Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Subsidized Diesel - Way out of Misuse ?

As Implementation of dual or differential pricing of Diesel may prove to be cumbersome, the Expert Group of Planning Commission on a Viable &Sustainable System of Pricing of Petroleum Products, recommended taxing of Diesel Cars, SUVs etc. used for personal transportation based on the use of life cycle of the vehicle.  

 Based on the above, the following is suggested to minimize, as prevention may not be possible in our corrupt system, the misuse of subsidized Diesel by private cars, which is estimated to be around 15% of current Diesel Consumption.

a)Life of Vehicle ;                                                                   Say 150,000 K Ms

 b)Fuel Consumption:                                                            Say 10 Kms per Liter 

c) Estimated Qty of Diesel Consumption in life cycle        Say 15,000 Ltrs

d) Subsidy Amount per Ltr:                                                   Say Rs 20 per Ltr

e) Benefit of subsidy amount to Vehicle Owner:                Say Rs 300,000


Accordingly Ex-Factory Sale Prices of Diesel  Cars/SUVs may have to be increased by way of Diesel Tax/Cess or any other name to compensate for the subsidy amount benefit.

To minimize misuse of Subsidized Diesel by bulk users like Industry, Commercial and Domestic sectors, Cell Towers of Mobile Telephone Service providers etc using Diesel Generator Sets for captive or standby purposes, they should get their bulk supply of Diesel from the main outlets of Oil Companies at the market price and should be barred from taking supplies from the retail outlets.

If there is a political will, it will not be difficult to minimize the misuse of Subsidized Diesel and to ensure that genuine requirements of Agriculture and Transport Sectors are met and to reduce the burden of subsidy.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eviction of Encroachers of Village Community Lands

Hon'ble Supreme Court Directive


 The Hon'ble Supreme Court Bench, Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra,in Civil Appeal No.1132/2011 and SLP ( C ) No.3109/2011  in their Order dated 28 th January 2011  declared transfer of village community land for private and commercial use as illegal and directed the States to take immediate steps to evict encroachers.  

 The Supreme Court Bench directed all the State Governments that they should  prepare schemes for eviction of illegal / unauthorized occupants of village community lands- Gram Sabha / Gram Panchayat / Porambok / Shamlat -and restore them back to the Gram Sabha / Gram Panchayat for the purpose they were originally meant for.

 The Supreme Court Bench also directed the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments in the country to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments. The said scheme should provide for speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving a show cause notice and brief hearing. The Supreme Court Bench further directed that long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession.



Declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zone around KBR National Park

The MOEF (Wildlife Division) Circular F.No.1-9/ 2007WL-1 (pt) dated 9 th

February 2011 addressed to Chief Wildlife Wardens of all the States,

requested for site specific proposals, as per the guidelines framed for

declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zones around National Parks and Wildlife

Sanctuaries, at the earliest.


Information is requested, if the proposal for declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zone

 around KBR National Park has been forwarded by AP State Chief Wildlife

Warden to MOEF (Wildlife Division)..If not already done, it will be appreciated

if the Eco-Sensitive Zone around KBR National Park, can be finalized at the

earliest possible, taking into consideration, the Mega Realty Project  of

M/ S Jubilee Hills Landmark Projects Ltd, expected to come up abutting

KBR National Park ?  


 Would also be appreciated if the present position regarding declaration of

 Eco-Sensitive Zones around other National Parks -4 Nos, particularly

Mrugavani and Mahavir H.V National Parks around Hyderabad and

 22 Wildlife Sanctuaries,- Kolleru, Nellapattu, Koringa and Kambalakonda-

in particular, can be intimated.?


Monday, November 7, 2011

Abdul Kalam & Nuclear Power?


Shri Abdul Kalam, Former President, is reported to have told Media Persons that "With unique safety systems in place, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant ( KKNPP) is a radiation-free Nuclear Power Plant,"


Compromising Social Responsibility


What is surprising is that reputed persons like Shri Abdul Kalam and some Scientists seem to be going over board, to spread blatant untruths in support of unilateral decision of the Govt.of India, opting for Nuclear Power ? It is being done unmindful of their social responsibility and ignoring the apprehensions of well-informed citizens, giving room to doubt their scientific integrity / credibility?  


