M.K. Gupta | 19 Nov 06:14 2012
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CIC to issue notices to ED in oil-for-food scam

KUDOS TO CIC - ANOTHER AGENCY WORKING FOR CLEAN ADMN.

                                                 Source: Indian Express, 18.11.2012.

CIC to issue notices to ED in oil-for-food scam

The Central Information Commission (CIC) is all set to issue notices to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to produce files related to the oil-for-food scam which led to the ouster of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh from the Cabinet.

The CIC's step comes two years after the Supreme Court had rejected the plea of ED challenging the order of the then Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah directing it to produce files for perusal before deciding on its disclosure.

The case could not proceed because of the changes in the post of Chief Information Commissioners, CIC sources said.

After the matter was brought to the notice of Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra, he immediately ordered his staff to issue notices in this regard which may be sent in the coming week, they said.

The CIC had directed the Enforcement Directorate, an exempted organisation under the RTI Act, to produce the file of the probe into the scam for its perusal to decide on its disclosure under the Act.
"In our view, the impugned order does not suffer from any patent legal infirmity requiring interference under Article 136 of the Constitution," the Supreme Court had said on the CIC directions and asked the ED to produce all relevant material before the transparency panel.

The case relates to application filed by RTI applicant Arun Agrawal who had sought the entire file containing note sheets relating to the report of Virendra Dayal, appointed by the government as special envoy to coordinate with UN officials on the Paul Volcker Committee report.
The Paul Volcker Committee was set up by the United Nations in April, 2004 to probe corruption and fraud in its oil-for-food Programme in Iraq, in which name of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh also allegedly figured as a beneficiary.

Venkatraman Ns | 17 Nov 15:58 2012
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USE RTI TO EFFECTIVELY UNDO CORRUPTION IN INDIA




N.S .Venkataraman
Trustee
Nandini Voice For The Deprived
Chennai
Email:- nsvenkatchennai-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org

To

Humjanenge



                USE  RTI  TO EFFECTIVELY  UNDO  CORRUPTION  IN INDIA

 Right to Information  Act (RTI)  is a potent weapon that should be effectively used to to undo the corruption in India.  In today's circumstances, this is the best tool that is available for the citizens and should  be effectively utilised.  Several people seem to think that Lokpal Bill when passed in Parliament would root out the corruption.  While the Lokpal Bill is nowhere in sight, it remains to be seen how effective it would be if and when enacted.

Citizens who want to fight corruption should raise questions to the government departments under RTI Act regularly and frequently, that would enable them to ascertain facts and bring out the truth to public domain and knowledge of the country men.  this would certainly promote transparency in government dealings and put fear in the minds of the corrupt elements. There have been many instances of questions raised under the RTI act not being answered in time or adequately by the government departments. The Information Commissioners are also not doing the work to the satisfaction but these are all issues that can be sorted out by committed and determined RTI activists.

Today, there are many facts that have been revealed by the use of RTI Act but there is no way that such information would be conveyed to the public, as the media seldom publicise them. Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a Chennai based NGO has been repeatedly appealing to the visual and print media to allot some space atleast once in a week to publicise the relevant and significant information obtained by using RTI Act.  But, the media is not responding.

Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a monthly journal published from Chennai would be pleased to publish the highlights of the information gained through the use of RTI Act in every issue and also publicise the same in its blog. Those interested can send the details to Editor, Nandini Voice For The Deprived email:- nsvenkatchennai-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org

Thanks

N.S.Venkataraman
Trustee
Nandini Voice For The Deprived


Syed Tanveeruddin | 16 Nov 05:18 2012
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[rti_india] meeting to discuss inadequacies of karnataka preservation of trees act, 1976 [1 Attachment]

 
[Attachment(s) from Syed Tanveeruddin included below]

Subject: meeting to discuss inadequacies of karnataka preservation of trees act, 1976

The original message has been forwarded to the Mysore Mailing List which consists of about 67 email addresses (most of them from the Mysore Grahakara Parhishat MGP and some from the Mysore Youth Forum MYF).
 
The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has about 700 plus members but unfortunately less than 10 per cent of them are believed / considered to be active.
 
