Terror Strikes in again in Mumbai

27 Nov 08

Hostage situation in South Bombay.

The free and easy manner in which terrorists have been moving around in India and in Mumbai in particular bode ill for the country.

Politicians are responsible for not allowing action against terrorists for their personal gains.

Police have lost independance of action since many years.

The government has ceased to govern.

There is no security for the coman man.

Where do we go from here?

Clearing Roads: God never encroaches- Modi right in clearing temples on roads

Citizens Alliance is for free movement on roads for all legitimate traffic.
 Safety of Pedestrians should be priority.No encroachments shoild be allowed on roads.
Recently there has been some debate on removal of temples from roads in Gujarat.
Modi bashing is on as usual only this time from VHP, RSS and others.

A message from Janhit manch 

Dear friends,
        Have you visited Gandhinagar? Wide roads, lot of open spaces, no
traffic jams and rated as the greenest city of the country.
        God never enchroaches. Modi is right in demolishing the temples, put
up on public roads by illegal operators of business of religion.
        In 2003, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation had demolished 1100 illegal
temples, masjids, Gurudwaras, crosses and Baudhavihars on roads under
an order by the Bombay High Court in our PIL 2063 of 2002 between
Janhit Manch Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. Further 200 were
demolished in 2006. Political parties incl Shiv Sena and also Bajrang
Dal, openly supported the drive Mumbai's VHP kept silent. Many of the
demolished shrines have come up again and we had to file a review
petition  which is pending.
        Let us congratulate and support Modi on this issue. He has done a
good job in removing the illegal traders of God.
Bhagvanji Raiyani
Janhit Manch
use ubuntu.com instead of microsoft windows and remain FREE from
viruses and trojans
http://www.janhitmanch.org/judicialdelayssolutions.pdf Reforms for the
Indian justice system

Delhi: Accident Capital of India


10 Traffic Black Spots, Mostly Intersections, Have Claimed 17 Lives So Far

Megha Suri | TNN

This year may have recorded a decrease in the total number of persons killed on Delhi roads, but a handful of stretches around the city have been proving to be problematic for the traffic police as an alarming number of accidents are reported from there. Times City lists 10 intersections or black spots which have claimed the maximum number of lives in 2008.

This year, the highest number of fatal accidents — as many as 17 — have been reported from ISBT Kashmere Gate, in which 17 persons died and 23 were injured till October 31 this year. Next on the list is Dhaula Kuan with 15 fatal accidents, opposite Hyatt on Ring Road (14), Shastri Park (12), Burari crossing (12), Ashram crossing (8), Raja Garden crossing (8), Punjabi Bagh crossing (8), Mukarba crossing (7) and Sarai Kale Khan (7).

Interestingly, a majority of these spots — 8 of 10 — fall on the Ring Road, most of which is nearly signal-free. The government, in the past few years, has been building flyover after flyover on the road and widening it to allow fast movement of vehicles. But in the absence of facilities like subways or foot overbridges for pedestrians, the artery has become highly unsafe for those crossing the road.
Another major reason for the accidents, according to the traffic police experts, is the high volume of trucks passing through these stretches at night. Often intoxicated, truck drivers have little knowledge of city traffic rules and tend to overspeed. There have been several instances where overworked truckers have been unable to stop the vehicle in time, leading to an accident.
A classification of the time of occurrence of the accidents also reveals that a majority have taken place between 2am and 6am, when the movement of trucks is very heavy. Little police presence and inadequate street lighting have aggravated the situation, making the stretch very lethal.

Certain stretches like ISBT Kashmere Gate and Shastri Park have been notorious for accidents even in the past two years. The traffic police also claim to have initiated corrective measures, including construction of foot overbridges, but to little avail. The lack of pedestrian facilities at Dhaula Kuan since the construction of a grade separator has been raised numerous times. But the spot opposite the ISBT on NH-8 remains prone to accidents.

Once the black spots have been identified, the job of the traffic police is to identify what is causing the accidents and take corrective measures. Said joint commissioner of police (traffic) SN Shrivastava: “It was noticed that heavy vehicles have been a major cause of accidents so we started night checking of these vehicles and have also started turning them away from the borders during the day when they are not supposed to enter the city. Police presence has been increased at night to instil a fear of prosecution, which was missing earlier.’’
The cops are also planning to start drives to educate pedestrians and continue the drive against jaywalking. Also, emphasis will be laid on prosecution of two-wheelers as they, along with pedestrians, form a majority of the victims of road deaths.

