Committee,Compatibility,Competence and Contention !

published on October 19, 2007

The public perception about bureaucracy in India is awful but true. That is, the people are very much aware that each and every post, from a Peon to a Secretary, from a Constable to a DGP, from a Non-teaching staff to a Vice Chancellor, is available with a “Price-Tag” and those who purchase their appointment by paying that price strive hard to take back that price at the earliest. So obviously, these bureaucrats, who come to the top through bribes and favouritism, at the cost of merit, efficiency and morality, are generally biased and serve for self-interests and the interests of their appointers, rather than for public interests. Eventually, the public witnesses change or shuffling of bureaucrats with every change of governments.


With regards to Tamil Nadu, this practice has taken alarming proportions especially with the advent of Dravidian rulers. A state run by Atheist rulers has many times seen even the HR&CE departments led by atheist ministers and run by atheist commissioners. In this kind of a backdrop, a committee set up by such a leader, constituting such ’eminent’ members, cannot be expected to view a religiously important issue neutrally. So, the remedy for the welfare of the people lies in constituting a truly eminent committee comprising unbiased & neutral experts from various fields relevant to the concerned project or issue.


In this regard, there are three important points, which need to be known.


  1. If a government (State or Central) “commits” before a Court (High or Supreme) that it would constitute an expert committee to review a particular project or a contentious issue, then the said committee and its recommendations must be approved by the concerned Court.

  2. If a Court (High or Supreme) “directs” a government (State or Central) to constitute a committee to review a project or a contentious issue, again that committee and its recommendations must be approved by the concerned Court.

  3. If at all there is a “Movement” (In the present case, The Rama Sethu Protection Movement) concerned with the ramifications of the concerned project, and if the movement comprises of credible & learned experts, the concerned Court would certainly appreciate and make note of the complaints, suggestions and recommendations of the movement. The best and apt example for this is the movement led by Honorable Justice Arunachalam against the attempted take over of Thiruvannamalai Annamalaiyar Temple by the Archeological Survey of India.

 The “Committee of eminent persons on SSCP” constituted by the Central Government (read Shipping Minister T.R.Balu) has 10 persons led by Prof.S.Ramachandran Vice Chancellor, University of Madras. Along with him three other members namely Dr.J.R.B.Alfred (former Director of Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata ), Mr.Sakthivel (President of Aqua Culture Foundation of India) and Prof.Dilip.K.Biswas (  former Chairman of Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India) were associated with Shipping Ministry. One member Dr. S.R. Wate is associated with NEERI as it’s Deputy Director.  Prof. R.S. Sharma – Former Professor of History, Delhi University, Prof. Y. Vaikuntham – former Vice-Chancellor of Kakatiya University, Andhra Pradesh and Dr. K. Paddayya – Director of Deccan College, Pune are “Leftist” and Pseudo-Secular Historians. Prof. P. Jagadeesan – former Vice-Chancellor of Bharatidasan University, Tiruchi is a DMK appointee. Shri R.K. Jain, IAS – Managing Director, Indian Ports Association – Member Secretary is working under Shipping Ministry.

Incidentally Prof.S.Ramachandran headed a “Monitoring Committee” on environmental issues in July 2007 and came out with statements openly supporting the SSCP. He had said that, no environmental changes have occurred due to the dredging and other works in the channel and he had also said that, the fish catch has improved due to the arrival of fish species in the Gulf of Mannar area, which was denied by the local fishermen. He had also said that the ‘Rama Sethu’ was not man-made and that it’s a natural formation. Similarly, all other members of the committee are supposed to have biased inclination due to their association with the government. Also, Dr.S.R.Wate was allegedly given a contract worth Rupees One Crore for EIA (Environment Impact Assessment).  


 While all these “eminent” persons are associated with T.R.Balu and his ministry and Central government in one way or the other, the committee doesn’t have representation from the fields of Marine Industry, National Security (Navy or Coast Guard), Geology, Marine Archeology, Oceanography and Tsunami Studies apart from an economical expert to study the economic viability of the project. Normally such committees are supposed to be constituted either by the Courts of Law or by the concerned government with the approval of the concerned Court of Law (in this case it is SC). In the event of dissatisfaction likely to be expressed by some of the concerned Petitioners (various organizations & individuals) by means of petitioning the Supreme Court, the Central government would be bound to change the entire committee and replace it with other unbiased & truly eminent neutral persons.


In the meantime, the VHP had asked for a new committee under the leadership of Former President Dr. Abdul Kalam, comprising of experts from various fields connected with the project. As the present committee is obviously under the clouds of biased inclination, it would be wiser on the part of the Congress Party (Which leads the UPA) and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reconstitute the said committee, instead of giving a free hand to DMK and Shipping Minister T.R.Balu, who is already facing a storm of protests through out the Nation.


 Otherwise, the centre would be facing the embarrassment of getting snubbed by the Supreme Court once again.

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