-decision but they had taken a vow that they would stand by the government and the ruling party in this matter come what may. But the fact remains that the Muslim house is visibly and totally divided on this point which is definitely a serious set back in the vote bank politics and that too just before the Panchayat elections which is round the corner. When Mamata thought doling out of stipend to imams of the mosques in the state the government had got an idea through the Muslim leaders’ estimation that there would be around sixty thousand mosques in the state. It had meant that if on an average there were two Imams in each mosque then there would be in total one lakh twenty thousand imams in the state. But when the actual assessment had taken place the total figure of imams came down to around thirty thousand. On the basis of this figure applications were invited and it is said that in all 15,125 were submitted by the imams and after scrutiny it is found that 14,825 applications are valid. Quoting a reliable source an official in the Waqf Board office said that the total money paid to the Board for disbursement on this account is Rs. 5, 80,69,525/-. It could not be conclusively confirmed whether all the money given by the government have already been disbursed to the individual imam or not. Another important fact in this connection should be mentioned that from the districts of Jalpaiguri and Nadia not a single application has been submitted. Mamata Banerjee, a shrewd politician, had already appointed Shahrukh Khan as “Brand Ambassador” of the state to win over the Muslim sentiments. Initially this was not so much vindicated. But when Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) became a finalist in the IPLT20 cricket match in the Muslim infested areas of rural Bengal had given it a communal colour although there was nothing communal in this game. On the day of Final game (27th May, 2012) it was found that in all the Muslim majority areas of the rural Bengal are fitted with broad screen-TV sets organised by local Muslim clubs or institutions. As Shahrukh Khan is the co-owner of the KKR team, Mamata on her part had tried to utilise the victory of KKR over CSK as a damage control mechanism to repair the erosion of Muslim sentiment on her side on account of Imam issue.
At a time when bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh are rapidly improving, the two sides have begun an exercise to benefit their peoples by easing travel by Maitree Express, the direct Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka passenger train started four years ago. An important decision taken by the two sides is that immigration forms of both the countries would be distributed inside the train so that the time taken at the border stations could be reduced. Besides, the train may soon offer airline type baggage facility for passengers. The Governments of India and Bangladesh had constituted an Empowered Joint Group to suggest measures to ease travel by Maitree Express, the bi-weekly train introduced in April 2008. The Group recently held its first meeting in Rail Bhawan. The Group is also examining the possibilities of introducing airlines type baggage in the Maitree Express. It was also agreed that the passenger amenities at the two border stations like Gede (India) and Darsana (Bangladesh) would be improved. The Empowered Joint Group decided that efforts would be made to reduce the running time in both the countries. The meeting was concluded with both sides reiterating their commitment to strive towards easing travel by Maitree Express.Both sides agreed that Maitree Express is a symbol of people to people connectivity and the deep abiding friendship between the two countries. To make this bi-weekly train more popular, the Empowered Joint Group decided that they would formulate certain short term, medium term and long term measures to ease the travel by this train. (FOC)
Nabam Atum felicitated with ‘One India Award 2012’
My Home India (MHI), a Mumbai-based NGO felicitated Shri Nabam Atum of Arunachal Pradesh with ‘One India Award-2012’ for his outstanding work. The award was presented by the Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi at a function held at Ravindra Naatya Mandir, Mumbai on June 4. Shri Ekanath Thakur, Chairman of Saraswat Bank was the guest of honour. Noted film actress Kiron Kher, patron of MHI Sanjay Kakade, founder of MHI Sunil Deodhar, BJP’s Mumbai unit president Raj Purohit were also present on the occasion. After receiving the award, Nabam Atum promised to continue his work for the cause of North-East India for his remaining life. Shri Atum was instrumental in generating a wave of nationalism among the people living on the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh through Seemant Darshan Yatra. Shri Narendra Modi appreciated Shri Atum’s work and came down heavily on the Central Government for neglecting North-East India. Shri Modi said North-East India has tremendous potential for generation of electricity through hydro power projects, but the government is negligent to it. He said