Saturday, October 31, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan announced today that the party, if voted to power in the GHMC elections, would allocate 10 percent of the anticipated Rs.4500-crore budget next year for being spent in divisions by people-elected committees. In addition, the Lok Satta Party is committed to ensuring a per capita grant of Rs.1000 to every division.
The party would also establish a call center and resolve people’s problems in a time-bound manner. The complainants would be compensated at the rate of Rs.100 per day if a problem could not be attended to within the prescribed time limit.
Addressing students, business people and professionals from Sultan Bazar in the Gosha Mahal constituency who joined the Lok Satta Party, Dr, JP told them that the Lok Satta would not provide them avenues for personal enrichment by encouraging land grabbing or facilitating contracts for works. The Lok Satta provided them a platform to fight for a bigger cause.
The party President said that the Lok Satta workers would not lure voters with liquor or money. Instead, they would seek people’s patronage on the basis of its agenda including the formation of divisional governments.
Party leaders Hemant Kumar Jaiswal and C. Vinod led the delegation to the Lok Satta Party headquarters. Mrs. Y. Ramadevi and Mr. Syamraj Yadav were among those who took part in the event.
Friday, October 30, 2009
“A vote to the Congress is tantamount to a vote for the TDP, and a vote for the TDP is tantamount to a vote for the Congress.”
It is with this aggressive slogan the Lok Satta Party is plunging into the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. The party will also make it clear to voters that failure to exercise their franchise will amount to silent endorsement of traditional parties, all of whom have let them down. The Lok Satta alone is committed to ushering in new politics in which the voter is empowered.
It may be recalled that certain traditional parties had tried to kill the infant Lok Satta Party in the 2009 general elections by maliciously propagating that a vote to the Lok Satta would be a wasted vote since it had no winning chances. After all, a party would win only when voters opted for it.
The Lok Satta Party is, therefore, focusing on rebutting the likely bad-mouthing to be indulged in by the traditional parties.
Unlike in a general election which involved the fate of a government, the voters in the GHMC election are concerned about their immediate problems like sanitation, drainage, water supply, traffic etc. The Lok Satta Party has come up with a credible and practicable agenda which envisages time-bound redressal of people’s grievances and all-round development of divisions by devolving powers, responsibilities and resources on division committees elected by people.
The party finalized its election campaign strategy at a meeting of the GHMC Committee and party workers who contested the general elections from the GHMC area. Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, party President, was in the chair.
Briefing the media on the decisions taken at the meeting, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji said the party aimed at bagging at least one-third of the total votes polled. The party candidates would dispel the image that a corporator is one who goes about in white dress and dark glasses, displaying his muscle power. They would make it plain to the people that a corporator is a public servant and not their master.
The party which has already announced its candidates for 78 seats came out with the names of candidates for six more divisions. They are:
Sithapahlmandi – Naveen Kumar Gayar
Habsiguda – Hemant Vilas Mule
Patancheru – N. Sivakumar
Gowlipura – K. Bhaskara Rao
Punjagutta – M. Durga Kumar
Lalithabagh – P. Saireddy
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The State Election Commission has allotted the whistle symbol to the Lok Satta Party for contesting the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections.
Disclosing this to the media, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji thanked the Election Commission for acting as an impartial facilitator in political parties’ efforts to reach the people. The party had contested the general elections earlier with the whistle symbol.
The party also released the third list of nine candidates contesting the GHMC elections. The divisions and the candidates are:
Mallapur – I. Sriramulu
Yousufguda – Md. Hasan
Borabanda – Swaroop Rani
Erragadda – A. Sankar Gowd
Ghansi Bazar – Renu Agarwal
Jiaguda – J. Sukanya
Langar Houz – Ramakanth
Kanchanbagh – B. Naveenkumar Sarma
Mehdipatnam – R. Manik Prabhu
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today warned that attempts of money bags to dictate politics in Karnataka portended a threat to democracy and political parties. He wanted the two national parties – the Congress and the BJP – not to play with fire by succumbing to money power since it is a game that could be played all over India.
Addressing the media, Dr. JP said that Karnataka was witnessing unabashed and naked use of money power to destabilize the Government. Those who had enriched themselves as clients of the State were now emboldened to take reins of the Government into their hands. Those who create Frankenstein monsters should realize they would be gobbled up by them one day or the other.
Dr. JP wanted the two mainstream national parties to put an end to kleptocracy which had no place in democracy.
Describing the spectrum allocation by the Union Telecom Ministry as the biggest scam in India’s history, Dr. JP demanded that the concerned Minister be immediately sacked, the spectrum allocation revoked and fresh allocation made through international competitive bidding. The first come first serve policy followed by the Union Minister by arbitrarily changing the cutoff date had resulted in a loss of Rs.50000 crore to the Government of India and a couple of companies raking in Rs.15000 crore without providing evem a single mobile connection.
In reply to a question, Dr. JP said the Lok Satta Party was committed to honoring the six-point formula, the Presidential Order of 1975 and GO No. 610. He appealed to politicians not to fan flames of hatred by dividing people on regional lines. He welcomed the announcement of elections to the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation by pointing out that his party had filed a writ in the High Court seeking early elections. He took exception to the Chief Minister going on a spree of laying foundation stones while scores of schemes for which foundation stones had been laid languished for want of funds.
