Extortionist or Social Activist ?
Anna and Team-Twisted Lies-3
My writings against current anti-corruption movement and its verticals does not mean that I am supporting corruption. The thing is I too am fighting against corruption but my fight is not fashionable and up-market for section of media and socialites. Last six months I have worked hard to collect evidence about Team Anna, Anna, Baba Ramdev, S.Swamy. All evidences are not against them. Those form a part of my book. When Team Anna and Anna himself was on fast in last week on Jantar Mantar the entire electronic media (some exception) was Anna and Team Anna centric who were actually cheating people of India. Initially Media seemed to be up to tricks while covering Team Anna wholeheartedly. At Jantar Mantar, initially Team Anna and Anna failed to pull the crowd. It was a miserable failure.
Generally on other days there are dozens of agitations taking place not only on Jantar Mantar but other places as well in our country which fails. Electronic media has nothing to do with that failure either ways. When Team Anna’s recent agitation met with cold response on Jantar Mantar, the electronic media started discussion on this impotent topic raising questions as to why the agitation failed which was completely unprecedented. There are many agitations which fail but find no mention in the media which is obvious. Many successful movements are not covered by media. My personal experience tells a different story altogether. I have covered many agitations as a journalist and writer which had a gathering of more than 2 lacs people but electronic media did not feel the need to cover nor talk about the issues raised in the agitation. Those were non-political and were social issues affecting life of farmers, women etc. But this anti-corruption movement got special treatment. Initially, Team Anna’s agitation at Jantar Mantar, was portrayed as an important issue. It garnered lot of coverage from electronic media before it happened as if something unparallel about to happen. Arvind Kejriwal appeared in one-to-one interviews on almost all the news channels talking about their movement. It was all made out to be some kind of national emergency. At first there were handful of people at Jantar-Mantar but later, on Sundays and day of holiday, there gathered four to five thousand people which can be easily found on anyone’s Facebook account. Are they representing the 120 crore Indian population? It was shown as if more than 50 % of India was at Jantar Mantar! There were debates, discussions, one-to-one interviews on electronic media about this movement which had very less turnout. Generally, trend is to ignore such a small gathering on Jantar Mantar or anywhere else. But electronic media went out of its way to cover this movement. Some Journalists were so ecstatic that they said, “Arvind dares”. What did they mean by that? That was a completely fake movement or no movement. Unfortunately, we have witnessed majority of electronic media was a part of that fake show. Is this immaturity or childishness by a section of electronic media or they had an ulterior motive and vested interest? Today the nation wants to know!
Anna and his colleagues fast also seemed suspicious right from the beginning.
Anna, a 74 year old man is fasting since five days but neither of the team members or media commented on that. Arvind Kejriwal a diabetic ‘fasts’ for ten days and suddenly calls off the ‘fast’ after that. When there are self-generated talks about Kejriwal being shifted to hospital he refuses to go likening himself with Jaiprakash Narayan! He said he is afraid that he might be killed like JP. The media never debated on this issue. If the government doctors had monitored Kejriwal and others health on day-to-day basis then it would have become dangerous for a non-fasting person to continue with the farce of going on fast. Nobody had a serious debate on diabetic fasting for ten days-real or fake? Thus the monster of Team Anna was created once again. What was their real motive? Janlokpal? IAC? Anti-Corruption? Political Party? PCRF? destabilising national economy?
Nobody seriously debated on these points.
