Jharkhand too gives a damn
Jharkhand government should hang its head in shame. Close on the heels of UP’s Gorakhpur medical college tragedy, a similar sordid story is unfolding in the BJP-ruled State. In the past 30 days, 52 infants’ death at Jamshedpur’s Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College has hit the headlines, forcing the National Human Rights Commission to take suo moto notice, issue notice to Chief Secretary and demand a report within six weeks. Worse, there are reports that over 200 children have died in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, in Ranchi in the past two months. Expectedly, the hospitals’ administration denies negligence by doctors and attributes the deaths to ‘malnutrition, lack of infrastructure, staff and pressure”, as patients from across the region come for treatment. Sadly, it’s the same old game of passing the buck as heard in UP. In fact, another 63 children are said to have died in Gorakhpur medical college on August 26-27 and this time the administration blames the floods. Politics is not far behind either. The Opposition Congress in Jharkhand has laid “charges of culpable homicide” against Chief Minister Raghubar Das, his health minister and four officials. Not worth the time to follow up. Instead, all eyes should be on what steps are taken to improve the ailing healthcare system. Will the children live to see acche din?
The Bodoland agitation has raised its ugly head again in Assam. On Monday last, over 36 Bodo organisations under ‘Peoples Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement’ demanding a separate State began its blockade of National Highway 31. This has added to people’s woes as the Highway, which passes through the Bodo areas, connects the northeast to the rest of the country. As it is rail service have been disrupted for over two weeks because of floods in Bihar and West Bengal. With “No Bodoland, No Rest” pledge, the protestors have threatened intensifying their stir if tripartite talks between Centre, Assam government and Bodo groups aren’t held soon. Clearly, the Bodos have reason to be agitated as both the BJP government at the Centre and the State have failed to fulfil poll assurances to resolve the three-decade-old issue. Importantly, the State’s biggest tribal group feels its time up for the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council, formed in 2003. Pressure is on the Bodos People’s Front too, which is part of the BJP-led coalition, to help deliver.
TN High Drama
Political churnings in Tamil Nadu are growing louder and have reached Rashtrapati Bhavan. On Thursday last, a delegation of Opposition leaders of the DMK, Congress, the CPM and CPI met President Kovind and demanded that that there must be a floor test in the State Assembly as the Palaniswami government had lost its majority. The move comes in the backdrop of Governor Vidyasagar Rao putting up his hands to intervene saying the 19 “‘rebel” MLAs (Dinakaran faction) “continue to be AIADMK members”! Obviously exasperated over the nagging crisis in the State, the Opposition chose to quote the rule book wherein if there is uncertainty of numbers then the only way out as per the Constitution is to test the majority in the House. The big question is when, as in the 234-member Assembly the ruling AIADMK has 113 MLAs, with the other 120-odd against it. In the midst of lingering suspense, film actor Kamal Hasaan has added his bit. He told his fans it was time for a political change and the struggle should continue. Will he eventually don a political role? Predictably, more drama follows.
States Betray Homeless
Majority of States paint a shocking picture of their urban homeless. Over 90% have no roof over their heads, governments have failed miserably in setting up shelter homes and worse sat pretty on funds released by the Centre. This appalling tale should shake up the system as the findings are of none other than a Supreme Court-appointed panel, which was set up after the Centre informed it that nearly half of Rs 2185 crore released under National Urban Livelihoods Mission, launched in 2013 simply went unutilised. The three-member committee headed by Justice (retd) Kailash Gambhir which visited States/UTs has noted ‘the homeless in urban centres were forced to live on the roadside, railway platforms or under flyovers.” This, when the scheme should cover 790 cities where administration was expected to build ‘permanent, all-weather shelters with basic infrastructure like water supply, sanitation, safety and security’. While Delhi and Mizoram have fared well, UP, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat were the worst performers. “There is a lack of will on part of States and construction of shelters is being carried out as a farce exercise…” highlights the report. Order the States to appoint trained managers to look after the affairs of shelter homes, is its recommendation to the apex Court. Will it oblige and how soon?
Haryana Unholy Politics
Not Haryana, but its Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite the mayhem and appalling failure of the leadership to contain the violence in the State last weekend, the top brass of the BJP opted not to show him the door. Following his meeting with party President Amit Shah on Wednesday last, Khattar oozed confidence. He ruled out stepping down and scoffed at the media: “Let whoever is asking for resignation, continue to ask. Whatever we did was right. There will be no change. We are satisfied with our work”. In effect, he could well be saying a big boo to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had castigated his administration and even him directly for “letting a city like Panchkula burn for political gains.” If Khattar thinks he has had the last laugh, he is wrong. The BJP only saved itself from a major embarrassment.
Delhi’s Bitter Victory
A taste of victory does wonders for the Delhi government. It decides to turn belligerent again! Well, so seems the case after AAP’s candidate won the Bawana Assembly bypoll on Monday last, after recent electoral losses. Two days after the drubbing it gave to the BJP, Chief Minister Kejriwal and team decided it was time to have another face-off with Lt Governor Baijal. Thus, on Wednesday last, 40-odd AAP MLAs laid siege to the Raj Niwas, accusing him of sitting over files pertaining to the party’s pet project, Mohalla Clinics. While the legislators claimed the L-G’s inaction was hindering the opening of more such clinics in their constituencies, the latter disagreed saying there was no file pending and was clearly peeved over the conduct of MLAs, which to say the least was “rude and discourteous”. Other than leaving a bitter taste, the incident sadly brings Kejriwal’s now infamous ‘negative politics’ to the fore. Remember the distasteful tu-tu-mein-mein with former L-G Jung. Kejriwal must realise that the victory in Bawana was possible because of the shift in tact – moving away from targeting individuals and institutions and instead talking of development and delivery. Deeds, not words shall speak, is a lesson to learn. — INFA