Friday, July 31, 2009
“Managements of private engineering and medical colleges are getting richer by a minimum of Rs.1000 crore and a maximum of Rs.2000 crore during this academic year by illegally and unabashedly selling management quota seats for a hefty premium.”
Disclosing this today, Lok Satta Party President said that according to information which is public knowledge, managements of reputed private engineering colleges are offering management quota seats for a capitation fee of Rs.12 lakh, and medical colleges for a capitation fee of Rs.40 lakh for MB&BS seats and Rs.1 core for post-graduation seats.
Talking to media representatives who met him, Dr. JP said that nowhere in the world such huge capitation fee is collected for admission to professional colleges.
Dr. JP made it plain that the Lok Satta is not opposed to professional colleges in the private sector. But it expected them to adhere to Supreme Court guidelines and transparent norms in admissions. The Supreme Court, he recalled had fixed a fee of Rs.91,700 for a paid engineering seat and Rs.2 lakh for a paid MBBS seat. The fee for a seat under the management quota for engineering is Rs.91,7000 and Rs.4 lakh for a medical seat. Managements are allowed to fill 30 percent of engineering and 40 percent of medical seats.
Dr. JP said that if the fee fixed by the Supreme Court is inadequate, the managements could legitimately seek an increase but should not indulge in sale of seats for the highest bidders.
In Andhra Pradesh, the managements of medical colleges will be making Rs.300 crore by selling 30 percent of the 2050 seats. Assuming that engineering colleges will sell only 15000 of the 200000 seats (notwithstanding the fact they can fill 30 percent of the seats under their quota), they will make not less than Rs.750 crore. “These are minimum estimates since the going rates for both medical and engineering college management quota seats is very, very high.”
In contrast, Dr. JP said, engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu which have formed into a consortium have fixed the rates for management quota seats.
Dr. JP wanted the Government to immediately intervene and halt blatant exploitation of students and parents and flagrant violation of laws and regulations by private college managements. He added that he was hopeful of Government intervention.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded immediate cancellation of web counseling and its replacement by personal counseling for admission to engineering colleges to ward off avoidable inconvenience and troubles to students and parents.
Talking to the media, party spokesmen Katari Srinivsa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji said that under web counseling students are thrown into confusion, as they have to choose out of 3000 options in 577 of the 641 engineering colleges.
Mr. Srinivasa Rao, an assistant professor in an engineering college and Mr. Laxman Balaji, an engineer, pointed out that for want of Internet facility, rural students are forced to come to urban areas and stay there for days on end merely to take part in web counseling. If there is disruption in power supply during registration, the students have to repeat the process right from the beginning. The process is playing havoc with the future of students.
The Lok Satta leaders said that there are a number of engineering colleges without the basic infrastructure and teaching faculty. Some college managements are openly selling seats for up to Rs.10 lakh each. The Government should ensure that the seats under the NRI and management quotas are filled as per strict and transparent norms.
The spokesmen said the AICTE (All India Council of Technical Education), which encouraged proliferation of engineering colleges even without basic amenities, did not bother about maintenance of standards in them. A solution lay in total decentralization of the AICTE, they said.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Andhra Pradesh Government enact a law to curb manufacture and sale of spurious liquor, arrack and ‘gudumba’ like the Gujarat Government.
It may be recalled that the Gujarat Government has amended the Prohibition law providing for seven to ten years of imprisonment for those found guilty of spurious liquor manufacture, transport, storage and sales. It the spurious liquor results in any death, the guilty will attract death penalty.
Talking to the media, party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mahila Satta State Convener S. Saroja Devi pointed out that the Andhra Pradesh Government viewed liquor as a source of revenue and encouraging its consumption. “The Government is expected to earn an income of at least Rs.10,500 crore by way of excise duty, sales tax and other fees during the current financial year. The people will be spending not less than Rs.15,000 crore on liquor consumption.”
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that already 70 lakh families have been ruined by the liquor evil. The Government liquor policy under which the shops are auctioned to highest bidders will result in proliferation of unauthorized outlets (belt shops). “People are already going without nutritious food in the wake of the escalation in the prices of essential commodities including pulses. If they fall victim to the liquor menace, their health will be in ruin.”
