Saturday, July 30, 2011

Railway provides new service for recovery of lost baggage

No more lost baggage in trains

Express News Service 

Last Updated : 30 Jul 2011 08:19:22 AM IST

CHENNAI: An integrated security system to enhance surveillance in railway stations is coming up in seven major suburban railway stations in Chennai and neighbouring Tiruvallur.

As part of the network, control rooms are being set up at Egmore and Tambaram railway stations. The work will be completed in four months. Besides, baggage scanners, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, bomb blankets, door-frame metal detectors, hand-held metal detectors and explosive detection and disposal system would also be installed.

Inaugurating a website for lost items, an initiative of the Railway Protection Force, here on Friday, S Anantharaman, Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai Division, underlined that security within railway premises was the prime focus and is bolstered in times of threats.

Asked about two wheeler parking problems in the suburban railway stations, he said that steps had been taken to address the grievances of passengers in this regard. "I made personal visits enquiring about the hardships faced by the commuters who use the parking space. Their complaints were sorted out," he added.

Commenting on increasing the rakes of Electric Multiple Units from 9 to 12, he said that three more EMUs on the Beach-Tambaram section were set to get additional rakes.

On the newly launched website, Anantharaman said that the information about articles recovered from the trains would be uploaded in the portal and those who missed these valuables could claim it from the Lost Property Office by providing necessary documents. Details of 83 lost articles, which the RPF had recovered, had been displayed on the website, he stated.

According to a press release, RPF staff recover unclaimed articles from trains and railway premises and deposit them with the Platform Inspectors in Chennai Central and Egmore stations, while in the smaller stations, the lost articles are handed over to the station manager or station master.

The Platform Inspector and Station Master normally keep these articles up to one week. If there is no claimant for the articles, these items are sent to the Chief Goods Supervisor at the Lost Property Office in Salt Cotaurs in Chennai.

The items sent to Lost Property Office are kept for three months depending upon the nature of the items deposited. The passengers who have left their belongings/valuables can contact Platform Inspector/Station Manager & The Chief Goods Supervisor, Lost Property Office, Salt Cotaurs, to explain the identity of the lost property and get back their belongings.

SR Gandhi, Additional Divisional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force and senior officials were present on the occasion.


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சென்னைரயில் பயணத்தில் தவறவிட்ட பொருள்கள் குறித்து அறிய இணையதளம்

First Published: 30 Jul 2011 01:48:39 AM IST

சென்னையில் நடைபெற்ற நிகழ்ச்சியில் இணையதளத்தை தொடங்கி வைக்கிறார் ரயில்வே கோட்ட மேலாளர் அனந்தராமன். உடன், ரயில்வே பாதுகாப்புப் படை சென்னை கோட்ட பாதுகாப்

சென்னை, ஜூலை 28: ரயில் பயணத்தின் போது தவறிவிட்டுச் சென்ற பொருள்களை ரயில்வே துறையின் இணையதளத்தின் மூலம் தெரிந்து கொண்டு மீட்கும் வகையில் இணையதள சேவை விரிவுப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளது.

சென்னை ரயில்வே கோட்ட மேலாளர் அலுவலகத்தில் இதற்கான திட்ட தொடக்கவிழா வெள்ளிக்கிழமை நடந்தது. ரயில்வே கோட்ட மேலாளர் அனந்தராமன் திட்டத்தை தொடக்கி வைத்து செய்தியாளர்களிடம் கூறியது:

சென்னை சென்ட்ரல், எழும்பூர் ரயில் நிலையங்களுக்கு தினமும் ஏராளமான ரயில்கள் வந்து செல்கின்றன. ரயில்களில் வருபவர்களில் சிலர் தங்களது உடைமைகளை விட்டு,விட்டு சென்று விடுகின்றனர்.

இதை ரயில்வே பாதுகாப்பு படை போலீஸார் மீட்டு, நடைமேடை இன்ஸ்பெக்டர்களிடம் ஒப்படைக்கின்றனர். அவர்கள் 7 நாள்கள் வரை அந்த பொருளை வைத்திருப்பார்கள்.

அந்த காலக்கட்டத்தில் அந்த உடைமைகளை யாரும் உரிமை கோரவில்லை என்றால், அவர்கள் காணாமல் போன பொருள்களை பாதுகாக்கும் கிடங்குக்கு அனுப்பி வைத்து விடுவார்கள்.

இவ்வாறாக கடந்த ஏப்ரல் மாதத்தில் இருந்து இப்போது வரை 89 வகையான பொருள்கள், காணாமல் போன பொருள்களை பாதுகாக்கும் கிடங்கில் உள்ளன.

இவ்வாறு மீட்கப்பட்ட பொருள்கள் எந்த தேதியில், எந்த ரயிலில் அல்லது நடைமேடையில் மீட்கப்பட்டது என்பது குறித்த பட்டியல் ரயில்வே பாதுகாப்பு படை போலீஸôர் வைத்திருப்பார்கள். அந்த பட்டியல் இப்போது தெற்கு ரயில்வேயின் இணையதளத்தில் இணைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. அதாவது இது குறித்த விவரங்களை என்ற இணையதளத்துக்குச் சென்று, About us-க்குள் சென்று Department-க்குள் சென்று அதில் இருந்து Security-க்கு சென்று Chennai Division-ல் இது குறித்த விவரங்களை தெரிந்துக் கொள்ளலாம்.

இதன் மூலம் தங்களது உடமைகள் குறித்து தெரிந்து கொள்ளும் பயணிகள் ரயில் நிலைய அதிகாரிகளிடம் புகார் செய்தால், விசாரணைக்கு பிறகு உண்மை என்று தெரிய வரும் பட்சத்தில் உடமைகள் ஒப்படைக்கப்படும் என்றார் அனந்தராமன்.

இதைத் தொடர்ந்து, செய்தியாளர்களின் கேள்விகளுக்கு அவர் அளித்த பதில்:

தாம்பரம் - செங்கல்பட்டு இடையே 2 அகல பாதைகள் உள்ளன. 3-வது பாதையாக இருந்த குறுகிய வழிபாதையை மாற்றி ரூ. 25 கோடியில் அகலபாதை அமைக்கும் பணி இப்போது நடந்து வருகிறது. அந்த பணி விரைவில் முடிந்து பயன்பாட்டுக்கு வரும்.

ரயில் நிலையங்களில் இருசக்கர வாகனங்கள் நிறுத்துமிடத்துக்கான ஒப்பந்த புள்ளிகள், ரயில்வே வரையறுத்துள்ள தொகையை விட குறைவாக கேட்கப்படுகிறது.