that his government has offered all the north-eastern State governments to send about 200 policemen each to Gujarat for a period of two years, which would bring about a social and cultural exchange with these states. He said Gujarat government is ready to take-up the expenses of these police personnel who would get exposure to the culture of Gujarat and at the same time encourage them to spread the message of unity after going back to their respective states. Shri Sunil Deodhar explained the work of MHI and stressed on the need of awareness about north-eastern states among the people from rest of India. Kiron Kher did the compering for the function. A video film on Nabam Atum’s work was also shown during the event, which got appreciation from the public. The award was sponsored by Saraswat Bank.Born in Aampoli village of Paapumpaare district of Arunachal Pradesh Shri Nabam Atum’s father Shri Nabam Ipo was well known as a distinguished and righteous personality in the community. Shri Atum did his schooling in Itanagar. In 1965 Shri Padmanabh Aacharya from ABVP initiated the mission ‘My Home India’ by virtue of which the students from North-East seeking their education in different parts of the country were facilitated and were housed in families to be taken care of. In 1968, under this scheme, Shri Datta Didolkar took Shri Nabam Atum to Nagpur where he stayed at the residence of Shri Kishore Kale and got admitted in Dharmapeeth Vidyalaya where he spent a year. In the beginning, he found it extremely tough to learn Marathi language. However with his perseverance and dedication, he secured first rank in the subject of Marathi. Not just in academics but even in sports activities he was always a remarkable performer. Thereafter, he completed his college education in Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. Shri Nabam Atum is now regarded as the first well educated member of the Nyishi community. After completing his education he served as a teacher in 1978-79 and thereafter as a District Information & Public Relation Officer. His performance as the member of the Public Service Commission from 1994 to 1998 and as President of the Public Service Commission from 1998-2004 has been commendable.In the year 1997, Shri Nabam Atum came in contact with the Arunachal Vikas Parishad which is a voluntary organisation affiliated to the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. He was thoroughly impressed with the thoughts of veteran volunteers of the Vanvasi Kalian Ashram – Shri K Bhaskar Rao and Shri Vasant Rao. Thus, he determined to dedicate his life towards social service. He served as president of Arunachal Vikas Parishad from 1997 till 2011. During his tenure as president of Arunachal Vikas Parishad, multiple varied programmes for education were initiated. Anticipating the possible threats of attacks from China, a Seemant Darshan Yatra was conducted in February 2010 during which 97 volunteers surveyed the villages and hamlets located at the Indo-China border. Through, casual discussions with the local residents of these villages, the volunteers ignited the spark of patriotism amongst the villagers. This inimitable endeavour was appreciated by the local government as well as the Governor.Shri Nabam Atum was actively involved in the establishment of ‘Indigenous Faith and Cultural Society of Arunachal Pradesh’ which is dedicated towards conservation and promotion of the sanskriti and swadharm. After its establishment he also functioned as president of this organisation. In order to inspire the youth, a tradition of organising youth conventions was initiated. In December 2008 in the city of Pasighat, under the leadership of Shri Namab Atum, a convention of about 4,000 youths was conducted. This ceremony was inaugurated in the gracious presence of none other than the Governor and Chief Minister. This programme triggered the awareness regarding their motherland and faith in the youth.Since the last ten years, Shri Atum has been suffering severely from throat cancer. However, undaunted by his physical condition, he has been serving his duties by travelling from village-to-village inspiring the villagers for social service. His journeys through villages, his visits to Gangeen Namlo (the places of worship) have awakened the sense of national pride in the villagers.Shri Atum has been vigorously involved in the activities of multiple organisations such as Arunachal Seva Sangh, Ram Krishna Mission, Vivekananda Kendra, Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch. His popularity is the resultant of his selfless and committed nature. Due to his far sightedness and efficient leaderships, under his guidance umpteen social organisations have been benefitted. Considering his noteworthy work, he has been given the honorary membership of North- East Zone Cultural Centre which is a Government body. Due to his nationalist school of thoughts, Shri Atum has been closely associated with diverse social, national organisations as well as with spiritual leaders such as Sri Sri Ravishankar and Buddhist Guru Shri Tulku Rimpoche. (FOC)