RTI: CIC Maharashtra gives activists a tough time


The job of a CIC , even a sincere one can be tough.

Some like Mr Wajahat Habibullah deal with matters and people with sagacity.

CICs are invariably babus, who as a matter of right have spent all their service life, procrastinating and denying information to the lowly, voiceless, powerless,  ‘common man’.

To be suddenly pitchforked to a job that requires accepting that the janata also has any rights on information is bad enough. But what is worse is that the lowly janata has the insolence to insist on information being provided in time and in full.

‘Off with their heads’ say some CICs.

Ed

The information received about the arrest and ill treatment of RTI activists, in the office of Dr Joshi, CIC Maharashtra, has been sent to his office for comments, and will be placed on the website soon after.

Unsung Heroines and Heroes


New Picture (46)Not Without My Daughters

VIMALA SESHADRI, WHO MOVED FROM THE US IN 2000, LOOKS AFTER 10 UNDERPRIVILEGED GIRLS

Shalini Umachandran | TNN

The only male in this family of 13 is a gorgeous brown German Shepherd named Lupin. Pharmacologist and medical researcher Vimala Seshadri lives with 10 girls between the ages of four and 20, who come from underprivileged backgrounds, and two dogs.

“We’re an all-women household,” says Vimala, who has been bringing up the girls as her own daughters in a small home in Injambakkam for the past nine years. While the younger girls study at a nearby CBSE school, the older ones have just started working.

Twenty-two year old Sashi, who came to Vimala when she was 14, is doing her BCom through correspondence and works as an au pair for an expat couple. “The older girls also babysit for expat couples on weekends. The money they make is put aside for them,” says Vimala.
In Vimala’s home, the focus is on education and being independent. The girls live with her through the year and go back to their parents during the holidays.

“We go back for a while, but this is home too,” says Divya (18), who’s paraplegic and has just finished class 12 at a special school. She’s planning to start her own baking business.

Born to Indian parents in the US, Vimala had never really visited India, though her family was originally from Chennai. “I could just as easily have gone to Cambodia or Vietnam, I had no particular affinity for India despite being of Indian origin,” she says.

She decided to work with children while she was living in Michigan in 1993. “Soon after I had made that promise to myself, I got a call from the local hospital asking I could help out with a little Indian girl who had come in and couldn’t speak English. That’s what made me think of coming to India.”

She came to India in 1994 and until 1997, worked in an orphanage in Tirukundram. “It made me realise that though the children were well looked after, they needed one-onone attention.”

So in 1998, she set up the Nivedita Centre for Learning in the US as an organisation that not only focussed on education but on making girls financially independent. She and trustee R N Prasad started an India branch in 2000 and Vimala moved to Chennai to put her idea to practice. “We found this property and moved here in 2000.

The lease runs out in 2010 and we’re still looking for a place. It’s hard to find a place that is willing to take in a family as diverse as ours,” she says. Vimala’s been putting her own money into the home with help from a few donors — it costs about Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh a year to keep the centre running.

She juggles work as a senior project information and feasibility associate at Icon Clinical Reasearch in Perungudi and her large family.
Vimala also conducts tuition classes for girls from the nearby fishing village. She pays for a master to tutor the older girls, while Esther teaches the girls from classes one to three. “That’s how I realised I wanted to be a teacher,” says Esther. “I want to become a Montessori teacher and also study abroad” she says.

The others have big dreams too — Maheswari wants to be an astronaut, or the President of India. Vaishali wants to be an accountant. “I wanted to be a pilot, but realised I loved numbers after I started doing Vimala Akka’s accounts,” says the class nine student. “You can be both,” interrupts Vimala. “You can get a licence after you finish your CA,” and then adds, “Vaishali’s been doing my accounts for three years. My auditors have never found a mistake.”

Vimala believes that every city should have at least one home based on her model. “With a little bit of money, you can do a lot,” she says. “You just have to be ready to give each person one-on-one attention.”