The Lok Satta wanted the Government to halt liquor shop auctions. Instead, the Government itself should run the business through limited outlets.
The Lok Satta said, the High Court order on GHMC elections vindicated the party’s stand that the reservations were done irrationally.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Lok Satta Party has proposed that the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, convene a meeting of all Opposition floor leaders in the Assembly to finalize the draft Bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The party has suggested that the draft Bill could be revised on the basis of suggestions from all parties and that the combined Opposition move it as a private Bill in the Assembly if the Government does not come forward to introduce it.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan in a letter to Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, recalled that the PRP, TRS, CPI, CPM and BJP, which took part in an all-party meeting the Lok Satta Party convened on July 22 had supported draft Bill but wanted a week’s time to come up with specific changes.
One suggestion that emerged at the meeting was that the burden of proof in all cases of corruption remain with the prosecution and not be shifted to the accused as proposed in the draft Bill.
Enclosing the draft Bill and the letter he had written to the Chief Minister, Dr. JP pointed out that the Bill specifically envisages a key role to the Leader of the Opposition in all appointments of senior officials of the Anti Corruption Bureau.
Dr. JP said in his letter, “As the main Opposition party, I urge the Telugu Desam Party to examine the Bill in the light of the urgency and importance of taking firm and concrete steps to curb corruption.”
Dr. JP also pointed out he had asked the Legislative Assembly Secretary to whom he had sent the original draft Bill to withhold further action facilitating collective action by the Opposition.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that local courts be constituted even in urban areas as part of the implementation of the Gram Nyayalaya Act.
Talking to the media, party spokesperson Mr.V. Laxman Balaji, Vice-President Mrs.S. Manorama said that there should be one local court for every 50,000 people in rural areas and 100,000 in urban areas.
Welcoming the Andhra Pradesh Government decision, though delayed, the party asked the Government to go ahead with the formation of the courts by consulting the High Court on the modalities.
The spokespersons recalled that the Lok Satta movement had suggested constitution of local courts 12 years ago to render quick justice at least cost and that too at the doorsteps of people in their own language.
Pointing out that more than 20 lakh cases are pending in courts in Andhra Pradesh, the Lok Satta leaders quoted the adage that ‘justice delayed is justice denied,’ and added, “More disturbing is the fact that people concerned over inordinate delays in courts are turning to hoodlums and goondas with political patronage to settle disputes outside courts.”
They recalled that the accused in the murder of a Telugu girl in Britain was handed over sentence within seven months of the incident whereas the trial in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi dragged on for years.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
The State is hurtling towards a financial disaster because of unsustainable subsidies on power and irrigation and skewed priorities in education and health care, said Lok Satta President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Addressing a media conference on the State’s budget presented by Finance Minister K. Rosaiah in the Assembly earlier in the day, Dr. JP said the budget portrayed many dangerous trends which if not halted and reversed immediately would make the life of ordinary people miserable.
Dr. JP recalled the State’s growth rate had been higher than the national growth rate over the last five years. Because of the global economic recession, the nation’s growth rate had fallen from 9 percent to 6.8 percent during 2008-09. In contrast, the State’s growth rate had fallen from 10 percent to 5.5 percent. “The steep decline in the growth rate in the State shows that something is going wrong terribly in the State.”
The interim budget talked of Rs.1.1 crore acres being irrigated at a cost of Rs.1,51,000 crore whereas the regular budget put the expenditure at Rs.1,76,000 crore and the area to be irrigated at one crore acres. “Are the increase in expenditure and the decline in area to be irrigated related to the election expenditure the ruling party incurred in the 2009 general elections?”
Dr. JP referred to the subsidy on power escalating not by year to year but from month to month. Last year, the subsidy on power was Rs.2385 crore. The interim budget mentioned the subsidy as Rs.5040 crore and the regular budget at Rs.6040 crore. “I will not be surprised if the subsidy were to shoot up to Rs.15,000 crore- Rs.20,000 crore in the next five years as all the lift irrigation schemes taken up and planned will utilize most of the 11,000 mw of power to be produced in the next five years.”