இதனால் சென்னை புறநகர் பகுதிகளில் உள்ள சில ரயில் நிலையங்களில் வாகனங்கள் நிறுத்துமிடங்கள் குறித்து பிரச்னைகள் உள்ளன. அதற்கு விரைவில் தீர்வு காணப்படும்.

தீபாவளிக்கு கூடுதல் ரயில்கள் விடுவது குறித்து தலைமை அலுவலகத்துக்கு தகவல் தெரிவிக்கப்படும் என்றார் அனந்தராமன்


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A.P.J.Abdul Kalam: Accurate prediction of quakes likely in 10 years

Accurate prediction of quakes likely in 10 years: Kalam



Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. File photo

Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Wednesday said scientists would able to predict earthquakes accurately in another 10 years.

Scientists were now able to predict natural disasters such as cyclone, tsunami and others almost accurately, and methods to develop prediction of earthquake were being developed in various laboratories around the world, Dr. Kalam said.

Interacting with students of the Sitalakshmi Ramaswamy College for Women in Tiruchi, he said women were increasingly playing important roles in various spheres.

Adding that to get to the top they only needed self confidence and courage, he pointed out that it was three women scientists who successfully tracked the recently launched Geo Satellite at Hasan near Bangalore.

He said the teachers should allow students to pose more and more questions and be creative in the class room atmosphere. The teachers should win the respect of the students by their knowledge and brilliance, and be role models to the students, he said.


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Google’s Street View in new privacy scandal: Report

Google's Street View in new privacy scandal: Report


SAN FRANCISCO, July 26, 2011

It has previously been alleged that Google's Street View cars were collecting personal data from unsecured wi-fi networks.

Google collected the unique identifying addresses of computers and mobile phones that used wi—fi networks whose data was logged by the company's Street View vehicles, technology website reported Monday.

The report represents a further privacy problem for the US—based web search giant, after a government audit last year in Germany revealed that Google's Street View cars were collecting personal data from unsecured wi—fi networks, including email addresses and phone numbers.

Google said that the information had been accidentally collected and claimed to have initiated strict protocols to prevent a recurrence.

CNet said that the new privacy lapse highlighted another loophole in Google's system.

Street View cars were meant to collect the locations of wi—fi access points, a widely used method to help smartphones figure out their location in the absence of strong cell—phone or GPS signals.

While recording that information, the Google vehicles also scooped up the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wi—fi networks and made the data available over a publicly accessible database.

Google competitor Apple has faced its own privacy issues over its now discontinued practice of recording logs showing the approximate location data of millions of iPhones.

The report said that Google has now discontinued the practice, and that the data it collected is no longer publicly available. The company declined to comment on the report.


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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Full Story about Hillary Clinton meet Jayalalithaa

J J and Hillary Clinton Meet – Full story!

21st July 2011

Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State met J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu yesterday (20.7.2011) at the Secretariat, Fort St. George, Chennai, and discussed various social, political and economic issues of common interest.

At the outset, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated J Jayalalitha on her impressive electoral victory which would be the envy of any politician in the world. She also congratulated her on the many path-breaking achievements during her earlier stints as Chief Minister. She said that J Jayalalithaa's achievements were great success stories and she was eager to interact with such a great personality.During this interaction, J Jayalalitha recalled the strong bilateral trade relationship between India and the United States and stated that US is India's third largest trading partner, the second most important export market, and the third most important source of imports. India exported 30 billion US $ worth of services to the US in 2009-2010. India imported 10 billion US $ worth of US services in2009.  

J Jayalalithaa foresaw that Indian imports of US services would see a sharp increase in coming years as India's middle class market would grow larger. Inviting more US investment in the Automobile Sector in Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalitha stated that Tamil Nadu enjoys pre-eminence in automotive / auto components. She said that Tamil Nadu is aspiring to become a global hub in these industries and the opportunities are enormous for the Tamil Nadu and the US Governments to work together and formulate a policy to engage CEOs from mid-size companies in each country, to work towards facilitating an enabling environment for small and medium enterprises, leveraging technology, and sourcing, and strengthening the global supply chain management system in the Automotive Sector. The US Secretary of State expressed the view that there was great potential for American investments in Tamil Nadu.

Touching upon the Solar Energy Sector,  J Jayalalithaa said that Solar energy and related technology is also a sector in which Tamil Nadu can provide vast opportunities on a long term basis. She stated that the Government of Tamil Nadu has proposed to establish 10 Solar Energy Parks of 300 MW each and this would require an investment of 9 billion US $. The Government of Tamil Nadu and the US Government could work together to facilitate investment from US Companies in Tamil Nadu in this Sector.

Regarding Skill Development Initiatives, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu stated that Human Capital has always been a great asset of Tamil Nadu and Education has a crucial role to play in its development. She stated that the employment potential of the State is 10-12 Million jobs between 2011 and 2020. The number of institutions for higher education and vocational training should increase by 4 times each to ensure this. Development of Vocational Training Institutes and upgradation of existing Industrial Training Institutes are possible if both the Government of Tamil Nadu and the US Government can join hands in promoting skill development. The US Secretary of State evinced keen interest in collaborative exchange programmes between training institutions in Tamil Nadu and the United States. The US Secretary of State expressed her desire that American students should come for internship with the American Companies and NGOs in Tamil Nadu.

As far as Road Infrastructure Connectivity is concerned, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu pointed out that roadways are the single most important component which account for over 60% of Cargo movement in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, roadways are a major concern for industry. She said that it is projected that the capacity required is 2.1 lakh Kms. with a spending of 15-20 billion US $ by 2020.J Jayalalithaa pointed out that of particular importance is the development of road infrastructure at locations of economic activity and in particular, ports and industrial clusters have high need for road infrastructure. The Government of Tamil Nadu has been aggressively promoting industrial clusters throughout the State, especially in the interior and southern districts. 

In this development of road infrastructure there is great opportunity for collaboration between US Government and the Government of Tamil Nadu. The US Secretary of State informed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister that Overseas Private Investment Corporation in the US has many opportunities for investments in Tamil Nadu and the US would look forward to many large investments in the State of Tamil Nadu under the dynamic leadership of  J Jayalalithaa,  Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

During the course of the discussions, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Selvi J Jayalalithaa expressed her concern over reduction in issuance of H1B visas even though in terms of number of Visas issued, the Chennai US Consulate is the second largest in the world. Since the current quota for H1B is very low at 65,000 and since the number of applications far exceeds this quota, there is a very high rejection rate and requested the US Secretary of State to increase the quota of H1B Visas to the original levels of 195,000.