-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Syed Tanveeruddin <indian.tanveer indian.tanveer-/E1597aS9LQ@public.gmane.org.in
To: Mysore Mailing List consisting of about 67 email addresses
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 5:29 am
Subject: meeting to discuss inadequacies of karnataka preservation of trees act, 1976
[HasiruUsiru] Important meeting to discuss Tree Act inadequacies: Ashirwad, 16 Nov 2012, 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:49 am
 
Dear All, 
 
As you are aware, the High Court of Karnataka has raised a very pertinent question on the gross inadequacy of the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, 1976 in attending to decisions relating to protection, conservation and removal of trees, and also of wider concerns relating to urban forestry.  The interim direction issued in Environment Support Group's / ESG's PIL (7107/2008) is enclosed. 
 
To put it down in simple language, the Court has asked the Government how massive felling of trees due to widening of roads can be allowed, when the Act actually provides for applications only from individuals.  And, importantly, the Court has asked how the person permitting the felling of trees (the Tree Officer now in BBMP) sits in judgment over this very decision (violating the fundamental principle that "no one can/should be a judge in their own cause". 
 
Of course, this is also an opportunity to comprehensively critique the inefficacy of the Tree Act, and other relevant laws, rules and procedures, in tackling the ongoing mayhem being done to greenery and biodiversity in urban areas in particular. 
 
Keeping all this in view, some of us felt the need for a detailed discussion on the many interconnected aspects of this law and its implications. We had originally thought of calling for a meeting two weeks ago, but unfortunately we lost Deepak Arya then, who was so keen to be part of this process. 
 
This is last minute no doubt, but there is now a need for us to meet.  Shaheen and Vinay have managed to get Ashirwad (behind Kabab Corner on St. Mark's Road) for a meeting tomorrow (16th November 2012) between 2.30 pm and 6.00 pm.  I hope most of you will manage to make time to contribute to this important discussion. All the ideas generated will become important feedback for us to present our collective views when the matter comes up again for Hearing on 20th November 2012 (Tuesday). 
 
I must also share that Mr. Devare of Bangalore Environment Trust has already done an extensive analysis of this Act, and I hope he can make it (despite this very short notice) and share it with all. 
 
Needless to state, it is also an occasion to remember Deepak and all that he did with us... 
 
Looking forward. 
 
Leo 
 
PS:  You can access the Tree Act and Rules here:
Daily Orders of the Case Number : WP  7107/2008 for the date of order 03/10/2012 
 
Honble Justice Chief Justice and B.V.Nagarathna
03/10/2012 
 
Order in WP  7107/2008 
 
Present: IN W.P.NO.7107/2008:
Sri. S.Sunil Dutt Yadav, Adv. for petitioners
Sri. Subramanya R. for M/s. Ashok Harnahalli
Assts. Adv. for R-6 & R-7
Sri. B.Palakshaiah, CBC for R13-R15
Sri. Suman Baliga.M., Adv. R9
Sri. R.G.Kolle, AGA, for R1-R4, 8, 10 & 11 
 
IN W.P.NO.7288/2011:
Sri. K.N.Phanindra, Adv. for
Ms. Vyshali Hegde, Adv. for petitioners
Sri. R.G.Kolle, AGA for R1-R3 & R5-R7
Sri. Subramanya R. for M/s. Ashok Harnahalli
Assts. Adv. for R-4 
 
Learned counsel appearing for BBMP prays for an adjournment to enable him to place the material on record to indicate that careful thought goes into any decision for felling a tree. 
 
Adjournment granted. 
 
We have had a cursory glance of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, especially so far as the availability of an appeal is concerned. In the first place, it appears to us that Section 8 postulates cases where an individual is desirous of removal of a tree and not wide scale felling of trees that are necessitated when roads are sought to be widened or highways are sought to be created. Prima facie, we feel that the public must be made aware of a proposal for removal of trees by issuance of public notice so that the objections can be invited. The Act does not provide any machinery in this regard. 
 
Secondly, so far as the availability of an appeal is concerned, it seems to us that it may be futile and infructuous in those instances where the Tree Officer grants permission to fell a tree. Public perception is that such orders are executed almost instantly and at night. The Act does not seem to cater for such eventuality. Furthermore, so far as the constitution of the appellate body is concerned, it comprises of three members such as a Mayor or President of the Municipal Corporation, the Municipal Commissioner or Chief Executive etc., who are in effect the persons proposing the felling of a particular tree. This may amount to a person being a judge in his own cause, which is an anathema in law. However, since the matter is being adjourned, we shall take up these considerations on the next date of hearing. 
 
Re-notify on 12.10.2012. 
 