Till now, the State had paid Rs.1000 crore a year to private power producers although they did not produce even a single unit of power because of gas unavailability. Thanks to gas availability, the Government could save on this expenditure now. But by reviving the moribund Hinduja thermal power project which called for tariff based on investment, the Government was getting mired in the power crisis deeper. “Poor distribution management and future liabilities on account of unwise schemes are deepening the deficit. Gujarat State improved distribution and guaranteed 24-hour power to all villages. As a result, its rural economy is growing rapidly, and migration to urban areas has come down by 30 percent.”
Dr. JP said the budget once again exemplified the Government’s skewed priorities in education and health care. The allocation for school education had come down by Rs.634 crore and for higher education went up by Rs.400 crore. While the allocation for Arogyasri had gone up from Rs.625 crore in the interim budget to Rs.925 crore in the regular budget, it would end up with Rs.1275 crore going by the Finance Minister’s claim that Rs.3.5 crore was being spent on it every day. “I will not be surprised if Arogyasri were to cost Rs.5000 crore a year in five years, even as a lakh of people go without medical care every day now.”
“The budget’s silence on the liquor menace is eloquent. It implied the policy of liquor shop auctioning would continue resulting in shops proliferating and people consuming more and more liquor and ruining their lives.”
Without confining himself to criticizing the budget, Dr. JP offered his suggestions for reversing the dangerous portents. First, the Government’s focus should be on school education and people’s general health and not on higher education and Arogyasri. Secondly, the Government should prevent waste by abandoning unsustainable schemes like the Pranahita-Chevella lift irrigation scheme. Thirdly, the Government should ensure that it got better value for money. That was possible only if it made a per capita grant of Rs.1000 in both rural and urban areas.
Dr. JP added that he had high respect for the Finance Minister who had displayed fiscal rectitude year after year. The increase in the fiscal deficit from 2.95 percent of the GSDP in the interim budget to 3.95 percent in the regular budget too could be understood in the context of the economic slowdown and the need to kick-start the economy.
Yet, after a dispassionate analysis, Dr. JP said, he was constrained to conclude that the budgetary traends would land the State in financial disaster and worsen people’s living conditions.
Frequent and biased transfer of IPS officials on a large scale is detrimental to administration and public interest, the Lok Satta Party commented today.
Talking to the media, Lok Satta Party senior leader and retired Inspector General of Police V. Ramachandraiah and party Vice President Bhisetty Babji said the Government had shifted many competent officials who in its perception did not toe its line and posted them to insignificant positions. At the same time, it rewarded compliant officials. The Chief Minister, they recalled, had told a conference of district collectors and superintendents of police recently that the district in charge minister is the boss of the district and they should heed him/her.
“This is nothing but abuse of power,” they said and added that an official should be retained in a position for at least three years in general. They also wanted reforms to be brought about in police administration to insulate it from politicians.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Traditional parties have trained their guns on the Lok Satta Party as they are unable to stomach its growing popularity, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Welcoming a number of youth including some from the Congress and the TRS from Serilingampalli into the party, Dr. JP congratulated them on choosing the party which is committed to ushering in corruption-free politics.
Dr. JP charged the traditional parties with being mired in corruption. A cursory look at their finances revealed they ran their parties with black money. The Congress which ruled the States and the country for many, many years said it received in all only Rs.8 crore by way of donations during 2007-08. The TDP which ruled Andhra Pradesh for 16 years maintained it received only Rs.61 lakh. “Every one knows it costs Rs.25 crore-Rs.30 crore to organize a meeting of either a Sonia Gandhi or a Rajiv Gandhi or a TDP’s ‘garjana’. They spend unaccounted money and to raise it they perpetuate corruption. In contrast, the Lok Satta received donations by cheque and issued receipts for every rupee it received.”
The Lok Satta President contrasted the methods of working of the Lok Satta with those of the traditional parties by pointing out that while the Lok Satta got a school renovated by collecting donations, leaders of traditional parties occupied the land of another school -- both in Hydernagar in Serilingampalli constituency.
Talking to the media, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji dubbed the charges of some people claiming to be Telangana leaders as lies. They were merely repeating allegations leveled by TDP leaders. They pointed out that it was the Lok Satta alone which gave tickets to downtrodden sections in 100 of the 200 seats. The party which contested 248 Assembly seats allocated 88 seats to backward classes. In addition to reserved seats, the party allocated 12 more general seats to SCs and STs.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today took strong exception to the Andhra Pradesh Government going out of the way to revive the moribund Hindujas’ Visakhapatnam thermal power project, oblivious of the lessons learned from the Enron episode.
