Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan described Nutan Prasad as a socially conscious artiste in the movie and theatre world.
In a condolence message, Dr. JP recalled that Nutan Prasad distinguished himself by his inimitable dialogue delivery and great acting. Although bound to the wheelchair at the pinnacle of his career, he led a creative life without losing self-confidence. He was a character actor and villain only in the reel world. In real life, he was a hero who withstood many hardships.
Dr. JP conveyed his condolences to the family members and colleagues of Nutan Prasad.
Monday, March 28, 2011
In a media statement, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma characterized people’s representatives themselves tarnishing the Assembly’s image as murder of democracy. Ministers and members of the ruling party should display restraint notwithstanding provocative behavior of the Opposition.
Mr. Varma said that leaders of the main parties had either directly or indirectly encouraged violation of rules and regulations in the seat of democracy. The March 28 event was the culmination of a series of developments like display of placards, shouting of slogans, rushing into the podium and stalling of the smooth conduct of the House for the last one week.
Leaders of the ruling and Opposition parties are responsible for the present sorry state of affairs in the Assembly, Mr. Varma said and added that people expected them to indulge in reasoned debate and not come to blows.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Elections in Tamil Nadu… Mega scams, blatant corruption, nepotism and family rule. A tsunami of freebies…utterly shameless bribing of voters in the name of poll promises. Money-and-muscle power politics in the State: now ‘certified’ by Wiki leaks itself! Don’t we deserve better than all these?
Time for Clean & Honest Politics
Lok Satta Party - Makkal Sakthi: New Politics for the New Generation
Lok Satta Party (LSP) is contesting elections in Tamil Nadu. Known also as Makkal Sakthi (‘People Power’) in this southern State, it stands for clean & honest politics, curbing corruption (remember the famous Zero-Rupee Note campaign?) and government that actually works for the citizens. More than 50 eminent citizens are contesting elections on behalf of the party as people’s candidates. A number of reputed voluntary organizations fighting against corruption and reforms groups led by eminent citizens too have joined this landmark effort.
Join, Support & Make a Contribution. Today!
You can join the efforts, become a member or register as a supporter. Make a contribution to Makkal Sakthi directly or through Lok Satta Party (LSP). Just visit www.loksatta.org or www.makkalsakthi.in websites and click on the ‘Contribute’ link: make a quick, easy, safe and secure contribution to Lok Satta Party or Makkal Sakthi from anywhere in the world. You can donate via e-transfer, credit card, cheque or cash (LSP office addresses are in the website). All contributions will be immediately acknowledged and receipt will be given. All contributions are 100% exempt from income tax in India.
Become an Election Volunteer/Media Team Member
You and your friends can become our Election Volunteer (field campaigner) in Tamil Nadu today. You can also join the TN LSP Media Team and help coordinate the campaign efforts in the State. Spread the word about LSP: Makkal Sakthi among your friends everywhere and through various media: Twitter, Facebook, online groups or even plain old email! Call your friends and family in Tamil Nadu and tell them to support and vote for LSP:Makkal Sakthi in the April 2011 elections.
The next two weeks are undoubtedly crucial for the future of Tamil Nadu. Every vote for LSP: Makkal Sakthi is a vote against politics of freebies, blatant corruption, incompetence, nepotism and dynastic rule. The ongoing campaigns against corruption are leading to a noticeable upsurge in support for Lok Satta Party: Makkal Sakthi, and new people are joining everyday with their ideas, energy, time, enthusiasm and resources. If this trend continues, the 'long journey' for reforming Indian politics and ending corruption may not be such a long one after all! Meaningful change is now within reach.
Please visit www.loksatta.org/TN or www.makkalsakthi.in now for more details on:
- Lok Satta Party: Makkal Sakthi in Tamil Nadu
- Candidates, constituencies, agenda and activities
- Making a contribution, supporting the cause and spreading the word
- Joining the cause and becoming a volunteer with the Party/candidates
Lok Satta Party: Makkal Sakthi’s New Political Culture and Clean Politics are not mere ideas. Tamil Nadu needs them today. And in turn, we need your support now to make real change in this State possible.
Dr Jayaprakash Narayan
President, Lok Satta Party
Saturday, March 26, 2011
The Lok Satta Party is fielding about 50 candidates in the elections to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly scheduled for April 2011. The Lok Satta goes by the name of Makkal Sakti Katchi in Tamil Nadu.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan left for Chennai today to meet party leaders and Assembly election contestants.
A number of voluntary organizations fighting against corruption and for electoral reforms have joined the Lok Satta Party with a view to ushering in new politics.