I have tried my little bit in my book to tackle these issues and unmask all verticals of this anti-corruption movement. After releasing first two blogs many people asked me, ‘do you have evidence to support these revelations? Many feel this might be something which is ‘fabricated’ because these revelations are shocking and stunning. They even asked, ‘why Government was not able to find it out in the first place?’ The government machinery which calls itself powerful should have first found out and made it open to the public when Team Anna and all verticals were fighting against government. Actually, during my explorations I found that government supported them sometime or other directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly by funding them. When I collected the evidence and sorted it out carefully, I realised that Anna, Kejriwal and Sisodiya, Bhushan duo and Bedi have organizations which received monetary help or other support from the government at some point in life for their activities. Even organizations belonging to Ramdev Baba and other verticals received help from government and most of the time the government was of Congress! They always shared a love- hate relationship which has nothing to do with commoners. Their government funding, foreign funds, FCRA’s, trusts, their malpractices, their PIL’s, RTI’s which earn huge unaccounted amount from politicians has nothing to do with commoners like us. No mainstream media utter a word about this fraud, lies and malpractices. Ultimately one has to understand that these are the roots through which so-called anti-corruption movement and verticals grow. This conspiracy is unique in post-independence India and who’s who of anti-corruption movement are enemy of the people. The unfortunate part is you may believe or may not believe but part of the ruling class (ruling party and opposition), section of media owners, section of administrative machinery even is part of this conspiracy. I came to this conclusion after a comprehensive study of all the collected concrete evidences and chronological events.
Two questions generally asked by people, ‘after the release of my book if they go to court what will be my plan of action?’ After studying the evidences I have presented, please feel free to go to court. Some people feel releasing these pages (there are two more blogs to come) on my blog is my marketing strategy for my book ‘OPIUM OF RAMLEELA’. This has nothing do with garnering publicity for my yet to be published book. This is just to make my fellow countrymen aware about a great conspiracy by bunch of people. Any democracy is never threatened by larger section of the people but time and again it history has proved that democracy has been butchered by bunch of conspirators and goons.
The money generated by my book will be given to the Organisations working in North Eastern provinces. It was decided much before but I had to put it in words here as people on social networking site started making accusations that I was doing all this for publicity or some vested interest.
Day before yesterday after announcement came from Anna and Team Anna about formulating a political party, Mr. Subramanium Swamy another vertical of anti-corruption bunch said, ‘Anna has developed his village Ralegan and worked for the people so he is alone welcomed in NDA’. From BJP to Congress and all mainstream print and electronic media is in self-created illusion that Anna is a little bit ‘Gandhian’ and ‘selfless person’ who sacrificed for his village, state and nation. Somewhere in degrees here and there the same feeling applies for Kejriwal, Bhushan duo, Sisodia and Bedi. If there as an ounce of truth in this then I would have been happy like my fellow countrymen.
I have released pages on Anna in my blog. More revelations about others will follow in my book. I am a hardcore supporter of anti-corruption movement of any kind if it is in the interest of commoners, by the commoners and for the commoners. In very near future I will give a try to show what a real anti-corruption movement is!
Marketing of ‘Ralegan Siddhi’ and ‘Anna Hazare’
Today, ‘Anna Hazare’ and ‘Ralegan Siddhi’ have become icons of sustainable rural development. Mr. Hazare is cashing on his and his village’s image to get money in the form of grants and donations. If one takes a closer look at the institutions / organizations established by him, one would find that they are becoming wealthier day by day. They are doing nothing worthy of mention; no charity, no social work, no rural development! On the contrary, they are doing business by selling books, CDs and nursery plants, by arranging training programmes sans quality and by earning rent of buildings constructed out of government grants. Whenever he needs money, he tours the entire state of Maharashtra under the banner of “Jana-Jagruti Mohim” (People’s Awakening Movement) and collects money in the form of donations.
The bureaucrats and different Ministers and Chief Ministers of the government go out of the way to sanction schemes and special projects to Ralegan Siddhi out of fear and to please Mr. Hazare. Many of such projects are neither financially feasible nor technically viable. The Agriculture Dept. of Maharashtra has constructed 1 check dam near the Padmavati Temple not for water conservation, but to fulfill Anna Hazare’s wish. What is that wish?
