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The entire construction site covered
75 acres and construction was continued at three sites spread over about 30
acres, which were not the subject matter of the writ petitions.
The projects had been split into 24
sites to show that they were not covered under the restraint order and on that
basis government was continuing
construction at the memorial sites in
and maintained that there was no
violation of the order.
The media has animus towards the Mayawati government to say
What was done was only maintenance,
cleaning, and removing garbage at the sites which were not the subject matter
of the writ petitions. Mr. Mishra said he gave the undertaking on his own and
immediately informed the senior officials, including the Cabinet Secretary and
the Chief Secretary.
By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, Oct 3 (IANS) When
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati launched a rural cleanliness
scheme in 2008, not many realised the revolutionary potential of “this
seemingly innocent and unattractive scheme” now being implemented all
over the state.
More than 100,000 ’safai karamcharis’, or community sweepers, were
recruited under the scheme, two for each village. “These young men and
women from all castes, educated but without work, initially thought
they would not have to do any work but would get paid. A large number
paid hefty amounts to recruiting committees to get the jobs.
“What is happening now is that these people are being forced to
work, clean up the villages, the choked drains. If someone is
reluctant, the village pradhan can immediately stop payment of salary,”
says village development functionary Subhash Jha working at the
community development office (CDO) here.
In the 636 villages of Agra district, 996 people were recruited —
550 of them from the general category including Brahmins and Thakurs. A
large number are young women from this city. Many have to go to the
villages early in the morning.
“Lakshmi Kumari has given the impression to all in her locality she
goes out teaching in a village school,” said Pratap Singh, a social
activist of Dayalbagh area here. But once in the village, she has to
pick up the broom and start cleaning the drains, while the villagers
“In our village Akhwai, in Akola block, there is a youngster Neeraj
Singh, son of Kadheru. He is a Jat who has completed school. Now he has
to go to work in Kheria village. The villagers make sure he really
cleans up the place,” Gandhian activist Chandraveer Singh told IANS.
“All these fellows thought it was a regular government job and they
would get away without cleaning by bribing the village pradhans. But
the villagers have become clever. Many derive sadistic pleasure by
making them work, knowing some of them come from higher castes,”
In Agra district, at least 100 mostly upper caste cleaners are
alleged to be working at the homes of district officials instead of
where they are supposed to work. But the villagers know their
whereabouts and make inquiries about them, Subhash said.
Madhu Devi, 35, goes from Agra city to work in Ghamauta village.
Another cleaner called Lakhan Singh goes to work on a motorcycle, gets
into his jeans and finishes off his cleaning assignment speedily to get
back to the city. One cleaner Sunil is a Yadav, while Santosh Singh is
a Lodhi, says Subhash.
They have to work in two shifts, one from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the
other from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. They cannot bunk as every day they have to
report to the village pradhan who has been given the power to stop
“These fellows are getting something like Rs.9,000-10,000 a month as
fourth class employees of the state. This is a pretty attractive
package in the villages,” said local resident Bahadur Singh, president
of the Gram Pradhans Association. A few months ago more than a dozen
were suspended by the chief development officer for not doing their
Ravi Singh, environmentalist and progressive farmer of the Baruli
Ahir block, told IANS: “On paper the scheme does have the potential of
changing social equations in the countryside, but because of corruption
the scheme was not being implemented fairly.
“My village has three safai mitras. In the village set-up there’s
not much garbage like in the cities. All the dirt eventually gets mixed
up with cow dung and becomes usable in the fields. They clean up the
approach roads and pick up the garbage from visible areas.”
Ravi said the jobs should have gone to the really needy people and not to just anyone who applied.
Social activist Netra Pal Singh, working for the Agra unit of the
All India Women’s Conference, points out: “It’s not easy in our social
order to pick up the broom and start cleaning public roads in full view
of the community. It does need lots of courage. Even if some people
have managed to get into the government muster rolls by bribing
officials, the community knows their new status of a safai karamchari
and in our scheme of things who would be happy with this new tag?”
But others say Mayawati has taken a major leap by bulldozing caste prejudices.
In a February 2008 speech Mayawati had spelt out the contours of the
scheme which was later modified to include other castes. She said: “My
government has taken an unprecedented and historic decision to provide
more than one lakh permanent government jobs in rural areas for the
Valmiki community of Scheduled Castes.
“By this decision, all the 1.08 lakh revenue villages of Uttar
Pradesh will have at least one safai karamchari, and the person
appointed will be from the same village in most of the cases… This,
besides meeting the employment problem, will also make a sea change in
the health atmosphere of rural areas for it will ensure cleanliness and
help eradicate diseases spreading due to unhygienic conditions.”
(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday stayed the
guidelines that the State Government had notified on reservation for
Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Bruhat Bangalore
Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which is slated to go to the polls shortly.
Justice H. Bilappa stayed the guidelines after Ramakrishna Pai of Bangalore filed a petition challenging the norms.
Mr. Pai said when reservation is taken up for SCs and STs for local
bodies, the entire population of the city should be taken as the index.
