The N-th procedure to correct Data Bank

I can’t really remember all those methods that were formulated to correct the data bank under the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008. There have been numerous. All those procedures were either replaced or repealed, before any application could reach a logical conclusion.

If I remember correctly, first it was the Thasildar under the Kerala Land Tax Act who was empowered to correct the Basic Tax Register (and in course the data bank), if it was found that the land in reality is not a Paddy Land. Later, his power was curtailed, and the Kerala High Court assumed this role in its original jurisdiction. But when number of cases that are filed got out of control, the Kerala High Court decided to relegate the function to the Local Level Monitoring Committee or the Revenue Divisional Officer, depending on the entry in the data bank. Thereafter, in the year 2015, the UDF Government brought in the controversial Section 3A for correction of data bank by the District Collector. But again, this section was repealed after the Kerala High Court warned of it being struck down as unconstitutional.

Sometime in the year 2016, somebody informed the Kerala High Court that there is a Center for Remote Sensing at Thiruvananthapuaram, which has taken satellite pictures of all of Kerala, and it could reveal how the land was lying as on the year 2008. So now, the Kerala High Court has again assumed the responsibility of correcting the data bank, after calling for report from this “Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre, Thiruvananthpuaram” through the Agricultural Officer, who is the convener of the Local Level Monitoring Committee. This is the procedure in currently in vogue for correcting the data bank, but now it is learned that a new notification has come into effect.

I haven’t seen the official notification, but the newspaper report is enclosed here under for reference. According to that report, one has to go directly to the Local Level Monitoring Committee, for correction of mistakes in the data bank, within 90days from 1st June 2017. The time limit of 90days is prescribed only for the Kerala High Court to strike it down.

For me, one thing is very clear. The Kerala Conservation of Paddy land and Wetland Act, 2008, is an unruly gal, wandering here and there without any resolve, and yet to enter her teenage. When she is a teenager, I bet, all including the Kerala Government, Environmental Activists and Kerala High Court would vie to tame her, and get her attention, with their own pieces of advice.

So, according to me, it is better to wait and watch, and see how this girl grows up into a woman, instead of rushing in for her immediate attention.

262_992_1678_1708

Constituent Assembly Debates on Alcohol

In the book, India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha, the following passage about Constituent assembly debates was found interesting:

Jaipal Singh, himself an adivasi, albeit of a rather special kind. Jaipal was a Munda from Chotanagpur, the forested plateau of South Bihar peopled by numerous tribes all more-or-less distinct from caste Hindu society. Sent by missionaries to study in Oxford, he made a name there as a superb hockey player. He obtained a Blue, and went on to captain the Indian team that won the gold medal in the 1928 Olympic Games.

Three years later, in the discussion on the draft constitution [of India], Jaipal made a speech that was spirited in all senses of the word. Bowing to pressure by Gandhians, the prohibition of alcohol had been made a directive principle. This, said the adivasi leader, was an interference ‘with the religious rights of the most ancient people in the country’. For alcohol was part of their festivals, their rituals, indeed their daily life itself. In West Bengal ‘it would be impossible for paddy to be transplanted if the Santhal does not get his rice beer. These ill-clad men . . . have to work knee-deep in water throughout the day, in drenching rain and in mud. What is it in the rice beer that keeps them alive? I wish the medical authorities in this country would carry out research in their laboratories to find out what it is that the rice beer contains, of which the Adibasis need so much and which keeps them [protected] against all manner of diseases.”

So I’m not alone in thinking that alcohol is an essential ingredient in leading a spirited life. Certain enlighted founders of the Indian Constitution also shared this view.

Candlelight Justice

This was the state of affairs in Wakf Tribunal, Ernakulam, today morning (on 26.5.2017). No electricity, no ventilation light. The judge was given a candle, to see minimum. The lawyers were given their colonial gown. Everyone had super fun, courtesy the unforgiving summer.

Vayaliparambil, Vazhakkala Annex..!

DSC_3917.JPG

A dream come true.. A home for my twins to run around.. Some land for me to plant trees.. Introducing my new address – Vayaliparambil, Moolepadam Road, Vazhakkala, Kakkand West – 682030. Everyone is invited.!

Epson M205 All-in-One Mono Ink Tank Printer – User Review

It was with much expectations that I bought Eposon M205 Print/Scan/Copier Ink Tank Inkjet printer, three months back, from Flipkart.com. But within these three months, I had to call the customer service center thrice to repair the printer. The basic problem with this printer is with its paper feeder. The paper feeder of the printer (not ADF), is noisy and seriously faulty. The printer does not intake the papers properly. And even if it does, many times, the printer would simply eject the paper without printing anything, as if the paper was not inserted properly. It is a frustrating exercise to print 10pages in this printer.

Another problem with this printer is with its paper-jam-sensors. Even if no paper is jammed inside the printer, it would show that some paper is jammed inside. Switching the printer off-n-on for two to three times, would magically remove the jammed paper, and resolve the problem.

The Customer Service Center of Epson in Kochi, Kerala is another frustrating point. They would never answer the phone in their published phone number. One has to go to that place and invite the person to repair the printer. Once they could not even repair the printer at one go, but made me wait for a week for obtaining some part of this faulty printer.