During the discussion on the issues concerning Sri Lankan Tamils, J Jayalalithaa stated that even though the war in Sri Lanka was over two years ago, the Sri Lankan Tamils in the Jaffna area are still in camps and unable to go back to the original places where they used to live. The US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton shared the concern of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and said that the U.S. Government is looking at some innovative and creative ideas in breaking this impasse and enabling the Sri Lankan Tamils in camps to get back to their own homes. While discussing the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu, the  Chief Minister explained that they have been provided with all the facilities that are available to the local citizens by the Government of Tamil Nadu. 

The US Secretary of State and her delegation expressed a keen desire to know about the pioneering schemes of J Jayalalithaa for women and children like the Cradle Baby Scheme, Girl Child Protection Scheme, All Women Police Stations, Women Self-Help Groups, initiated by J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The delegation also deeply appreciated the Free Mid-day Nutritious Meal Scheme pioneered by Puratchi Thalaivar M.G.R. The US Secretar  of State requested that the details of all these schemes may be sent to the US Consul General at Chennai for use in various fora. The US Secretary of State also expressed her desire for a State to State programme between Tamil Nadu and the States in US for various industrial and economic programmes.

The meeting between J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State, was marked by cordiality, genuine goodwill and great warmth and mutual respect. The US Secretary of State expressed the hope that there would be many more opportunities for such interactions in the future. She invited J Jayalalithaa to visit the US which would enable the Americans to know about the great achievements of the State of Tamil Nadu.

The meeting lasted for an hour.

The US Delegation comprised Bob Blake, Assistant Secretary of State, Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Peter Burleigh, US Ambassador to India, Andrew T. Simkin, US Consul General at Chennai and Huma Abidin, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary of State, United States of America.


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`Clinton, Jayalalithaa WILL discuss Sri Lanka`

Tuesday, 19 July 2011 - 2:28 PM SL Time

(Rediff) Senior Indian officials have claimed that United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s first ever trip to Chennai will be a strictly non-governmental visit with no discussion on Sri Lanka. 

But a senior official in the Barack Obama administration, who will accompany Clinton, has said that Sri Lanka would definitely figure in the discussions between the secretary of state and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa when they meet for the first time. 

In an exclusive interview with, the Obama administration`s point man for South Asia Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, an erstwhile US Ambassador to Sri Lanka from 2006 to 2009, said, `Obviously, the 60 million people who live in Tamil Nadu have a lot of concerns about the situation in Sri Lanka,` and that he was sure that this will `be a section of the discussion when the secretary meets the chief minister`. 


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jayalalithaa announces new medical insurance scheme

Jayalalithaa announces new medical insurance scheme


CHENNAI, July 11, 2011

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa chairs a Cabinet meeting at the State Secretariat on Monday. Photo: DIPR

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday announced a new health insurance scheme, significantly enhancing benefits to patients, compared to the Chief Minister's Insurance Scheme of the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government.

A number of amendments have been made, upping the total health insurance cover for a family to Rs. 4 lakh for four years. In the yet-to-be-named scheme, each family gets cover of Rs. 1 lakh per annum for four years. In the case of certain diseases, this could go up to Rs. 1.50 lakh, Ms. Jayalalithaa said in a statement.

The other significant change is that the new scheme covers 950 medical conditions compared to 642 under the previous scheme. The DMK government had envisaged extending the scheme for newborns, but that was not implemented. The fresh scheme will not only include treatment for newborns, but also medical management, as against merely surgical interventions. Thereby, treatment costs will be covered for heart attack as well as angioplasty or open heart surgery.

The Chief Minister also announced that all the investigations done in connection with the treatment, as authorised by a government hospital, or government-run health camp, would be covered under the new scheme, even if surgery was not warranted at the end of it.

In case of hospital admissions, investigations and other charges incurred for five days would be reimbursed to the hospital. Under the earlier scheme, only investigations directly related to surgery would be covered. A certain amount would also be allocated for follow-up procedures.

One of the criticisms levelled against the previous health insurance scheme was that private hospitals were being promoted at the cost of government institutions. Trying to address this, the new scheme specifies that government hospitals would be paid the same rates as those in the private sector. Additionally, certain kinds of treatments would be permitted only in government hospitals. Special wards would be set up in the hospitals approved by the government under the new scheme.

Ms. Jayalalithaa added that people already enrolled under the old scheme and requiring emergency surgery could still avail treatment at approved hospitals. The government itself would compensate the hospitals for such expenses.

While fresh identity cards would have to be issued, the new scheme would use the existing database for beneficiaries.

The first State empowered committee meeting headed by the Chief Secretary would analyse the various issues and arrive at a decision to fix on the process of calling for tenders from bidders before this weekend, officials said.


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Jaya restores Alamara temple idols

Jaya restores Alamara temple idols shifted by DMK govt

TNN | Jul 12, 2011, 04.09 am IST

CHENNAI: In yet another reversal of the previous DMK regime's decision, this one involving the gods, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday sanctioned Rs 18.5 lakh for the renovation and restoration of idols at the Alamara Vinayakar temple on the premises of the new secretariat complex. 

The temple, which now has only the Vinayaka idol under the banyan tree, will also have Anjaneya, Durga and other idols. Twenty-three idols were relocated from the temple for the construction of the new secretariat by the DMK government. The restoration works will begin immediately. Officials of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) department were not available for comment. 

A statement issued by the government said the temple got its name as the idol was found under the tree and devotees residing in the complex as well as those from other areas visit the temple. The DMK government in 2008 decided to relocate the temple for construction of the assembly and secretariat complex. After a PIL was filed in the Madras high court against the removal of the temple, a sessions court, which subsequently heard the case, directed the PWD to pass orders on the petitioner's plea. 

The government decided to leave the Vinayaka idol at the same place and allocated 2,400 sq ft at an alternate location at a nominal rent and also fenced off the original location. Except the Vinayaka idol, the other 23 idols were relocated to the new location provided by the PWD. 

The government then asked the HRCE department to construct a temple on the new land from its own funds. Chief minister J Jayalalithaa, reversing the DMK government's decision, has ordered restoration of the 23 idols back to their original spots and also said the government would undertake restoration work at the earliest. She has asked the authorities to restore the idols according to agama rituals and practices. The funds will be allocated from the HRCE department's general fund and the consecration of the temple would take place by year-end, the order said. 


