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Justice denied, Varanasi man threatens to self-immolate in Delhi

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By Kanika Rangray

New Delhi: With an expression of lost hope and tears streaming down his eyes, Bholanath Jaiswal asks for help by inquiring if his story would be told in the media – maybe then the government would pay heed to those numerous letters he sent keeping his firm faith in justice.

“I will immolate self in front of Rashtrapati Bhawan if I do not get justice soon,” this is what he believes is the only course left to him as he spoke to NewsGram. Bholanath aka Krishnakanth Jaiswal, hails from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and deals in fertilizers.

He had sent five letters to the President since June 22 this year and all of them met with the same reply:

Dear Mr. Jaiswal,

Your letter to the President dated ……. in which you had requested a meeting with him, has been received.

Due to other previous appointments, the President is unable to grant your request. You may send your letter again at another time, through post.

Yours sincerely,
Rajneesh, IAS
Private Secretary to the President of India

Bholanath appealed to the President after he faced disappointment at all other doors of justice.

Bholanath JaiswalBholanath had got license for his business from Agra, Uttar Pradesh and after that he had rented a shop and a warehouse. The landlord, Ganesh Vishwakarma, used to frequently ask for loan from Bholanath, sometimes Rs. 10,000-Rs. 50,000, which he used to return on time.

On the eve of his daughter’s marriage on July 25, 1996 Ganesh took a loan of more than two lakh from Bholanath, which hasn’t been returned till date. Due to this unfortunate incident, Bholanath was unable to get his children admitted to school.

He took his appeal to the village panchayat head, where Ganesh insulted him saying, “I won’t return your money at any cost. Do whatever you want to do.” The panchayat head in turn advised Bholanath to file an FIR with the police station, which he did in the Cholapur police station.

The entire judicial process went from July to September, during which Bholanath had been called upon for signatures by the Varanasi District head 12 times. As the process continued, the case had reached the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and on July 3, 1997 Bholanath wrote a letter to the Prime Minister’s office. In reply it was stated that a letter was being written to the concerned police authorities to get him back his money.

When no action was taken Bholanath wrote a letter to then President Shankar Dayal Sharma on July 12, 1997. After that he has been repeatedly writing letters to the various authorities to appeal for justice starting from his letter to President K. R. Narayan on June 20, 2000, to the Home Minister and then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 12, 2003, to Minister of state of home affairs Shriprakash Jaiswal on Feburary 11, 2008, I. K. Gujral on August 4, 2008, and to the then President Pratibha Patil on March 10, 2008.

But the orders of even the Presidents have not been paid heed to and Bholanath till date keeps knocking the doors of law to get justice.

Has it really come to the stage where a common man keeps his faith in the judiciary for more than a decade only to see it break in front of his eyes, where he resolves to burn himself, with tears running continuously believing that the fire from his funeral pyre might give light to justice?

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

Also Read- 45% Indians Feel that Enough Steps are Not Taken for Women’s Safety: Survey

Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)