Mr. Narra Sridhar and Mr. Jeedigunta Venkateswarlu, Lok Satta Working Committee members, have been engaged in screening and finalizing the candidates and drawing the campaign strategy.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Dandi March II, launched by NRIs in the US, seeking constitution of a powerful and independent Lok Pal to eradicate corruption and recovery of black money stashed abroad by Indians, is concluding on March 26.
The NRIs, under the leadership of organizations like People for Lok Satta, began their 240-mile-long march from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in San Diego, California, on March 12 to the Gandhi statue in San Francisco touching 35 towns en route.
Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram against foreign rule inspired NRIs to emulate him in their fight against corruption in India now.
Transcending differences of caste and religion, region and language, NRIs in large numbers have responded to Lok Satta President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan’s call and took part in the march or pledged support, said party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao in a media statement. Dainik Chattisgarh editor Sunil Kumar took part in the march in the U. S. while the Gandhian Satyagraha Brigade from Delhi expressed its solidarity.
On March 26, rallies in support of Dandi March II are taking place in 12 cities of the U. S and 22 places, including Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. Indians living in Dubai, the U. K., Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, and Malaysia are also planning solidarity rallies.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Even as it welcomed the proposed amendments to the Lokayukta Act to cover more and more people’s representatives and public sector employees, the Lok Satta Party said today that corruption could not be eradicated so long as the Lokayukta remained toothless.
Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma recalled the Second Administrative Reforms Commission’s observation that failure to tackle corruption at the top level led to its becoming rampant. So, mere extension of the Lokayukta’s jurisdiction to more and more people would not solve the problem. Moreover, the Lokayukta in Andhra Ptradesh, unlike its counterpart in Karnataka, does not have powers to raid the corrupt and take action.
Mr. Varma said the Lokayukta should be strengthened with enough powers, resources and personnel. The Anti Corruption Bureau and the Vigilance Department should be brought under the control of the Lokayukta.
Mr. Varma also demanded that the Prevention of Corruption Act be amended on the lines of the draft Bill proposed by Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan in 2009.
The Bill envisages bringing of all elected people’s representatives like MLAs under the purview of the Anti Corruption Bureau, constitution of special courts in all districts to pursue corruption cases, attachment of properties of the guilty, and bringing in all anti corruption institutions like the ACB, Vigilance Department and administrative tribunals under the purview of the Lokayukta.
Mr. Varma appealed to all parties fulminating against corruption to transcend their political differences and join hands in getting the Prevention of Corruption Act amended.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Is Mr. Sahard Pawar Union Minister for Sugar Industry or Agriculture, the Lok Satta Party caustically asked today.
Mr. Shard Pawar’s missive to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee seeking immediate permission for sugar exports reflected his determination to protect the interests of sugar mill owners, said Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma in a media statement.
However, as Union Agriculture Minister Mr. Sharad Pawar had ignored the plight of sugarcane growers by not ensuring a remunerative price for their produce. Permission to exports at the fag end of the crushing season might benefit sugar mill owners, but not farmers who could not get a fair price for their produce. At best, exports might help some sugar mills might clear their cane dues to farmers. In Andhra Pradesh, the State Government has not announced even the State Advisory Price for sugarcane.
He demanded that sugar mills benefiting from exports should be made to share their profits with farmers by way of bonus.
Mr. Varma also faulted Mr. Shard Pawar for focusing only export of sugar and not on foodgrains. “He is arguing for sugar exports on the ground that the country is surplus in sugar. Should he not extend the same logic for export of rice?”
He pointed out that the country’s warehouses and farmers’ homes are overflowing with wheat and rice stocks of 60 million tons – double the needs of the country’s requirements, even as bumper rabi harvests are round the corner. He demanded that the Government permit export of at least four million tons of rice.
Representatives of the Lok Satta Party and independent farmers’ organizations have repeatedly requested the Union Government to permit export of rice to other countries considering that rice prices the world over are ruling high.
The Union Government permitted export of a mere 1.5 lakh tons of rice, although it could have allowed export of lakhs of tons of rice. It could have permitted export of boiled rice and come to the rescue of farmers in Andhra Pradesh. (The paddy crop damaged in heavy rains during the kharif season in Andhra Pradesh was fit only for conversion into boiled rice, which commands a market abroad). Farmers had to make distress sale of damaged paddy as the Government had not permitted export of boiled rice.
The Lok Satta Party as a matter of policy would like the Union and State Governments to rid agriculture of the license-permit raj so that the farmer would have total freedom for marketing his produce wherever he wants within or outside the country. There is no reason why the Government, which ushered in liberalization for the industrial sector since 1990s should not extend it to the agriculture sector.