On a whole, I would not recommend this printer to anyone. If Epson is kind enough to take mine back and refund my money, I would be much obliged !

Podcast replaces FM Radio

I have 20 minutes drive to reach my office at Paramara Road. In the car while driving, Radio Mango 91.9 and Club FM 94.3 were my companions to kill the traffic. But things changed when I downloaded ‘Podcast Addict’ in my mobile phone. It has a wide range of on-demand audio entertainment programs to enjoy the spare the time spent inside the car. My favourite podcast stations are:

  1. Economist – Editors Pick
  2. BBC Documentaries
  3. Legal Talk Network
  4. TED Radio Hours
  5. Criminal
  6. This American Life

Podcast has the edge to kill the dominance of FM Radio inside the car. I am sure, some time in near future, this is going to happen, in Kerala too.

Hurdles in turning Kerala green!

It was World Earth Day yesterday and all people ranging from radio jokeis to politicians were crying for planting more trees in Kerala. I have planted lot of trees in this world. My home is surrounded with so many trees that the place can be safely described as amini private forest. My father and I have planted lot of aanjili, mahogany and aariveep trees alone the roadsides of Aluva-Munnar Road. From my experience as a person who has planted many trees, there are several small small hurdles, in the character of malayalees and laws implemented here, which need to be corrected, if we are actually serious about increasing the tree cover. They are enumerated hereunder for identifying the huddles in turning Kerala Green.

  1. Roadside Advertisers and Billboards: These people are the single biggest enemy of trees in Kerala. They like to have a clear view for their advertisements and to ensure that, they would cut down all trees and plants in the vicinity. Why aren’t they banned or regulated yet?
  2. Municipality Sweepers: Municipality sweepers like to keep their workload small. Whenever they see one newly planted sapling, they would ensure that all the waste swept from the city is collected at bottom of that plant, and would set it afire, so that plant does not generate any new waste in future, for them to sweep.
  3. Electricity Linemen: KSEB has a team of people with sickles attached to long rods to cut trees. Although they are supposed to prune the branches alone, to avoid touching with the electricity lines, they often cut the head of the tree itself, dwarfing the tree and impairing its growth.
  4. Dangerous Trees and abuse of S.133CrPC: The law says that if a tree is danger to man or his property, or if it is a nuisance to his neighbour, it shall be cut down. Section 133 CrPC is invoked by the RDO to cut down such trees. According to me, this provision is much due for repeal or reading down. It has outlived its purpose, and is in fact a burden upon this generation, which is striving to increase tree cover.
    How can the RDO determine whether a tree is good, bad or decaying, when he is no expert of trees? Why should a tree be cut down just because a dimwitted neighbour thinks that it is a nuisance? Although Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth in Non-Forest Areas Act, 2005, permit persons to freely plant trees in his land and ‘appropriately and generally’ contribute to the increasing tree cover, no RDO or Court ever permits a person to retain the branches of his tree hanging onto neighbour’s property. This according to me is a downside in the existing law, or its interpretation, in promoting tree cover.
  5. Beautifying the cities with concrete: In Perumbavoor, my home town, there used to be mud and soil in between footpath and edge of the road. Now it is concreted to beautify the city. The  idea is great, but it is implemented in the most ugly and unscientific manner.Once the mother earth is covered up in concrete, there is no place for trees to grow, or water to percolate. After this gap was filled with concrete, Perumbavoor witnessed its first flood during last year’s rain. Some beautification it was. Better to retain the mother earth as it is.
  6.  No incentive for having trees: The building rules prevalent in the state give no concession for having trees; or penalty for not having trees in a property. This is a serious lacuna in the existing building rules of the State, which has provisions for sundry measures like rainwater harvesting and biogas plant. An owner of a property should be given due credit for growing trees, while constructing a building. Absence of such a credit has created a social norm and prudence of not having trees in commercially important properties.
  7. Penalty for not having a tree in a piece of land: I have seen many lands, with sufficient space for planting trees, but without any tree. Most malayaees like to have tiled open spaces rather than tree-shaded open spaces. This is to avoid the pain of sweeping the grounds daily. The government should overcome this lethargy of malayalees by imposing proper penalties. At lease one tree in a plot of land should be made the state policy in taxing statues.
  8. Conservation of Paddyland and Wetland Act, 2008: I not a fan of this statue, although it is promulgated on the pretext of preserving environment. According to me, this law has has been single handedly responsible for changing the climate of Kerala. It has been highly counter productive so far, and it has resulted in drastic reduction of paddy fields in Kerala. Everyone now wants to convert their paddyland, as it is made into a burden with lot of disabilities attached. This is not the correct way to preserve paddylands. The government should at least let paddy field owners cultivate other crops and trees (like rubber) to retain the minimum greenery the state has.

Today it is 36 degree Celsius in Kochi. We are witnessing unprecedented summer heat. If we don’t act now and increase the tree cover in Kerala, soon the place would be a desert, populated with hotair inflated egoistic persons.