New power centres

Print edition : May 07, 2004

The Cover Story was clear in its analysis that people have accepted the regional parties and their leaders ("New power centres", April 23). The diminishing influence of the Congress has resulted in the increasing clout of the regional parties who have built their politics on an anti-Congress plank. The BJP has also made use of the regional parties' antipathy towards the Congress.

Akhil Kumar Delhi

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It is commendable that Frontline presented a detailed report on regional satraps who will decide the future of the country at a time when there is an attempt to project a bipolar political setup. This proves that there is always a space for non-BJP, non-Congress parties. It is up to the regional parties to come out with alternative policies to solve the issues of concern to the common people. And, with an increased tally, the Left can play a decisive role and help these forces come together.

Hari Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu

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Taking advantage of the intricacies of coalition politics, regional leaders have emerged as new centres of power under the pretext of voicing regional sentiments. It is equally true that some of them have virtually established a mafia raj in their respective States.

Siddhartha Raj Guha Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

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The Cover Story gave a comprehensive and meaningful coverage of the emergence of new power centres. Zoya Hasan has rightly pointed out that the electoral process produces not a national verdict, but an aggregation of regional verdicts. It is unfortunate that the leaders of many regional formations with considerable political weight have only parochial interests and no national vision. Gone are the days of single-party rule and coalition politics has come to stay. Nevertheless, the alliances of convenience may strengthen parochialism and lead to social fragmentation, ultimately weakening the political system itself.

V. K. Sathyavan Nair Kottayam, Kerala

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Zoya Hasan has correctly pointed out that the constituents of the National Democratic Alliance have facilitated the process of acceptability of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh in mainstream politics. The day is not too far when these parties realise that the BJP and the RSS will throw them out once they attain their communal objectives.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee Faridabad, U.P.

Iraq

This has reference to the article "Iraq's revolt in 1920" (April 23). Terrorism is reprehensible. But, for centuries it has been the only weapon known to the weak. It was the genius of Gandhi that weaned Indians away from the disastrous path of Aurobindo Ghosh, Bhagat Singh and others.

But what is objectionable is the author's comparison of Palestanian terrorism with the Indian revolutionaries' struggle. Though India had done no harm to the United Kingdom, Indians were under British rule. Hence, their fight against alien rule was justified. But Arabs do have a baggage of history, a history of ill-treating Jews. So they are not on same moral standing as Indians.

Anshul Gupta Kharagpur

Kudankulam

I write with reference to your Special feature on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (April 23). I am quite astonished that the long report does not have even one line about the opposition to the plant and the serious questions that the local people have about this project. The local people and anti-nuclear activists in Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts of Tamil Nadu have been demanding that the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Government of India respect our right to information and release the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Site Evaluation Study, and the Safety Analysis Report that are claimed to have been done for the Kudankulam project back in 1988. Even though these studies are now outdated and many changes have been brought about in the project, the public has a right to know what the government and the Indian nuclear establishment really argue.

Moreover, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has been sidestepped by the DAE in getting proper permission for setting up the Koodankulam project. The mandatory public hearing has not been conducted.

Some of us in southern Tamil Nadu have been trying to assert our right to know the impact of this anti-people project on us and our children's health, safety and environment. Although the original plan is to have two 1000 MW reactors, the DAE authorities keep adding the number of reactors in Kudankulam. Government officials and elected public representatives are being kept in the dark by the DAE about its actual plans. Keeping the civil and political societies in the dark, the DAE is acting with no transparency and accountability whatsoever.

S.P. Udayakumar Austria

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After the fear psychosis created by the human error factor causing the Chernobyl accident, the Special Feature highlights the power planners' move to go in for the `clean power' of nuclear power stations.

The world, particularly the `anti-nuke' groups in India, was aghast when we went in for the Russian VVER-1000 for meeting the target of 20,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2020. Even with all the additional units planned in the existing sites, NPCIL may at most add up another 5000 to 6000 MWe on a conservative estimate. Technologically, changing the plant unit size often, from 200 to 500 to 700 to 1000 Mwe, will tell on the cost factor as the industries equipped with and specialising in a "set-size" of 220 or 500 MWe will find it difficult to invest and re-equip their manufacturing and machine capacities.

The operating personnel at NPCIL stations will be stressed out to act in emergencies as their mind will be set on "routine" procedures. Standardisation, say up to 500 Mwe, will be the best management decision, considering the fact that nuclear power is a high-cost option.

A.S. Raj Received on e-mail

Jharkhand

The report on the election campaign in the States ("Now, the campaign phase", April 9) mentions that the BJP holds 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand. This is not correct. The BJP has 11 seats, the Congress 2 and the Jharkhand Mukti Morch one seat. In the byelection after Babu Lal Marandi resigned his Lok Sabha seat to take over as the first Chief Minister of Jharkhand, the JMM wrested the seat from the BJP.

M.K. Singh Spokesperson, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha Ranchi, Jharkhand

A letter from the Editor


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