India lives in villages and villages are peopled mostly by farmers, workers, and artisans dependent on them. How can India progress if Government policies resulting in denial of a fair market price for agricultural produce pauperize farmers, Mr. Varma asked and said, Governments’ policies have driven lakhs of farmers to end their lives.
He recalled that the Government banned export of onions when its price touched Rs.70 a kg. The Government would now not bother when the price of onions has plummeted to Rs.4,50 a kg in the wholesale market. Similarly, the price of tomato has plunged to 50 paise a kg in certain parts of the State.
Mr. Varma wanted the Government to promote storage facilities for food grains and processing facilities for perishable products, impose customs duty on import of edible oil to encourage the indigenous farmer, and compress the number of intermediaries between the producer and the consumer.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today termed the Joint Action Committee plan to conduct ‘the monthly rites for the dead’ Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on March 17 is blatantly unconstitutional.
In a media statement, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma regretted that the BJP and the TRS would be associating themselves with the action plan of JAC Chairman Prof. Kodandaram.
Mr. Varma said the action plan shocked all those who believe in the Constitution and democracy. Such an adventure will be welcome only to those who believe in extra parliamentary means, constitutional crises and anarchic violence. The proposal mirrors the deteriorating situation in Andhra Pradesh and highlights how movements launched to accomplish an objective go astray, going by the attacks on the Assembly, general shutdowns, and vandalism.
Mr. Varma said there would only be anarchy if the Constitution and legislatures are given a burial. He appealed to all supporters of the Telangana movement and believers in democracy to raise their voice against such adventurism. He reiterated his demand that the Government take the initiative to hold a debate in the legislature on the Telangana demand and arrive at a solution acceptable to all regions of the State.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today expressed its solidarity with NRIs in the U. S. who have launched Dandi March II, as part of their campaign against corruption in India.
Starting at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, San Diego, California, on March 12, Dandi March II goes through Los Angeles and ends on March 26 at Gandhi Statue, San Francisco.
Mahatma Gandhi led the historic Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram near Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi against foreign rule. As he continued the 240-mile march, thousands of Indians joined him along the way. The march sparked a mass civil disobedience movement and changed the course of Indian history.
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s example, NRIs in the U. S. have now undertaken the 240-mile Dandi March 11 in their fight against corruption in India.
On March 26, Indians in 11 other states in U.S including New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Seattle are conducting similar marches in their cities. Indians living in Dubai, the U. K., Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Singapore,and Malaysia are also planning marches.
In India, marches are planned in _12 cities including Chennai, Hyderabad, Kakinada, Mumbai, Banglore and Ahmedabad on March 26.
Giving this information in a media statement, Lok Satta Party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao said the NRIs’ quest to rid India of corruption is commendable. He hoped that the Government would institute a strong and independent Lok Pal mechanism to curb monumental corruption in India.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Severely condemning the demolition of statues, and attacks on media and Members of Parliament on the occasion of ‘Million March’ on Tank Bund in Hyderabad on March 10, the Lok Satta Party said today there is no place for anarchy, destruction and violence in democracy and that people should pursue their legitimate causes peacefully and constitutionally. Those leading agitations should realize that violence and destruction would ultimately be counterproductive.
In a media statement, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma said that destruction of 16 of the 33 statues of Telugu legendary figures on Tank Bund could not be wished away as coincidental or collateral since the demolishers had come prepared with the requisite tools to carry out their diabolical mission. Some people had earlier kicked up a row over the statues describing them as symbols of cultural imperialism. Taking pledges at the statue of Pothana, author of the Bhagavatam in Telugu, and demolishing the statue of Yerrapragada, the author of the Mahabharatam in Telugu, merely exposed the cultural bankruptcy of the participants. Neither Mahabharatam nor Bhagavatam can be de-linked from Telugu culture.
Mr. Varma said that it was not proper for a Government, which could not protect the statues to assert it would re-install them. “We will be doing great disservice to the Telugu legendary figures as long as there are iconoclasts on the one side and installers on the other and as long police have to be deployed to safeguard their statues. Only when the demolishers deemed the statutes as forming part of our cultural legacy, their reinstallation will be appropriate.”
Whoever might have physically demolished the statues, the organizers of Million March would have to take responsibility for the March 10 incidents. It would be in the fitness of things if they take the initiative for re-installation of the demolished statues, Mr. Varma added.
Mr. Varma asked people to maintain restraint and not display passion in the wake of such unfortunate incidents.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Representatives of independent farmers’ organizations and the Lok Satta Party will be representing to the Director General of Foreign (DGFT) trade to permit free export of food grains to countries where there is good demand. There is no alternative to exports if justice is to be done to the farmer at a time the country is reaping bumper harvests and warehouses are overflowing with stocks.