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Sunday, July 10, 2011

JIPMER gets approval for kidney transplantation

JIPMER gets approval for kidney transplantation


PUDUCHERRY, July 8, 2011


File photo shows Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry.

It becomes the second hospital in the Union Territory to obtain the approval

The Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) has received permission from the Union Ministry of Health recently to perform kidney transplantation in its hospital.

Director of JIPMER K.S.V.K. Subba Rao told The Hindu on Thursday that the approval came last month and the hospital was making all arrangements to start the transplant operations as soon as possible.

According to him, the hospital had applied to the Ministry to grant permission to perform kidney transplantations after it completed the recruitment of necessary technical staff, including qualified nephrologists.

Following the application, a team from the Ministry inspected the hospital "two months ago" to check if all necessary facilities were in place.

The approval came after a favourable report from the team.

With this approval, JIPMER becomes the second hospital in the Union Territory, after the Government General Hospital here, to obtain the approval to perform renal transplantation.


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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

THE HINDU: Article about Arikamedu

Setting the record straight on the Arikamedu finds


July 1, 2011


The Hindu Archives Excavation in progress in Arikamedu in 1947

An article that appeared in The Hindu in 1941 throws light on the work of A. Aiyappan in establishing Arikamedu's archaeological significance.

Without pre-medieval archaeological evidence and a firm datum line, south Indian history has for long appeared "like a jumble of words with no consecutive meaning." Excavations at Arikamedu, the once flourishing port town near Pondicherry (now renamed as Puducherry), for the first time provided datable evidences to confirm trade links with Rome that arched back to the first century CE and helped construct a proper chronology of south Indian history.

The credit for establishing Arikamedu's significance is often attributed to British archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler and his 1945 round of excavations. Wheeler's own prolific but often self-promoting writings created this impression. At times it even misled readers and tended to eclipse an important earlier contribution that had brought archaeologists there in the first place. This fact would have gone unnoticed but for a report published in The Hindu in 1941, and the writings of a French archaeologist in 1947.

Though Arikamedu was known to French historians for a long time and important artefacts were found on its sands, no formal excavations were carried out. Four years before Wheeler came there, A. Aiyappan, the Superintendent of the Government Museum in Madras conducted trial excavations for the first time.

Jouveau Dubreuil, the French archaeologist who was residing in Pondicherry then was one of the earliest experts to note the significance of Arikamedu. In the earlier months of 1941, he 'generously' shared some of the artefacts collected at the site with Dr. Aiyappan. After carefully studying them, Dr. Aiyappan was convinced about their antiquity and decided that it was time for a systematic examination and mapping of Arikamedu. He persuaded Dubreuil to take the initiative, and later, at Dubreuil's invitation, commenced the first formal trial excavation.

On March 23, 1941, a few days after completing the round of excavations, in an article in The Hindu Dr. Aiyappan provided a factual account of it and described the artefacts found. The article was well illustrated, including with a photograph showing the trench with a pottery ring well. It carried the reconstructed drawing of an amphora (terracotta vessel with two handles used by Romans to carry food). It was this article, as Jean-Marie Casal, the French archaeologist who conducted excavations in Arikamedu in 1947 observed, that aroused "interest in French and Indian archaeological circles" and "brought about visits to the site."

Wheeler was not only less generous, he even recorded the process in a different manner. In his detailed excavation report, published in 1946 in Ancient India, a bulletin of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), there is no reference to Dr. Aiyappan's contribution. On the other hand, in the same report Wheeler went some distance to acknowledge some minor excavations that followed.

Even in his later writings, including the widely read autobiographical account titled My Archaeological Mission to India and Pakistan, published in 1976, Wheeler ignored Dr. Aiyappan. Wheeler recalled how "fortuitously" he had reached Madras on a warm morning of May 1944, only to find the Madras Museum almost deserted. The staff, he observed, like many others in the city, had fled fearing bombing by Japanese aircraft: the Second World War was on. He wandered around in the museum by himself, and discovered a Roman amphora in one of the cupboards. It was his "tireless questioning," he claims, that led to the conclusion that the amphora had been "extricated from a site on the outskirts of Pondicherry."

The truth, on the other hand, was that Dr. Aiyappan had received him as the Director-General of the ASI at the Madras Museum. Wheeler himself briefly mentions this meeting in his memoirs titled Still Digging (1956). Dr. Aiyappan "readily cooperated" and explained to him that the amphora was "found on a site 80 km south of Madras in Pondicherry in French India, where he and others had been carrying trial excavations." It was after this meeting that Wheeler took a night train to reach the site.

What lurks behind these contradictory accounts, apart from a tendency for self-promotion, is Wheeler's contempt for non-specialists undertaking excavation and his urge to emphasise the importance of his own methods.

Dr. Aiyappan was an anthropologist amongst archaeologists. He was trained as an economist but joined the Madras Museum as a curator in 1929. In 1933, he went to the London School of Economics to do his doctoral research under Raymond Firth, the eminent anthropologist. After completing his research in 1937, he returned to the Madras Museum and later became its Superintendent. To Dr. Aiyappan, his interest in Arikamedu was in keeping with his own interest and the long archaeology-oriented traditions of the Museum. He knew the limitations of his efforts and made only modest claims in his article about his findings. He also saw the difficulties in pursuing excavations in Arikamedu that was part of French-Indian territory.

To Wheeler, the Arikamedu excavation was an "evangelical mission." In his view, Dr. Aiyappan and other non-archaeologists, despite their plans for "systematic examination, mapping and protection" of ancient sites, were men "anxious indeed to do well" but amateurs who did not "know what good work is." He probably thought he was fully justified in ignoring, if not erasing, their contribution. As a prolific writer himself, Wheeler should have realised that the printed word would come back to tell the full story at another time.


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திங்கள், 13 ஆகஸ்ட், 2007

புதுவைக்குப் புகழ்சேர்க்கும் அரிக்கமேடு ARIKKAMEDU

தமிழகத்தின் கிழக்குக் கடற்கரையோரம் பண்டைக்காலத்தில் பல வணிகத்தளங்கள் இருந்தன. அவற்றுள் மாமல்லபுரம், எயில்பட்டினம் (மரக்காணம்), அரிக்கமேடு(Arikkamedu), காவிரிப்பூம்பட்டினம், கொற்கை முதலியன குறிப்பிடத்தக்கன. மேற்கண்ட ஊர்களுள் அரிக்கமேடு என்பது புதுவை மாநிலத்தின் புகழ் சேர்க்கும் முகவரிப் பகுதியாக விளங்குகிறது.