He described Telangana Telugu as picturesque and meaningful, and as the language of poet Pothana. To characterize it in any other way was an insult to Telangana people.
Party senior leader Katari Srinivasa Rao took part in the media meet.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the State Government stop chanting the Arogyasri mantra and formulate a comprehensive health care policy on the lines of the National Health Service in Britain.
The problems posed by the proposal to bring dengue fever under the Arogyasri purview should prompt the Government to learn the scheme’s limitations, party spokesmen V. Lakxman Balaji and I. Chennaiah told the media. “The Government should realize that the private sector can’t rise to the occasion if communicable diseases spread swiftly and threaten a disaster. It should honestly ponder why Arogyasri could not guarantee health care although 85 percent of the people are covered by it. Arogyasri by any means is not a panacea for people’s health problems”, said the party leaders.
While Arogyasri aimed at providing tertiary level, super specialty care for a few diseases for a few people in a few hospitals, the National Health Service in Britain enabled every one to access quality health care for all diseases in all hospitals.
The party wanted the Government to go to the immediate rescue of people being crippled economically and health-wise by fevers like malaria and dengue.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today released the second list of its candidates for 32 more seats in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. With this, the party has named candidates to contest from 71 seats so far.
The list was released by Mr. V. Ramachandraiah, party’s Election Authority Chairman.
Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji told the media that the contestants include lawyers, engineers, lecturers, social workers, business people and housewives. Most of them belonged to middle and lower middle classes and had come up in life on their own.
All the contestants affirmed they had no criminal background and pledged not to lure voters with inducements like money and liquor.
The Lok Satta is contesting the elections on the plank of devolving powers and resources on elected divisionaal committees.
Following is the second list of candidates:
|Barkatpura||Varakantham Ramshaker Reddy|
|Somajiguda||D. Ramachandra Rao|
|Mansoorabad||Dasyam Venkata Laxmi|
|Moosarambagh||Gaddam Pandu Yadav|
|Moula Ali||K. Swapna|
|Baghlingampally||Ragamalla Ravinder Reddy|
|Ramnagar||Laddiperla Vanisree Mahesh Gowd|
|Gajula Ramaram||Dr.Kurra Ravinder Goud|
|Jagadgirigutta||Kasula Srinivasa Chary|
|Jeedimetla||Tuniki Vikram Simha|
|Qutbullapur||Bollompally Venkatram Reddy|
|Mailardevpally||Banda Rajesh Yadav|
|Ramgopalpet||Narsingam Kalpana Satish|
|Chilakalguda||Muddapaka Vimala Naidu|
|Tarnaka||Gangavarapu Sindhu Kalyani|
|Lingampally||Ganta Matam Chenna Veeraiah|
|Maredpally||M. Swetha Yadav|
|I.S Sadan||Nakkaboina Veerender Babu|
Friday, October 23, 2009
“The State Government is focusing its attention on extending Arogyasri coverage to all the people without realizing that Arogyasri has not guaranteed health to even to those who are covered by it, charged the Lok Satta Party here today. Arogyasri is not a cure-all.
“Thousands of people all over the State falling victim of diseases like malaria and dengue are today forced to incur huge expenditure by incurring debts on treatment in private, corporate hospitals as Arogyasri covered only certain diseases and not all.”
Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy said a solution to the health crisis in the State lay in taking preventive measures and strengthening primary and secondary care. Instead, Arogyasri aimed at providing tertiary super specialty care to a microscopic section of the State’s population.
The leaders quoted the National Sample Survey to point out that 1,10,000 people who needed some medical care or the other every day in Andhra Pradesh chose to go without treatment. Another 17,500 people visited hospitals both in the private and public sector and a majority of them met the expenditure on treatment out of their pocket. The Government washed its hands of providing health care by ensuring that a few hundred people underwent surgeries mostly in private hospitals every day. The Arogyasri scheme had merely enriched a few private hospitals but not ensured health even to cardholders and their families.
As of today, the Lok Satta leaders said, 85 percent of the people are eligible to avail of benefits under Arogyasri. Extension of coverage to the remainder of 15 percent of people would not be a big deal.
“The need of the hour is a comprehensive health care policy which ensures quality and free health care to all the people.” The Government should have constituted a committee of health care experts to evolve such a policy, instead of a committee of Ministers to consider extension of Arogyasri even to pink card holders.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today that the Congress, despite its incompetent, corrupt and centralized rule, got away with victories Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Assemblies because of people’s aversion to parties which sought to divide them on the basis of caste, religion, region and language.
Talking to media representatives, Dr. JP said that unlike in the past people pondered over their future without being swayed by momentary emotions as they exercised their franchise. Since there was no party which represented their quest for change, they were forced to vote for the least dangerous party. The Congress success in State elections did not signify people’s endorsement of its policies.
In Maharashtra, Dr. JP pointed out that the voters regarded both the Congress and the BJP as the two sides of the same coin. There was little difference between the two parties’ policies and the players continued to be the same old ones or their successors, although they might have switched parties. Yet, the people voted for the Congress because it was the lesser evil.
Dr. JP expressed concern over the indifference of voters to elections and their outcome because of the absence of a party which mirrored their quest for change. In their perception, the third front too comprised parties which are akin to the Congress and the BJP. People’s indifference posed a threat to democracy itself, he warned and said that a proportional representation system in place of the present first-past-the-post system would pave way for the emergence of new parties pursuing alternative politics.
