Saturday, February 02, 2008

Shoaib Malik, Ayesha Siddiqui Issue & Marriage registration in Islamic

All-India Muslim Personal Law Board has opposed recent recent Supreme Court order making marriage registration certificates mandatory. The AIMPLB has said that community would not accept the directive, as it was an infringement of the Muslim personal law.

Mohammed Hashmi Kanpuri, a member of the board, stated that each and every Muslim was bound with Shariat laws, given by Islam and guaranteed by the country's Constitution. According to him, "Any marriage in Islam is certified by three people including a Kazi, and there is no need for any other certification. Muslims are governed by their own rules which are different from the rules of other communities,".

Interestingly, according to Shariat law, a girl can marry once she attains the age of 16 years, whereas the Constitution allows marriage only after the girl reaches the age of 18.

The alleged ‘marriage’ of Pakistan cricket team skipper Shoaib Malik & Ayesha Siddiqui, a girl from Hyderabad has shown the importance of Marriage registration. Shoaib Malik and Ayesha met in Jeddah, KSA, in 2001.  After two months of courtship, the couple married on June 3, 2002, over phone, with witnesses from both sides as per the Muslim law.

However, Now Shoaib Malik has backed off and is denying the claim. Accordning to him, he was just  engaged with Ayesha

I hope atleast now All-India Muslim Personal Law Board will understand the importance of Marriage Registration!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Whats cooking at China Front?

If you have noticed in last several weeks there has been some high level activity at China Front.
This week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to Arunachal Pradesh on his maiden visit, First Prime Minister to Visit after a Gap of 13 Years! Unfortunately, he skipped Tawang! Tawang has symbolic and historic significance as several Indian soldiers laid down their lives during the 1962 war with Chinat. It was all the more important as China was laying claim on it.

"The sun kisses India first in Arunachal Pradesh," Singh said at a public rally in Itanagar, the state capital. "It is our land of the rising sun."

During his visit he laid foundation of a number of major projects. The projects include the 3,000 MW Debang Multi Purpose Hydro Electricity Project, the largest in the country to be executed by NHPC. Singh will also lay the foundation stone of the Harmoti-Itanagar railway line putting the state on India's railway map.  Dr. Singh announced a grant of 60 lakh rupees to improve the facilities in the transit camps for the forces posted in the border area. 

Only last Week, Former Army chief Gen Joginder Jaswant Singh was today appointed Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. JJ Singh is known for his intimate knowledge of Arunachal Pradesh.

Today, Army and air force commanders in Arunachal Pradesh will apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of their concerns about their assessment of China's infrastructure growth and its military capabilities.

In another incident,
China has lodged a diplomatic protest over Indian military activity in Sikkim and claimed that Indian troops were trying to be active on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that divides their troops along the disputed Himalayan border.

Is Govt suspecting something sinister?

Question: Who is gentleman who is so "lovingly" Hugging Chinese armymen?

Answer: None otherthan Arunachal Pradesh Congress Chief Minsiter Dorjee Khandu

Commenting on the controversy, Gegong Apang, Former Chief Minister, Arunachal Pradesh said:"Neither did he obtain prior permission from me or from Governor or from the Union Ministry of External Affairs."

While it is obligatory for all ministers, who want to travel to a foreign country, to obtain necessary clearances from the Centre.!!

Story of a Magnate

She was born on January 18, 1956 into a Dalit family in Delhi and grew up with eight siblings in a modest home in a crowded neighbourhood. Her father  Mr. Prabhudayal was employed as a supervisor with the Post and Telegraph department in Delhi and her mother Ram Lata was housewife. Her family traces its roots to Baadalpur village of the then Bulandshahar and now Ghaziabad district of UP.

According to her, Her relatives' used to live in huts and were always in the most neglected and impoverished part of the village.

She did a BA and LLB from Kalindi College at Delhi University and later took a BEd degree from Delhi University.

According to her father, her biggest qualities was her fighting spirit. He believes she draws her fighting spirit from her grandfather who was a soldier and has fought in Italy in World War I. A Italian Connection here also!!! Wink

Between 1977 and 1984, she taught at various schools run by the Delhi administration. She left teaching in 1984 and joined Kanshi Ram, who had by then floated a non-political outfit, the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation, and the DS-4, another organisation set up to look after the interests of Dalits and Backward castes.

She contested her first Lok Sabha election from Kairana (Muzaffarnagar) in December 1984, but could not win. She then contested the Lok Sabha by-election to Bijnor and Hardwar in 1985 and 1987 respectively. She stood second with 1.39 lakh votes in the Hardwar by-election.

She was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989 from the Bijnor seat. from then she never looked back.

She became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time with the BJP's support on June 3, 1995. In 1997, She again became UP Chief Minister with an agreement between BJP and BSP that both parties would have its own chief minister by rotation for six months each. However, At the end of her six-month tenure, Mayawati withdrew support from the coalition government, saying the Dalit Act had not been properly implemented in the state.

Her third tenure as UP chief minister commenced on May 3, 2002 but abruptly ended on July 25, 2003 after the Taj Heritage Corridor scam surfaced. The Supreme Court ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the controversy. Later, the apex court also ordered a probe into the alleged disproportionate assets of Mayawati and her family.

Last year, her income was estimated at an impressive Rs 52 crore, while she has already grossed Rs 60 crore and is expected to close the fiscal with an even bigger kitty. Till the December quarter, the Dalit leader had paid Rs 15 crore advance tax.