Mr. Hazare has created infrastructure near the temple for arranging marriages. He charges Rs. 20,000 to 25,000 per marriage. To attract customers, Mr. Hazare made the entire campus beautiful. The only thing lacking was a pond for rearing colourful fishes. So he ordered the Agril. Dept to construct a check dam on the nulla (stream/rivulet) flowing adjacent to temple premises. The fish would be reared in the water trapped in the check dam. Is it not a wonderful project financed by the Govt. of Maharashtra?
Support Voluntary Organization (SVO)
CAPART appointed HST as SVO since 1999. SVO’s main responsibilities were to – (a) impart training; (b) give field support to 30 NGOs of Maharashtra to whom watershed projects were sanctioned by CAPART; and (c) to monitor and evaluate the projects. HST provided training to the 30 NGOs, but did not provide field support properly. Actually, CAPART provided separate funds for this purpose. There was a provision of proper staff for giving field support and monitoring & evaluation. But HST never recruited full-fledged staff. So the work of NGOs suffered. Then in 2005, HST withdrew midway leaving the NGOs astray. Leaving 4-5 NGOs aside, there is corruption in the remaining NGOs. CAPART gave approval to HST as SVO under the pressure of Mr. Hazare, who happened to be Member of the National Standing Committee (NSC) on Watershed Development of the CAPART.
CAPART and the Ministry of Rural Development have always yielded to the pressure and threats of ‘fast-unto-death’ of Mr. Anna Hazare and provided cover to the failed projects of his organizations instead of taking appropriate action against misappropriation and misutilization of funds.
(This is evident from the correspondence of Mr. Hazare with CAPART and MoRD during 1995 – 2005. His threats of hunger strike and dharna could be traced in these letters. Under his pressure, MoRD had also constituted one Mr. Shankaran Committee)
Support Training Institute (STI)
The Dept. of RD and Water Conservation, Govt. of Maharashtra, appointed HST as STI in 2007. The main responsibilities were to impart training to Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) and Watershed Committees in watershed development under ‘Hariyali’ programme of the MoRD. There is no full-fledged staff for giving lectures in Soil and Water Conservation, Engineering, Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Agro-forestry and Accountancy. Only 2 staff members who are not well qualified teach all the subjects.
In the years 2008 and 2009, even if the number of participants was 10 to 12, the training cost and food expenses were claimed from DRDA for a minimum of 30 participants. The Project Director, DRDA, paid the amounts under the pressure of Mr. Hazare. Such facilities are not provided to other STIs. Many of the training programmes were conducted at village and block levels in Pune, Thane and Ahmednagar districts. What is the need of conducting training programmes at remote places instead of conducting at the training centre? DRDA pays to STI according to trainee-days. Who is there to check the actual number of participants?
For the year 2008-09, DRDA paid Rs. 20 Lakhs to HST as advance for conducting training programmes. HST did not spend more than Rs. 3 Lakhs as on 31st March 2009. Why did DRDA make such a huge advance payment to HST? How much interest did HST earn on this amount? Has any DRDA in Maharashtra given such favour to any other STI? There is a need to assess the number of training programmes conducted under ‘Hariyali’ by HST and the payments it received from DRDA. It seems that Mr. Hazare’s aim is not to propagate watershed programme, but to earn as much money as possible and to create assets for the organizations headed by him.
[Copy of the letter from Mr. Rajendra Pawar containing above complaints is available with – (a) Secretary, Rural Development, Mantralaya, Mumbai; (b) Project Director, DRDA, Ahmednagar]
Training Programme under IWMP
The Dept. of Land Resources (DoLR), Ministry of Rural Development, New Delhi, has allotted training programmes to HST under the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) in 2010. Actually, HST had not applied to the Ministry for any training programmes, but the Secretary, Rural Development, has approved the training programmes on his own, going out of the way.