The elections once again underlined that a victory or defeat is not determined by the incumbency factor alone and that multiplicity of parties would not come in the way of the victory of a party in which people reposed faith.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today warned that attempts at changing the Presidential Order or misinterpreting the Supreme Court judgment on it would merely promote discord among people of different regions in the State.
"Bereft of any meaningful agenda other than naked quest for power, politicians of different hues are trying to fragment the State in the name of region and language or caste and religion."
Addressing the media on the 'free zone' controversy, Dr. JP clarified upfront that neither the Presidential Order nor the Supreme Court judgment carried the word 'free zone' anywhere. The loosely-coined word emanated from an administrative tribunal and it had no relevance.
The Presidential Order emanated directly from Article 371 D of the Constitution as amended by the 32nd amendment and is virtually an extension of the Constitution. It overrides all other statutes.
The Presidential Order Of November 1, 1975 sought to ensure fairness, equity, regional balance and opportunities for all in Government jobs. It specifically exempted the all posts in the Secretariat, offices of heads of department, special offices or establishments, State-level offices or institutions, other than non-gazetted posts in major development projects and all posts as defined in the Hyderabad Police Act from zonal criteria for recruitment.
The Supreme Court, Dr. JP pointed out, unequivocally upheld the Presidential Order in a case filed by some police personnel. It dismissed the contention of the State Government that the order would not apply to Hyderabad police since they had not been appointed under the Hyderabad City Police Act and since the Government of India had not notified the local cadres of the Hyderabad police.
The Supreme Court in its judgment pointed out that the local cadres had not been notified precisely because the Presidential Order exempted the Hyderabad police from zonal regulations. Again, the Presidential Order was not concerned about the way the police were recruited. It exempted the police as defined under the Hyderabad City Police Act.
If zonalization were to be extended to the Hyderabad police, Dr. JP explained, a person from say Adilabad cannot be a sub-inspector pf police or a or even a person from Ranga Reddy district cannot be a constable in Hyderabad city, leave alone those from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema districts.
Dr. JP said he was amazed that some employees demanded reservation of jobs for local people in Hyderabad City police citing their backwardness as justification.
Hyderabad is the most progressive district in terms of both education and per capita income. Therefore, seeking reservation in terms of backwardness of Hyderabad would not hold water.
It was is true that parts of Telangana as also some areas in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema continued to be backward. Who was to blame if some regions had remained backward 53 years after the formation of an integrated State and 62 years after the country attained Independence? Were not employees who were supposed to provide quality education and health care to people partly responsible?
Dr. JP said the Lok Satta Party abided by the Presidential Order and its interpretation by the Supreme Court. Any attempt to get the order revised would undermine State's unity and promote discord among different regions.
He also made it clear that the Andhra Pradesh Government's bid to get the Supreme Court review its verdict would not succeed because a revision could be considered only if there were any gross factual errors in it. Such was not the case now.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government set up one ITI (industrial training institute) in each mandal of the State considering the growing need for skilled technicians in a host of sectors like oil and gas, power, construction, telecom, textiles and agriculture.
The opening of ITIs will help hundreds of thousands of youth get remunerative employment and provide a reservoir of trained personnel to industry.
Talking to the media, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao, E. Chennaiah welcomed the statement of the Union Deputy Minister for Planning Parliamentary Affairs to modernize existing ITIs and set up new ones. They said that the ITIs would also help arrest the migration of youth from rural areas in search of livelihood. The Lok Satta Party, they recalled, had been advocating the creation of over 1000 new towns to serve as hubs of growth. The new ITIs would be pivotal in giving shape to the new growth centers.
India could reap its demographic advantage only if the youth were provided technical skills. Only five percent of the youth in India had technical skills in against 95 percent in Korea and 22 percent in an African country like Botswana. While China boasted of 500,000 technical institutes, India had only one-fifth of them.
The party leaders underlined that the agriculture sector in Andhra Pradesh could be bailed out of the present crisis if farmers were provided inputs and technology. The ITIs could impart training to youth in making available latest technologies to farmers.
Lok Satta chief Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan said the Supreme Court did not use the word “free zone” in its judgment, which, however, was in line with the Presidential Order. This is clearly mentioned in article 14. According to this, zone is not applied to the recruitments in Hyderabad. He contended that the review petition was not justified and the government should ensure strict implementation of GO 610.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today took up construction of three new classrooms in a primary school at Kesavaram village in Ija mandal of Mahbubnagar district.
The party has adopted the flood-ravaged village with a view to facilitating its all-round development. As the first step, the party decided to construct three classrooms with a total plinth area of 1000 square feet. Party senior leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and N. Ravinder laid the foundation today.
The party planned to complete construction of the three new rooms by utilizing modern technology and make them available to students by the first week of November.
Talking to the media, party spokesmen V. Laxman Balaji said P. Bhaskara Rao said a survey by the Lok Satta Party had revealed that the villagers were exchanging rice, clothes and utensils they received from NGOs for liquor at the three unauthorized liquor outlets in the village.
The party leaders reiterated their demand that both legal and illegal liquor outlets in the flood-hit areas be shut down for three months.
The party sought an impartial inquiry into the suicide of Devarakadra mandal agricultural officer Rajeswari in the wake of reports that she resorted to the extreme step because of political pressures. Officials could be insulated from political pressures only if administration was decentralized.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government go to the rescue of tenants who suffered crop losses following unprecedented floods in River Krishna and its tributaries.
