RAM NAIK, THE VOICE OF MUMBAI NORTH
AUTHOR: SHAIK MAHABOOB
Our Nation has produced some immense leaders since from pre Indian independence period. Once we limelight our reflection on India’s independence, our outlook will be surely alert on the father of our nation Sri. Mahatma Gandhi Ji and his outstanding contribution to this great Nation. Likewise, when we are ardently thinking of Maharashtra, our attention will be straight on Sri. Shivaji Maharaj and Sri. Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
In the recent times, a name which is constantly heard either in the public arena or any local display in Mumbai North or any part of the Maharashtra, we will be absolutely recall Sri. Ram Naik Ji, a massive personality, who fought the deadly cancer decease in early 1990’s and thereby came out triumphant in getting second innings of life.
Sri. Ram Naik Ji needs no prologue; he is a gigantic leader of BJP from Maharashtra and five times MP from Mumbai North; a former Union Minister of Petroleum, eminent philosopher and an outstanding human being, commonly known as 'fisherman's friend' having to his splendid credit for reciting VANDE MATARAM for the first time on the floor of Indian Parliament. In 2004 Parliament Election he was defeated for the first time after five times consecutive historic wins by a Hindi Film Star Govinda. Owing to dismal performance of the Congress Candidate Govinda and his zero attendance in the parliament is an added attraction for the veteran BJP Leader Sri. Ram Naik Ji, to bring back Mumbai North. After his unexpected defeat in 2004, Sri. Ram Naik Ji said, "I have lost the election and not the courage. I will continue to serve the people as before." Keeping his words, he has been thereafter active in political and social life.
The people of Mumbai North seem to be now in festive mood in reposing occupied confidence with the Veteran all time productive fighter Sri. Ram Naik Ji. The recent overwhelming receptiveness seen in the recent door to door campaign of Sri. Ram Naik is more than sufficient to forecast his sure win with comfortable lead. Sri. Ram Naik Ji, BJP’s Candidate from Mumbai North seeking this election based on his past glorious achievements during the tenure of Sri. Atal Biharee Vajpayee; he has done magnificent services to this nation during his tenure as Union Minister. His outstanding work can be extensively illustrated in many of the following examples:
a) PARLIAMENT SINGS VANDE MATARAM AT SRI. RAM NAIK'S INITIATIVE.
Perhaps that was a struggle of BJP from the beginning, but finally Parliament witnessed singing Vande Mataram for the first time on 23rd December 1992, after 45 years of independence. Many affectionately greet Sri. Ram Naik Ji with 'Vande Mataram'!
b) ITS MUMBAI, NOT 'BOMBAY'
Sri Ram Naik Ji was delegate with an additional responsibility of Minister of State for Home in 1999 and then due to his directions, the Government of India issued another notification on 28th May, 1999 thereby considered the name of the city is 'Mumbai' and not Bombay in English and Mumbai in Hindi.
c) MP FUND IS SRI> RAM NAIK JI'S BRAIN CHILD
Because of the efforts of Sri. Ram Naik Ji, MP fund was started in 1993. Under the scheme, every MP was able to suggest small developmental works for Rs. One Crore in his constituency. Later when Sri Naik Ji became the Minister of State for Planning and Programme Implementation he doubled the fund contribution. Now all MP’s are entitled to propose local area developmental works for Rs. Two Crore every year for their constituencies through this scheme.
d) LPG WAITING LIST OF 1.10 CRORE LIQUIDATED.
The country had been witnessing a long waiting list of domestic consumers for LPG connections. As a result, vicious circle of shortage and black marketing of cylinders was in full swing. Sri. Ram Naik Ji vowed to abolish the waiting list when he took over as a Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas in October 1999. At that time 1.10 Crore consumers were waiting for new LPG connections. He not only gave connections to all of them but the total LPG connections given in his regime were 4 Crore. It is pertinent to note that in earlier 40 years 3.50 Crore LPG connections were given. LPG connections were made available on demand. Those who wanted two cylinders were also provided. However after he vacated the Office in May 2004, the common man is once again required to wait not only for a new LPG connection but also for refilling of existing empty cylinder.
e) INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD'S FIRST LADIES SPECIAL TRAIN.
