Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hear Them Out, Anna

Individuals, citizens and activists are awaiting Hazare’s visit to show him the ground reality of developed Gujarat
Swami Agnivesh has urged Anna to visit Gujarat to know the ground reality
A day after Swami Agnivesh urged anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare to visit Gujarat and see the truth about development undertaken by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, individuals, citizens and activists are eagerly awaiting his visit.

There are quite a few points they want to share with the Gandhian to enlighten him about the ground reality. Gaurang Raval of NGO Drishti Media, Arts and Human Rights says, “We met Swami Agnivesh when he was in Ahmedabad on Sunday. He asked me to collect media reports published on Gujarat’s rural development in the last four months and show it to Anna when he comes here. The reports would include those on land scams, SEZ scams and the Mahuva land issue, too.”

He added, “Along with rural development, the government also needed to address social development. In the country, we rank third in crime against women and children. Even the crime rate has shot up.”

Bharatsinh Jhala of Citizens’ Resource and Action Initiative (CRANTI) says, “After visiting almost 18,000 villages, we found that in many of these areas, children did not even know what a GSRTC bus looked like. Several children were involved in accidents while travelling to by chhakdas. This is the Gujarat we want to show Anna.”

He adds, “In Bawda, dungar farmers had requested they be given water from Fatehwadi, due to water shortage on their farms. Their request was denied and their crops died. First, there is a need to stop state-sponsored corruption.”

Former president of Society for Promotion of Rationality (SPRAT) M H Jowher says, “Anna’s attention must be drawn to injustice done to minorities. After 2002, the rights of minorities have been grossly violated. Also, there is need for equality in development.”

Fr Cedric Prakash of NGO Prashant says, “In Gujarat, we have perfected the art of corruption. Is it of no concern what happened at Narmada dam? Will Anna listen to civil societies like us before fixing the Lokpal bill?”

Seeking to draw Anna’s attention to issues closer home, 19-year-old Khayal Dave, an engineering student residing in Ghatlodia, said: “I would like Anna to talk about something affecting the city. People here need to be more civilised. There is no sense of hygiene or cleanliness, something that Gandhiji equated to godliness. If Anna points this out to Gujaratis, they will do as he says.”

Vishal Bhatt, a 26-year-old computer programmer who lives near Shyamal Crossroads, said: “We are an agricultural state. But such fertile land is being sold off for a pittance to big industries. Why not make use of barren land for such purpose Meanwhile, the price of milk and vegetables is rising day by day. When we have no farm or grazing land left, will we go begging for milk, grains and vegetables to other states? Gandhiji spoke of being self-sufficient. Anna needs to drum this into our heads so that we realise the impact of the government’s decision on our future.”

By Dhwani Pathak Dave
Posted On Tuesday, April 19, 2011


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