In a statement, Dr. JP pointed out that the Hinduja project was one of the fast-track projects sanctioned by the Government 16 years ago either in haste or without proper thought or for extraneous considerations. The fast track projects envisaged guaranteeing a certain rate of return to promoters based on the capital and running expenditure they incurred. Exhuming the project now under the pretext of overcoming power shortage in the State was harmful to the interests of the State and the country.
Dr. JP said, “Power projects in 2009 are sanctioned on the basis of competitive bidding under which only those which supply power at the lowest tariffs are preferred. Instead, the Government of Andhra Pradesh is now trying to revive the Hinduja project offering it a rate of return based on its investment. It was such a thoughtless policy which landed the country in trouble when the Maharashtra Government cleared the Enron power project in the past.”
Dr. JP said that the Andhra Pradesh Government was abusing its powers when it not merely agreed to allot 2000 acres of land and facilitated coal linkage with the Mahanadi coalfields but also asked officials to resolve all Hinduja power project problems on a war-footing.
The Lok Satta President said the PPAs (power purchase agreements) the Government entered into with private power producers in the past had reeked of massive corruption. “Far from undoing the blunder it had committed in the past, the Government is now trying to repeat it.”
Saying that the per mega watt cost of the Hinduja project would be double that of Genco, Dr. JP said the people would have to pay through their nose higher power tariffs. If the Electricity Regulatory Commission of the State rejected the stiff tariff, the Hindujas would sell power outside the State. The Government should, therefore, scrap the Hindika project and instead ask Genco to take it up.
Dr, JP demanded that the Government reveal all details relating to the Hinduja power project and explain how it was going to help the State.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
An all-party meeting convened by the Lok Satta Party today agreed on the need to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act. The participants also agreed on the need to bring elected officials like MLAs under the Act’s purview, constitution of special courts, appointment of special public prosecutors and seizure of properties of the accused pending an inquiry.
It may be recalled that Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had presented a draft Bill for amending the anti-corruption law to leaders of all legislature parties, the Chief Minister, the Speaker of the Assembly and Chairman of the Legislative Council.
Some of the party leaders who took part in the discussions had reservations about the provision under which the accused have prove their innocence.
The participants said they would offer detailed suggestions after internal consultation in their parties.
The participants included Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, Mr. Bhistetty Babji and Mrs. Y. Ramadevi (all Lok Satta), Mr. Talari Manohar (Praja Rajyam), Mr. Chada Venakata Reddy and Mr. Siddi Venkateswaralu (both CPI), Mr. G. Ramulu (CPM), Mr. Niranjan Reddy (TRS) and Mr. Ramachandra Rao (BJP).
Significantly, both the Congress and the TDP did not send their representatives.
“Let us fight the battle for the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation with people as our soldiers and policies as our arms and ammunition,” Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan told party activists here today.
Addressing some 300 men and women who had all applied for the party ticket to contest the GHMC elections, Dr. JP said that while traditional parties believed they could buy voters with money and liquor, the Lok Satta reposed its faith in people’s good sense and wisdom. “People will always stand by ‘dharma.’ While power is the be all and end all for traditional parties, power is only a means to serve the public for the Lok Satta.”
Dr. JP called upon the party ticket aspirants to view the elections as a golden opportunity to transform politics not merely in the city but all over the State. The Lok Satta Party President said that the party would contest all the 150 seats in the GHMC.
He wanted the party workers to tell the voters that the party believed in providing quality education, health care, livelihood opportunities and opportunities for growth to all. It was committed to improving people’s living conditions with a clear-cut agenda which included devolution of Rs.2 crore to Rs.5 crore based on population on every ward towards solving local problems. Ward committees will be constituted through elections, and people will have the power to decide on local works and execute them.
“The Lok Satta, if given power, will enable a citizen’s charter with time limits and penalties for delays in services. A 24-hour call center will be opened, all complaints registered and recorded, and time limits will be fixed for delivering basic services. If there is no delivery of service in time, the complainant will get Rs.100 a day as penalty.