In this case, the State Government had taken a constituency as an index
before coming up with the reservation.
Mr. Bilappa stayed the guidelines for two weeks and adjourned the case.
Final list to be published on October 15
Bangalore: To know where to cast your vote in the coming Bruhat
Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections, just visit the nearest
polling station and check the draft voters’ list that has been put up
Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Urban, G.N. Nayak told presspersons
here on Thursday that the draft voters’ list had been published in all
the polling stations in the 40 wards coming under the district. The
remaining 158 of the 198 delimited wards came under the three zones of
the BBMP, he said.
In the 40 wards under Bangalore Urban, as many as 1,281 polling
stations and 100 auxiliary stations had been set up. He said in areas
where there were more than 1,500 voters, auxiliary booths would be set
up. Meanwhile, A.M. Kunjappa, BBMP Additional Commissioner and District
Electoral Officer, Bangalore Central, said that the BBMP had taken
similar steps to publish the draft voters’ list in the 158 wards coming
He also said that the draft list had been shared with major
political parties. “People may submit suggestions or objections till
October 6. The final list will be published on October 15,” he said.
He said that the BBMP Central Zone had 51 wards and 1,617 polling
stations, while BBMP North Zone had 53 wards and 1,815 polling
stations, and BBMP South Zone 54 wards and 1,765 polling stations.
There would be a total of 6,579 polling stations for the 65.78 lakh voters for the BBMP elections.
Heera Nayak, District Electoral Officer, said that electronic voting
machines would be used in the BBMP polls. People may submit
applications for being included in the voters’ list till 10 days before
the last date to file nominations, as per the directions from the State
He also said that Electoral Registration Officer and Assistant
Electoral Registration Officers had been appointed for each ward. He
said that the election officials had met the booth agents, political
parties and local representatives and invited them to submit their
suggestions and objections if any.
To know about polling stations, wards and other details, visit www.bbmpelections.info.
Sir, — It is reported that the revised (provisional) list of voters
in the new BBMP wards has been displayed at the polling booths. It is
time the voters, political parties, and non-governmental organisations
went through the list and verified its accuracy. It is better if the
voters’ lists are put up on the website of the Election Commission for easy access to citizens with a provision to suggest corrections.
BangaloreAkrama Sakrama: suggested penalty not people-friendly
original scheme was framed by the Kumaraswamy government
BANGALORE: The claim of the Cabinet Sub-committee on Regularisation
of Unauthorised Construction that has recommended slashing of penalty
by over 50 per cent appears to be eyewash.
The suggested penalty is not only higher than the previous
recommendations, but is also more than double of what was fixed by the
H.D. Kumaraswamy government and more than four times of that fixed
during the President’s Rule.
Though the State Cabinet has to take a final call on the
recommendations of the sub-committee, headed by Transport Minister R.
Ashok, the final outcome is expected to be more or less the same.
Hence, those who plan to opt for the scheme to regularise their sites
and constructions might have to shell out more than what they had
Immediately after assuming office, the BJP Government constituted
the sub-committee promising to offer a “people-friendly” Akrama-Sakrama
Mr. Ashok had on September 22 announced that the penalty to
regularise construction on a 20 ft X 30 ft site could range between Rs.
30,000 and Rs. 45,000 as against the original Rs. 72,000; between Rs.
60,000 and Rs. 90,000 on a 30 ft X 40 ft site as against the original
Rs. 1.62 lakh; and between Rs. 1.8 lakh and Rs. 2.1 lakh for 40 ft X 60
ft site as against Rs. 4.23 lakh fixed earlier.
As per the original Akrama-Sakrama scheme, framed by the Kumaraswamy
government, Rs. 200 per sq m was fixed as penalty to regularise
violations relating to formation of sites for land measuring up to 60
sq m (a 20 ft X 30 ft site measures 54 sq m).
As per this, the penalty would have been Rs. 10,800. For sites
measuring between 60 sq m and 120 sq m, the penalty was fixed at Rs.
400 per sq m.
For a 30 ft X 40 ft site, which measures 108 sq m, the penalty would
have been Rs. 43,200. For sites measuring beyond 120 sq m, the penalty
was fixed at Rs. 600 and for a 40 ft X 60 ft site (360 sq m) Rs. 2.16
lakh. After protests and court cases, the penalty was slashed when the
State was under Central rule.
Accordingly, the penalty for sites measuring less than 60 sq m was
reduced to Rs. 40 per sq m, i.e., Rs. 2,160 for a 20 ft X 30 ft site;
and Rs. 160 for sites measuring between 60 sq m and 120 sq m, i.e., Rs.
17,820 for a 30 ft X 40 ft site. Penalty for bigger sites, however, was
G.R. Somashekhara, who has built his house on a revenue site
measuring 108 sq m (30 ft X 40 ft) off Magadi Road, termed the
sub-committee recommendations as farcical. “When the Government
announced that it would rework the penalty structure and come out with
a people-friendly Akram-Sakrama scheme, I had thought the penalty would
be below Rs. 10,000. Now, I’ll have to pay more than what the
Kumaraswamy government had prescribed.”