Off the record

“Mischievous” orders

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has overturned his predecessor Jairam Ramesh’s “mischievous” order of banning development activities in Maharashtra’s 1,000 odd villages in south Konkan citing impact on environment.

According to Javadekar, his predecessor had issued these “mischievous” orders in August 2010 banning development works in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts for four months without any study. The moratorium kept on extending for a four-month period which even put on hold house repair jobs in the region.

The Kasturirangan Committee on Western Ghats had identified 112 villages in the two districts as falling in the eco-sensitive zone, but the Central order had “unnecessarily” impacted 900 other villages. The fresh order issued by the environment ministry, however, disallows any development activity in the villages identified by Kasturirangan. Now, it is learnt that the ministry is scouting for similar “improper” orders issued during the UPA regime.

Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

Builders’ lobby

The much awaited Rajasthan Apartment Bill 2014 has become a bone of contention for the BJP-led state government. In the last three cabinet meetings, the discussions on the bill were dropped from the agenda as state government is in a fix over deciding the provisions of the bill. Sources say due to pressure from builders and heavy weight real estate players, the draft of the bill has been changed several times.

The government initially wanted to come up with the bill to monitor real estate segment and provide interim relief to consumers and buyers from the ill practices of real estate. The bill contained several stringent provisions, which were opposed by real estate players, who are expected to make heavy investments in Rajasthan. These players are comfortable with a bill that protects the interest of buyers but oppose the restrictions and deadline imposed on them.

Abhishek Gaur, Jaipur

“Unmasking” rebels

Odisha agriculture minister Pradip Maharathi is known for his controversial remarks. The senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader dropped a bombshell recently both within his party and outside when he claimed that a conspiracy was going on within the ruling regional outfit against the chief minister and party president Naveen Patnaik. “We are going to unmask these conspirators very shortly”, he told in an interview to a local TV news channel.

The loudmouth politico did not name anybody but it was believed in party circles that his words were aimed at his cabinet colleague, parliamentary affairs minister Bikram Arokh with whom he had a bitter verbal duel in the lobby of the state assembly a few days back. The war of words, reportedly in filthy language, had not only become a major topic of discussion in the legislators’ circles but had also been extensively covered by the local media.

S T Beuria, Bhubaneswar

Buffoons and psycho

The Andhra Pradesh State Assembly currently running in the old assembly hall built by the Nizams has become a mute witness of political slugfest during its first ever Budget session after the state was divided.  While the only credible opposition, YSR Congress , which has the onus of directing the TDP government in right direction in the absence of the routed old Congress, is busy fighting for its cadre allegedly murdered by TDP henchmen.

The Leader of the Opposition Jaganmohan Reddy, in the heat of discussion, called the TDP men as buffoons while the TDP legislators called Jagan a psycho. They even said that they are afraid that YSRC MLAs might throw bombs in the Assembly, reminding the past of the faction-afflicted Jagan’s family.  Now, the people of the forsaken AP are wondering when the Assembly would take up their issues rather than calling each other names.

JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad

Drunken stupor

Drunken stupor can be pretty amusing as one of our reporters found to his surprise when a customer at the Tamil Nadu government-owned liquor retailer, TASMAC outlet quietly came, paid for a liquor bottle, whose prices had been recently hiked, and left.

Farther from the vend, he sent a few gulps down and was back at the shop little later shouting at the staff for not seeking his permission before hiking the liquor prices.The staff got stumped and could only gawk before convincing him to return without making a murmur. Who said nobody had the gall to protest the increase in liquor prices? A little liquor could bring the braveheart out of his closet.

R Sathyanarayana, Chennai

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