HST is not capable of conducting training programmes as it has no well qualified staff / faculty. At present, there is no qualified Civil / Agricultural Engineer who could teach soil and water conservation engineering; there is no Agricultural Graduate who could teach Agriculture / Horticulture; there is no Forestry expert to teach Agro-forestry / Silvi-pasture; there is no Veterinary Doctor to teach Animal Husbandry / Dairy Development. There were only 2 staffs; one an MSW (Master of Social Work) and another a retired Agricultural Supervisor.
These staff could speak only Marathi and a little bit broken Hindi. Both of them could not speak English. As the participants under IWMP are from states other than Maharashtra, they find it very difficult to understand whatever has been taught. In fact, this training programme is nothing but wastage of money. But the Secretary, Rural Development, has allotted the training programme to just please Mr. Hazare.
Ralegan Siddhi : A Model of Watershed Development
Intra-Basin Water Theft?
Mr. Anna Hazare’s village, Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, has been projected as a model of “watershed development” in India. This model has also got international acclaim thanks to researchers and media. But in reality, this model village faces the problem of scarcity of drinking water every summer even today, sometimes right from the months of January-February. Will anyone from media, socialites, intellectuals, Subramanium Swamy, those 22 eminent personalities and Chetan Bhagat who awarded an A-plus certificate to Anna, please check the water conditions in Ralegan! Even cattles are starving.
So far, crores of rupees have been poured in the village since 1972 (even before the arrival of Mr. Hazare in the village) by different agencies for addressing the problem of water scarcity through various measures of soil and water conservation, watershed management, artificial recharge, watershed recycling, plantation and so on. Then, why does Ralegan face water scarcity in summer? Why Ralegan is still considered a model of watershed development in spite of water scarcity? Are there any criteria for considering any village as a model of rural development?
Basically, there are flaws in the research and documentation of the developmental work undertaken in Ralegan Siddhi. The researchers, academicians, journalists and free-lance writers were misled by Mr. Hazare and his coterie of ‘karyakartas’ (voluntary workers). For the sake of name and fame, they provided exaggerated figures, manipulated data and circulated false information. The villagers (with exception and the numbers are growing) have always helped Mr. Hazare in this pretence, because it brought their village in the limelight, helped to pave way for funds to come in and thus gave a boost to village economy. The visiting experts accepted the information without scrutiny and verification.
Mr. Hazare is very shrewd. He or his Organizations deliberately did not maintain any authentic data and information of how his village transformed itself from the position of poverty and scarcity to the position of prosperity and plentitude. There is no genuine documentation of the process of this so-called transformation.
There are many questions which are unanswered till today: How many persons and agencies contributed to the development of Ralegan Siddhi? What was Mr. Hazare’s role in the development? Is there any difference between the development of Ralegan Siddhi and the development of other villages having similar geology, topography and climate? Are the farmers more prosperous than their brethren in other villages? Has the problem of water scarcity really got solved? What is the share of Kukadi dam water in the agricultural development of Ralegan Siddhi? What is the share of the Bank of Maharashtra in overall development of the village? How much money was poured in the village by CAPART, Zilla Parishad, Agriculture Dept. and other Govt. and Non-Govt. agencies? What is the actual contribution of villagers in cash and kind to the development of their village? Nobody tried to find true answers to these questions. Everybody relied on the information provided by Mr. Hazare and depicted the story of Anna Hazare and Ralegan Siddhi in their books, research papers and articles.
The true answers would never come from Mr. Hazare because he doesn’t want to give credit to others for the sake of his own fame and popularity. He wants to be the lonely ‘hero of Ralegan Siddhi’.
Who started the soil and water conservation work in Ralegan Siddhi ?:
In the famine of 1972, the works of soil and water conservation were simultaneously started by the State Govt. and Tata Relief Committee (TRC), a Charity Organization belonging to Tatas, in order to generate wage employment. The Govt. undertook construction of a big percolation tank, whereas TRC undertook construction of 6 earthen nulla bunds and digging of 2 community wells. The TRC was also working in 4 other villages. The overall work was supervised by TRC’s civil engineer, Mr. (Late) Ashok Bedarkar. The TRC used to pay wages not in cash but in kind, i.e. wheat and edible oil.
