Time table for Legislative Assembly elections for Gujarat has already been declared. In order to chalk out a programme so as to ensure that Gujarat makes rapid progress and at the same time, spirit of social justice is preserved, a meeting of activists, thinkers and intellectuals of the Voluntary Organizations and NGOs together with all concerned citizens, was held on Monday the 22nd October at Ahmedabad. More than 50 representatives from all over Gujarat had attended this meeting.
During past ten years the State Govt. has put on a coat of ‘Development’. The person projected as the real hero of the State has been acting as a villain for last ten years. We, the people, have to throw open just and fair field for alternative politics in order to secure the ground for a just and thriving democracy.
Let us make our Voting truly result oriented.
It is a moot question whether Congress will be able to provide all round sound and stable rule. They have to find solutions to a series of difficult questions. But this time, if we skip the choice, then due to our ignorance of the realistic position, resulting into division of votes, only the BJP will become strong or powerful. It is quite certain that in order to keep democracy alive we need to provide true direction and guidance to the public by remaining constantly and consistently conscious.
Obviously, we have sympathy towards the groups struggling for water, lands and forests. It is quite certain that if we wish to make Gujarat free from Modism, free from communalism, free from politics of hatred and enmity then it is essential to have a close co-ordination among all the remaining parties so as to defeat and dislodge BJP.
Elusive Propaganda of ‘Development’
Modi’s tall talks on ‘development’ deserves scrutiny. The ruling party is burdening the State Exchequer with liability of crores of rupees every day. Even through the R.T.I. route, it is difficult to arrive at the total of wasteful expenditure. The State’s debt as on 31st August 2011 was Rs. 1,13,939 crores (Rupees One Lac Thirteen Thousand and Nine Hundred Ninety Nine Crores). As per the Report of the Directorate of Economics and Statistics for the year 2011, per capita income of Gujarat is Rs. 63,961, which ranks at No. 9 among the 32 States of the country. As per the news published in the Times of India, there is not much difference as far as the rate of poverty alleviation is concerned. The average poverty alleviation rate for the country as a whole is 1.5 % per year where as it is 1.7 % in case of Gujarat. The percentage of poor people in the State is 23 which, speaks volumes about Gujarat Development model. Let us take a hurried look at some snap-shots of ‘Gujarat Development’.
- Only 43 % of households get water at their door steps in rural areas,
- 16.7 % villagers get clean water. Remaining 83 percent are left out.
- 20 % of the population have to walk long distances to fetch water,
- In the villages, 67 % families do not have toilet facilities,
- In 44 % of the villages, there is increased incidence of jaundice disease,
- 30 % of villagers are faced with malarial fever in epidemic proportion,
- 25% villages are affected by kidney stones
- 44.6% of the children below the age of 5 years are suffering from anemia,
- Gujarat ranks at No. 14 as regards infant mortality rate is concerned and ranks at No. 13 as far as
children up to the age of 5 years are concerned.
In short after tall talks of ‘development’, Gujarat has been able to achieve 48 % target as far as Human Development Indices are concerned. Many other States are far ahead of Gujarat in HDI measures.
CAG Report on Gujarat for the year 2011.
In this report, there are many startling details about corruption, mal-administration, clumsy and faulty administration, improper and imprudent misuse of Government funds etc. This report was tabled in the Assembly only at the last moment and that too after intervention of H.E. the Governor. No scope was left at all for debating the report in the State assembly. However this report of the CAG gives true and factual position :
- Funds allocated for education could not be utilized.
- Funds earmarked for education of the Dalits were not fully spent continuously for over three years.
- Government purchased gas at higher prices and then sold to Adani and Essar at cheaper prices.
- Gujarat State Petroleum Company Ltd. (GSPCL) in collaboration with Canada’s Global Resources
Company ventured into business of drilling petroleum from Krishna - Godavari basin. In this partnership, Canadian Company had no share in the losses of GSPCL. Drilling in K-G Basin was a failure. Yet, the C.M. created a Media hype by riding a helicopter to the drilling rig. Though the entire effort incurred huge loss, the Canadian Company was given a ‘share in profit’, which never existed. Thus, poor tax-payer of the State was looted and a foreign company was handed over a huge bounty. It is believed that in this entire process, scam of over Rs. 5,000 crore had taken place.
- The Government, which boasts of being No. 1, has shown total lack of finance management. It has
invested its own resources which fetch only 0.25 per cent interest per annum while it borrows at an
annual rate of 7.69 per cent.
- As reported by the C.A.G. irregularities of Rs. 1100 crores are believed to have taken place in Sujalam
- State’s revenue loss during the year 2008-09 was of Rs. 66 crores but the same increased to Rs. 6,966
crores during the year 2009-10. State’s revenue deficit in the year 2008-09 was Rs. 10,438 crores
which rose to Rs. 15,074 crores in the year 2010-11. Do not these increases in losses point to
incompetence on the part of the administration which boasts of being No. 1 in governance ?
- In the State’s public sector, loss of Rs. 4,216.53 crores was suffered and futile investment of Rs. 300.98
crores was made.