Talking to the media, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and Dr. P. Bhaskara Rao said that the Government as of now seemed to have abdicated its responsibility of extending any assistance. Going by the Chief Minister’s pronouncements, the Government had left the tenants to the mercy of landowners for receiving any assistance it rendered to landowners for loss of crops. Apparently, the Government which promised facilitation of bank loans to tenants also had not come up with a mechanism to identify tenants.
The Lok Satta leaders suggested that the Government find a way out to compensate tenants who could not claim any compensation for want of evidence to establish they are tenants. (Landowners do not enter into formal lease deeds with tenants fearing they might be deprived of their land one day or the other, although they orally lease their lands). A welfare-oriented Government should view the problem from a humanitarian angle, the party leaders pleaded.
The Lok Satta leaders said that rendering assistance to flood victims had been characterized by chaos, delays and corruption because local governments had been weakened by centralized rule for more than two decades. Even to this day, the Government has not succeeded in directing the flow of relief material to the deserving.
Accustomed to centralized rule, people looked to the Chief Minister to listen to them and redress their problems. The Chief Minister should, therefore, ensure that the aid reached the last flood victim, without losing patience over people’s grievances.
The spokesmen announced that party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan would be visiting Guntur and Krishna districts on October 15 and 16. Leaving Guntur in the morning on October 15, he will be visiting Oleru and flood bank villages and Repalle. On October 16, he will be visiting the flood-affected areas in Vijayawada city and some villages in Avanigadda mandal.
The party faulted the State Government decision permitting private, gas-based power producers to sell 20 percent of the power generated to whomever they wanted. They should be permitted such sales only after the State’s power requirements were met. The power producers should sell the 20 percent of power also to distribution companies in the State at rates agreed to earlier.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan has requested Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to immediately constitute a National Judicial Commission with powers to appoint and terminate the services of Supreme Court and High Court judges.
Dr. JP, who called on the Prime Minister at Raj Bhavan here last night, said the commission should comprise eminent citizens chosen in a bipartisan manner and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India. He also wanted the formation of an Indian Judicial Service on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service.
Dr. JP’s suggestion assumes significance in the context of allegations of corruption against a section of the judiciary and the controversy surrounding the declaration of assets by Judges.
Addressing the media, Dr. JP said he had also suggested to the Prime Minister to make civil services competitive by providing opportunities for induction of the best and the brightest in different fields. He pointed out that sectors like education and health care are in an awful state throughout the country because there are not many competent people in the services to handle such all-important sectors and deliver results. Although Governments spent thousands of crores of rupees, the quality of education is shocking in that 40 percent of students cannot read a simple passage and 70 percent cannot do a simple division or subtraction after seven years of schooling.
There should be competition to appoint the best in key positions, drawing from government as well as outside. All key appointments, he said should be made by invitation and nor by application. The time has come to put an end to hierarchy in civil services and encourage competition and choice.
Dr. JP also pleaded for initiation of reforms in policing by making crime investigation independent so that it could be shielded from political pressures.
On governance in general, Dr. JP suggested that unless powers and resources are devolved on local governments, there can be no improvement. To curb likely irregularities and corruption because of decentralization, Dr. JP said, ombudsmen could be appointed in every district to check them.
Dr. JP told the media the Prime Minister had appreciated the suggestions and promised to follow them up.
Dr. JP, who is visiting the flood-hit Mahbubnagar and Kurnool districts on October 11 and 12, indicated that the Lok Satta Party planned to adopt a village in each of the four badly affected districts (including Krishna and Guntur) to facilitate their all-round development with the help of NGOs, the Government and philanthropic individuals on a long-term basis.
Dr. JP said that there was a proposal to divert the Hundri river a few kilometers away from Kurnool so that the town would not be vulnerable to frequent floods. If the proposal was feasible, funds should not be a constraint for implementing it.
Dr. JP heartily congratulated the officers and staff who have been tirelessly working to extending relief to the flood victims. He described the public response to the tragedy as magnificent in that every section contributed their mite towards relief.
Dr. JP demanded that all liquor outlets in the flood-affected areas be shut down at least for three months to protect the lives and security of poor families.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister, Mr. K. Rosaiah, Dr. JP quoted field reports to point out that large numbers of people in the flood-affected areas are squandering the assistance they are receiving from the Government and NGOs on liquor consumption.
The licenses of the shops which remain closed could be extended for the period they remain closed.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Following is the text of a letter that Lok Satta Party President, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan presented to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at Raj Bhavan, Hyderabad to night today (9th Oct) on “Flood Relief Assistance”
9th October 2009
Dr. Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister of India
Esteemed Prime Minster Dr Manmohan Singh ji,
We are grateful to you for the prompt assistance provided by the Government of India to Andhra Pradesh following the unprecedented flood in the Krishna River, last week. Your Government’s assistance has greatly aided the immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts of the AP State Government.
Now, we earnestly urge you to examine and act upon the following five critical issues, as a part of the Union Government’s long-term reconstruction and flood management assistance to Andhra Pradesh:
Resettlement of ‘lanka’ villages: The Krishna River’s lanka villages (situated on the river channels and close to the mouths of the river) are highly vulnerable to both riverine and coastal flooding. These villages should be relocated to suitable and safe locations nearby, to keep human settlements out of the flood path. As in the case of Godavari River’s lanka villages, agricultural activities could however be permitted to continue in these fertile but, low-lying and flood prone areas. The government’s Resettlement-and-Rehabilitation package for the State should fully and generously provide for the proper relocation of these lanka villages to safer areas.