Lighting the lives of less privileged

TOI honours the city’s unsung heroes who are doing their bit away from the public glare

Kalyani Sardesai | TNN

Pune:

New Picture (47)

In his modest little ways, 39-year-old businessman Sanjay Deshmukh seeks to brighten the lives of the less privileged. Be it distributing a hundred solar lanterns for free to villagers who don’t have electricity in their homes, or sponsoring the education of needy children in his native village Kasegaon in Sangli district, Deshmukh believes that it is the small things make a big difference.

“There is so much poverty in rural areas that despite the government providing free education to children, they sit at home because their parents can’t afford to buy books or uniforms,” he says, adding, “They are usually the children of poor farmers or landless labourers, and it’s really sad when the parents decide to keep the child home just because they can’t pay for these essentials.”

But even as Deshmukh ensures such children are able to attend school, he is careful to stress that the funding is strictly performance based. “I insist on a copy of their report cards,” he says.

Apart from this, Deshmukh, the owner of a factory that manufactures solar products, distributes about a hundred solar lanterns to needy villagers or school-going children every year, free of cost. “The solar lantern is a far better option than the traditional kerosene lamp. Not only is the light from this lamp much stronger, it is cheaper and pollution-free. It helps the villagers save a lot of money and improves the quality of their life. In fact, so many of them have told me that it feels like Diwali after their days spent in darkness,” he smiles.
“To me, social work is not a solitary effort,” he says.

In order to ensure that help is extended to those who truly need it, Deshmukh sources the relevant database from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social workers. “I also have friends in Zilla Parishad schools who let me know about school-going children who don’t have electricity at home. My company gives out lanterns to them too,” he adds.

Having helped around 30 children with their educational needs over the last four years, Deshmukh is now in the process of opening a school near Kolhapur. “The trust has been registered and we are now seeking approval. Initially, it is going to be for children between standard V and VII,” he says.

56 jail inmates clear Class X examination

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Chennai:

Fifty-six of the 98 inmates of various prisons in the state who appeared in this year’s Class X examination have passed, while 16 failed and the results of 26 were withheld for various reasons. Dinakaran (29) of Nagercoil, sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case, was the prison topper with 330 marks out of 500 while the youngest was a 19-year-old inmate of a Pudukottai juvenile home.

“At least 6,000 inmates have attained primary education after the launch of the 100 percentage literacy programme a few months ago. Udhaya Karan of Orissa, arrested and remanded by RPF personnel on theft charges, is now able to write in Tamil.

In the 2008-09 academic year, the prison department spent Rs 7 lakh for prisoners’ education. Tamil Nadu Liberation Army leader Maran alias Senguttuvan, an accused in the Rajkumar kidnap case, has completed his PhD,” director-general of police (prisons) R Nataraj said.

“We have invited many NGOs to conduct courses periodically for prisoners.

Emphasis will be on vocational and professional courses like computer applications, animation, carpentry, electrical and masonry work,” he added.

WATER, WATER… WHERE?


WATER, WATER… WHERE?

New Picture (45)

PIL POWER FOR PEOPLE’S PIPELINE

High Court direction to BMC.

Do you know?

(i) Mumbai’s 160 km long, over 100 years old water pipelines were laid by Britishers when the population was less than 1 million which is 15 million today.

(ii) 90 km. of which running overground, are guarded by only 10 guards, with one vehicle and no proper communication system?

(iii) 33000 slums are set up on or around pipelines which are exposed to terror attacks.

(iv) Slum dwellers puncture the pipes for water.

(v) Pipes at many place pass through gutters, contaminating water through rusted and leaked pipes.

(vi) daily leakage is equivalent to daily water supply to whole of Pune City i.e. 700 million litres.

PIL No.140 of 2006 filed by Janhit Manch came for hearing to-day before Hon’ble Justice Nazki and Hon’ble Justice Ms.Tahilramani where I appeared in person.