Interim orders to continue till further orders to the contrary.
Environmental, Social Justice and Governance Initiatives Environment Support Group - Trust 1572, 36th Cross, Ring Road Banashankari II Stage Bangalore 560070. INDIA Tel: 91-80-26713559~61
Tanveer / तन्वीर / ತನ್ವೀರ್
Syed Tanveeruddin / सैयद तन्वीरुद्दीन / ಸೈಯದ್ ತನ್ವೀರುದ್ದೀನ್
Mysore, Karnataka / मैसूर, कर्नाटक / ಮೈಸೂರು, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ


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    Prem Gaba | 15 Nov 05:30 2012
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    "We The Shameless" -- by Chetan Bhagat


    We The Shameless

    It’s time to stop blaming just our politicians for corruption and look within

    Chetan Bhagat

     

     


    Last week, the BJP not only spared, but also backed Nitin Gadkari as its party president. Gadkari, who ran a sugar business, used a hydra-like ownership structure for his corporation, with a web of dozens of shell companies, bogus addresses and dubious directorships. He also allegedly took loans from the same infrastructure companies he awarded contracts to as PWD minister.
        The first standard excuse was “nothing malafide is proven yet”, implying Gadkari could have made these fake companies just for fun, perhaps because he enjoys solving brainteasers. The second classic excuse was “look at what the Congress did”. Therefore, a murderer can be spared, as long as he can find another murderer.
        Saving Gadkari shocked some, especially those who thought the BJP was different. Even politically, it may be a decision they could regret over time.

        The BJP stalls entire Parliament sessions over corruption. Its leaders share the dais with anti-corruption crusaders like Baba Ramdev (Gadkari did too). And yet, the protect-Gadkari huddle showed the BJP cares about propriety, but only if the accused is from the Congress.
        Gadkari also found support in the RSS, BJP’s backbone and selfstyled protector of Hindu dharma. The RSS’s website claims its vision is “working towards Bharat’s
    national glory, based on the noblest values.” One wonders which Hindu dharma text allows tax evasion structures and loans to politicians from businessmen with clear conflict of interest. One wonders if Gadkari’s actions represent the noblest values. In Hindu mythology, dharma protectors sacrifice family members for virtue. Here, the RSS didn’t take action against Gadkari because, well, he is their alumnus and one of their own.
        But more important than venting about the two-faced nature of some organisations or blaming Gadkari and a few other politicians is understanding why all political parties back their corrupt members despite massive allegations and enough circumstantial evidence.

    The answer lies in the way Indians think. While it is easy to blame politicians, the fact remains that our politicians are not ethical because we aren’t ethical.
        The simple, bitter truth is that the electorate just doesn’t care much about financial impropriety. Sure, we bicker, moan and fuss about politicians looting us. However, it is not that high up in the hierarchy of wrongs a politician could
    commit. A moderate amount of corruption is almost expected and accepted. It is only when graft is done in an obvious, large-scale and arrogant manner that Indians get somewhat upset – and that too for a short period of time. “Do it, but don’t be so blatant and rub it in our faces,” is what we seem to be telling them.
        Tax evasion, dubious accounting and shady friendships are almost seen as natural behaviour for an Indian businessman. We don’t even see it as a crime. We treat it at par with, say, eating four plates of dessert – a bit greedy, but understandable.
        Until we, as a society, really feel graft, unethical behaviour and nepotism are huge problems and start to truly care about all of it, politicians will not change.
        Take for instance a hypothetical situation. Say, a prominent
    politician went into a temple with his shoes on, with a bottle of alcohol and kicked the idols.
        What would happen? Of course, there would be huge societal outrage. In our value system, we hold our religious shrines extremely dear. Such a person would never be allowed to remain party president. In all probability, the person’s political career would end overnight.
        But such a value system does not apply when we see shady business, state coffers being looted or politicians placing self-interest over the country. Even power abuse is something we only talk about in public. Deep down, we are complicit. We want political leaders to not abuse power, but do so ourselves. Just take one example, the status of domestic help in India. How do Indians treat their domestic help?
    Why don’t we ever talk about a minimum wage for them? Or perhaps a compulsory day off every week? When we ourselves have no qualms abusing our power, it is difficult to attack others doing so.
        We, the Indian society, need to reflect on who we have become. Organisations like the RSS, who claim they care for India’s glory, should be fixing this by propagating good values in society. And organisations like the IAC should also send out the message that it is a lack of values within us, and not just a few bad guys at the top, that has turned India corrupt.
        More than anything, we ourselves must change, and see the sense in doing so. A society without values cannot even survive or function, let alone progress. When this realisation comes to a far larger number of Indians than today, the politicians will change. The BJP would fire Gadkari and Congressmen would create an uproar to take action against Robert Vadra.