Mr. Hazare, who was serving at that time in the Indian Army, used to visit his village taking leave from service. Sometimes he visited the work sites to see what was going on there. He retired from the Army in 1975 and returned to his village. TRC continued to work till 1980. One day, Mr. Hazare and his close followers told Mr. Ashok Bedarkar to leave the village for no reason. They also removed the sign boards of TRC erected in the village to show the relief works done in the village. Now, the water harvesting structures constructed by TRC are shown to visitors as a work done through ‘shram-dan’ of villagers. The villagers keep mum because they could not dare to speak truth. Anyhow, the villagers are getting undue credit and they are happy.
Repair of the percolation tank:
The percolation tank which was constructed by the Govt. in the famine of 1972 was unable to retain water to its fullest capacity. Mr. Hazare tells that the water was leaked from the bottom of the bund due to some technical faults in the design. So, as the story goes, Mr. Hazare mobilized villagers for ‘shram-dan’ to repair the bund. Villagers repaired the bund through collective action and next year the tank was full of water. This resulted in percolation of water into ground that raised the water table. So the villagers got convinced of the impact of watershed programme, and they were motivated for further ‘shram-dan’. This is a fabricated story. Actually, the Zilla Parishad repaired the percolation tank. It allotted the work to a contractor who hailed from Ralegan Siddhi. The workers were paid by him and nobody did ‘shram-dan’.
Developmental work by other Organizations:
Besides Tata Relief Committee, the ‘Social Centre’, an NGO from Ahmednagar, also worked in the village under food-for-work programme to provide employment to the needy. The National Wasteland Development Board, Social Forestry Dept. and Forest Dept. have also implemented their schemes in the village. Some individuals, like Mr. Navalmal Firodia, also donated money for construction of buildings.
Mr. Hazare never mentions the contribution of other agencies and individuals. His ‘volunteers’ and staff also followed the suit and started telling the visitors the fabricated stories. Thus came into existence the “model” of rural development. The villagers have certainly contributed to other works, like renovation of temple and construction of hostel and school buildings; but in watershed project, their contribution is not more than 3%.
The Agriculture Dept.’s major role:
The Agriculture Dept. has lion’s share in the watershed development programme. This dept. has done 75% work in the village. It undertook various activities of soil and water conservation, land leveling, watershed management, agricultural development and horticulture under different schemes of the govt.; like (a) Krishi Pandhari Yojana; (b) Shram Shaktitoon Gram Vikas; and (c) COWDEP (Comprehensive Watershed Development Project). The officers and other staff of the dept. honestly implemented their schemes, because they wanted to create a success story of their dept. But, unfortunately, due to fear of Mr. Hazare, they dare not claim their share in the development of the village. Mr. Hazare removed the signboards erected by the Agricultural department showing work done and name of the scheme.
Even before arrival of Anna Hazare, the Tata Relief Committee and Social Centre had mobilized and organized the villagers for collective developmental work. After their exit from the village, Mr. Hazare used his close associate Mr. Sadashiv Mapari, who also happens to be Sarpanch of the village, to gather villagers and make them work for community works. On this backdrop, the Agril. Dept. implemented various schemes which effected the change in economic condition of the villagers. But Mr. Hazare takes 100% credit for this success. He never mentions the Agriculture Department’s or Sadashiv Mapari’s role in the village development.
He gives exaggerated figures of change in per capita income of the villagers. There is no data in black and white. The farmers (with exception growing in numbers) also give vague figures, because they have to confirm whatever is told by Anna and his men including his bodyguards who terrorise the villagers. The listeners believe in the information given by Hazare and publish stories based on that. Nobody takes pains to go into deep to find out the reality.
……………………..to be continued