Creation of a permanent ‘National Disaster Relief Force’ at multiple locations: The recurring heavy floods to the mighty Godavari and Krishna rivers in Andhra Pradesh have seen the governmental relief measures taking some time to reach the affected peoples and areas. Therefore a contingent of ‘National Disaster Relief Force’ needs to be created on a permanent basis to provide effective emergency relief. This rapid-response Force should be manned by adequate numbers of fully trained emergency relief personnel and must be provided with the necessary equipment including motor boats and human flotation devices along with emergency medical supplies and ready-to-eat emergency food rations. Units of this Force could operate out of bases in Vijayawada, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar dams (all on the Krishna River) and Rajahmundry (on the Godavari River), to provide rapid emergency relief to flood-affected regions.
Flood-proofing the hydel power generation units: The long-term reconstruction package must provide for the flood-proofing of the hydroelectric power generation units on the right and left banks at Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar dams on Krishna River. This package must also provide for the strengthening of the hydel power distribution infrastructure. These steps would greatly contribute towards ensuring that hydel power generation and distribution are not adversely affected during major flood events.
Strengthening of the Krishna river bunds: Last week’s unprecedented flood of 25 lakh cusec-magnitude has severely exposed the structural limitations of the existing bunds on Krishna River (located downstream of the Prakasam Barrage at Vijayawada), which were designed and constructed to handle floods of less than 10-11 lakh cusecs. The bunds’ structure should be greatly strengthened so that they can handle floods of much higher magnitude, of around 25 lakh cusecs. This project must be taken up in a time-bound manner, and needs to be completed within two years.
Constitution of Expert Committees for flood mitigation and response to climate change:
The Krishna River, which usually sees chronic shortages of water leading to frequent water sharing disputes, has now witnessed a flood of unprecedented magnitude. Last week’s flood underscores the importance of a scientific and timely decision-making process on the manner of storage and sharing of river flows, anticipation of riverine floods and mitigating floods including advance depletion of reservoirs. We therefore urge the Government of India to constitute an Empowered Expert Committee to institutionalize permanent and verifiable measures for real-time monitoring of rainfall-runoff patterns and river water levels at critical points and thereby take appropriate and timely decisions to mitigate future floods. Such a Committee could consist of domain experts drawn from the Central Water Commission (CWC), other concerned public agencies and academia, experts in disaster management and public officials of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Recent scientific evidence suggests a delay in the yearly onset of monsoonal rains, even as the intensity/severity of some individual rainfall events is increasing; the monsoon rainfall events too are perceived to have become more erratic and less consistent over the years. Any such long-term changes in the rainfall patterns would greatly impact Indian agriculture. Continental Europe has been experiencing advanced onset of its yearly spring and has undertaken a corresponding change in its agricultural practices.
Given the unique water-use needs and water management practices of Indian agriculture, we need to undertake a rigorous scientific study on the impact of any long-term change in the monsoonal rainfall patterns, drawing upon global expertise in this field. Therefore, we urge you to constitute an Expert Committee to study climate change patterns in India and recommend appropriate modifications to current water management and agricultural practices.
Undertaking the above measures would greatly help prevent or mitigate future floods and establish sustainable water management practices. We therefore urge your government to take all necessary steps at the earliest by charting a time-bound programme, to achieve the above objectives.
We have great faith in your leadership.
With personal warm regards,
The Lok Satta Party expressed its profound grief over the sudden death of Dr. K. Balagopal who had tirelessly fought for protection the rights of the downtrodden.
In a statement today, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party President, pointed that although Balagopal had every opportunity to lead a life of ease and comfort, he had spent his life to wipe the tears of the poor who are in a majority.
“It takes many years for a man like Balagopal to emerge. He had utilized his multi-faceted talents to protect the rights of fellow- humanbeings”.
“He educated the public about the Indian Constitution which guaranteed equal growth opportunities to everybody and treated even the last man as a sovereign. He relentlessly fought to make the traditional rulers and elite sections to recognize the existence of the common man. The uncompromising struggle he had led even as he stuck to basic principles and values should be a source of inspiration for the younger generation” Dr. JP said.
Dr. JP calledon the family of Balagopal and conveyed his deep condolence on behalf of the Lok Satta Party.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded the publication of a white paper on the floods in the Krishna River which devastated parts of the State to facilitate an honest and open debate and the creation of an institutional mechanism for the orderly release of water from storage reservoirs.
Talking to the media, Dr. JP said that the white paper should contain details of hourly rain forecasts by the met office, precipitation in catchment areas, Central Water Commission warnings or alerts, water floods as various points in Krishna, Tungabhadra, Handri and Kundu rivers, reservoir levels, and the hourly release of water from the reservoirs in the Krishna basin.
The publication of a white paper would help resolve the political controversy the floods have triggered with some arguing that they are made man-made and some others attributing them to nature’s fury.
In the context of the Prime Minister’s impending visit to the State, Dr. JP asked the Government of Andhra Pradesh to seek Central assistance for a long-term reconstruction program. It should include flood-proofing power generation centers and systemic improvements in power distribution and strengthening of Krishna river bunds to withstand heavy inflows of more than 20 lakh cusecs of water.