Today the Hon’ble Court was pleased to direct the Mumbai Municipal Corporation that an affidavit be filed by the Commissioner before the next date of hearing on 10th June 2009 containing the complete plan for revamping the whole network of pipeline, the estimated cost, the resource mobilisation and replacing the time for commencing and completion of the project.

If BMC asks for 3 years (say) time, fine. Mumbaikars are assured thereafter for uninterrupted and clean water supply.

Bhagvanji Raiyani

President

Janhit Manch.

09820403912

Impending water scarcity looms over Pune villages

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

New Picture (42)Pune:

The blistering heat has sure had its effect on the district’s thirst. The water scarcity in Pune’s rural areas is quite acute this summer. While these villages consumed 50 water tankers in June last year, they are expected to cross this figure in the second week of May itself.

“It is just the first week of May and over 39,000 residents of 24 villages and 135 vaadis have started calling for water tankers. By the end of next week, the number of tankers supplying water to these villages will cross 50,” said officials in the district administration.

Saying that they have registered more demand for water tankers from rural areas this year, Prakash Kadam, resident district collector, said, “The situation is quite serious. The water level has dipped in dams and the demand will continue to rise till the monsoon arrives. The number of villages facing scarcity also will go up this summer.”

“The live water storage at Nazare dam in Purandar tehsil has gone below 0%. The villages nearby are being supplied water from the dam’s dead stock,” he said.

Kadam said that recently, a meeting to review the scarcity in Pune District was called by the district collector. “All departments under the district administration have been asked to tackle the scarcity situation on priority basis. Out of 13 tehsils, nine depend on tankers for water.” he added.

Surprisingly, even though the water resources have dried up, there has been no demand for starting works under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) in any of the tehsils. “Over 300 works pertaining to digging and repairing of wells and water supply schemes will taken up in the district soon,” Kadam said.

Elaborating on the water supply for Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, Kadam said, “The dams supplying water to these cities will last till July. Our top priority is to fulfil the needs of drinking water.”

Where is the WATER?

With polls nearing, one sees million promises of better prospects here, there, everywhere. Can these airy promises make any difference to a city drying out of a basic necessity?

Jayashree Nandi and Aarthi R | TNN
New Picture (44)

Bangalore: The city is reeling under severe water crisis. But why is it that the country’s Silicon Valley, which has always been the fountainhead of innovation in all sectors, denied the most essential element needed for its survival — water. What are the causes and what can be done to bring some relief to the people, we look at the related issues.
LIMITED SUPPLY
The city gets water from Cauvery basin through Thippagondanahalli Reservoir as well as different stages of Cauvery schemes undertaken by BWSSB. The total quantity that can be drawn in a Hydraulic year — not only for Bangalore but also for other towns and cities and industries located within Cauvery basin — is limited to 8.75 thousand million cubic metres (TMC).
This is the amount out of the 17.22 TMC for urban population as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award. “As this quantity’s been already drawn recently, we have no choice, and we can’t draw more water from rivers in Cauvery basin. This could bring to an end all future industrial and urban developmental works in Cauvery basin,” predicts Capt S Raja Rao, former secretary, minor irrigation and development department.

INCREASING DEMAND
Limited supply is another problem for expanding Bangalore. BMP enlarged to BBMP, bringing 7 CMCs, 1 TMC and 110 villages into its fold — all thirsting for Cauvery water. Also, the new international airport, Metro Project and the proposed mono-Rail Project will need substantial water from BWSSB.
If this was not enough, BDA, BMRDA and the Karnataka Housing Board are planning large residential projects. Many private builders have developed large areas for habitation.

The number of Ring Roads, peripheral roads and interconnecting Ring Roads have also increased the horizontal extent of city development. All with one need — water.
RISE OF BOREWELLS

Indiscriminate construction without assured water supply has led to random digging of borewells. The state has permitted water to ‘water intensive’ industries that require over 2 lakh litres per day, but many don’t have access to assured water supply till 2012. The industries are spread around the city.