The DGFT is visiting Hyderabad on March 12.
In a media statement, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma pointed out that lopsided policies of the Union and State Governments, rather than unusual rains, hurt the farmers this year. Farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka would have received a better price for paddy had the Government of India permitted export of BPT variety of rice (Sona Masoori) and boiled rice made out of rain-soaked paddy as suggested by the Lok Satta Party and independent farmers’ organizations. Government failure to act on the representation in time resulted in farmers selling their rain-damaged produce at 50 percent of the minimum support price.
Mr. Varma recalled that thanks to the efforts put in by Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, the Andhra Pradesh Government permitted export of 1.5 lakh tons of BPT rice outside the State in December 2010. Following Dr. JP’s representations to the Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission, the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and others in Delhi, the Government of India permitted export of 1.5 lakh tons of rice, including one lakh tons of BPT rice, outside the country. Had the State and Central Governments been liberal in permitting movement of rice within and outside the country, the farmer would have been spared distress sale of his produce.
Mr. Varma also recalled that the Lok Satta tooth and nail opposed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s request to the Union Government to impose a total ban on cotton exports. Because of the Lok Satta’s intervention, the Government did not ban cotton exports. As a result, cotton producers received a good price for their produce this year.
The Lok Satta Party and independent farmers’ organizations will tell the DGFT that farmers shall have the freedom to market their produce wherever there is demand within and outside the country. The entire country should be treated as a single market.
Mr. Varma wanted the State Government to announce a State Advisory Price of not less than Rs. 2300 a ton for sugarcane. It should straightway pay the outstanding dues of Rs.52 crore to palm plantation owners, without waiting for Central share.
The Lok Satta Party’s women’s wing, Mahila Satta, celebrated International Woman’s Day amidst Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s women sanitary workers.
Mahila Satta leaders including K. Gita Murthy, D. Lakshmi, S. Manorama, T. Padmaja Rani, Y. Ramadevi, Bhavani and Annapurna distributed masks and sweets to sanitary workers and held an interactive session with them in the GHMC auditorium.
A number of workers pointed out that they had to part with their hard-earned money for their spouses’ addiction to liquor. They were happy to learn that Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had facilitated direct remittance of wages into sanitary workers’ bank accounts and enabled them to enjoy provident fund facility in Kukatpally, which he represents in the Assembly. Illiteracy and ignorance stood in the way of women’s empowerment, they conceded.
Mahila Satta leaders pledged to conduct such interactive sessions with a view to empowering them.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
A Lok Satta Party fact-finding committee has concluded that the Andhra Pradesh Government permitted establishment of a thermal power station at Kakarapalli in Srikakulam district in violation of all laws, rules, and regulations.
The committee comprising Lok Satta Party’s Vice President Bhisetty Babji, Secretary Prof. D. Vishnu Murthy, and Srikakulam district unit President K. Poli Naidu submitted its report to party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan.
The party constituted the committee in the wake of the police firing on people protesting against the project at Kakarapalli on February 28, 2011. Two people died in the firing.
The report recalled that the State Departments of Forests and Fisheries had objected to East Coast Energy’s thermal power project in 2007 itself, as it would harm the environment. Two expert committees, which visited the site in July 2010 following an agitation, too confirmed the environmental hazards of the project.
The mandal revenue officer termed the land as proamboke and unfit for agriculture or any other remunerative activity, concealing the fact that fisher people had been earning their livelihood by fishing in the wetland since 1978.
The committee underlined the fact that East Coast Energy went ahead with construction although it is yet to get Coastal Regulatory Zone clearance, a case was pending in the National Environmental Appellate Authority, and it is yet to fulfill the conditions stipulated by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in its tentative permission.
The committee pointed out that nearly 30,000 acres of fertile land in the area would be vulnerable to inundation if the wetland, now serving as an outlet to heavy rainfall in the area, were to disappear in the name of the power project. It would also endanger the bird sanctuary at Telineelapuram, just 10 km away from the project site.
The report found the police guilty of a number of unwarranted actions. They clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 on February 24 itself, dismantled the camp of the protesters, resorted to arrests, confined people to their homes, and set fire to houses. It finally led to the firing. Although the police claimed to have used rubber bullets, post-mortem reports referred to the use of regular bullets.
The committee wanted the Government to review all the six thermal power projects proposed to be set up in Srikakulam district. While permitting projects, the Government should ensure that the interests of both environment and people to be displaced are taken care of.