அரிக்கமேடு எனும் பகுதி புதுவையிலிருந்து நான்கு கிலோ மீட்டர் தொலைவில் உள்ளது. அரியாங்குப்பம் ஆற்றை ஒட்டிய பகுதியாகும். அரியாங்குப்பத்தில் இருந்து வீராம்பட்டினம் செல்லும் பாதையில் காக்காயன்தோப்பு எனும் ஊருக்கு வடக்கே அமைந்துள்ளது. அரிக்க மேட்டின் வடக்கே தேங்காய்த்திட்டும், தெற்கே காக்காயன்தோப்பும், கிழக்கே வீராம்பட்டினமும், மேற்கே அரியாங்குப்பமும் எல்லைகளாக உள்ளன.

(கி.பி.17 ஆம் நூற்றாண்டளவில் கட்டப்பட்ட கட்டடப் பகுதிகள்)

அரியாங்குப்பம் ஆற்றை ஒட்டிய பகுதியில் பழங்கால அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியை அகழாய்வு வழி அடையாளம் கண்டுள்ளனர். மிகப்பரந்து விளங்கிய அரிக்கமேடு கடல் அரிப்பாலும் இயற்கை மாற்றங்களாலும் மிகச்சிறிய தீவுப்பகுதியாக இன்று விளங்குகிறது.

அரிக்கமேடு கி.மு. 200 முதல் கி.பி. 200 வரை புகழ்பெற்ற வணிகத்தளமாக விளங்கியது. வரலாற்றியல், தொல்லியல் அறிஞர்கள் இதனைக் குறிப்பிடுகின்றனர். அயல்நாட்டுப் பயணிகளான பெரிப்புளுஸ், தாலமி முதலானவர்கள் காவிரிப் பூம்பட்டினத்திற்கும் மரக்காணத்திற்கும் இடையே "பொதுகே' என்னும் வணிகத்தலம் (எம்போரியம்) இருந்துள்ளது எனக் குறித்துள்ளனர். பொதுகே என்பது இன்றைய புதுவை சார்ந்த அரிக்கமேடு பகுதியாகும் என மார்ட்டின் வீலர், கசால், விமலா பெக்லி, பீட்டர் பிரான்சிஸ் முதலானவர்கள் கருதுகின்றனர்.

அரிக்கமேடு ஏறத்தாழ நானூறு ஆண்டுகளுக்குமேல் பண்டைக்காலத்தில் புகழ்ப்பெற்ற ஊராக விளங்கினாலும் அது பற்றிய எந்தக் குறிப்புகளும் தமிழ் இலக்கியங்களில், கல்வெட்டுகளில் பதிவாகாமல் உள்ளமை வியப்பளிக்கிறது. எனினும் அரிக்கமேட்டை அகழாய்வு செய்த அயல்நாட்டு அறிஞர்கள் பல்வேறு உண்மைகளை வெளிக்கொண்டுவந்துள்ளனர். ரோமானிய அரசன் அகஸ்டஸ் காலத்தில் அரிக்கமேடு புகழ்பெற்று விளங்கியமையை இங்குக் கிடைத்த அகஸ்டஸின் உருவம் பொரித்தகாசுகள் தெரிவிக்கின்றன.

அரிக்கமேடு என்ற ஊரின் பெயர்காரணம் பற்றி அறிஞர்கள் பலரும் பல கருத்துக்களைச் சொல்கின்றனர். அருகர் சமயத்தார் இங்கு மிகுதியாக இருந்தனர். எனவே அருகன்மேடு - அரிக்கமேடு என்றானது என்பர். மேலும் அருகர் - புத்தர். புத்தர் சிலை இங்கு இருந்ததால் அரிக்கமேடு என்றானது என்பர். இவ்வாறு பல காரணங்கள் கூறப்பட்டாலும் அரிக்கமேட்டின் இயற்கை அமைப்பைப் பார்க்கும் போது ஆற்று நீரும் கடல் நீரும் பல காலம் பரந்துபட்ட பகுதியை அரித்து மேடாக ஒரு பகுதியை மாற்றியதால் ஊர்மக்கள் வழக்கில் அரிச்சமேடு - அரிக்கமேடு என்று வழங்கி இருப்பார்களோ என்று எண்ண வேண்டியுள்ளது.

அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியை இன்று பார்வையிடச் சென்றால் இன்று நமக்குப் பழந்தமிழக அகழாய்வுக் காட்சிகள் எதுவும் காண முடியாத படி மேட்டுப்பகுதியாக மாமரத்தோப்புகளாக மட்டும் காட்சியளிக்கும். ஏனெனில் இங்கு ஆய்வு செய்த அறிஞர்கள் தங்கள் ஆய்வினை நிறைவு செய்த பிறகு அவற்றைப் பாதுக்காப்பாக மூடி விட்டனர். ஆனால் அரியாங்குப்பம் ஆற்றின் கரையோரம் மண்ணரிப்புகளுக்கு இடையே பழைய பானை ஓடுகள், செங்கல், கட்டடச் சுவர் அமைப்புகளின் எச்சம், சிறு சிறு மணிகள் இவற்றை இன்றும் கீழே கிடக்கக் காணலாம்.

தொல்பொருள் ஆய்வுத்துறை ஏறத்தாழ 21 ஏக்கர் நிலத்தைக் கையகப்படுத்திப் பாதுகாக்கப்பட்ட பகுதியாக மாற்றி வைத்துள்ளது. இப்பகுதியில் கி.பி. 17ஆம் நூற்றாண்டு அளவில் கட்டப்பட்டதாக நம்பப்படும் கட்டிடச் சுவர்களின் மேல் பகுதியைக் காணலாம். அழகிய செங்கல் கொண்டு கட்டப்பட்டுள்ளது. இக்கட்டடச் சுவரின் இடையே மிக அகலாமான, நீளமான கற்கள் இடம்பெற்றுள்ளன. இவை பழைய அரிக்கமேட்டுக் கல் என நம்புவோரும் உண்டு.

அரிக்கமேடு பண்டைக்காலத்தில் பெருமைமிக்க ஊராகப் புகழுடன் இருந்தது. கடற்கோளோ, இயற்கைச் சீற்றமோ, சமய மதப் பூசல்களோ, அயல் நாட்டினரின் படையயடுப்போ இவ்வூரின் பெருமையை அறிய முடியாமல் செய்துவிட்டது. ஆங்கிலேயர்களும் பிரெஞ்சுக்காரர்களும் தமிழகத்தின் பகுதிகளைக் கைப்பற்றியபோது பிரெஞ்சுக்காரர்களின் ஆளுகைக்குப் புதுச்சேரி வந்தது.