Sri. Ram Naik Ji is known as a person who voices woes of Mumbai's 65 Lakh suburban railway commuters. Ladies find it very difficult to reach their work places or homes on time during peak hours. Ten male commuters stand in one sq. meter in the world's most crowded trains. The ladies compartments are still more crowded. Shri Naik as an M.P. made a demand for a separate train for ladies pursued the demand with his characteristic style and the world's first ladies special train started running from 5th May 1992. As a Minister of State for Railways he introduced more such trains. Ladies prefer to travel by these trains.
f) BILL PROMOTING BREAST FEEDING.
Private Member's Bill is one of the important instruments available to the Parliamentarians to discuss vital issues concerning the society. Sri. Ram Naik Ji made history in the Indian Parliament when he moved the Infant Foods and Feeding Bottles (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Bill, 1991. This Bill sought to provide for the regulation of production, supply and distribution of infant food and feeding bottles with a view to protect and promote breast feeding and also to prevent attractive advertisements which lure away the women from breast feeding with the false notion of protecting their youthfulness and beauty. As the bill was supported by all sections of the Lok Sabha, the Government brought forward the Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Bill, 1992 based on Sri. Ram Naik Ji's Private Bill. This Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on August 20 and December 22, 1992, respectively and was ascended to by the President on December 29, 1992. It is very rare that private member's bill is accepted in - toto by the Government and then the Government brings an official bill. After the Act was passed, every advertisement or a package containing baby food carries a message that "Mother's milk is the best for your baby."
g) LPG AGENCIES & RETAIL OUTLETS TO KARGIL WAR WIDOWS.
Kargil war was won during the Sri. Vajpayee Ji’s regime. The Government as a symbol of its gratitude to the war martyrs decided that the war widows or martyrs' dependents viz., parents/ children would be allotted LPG agencies or retail outlets (petrol pumps). Under the leadership of Sri. Ram Naik Ji as a Petroleum Minister this decision was implemented successfully. Later on when the Parliament House was attacked by the terrorists, those security personnel who laid their lives and foiled the attempt of the terrorists and saved the Parliament House were also allotted LPG agencies and retail outlets. This decision was also hailed as a tribute to their courage.
Ethanol blended with petrol is a common phenomenon in sugarcane producing countries all over the world. It not only helps in reducing huge oil import bills but also benefits sugar-cane farmers in getting better price for their sugarcane and molasses, increases employment in distilleries, improves environment and adds to self sufficiency based on an indigenous renewable source of fuel. However, though India leads in sugarcane production, option of ethanol was never given a serious thought. Since 1970 several Parliamentary and government committees were formed, even foreign visits were made but the committee reports were just gathering dust in government archives.
Sri. Ram Naik Ji, after taking over the reigns of the Petroleum Ministry gave a serious thought, visited Brazil in May 2001 and resolved to introduce ethanol in India. Three pilot projects for blending ethanol with petrol were launched in 2002, two in Maharashtra at Miraj and Manmad and the third at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.
After the successful trials, 5% ethanol blending with petrol was introduced in nine major sugarcane producing states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu and the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Pondichery from 1st January 2003. In the second stage remaining states were to be covered. It was also planned to increase the percentage upto 10% in the third stage. Research and Development (R&D) studies were also commissioned to evaluate blending of ethanol with diesel, since diesel consumption in India is very high.
Unfortunately, when the UPA Government led by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji came to power in May 2004, it succumbed to the pressures of liquor lobby which was running short of molasses due this programme. On the pretext of shortage of sugarcane production, the government discontinued purchase of ethanol. Thousands of workers engaged in 119 new plants of ethanol production and blending became jobless. The plants built up with crores of rupees were either closed or were on the verge of bankruptcy. However, due to pressure of increasing imported crude oil prices, the UPA Government has once again decided to direct Public Sector Oil Companies to start purchase of ethanol for blending with petrol. Sri. Ram Naik Ji's initiative visionary decision proved correct on the test of time.
i) TARAPUR ATOMIC POWER PROJECT COMPLETION AND STRUGGLE FOR REHABILITATION.
Tarapur Atomic Power Project is the first atomic project of its kind in the country. When Sri. Ram Naik Ji was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989 from North Mumbai constituency which includes Tarapur his association with this project started. He was happy with the idea of the expansion of this project because Maharashtra had been facing shortage of electricity. The project was to generate 1,080 MW of electricity through Units 3 and 4 each of 540 MW at an investment of Rs. 6,525 Crore. The project has two parts : 1) generation of atomic power, 2) resettlement and rehabilitation of project affected persons (PAPs). Keeping in mind these two aspects Sri. Ram Naik Ji decided to get himself involved in the project.