“Basic amenities have been neglected for years and even consumption of drinking water is posing a grave danger to people. People’s dignity, health and safety are undermined. Lakes are polluted with sewage, and public lands grabbed at will. The city is in peril and the Lok Satta s determined to safeguard the future. The two main slogans of the Lok Satta are, “Blow the whistle and save the city” and “Vote for Lok Satta and Power to people.”
Dr. JP said the Lok Satta Party was opposed to ex-officio members like legislators taking part in the Mayor’s election. The party would approach the High Court seeking a reversal of the relevant provisions, which are ‘unconstitutional’.
The Lok Satta Party would kick off its election campaign with a public meeting at Jaya Gardens in Somajiguda at 3-00 p.m. on July 25. The party will organize an exhibition and undertake enrolment of executive members at the venue.
Mr. Nandipeta Ravinder, President, Mr. K. Krishna Rao, Organizing Secretary of the Greater Hyderabad party unit, Mrs. Akula Maharani and Mrs. A. Subhashini were among those who took part in the meeting.
Questioning of the allotment of the ‘whistle’ symbol to the Lok Satta Party by TDP leaders amounts to showing disrespect to the judiciary and the Election Commission, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan declared here today.
Dr. JP pointed out that the allotment of the free symbol followed the judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in a writ petition filed by party. The party had to approach the High Court since the Election Commission of India had denied its plea for a common symbol to all of its candidates in the 2009 general elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assembly. The Election Commission contended that as per its 1968 order only a recognized political party would be entitled to reserve a symbol for exclusive allotment to the candidates set up by it. Since the Lok Satta Party was not a recognized political party, the Election Commission maintained, it was not eligible for a common symbol. (To be recognized a political party, it must contest in the general elections and secure a certain minimum percentage of votes or number of seats).
The Lok Satta Party, seeking the allotment of the whistle symbol, told the High Court that as the majority of the voters are illiterate or semi-literate a common symbol was necessary, more so when elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assembly were conducted simultaneously. “The ballot paper does not even contain the name of the political party on behalf of which the candidate is contesting and in such a situation it is only the symbol, which would be the guiding factor for an illiterate/semi-literate voter,” argued the Lok Satta. As the Hon’ble High Court pointed out, “The exercise of franchise by the vast majority of the electorate, which is illiterate, or semiliterate at best, would necessarily be conditioned by the symbol professed by the candidate / political party contesting the election. …” The Court pointed out that the voter should be clear in his mind as to his informed choice, and such a choice would necessarily be guided by the symbol allotted to the party.
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice V. Eswaraiah and Justice P. V. Sanjay Kumar in its judgment said, “There is no rationale in not considering the allotment of a common symbol out of the free symbols available to the unrecognized parties, so as to guarantee proper identification by the voter. … Confusion created by allotment of different symbols to candidates contesting from the same political party would invariably have the effect of damaging the process of free and fair elections, which is the avowed objective of the efforts and endeavors of the Election Commission.” The Court observed that the paramount consideration is to ensure free and fair elections, where every candidate and party shall have an equal opportunity to effectively participate in the election process enabling him to seek mandate of the political masters (people).
The High Court drew a distinction between reserving a symbol to a recognized party as a right, and allotting a common symbol to a serious registered party intending to contest elections on a large scale, in order to facilitate free and fair elections, and informed choice of voters. The court observed, “The bar sought to be placed on the allotment of a common symbol to a party, thereby diluting its potential to aspire for the political mandate, would in fact be debilitative of the very fundamentals of free and fair elections.
Dr JP pointed out that in the WP No. 3212 of 2009 before AP High Court, both the Election Commission of India and the State Election Commission (SEC) of AP were cited as respondents by Lok Satta. The court’s argument and observations hold good for Lok Sabha, Assembly and local elections, and apply to both the Election Commission of India and the State Election Commission.
The High Court in its March 2009 judgment suspended the January 2009 order of the Election Commission of India denying a common symbol and directed it to reconsider the application of the Lok Satta and similarly situated unrecognized registered political parties for a common symbol. The Supreme Court in a similar case wanted the Election Commission to give a common symbol to the Lok Satta Party and the Praja Rajyam Party among others.