புதுவையைக் கைப்பற்ற ஆங்கிலேயர்கள் பலமுறை முயற்சி செய்தனர் எனினும் பிரெஞ்சியரின் ஆட்சிக்குட்பட்டுப் புதுச்சேரி இருந்தது. புதுவைக்குப் பிரான்சு நாட்டிலிருந்து பலர் கல்வி, ஆட்சி, ஆய்வின் பொருட்டு வந்தனர். அவர்களுள் லெழாந்தீய் ( Le Gentil ) என்பவர் அரிக்கமேட்டின் சிறப்பை முதன்முதல் வெளியுலகிற்குத் தெரிவித்தார். 1769இல் இவர்தம் முயற்சி நூலாக வெளிவந்தது. இதில் அருகன்சிலை ஒன்று இருந்ததை வெளியிட்டார். ஆங்கிலேயர்களுக்கும் பிரெஞ்சுக்காரர்களுக்கும் ஏற்பட்ட போர் முயற்சியால் இவ்வாய்வு முயற்சி தொடரவில்லைபோலும்.

1908இல் பிரெஞ்சுக் கல்லூரியின் பேராசிரியர் ழவோ துய்ப்ராய் (Jouveau Dubreuil ) என்பவர் அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியில் சிறுவர்கள் வைத்து விளையாடிய பலவண்ண மணிகள், மட்பாண்ட ஓடுகளைச் சேகரித்தார். துய்ப்ராய் வேண்டுகோளின்படி 1939இல் வியட்நாமில் இருந்து அரிக்கமேட்டு ஆய்விற்கு அறிஞர் ஒருவர் வந்தார். கொலுபேவ் என்னும் அந்த அறிஞரின் ஆய்வின் பயனாக அகஸ்டஸின் தலை பொறிக்கப்பட்ட கோமேதகப் பதக்கமும், ஒருபுறம் யானை உருவமும் மறுபுறம் சிங்கம் பொறிக்கப்பட்ட ரோமானிய நாணயங்களைக் கண்டு வெளியிட்டார்.

1940 அளவில் அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியில் பூமியில் தென்னம்பிள்ளைநட குழிதோண்டிய பொழுது மண்சாடி, மட்பாண்ட ஓடுகள் கிடைத்தன. இதன் விளைவாக 1944இல் மார்ட்டின் வீலர் அரிக்கமேடு பகுதியில் பல்வேறு உண்மைகள் மறைந்து இருக்குமென நினைத்து அகழாய்வில் ஈடுபட்டார். இதில் பல்வேறு உண்மைகள் வெளியுலகிற்கு தெரியவந்தன.

1949இல் கசால் என்பவர் அரிக்கமேட்டு உண்மைகளைப் பிரெஞ்சில் நூலாக வெளியிட்டார். 1980இல் அமெரிக்காவின் பென்சில்வேனிய பல்கலைக் கழகத்தைச் சேர்ந்த விமலா பெக்லி ஆய்வு செய்து 1983இல் ஒரு கட்டுரை வெளியிட்டார். இதில் அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியில் கிடைத்த சாயத்தொட்டி உறைகிணறு, மதுச்சாடி, பிராமி எழுத்து அமைந்த பானைஓடு, யவனக் குடியிருப்பின் சுவர்பகுதிகளைப்பற்றி ஆராய்ந்து எழுதினார். தொடர் ஆராய்ச்சியின் விளைவாக விமலா பெக்லி தம் குழுவினருடன் உருவாக்கிய அரிக்கமேடு தொடர்பான இரண்டு நூல் தொகுதிகள் அரிக்கமேட்டின் பெருமையை முழுவதும் தாங்கியுள்ளன.

அயல்நாட்டினர் பல்வேறு காலங்களில் உருவாக்கிய ஆய்வு முயற்சிகளைத் தொடர்ச்சியாக இன்று கிடைக்கும் அறிவியல் தொழில் நுட்ப வசதிகளைப் பயன்படுத்திச் செய்திருந்தால் மிகப்பெரும் உண்மைகள் தெரிந்திருக்கும். பழமையைப் போற்றாத நம்மக்களுக்கு இது மிகப்பெரிய இழப்பாகும்.

அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியில் கிடைத்த பொருட்கள் :

அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியில் அகழாய்வு செய்துப் பார்த்த அறிஞர்கள் அழகிய செங்கல் சுவர், ஈமத்தாழிகள், பலவண்ண மணிகள், பலவகை ஓடுகளைக் கண்டுபிடித்துள்ளனர். இங்குக் கிடைக்கும் பல்வேறு மணிகளை ஒத்துக் கிழக்குக் கடற்கரையின் பழந்தமிழக நகரங்களிலும் மணிகள் கிடைக்கின்றன. கழிமுகப்பகுதிகளில், கிடைத்த ஓடுகளில் தமிழ் பிராமி எழுத்துகள் இடம்பெற்றுள்ளன.
பதினொரு அடி ஆழத்தில் ஒரு மண்டை ஓடும், பூணைக்கண் மணிகளும் கிடைத்துள்ளன. மணி உருக்குச் சட்டங்கள். சாயக்கலவை படிந்த ஓடுகள், கோமேதகக் கல், பச்சைமணிக்கல், படிகமணிகள், அரைத்தான் ஓடுகள், ரோமாணிய காசு, மோதிரம், உறைகிணறுகள் முதலியன குறிப்பிடத்தக்க பொருள்களாகும். இங்குக் காணப்படும் உறைகிணற்றில் சாயம் படிந்து காணப்படுவதால் துணிகளுக்குச் சாயம் ஏற்றும் தொழில் இங்கு நடைபெற்று இருக்கலாம் என்று நம்பப்படுகிறது.

அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியில் பல்வேறு வடிவங்களில் மணிகள் கிடைப்பதாலும், அவற்றில் வேலைப்பாடுகள் காணப்படுவதாலும் இங்கு மணிஉருக்குத் தொழிற்சாலைகள் இருந்தனவோ என்று எண்ண வேண்டியுள்ளது.

பண்டைக்காலத்தில் மணிகளை உருக்கி, காய்ச்சி, துளையிட்டு, தூய்மை செய்து மணிகளை உருவாக்கியுள்ளனர். இங்கு நீலமணி, பச்சைமணி, ஊதாமணி, கருப்பு மணி மிகுதியாகக் கிடைத்தன. தங்கக் காசுகளும் செப்புக் காசுகளும் அரிக்கமேட்டில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. ஏறத்தாழ 200 வகையான மட்பாண்ட ஓடுகள் இங்குச் சேகரிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.பானை ஓடுகளில் "அண்டிய மகர்', அந்தக, ஆவி, ஆமி, ஆதித்தியன் எனும் பெயர்கள் எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளன.

