Abused Nowhere’s Children
CHHATTISGARH SHOWS THE WAY
New Delhi, July 14 : It was child abuse at its worse. That too in West Bengal’s abode of learning Shanti Niketan started by renowned Rabindranath Tagore. Wherein, a girl was made to lick the bedsheet as punishment for wetting her bed. Predictably, this led to outburst against the Vishwa Bharati school. The culprit warden excuse was this was the traditional cure for those who soiled their bed. Notwithstanding, the girl has left the School and an explanation sought from the warden, it has opened the Pandora box of child abuse in State after State. In UP’s Kanpur district students of a primary school aged between 5-8 years instead of being taught ABC are made to drain flood waters that accumulate in the classrooms. The reason? No sweepers. In Punjab’s Amritsar district a seven year old girl was stabbed to death by her mother as she had been reportedly raped by her father. In Delhi’s famed ‘Red light district’ young girls are made to ‘solicit’ customers for their “madams”. Already, 135 girls have been rescued this year alone. West Bengal’s Behrampur too has earned the ignominy of a young boy being burnt by his businessmen employer.
However, amidst the gory tales of child cruelty, Chhattisgarh is busy applying balm on young wounded hearts. In Dantewada district, ravaged by repeated Maoists violence, orphaned children have found a new home. In the spanking new Astha hostel started by the State Government over 200 children are being tutored for admission to schools under the Right to Education Act. Already, Astha’s inmates are studying in various schools including Kendriya Vidyalayas. Those, proficient in music are learning music, those interested in Science are being coached to be future scientist and some girls have already appeared for the medical entrance test. Will other States follow suit?
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New CM In Karnataka
The old order gave way to the new in Karnataka with Assembly Speaker-Minister Jagadish Shettar being sworn-in as the State’s Chief Minister. He replaces Sadananda Gowda as demanded by his predecessor controversial Yeddyurappa. But not before Gowda extracted his pound of flesh from a harried BJP leadership. Enjoying the backing of the powerful Vokkaliga community, the former Chief Minister wrested one Dy Chief Ministership and a majority of Ministers in the 33-strong Shettar State Cabinet. Adding to the Party’s woes, its decision to keep Yeddyurappa within its fold might backfire. A showdown between Yeddyurappa and Shettar, the two tallest Lingayat leaders is imminent. Recall, Shettar, originally belonged to the anti-Yeddyurappa faction but both buried the hatchet in ‘mutual interest.’ Notwithstanding that Yeddyurappa has lost his Lingayat bargaining chip, Party men are keeping their fingers crossed as the newly minted Karnataka CM might start solidifying his base, try to emerge as a parallel force in the State BJP and eat into Yeddyurappa’s Lingayat support base. This might force the State to go to polls earlier than scheduled in 2013. It remains to be seen what could be the end result of BJP’s ‘hat-trick’, third change of Chief Ministers within four years of its five-year term!
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Maharashtra Empowers Tribals
Farmers committing suicide is history as Maharashtra opened a new economic score by empowering its tribals in forest areas. Namely, by bringing joint forest management committees under the control of gram sabhas. This, entails transferring all rights of minor forest produce and major timber to the gram sabha-elected joint forest management committees. Indeed, the State kills two birds with one stone: Develop a partnership between the tribals and forest department. Two, ensure forest protection and development. Recall, the State Government first enforced this in Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district where tribals were given control over the sale and use of bamboo resulting in the gram sabha earning Rs 1 crore from bamboo harvesting. Needless to say the convergence of twin objectives, peoples’ participation in the forestry sector and local self-governance will give a much-needed leg-up to tribals.
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Flood Fury In Assam
Assam is no stranger to floods year after year. But this year has been the worst deluge since 2004. Whereby over 40 per cent of the State’s area has been affected, with 4500 villages under water over 24 lakh people have been rendered homeless. The damage is pegged at Rs.11,316 crores and mounting. Of which, farmers alone have lost Rs.900 crores. Worse, not only have 200 people lost their lives but also 100 animals including the famed Rhinos of Kaziranga game sanctuary. Adding to the monsoon blues the raging Brahmaputra has triggered landslide across the States. Not only Assam, but its North-eastern brethren Arunachal also has received 22 per cent access rain. Piling up untold miseries. Raising a moot point: why has the State been unable to deal with this yearly calamity?
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Bonanza for UP
UP’s Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has much to preen about. He has just being promised a Rs.50,000 crore bonanza from the Central Government. All this to fund various projects in coal, energy, rural development, education and health et al promised in his election manifesto. Not only this, the UPA Government bent over backwards in assuring the State Government that all its projects pending at the Centre would be expedited. This is not all. The Centre promised to meet demands for additional fertilizers stocks, promised assistance in combating acute Encephalitis Syndrome and all villages would be given piped water supply in ten years. Call it pipe dreams or what you may, but this is prudent politics with a eye on the general elections in 2014.
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LG-CM Spat In Delhi
A war of words has broken out between Delhi’s two Constitutional heads Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. All over the Special Task Force set up by the LG to check illegal construction and rein in land sharks being rendered powerless by the Delhi Government. Post the civic polls in April last, the Delhi Cabinet stripped the Sub-Divisional magistrate of nine districts of powers to crack down on unauthorized construction on Government and private land. The Government’s alibi was that this was the job of the MCD and not the STF. As it stands with the MCD’s trifurcation it was better deposed to carrying out the LG’s orders. On its part, the LG’s office has bluntly told the Government that it has no powers to undue his orders. With battle lines being drawn it remains to be seen who blinks first?—INFA
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