A Plan for Better Air Connectivity for MP

DB Post 29 September 2018

NK SINGH

It was a memorable flight. Travelling from Bhopal to Bastar,

I found myself to be the only passenger after the plane took off from Raipur. There was another gentleman aboard, but he turned out to be an officer of Vayudoot, the public sector airlines.

On the return journey, the small plane circled Bilaspur airport, with cows grazing near the tarmac, and then flew to its next stop without landing, after it was informed that there were no passengers.

Another time, the unpressurised Dornier’s doors opened in mid-air.

Vayudoot was fun.

Vayudoot never had the ghost of a chance of making a profit.

It was started to bring air connectivity to remote towns. The governments keep pursuing that goal, tirelessly, one failed experiment following another, burning a hole in tax-payers’ pocket.

After liberalisation became the buzzword and skies were opened to private operators, the Madhya Pradesh Government started patronising a string of private companies with dubious aviation pedigrees but good political connections.

It has entered into all kind of sweetheart deals and agreements to subsidise their operation. The most favourite deal is the guarantee to buy a minimum number of seats on a flight. In effect, it means that the state exchequer pays for a certain number of seats in case the airline fails to get enough passengers.

The Government is, once again, trying to revive the aviation industry in the State. Recently it called a meeting of major airlines to discuss the issue of poor air connectivity at Bhopal. While Ahmedabad has 145 flights, Lucknow 75, Jaipur 65 and Patna 50, we have only nine flights.

Even neighbouring Indore is served by 48 flights. Often people prefer to drive 200 km to Indore to board a plane because of better connectivity and cheaper fare. Continue reading “A Plan for Better Air Connectivity for MP”

हम हैं माई के लाल : शिवराज को चुनौती

Hum Hain Mai Ke Laal

MP’s caste cauldron

NK SINGH

मुख्य मंत्री शिवराज सिंह चौहान अपनी सार्वजनिक सभाओं में बड़े ही अंदाज से भाषा का रंग दिखाते हैं। मध्यप्रदेश हाईकोर्ट ने 2016 में शिडयूल कास्ट और शिडयूल ट्राइब के सरकारी कर्मचारियों को आरक्षण के आधार पर तरक्की देने में रोक लगाई थी।

इसके बाद इस समुदाय के सरकारी कर्मचारियों और अधिकारियों की एक बैठक में बोलते हुए उन्होंने उन्हें भरोसा दिया कि हाईकोर्ट के आदेश के बावजूद आरक्षण जारी रहेगा। चौहान ने खुली चुनौती दी ‘कोई माई का लाल आरक्षण खत्म नहीं कर सकता’।

इस सप्ताह मध्यप्रदेश के ज़्यादातर हिस्सों में अनुसूचित जाति/ अनुसूचित जनजाति कानून में संशोधन पर बंद रहा। चौहान के पुराने निर्वाचन क्षेत्र विदिशा में आंदोलनकारियों ने टी-शर्ट पहन रखी थी जिस पर लिखा था ‘हम है माई का लाल’। काले रंग की टीशर्ट पर लिखी यह इबादत हर तरह मुख्यमंत्री के ही खिलाफ जाती थी। यह टीशर्ट राज्य के कई हिस्सों में पहने हुए आंदोलनकारी देखे गए। उधर अनुसूचित जाति/अनुसूचित जनजाति कानून पर आंदोलन तेज होता गया। Continue reading “हम हैं माई के लाल : शिवराज को चुनौती”

कलेक्टर ने सड़क की शिकायत करने वाले को जेल भेजा

Citizens march against Collector for sending senior citizen to jail

Collector sends to prison senior citizen for complaining about bad roads

NK SINGH

प्रमोद पुरोहित ने सपने में भी नहीं सोचा था कि अपने गाँव की खस्ताहाल सड़क की शिकायत करने पर उन्हें जेल जाना पड़ेगा। मध्य प्रदेश के नरसिंहपुर जिले में पिछले दिनों ठीक ऐसा ही हुआ। सड़क मरम्मत करवाने की मांग लेकर जिला कलेक्टर की जन सुनवाई में पहुंचे रेलवे के 61 वर्षीय इस रिटायर्ड जूनियर इंजीनियर को चार दिन जेल में गुजारने पड़े। कलेक्टर के कहने पर उन्हें गिरफ्तार किया गया था, सो उसके अधीन काम करने वाले एसडीएम ने भी जमानत नहीं दी।