கூர்முனை சாடிகளில் பழச்சாறு தயாரித்து மண்ணில் புதைத்து உண்டுள்ளனர். பழங்காலத்தில் அயல்நாட்டினரை (ரோமானியர்) யவனர் என்றழைத்தனர். இவர்கள் மது அருந்தும் இயல்பு உடையவர்கள். இந்த யவனர்கள் மிகுதியாக இப்பகுதியில் தங்கியிருந்தமைக்குக் கூர்முனைச்சாடிகள் சான்றுகளாக உள்ளன.

எலும்பில் அமைந்த எழுத்தாணி, தங்கத்தில் செய்த கலைப்பொருள், மீன் முள்ளாலான கலைப்பொருள்கள் கிடைத்துள்ளன. சுடுமண் பொம்மைகளில் மனித உருவங்கள் கலைநுட்பத்துடன் காட்டப்பட்டுள்ளன. முடி, முலை, முகம் சிறப்புடன் காட்டப்பட்டுள்ளன. கிளிஞ்சல், சங்கு இவற்றால் செய்த பொருள்களும் கிடைத்துள்ளன.
உரோமானிய விளக்கு, மரச்சாமான்கள், வடகயிறு, மரச்சுத்தி முதலான மக்கள் அன்றாடம் பயன்படுத்தும் பொருள்கள் அரிக்கமேட்டு அகழாய்வில் கிடைத்துள்ளன. அரியாங்குப்பம் ஆற்றால் அரணிட்டுக் காக்கப்படும் அரிக்கமேட்டுப் பகுதியில் நவீன தொழில் நுட்பங்களைப் பயன்படுத்தித் தொடர் ஆய்வு செய்வதால் பழந்தமிழகத்தின் பெருமையையும் அயல்நாட்டுடன் கொண்டிருந்த கப்பல் வழி வணிகத்தையும் நிலைநாட்ட முடியும்.

நன்றி: தினமணி புதுவைச்சிறப்பிதழ் நாள் :19.07.2007 (அனைத்துப்பதிப்புகளிலும்)

Friday, July 1, 2011

THE HINDU: Lokpal Bill and the PM

Lokpal Bill and the Prime Minister


June 30, 2011

When the basic structure of the Constitution denies the Prime Minister immunity from prosecution, how could it be argued that the office should not be brought under the scrutiny of the Lokpal?

When the basic structure of the Constitution denies the Prime Minister immunity from prosecution, how could it be argued that the office should not be brought under the scrutiny of the Lokpal?

The Indian citizenry is up in arms against corruption at the highest levels of government. Anna Hazare's movement has caught the people's imagination. The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has pitched in and called upon the youth to start a mass movement against corruption under the banner "What can I give?" (The Hindu, June 27, 2011).

According to a CRISIL report (The Hindu, June 29, 2011), inflation has caused the Indian public to be squeezed to the extent of Rs. 2.3 lakh crores. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the estimate of loss to the exchequer owing to the 2G spectrum scam is Rs. 1.22 lakh crores.

That corruption is a disease consuming the body politic is a fear expressed by dignitaries in India over many years. As far back as 1979, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer observed in a judgment in his inimitable style: "Fearless investigation is a 'sine qua non' of exposure of delinquent 'greats' and if the investigative agencies tremble to probe or make public the felonies of high office, white-collar offenders in the peaks may be unruffled by the law. An independent investigative agency to be set in motion by any responsible citizen is a desideratum."

Mark the words: fearless investigation by an independent investigative agency against delinquent 'greats'. A good Lokpal bill has to be nothing less.

It is in this context that this article addresses the issue of whether the Prime Minister should be brought under the ambit of an Ombudsman (Lokpal) and be subject to its scrutiny. It is important to observe that in most of the Lokpal bills, including the 2010 government draft (except the 1985 version), the Prime Minister is within the ambit of the Lokpal.

The Constitution

Under the Indian Constitution there is no provision to give immunity to the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers or Ministers. Under Article 361, immunity from criminal proceedings is conferred on the President and the Governor (formerly the Rajpramukh) only "during his term of office."

So what is the principle behind such immunity being given? The line is clearly drawn. Constitutional heads who do not directly exercise executive powers are given immunity as heads of state. Active politicians such as Ministers, who cannot remain aloof from the hurly-burly of electoral and party politics, ethical or unethical, honest or corrupt, are not given any immunity. They are subject to penal laws and criminal liability.

The basic structure of the Constitution clearly denies immunity to the Prime Minister.

Internal Emergency

During the period of the Internal Emergency (1975-77), Indira Gandhi enjoyed dictatorial powers. She detained without trial prominent Opposition leaders and was supported by a captive and rump Parliament.

The Constitution (Fortieth Amendment) Bill was moved in, and passed by, the Rajya Sabha in August 1975 and later it was to go before the Lok Sabha. The Bill was blacked out from the media and hence very few people knew about it. It never became law because it was not moved in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill sought to amend Article 361 by substituting sub-clause (2) thus: "(2) No criminal proceedings whatsoever, against or concerning a person who is or has been the President or the Prime Minister or the Governor of a State, shall lie in any court, or shall be instituted or continued in any court in respect of any act done by him, whether before he entered upon his office or during his term of office as President or Prime Minister or Governor of a State, as the case may be, and no process whatsoever including process for arrest or imprisonment shall issue from any court against such person in respect of any such act."

The attempt to give life-time immunity from criminal proceedings for acts done during and even prior to assuming office, of the President, the Governor and additionally the Prime Minister, did not materialise.

Foreign jurisdictions

In Japan, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka (July 1972 to December 1974) was found guilty of bribery and sentenced. In Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was indicted in corruption scandals in August 2009. In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi enacted, through a pliant legislature, a law by which he shielded himself from prosecution. The Italian Constitutional Court recently invalidated crucial parts of that law, which may result in his trial being revived.

The following are some of the main arguments against bringing the Prime Minister under the Lokpal's scrutiny. The first one runs thus: "The simple answer is, if the Prime Minister is covered under ordinary law (the Prevention of Corruption Act), you don't need him covered under Lokpal." This is a view that has been attributed to the former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma (Hindustan Times, June 27, 2011). Any misconduct by a Prime Minister can be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation: this view is that of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa (The Hindu, June 28, 2011). This objection concedes the principle that the Prime Minister is not immune from criminal liability and can be investigated, but argues and assumes that the Prevention of Corruption Act and the CBI present effective existing alternative procedures. Nothing could be farther from the truth and the ground realities.