Monday, March 7, 2011
The Mahila Satta, women’s wing of the Lok Satta Party, today appealed to Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan to ensure that the Government constitutes the State Women’s Commission without further delay.
A Mahila Satta delegation told the Governor that the Government had not constituted the commission for the last four years. As a result, women facing violation of their rights are finding it difficult to get justice.
The delegation, which called on the Governor at Raj Bhavan, comprised K. Gita Murthy, D. Lakshmi, G. Ramadevi, T. Padmajarani, S. Gajanani, and P. Bhavani.
The Women’s Commission members, said the Lok Satta, should be apolitical and have some legal or service background. The commission should have full-fledged staff. It should open a 24-hour toll-free help line for women.
The Lok Satta Party has called upon the Legislative Assembly to end the political uncertainty in the State by arriving at a satisfactory solution to the demands for and against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The uncertainty for the last one year and a half has led to paralysis in administration and a setback to economic development, the party said in a resolution adopted at its two-day State Working Committee meeting, which concluded yesterday.
Briefing media on the party’s deliberations, party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma, Secretary P.Bhaskara Rao said today that there could be no greater misfortune than the Assembly’s failure to discuss an important issue. With the two main political parties split on regional lines, the Assembly being the supreme forum for discussing people’s problems should take the lead in hammering out an acceptable solution and ending political uncertainty.
The Lok Satta Party will organize a campaign from March 15 to 20 during which people will be writing letters and civil society organizations holding meetings appealing to legislators to discuss the issue and arrive at a solution.
The Lok Satta Party will mobilize public opinion from March 20 to 23 against the Government permitting thermal power projects indiscriminately and gifting away vast tracts of coastline to seaports. The party will organize meetings and seminars to underline that the Government undertaker development without harming the environment and interests of people to be displaced.
During March and April, the party will undertake a membership enrolment drive, hold organization elections, and train youth and farmers in leadership.
The party decided to extend its support to CPI candidate P. J. Chandrasekhar in the elections to the Legislative Council from the Assembly, in response to CPI leader Narayana’s request to Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The following is the text of a memorandum to submitted by Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan President and other Lok Satta Leaders to Chief Minister Kiran Kumar at his camp office on Thermal Power Projects today (Sun 06, 2011).
6th March 2010
Shri N Kiran Kumar Reddy
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Sub: Need for a rational power policy for Andhra Pradesh - land allocation for thermal power plants (TPPs) – reg.
The recent events in Kakarapalli village of Santabommali Mandal in Srikakulam District have resulted in tragic, and entirely avoidable, loss of innocent lives. These events are a virtual replay of the tragedy that took place in Sompeta last year. They expose the severe shortcomings in the Government’s power sector policy. This crisis is an outcome of the State Government opting to establish thermal power plants (TPPs) across the State indiscriminately; its decisions are taken unilaterally and imposed on the people against their consent and legitimate concerns.
The answer to this does not lie in blindly opposing the setting up of every project and industry, including power plants. Lok Satta Party recognizes the pressing need to promote economic development, generate gainful employment, strengthen vital public services and basic infrastructure and thereby lift people out of poverty. All these would be impossible to achieve without augmenting the power supply situation in the State. Already, farmers, rural and urban domestic consumers and industries - all, are suffering from several power shortages.
Therefore, the setting up of power plants in the State has to be done only after ensuring that the wider public interest and legitimate interests of all stakeholders are adequately protected – those of the local farmers, displaced families and affected residents, in particular. In other words, the need of the hour is to evolve and implement a rational and acceptable power sector policy for the State.
Towards achieving this, Lok Satta Party demands that the Government immediately act upon the following issues and thereby evolve a win-win solution:
1. White Paper by independent Experts on precise power needs of AP:
Credible studies have estimated that our State needs an additional 15,000-16,000 MW of power to meet its all-round developmental requirements. This is in contrast to the government’s plans to set up power plants generating a total of around 46,000 MW. Effectively, the state government has offered these merchant TPPs key benefits - direct access to sea, cheap land and other scarce natural resources even as they are allowed maximize their revenues by selling their power at profitable rates outside the State. On the other hand, thousands of local farmers, ordinary families and residents are left to bear the brunt of indiscriminate and callous land acquisition, forced displacement, inadequate compensation and serious environmental and industrial hazards.
Therefore, the government must immediately constitute an Independent Expert Committee composed of credible and renowned domain experts to go into the core issues of precise estimation of power requirement of the State, type of plants best suited to meet our power needs, site suitability for these plants and ensuring that State needs and public interest take precedence over indiscriminate profit-making by a few private parties.
Permits granted to merchant TPPs that do not serve the needs of the State should be reviewed and cancelled, if necessary. Preference should be given only to those private players who offer to meet our State’s power needs and whose power is available at rates offered by public power plants.