The Government of India should also appoint a commission to study the changes in the weather pattern as was evident from delayed monsoons and heavy rainfall in a short period. The crop seasons may have to undergo a radical restructuring if we have to live with a change in the weather pattern.
Dr. JP demanded that the Government close down all licensed and unauthorized liquor outlets in the flood affected areas at least for two months so that the poor do not squander assistance they receive from the Government and NGOs on liquor consumption. The Government can reimburse the license fee to the bidders for the period the shops do not operate since the loss of revenue would be minimal. According to reports received at the party headquarters, liquor shops in the flood-hit areas are having roaring business.
The Government, he suggested, should take up relocation of ‘lanka’ villages away from the river bed when it took up reconstruction of houses.
The Lok Satta President wanted the Government to set aside usual revenue norms for extending immediate relief to the victims. Since the areas inundated villages are in a defined geographic area, swift, generous and universal relief should be extended. Enumeration of the flood-affected households would result in delays, partisanship, heartburn and even corruption. The affected families in all the districts would not exceed 200,000. Since 90 percent of the families in the State have white cards, provision of relief to another 10 percent of people should not cost the Government much.
Let not flood relief be undertaken as the cloud seeding has been, Dr. JP said referring to the attempts at precipitating rains in the cyclone/flood hit areas in the midst of heavy rains on September 29th and 30th, and October 2nd. This shows how the left hand in government does not know what the right hand is doing. The Government should clearly tell NGOs what people badly needed and the areas that need help. People are in need of fresh blankets, bed sheets, saris, utensils, cans for water and kerosene, lanterns or torch lights and dry rations and students, textbooks and notebooks.
Dr. JP congratulated Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who had shared the Nobel prize in Chemistry and said the NRI did India proud and testified to the intellectual prowess of Indians. India could provide many Nobel laureates if we create the right environment for talent to flourish.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
With bundles of clothes flowing from all over the city in aid of the flood victims of Kunrool, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Guntur and Krishna districts, the Lok Satta Party headquarters today took on the appearance of a huge warehouse.
The party has already dispatched aid materials in more than 30 jumbo commercial vehicles and mini vans to the flood-hit areas.
A medical team deputed by the party is rendering services in Ija mandal of Mahbubnagar district.
Talking to the media, party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and Dasari Ratnam said that the materials were being distributed with the assistance of party volunteers in the districts. The party is running relief camps at the zilla parishad girls’ high school and the corporation’s primary school at Patamata Lanka in Vijayawada.
People could make contributions online too towards flood relief by accessing the website, www.loksatta.org
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today suggested that relief activity be totally decentralized so that justice could be rendered to the flood-affected. “We Indians excel in rising as one man when we are confronted by a natural calamity or war or any other emergency. Once the emergency is over, complacency, corruption and incompetence once again come to the fore.”
In a statement, Dr. JP recalled that it was the Mayor of New York who led the relief activity in New York in the wake of the terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Again, when typhoon Katrina wrought havoc in New Orleans, it was the Mayor who led the relief effort. In contrast, our Panchayats and Municipalities appear helpless in the wake of the devastation caused by the floods in the Krishna river. Unfortunately, centralized and personalized rule for more than two decades in Andhra Pradesh had enervated institutional mechanisms.
If mayors, municipal chairpersons, councillors and sarpanches were empowered to undertake relief work, they could turn out better results because of their knowledge of the local conditions and requirements, eagerness to impress their constituents and their wide-ranging contacts. Decentralization would any day be better than centralization even if the former turned out to be costlier.
Dr. JP suggested that relief be extended to all the people in the flood-affected without enumeration of the affected and insistence on ration cards, both of which give rise to corruption. Floods have not drawn a distinction between the rich and the poor in making their lives miserable. Once government relief in cash and kind is disbursed to every family which is affected by flood, we can eliminate delay, minimize corruption, avoid partisanship and bitterness, and ensure maximum satisfaction to those in distress. Since 90% are already white ration-card holders, a slight additional cost for coverage of all flood – affected families will increase the cost only by 10percent.
Dr. JP wanted the Government to take immediate measures for safeguarding power utilities and strengthening flood banks along the Krishna river, considering the maximum possible flood levels in future. The Government should also consider the significant changes in the weather patterns in the recent past and draw up suitable strategies to address them. The State is witnessing prolonged summers, delayed monsoons and heavy rains during a short period during the monsoon season, resulting in flash floods. A rainfall of 10 cm in 10,000 square kilometers in 24 hours will result in a runoff of 10 lakh cusecs of water. It was such a heavy rain in the catchment areas of Krishna river that triggered the latest floods on an unprecedented scale, Dr. JP recalled.
Dr. JP also suggested that farmers in Krishna river islands be persuaded to have their habitation away from the river bed with liberal Government assistance so that they are not vulnerable to nature’s fury frequently. They should be able to raise crops in the river bed like their counterparts in Godavari islands without living on them. Government should provide full subsidy to build the villages outside the river bed.
Dr. JP expressed satisfaction with the administration’s macro management of the flood situation. Thanks to the heavy storage capacity of the reservoirs in the Krishna basin, large quantities of water could be impounded. If we had another 50 TMC storage capacity in Pulichintala, the floods could have been controlled even better. This only underscores the need to quickly complete the Pulichintala reservoir project.