What is the ground reality? First, the CBI, the premier anti-corruption investigative agency, is under the Department of Personnel and Training, which is controlled by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Secondly, the career prospects of CBI officers and other personnel are dependent on the political executive, and all officers are subject to transfer except the Director. Thus, the investigative arm is controlled by the 'political suspects' themselves. Thirdly, the Single Directive, a secret administrative directive that was invalidated by the Supreme Court in the Jain hawala case in 1997 (Vineet Narain v. Union of India) has been legislatively revived. Consequently, under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, the CBI is disabled from starting an inquiry or investigation against Joint Secretary or higher level bureaucrats without the Central government's prior approval. Therefore, the Prevention of Corruption Act is a non-starter against Ministers and high-level bureaucrats who may act in concert. It is imperative that the CBI's anti-corruption wing be brought under the Lokpal and not under the PMO. This alone would meet the test of an independent and fearless investigative agency as enunciated by Justice Krishna Iyer.

Secondly, it is argued that if the Prime Minister is within its ambit, the Lokpal could be used by foreign powers to destabilise the government. Today, the checks on the executive government are the higher judiciary, which has actively intervened in the 2G spectrum scam and other scams; the CAG, whose reports against the functioning of the telecommunications sector triggered investigations into scams; the Election Commission headed by the Chief Election Commissioner, which conducted elections in West Bengal in the most efficient and orderly fashion. All these authorities could be undermined by a foreign power. Why should the Lokpal alone be the target of a foreign power? Why not the intelligence and defence services? Why not leaks from Cabinet Ministers and their offices — bugged or not?

Thirdly, it is argued that bringing the Prime Minister under the Lokpal's scrutiny would mean a parallel government being put in place. This objection is disingenuous. Do the Supreme Court and the higher judiciary constitute a parallel government? Is the CAG a parallel government? Is the CEC a parallel government? Is the CBI a parallel government? The answer is clear. These constitute checks and restraints on the political executive and the administration so that public funds are not misappropriated and constitutional democracy and citizen rights are not subverted. The Lokpal will be under the Constitution and subject to judicial review, and it is imperative that the anti-corruption wing of the CBI be brought under the Lokpal. There is no question of any parallel government. The Lokpal will be only a check on the corrupt activities of the Executive. If all checks and balances are to be regarded as the marks of a parallel government and therefore abolished, it will be a recipe for dictatorship.

William Shakespeare wrote: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries." There is a tide in the affairs of this country and there is a great opportunity to promote good governance through a powerful and independent Ombudsman. India's economic reforms, for which the Prime Minister deserves approbation, should not be derailed at the altar of scams and corruption. Will his leadership ride on the tide of fortune and take the country forward to greater heights?

(Anil Divan is a Senior Advocate, and president of the Bar Association of India. E-mail:


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DMK wants Prime Minister under Lokpal Bill


NEW DELHI, June 22, 2011

Manmohan holds meeting of UPA partners on the issue

On a day when discussions between the government and civil society groups on the Lokpal Bill concluded in a stalemate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called a meeting of his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) partners in a bid to forge unity and bolster support for the sagging image of the ruling coalition.

But the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), upset with the incarceration of party supremo M. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum allocation case, backed the civil society groups, saying it was in favour of including Prime Minister in the Lokpal Bill.

Mr. Karunanidhi, who had come to see his daughter, did not attend the UPA meeting. The DMK was represented at the meeting by its Parliamentary Party leader T.R. Baalu.

However, Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee backed the Congress: indeed, at a press conference earlier in the day, she made her position clear on the Lokpal Bill. She said including Prime Minister in the Bill would not end corruption and slammed the civil society groups.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), represented by Union Minister Praful Patel — as Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was not in the capital — is also backing the Congress' line on the Lokpal Bill.

Earlier in the day, anticipating trouble in Parliament, the government decided to postpone the opening of the monsoon session by a fortnight to August 1, hoping to gain some more time to sort out the problems related to the Lokpal Bill.

The government also decided to call an all-party meeting to see whether the political class could make common ground. It needs some ammunition to take on social activist Anna Hazare, who has threatened to go on hunger strike from August 16 to push for his version of Lokpal Bill.

At Tuesday's meeting, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who headed the joint Lokpal Bill drafting committee, briefed the UPA leaders on the discussions with the civil society team.National Conference leader and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, emerging from the meeting held at the Prime Minister's residence on 7, Race Course Road, told journalists that Mr. Mukherjee briefed them on the two drafts of the Lokpal Bill and that they would all be given copies of the two drafts.

Asked about his party's line on the Bill, he said it would be known when Parliament opened.

Apart from the Prime Minister, those who attended the meeting included Congress president Sonia Gandhi (who is also the UPA Chairperson), Mr. Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Ms. Banerjee, Mr. Patel, Dr. Abdullah, Union Minister E. Ahamed of the IUML and Ms. Gandhi's Political Secretary Ahmed Patel.


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Jayalalithaa against bringing Prime Minister under Lokpal


CHENNAI, June 27, 2011

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has said she was against bringing the Prime Minister under the Lokpal's ambit as it would undermine his authority and pave way for a "parallel government." "The Prime Minister should be excluded from the purview of the bill as he is already covered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the CBI can investigate," she said on Times Now today.

Expressing fears that the bill could be used by foreign powers to "destabilise" the nation, she said if the Prime Minister was included under the Bill, he cannot function as he would have to focus more on defending himself against the accusations.

"It would seriously dent the Prime Minister's authority even if charges were proved wrong. The Prime Minister will be put on the defensive and he has to constantly defend himself," she said but added that the state government will give its opinion on this issue only after getting the final draft which would be tabled in Parliament.

Ms. Jayalalithaa, who had made a sensational offer of support of her party - AIADMK - to the Congress last November in case of DMK pulling out in connection with the 2G spectrum scam, however, said she was not supporting any individual.

"I am not supporting any individual but the institution. Unless he is wrested with full powers, he cannot function. Nothing should erode or undermine the Prime Minister's authority," she said.


Also read the related stories

Govt. version on Draft Lokpal Bill:

Government of India proposed version also available at: 

Draft Lokpal Bill - Civil society version:

Jan Lokpal Bill - Activists proposed version also available at:

Jan Lokpal Bill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at:

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