2. Independent, Statutory Authority for site suitability, land allocation and acquisition – amending Land Acquisition Act:
While setting up of power plants it is critical that only suitable sites should be considered and appropriate extent of land from such sites is allotted and acquired for power plants. To enable this, a thorough and scientific Site-Suitability Analysis (SSA) using the latest available remotely-sensed terrestrial data has to be performed at the conceptual stage itself. Simultaneously, a coherent and robust policy framework has to be generated to ensure that only waste and barren lands are identified, allotted and acquired for power plants in conformation with all statutory and regulatory norms; fertile lands and double-cropped farms should not be allotted or acquired under any circumstances. Land only to the extent required should be provided to a TPP, in order to ensure that power projects do not degenerate into real estate ventures.
To enable the above, an Independent, Quasi-Judicial Authority has to be set up to address land requirements, allotment, acquisition and compensation while setting up of power plants. The Land Acquisition Act should be suitably amended. This schema can be extended to the setting up of other industries and SEZs in the State.
3. Generous Compensation to all project affected people:
The authorities must ensure that generous monetary compensation is given to all displaced farmers on a priority basis – at or more than the prevailing market rates of the property acquired. Similarly, generous monetary compensation must also be ensured to all project affected families and people who are displaced or lose livelihoods due to the project. The identification of affected individuals and granting of compensation should be done in a timely, transparent and consultative manner to ensure that all genuine and eligible individuals are given due compensation.
In addition to monetary compensation, land in excess to the TPP requirement should be acquired and fully developed and then be handed over to the displaced farmers and adversely affected families. Shares in the industry too must be provided as additional compensation and to ensure their stake holding in industrial development.
Displaced people and youth in the project affected area should be given suitable training in employable skills to assure them gainful employment. Atleast one member from each project affected family must be provided such skill-based training.
4. Upgradation of technology status of TPPs in AP:
In order to improve the energy efficiency of TPPs and compliance with the pollution norms, the State Government has to ensure that the technology status of TPPs in AP is upgraded. We have to move to a Clean Coal Technology (CCT) regime involving Coal Gasification (CG), Combined Cycle (CC) and other advanced technologies to ensure higher energy efficiency and enhanced pollution control resulting in greater environmental acceptability. Full compliance to existing environmental standards by the TPP management should be ensured.
5. Comprehensive review of approved power projects – cancellation of permits if necessary:
Following Sompeta and Kakarapalli, The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has either cancelled clearances or issued ‘stop-work’ directives to concerned private TPPs. The State Government should immediately undertake a comprehensive review of all TPP projects in the State. Those projects which clearly violate land acquisition and compensation norms, environmental statutes and regulations or do not offer power to the State at favourable rates should be cancelled, if necessary. As mentioned earlier, permits granted to merchant TPPs that do not serve the needs of the State should be reconsidered and cancelled, if necessary.
Given the importance and urgency of the matter, we request you to use your good offices to ensure that the Government takes up and acts on the above items, on an immediate basis.
With warm regards
Saturday, March 5, 2011
The economic and political crises rocking the State for the last few months have merely vindicated Lok Satta Party’s policies and the values it has consistently stood for, said party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. It is time the party became stronger on the foundations of its credibility.
Addressing the party’s State Working Committee, Dr. JP said that thanks to the crises, youth, farmers, middle classes and women have been turning to the Lok Satta to provide them leadership. The Lok Satta should turn the excellent opportunity that opened up to strengthen itself. Mere admiration for the party would not get converted into vote, Dr. JP cautioned and underlined the need to strengthen the party systematically by taking up programs on problems bedeviling people.
Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, Working President, conducted the proceedings of the Working committee.
Dr. JP said that whether the State remained united or divided, the Lok Satta agenda with its focus on provision of education, health care, livelihood opportunities and empowerment of local governments would continue to be important. The party should focus on bettering the lot of farmers, ensuring the future of youth, eradicating corruption, mitigating the liquor evil and promoting rule of law.
Dr. JP said that pitting development against people is unwarranted. Whatever development is undertaken it should be in tune with people’s interests. For instance a fight against an unwarranted power project does not mean the party is opposed to power projects per se.
Dr. JP said that the party should continue its program to train at least 50,000 youth and farmers as leaders. He called for a vigorous membership enrolment drive. The party will not register anticipated results if party leaders and activists worked part time. They should work with passion and a determination to succeed.
