Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: Government of Maharashtra

ITBP Bill and Maharashtra

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has sent a bill for Rs.10.87 crores to Maharashtra government for providing security to Ajmal Kasab for the period from 28 March 2009 to 30 September 2010. Maharashtra government says it does not have the money and has discontinued ITBP protection to Ajmal Kasab.

There was no need to deploy 200 men to guard Ajmal Kasab. The trial was inside the jail. There were other expenses that were unnecessary like constructing a hospital ward for him at the cost of 2 crore rupees which was not used and a tunnel at the cost of 50 lakh rupees which was rarely used.

Ajmal Kasab is a convict sentenced to death and should be treated like other convicts sentenced to death. His appeal is pending in the High Court. After that he may appeal to the Supreme Court and send mercy petition to the president. The cost of keeping him alive upto that time is estimated to be 40 crore rupees.

What happens to the money Maharashtra gets from various taxes? Compared to the tax collection Maharashtra makes 10.87 crores is a small amount and it is laughable that Maharashtra is unable to pay that amount. Law and order is a state subject and Maharashtra should pay the amount. It is not right to refuse payment on the ground that Ajmal Kasab is the responsibility of the whole country and international community is watching us. Ajmal Kasab is not a prisoner of war. We need not worry about international community. Many things happen in the world and international community does nothing.

In future ITBP should raise bills on a monthly basis. That will save them lot of trouble. It is not known why they do not raise bills on a monthly basis. They should also send the bill for the period from 1 October 2010 to the date they discontinued in May 2011 soon to Maharashtra.

Railway Protection Force (RPF) must learn a lesson from what happened to ITBP and raise a bill for Mamata Banerjee’s security with effect from 20/5/2011, the day she became chief minister of West Bengal and took about 80 personnel from RPF for her personal security. RPF is for railways and not meant to provide security to a chief minister.

A Tale of Two Scams

After Commonwealth Games were over investigation into corruption in Commonwealth Games began by various agencies. There was lot of noise about raids. Contractors were raided. No raid on residence or office of any IOA official or minister associated with the Games.

Then Adarsh Society scam made news. Ashok Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra, offered to resign. The scam reports exposed many ministers, bureaucrats and defence personnel. Ashok Chavan’s predecessors who wanted to replace him were also exposed. Media reported about Adarsh Society and forgot about Commonwealth Games.

Rugby stadium built for Commonwealth Games at the cost of three hundred crore rupees is dismantled. Money spent on it is a waste.

Is it just a coincidence that Adarsh Society scam made news when Commonwealth Games scam was big news? Is it Operation Cover-Up to save people involved in Commonwealth Games scam? Are ministers in Maharashtra pawns who can be sacrificed to save king? Why did coverage of Commonwealth Games scam stop? Are people of India taken for a ride? Adarsh Society was in the making for many years. Why were no reports about the scam? One newspaper claims it reported about the scam in 2003. What did it do after that? The newspaper defends Suresh Kalmadi. Its reports on corruption in Commonwealth Games did not have anything significant. It talked of ignoring corruption. That is journalism of corruption. One TV channel claims it reported about the scam when it reached 27 floors. Why did it remain silent after that?

There are other scams as well. One channel mentioned that CAG report put loss suffered due to 2G spectrum scam was 1.76 lakh crore rupees.

It seems Adarsh Society scam reports are an attempt to make people forget about Commonwealth Games scam. Those who manipulate media should remember that you cannot fool all the people all the time. Even if one person sees through the game, the game is over.

Article 356 for Maharashtra

Maharashtra is a fit case for imposing President’s Rule under article 356 of the constitution.

It is not for students to tell what should be the syllabus. A student tells the university to withdraw a book from the curriculum and vice chancellor obliges within 24 hours using emergency powers which were not used before. The chief minister justifies the withdrawal saying the book contains abusive language. His party’s spokesperson says “It may be his personal opinion but it was not the Chief Minister who ordered the withdrawal of the book. It was not the government’s decision. Mumbai University is autonomous. If anybody is aggrieved by the decision of Mumbai University, they can always take it up with the Senate or the Syndicate or the appropriate forum.”

A TV channel is threatened by a political party that if it does not drop two persons from its reality show it will not be allowed to shoot. Protection is provided by the government for shooting to continue. The political party asks cable operators to block the channel. The channel apologises.

Permission to hold a rally at a ground is granted on the condition that noise level should not exceed 50 decibels. That condition is violated. The leader makes fun of High Court order and says the machines measuring noise will break. Three minor functionaries of the party are being prosecuted but no charge against the leader.

Something is rotten in the state of Maharashtra and if is not set right soon more troubles are ahead.

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