This has made the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) take a stand that no clearances will be given to industrial or housing complexes, malls and hotels unless there is assured water supply.

“There is a particular case where a builder has paid huge amounts to BWSSB, but supply is still pending. I haven’t cleared it. The apartment is ready and tenants want to move in. The builder is frantically running around to settle things. But how can I give the clearance?” asks KSPCB chief H S Sharathchandra.

At Highgrounds — where most ministers reside and Cauvery connection is available — poor supply means borewells dot the neighbourhood. Though BWSSB has assured water supply to Bangalore International Airport, other activities around the airport that require water rely on borewells.

This is a cause for concern as the area was declared parched in the early 1960, and can’t sustain the load for long.
Borewells are not just servicing household requirements; many are making a business out of it by supplying water in tankers to those in need.

BUYING FROM BWSSB
In Whitefield and Electronics City, industry associations are buying water in bulk from BWSSB and selling them to members. According to KPSCB, this is not a viable proposition as saturation point will soon be reached and there won’t be any water.

RECYCLING WATER
Many apartments and some hotels like Taj Westend, Grand Ahok and Windsor Manor are relying on treatment plants and recycled water. Also, the borewells recently dried up completely at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. There was no water to maintain the park, so now treated water is being supplied from Windsor Manor for its maintenance.

Even officialdom is batting for recycling. “We hope to get in more water through other measures like rainwater harvesting, which I’m hoping will make a mark. Rejuvenation of lakes and tanks alongside recycling might augment supply for non-potable use. We also hope to get in some measures to restrict wastage,” says BWSSB chairman P B Ramamurthy.

FROM WHERE WILL BANGALORE GET WATER CONSIDERING…

Bangalore Rural and Urban Districts are already classified as ‘over exploited’ with respect to ground water sources CWDT has put a cap on use of surface water in Cauvery basin The ‘New Ground Water Bill’ will not permit drawing any further ground water
RESIDENTS’ WOES
We’re waiting for Cauvery water for the past four years. We’ve paid the amount for the connection, and have a bill that acknowledges the same. But they didn’t give us a timeframe for the supply. We’re now dependent on borewells, which worries us. But it’s strange that an IT park adjacent to our layout, which came up long after ours did, gets regular Cauvery water. Worse, they use the water to maintain their gardens while we don’t have it even to drink! — Mukesh Agarwal |

VASWANI GOLF VISTA APARTMENT OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION, CHALLAGHATTA

We were to get water every alternate day but it’s just namesake. Over 4,900 residents are suffering here due to erratic water supply for the past one week. Many are from middle and lower-middle class, and they have to hire tankers that cost Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 every month. Filling a 2,000-litre sump each time costs Rs 200. And we’re not very sure of the quality of water supplied.

Also, new pipelines were laid here three months ago but nothing has happened since. Even the debris is uncleared

M Chandra Reddy | INDIRANAGAR RESIDENTS’ WELFARE ASSOCIATION, 2ND STAGE, HAL

It’s been more than two months now. There is irregular water supply in Sanjaynagar. We get water every alternate day, but what we get is hardly 40% of the regular supply. And there are some who don’t get water at all. In addition to paying the water bill, we also pay for the tankers — Rs 300 once a week. It’s so difficult to see regular ‘satisfying’ supply — V Satyamurthy |

SANJAYNAGAR RESIDENTS’

WELFARE ASSOCIATION DRYING UP FAST
Some hotels rely on treatment plants and recycled water. The borewells recently dried up completely at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium The quantity laid down by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal has already been drawn. So more water can’t be drawn from rivers in Cauvery basin, ending all future industrial and urban developmental works in the basin

Construction without assured water supply led to digging of borewells, which are fast depleting . Karnataka State Pollution Control Board will not give clearances to industrial or housing complexes, malls and hotels unless there is assured water supply

Inspiration: Ordinary folks are also special


Inspiration.