- In the CAG’s internal report, 25 pages have been devoted towards pollution in the State. Disastrous
picture of pollution has been depicted making use of color slides and graphs. As many as 13 Effluent
Treatment Plants (Central Effluent Treatment Plants) are not functioning as per the norms of the
Pollution Control Board because of which natural sources of water have become polluted or
contaminated. (The study reveals that this situation is prevailing for the last 10 years.) By the end of the
year 2000, there were 3,000 large scale industrial units. At the end of the year 2010, the number has
increased to 9,000. Substantial amounts of the Govt. money is spent for setting up the CETP and in spite
of not getting desired outcome, no care or caution is exercised in adding new and more industries. This
type of industrialization will cause huge damage to the environment about which the Government turns
a Nelson’s eye.
The CAG report can bring out many skeletons from the cupboard. These can unveil the truth. In order to turn public scrutiny away from mismanagement and undesirable investment practices home the Government tries to attack the Central Government.
This Government is squarely and fully responsible for severing or splitting up the relationship of irrigation from this project. For this Government, the Narmada Dam is a tourist spot. By allowing the lands to remain barren before the farmer is able to irrigate by laying the canal and make himself economically sound, this Government has dealt a death blow to the farmer. In the end, out of frustration and desperation, farmers are left to the mercy of the industrialists by disposing off their lands to the industrialists. Presently, large quantity of water is supplied to the industries. Drinking water is being supplied irregularly and in inadequate quantity and with deficiency or drawback in its quality or purity. It is indeed difficult to predict, as to when the network of canal and branch canal in the State will finally be operational.
Tendency of dismantling democratic structure in the State.
The Government cares two hoots for democracy. This can be easily inferred from the following:
State Assembly is convened for the minimum required number of days only.
Ruling party MLAs are made to praise the C. M.
Opposition is reportedly thrown out of the Assembly even on small pretext.
Sincere IPS and other bureaucrats are harassed.
Federal structure of the constitution is continuously eroded by various acts and speeches.
Centre - State relationship - matter of grave concern.
There should be cordial and harmonious relationship between the Centre and the State. The Gujarat C.M. is constantly disparaging the Centre merely to gain political mileage. He instigates people of the entire State against the Centre. In his Gobbelian style, he embarks upon utter unbecoming loose talks and provides cheap entertainment to the public. This is the mark of a weak and delinquent politician. It is not at all proper to raise hue and cry that the entire Gujarat has been insulted. Such a drama enacted by the C. M. is reportedly challenged or countered. But the damage is done. This is a danger signal for future of India. Relationship between the Centre and the State holds a key for the unity and integrity of the nation.
It is necessary to convince and persuade the people about the true and factual information especially regarding the impact or wrong impression created by the elusive and misleading propaganda in the State. Issues such as “What development”, “whose development” and “development at whose cost” etc. need to be elucidated, explained and elaborated. The decline of Human Development Index in the midst of din and clamour of “No. 1 and First Ranker or Topper” bespeaks volumes for itself. In the face of issues such as water, lands and forests, incidents of farmers’ suicides, desperate conditions of fishermen, problems due to lack of cultivable lands to be made available to Adivasis for farming to which they are entitled, atrocities on Dalits, pitiable condition of salt workers, vulnerable condition of minorities, health and education related problems facing the women and the children, deteriorating condition of education, violation of Human Rights prevailing in Gujarat, we should voice dissent and also oppose anti-people policies and tendencies. Care and caution will have to be exercised so as to avoid wrong and needless division of votes by the opposition parties and the various institutions in the forthcoming elections, even by making efforts in persuading and counselling the parties and the candidates if felt so necessary. We will have to do the task of dispelling certain kind of indifference and apathy, which has been gripping / prevailing among people due to ill-conceived and elusive propaganda tactics. Adequate efforts shall be made to shake off feelings of indifference and distress among the public to see to it that pro-people Government is formed.
Lives of the people surviving on water, lands and forests are becoming difficult. Whether the farmer subsisting on agriculture, shepherds subsisting on Gauchar, landless animal keepers, coastal area’s fishermen surviving on fishery and Adivasis subsisting on forest produce are all reduced to poverty with open robbery of their sources of income and livelihood. Government aims at annihilating them all by pushing them into margin.
It is our humble request to every common man of the State that they can blow the winds of change and can make future of the State bright. Government authority is bent upon razing to ground the roots of your culture and civilization. You should all demonstrably show the strength of your solidarity. Given this situation, Government formed out of any of the party will listen to your woes of the State’s working and toiling community, people of different religions and different castes / classes may stay together in peace and harmony, all may become happier and prosperous with reciprocal exchange of each other’s culture and civilization.
Please beware and let us work together in unison to create or carve out Modism free Gujarat, enmity and hatred free Gujarat. In nutshell this will be a public movement for embellishing the fundamental values of peace, harmony and justice in Gandhi’s Gujarat, which, necessarily has to be Modism free Gujarat.
Chunibhai Vaidya (Gujarat Lok Samiti) Girish Patel
(Senior Advocate) Gautam Thaker (PUCL)
(Gujarat Women’s Federation) Prof. Babubhai Desai
(Satya Shodhak Sabha)
Father Cadrik Prakash (Prashant)
(Construction Labour Union) Mahendra Jethamalani (Pathey)
(Women’s Cultural Orgn.)
Rutvik Makwana Father William
(Editor, Naya Marg) Shabnam Hasmi
Prof. Kishor Desai (I.A.C.)
(Gujarati Authors’ Orgn.)
(Guj. Mumbai Rationalist Asso.) Prasad Chako
(RTI, Gujarat Initiative) Mahadev Vidrohi
PUCL & IRHA (Gujarat)
- State Assembly is convened for the minimum required number of days only.
- - Funds allocated for education could not be utilized.