Nuclear Power is Not the Answer


Shri Abdul Kalam and the Nuclear Scientists, who keep saying that Nuclear Power is the answer for the growth and development of Indian Economy, should go through the Book "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer"  by Dr. Helen Caldicott, published in 2006 and address some of the very pertinent  points raised against Nuclear Power -(page 4 ) "Very Expensive, Sophisticated and Dangerous Way of Boiling Water to Generate Power."


Health Hazards due to Radiation


Pediatrician, Dr. Helen Caldicott is one of the Worlds most important authorities on the health effects of ionizing radiation. She highlighted that routine and accidental radioactive releases at Nuclear Power Plants during their normal operations, as well as the inevitable leakage of radioactive waste, contaminate water and food chains and expose humans and animals in their vicinity, now and for generations to come.. According to her, no dose of radiation is safe and all radiation is cumulative and each dose received adds to the risk of developing cancer or mutating genes in the reproduction cells. What happens to "Precautionary Principle" ?


Storage of High-Level Nuclear Waste?


It is further highlighted regarding lack of clarity, regarding provision of adequate storage facility for huge quantities of High-level Nuclear Waste generated by Nuclear Power Plants and to supervise and guard the site for periods of time almost beyond our comprehension – 240,000 years! Who is accountable for this ?







Saturday, November 5, 2011

Way Out of G.O.111- Abandon Water Bodies?

  What does G.O.111 stipulate?

 The AP Government, realizing the significance and importance of providing safe drinking water for the progress and well being of the citizens of Hyderabad, issued G.O.Ms.No 111 MA dated 8 th March 1996, prohibiting various developments within 10 Km radius of the two Reservoirs namely Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar, which are the main sources of drinking water supply to for Hyderabad and Secunderabad,. The following are the salient features of G.O.111.

 *Prohibits polluting Industries, Major Hotels, Residential Colonies or other  establishments that generate pollution, in the catchment of the
up to 10  Kms from Full Tank Level (FTL)

  *Residential developments in residential use zone may be  permitted with 60% of   the total area kept as open spaces and roads in all layouts
    in the villages of  prohibited catchment area

  *Restricts the FSI to 1: 0.5 in the catchment area. This measure will ensure that  that 90 % of the area remains under agriculture, as per the  

    prevailing practice   and ensure protection of the lakes


  *The land use of about 90 % of the catchment area is classified as recreational and  conservation use in the Master Plan. The Hyderabad 
    Urban Development Authority (HUDA)   should take action for classification of this 90% of the area as   Agriculture
, which is inclusive of

    horticulture and floriculture.


What are the directives of Supreme Court?


The Hon'ble Supreme Court in its Order dated 1 st December 2000, Ruled that,


  *Coming to the provisions of Water Act, 1974---the fundamental objective of the  statute is to provide clean drinking water to the citizens.  
    Having laid down the policy prohibiting location of any industries within 10 Kms under G.O. 111 of 8-3-1996
, the State could not have granted
to the Respondent industry, nor  to any other industry, from any part of the main GO 111.


  *The Section 19 permitted the State to restrict the application of the Water Act 1974  to particular area, if need be, but it did not enable the   
     State to grant exemption
to a particular industry within the area prohibited for location of polluting industries. Exercise of such a power in 
     favour of a particular industry must be treated as  arbitrary and contrary to public interest and in violation of the right to clean water  under
      Article 21 of the Constitution of India


*The above reasoning given by us does not mean that exemption can be given to all industries within particular radius of the reservoirs 

   unmindful of the possible danger of pollution to the lakes. In fact, exemption granted even to single major  hazardous industry may itself

   be sufficient to make the water in the reservoirs  totally unsafe for drinking water purposes.


*The government could not pass such exemption orders, having dangerous  potential, unmindful of the fate of Lakhs of citizens of twin
   cities,  to whom drinking water is supplied from these lakes.
Such an order carelessly passed  ignoring the precautionary principle'
   could be catastrophic.