        Right now, they don’t because they feel you the voter won’t care. That you will see Gadkari’s punishment as a slight to the RSS, or to the community or caste he belongs to. Similarly, no Congressman will stand up for what is right in Vadra’s case, as the Congress voter cares for the Gandhi family more than right or wrong.
        We live in shameless times. When the long overdue self-reflection and shame strike us, India will be ready for change. We have seen many exposes on corrupt leaders lately; it is time we did an expose on ourselves.
    The writer is a best-selling novelist.

     
    Ramesh Chheda | 14 Nov 07:46 2012
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    Diwali Greetings

    Hi,


    Adv. Ramesh Chheda - 9870112826
    Litigation Experts - Advocates, Arbitrators, & Mediators
    Experts in Consuler Laws, Divorce laws, Cheque Bouncing Laws,
    Criminal laws including Corporate Crime, White collar crimes, Cyber Crime &
    Crime against Proprty and women.
    Venkatraman Ns | 11 Nov 12:34 2012
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    INDIAN ANTI CORRUPTION MOVEMENT NOW DERAILED


    N.S.Venkataraman,
    Trustee
    Nandini Voice For The Deprived
    M 60/1, 4th Cross Street,
    Besant Nagar,
    Chennai
    Tel:- 24916037


    To

    Humjanenge




             INDIAN  ANTI CORRUPTION MOVEMENT NOW DERAILED

     

     

    With the image of being a Gandhian and using the Gandhian tool of fasting ,when Anna Hazare launched a nationwide anti corruption movement  ,there was genuine support and appreciation from all quarters However, when Anna Hazare   said that Lokpal Bill would be the ultimate tool to root out corruption in India ,many people disagreed  with him  while still having faith in Anna Hazare’s  commitment.to the cause. It is a tragedy that the Anna Hazare’s movement got diluted with all and sundry getting into the bandwagon and thus the  sense of direction was lost.

     

    When Anna Hazare’s movement inevitably collapsed  due to  the use of vituperative language and sort of coercive tactics ( with people like Ramdev facing tax evasion charges  also  being associated  in some way), Anna Hazare has to withdraw the movement for all practical purposes.

     

    Now, Anna Hazare has announced that he would revive the anti corruption movement and has formed a new team. It remains to be seen as to whether Anna Hazare’s move to provide second birth to anti corruption movement would take off.  Of course, his movement and pronouncement would be covered in the sensation  hungry media.  But, what is important is not the media coverage but creating faith amongst the people that the revived anti corruption movement would do good to the country. Considering the fact that Anna Hazare would continue to adopt the same strategies of whipping up mass hysteria, it is more than likely that his movement would remain only as the movement of sensation.

     

    Today, in India, corruption exists at all levels and in every field of activity.  One cannot even cremate a human body in India today without paying bribe money.  Therefore, the battle against corruption should be fought in the minds and  hearts of people if it were to provide the intended results,where individuals in large number would  be  willing to sacrifice the personal benefits and comforts for the sake of anti corruption cause. Whether the new team formed by Anna Hazare would aim at such level of micro level campaign against corruption without politicalising it remains to be seen and in all probability , it is unlikely. 

     

    While the large section of country men  feeling sad about the petering of  Anna Hazare’s movement , Kejriwal and his friends tried to fill the vacuum, giving an entirely new colour to the anti corruption movement. The dignity associated with Anna Hazare movement is not evident in the antics of Kejriwal and he has virtually brought the movement into ridicule  by   leveling allegations from public platforms and through media and without adopting the due process of law to expose the corrupt people.  His method  is one of provoking hatred about people whom he selects for targeting at his whims and fancies.

     

    Further, Kejriwal’s source of funding are being openly questioned by several well meaning people and  lack of transparency is obvious.  Kejriwal and his associates do not have the wisdom and maturity to understand  that   violent accusations  and use of abusive language will have only short term gains and will not sustain any movement.

     

    The average Indian can see through the game  of the politicians and activists ,as has been repeatedly revealed by the defeat of several political parties being removed from power during the elections.  Certainly, people do not approve such antics and do not trust the media beyond a level.

     

    Kejriwal has derailed the anti corruption movement by trying to step into the shoes of Anna Hazare  by playing to the gallery.  The anti corruption movement in the country is back to square one now. 