Dr. JP said he could not understand why a party like the TDP which had a quarter century of history behind it was obsessed with the Lok Satta Party, which has a lone member in the Assembly and polled less than two percent of the popular vote. Accusing the Lok Satta of colluding with the Congress, blaming it for TDP’s debacle, questioning its credentials to be a party, conspiring to deny a common symbol to be able to go to people, and asking voters not to vote for the Lok Satta lest it should hurt the TDP show that the party is haunted by the Lok Satta specter.
Dr. JP made it clear that the Lok Satta had been formed not to support or oppose either the Congress or the TDP or any other political party. Lok Satta’s focus is not other parties, but the people and their lives. “For traditional parties practicing politics as commerce, politics and public life are about the candidates and leaders and their families. For us, politics is about the agenda we articulate and power is merely a means. The moment power becomes an end in itself, we become one with the traditional parties which are a part of the problem. “There is no need for the Lok Satta to exist if it were to join the very parties, which are responsible for the sorry state of affairs.”
The Lok Satta is approaching GHMC voters with a clear-cut agenda aimed at transforming their living conditions in five years and not on a negative propaganda.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
A sample survey carried out by the Lok Satta Party at 99 locations in the city has revealed that drinking water continues to be contaminated with bacteria at many places. The survey also revealed that only three of the 99 samples taken by the party volunteers had acceptable levels of residual chlorine (RC).
Announcing this here today, Lok Satta party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and survey organizer Mr. Sivaram said that although the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board has a full-time monitoring team of 20 sample takers and is supposed to test 300-400 samples a day, it has woefully failed to ensure the required quality in municipal water supply. “Any Government which can’t even ensure supply of safe drinking water is not fit to govern.”
The party took up the survey, alarmed by the recent spate of reports on contamination of municipal water supply. Lok Satta Party volunteers tested water samples in 99 different locations spread across seven divisions of the GHMC (Motinagar, Moosapet, Balanagar, KPHB, Fatehnagar, Begumpet and Old Bowenpally). The party bought chlorine test kits and H2S strip test vials and trained its volunteers in carrying out the tests in their locations.
“According to accepted quality standards, residual chlorine (RC) levels of 0.2 ppm (parts per million) should be maintained in the distribution network, up to the tail-end points to ensure adequate disinfection. There is a clearly established positive correlation between the presence of 0.2 ppm RC and absence of bacterial contamination. Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board is supposedly following the same standards and in fact its internal monitoring and quality assurance plan (published on its website) calls for regular monitoring of RC levels, and adjusting the chlorine levels using booster chlorinators where needed.
“Unfortunately, in the sample survey undertaken by the Lok Satta volunteers, only 3 samples (out of 99) had RC levels of 0.2 ppm. Wherever the RC level was found to be less than 0.2 ppm, the volunteers did a H2S strip test for bacterial contamination. The H2S strip test carried out in 44 locations, 18 samples tested positive, indicating bacterial contamination. We immediately alerted the people in those locations to boil their water.”
The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the Government take immediate measures to ensure that the municipal water supply met the minimum acceptable quality norms. Metrowater Board should publish the results of the daily water tests on its website. “We also demand monitoring of water supply an independent agency to ensure its quality.”
Monday, July 20, 2009
The Lok Satta Party will be releasing the first list of its candidates for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections and launching its election campaign from July 25. The party has already identified 70 competent candidates to contest in as many divisions and is further scrutinizing the hundreds of applications it has received.
Giving this information to the media, party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Greater Hyderabad Lok Satta President N. Ravinder said the party would take the slogan, ‘Vote for Lok Satta - Power to People’ to the electorate as part of its campaign. The Lok Satta, they underlined, would devolve powers and resources on locally elected committees, so that they could address people’s pressing problems. In the process, both corruption and delays will be eliminated. The party is committed to allocating Rs.2 crore to each division from out of GHMC funds and translating the concept of ward governments into a reality. They emphasized that the party would not indulge in a negative campaign against other parties; on the contrary it would focus on its positive agenda.
