Promises to keep, Rahulji!
Early this month Amnesty International had warned that the red mud spill in the Lanjigarh Vedanta plant would cause havoc and an environmental disaster during the monsoon. There was a spill last month, which was recorded by a local photographer and the clip posted on youtube. The alarm bells had also sounded at the Plant and emergency measures had been taken. Vedanta, as ever, refuted all the allegations. It is surprising that a high-level team comprising officials from Central Pollution Control Board, Orissa State Pollution Control Board and Ministry of Environment and Forest inspected the unit at Lanjigarh and gave its reports clearing Vedanta of any lapse.
The fact is that the team went weeks after the spill had occurred and the effluent had been washed away by the incessant rains that had fallen. This should have been a wake-up call for the MOEF, but it seems that Jairam Ramesh is turning a blind eye. The matter needs the attention of Rahul Baba, who had promised the tribals that he was their man in New Delhi.
No takers for Munde
Senior BJP leader from Maharashtra Gopinath Munde is in a real trouble. Ever since his rival Nitin Gadkari became president of BJP, he has been trying hard to project himself on the national scenario from different platforms other than the BJP. Now he revolted against the party high command. Though the BJP seems to be in trouble for time being, Gadkari refused to bargain much with Munde. However, Munde might have thought that since he had a strong political following in Maharashtra and was being seen as a OBC leader, the Congress would welcome him in the party. But all his calculations went wrong. Though he tried hard to join the Congress, the latter didn’t even think about it. Sources said that the Congress never had any good experience regarding BJP leaders—it accommodated Shankar Singh Vaghela in Gujarat but this hasn’t benefited the Congress as yet.
POSCO Grand finale
The stand-off between the State and the Posco agitators has had its amusing incidents. There is a clear divide between certain sections of the officials, many of whom are pro-poor. The Tehsildar in charge of acquiring the land won’t give the additional few feet to the betel veins owners and would throw in a few feet in the actual measurements. The officer deputed by Orissa Indutrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) was reporting to a tough boss, and would insist that measurements be taken to the nearest inch. Matters reached a flashpoint and the IDCO official complained to the ADM, who came and measured the spot himself. It turned out that the ADM increased the area even more and insisted that adequate compensation had not been paid.
In another instance, the Deputy Superintendent of Police sounded off to the Media persons at the site, accusing them of biased reporting. A senior press person from a national news channel complained to the State’s Director General of Police and this resulted in a severe rebuke to the officer. The Police was asked to move back by another few hundred feet. There are a few freelancers from Mumbai and Delhi who have been camping at ground zero, hoping to capture the final onslaught, when it happens.