The Working Committee condoled with the death of Upadhyaya Satta General Secretary M. Sattibabu and BJP women’s leader Vanam Jhansi.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Lok Satta Times - Jan 16th - 31st 2011
Lok Satta Times - Feb 1st - 15th 2011
Lok Satta Times - Feb 16th - 28th 2011
Lok Satta Times - March 1st - 15th 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
3rd March, 2011
Hon’ble Rajyapal Shri ESL Narasimhan,
The Governor of Andhra Pradesh,
Esteemed Rajyapal Sri Narasimhan ji,
Sub: Filling of vacancies to the nominated seats AP Legislative Council – need to protect the dignity of the Council – appeal – reg.
As you are aware, vacancies to the nominated seats in the AP Legislative Council are due to be filled shortly.
These vacancies arise in the wider context established by the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment, delivered earlier today, addressing the critical issue of appointment of individuals to high offices. Even as this judgment is about the appointment of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC; in Centre for PIL vs. Union of India, WP(C) 255/2010), it rightly emphasizes the fundamental need to protect the integrity of Constitutional bodies, through nomination/appointment of candidates exhibiting the highest standards of expertise, integrity and suitability.
Article 171(5) specifies that the members of Legislative Council to be nominated by the Governor shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in areas of literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. Clearly, the nominations are intended to bring expertise, sobriety, wisdom and credibility to the Upper House, and to add substance and quality to the deliberations.
However, parties in power have often tended to use the nomination process as a mechanism to rehabilitate party members and leaders who could not be allocated Assembly seats or accommodated in other forums. Recently, major functionaries in the ruling party and the State Government have publicly and repeatedly stated their intent to nominate select individuals – based on almost entirely partisan political grounds, to the upcoming vacancies to the nominated seats of the AP Legislative Council. While past party affiliation cannot be a disqualification for nomination, party loyalties evaluated in the matrix of partisan political calculus cannot be the sole or substantive qualification either.
This treatment of Upper House nominations as the private affair of political parties is a travesty of the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Such an approach to nominated seats undermines the high office and Constitutional role of the Governor as Head of the State.
Lok Satta Party therefore urges you to play your Constitutional role and ensure that only experts with known credibility, integrity, special knowledge and practical expertise in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service are nominated to the Legislative Council. We are aware that ordinarily, you are bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers in nominating these members. Simultaneously, it is your Constitutional prerogative and duty to advise the Government suitably, and to insist on recommendation of names of worthy experts for such nominations.
With your long experience in public life and your oath of allegiance to the Constitution, we are sure you will uphold the highest democratic traditions in respect of the nomination of members to the Legislative Council, and enrich the quality of public discourse in the Upper House.
(President, Lok Satta Party)
The Lok Satta Party today termed the Supreme Court judgment declaring the appointment of Mr. P. J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner as a slap in the face of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister.
Welcoming the historic verdict wholeheartedly, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan told a media conference the verdict also demonstrated how aberrations in democracy can be corrected peacefully and with dignity with the intervention of the judiciary. Dr. JP congratulated former Chief Election Commissioner J. M. Lyngodoh and the Center for Public Interest Litigation, the petitioners who challenged the appointment.
Party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, S. Manorama and K. Gita Murthy took part in the media conference.
Dr. JP recalled that the Lok Satta Party had opposed Mr. Thomas’ appointment because he as a top official in the Telecom Ministry had opposed a CBI inquiry into 2 G spectrum allocations – the biggest scam in India’s history -- with a view to preventing facts from coming to light. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister brushed aside objections raised by BJP leader, the third member in the appointments committee, and went ahead with appointing a person who opposed investigation in a mega scam to a body which is supposed to eradicate corruption.
Dr. JP accused the rulers of weakening, instead of strengthening the Central Vigilance Commission which Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri constituted within three months of the Santhanam Committee on corruption submitting its report. That appointments to key posts have come up for judicial scrutiny is another welcome development, said Dr. JP.
Dr. JP said that people who lose faith in governments, legislatures and political parties look to the judiciary and other constitutional mechanisms to render them justice. That is why the Lok Satta Party has been silently striving for the creation of a National Judicial Commission with powers to appoint persons of probity and integrity as judges without any political interference and to remove corrupt judges.
However, in the long run constitutional mechanisms cannot be a substitute for effective functioning of legislatures. Members of the legislatures should view them as supreme institutions for discussing subjects ranging from the demand for a Telangana State to the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal Verdict.
Against the backdrop of the Supreme Court judgment in the appointment of the CVC, Dr. JP has written to Governor ESL Narasimhan suggesting that he nominate competent people irrespective of their party affiliation. (The Governor has to nominate four persons). As per the Constitution, only those known for their social service or for their proficiency in education, science and technology and literature should be nominated. The Council shall not be converted into a political rehabilitation center, he warned.