In the past year, the focus has been on quality prosecution where motorists have been checked for violations — such as overspeeding, jumping red lights, drunken or dangerous driving — which can lead to accidents. Till October 31 this year, the cops have prosecuted 10.44 lakh motorists for such violations. The figure is much higher for 2007, when 6.40 lakh motorists were booked.
The effect of the strict action is visible as figures of the traffic police show a decline of 6.7% in the total fatal accidents with 1,711 persons being killed in accidents till October 31, 2008, as compared to 1,826 persons for the same period last year. The number of those injured has also fallen by 15% from 6,503 to 5,526. The ‘killer’ Bluelines have also been reigned in as they have caused 98 deaths this year, as against 131 in 2007.


RTI: Even CIC helpless against PMO and Cabinet Secretariat

RTI in chains

RTI in chains


It is a sad reflection on the sincerity of the government of India towards transparency and good governance. What is worse even the PMO and Cabinet Secretariat are not above procrastination.

Politically sensitive information is impossible obtain- even when the query is from a reputable journal.

What can be the condition of an ordinary citizen?

The CIC also appears to be helpless to prod government agencies.

The following is an extract from Mail Today


Much to hide, more to gain

ABOUT a fortnight ago, a colleague of mine at India Today received an email from the Central Information Commissoner Wajahat Habibullah.

The brief it said — “ Received and being looked into” — took a long time coming. In November last year, following reports that several union ministers were not declaring their assets despite instructions from the PMO — nothing surprising, since I don’t expect ministers, especially those belonging to coalition partners, to take orders from the Prime Minister — India Today had invoked the RTI to find out the truth.

We filed RTI applications before the PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat seeking the relevant information. The reply from the PMO was swift but gave away nothing. It informed us that the information we sought lay within the domain of the Cabinet Secretary. A few days later, the Cab Sec wrote to us saying the domain lay with the PMO. For the next four months, we sent several reminders to both the PMO and the Cab Sec and the two kept lobbing the ball back and forth. So on March 17 this year, we wrote to the CIC detailing our experience with RTI and stating that by stonewalling our efforts, the PMO and Cab Sec were defeating the very purpose of the RTI. We requested the CIC to direct the officers in charge at South Block to make available the information we sought.

Around then, I ran into Habibullah at a social gathering and in the midst of informal exchanges reminded him about the RTI query. “ The matter is being looked into,” he assured me. Months passed and nothing happened. So two weeks ago, we sent an email reminder to the CIC. A day later came the above mentioned reply which certainly wasn’t very helpful anyway.

So much for transparency.

Things are no better in the states. Last week, I was in Kolkata where a top Opposition leader told me about an RTI query he had filed before the state Information Commission seeking details about the agreement the West Bengal government had signed with the Tata group for the now aborted Nano plant in Singur. That appeal too became a victim of sabotage as a senior officer in the state IC issued a writ that all information must be first delivered to him, in sealed envelopes!!!!! In May this year, at a function to mark the UPA Government’s four years in office, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh got so carried away with his regime’s record that he declared the UPA stood for open government: “ The UPA government has set a new standard for transparency and accountability in govern- ment”. He would have fooled none.

The RTI is supposed to enable ordinary Indians to seek information about the functioning of the government, its ministers and other minions.

But as the term of the government nears its end, the CIC which is supposed to address citizens’ queries on the government and governance seems to be abdicating its reponsibilities.

Of course you can get all the information you want about the truant District Magistrate in Barabanki or Jhumri Taliaya and similar small fry, but if you are looking for the big fish, you are likely to be denied.

The moral of the story: Transparency sounds a good idea but is not particularly popular with governments and IAS officers. One has much to hide, the other a lot to gain.

BSNL told to pay up : After a 12 year fight

Refund fight lasts 12 yrs

Consumer Commission Orders BSNL To Pay Up

Supriya Bhardwaj | TNN

Chandigarh: Ram Singh Paul, 55, had applied for a domestic telephone connection to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in 1996 by depositing Rs 3,000. The telecom firm kept the Model Town Extension resident in the waiting list, which never really ended. Each time he approached the telephone service provider for installation, he was asked to wait.

However, his patience began to wean in 2001, when he asked the company to either install the phone or refund the security amount deposited by him. Alleging that neither did Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited made the refund nor installed the phone, Paul moved a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act.