     

    While Kejriwal and his associates will go into oblivion after the next parliament elections with people rejecting their methods and outlook, the forces of corruption will remain undefeated. The country will continue to search for new messiah.With       the  damage done now by Kejriwal   and the anti corruption movement now becoming a matter f of stage shows , it appears that  the country has to look beyond people like Anna Hazare  and Kejriwal.







    Sarbajit Roy | 12 Nov 16:05 2012
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    Kerala Info Commissioner suspended

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/kerala/kerala-information-commissioner-suspended/article4090203.ece

    Governor H. R. Bhardwaj on Monday suspended Kerala State Information Commissioner K. Natarajan.

    The suspension is pending formal enquiry by a Judge of the Supreme Court into the allegation that Mr Natarajan had tried to interfere with the vigilance investigation into gifting of government land by Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan to his relative when Mr. Achuthandnan was Chief Minister.

    An enquiry ordered by the State government had found that Mr. Natarajan had tried to influence Deputy Superintendent of Police V. G. Kunhan who was investigating the case against Mr. Achuthanandan.Additional Director General of Police (Vigilance) R. Sreelekha, who conducted the enquiry, reported that the State Information Commissioner had misused his office and recommended his suspension. He had repeatedly telephoned Mr. Kunhan and his request to Mr. Kunhan to save Mr. Achuthanandan was recorded by the latter.

    (Mr. Achuthanandan is accused of having allotted 2.33 acres in Kasaragod district to his relative and ex-service man T. K. Soman in an irregular manner. The Commissioner allegedly sought manipulation of findings of the enquiry to favour Mr. Achuthanandan.)

    The Governor will now refer the matter to the Supreme Court seeking a statutory enquiry by a Supreme Court judge against the suspended Commissioner. If misconduct is proved in the enquiry, the Governor can remove Mr. Natarajan from his office.

    Mr. Natarajan was a Deputy Inspector General of Police before the Achuthanandan government appointed him as State Information Commissioner. His appointment had attracted criticism on the grounds that he was not qualified for appointment as Information Commissioner. (The Right to Information Act specifies that Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.)

    Meanwhile, the Human Right Defence Forum and Kerala RTI Federation have urged the President Pranab Mukherjee that Mr. Natarajan be stripped of the President’s Police Medal which was awarded to him when he was serving as a police officer. Forum President P. K. Ibrahim and Federation General Secretary D.B. Binu said that Mr. Natarajan had “let down the honour of the medal” by meddling with the Rule of Law.

    This article has been corrected for a factual error

    NAVIN PANDYA | 10 Nov 06:03 2012
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    Diwali Greetings

     
    Hello Friends,
     
    Diwali Greetings to all. May Diwali enlighten Indians to realise evils of bogus Representation of Peoples Act, 1950-51 and empower to replace it soon with new perfect Act for better future of country and public welfare.
     
    Navin Pandya
    09322523011
     
    --
    "CORRUPT AND UNACCOUNTABLE PUBLIC SERVANTS ARE THE GREATEST ENEMIES OF THE SOCIETY."
    M.K. Gupta | 10 Nov 06:23 2012
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    Government playing with orders on 2G auction: Supreme Court

    TOI, 10 NOV. 12.

    Government playing with orders on 2G auction: Supreme Court 

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the union government for not implementing its order directing auctioning of 122 cancelled 2G licences in both letter and spirit and going in for a truncated auction. "Prima facie we can say you are not complying with the court orders. You are playing with it. It is unfortunate," apex court bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice KS Radhakrishnan told Additional Solicitor General AS Chandhok as he submitted that not the entire spectrum that became available after the cancellation of licences was being auctioned.

     

    Expressing its displeasure in no uncertain terms, the court asked Chandhok whether the government was implementing its direction in the 2G verdict cancelling 122 licences both in letter and spirit. The court said that it thought that the government was seeking more time for implanting its orders but it was not so. In a jibe at the government, the court observed: "Mr. Solicitor, we still have not developed the habit of forgetting."

     

    Chandhok told the court that there were no bidders for 800 MHz CDMA and there were only five bidders for 1800 MHz GSM. He said that soon after the directions of the court, the Department of Telecom (DoT) approached Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and TRAI's recommendations were sent to the Telecom Commission. When Chandhok said all this, the court replied, "You did not inform us that these are recommendations of TRAI and your position."

     

    Col Thakur Singh | 8 Nov 14:25 2012
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    Fwd: we see him in the park of SECTOR-9 DWARKA



    SEE THE VEDIO 







    Mon Nov 5, 2012 6:29 pm (PST) . 