A Housewife, A student, an old man, Auto rickshaw men.

All stories are real. How ordinary people do wonderful things.

Mother’s plight inspires daughter

Overcoming Odds, Domestic Help’s Child Scores 96.96% In SSLC Examination

New Picture (39)Shruthi Balakrishna | TNN

Bangalore: Sixteen-year-old Jhansi N bravely fought some battles to secure 96.96% in the SSLC exam this year. This soft-spoken teenager scored a stunning 606 out of 625. What makes the story even more remarkable is that this student of Martin Luther English School faced financial difficulties while preparing for the exam.

Her father Vasu works as a labourer and her mother Dhanalakshmi is a domestic help. Moved by her mother’s plight, this young girl decided to become an acheiver. “When my mother would come home, she’d look so tired. It would hurt me to see her work so hard. If I get a good job, she needn’t struggle like this in future,” she said. Her ambition is to become a cardiologist.

“I was little disturbed with the financial situation at home, but got over it and focused on studies,” she said.

She studied continuously for 8-10 hours a day during holidays. “Sometimes, I took breaks in between. I’d go for a walk but then too, I’d try to recall what I’d studied,” she said. As her parents were working, the quiet atmosphere at home helped her concentrate. Scoring centum in Maths was not easy.

“I found it difficult. I solved a lot of model question papers. I got one mark less for 97%,” she said.

Interestingly, she didn’t go for tuitions but studied on her own. “I won’t go for tuitions even for II PU. I’ll start preparing for the CET from I PU itself,” Jhansi said.

Though she doesn’t come from a strong academic background, she managed to excel in the exam. “I studied in a government school in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. When I came to Bangalore I studied in a government school for Class 8 and 9 where there were no teachers.”
She loves reading including novels.

“Charles Dickens is my favourite author,” she said. Jhansi would also participate in co-curricular activities like debates and essay competition. She’s inspired by former President Abdul Kalam and read his book ‘Wings of Fire’.

“My mother is also my inspiration,” she said, with tears of joy in her eyes.
If you want to help her,
contact: 41643680/ 26569193


Almost 100,

he has the perfect recipe for a long, healthy life

New Picture (40)Vijay Singh I TNN

Mumbai: Watching an active Kashinath Ponde prepare his own tea and sing classical Bhavgeet on a harmonium, one can never guess that this former postmaster is 99 years old.

Ponde is perhaps the fittest nonagenarian in the country with a razor-sharp memory. He lives alone at his home in Solapur, and regularly travels to Mumbai and Pune to meet his sons and their families.

On Sunday, Ponde is throwing a bash in Pune to celebrate his 100th birthday. “There will be 200 guests. But there will be no birthday cake or candles, just good wishes and prayers of my loved ones,’’ he smiles. Ponde, who had voted during the first Lok Sabha elections in 1952, still has a clear vision, and can even read fine print without using any lenses.

“I remember I was posted in Akluj, district Solapur, in 1952 when the first elections took place. But I don’t remember who I voted for then,’’ he says. Over the last 57 years, Ponde has derived very specific conclusions on Indian politics and politicians.

“Over 90% of politicians today are in it for power, money and prestige; only 5% may be there for desh seva but they’re perhaps not elected,’’ he says.

Remembering the Indian leaders of his time, Ponde says he has seen stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru at Ahmednagar, Pune and other parts of the state before Independence.

“I also remember being very impressed by the oratory of Barrister Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) at public meetings in Pune; he had a terrific voice like that of a tiger,’’ he adds.

Born on May 10, 1910, Ponde completed his matriculation from Society High School in Ahmednagar in 1932. He even worked on farms and looms while schooling and joined the postal department in 1933. For the next 35 years, he was posted in several post offices in various towns and districts in the state. Surprisingly, the grand old man has maintained his weight through a simple yet disciplined vegetarian diet.
He walks ramrod straight, and even washes his own clothes. The only sign of ageing, perhaps, is that he is a little hard of hearing.

