Afzal Guru – “Please don’t compare me with Sarabjit. The issues are separate. My sympathies are with him, but my fight is for the Kashmir conflict. Now, I am not even seeking any clemency and have no objection to the government deciding my fate.” [link]

Afzal Guru has also said something that MF Hussain also said sometime back. Paraphrasing : The UPA govt. biggest problem is its indecision, only the NDA can come and hang me and in case of Hussain that only NDA can bring me back to the country.

Afzal Guru is pending hanging for attacking the parliament, all courts from the lowest to the Supreme have sentenced him to death. The BJP is asking for an early implementation of the courts order so that justice is done to the brave soldiers who died fighting to protect the parliament.

The congress is in a different mood altogether, they have probably taken to Arundhati Roy’s advice “What is the hurry to hang him?”. Hope Ms. Roy got her answer from the horses mouth. The BJP does have a point in demanding action, more prolonged the issue, more communal a turn it takes. Earlier it would and should have been a simple hanging of a terrorist. The congress has managed to invent more angles to the issue in trying to protect him. Many muslim organisations have come out against terror, no muslim organisation as such opposes his hanging. What is the hold up?

Alright, if we want to move towards a no-hanging sort of a culture, then make the case for that, but do not please give it a communal angle and try to justify the innocence of Mr. Guru like human rights activists. The left would be more than happy to save some face as being a part of the govt. and help you formulate this. But why the delay?

Congress justifies. “There is no authenticity of Afzal’s statement, whether the interview was done with permission, and whether he actually said it or not. Rajnath Singh should know that is a constitutional process and hence it will take time,” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said.

Jayanthi Natarajan is trying to rub the delay off on the process, which does not exist. There are no procedures pending. No papers have moved on the issue, all trials are over and its plain action which is pending which the congress will not take. And as the matter gathers dust, it will seem as if those who ask for the court order to be obeyed are communal rascals.

The problem with congress is that they end up giving a communal angle to each issue.

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What can you expect in a party where the leader of the party promotes the interests of her own dynasty and every leader small or big has to suck up to the family to stick around?

The word is not family values, its nepotism. Earlier Shri. Baalu was promoting the selfish interests of his kin and the “Mr. clean” Manmohanji was abetting this very dutifully. This time it is the son of the most profound thinker of congress who has been trying to use his fathers address and clout to get about doing business.

Shri. Shailesh and Smt. Archana Patil have entered as directors in NV Distilleries Ltd. and were a part of a project in Ambala in Haryana. The plant started the bottling operations of major brands, like seagrams, three months ago.

Shri. Shailesh said that he had a financial stake of 50% in the project and that “Given my family background, I like to keep a low profile. There is nothing about the distillery project we have to hide. I feel very satisfied that such an investment in a rural area provides employment opportunities for poor farmers.”

Now the salient points of the project

  • Chairman Shri. Ashok Jain claims that the Home Minister’s son “has no financial stake.” Jain, however, admits: “Having Shailesh Patil on board added to the profile of my project.”
  • At the distillery site, villagers of Badoli — where most of the land acquisition was done — allege they have been “cheated” by the distillery owners since they were not provided employment as they had been promised. Village Sarpanches of adjoining Gola and Sherpur villages allege their land has been “usurped” as the distillery expands its operations.
  • Here is how the clearances were obtained.

Given the potential impact of distilleries on ground, water and air pollution, the sanction process is guided by elaborate norms of the CREP (Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as strict guidelines imposed by the MoEF, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the state Boards, in this case the HSPCB.

Official records show how the Centre’s permission came in the face of the state pollution control board’s objections:

In August 2006, the HSPCB issued a No-Objection Certificate (NoC) to N V Distilleries, imposing 24 conditions for environmental protection.

The Environment Impact Clearance from the MoEF came in February 2007, with 17 fresh conditions. These clearances were for starting “grain-based liquor production with zero discharge levels” and with a production capacity of 60 KLPD (kilo litres per day).

However, on September 17, 2007, the MoEF sent a letter permitting the distillery to expand the project from 60 KLPD to 75 KLPD. And to exercise a “dual feed” option, that is, production of liquor from either grain or molasses (where the comparative environmental hazard is much higher).

Barely a month later, an inspection by the HSPCB showed deficiencies in the distillery’s water treatment/ effluent flow plants. The inspectors in their report said: “The discharge of waste waster from the processes is a violation of the NoC of the Board/ Environmental clearances issued by the MoEF.”

The HSPCB team said that company representatives be called for a personal explanation and consent for operation of the bottling plant be decided based on the outcome of that meeting.

HSPCB officials in Panchkula told The Sunday Express that in view of these deficiencies, they were surprised by the Central clearance for expansion of the project.

Allowing dual feed, too, was a violation of current guidelines for stand-alone distilleries, Para 2 of which state: “Proposal for stand-alone new distilleries and expansion of existing distilleries without achieving zero discharge in surface water/ ground water will not be considered by MoEF…”

With N V Distilleries becoming a subject of a tussle between the Central and HSPCB authorities, chairman of the pollution control board A S Chahal stepped in and sent a strongly worded letter dated March 31 this year to the Joint Secretary in the MoEF.

Quoting guidelines, he wrote: “The subsequent environmental clearance granted by the Government of India on their own appears to be in violation of guidelines…In view of this, it is requested that facts of the case may please by re-examined…in case of any inconsistency with the provisions of the relevant Act/Rules/Notifications/Guidelines, Environmental clearance so granted may please be reviewed and action, if any at our end may please be intimated accordingly.”

Incidentally it is not just the environmental clearances which are obtained so questionably, the factory is in violation of 4 excise rules.

One does doubt the involvement of Shri. Shivraj in the whole matter, because Shri Shivraj is very busy finding new ways to damage India’s case asking for sarabjit’s clemency and very busy drafting a tourist brochure for more terrorist trainees, but the misuse of official residence “4, Janpath Road” for commercial interests is certainly something that he could not have been aware of. For obvious reasons this should not be allowed to continue in its form.

It would be unnecessary to ask the Home minister to give his resignation, as he would not agree, we should rather show him the door when the elections come in 2009.