In the wake of the calamity in Uttarakhand,the CPM has called for steps to prevent further destruction of the environment and forests,and a system of regulations for religious tourism,as the party believes such disasters are largely man-made. Cloud bursts occur when warm and humid air is pushed up the mountains forming thunder clouds. Due to environmental depredation,upper-level winds have become rarer which,otherwise,would have dispersed these thunder clouds… Further,due to indiscriminate deforestation,the lack of vegetation cover on the ground results in these waters causing flash floods,an editorial in Peoples Democracy argues.
It notes that six major cloudbursts have taken place in Uttarakhand since 1998 and argues that the destruction of forests,the unscientific construction of dams on rivers and the indiscriminate mining of sand and stone have created the possibility for such disasters to recur. The editorial also points out that there has been a four-fold increase in visitors over the last decade to religious shrines located in the state,such as Kedarnath and Badrinath. The regulation of religious tourism has been drawn to the attention of the government by the parliamentary standing committee as well as the Planning Commission. Yet,no such regulation mechanism has been drawn up,leave alone implemented in Uttarakhand… with a cohesive disaster mitigation plan. Such regulations must be drawn up and enforced in all pilgrimage centres in the country,it says.
Concessions for Kerry
The CPIs New Age focused its attention on US Secretary of State John Kerrys recent visit to India. It claims that the meetings he had with Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and other officials resulted in large gains for the US,and a meek surrender by the hosts. The joint press conference addressed by the two foreign ministers after prolonged discussions clearly indicated that Kerry was on a mission…for certain MNCs dealing in junk from nuclear plants, the editorial says.
America had been complaining for long that the fruits of the notorious Indo-US nuclear deal that was imposed on the country by manipulation and even subversion of our parliamentary procedures has yet to reach the real beneficiaries. This time,Kerry brought a list of whom India has to buy nuclear equipment from,and forced the government to accept the time frame that these MNCs have drawn, it adds. The editorial claims that points conceded to the US include deferring to it on foreign policy issues.
The CPI(ML)s weekly ML Update criticised the Nitish Kumar government in the context of the police firing in Naurangiya in Bagaha district,in which six tribals were killed. The editorial argues that the Bagaha incident,which came days after the Kumar government won a confidence vote in the assembly,was not an isolated incident of police brutality. His track record of good governance has been routinely punctuated by periodic instances of police brutality. Batraha,Bhajanpur (Forbesganj),Aurangabad,Madhubani and now Naurangiya there have been several major cases of police brutality during Kumars second term.
In the case of the infamous Forbesganj firing,some of the guilty officials actually received a promotion. More than two years since the firing,the judicial inquiry commission is yet to submit its report and the survivors are being prevented by all means from deposing before the commission, it alleges.
Compiled by Manoj C.G.