     * It is, in our view, not humanly possible for any department to keep track  whether the pollutants are not spilled over. This is exactly where

       the  "Precautionary Principle" comes into play. On the basis of scientific material obtained by the court---, we hold that the Pollution Control
       Board could not be directed to suggest safeguards and there is every likelihood that safeguards could fail either due to accident or due to
       human error.


What are the Ground Realities?


Some of the glaring and major violations of the provisions of G.O.111, as per information available, are summarized below:


   *International Airport Terminal Building and total paved surface area have  occupied 2000 acres of   the prohibited catchment area of   
     Himayat  Sagar.


  *C D F D Fingerprinting Center of GOI is abutting Osman Sagar


  *Golconda Hotel operates right on the banks of Osman Sagar


  *Many residential layouts unauthorized / authorized by local Panchayats are  coming up in the prohibited catchment area


  *Allotment of about 245 acres of land for residential plots of Judges, MPs / MLAs,  IAS Officers, and Media Persons, vide G.O. Ms.No. 522
    dated 4-5-2006, in Vattinagulapalli and the activities in Khanapur, Chilkur etc villages within catchment   area of Osman Sagar 


  *Number of Educational institutions- Engineering and Medical Colleges- set up in   the prohibited catchment area within 10 Km from FTL 


  *Alignment of Outer Ring Road within 500 meters of Himayat Sagar Bund  and cutting through the prohibited catchment area of Osman
    Sagar   at Vattinagulapalli


   * Clandestine Prawn and Fish culture activities are reported to be taking place in the Water Bodies.


 Observations of AP High Court Bench on International Airport


The Writ Petition No.1297 of 2003, filed by the Forum For Better Hyderabad was heard by the Division Bench of AP High Court, comprising Hon'ble Mr. Justice B.Sudershan Reddy and Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.V.Ramulu. Some of the observations of the Hon'ble Bench are summarized below:


"There is no denial of fact that a) one full Runway along with taxiways etc b) Half of 2 nd Runway c) Main Terminal Building and d) Taking off and landing of major aircrafts, continue to be located within the prohibited 10 km zone. There is no whisper anything about the same in the counter affidavits filed by the respondents in the writ petition"


" In the counter affidavit filed by APPCB, it is nowhere mentioned that the pollution Control Board had taken into consideration the fact that the activities referred to hereinabove are located within 10 km of the prohibited zone and they do not result in causing any pollution. In the counter affidavit filed by the State Govt, it is made clear that the activities under reference are within the limits of 10 Kms distance of Himayat Sagar and these activities do result in causing pollution. But the only defense offered is that these activities "do not cause pollution beyond the limits prescribed by law". Much reliance is sought to be placed upon the clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt of India"


 "In the circumstances, we have absolutely no doubt whatsoever in our mind to PRIME FACIE conclude that neither AP Pollution Control Board nor the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Union of India averted themselves as to the effect of permitting the Runways along with taxiways etc, Main Terminal Building and Taking off and landing facilities for major aircrafts, to be located within the prohibited zone of 10 kms. No details are forthcoming as to the impact of pollution that may cause by these activities. There is no data made available for the perusal of the Court. Neither the proceedings dated 18-1-2003 of the AP Pollution Control Board reveal anything about the same nor the clearance by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Union of India speak any thing about it. In the circumstances the averments made in the affidavit filed in support of the Writ Petition remain un- controverted. The issues raised require a deeper and thorough enquiry".


"The Court cannot be a silent spectator and refuse even to consider the matter on merits complaining infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. We need to remind ourselves that the right of access to clean drinking water is a fundamental right to life and there is a duty on the State under Article 21 to provide clean drinking water to its citizens".


Painful Conclusion


Under the present circumstances, of lack Good Governance and respect to Rule of Law,  when there are no independent Regulating /Monitoring Agencies which can act and function without the interference of NETA/BABU Nexus, when Urban Land is being treated as a Commodity. and when the Govt Agencies themselves are blatantly violating the provisions of G.O.111 in utter disregard to Supreme Court Directives and remaining silent spectators to the violations by the private agencies, there is no way that provisions of  G.O.111, could be implemented, except for abandoning Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar as Drinking Water Sources .