Based on her Rs 9.7 crore payout on December 15, Mayawati was already ranked 18th in the all-India individual taxpayers category, a remarkable rise for the former government schoolteacher. And based on her payments till December, which amounted to Rs 15 crore, she was placed 19th. She is ranked a few notches below Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan in the advance tax list. Not only is Mayawati's income more than that of any politician, she ranks higher than the Ambani brothers, Birlas, Bachchans, Ratan Tata and Infosys' Nandan Nilekani. Kumaramangalam Birla trails the Dalit leader, at 57th place, while the richest cricketer, 'Master Blaster' Tendulkar is a distant 85th. Aamir Khan is placed even farther, at a not-so-impressive 123rd. She has attributed her remarkable financial rise to her supporters who had given her large amounts of cash and pledged their personal properties out of "love and affection" and for the welfare of the downtrodden and the Dalits.

On her 47th Birthday, her birthday bash cost the state exchequer around Rs10 crore, Even by conservative estimates

She is None other that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati

Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project: A economic Perspective

The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) envisages the creation of a navigable canal from the Gulf of Mannar to the Bay of Bengal to facilitate movement of ships. The project documents claim that ships moving from the west coast to the east coast of India do not need to navigate around Sri Lanka but can use the channel to save 36 hours of shipping time and 570 nautical miles. One of the major Hyped claim is that it will save up to 30 hours of shipping time. Lets look at various aspects as told by several experts in their respective fileds:-

1. Security of Ships: Setu project a threat, says Coast Guard. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has said that the controversial Sethusamudram shipping canal project has “security implications” which have been “conveyed” to the government.

Addressing the media ahead of the 31st anniversary of the ICG, its Director-General Vice-Admiral Rusi Contractor said, “There are security implications because of the closeness of the India-Sri Lanka maritime boundary”.

I guess in such a Narrow channel all the ships would be a sitting duck for Pirates and LTTE

2. Long term Cost: The wind and waves bring in a large amount of silt and wash it ashore. The same thing is going to happen to the Sethu Samudram Canal. Marine scientists have identified five areas on the Indian coastline they call high-sinkage pits, and one of them happens to be the Palk Straits.

What is left unsaid by the Sethu Samudram authorities is that maintaining the 12 metre depth (of the channel) will entail round the year dredging. But this cost is not mentioned anywhere. It is estimated that 2 million cubic metres per annum of sand needs to be dredged, the total amount of maintenance dredging could in fact go up significantlydue to the fact that the Palk Bay is a sediment sink for the rivers of the southern peninsula as well as due to the action of
the sea on the coastline of Tamil Nadu.

3. Travel Time: The voyages that are used as reference points in the draft project report (DPR) start either at Kanyakumari or Tuticorin and move to the east coast. While this might be true for journeys that originate along the west coast of India, for other voyages, the choice of these starting points overstates the distance saved.

For voyages from other destinations, will save just 215 and 70 nautical miles respectively: significantly lower than what is stated in the DPR.

Details Available here

4. Reduction in Cost: The primary claim of the SSCP is that less time at sea will mean both lower time charter rates (to hire ships) and lower fuel expenses as less distance has to be covered. The reduced expenditure by using the canal can then be charged as a tariff by the SSCP. In dollar terms, the DPR hopes to charge up to 50 per cent of the calculated savings as a tariff for using the canal. The saving as calculated by the DPR for a 20,000 DWT ship will give a canal tariff of around $ 8,981. On average, non-coastal ships, that constitute 70 per cent of the projected users, will lose $ 4,992.1 if they use the canal at the current tariff structure. Many from the shipping industry opine that ships will go around Sri Lanka rather than have to go through a canal with draught restrictions and with a need for a pilot to embark and disembark from the ship. If on the other hand, the company charges the total savings made by the ship (around $ 4,000), the pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of the project falls to just 4.5 per cent. On the other hand, if the SSCP charges 50 per cent of the amount saved by these ships, the pre-tax IRR falls to just 2.6 per cent!

Details Available here

5. Lack of Support: For a project like the SSCP, that is to be completed by November 2008,5 it is time to ask the company why it has not been signing up customers to use the canal or published possible sea lanes around the canal. The focus has been proclamations on how the canal would be beneficial for ship users, but there is little evidence in terms of customers (especially foreign shipping lines). Despite appeals by the finance minister that the shipping industry shares the costs of building the canal, there have been no takers for this proposal. In fact, if it is, as many report, the fulfillment of a 100-year-old dream, why are there no shipping companies lining up outside the SSCP office waiting to sign contracts with the company?

6. Short Term Vision: The Suez and Panama Canals save ships thousands of miles, and that makes them profitable. Sethusamundaram is not remotely comparable. It is designed for small ships (the project documents talk of 20,000 DWT), whereas the Panama Canal takes ships of up to 65,000 DWT and Suez takes ships up to 150,000 DWT. Global shipping is shifting to ever-larger vessels. Bulk carriers and tankers often exceed 200,000 DWT, and those under 60,000 DWT are being phased out as uneconomic. Old general cargo vessels have been replaced by container ships, which started small but now exceed 35,000 DWT, and may soon touch 75,000 DWT. Such vessels cannot use the canal.

7. Ecological Disaster: This would cause a Major Ecological Disaster!

Other Links

'Civility' in cricket is a thing of the 50s, says Ponting

I guess Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting is trying to give a official burial for Decency in Cricket field. He has ignited another controversy by saying the public must not judge modern cricketers by the "civil and gentlemanly" standards of the 1950s. quoted Ponting as telling Fairfax Radio "I think one thing that a lot of people overlook is that we are not playing cricket in the 1950s and a lot of people I think are still living in the 1950s. It's now a fully professional game. It's not a game of just going out there and having a bit of a bat a nd a bowl and having a laugh and giggle with the opposition. This is fully fledged international sport played by fully professional athletes and we are trying to do the best by the game and by the Australian public and the on-field umpires and everyone involved in the game,"

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Height of Helplessness


Height of Helplessness: Manmohan Singh as PM