नौकरी से रिटायर होने के बाद पुरोहित अपने गाँव खुरपा में बस गए थे। वे खेती-किसानी कर गुजारा करते हैं। आस-पास के गांवों में उनके परिवार की बड़ी इज्जत है। उनके गाँव से बगल के कस्बे को जोडऩे वाली सड़क काफी खराब हालत में है। सड़क इतनी खराब हालत में है कि बारिश के दिनों में उस पर पैदल चलना भी मुश्किल है। वे दो साल से उस सड़क को ठीक करवाने की जद्दो-जहद कर रहे थे। पर तमाम कोशिशों के बावजूद सरकार उस सड़क की सुध नहीं ले रही थी। Continue reading “कलेक्टर ने सड़क की शिकायत करने वाले को जेल भेजा”

Chouhan’s risky gameplan on SC/ST Act

DB Post 22 Sept 2018

 

NK SINGH

The beleaguered chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, made a surprise announcement this week that has far-reaching political consequences in the poll-bound state.

In an obvious attempt to douse the prairie fire ignited by the aggressive movement against the amended SC/ST Act, the CM said that his government would not allow the law to be misused in the state. “There would not be any arrest without investigation,” he announced.

Chouhan’s statement came, significantly, a day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, BJP’s ideological fountainhead, expressed his opinion on the controversy surrounding the “misuse” of the Act for prevention of atrocities against scheduled castes and tribes. Continue reading “Chouhan’s risky gameplan on SC/ST Act”

Mystery of MP’s Great Cyber Heist

DB Post 15 Sept 18

NK SINGH

Curiouser and curiouser,” cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).  – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The mystery of MP’s great cyber heist, unearthed in May this year, is getting ‘curiouser and curiouser’. The MP Government’s e-tender scam is, arguably, the biggest financial swindle in its history. It entails public contracts worth Rs 3,000 crore.

The figure may go up to Rs 10,000 crore, given the length and breadth of rigging of the state government’s e-procurement platform, say those familiar with the development. It is, in a nutshell, a massive scandal.

However, the MP government seems to be in no hurry to unravel the mystery, find out the identity of the racketeers and punish the guilty. Even after four months, the Economic Offences Wing of MP Police is still investigating the case. It seems to be dragging its feet as it is yet to register an FIR. And since there is no criminal case, there are no arrests. Continue reading “Mystery of MP’s Great Cyber Heist”

Caste Cauldron in Madhya Pradesh

DB Post 8 September 2018

NK SINGH

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is fond of using colourful language in his public speeches. In 2016 MP High Court quashed reservation in promotions to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe government employees.

Soon after that, addressing a meeting of government employees and officers from these communities, he assured them that the reservation in promotions will continue despite the high court order.

Chouhan threw an open challenge: “Koi mai ka lal arakshan khatm nahi kar sakta.”

This week, as large parts of MP shut down to protest amendment to SC/ST Act, agitators in Vidisha, Chouhan’s former constituency, wore T-shirts that proclaimed, “Ham Hai Mai Ke Lal.

The black coloured T-shirts with the message, an apparent dig at the CM, have made their appearance in several part of the State as the agitation against the SC/ST Act gains momentum. Continue reading “Caste Cauldron in Madhya Pradesh”

The bad and the ugly of Madhya Pradesh

DB Post 1 September 2018

NK SINGH

When Pramod Purohit, 61, went to the Narsinghpur collector’s office to complain about the horrible condition of road to his village, little did he know that his action would land him in jail. But that is what happened when the retired junior engineer of Indian Railways went to the weekly public hearing for grievance redressal organised by the collector.

The road leading to Purohit’s village, Khurpa, is in pathetic condition — notwithstanding CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s claim of MP’s roads being better than America’s. Purohit, as a concerned citizen, was trying to get it repaired for a long time. Continue reading “The bad and the ugly of Madhya Pradesh”