The UT state consumer commission recently held that the telephone at Paul’s residence was never made operational, indicating deficiency in service on the part of the company.

Setting aside the impugned order passed by district forum, the UT state commission, headed by justice KC Gupta, allowed the appeal and directed the telecom biggie to refund Rs 3,000 as security amount along with 12% interest and Rs 2,100 as litigation costs.

Holding that telephone company failed to prove that telephone connection at Paul’s residence was made operational, the commission, while taking note of three bills placed before it, held, ‘‘It is quite clear that there are no details of the metered calls and further there is no reference of any unpaid bills. The bills produced (before forum) have been fabricated to cover up the lapse on the part of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.’’

A notice was issued to the telephone company, and in its written statement, the firm stated that the complaint was time barred. It added a telephone connection was installed and rather

Paul defaulted in making payment of telephone bills. After hearing the arguments, district consumer forum dismissed the complaint in September 2003.

Hoping against hope, Paul moved an appeal in state commission, which was accepted on November 18.
January 1996
Paul applied for domestic telephone connection with BSNL
November 2001
Sought refund of security amount
September 2003
Consumer forum dismissed Paul’s complaint
November 2008
State commission directed BSNL to refund Rs 3,000 along with interest and litigation costs

Ahmedabad: Accident Prone Roads

Death stalks these roads

Each Day, Amdavadis Take 51 Lakh Road Trips Across City & Most Risk Their Lives As There Are Unsafe Stretches Galore

Paul John & Parth Shastri | TNN


Ahmedabad: These are roads with ‘killer’ distinction and you dare not tread on them without having a life insurance or helmet. Each day Amdavadis take 51 lakh road trips — drive cars, walk, ride bicycle or wait for buses on Ahmedabad roads, and most risk their lives unless they avoid these roads spread over 129 km, which notorious for taking way your loved ones.

A March 2008 survey by CEPT University and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on 34 accident-prone roads warns that most accidents on busy stretches happen during afternoons when traffic cops vaporize from junctions and traffic lights blink amber.

From January 2007 to October this year, there have been 4,759 accidents in which 467 people died, according to traffic police department. A huge number happen to be two-wheeler riders and pedestrians. The reason, of 21 lakh, vehicle population 15.54 lakh are two-wheeler riders.

These accident victims were between 18 and 44 years. They lost their lives for want of certain regulatory enforcements like wearing helmets — which was a Gujarat High Court order — and changes in road design, traffic guiding, street signs and facilities for safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

The study reveals that Anjali to Nehrunagar stretch witnesses maximum number of accidents — 38 per km, this is followed by Ankur crossroads to Naranpura railway crossing with 36 incidents per km with Astodia gate to Ellisbridge, while Prem Darwaza to Gandhi bridge stretch sees 32 incidents per km.

But, the notorious stretches of Narol-Naroda and Kalupur road, which sees 26 incidents per km is a nightmare for pedestrians, push cart and rickshaw pullers recording 3 fatalities per km. Accidents patterns over last six years have revealed that most accidents happen in January and September owing to festivals.

“Heavy vehicles are responsible for 40 per cent road fatalities, while in 55 per cent cases, two-wheeler riders are responsible who form 74 per cent of city’s traffic,” says a senior AMC officer of road department. 108 got over 3,000 calls in 3 months!

A true estimate of rate of accidents in city can be gathered from the number of emergency calls that Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) received in last three months — August to November. The number is a staggering 3,076. Maximum percentage of calls came from areas, including SG Highway, Bopal Ghatlodia, Vastrapur, Sarkhej, Vejalpur.
Areas & % of calls received by 108
NH8 | 38
Narol to Naroda highway, Bapunagar, Khokhra, Memco
SG Highway | 23
Sarkhej to Adalaj, Bopal, Ghatlodia, Vastrapur, Vejalpur
Ashram Road | 21
Sabarmati to Paldi, Navrangpura, CG Road
Station Road | 13
Delhi Darwaza, Kalupur, Khadia, Astodia, Lal Darwaza
132-ft Ring Road | 5
Akhbarnagar to Shivranjani

Jis Desh Me Ganga Behati Hai


WALKING TROUBLE: Tribal women walk 10 to 15 kilometres to sell their products at the weekly market due to lack of transport facilities in the Visakha agency on Saturday