Indian Politics – The two words that over the years have started complimenting, or rather are completing each other. Visualising India, or for that matter any country, without a political set up is next to impossible. Politics has established very strong roots in India. Though it was always a very dominant factor, even before independence but at that time, its influence was in the national interest and thus it served as a strong factor in shaping India’s progress. However, with time, politics in India has acquired an inseparable space in even the smallest aspect.
The significance is understandable. A fast progressing country like ours needs that one force which can keep the journey of development on the right track. A political set up is expected to do just that. Unfortunately, however, Indian politics has become synonymous with a never ending hunger for power while forgetting the responsibility that comes with it.
Power and the so-called ‘kursi’ are an addiction for our politicians. No wonder, as success leaves you wanting for more and can really make someone forget their ideologies and responsibilities. The track record of our system, which has more recently been marred by numerous scams, serves as a blot on the Indian history. Commonwealth Games, 2G and now Adarsh Society – a very unique list in itself because of the variety in the areas covered or rather scammed!!
Politics has also become synonymous with Luxury. Hence not many of us now raise our eyebrows when we get to know the asset worth of our ministers (if at all it is disclosed!) running into tens of crores!! This hunger for a luxurious life in a country where hundreds of people succumb to poverty and hunger almost every day was recently manifested in another ‘High-Rise’ scam. Yes, the ‘High Rise’ Adarsh Society Building Scam.
The Outline of the Scam:
Mumbai’s posh area, Colaba, hit the headlines when our ministers decided to help our Kargil Martyrs and their widows after all these years. But even help refused to give credit to our ministers and it was discovered that this awakening was nothing more than another luxurious effort for personal gains!
Adarsh is a cooperative housing society, which started with an initial list of 40 members – majority of which were defence personnel. The main aim is to arrange accommodation and rewards for Kargil heroes who fought for their motherland. At present, there are 103 members, out of which 37 belong to the army and only 3 are linked to Kargil war in any way.
It all began in 1999. A 6,000 sq. ft. plot was declared for residential use in the military area. Adarsh Housing Society was the first to make a proposal for this land. The BJP-Shiv Sena was the ruling party and Narayan Rane was the Chief Minister. The following year, when Congress Govt. was in power and Vilasrao Deshmukh was the Chief Minister, application was again sent by Adarsh Society for the allotment of the flats for Kargil war widows and veterans.
The Twist and The Beneficiaries :
The cost of every apartment in Adarsh Society runs into crores due to its prime location. However, it so happened that the whole proposal went out of track and flats were booked in the name of many politicians, bureaucrats as well as some Army and Navy Commanders as they got the flats at less than half the cost. Some beneficiaries included:
1. Narayan Rane booked 2 flats for people known to him.
2. Vilasrao Deshmukh recommended 3 people.
3. Sushil Kumar Shinde was CM of Maharashtra in 2004 and gave the final approval for the project. He also recommended 1 person.
4. Ashok Chavan booked 3 flats for his relatives.
5. CNN-IBN documents show that Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh and Major General RK Hooda were also made members in the flat proposal.
Adarsh Society Building not only portrayed pure greed of our politicians.
It was also found that whatever was built was in itself illegal. The building was proposed to be built as a seven storey structure. But in 2005, under Vilasrao Deshmukh, the building was given additional space of an adjacent plot for a bus depot and hence was permitted to increase its height with additional floors.
The Adarsh building also flouted many environmental laws as it was to be built on a land reserved only for constructing environment saving buildings. Moreover, no permission by any environment authority was granted for additional floors.
When the scam came to light, Ashok Chavan promised he would look into the matter. Later on, he offered his resignation to Sonia Gandhi which was accepted after much drama. Ashok Chavan was asked to step down.
After spending Rs. 26 crores on this infamous project, the fate of Adasrh Housing Society and the building is in the hands of the Union Environment Ministry. The whole building could be demolished or only the additional illegal floors.
Whatever is the final decision, the scam has highlighted the greed and luxury prone mindset of our politicians more prominently. It has made clear that money and power are two things that can buy everything, even those things that we do not get from our master card! It can make one forget their responsibility as national leaders towards the people of our nation who die every day due to empty stomach, debt burden, poverty, ill health, complete lack of any basic facility, etc.
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