He expressed happiness over Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh working together to minimize the flood havoc, notwithstanding their wrangling over the sharing of the Krishna waters. Both states acted with good sense and amity. This should have way for better sharing of Krishna water in future.
Monday, October 5, 2009
The Lok Satta Party has decided to cancel its third anniversary celebrations scheduled for October 11 in Hyderabad to focus on extending relief to the flood-hit in the State. The party will also be not holding the General Council meeting scheduled for the day.
Announcing this, party spokespersons Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy told the media that in all six jumbo commercial vehicles and 15 mini trucks carrying materials like clothes, food packets, drinking water and medicines collected by Lok Satta volunteers have left for the flood-affected areas in Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Nalgonda, Guntur and Krishna districts today.
A medical team dispatched by the party is rendering assistance to people in Nandyal town by camping at the municipal town hall.
They disclosed that the party’s call for assistance to the flood victims has elicited tremendous response. People from all over the country and abroad have been contacting the call center set up by the party (040-40405050). Some NRIs from the U.S. have contributed Rs.100000 towards rice supply to people. The money is being utilized towards rice supply in the Jaggayyapet area. Pharma companies as also druggists are donating medicines.
The Lok Satta leaders appealed to people in flood-prone areas to move to safer places as suggested by officials.
Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy flagged off a vehicle carrying relief material at the party headquarters today.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. JP announced that the Party volunteers are leaving for the flood affected Kurnool and Mahbubnagar districts tomorrow (October 4) to distribute more than one lakh water satchets, 16,000 food packets, bed sheets and tablets to purify water.
He said that already Lok Satta volunteers have been evacuating flood-affected people by deploying 15 tractors in Mahbubnagar district. Teams headed by Dr. Padmanna, Narasimha and Srinivasa Rao are engaged in evacuating people from low-lying areas in Kurnool district. Teams of Lok Satta volunteers will undertake door-to-door visits in Hyderabad to collect donations in cash and kind for flood victims. The party is constituting eight teams of doctors to render medical aid.
A six-member committee has been constituted to supervise the party’s rescue and relief operations. Its members are: Mr. Katari Srinivsa Rao, Mr. V. Laxman Balaji, Mr. N. Ravinder, Mrs. K. Gita Murthy, Dr. Panduranga Rao and Mr. Dasari Ratnam.
Lok Satta President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today suggested that satellite phones and diesel power generators be supplied to on a war footing to offices of collectors, superintendents of police and other important government functionaries, power generation and transmission centers, hospitals, and relief camps in flood-affected areas.
In a statement, Dr. JP appealed to VIPs as also ordinary people to refrain from visiting the flood-hit areas as such visitations would merely disrupt and delay rescue and relief operations. Only relief workers and transport vehicles carrying relief material should be encouraged to move freely.
Dr. JP pointed out that the heavy flood in the Krishna river was unprecedented and sudden. Blaming officials and the Government for the natural calamity beyond anybody’s control was unwarranted. People who criticize officials of having failed to deplete the Srisailam dam in hindsight now conveniently forget that the State had gone through the drought ordeal only a couple of months ago. Again, would the depletion of a few lakh cusecs of water in the short time available to officials warded off the danger against the unprecedented inflows into the reservoir? He underlined the fact that Kurnool was inundated because of heavy flows from the Tungabhadra and the Handri and the situation had eased once thee flows abated, despite the water level rising in Srisailam from 887 feet to 894 feet overnight. He said that people heed Government warnings and move to safer places as Kurnool town as also people downstream of the river in Krishna and Guntur districts were still not out of dangers in the context of continuing inflows into the river from upstream and heavy rains within the State.
Dr. JP said there was the danger of the State facing a grave power crisis with flood waters disrupting power generation at Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar and Vijayawada thermal power station. It is now clear that the Right Bank Power Station at Srisailam will be submerged and out of commission for several weeks. People are also exposed to the risk of consuming contaminated and unsafe drinking water and falling ill. He wanted the Government to be ready with a contingency plan to meet the likely power crisis and suggested establishment of water purification plants and supply of water purification tablets and ‘PUR’ sachets of UNICEF to the affected people. He suggested supply of satellite telephones to key offices and functionaries because telecommunications had failed either because of floods or heavy traffic.
Once the floods receded the Government should focus on constructing ring bunds to tanks and restoration of roads, shedding its penchant for sanctioning lucrative and costly projects.
Dr. JP appealed to people to realize that employees are also human beings and they needed all the support from them. The Government should deploy officials from neighboring districts to the flood-affected districts and relieve the burden on overworked staff. If some officials do not measure up to expectations they could be quietly replaced.
Dr. JP expressed satisfaction over Chief Minister K. Rosaiah giving a free hand to district officials to handle the crisis. District officials could efficiently handle the problems in the wake of floods if there is no interference from publicity-hungry politicians. The bane of administration hitherto had been centralized rule by individuals. As a result, lower rung officials were always beholden to the top to take even small decisions. Given freedom and spared of interference, officials could deliver results.