Replying to a question, he said that all agitations ultimately hurt people. For instance, the non-cooperation movement by Government employees hurts people looking for livelihood under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Movements against freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution are nothing but an assault on democracy, Dr. JP said.
Dr. JP hoped that the Union Government would cancel the 2g spectrum licenses without waiting for the Supreme Court in the case filed by the Lok Satta and others.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
The Lok Satta Party today termed Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram’s comments on the Telangana issue as irresponsible as they would merely prolong political uncertainty in Andhra Pradesh instead of removing it.
Mr. Chidamabaram had said that an all-party meeting on the demand for a Telanagana State could be convened only when all parties were prepared to come to Delhi and speak out their minds.
In a media statement, party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and Secretary Bandaru Ramamohan Rao said that Mr. Chidamabaram seemed to be shirking his responsibility because he was fully aware that the Congress and the TDP were split on regional lines. If an early solution was not found to the problem, law and order in the State would deteriorate further, administration become chaotic, economy derail and people get mired in deeper hardships.
The Lok Satta Party leaders suggested that the Union Government should take the initiative to meet with State political leaders either separately or collectively, ascertain majority opinion and hammer out a solution, or assess the situation on its own, and announce its decision after consulting all parties.
They also suggested that the State Legislature discuss the issue so that members could arrive at a solution including bifurcation of the State keeping in mind the interests of people of all the regions. In the absence of such a way out, people would continue to suffer with some pursuing the path of agitation and some others indulging in blame game or resorting to escapism.
The Lok Satta Party leaders wanted the Union Government to announce a road map for resolving the issue, and all political parties in the State to enter into a meaningful debate in the Legislature and work out a solution that is by and large acceptable to all. Everyone should acknowledge that the time for keeping the issue on the back burner is over, they added.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Defense Ministry hard pressed for land
Scam bigger than that of 2 G spectrum
JP demands debate in Assembly
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today that the Government found it difficult to access even an acre of land because of the allocation of 348 km of coastline on a permanent basis to one group under MoUs in the name of construction of Krishnapatnam, Machilipatnam, and Vanpic ports.
This is the latest instance of the Government allocating precious natural resources belonging to people on a large scale to promote a monopoly and it is no less a scam than that of the allocation of the 2 G spectrum, said Dr. JP. Since the subject of ports comes under the Concurrent List, at least the Union Government should cancel the MoUs by bringing in a legislation, Dr. JP said.
Dr. JP was addressing media after the Legislative Assembly had adjourned for the day.
Dr. JP said that while the Government of India allocated a mere 79 km of coastline to all the five major ports on the East Coast of the country under its jurisdiction, the Andhra Pradesh Government allocated 348 km of coastline to three ports (Krishnapatnam, Machilipatnam, and Vanpic) to a single group without taking the Union Government into confidence. And nobody knows whether the ports will come up or not. Krishnapatnam port has been gifted for good 153 km of coastline north and south of it, Vanpic 92 km and Machilipatnam 103 km.
Dr. JP said that the Defense Ministry paid Rs.1000 crore to the Union Government as compensation for parting with some coastline for expansion of the Vizag Naval base. Planning to develop a port and a shipyard with that money, the Union Government asked the Andhra Pradesh Government to allocate a suitable site in south coastal Andhra. Since the State has already allocated the south Andhra coastline to the three ports on a permanent basis, State Government has told the Center that it is not in a position to allocate a site for the proposed port and shipyard in south coastal Andhra. If needed, the Center can opt for a site at Nakkapalle near Visakhapatnam.
The fact that the Government of India could not access a single acre of land in Andhra Pradesh should enlighten people on the magnitude of the politics of plunder under way in the State, said Dr. JP.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today expressed his shock and grief over the sudden death of Mr. M. Sattibabu, General Secretary of Upadhyaya Satta, a Lok Satta Party affiliated teachers’ organization. Mr. Sattibabu passed away in his sleep on the night of February 28.
Conveying his condolences to Mr. Sattibabu’s family, Dr. JP recalled in a media statement that he had toiled constructively to strengthen Upadhyaya Satta in a short period after its launch in April 2010.
Mr. S. Balakishen Rao, President, Upadhyaya Satta, and Mr. G. Raja Reddy, Convener, teachers’ wing activities, said that Mr. Sattibabu’s death at a time the organization is striking roots in the State is painful.
The Upadhyaya Satta, unlike teachers’ organizations affiliated to other political parties, aims at strengthening education in the public sector and not in fighting for sectional demands. It believes that the country’s progress and students’ future are intertwined with the respect teachers command in society.