So what is the secret of his long life? “I used to walk four hours daily till five years ago. Then I cut down on my walking as my doctor-son advised me not to engage in such vigorous activity. I eat vegetarian meals, and my love for music keeps me happy and healthy,’’ he says.
Ponde’s diet normally consists of a chapati, rice, milk with crushed almonds in it, garlic and a vegetable or two.

“I never have aerated drinks, and never ever touch tobacco,’’ he asserts. His granddaughter Poonam Ponde, a Pune-based lecturer, says: “He keeps himself updated by reading newspapers, and has not forgotten his hard and frugal childhood. Grandpa still scolds us if we shop new clothes, as he remembers how hard it was to make cloth on a loom as a child nearly a century ago.’’

PONDE’S POINTERS

Never touch tobacco

• Be a vegetarian and have meals on time

• Walk, whenever you can

• Work honestly

• Make music a part of your life

Green gardener

In this weekly series, TOI honours the city’s unsung heroes who are doing their bit away from the public glare

New Picture (41)Anoop Jaipurkar | TNN

Waste management in the city, like anywhere else in the world, is a critical issue and needs immediate attention of not just the authorities but every responsible citizen. “Brazen neglect has resulted in dumping of tonnes of unsegregated waste at Urali and subsequent rise in pollution followed by falling health standards in the affected villages,” says Lalita Bhave, a banker, who has been creating awareness about waste segregation and decomposition of biodegradable discard for the last 14 years.

Bhave was always fascinated by greenery. So, she could never assimilate the fact that people need to be told about environment and its conservation. “I grew up in a surrounding where the need for nature and its preservation were imbibed in our psyche. And since my daughters have grown up the same way, I know, they will never feel the need for tutoring. It’s a civic sense,” she says.

Bhave’s affair with nature continued after marriage as she did a gardening course and started a plants library. Her interest in landscaping took her to a relative’s place where she saw a roof-top garden made by converting household waste into useful manure. “I decided that my terrace would also look the same. It was exactly a year’s effort. Hundreds of people have visited my garden since then.”

But she’s not the one to bask in self-glory. “The inspiration behind my effort was the desire to minimise the plight of rag-pickers, especially women, who spend most part of the day scurrying through garbage heaps in search of scrap that earns them as little as Rs 50 a day,” says Bhave.
For the last 20 years, the Bhave family has not let any trash go out of the house. Ask her an estimate of waste she has utilised at her roof-top terrace so far and she calculates it to over 10,000 kg. The city generates an estimated 1,000 tonnes of garbage a day. Imagine how much waste an estimated 6 lakh households of the city can decompose if they follow this simple methodology.
“Of course, those living in apartments do not have the luxury of maintaining a terrace garden. But the same decomposable waste can be put in flower pots in smaller quantities and leave left-over food for birds. The least one can do is just to segregate the waste. This will do a world of good not just for the municipal corporation but to the thousands of villagers in Urali-Phursungi who have been plagued by this unethical and inhuman dumping since last two decades,” she says. Bhave, who obtained a diploma in conservation of natural resources, has delivered over 150 lectures.

Recently, she suggested the PMC to formulate a plan so that the biodegradable waste can be dumped on barren land around the city to make it cultivable again.

Indeed, the ideas sound very simple and reasonable. However, the major stumbling block has been the lack of awareness, and compulsions on part of the civic body. “Segregating waste and recycling it to the extent possible should become a way of life so that we do not have to teach them to the coming generations,” she concludes.

Creating an oasis IN THE CITY

This group of autorickshaw drivers works to keep their surroundings green

New Picture (43)Lakshmi Kumaraswami | TNN

When you think of autorickshaw drivers, what automatically comes to mind is reckless driving and the endless arguments you have over fares and definitely not green crusaders. But this bunch of auto drivers have been working to green the city for the last one-and-a-half years.
It is common to find them hard at work on the patch of green on the dull grey pavement outside the Kilpauk Medical Hospital. This group of 25 began planting saplings on the pavement as the area which served as their auto stand became very unhygienic.