The Lok Satta leaders referred to the glaring contradictions in city life and traced them to concentration of power. “You have skyscrapers, world-class hospitals and international schools on the one side and people leading miserable lives in hovels and unable to access either quality health care or education on the other.” Decentralization of powers and resources would help remedy the situation, they said.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The Lok Satta Party is a launching a five-day campaign to persuade the Government to adopt an amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act in the budget session of the Assembly beginning July 24.
It may be recalled that Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had presented a draft copy of the amendment Bill to the Chief Minister, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Chairman of the Legislative Council and leaders of all legislature parties. The Bill aims at bringing all elected people including MLAs and MLCs under the purview of the anti-corruption law and plugging all loopholes in it which enable the guilty to go unscathed.
As part of the campaign, people will be persuaded to write post cards to the Chief Minister seeking a change in the anti-corruption law.
This was stated by party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji and Greater Hyderabad Lok Satta President N. Ravinder at a media conference.
The party leaders said it was but natural that some parties which viewed the Lok Satta as the party of the future and felt threatened by its growth launched a malicious campaign against it, especially on the eve of the GHMC elections. The party was formed to transform politics in the country and never had it claimed it could be run without money. Honest politics, however, needed honest money. The party had spent a little over Rs.3 crore during the 2009 elections compared to the hundreds of crores of rupees spent by the traditional parties. It accounted for every rupee it raised and spent.
The party spokesmen dismissed the allegations made by certain district leaders as baseless. Some leaders who faced the axe following serious allegations against them chose to spread lies against the Lok Satta.
They pointed out that a committee constituted by the party chose candidates to contest the 2009 elections from out of the many aspirants.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Loksatta volunteers started www.LoksattaVideos.com website for the videos of Loksatta Party. You can subscribe to the videos by email or feed from that website.
Disclaimer: Loksatta Party does not have any legal liability of the content on www.loksattavideos.com
The Lok Satta Party today accused both the principal traditional parties – the Congress and the TDP – of pursuing an anti democratic GHMC election campaign. While the Congress would like voters to return its candidates in all the 150 divisions, the TDP maintained a vote to any other party than it would be a wasted vote .
Talking to the media, party spokespersons Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mrs. Y. Rama Devi said both parties seemed to believe that only either of them is ordained by God to rule Hyderabad and others have no role to play. “It is nothing but an affront to voters who are endowed with abundant common sense.”
“Every party in a democracy has the right to field its candidates and seek the voters’ verdict on the basis of an agenda. Instead of approaching the electorate with a clear-cut, practicable and feasible agenda, the two main parties are focusing their attention on grabbing power at any cost.”
The Lok Satta spokespersons asserted that a mere change of players without a change in the rules of the game would not transform people’s lives. “By voting to either of the traditional parties in haste, the voters will have to regret at leisure, mutely witnessing perpetuation of corruption and bad governance.”
The Congress Party, which had failed to improve the living conditions of the people in areas ranging from drinking water and sanitation to roads and public transport, is trying to take the voters for a ride by indulging in tall talk investing thousands of crores of rupees on development works. “It is bent upon grabbing all the 150 seats so that it can have an unquestioned sway over GHMC funds and people’s lives.”
The TDP would like to avenge it dismal debacle in the 2009 general elections by coming to power at least in the GHMC, without articulating any coherent plan to improve people’s lives. “It is in no mood to recognize that people are entitled to exercise their vote as per their free will.”
The Lok Satta Party alone has come out with a crystal clear agenda to develop Hyderabad into a world-class city of which every one could be proud. If elected to power, it would devolve Rs.2 crore on every division every year from out of the GHMC funds so that elected people’s committees could utilize it for addressing people’s burning problems in the division. The party will supply safe drinking water in all colonies and bastis, which do not have the facility now with the installation of reverse osmosis plants. It will implement a citizen’s charter under which failure to attend to a public grievance in a specified period invites penalty on the GHMC. It will identify and resolve problems basti and colony-wise and implement a division agenda in three phases – 100 days, one year and five years respectively. It will integrate the functioning of the GHMC, Metrowater and Urban Development.
“We have the clarity of purpose, determination, competence and integrity to deliver on our promises,” asserted the spokespersons.