    *Hi All,*
    *Two days back, I had sent an article on Maj DP Singh, India's own " Blade
    Runner". In response, I got this youtube coverage on him. Just 7 min and in
    these days of negativism in the media, it is worth seeing such positives-
    paeans to human spirit and courage.*
    *Bala*

    One more link on the inspiring account of Maj D P Singh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqJJd4OcRJs
    -- 
    Colonel N K Balakrishnan ( Retd ) ,


    On Saturday, November 3, 2012 9:06:08 PM UTC+5:30, CHATS wrote:
    I feel greatly inspired to forward this narration of Maj DP Singh's 'Never Say Die' spirit. 
    IT will be recalled that during this year's Kargil Divas the valiant Maj DP Singh- also known as the 'Blade Runner' participated in a run in Delhi, on 22 July. Hats Off!! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150974663178071&set=a.10150608465708071.394124.87167763070&type=1&theater




    With Warm Regards,
    Col RP Chaturvedi,
    A-35, Sector 36,
    Noida 201303.
    Mob: +919891279035
    E Mail ID: rpchaturvedi-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org

    Nescit Cedere


    DO NOT VOTE FOR THE UPA IN THE NEXT ELECTIONS UNLESS IT LOOKS AFTER THE INTERESTS OF EX SERVICEMEN BY FEBRUARY 2013

    The  24 September False News of grant of OROP is NOT TO BE COUNTED AS 'LOOKING AFTER' EX SERVICEMEN.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
     Story of an Army Officer
     