Lok Satta has established a helpline Ph: 040-40405050 to coordinate voluntary efforts of various organizations. Lok Satta suggested to the government and Relief Commissioner to dedicate one official to liaise with voluntary organizations. Lok Satta volunteers will man the helpline 040-40405050 round the clock. Those who wish to support relief operations may please contact the helpline, so that the Lok Satta team can coordinate the voluntary efforts and ensure that the needed supplies go to the needy people inan orderly manner. A team comprising of Sri Anand Reddy, Sri AS Gurappa (Retd. IPS), Smt Sirisha, Sri Madhav, Sri Krishna Prasad and Sri Karthik has been constituted by Lok Satta to coordinate relief efforts.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Lok Satta Party was formed since the existing political parties had failed to provide good governance unto the last man as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi, said its President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
He was addressing party workers after hoisting the national flag and the party flag to mark the third anniversary of the party, and garlanding a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary at the party headquarters.
Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. JP recalled, pursued politics as a noble endeavor and sought to reconcile the interests of individuals with those of society. The Lok Satta Party, formed on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary three years ago, was committed to realizing his goal of total ‘swaraj’.
Dr. JP released the Chandanagar division manifesto as part the party’s movement to restore power to people. The manifesto pointed out that the Government spent Rs.144 crore annually on the division with a population of 120,000. The Lok Satta, which had surveyed the needs of the people in different areas of the division, said all the amenities like provision of roads, drinking water, sewage, and school buildings could be taken up at a cost of a mere Rs.13 crore.
Dr. JP recalled that although Jawaharlal Nehru had launched panchayati raj exactly 50 years ago in Rajasthan, the country was yet to realize Gandhi’s goal of gram swaraj. The Lok Satta Party would release manifestos for all divisions with the ultimate goal of empowering people to resolve their own problems.
Lok Satta Party has released the candidates for GHMC elections for the divisions under Jubilee Hills Constituency. In the first list, 35 candidates were announced, and because of tough competition this list is delayed. Talking to media, Party spokespersons Katari Srinivasa Rao and K.Geeta Murthy announced the list, and would be announcing 20 more candidates in the next few days.
Candidates for Divisions under Jubilee Hills Constituency:
Shaikpet - Durgam Pradeep Kumar
Vengala Rao Nagar - Vellanki Mallikarjuna Rao
Rahmath Nagar - Mathari Agastin
Srinagar Colony - Kochcharla Durga Rani
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today that traditional political parties have perfected their politics of plunder and populism into such a fine art that they have eminently succeeded in masking the serious crisis the State has been passing through. All enlightened and educated people have to now decide whether they would like to end this plunder and failure or content themselves with cursing politics and politicians and keeping quiet.
Interacting with the media on the eve of the party’s third anniversary, Dr. JP said that the traditional parties had turned politics into a dynastic and lucrative business enterprise. To drive his message about the plunder being indulged in by political parties, he said he had come to know that a political party, fully conscious that it had no chance of winning, pumped Rs.60 lakh from the headquarters to make its presence felt in a ZPTC election in a district. To divert attention from their plunder, traditional parties threw sops at people instead of solving their problems.
Dr. JP said despite thousands of crores of rupees being spent on rural development, villages are getting depopulated as low-skilled people migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood. In the process, the urban areas have become ghettos. The failure of rains for a couple of months has caused enormous havoc although the State recorded copious rains for five years in a row. Quality education and health care and livelihood opportunities have eluded an overwhelming majority of people. Far from addressing such fundamental problems traditional parties have mastered the art of short terms sops to conceal the gruesome ground realities.
Dr. JP said such a crisis situation could not go on forever. There would be an implosion when people ran out of their patience. He could not predict when it would take place just as none could visualize the fall of the Berlin Wall or the break-up of the Soviet Union.
“If politics has become family business and power private property, the blame lies with us the people as politicians cannot ride roughshod over us without our consent.” As during the freedom struggle, all the educated and enlightened have to take the lead in transforming politics. The Lok Satta has created a platform for the best minds and hearts of India to pursue ethical politics and policies. It has had a track record of practicing what it preaches, reconciling conflicting interests and providing creative responses to vexed and long-standing problems.
Dr. JP conceded that the Lok Satta Party as of today is constrained by lack of competent leadership, effective organization, and ethical resources. It had just started taking steps to overcome its deficiencies by introducing executive membership. It would facilitate the emergence of leadership and the raising of resources.
The party had formed ad-hoc district committees pending fresh elections. Enrolment of executive members is under way. It has launched a ‘power for people’ movement in urban areas. In the first phase, the party will identify, in each ward, the issues the urban people are facing and estimate how much it will cost to resolve them. In the second phase empowerment of people through elected ward committees, allocation of people’s tax money to a time of Rs.1000 per capita to solve the problems themselves, adequate powers, and accountability will be made into people’s demand in each ward and municipality. In the final phase, if the government does not empower citizens, a non-cooperation movement will be launched against the government.
Asked whether a sympathy wave for the Congress in the wake of Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s death would hurt Lok Satta chances in GHMC elections, Dr. JP said he was not on the look out for any alibi for the likely performance of his party. However, he felt that people should have greater sympathy for themselves since each one is a hero in his life and exists for himself. “Leaders matter only to the extent they transform lives of people. Parties and leaders exist for people, not the other way round”, said Dr. JP.
Dr. JP disclosed that he would shortly be entrusting powers and responsibilities to party leaders so that he could focus on bigger issues, once relieved of day-to-day work,
Party spokespersons Katari Srinivasa Rao, V. Laxman Balaji, Mrs. K. Gita Murthy and Mrs. Y. Ramadevi flanked Dr. JP as he interacted with the media.