“Some of us have been here for at least 20 years and it was disheartening to see how dirty the place was, especially outside a hospital,” says K Mathivanan, secretary of the auto stand who took the first step in adding greenery to the pavement. S Jagan adds that it was very unpleasant as they were forced them to remain in such surroundings all day.

A year and half ago, they decided to do something about it. The pavement, which at that time didn’t have concrete but mud, was swept. “We drew out a patch of the pavement and replaced the mud with soil. We then brought in some saplings,” says M Hamsa. Initially, they were planting crotons and spinach but eventually moved on to jasmine, guava and karpuravalli (belonging to the mint family).

“We also nurtured a banana plant and some creepers that grow along the hospital’s wall,” Mathivanan says, pointing to the green vines scaling the compound.

They source their plants on their daily journeys as and when they see them. “We buy around two plants a month and try to have a variety,” says Ravi Kumar. The group has planted over 50 plants and take it in turns to water the patch. “Maintaining it can be quite difficult as people pluck leaves and even spit in the area.

It is very frustrating because after all the effort we have taken we want the place to look nice,” says T Sekar. They hope to erect a plastic fence shortly but are yet to raise funds. “As autorickshaw drivers we don’t earn much, so we try to put in whatever we can, be it Rs 10 or more,” says Mathivanan.

Since they started planting saplings, things at the auto stand have never looked better. In fact, an actual pavement has also been built around the green patch. “It feels good when the doctors compliment our work,” says Hamsa. W Santosh adds that these comments encourage them to nurture their patch of green.

“We plan to do this as long as we are here and will try to work on other dry patches in the area as well. After all, Kilpauk has given us so much. We would like to do our bit for the society by keeping the area clean and green,” says Mathivanan.
lakshmi.kumaraswami@timesgroup.com

Andher Nagari:Judiciary:HC nails five cops for rape frame-up


This is just one of the many cases where there has been miscarriage of justice.

Today the entire policing, prosecuting, and judicial system is so convoluted that criminals are seldom touched and innocents are punished regularly with impunity.

HC nails five cops for rape frame-up

Policemen Face Up To 7 Yrs In Jail For False Charges

What about the prosecutor who prosecuted innocent persons,and the judge who sent innocent persons to Jail?

Ed

Abhinav Garg | TNN

New Delhi: Five policemen who framed four men in a gangrape case at the instance of a prostitute, resulting in the accused’ conviction a decade ago, have now been nailed by the Delhi High Court which on Friday slapped criminal charges against them.

Justice S Muralidhar, while acquitting the four convicts, Pankaj Chaudhary, Gunjesh Chaudhary (brothers), Jai Lal and Mohammed Kasim found that the cops who were posted in Hauz Khas station in 1997, had framed these men.

HC has now asked the registrar general to ask the trial court to begin criminal proceedings against the five cops
— SI Jai Bhagwan, ASI Prem Chand, inspector H M Bakshi, the then SHO and two head constables Ratan Lal and Sagar Chand.

All five face the possibility of minimum seven year jail term under various sections of IPC for fabricating evidence and giving false evidence in court and have been slapped with a fine of Rs 25,000 each, payable to the innocent men. Interestingly, an internal inquiry by Delhi Police had established as early as 2001 that the four were framed by the five policemen.

The woman who alleged she was a gangrape victim, on whose testimony the men were convicted in 2000, will also face action for lying, HC ruled.‘‘This case is an instance of how a false criminal case, instituted in connivance with obliging police officials can virtually ruin the lives of innocent persons..it also demonstrates the value of the right to appeal and need for self corrective measures within the police and judiciary,’’ Justice Muralidhar noted in his verdict, lamenting that the four men had to carry the stigma of being rapists for all 12 years which is ‘‘unlikely to be erased for sometime notwithstanding their acquittal by this judgement.’’