    Amazing true story of Veer Maj D P Singh authored by Amit

    by Kiran Kakatkar on Sunday, 7 October 2012 at 19:57
     
    Lakshya (Goal): Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 30/9/2012
     
    On 15th July 1999, he was deployed on the Line of Control (during Operation Vijay/Kargil War) when the Pakistanis started shelling the Indian forward positions.
    He heard the sound of the first mortar shell fly just over his bunker and land further behind. He felt and heard the sound of the 2ndsecond shell as it came straight towards him. It exploded 2 meters away from him. The foot-long, 2-inch diameter shell had a kill zone of 8 meters. The blast sent thousands of shrapnel pieces in every direction.
    He felt the fiery stings as pieces of red-hot shrapnel entered and shredded the right side of his body, from the torso down to his legs. Blood gushed out of his body as if from a water fountain. The pain was excruciating; he cried out. Slowly he lost consciousness. He arrived at the hospital so covered in blood and guts that he was initially given up for dead!
    On the night of the 18th he heard the words, “Son, I think I need to amputate your right leg.”
    Major D.P.Singh looked down at his shredded and gangrene infected right leg and replied, “Doctor, I can see it myself, there is nothing much left below my knee...do what you must”...
    He returned to civilian life, after serving the country for another 10 years, but he had lost a few body parts in the war. He had lost a part of his intestine. He had also lost his right leg through the knee. He had lost large chunks of flesh in his left leg and had permanently damaged the meniscal cartilage in his left knee. He would never fully recover his hearing ability, which was damaged with the blast. (A few years after the war, while still in the army, he underwent a major operation for a tumor on his urinary bladder)
    What stayed with him from the war however, were 40 pieces of shrapnel embedded in his body. They are lodged all over the place: in his ribs, lungs, liver, elbow and leg.
    Few people commence their journey to the start-line of a marathon with 40 pieces of shrapnel inside their body, a drastically compromised intestine, acoustic trauma, a massively compromised left leg and a compromised urinary bladder.
    The first time Major Singh went for a run wearing his prosthetic leg, the jarring from the vibration, caused a small piece of shrapnel lodged in his rib to dislodge. It caused him excruciating pain. The doctor advised that an operation would be necessary to remove it. At that point, Major Singh had just started motivating a group of fellow ‘challengers’ to run. He figured that if he was sidelined after the surgery, his comrades would get demotivated and the group would fall apart. He decided that he would not get operated. He figured that he would continue running and thereby continue jarring the shrapnel piece until it re-lodged itself somewhere else inside his body and stopped paining!
    Sometimes in life, the people who inspire us the most are not the winners of the race, but those who strive valiantly and shed their sweat and blood to simply be a part of race day.
    My job on this race day was to run alongside Major Singh and occasionally interview him for the Star Plus Television Channel. In the process, I had the privilege to receive a life-lesson in courage and tenacity that I shall never forget.
    The day had started for me at hotel Le Meridian. I woke up at 4:15 am and went to the loo. Only a runner understands the importance of bowel movements on race day. The fact that a clean GI system is a luxury, can only be understood by a runner who has suffered a tummy problem half way through a marathon.
    I later went for a nice hot shower and changed into my black branded T-shirt (Only a non-runner Marketing Executive would ask a runner to wear a black T-shirt on a hot and sunny day) and shorts. It took me 30 seconds to wear my socks and another 30 seconds to wear my shoes and then I went down to the coffee shop and enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast. By 5:00 am I was seated in the same bus as Kenya’s Edwin Kipyego for a ride to the start line.
    I met the Major inside the production control room. He was accompanied by his partner Dr. Dimple Bharati. She told me that she planned to meet us several times on the route to give him his energy drink and later run the last few km with us. She explained that due to the massive operation on his intestine, the Major dehydrated very soon. I assured her that I would make sure that we pick-up water from all the water stops.
    We made our way to the start-line and were interviewed for the TV viewing audience. The open category run started at 6:40 am. Within a few hundred meters, I noticed that the sun was out and it was already very humid and hot. I braced for a rough day ahead. The Major was quiet and focused. I wanted him to set his own pace and so stayed just a few inches behind him. I noticed his gait. This was the first time that I was running alongside someone wearing a prosthetic leg. With each step it looked as if he was landing on a thorn that pierced further inside his right foot. It seemed very painful. It was not a smooth stride also because his left leg was severely damaged. It dawned on me just how hard it was for him to run.
    All around us were runners who were focused on their finish times. They sped past us. However, hundreds of runners noticed us and clapped for the Major. Many seemed to know him personally. They shouted, “Go Major”, “Major you are great.” “Major you inspire me”.
    A girl hugged him and said, “Sir, I used to only run the 6k dream run, but YOU inspired me to run the 21k this year”. The Major answered, “I’ll give you another hug, when to move up to the 42k”
    A few minutes later, we were joined by Colonel Rana Sinha. He told me that he looked upon Major Singh as his hero and inspiration and that he intended to run and support us. I was relieved to have a friend together because I could feel that this was going to be a rough day with the heat rising incessantly.
    The heat kept increasing by the minute and so did the humidity. At about 4 km the Major stopped to adjust his prosthetic. He held his thigh and shook it violently, as if to make it settle inside the socket of the prosthetic. I was flabbergasted. I stood behind him to make sure that nobody ran into him. It was an action I had never seen before. I was in shock. I could not believe this man was running. I later looked at his face. All I could see was determination. This was a look of a man who was simply focused on the finish line. If there was pain, and I am sure there was, he did not show it.
    As we reached the 7k mark we were approaching India Gate (Indian Army’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). I have run this race 3 years in succession and each time I reach India Gate the uppermost thought in my mind is: I wish the marathon photographer manages to catch me with India Gate in the background. It would make for a nice picture on my wall. As we approached India gate, I had pretty much the same thought this time too.