Replying to a question on the allegations against the party by a Karimnagar woman, the spokespersons accused the TDP of indulging in a mud-slinging campaign against the Lok Satta Party. "Producing a woman before the media two months after the elections to make malicious charges against the Lok Satta shows that the specter of the Lok Satta is haunting the TDP on the eve of the GHMC elections." It may be recalled that the TDP had blamed its debacle in the 2009 elections on the Lok Satta.
The spokespersons recalled that although the Lok Satta had proposed that all such issues be debated in the open before the media, the TDP backtracked for reasons even common people could make out.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
.......to contest on behalf of Lok Satta Party from
GHMCWards below(as on 16 Jul,2009)
|Constituency Name||GHMC Ward No||GHMC Ward Name||Reservation Status|
|Amberpet||82||Kachiguda||BC Women (BC W)|
|Jubilee Hills||104||Srinagar Colony||W|
|Nampally||76||Red Hills||BC W|
|Old Malakpet||34||Old Malakpet||General|
GHMC Screening Committe-Lok Satta Party,
H.No 5-10-180A/A1,Band Lanes,
Hill Fort Road, Hyderabad.
Ph.No: 040-23231818, 23233637
Fax No 040 23230111
E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lok Satta Party demanded that the Government publish a white paper on the promises it had made and fulfilled in the last five years since the Chief Minister’s claim of having spent Rs.5551 crore on development works in Hyderabad city seemed incredible.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mrs. K. Geetha Murthy recalled that in October 2006 the Chief Minister had promised to totally transform the old city at a cost of Rs.2500 crore but never bothered to fulfill it. His claim of having taken up development works worth Rs.1200 crore was not correct. Against such a backdrop, the people would not be carried away by his offer to develop Greater Hyderabad at a cost of Rs.10,000 crore.
The Lok Satta today exhibited photographs of foundation stones laid by State Government functionaries in the last 10 years to drive home its message that traditional party leaders hoodwinked people by not executing works for which they had laid
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who virtually functioned as the city Mayor, allowed builders and officials guilty of building rules violations go scot-free but punish poor house owners for no fault of theirs. He winked at grabbing of Government land by political elements and did not bother to improve either drinking water or transport facilities.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The Government’s reservation of wards for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections is both unscientific and irrational, charged the Lok Satta Party today.
The Government undertook the exercise with an eye on benefiting the ruling party, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji told the media. They took exception to the Government going ahead with reservations without publishing the number of voters belonging to SC, ST and BC communities and women division-wise.
The Lok Satta spokesmen recalled that 12 municipalities in Ranga Reddy and Medak districts had been merged with the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to form the GHMC. The 50 divisions that came into existence in the erstwhile 12 municipalities account for 26 lakh voters, almost 50 percent of the voters in the GHMC. Because of the large number of voters in these areas, many of the divisions in these areas have been reserved for BCs, SCs and STs. Many seats in the erstwhile Hyderabad Municipal Corporation including the old city have become general.
The Lok Satta leaders faulted the Chief Minister for converting the regular Cabinet meeting into a Congress election strategy meeting. The Chief Minister’s call to Ministers to focus on winning the elections by mobilizing support of caste-based associations was reprehensible.
They questioned the Government’s claim it had spent Rs.5500 crore on developing Hyderabad since roads and the sewerage system continued to be awful. Announcing a Rs.10000-crore plan for revamping the drainage system was nothing but a great election gimmick on the eve of the Greater Hyderabad elections, said the leaders.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is attending a regional workshop on ‘Democracy in the Commonwealth’ in Kuala Lumpur on July 15 and 16.
Electoral Reform International Services (ERIS) and the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit are organizing the workshop as part of a study on 'the state of democracy in the Commonwealth'.
The study is meant to identify the most important obstacles to the improvement of democratic arrangements and evaluate the effectiveness of collective Commonwealth efforts to promote and deepen democracy and make recommendations in both areas.
The study will be undertaken by three consultants, drawn from Europe, Africa and Asia respectively: Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Ms. Asma Jahangir, the Chairman of the Ghana Election Commission Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and democracy expert and lead writer Mr. Tim Sheehy. The experts' report will be published prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2009.
The regional workshop for the Asia and Pacific regions will be attended by two of the three experts and, eight leaders from Malaysia and 14 from the rest of Asia and the Pacific.