Granting them relief with costs, HC also gave three months time to the state government to compensate the men, also leaving it open to them to knock the doors of human rights commission for relief. The case stemmed from an FIR lodged by Hauz Khas police station in 1997 where a woman alleged she had been gangraped by four men in Katwaria Sarai area of the capital.

The cops fabricated evidence to suit the allegations, leading to the four men being convicted for the crime by a trial court in 2000. The real reason, as was discovered later, was that the men had protested against her presence in their area, asking her to leave. She retaliated by alleging rape.

However, in an interesting twist, a second FIR lodged on the same night, surfaced from the same police station, recording that the woman had been arrested for prostitution and was cooling her heels in the lockup at the time she alleged she was gangraped. This led to the men moving HC, urging it to declare them innocent as they had clearly been framed, as also concluded by the police inquiry. B

But the entire process of inquiry, retrial on the basis of additional evidence and HC dealing with their appeals took up the next nine years, with the result that justice has come to these men only in 2009.
abhinav.garg@timesgroup.com

Unbelievable: An RTO Office sans Harassment, Touts & Bribes


Unbelievable: An RTO Office sans Harassment, Touts & Bribes

We are so used to being harassed and squeezed by babus in government offices. This was a wonderful experience of an enthusiastic and helpful officer, good staff and efficient working.

I wish we had more Anil Kumars and that all RTO offices were like the one in Vasant Vihar in New Delhi.

It was with trepidation that I approached the RTO office for renewal of my time expired license. I had avoided going for renewal to the RTO office, apprehending torture and run around.

It was then that I heard that a new RTO office had been set up at Vasant Vihar, andI had tried to access information about the location and timing from the internet. True to traditions, the Delhi Government website had no information of the office. According to the website there was no RTO office in the vicinity of Vasant Vihar. However I made up my mind to face the battle and went forth.

Since I had gone without pre arranging for ‘help’ from a tout or a ‘driving school’ or ‘sifarish’, I was mentally prepared for being given a run around by the clerks in the office. I had even taken along a friend for moral and physical support.

I found the enquiry counter near the gate manned by 3 clerks. To my surprise I got the necessary forms from the enquiry counter without any problem. I was also told to attach supporting documents in respect of age, address proof etc. The clerk noted the details and directed me to a counter inside the main office.

I went inside the main office and found it to be well lit, bright and cheerful. There I was told that being a time expired license that too from a state outside, renewed many times over from Tamil Nadu and UP it would be a difficult and time consuming affair to get the old license renewed.

I walked in to the office of the officer in charge (I read the nameplate out side, it said Anil Kumar) and was pleasantly surprised at the courteous manner in which my friend and I were dealt with.  ‘It would be better and easier to get a fresh license issued after due tests than a renewal’ he said and further advised me of the forms to be filled for obtaining a learner’s license.

I proceeded as advised, paid the necessary fees, was administered a test on driving rules and given a learner’s driving license all in a matter of 30 minutes. I was advised to come after a month for a formal test for the drivers’ license.

I did tell Mr. Anil Kumar what a surprise it was not to find any tout in or near the RTO office premises, and the speed with which the forms were accepted, dues collected, test given and learner’s license handed over.

I went a month later and I was given a receipt for the amount paid at the counter and after a driving test was told the new driving license would be sent by courier within 10 days. That day I had spent just over an hour for the entire process.

The new driving license was delivered home on the third day!

Mr. Anil Kumar also told me later that he can make resources available for imparting training, spread of road sense etc.

We are so used to being harassed and squeezed by babus in government offices. This was a wonderful experience of an enthusiastic and helpful officer, good staff and efficient working.

I wish we had more Anil Kumars and that all RTO offices were like the one in Vasant Vihar in New Delhi.

PS

The RTO Vasnt Vihar office is located adjacent to Munirka, Rama Market, between DCP office and DTC depot