    But then, I saw the Major look up towards India Gate and snap a Salute.
    I had a tear in my eye. I love my India too, but am I doing enough? I made a resolution to redouble my efforts to help the kids suffering from Cancer and being treated at the Tata Hospital.
    We kept running. We were all sweating profusely. We kept drinking water. As we passed the medical tents we noticed more and more people flocking towards them. This was going to be a long hard day!
    To take the Major’s mind off the heat, humidity and pain, I told him about my routine from the time I had woken up at 4:15 am. I asked him how his day had started.
    I learnt that Major Singh had a slightly different start to his day.
    Because parts of his intestine were shredded in the blast and later removed in surgery, he has all sorts of issues in clearing his GI system. It took him a lot of time to clear his stomach in the morning.
    Then he had to wear his prosthetic. It had taken me 30 seconds to wear my socks. It was a little different for the Major. His right leg was amputated through his knee, but there were still shrapnel embedded in his lower thigh. The skin which grew over these wounds was soft tissue, which was very sensitive. He had to prepare each of these areas by first applying some cream and then putting tape over them to protect them from friction.
    Then, there was the question of wearing the prosthetic leg itself. The stub where the knee was amputated was is a highly sensitive area. It comes into contact with the socket of the prosthetic leg. The socket is made of hard plastic. Soft skin against a hard material! So, he had to prepare the bottom of his amputated knee enable it to withstand the friction and pounding it is about to receive.
    The prosthetic socket is round, the knee stub is round. He needed to align the prosthetic exactly right. When I wear my shoe, the shoe automatically aligns itself with my foot. But a prosthetic must to be worn exactly at the correct angle with reference to his thigh and the rest of his body. With no real reference point it takes a lot of patience and skill to put on the prosthetic.
    Once the leg is worn, he needs to make sure it holds tight around his thigh so that it won’t move as he runs. Even a few mm of play/movement will cause friction and inflame his skin. He puts more tape and ties a few bandages around the socket to hold it tight against his thigh.
    It had taken him close to 3 hours to get ready to leave for the start-line.
    I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock. We were clearly not running the same race. I was running an easy 21k; however it seemed to me that this man was climbing Mt Everest. He had a prosthetic in one leg which was incredibly uncomfortable to wear while his other leg had chunks of flesh missing. Not only was he climbing up Mt Everest but he was doing it blindfolded.
    But I was wrong. He didn’t seem to think so. He told me that he hated the idea that people are called, ‘Physically Challenged’. He said that he was a ‘Challenger’ and he wanted the world to know that there was nothing he could not do that anyone else could. Life had thrown down a gauntlet at him. And he had no hesitation in picking it up.
    He had started an organization called The Challenging Ones (TCO) with the idea of motivating all challengers to overcome their limitations and partake in sports and adventure activities. He said that he had wanted to partake in the trials for the London Paralympics Games but our country lacked well trained prosthetic technicians to assist him with prosthetic fitment. He said he wanted organizations to come forward to understand the need for better prosthetic technicians in our country.
    I ran alongside him in awed silence. On the way back towards the finish he once again saluted the India Gate.
    By the time we reached 15k, the heat and humidity were just debilitating; it seemed like heaven was pouring fire down upon us, the heat radiating from the tar road was further aggravating the heat - and then suddenly we went to Live broadcasting.
    Samir (TV Moderator): How is it going out there Amit, how is Major doing?
    Me: Samir, I am reminded of the song from the movie Lakshya (Goal):
    Barse chahe amber se aag,
    Lipte chahe pairon se naag.
    Even if it pours fire from the skies...
    Even if snakes entangle my every stride...
    Samir, the skies over Delhi have poured fire on us today, but let me ask Major about the state of his stride. Major, how are the legs doing?
    Major: Yes, the skies have poured fire, and the legs want to stop. But I also have a mind, and the mind says I won’t stop! I will keep going! I will reach the finish line!
    Me: Aaj Lakshya to paana hai (today, I have to reach my goal) Samir, we will not stop, we will not give up. We will reach the finish line.
    Major: I am called physically challenged, but I am not so. I want to say that the ones who are really challenged are those who lack mental willpower. There are lots of people like me in India who are waiting for an opportunity to become physically active. Wake up India, if I can do it, you can do it.”
    And so on and on we ran...the first time the Major slipped and fell on his face was when the cap of a water bottle came under the blade of his prosthetic. The second was when someone from behind banged into him. the third and the fourth time, when he lost his rhythm. Each time, he picked himself up and simply dusted his palms. There was no change of expression on his face. No sound escaped his mouth. There was a steely determination in him that I have never seen in another human being. He looked straight ahead. He never doubted or questioned his own ability. He ran as only a world champion can. He ran with the strength of his mind and for a passion close to his heart. He ran for those of us who doubt our own abilities...He ran for me...He ran for you...
    With 200 meters to go, the Indian Tricolour materialized in his hands, given to him by his friends waiting alongside the road. He ran into the finish along with his friends Dr. Bharati and Colonel Rana. I stayed a few meters behind
    them.
    I had witnessed firsthand what a soldier from the Indian Army was capable of doing.
    On the 30th of September 2012, Kenya’s Edwin Kipyego ran the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and finished first in a time of 1:00:55. When Edwin reached the finish line, the Major and I must have barely reached the 8 km marker.
    But in my heart I have no doubt who really won the race that day. I know who my champion was. I had run alongside him all morning

    --
    THROUGH MUD AND BLOOD, TO THE GREEN FIELDS BEYOND
     
     
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    --
    There are not too many bad people in India, but the problem is that : 
    There are too many good people in India, who do not speak up about bad deeds, of bad people.....Gandhi ji
     


    anshu bansal | 8 Nov 04:41 2012
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    Info Needed

    Dear Activist,

    I need some information related to Income Tax Department. Just wondering if any of our fellow member is working in IT department.

    Thanks for help.
    Anshu


    Gmane