Though the project was conceived in early 80s, the field work got up a boost when Sri. Ram Naik Ji laid foundation of the project in 1998 in the capacity of Minister of State for Planning and Programme Implementation. Unit 4 was connected to the grid on 4th June 2005 and Unit 3 on 15th June 2006. While the anticipated expenditure was Rs. 6,525 Crore, the actual expenditure came to Rs. 6,100 Crore, thus saving Rs. 425 Crore. The project was also completed 5 months ahead of schedule, there by saving a substantial amount. The government projects usually become victim of red-tape which results into cost over-run and time-over- run. This project has been a rare exception. However Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh could not find time to dedicate such an important project to the nation. It was finally done on 31st August 2007, more than one year late after the beginning of generation. For the expansion of the project two villages Akkarpatti and Popharan with 1,250 families with agricultural land were required to be shifted from the safety point of view. Sri. Ram Naik Ji had assured the people that if they agree to be resettled out side the safety zone, he will extend his co-operation for their resettlement and rehabilitation. But no sooner the Vajpayee Government was out of power, the Congress Government did not honour the commitments. Hence, Sri. Ram Naik Ji took the cause of project affected persons and waged a determined struggle for them. The demonstrations were organized; finally a writ petition was moved in the Mumbai High Court. Sri. Ram Naik Ji intervened in the writ application and argued the case himself. The villagers got monetary compensation, newly constructed houses, land for land, etc. The High Court is yet to give the final verdict.
j) SRI. RAM NAIK JI HAS PENNED A BOOK 'A SAGA OF STRUGGLE' GIVING FULL DETAILS OF HIS EFFORTS. THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE TO THE NETIZENS IN 'PUBLICATIONS' SECTION OF THIS WEBSITE.
Petition to Rajya Sabha for Empowerment & Rehabilitation of Leprosy Affected Persons
For several centuries, leprosy has been regarded as non-curable and contagious. As a result, Leprosy Affected Persons (LAPs) get the most inhuman treatment. They are thrown out of the society and do not have any profession for sustenance except begging. A stigma is attached to them and they are forced to stay away from the people in separate self-settled colonies. These colonies lack civic amenities like water, toilets, electricity, drainage, education, medical help, etc. Shri Naik has been helping to some such colonies in his North Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency. However, he realized that this is a problem not of North Mumbai alone but also of the Maharashtra and the entire country. He sought co-operation from the NGOs working for betterment of LAPs. Since the States as well as Government of India were not looking to the problem in its entirety, he decided to submit a Petition to the Parliament. It is a rarely used parliamentary device to make Government work when it fails to solve a particular problem.
Accordingly a Petition signed by Sri Ram Naik Ji, along with Dr. P. K. Gopal (President, National Forum of Leprosy, Tamil Nadu), Dr. Sharad Gokhale (President, International Leprosy Union, Pune), Shri Uday Thakar (Treasurer, Kushthrog Nivaran Samiti, Panvel), Shri Shantaram Bhoir (President, Maharashtra Kushthpidit Sanghatana, Kalyan) and Shri Bhimrao Madhale (President, Sanjay Nagar Rahivasi Sangh, Mumbai) was submitted for medico-socio-economic empowerment of LAPs, on 5th December 2007, to Rajya Sabha through Shri Ved Prakash Goyal, M.P. from Mumbai. The Committee on Petitions chaired by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, considered the Petition.
All the petitioners rendered oral evidence before the Committee on 10th June 2008. Subsequently, the Committee toured and visited several self-settled colonies of LAPs at Mumbai, Hyderabad, Tirupati, Nellore, Chengalpattu, and Chennai. The Committee also had interactions with NGOs working with LAPs, State Governments and Municipal Corporations before presenting its Report to Rajya Sabha on 24th
The important recommendations of the Committee are : Sustenance allowance of Rs. 2000/- per person per month to LAPs, free medical facilities in their self-settled colonies, free civic amenities like water,
electricity, drainage etc., and free education to the dependant children of LAPs upto vocational and degree courses.
Thus Sri. Ram Naik Ji took the problem of the most neglected section of the society to the highest forum of democracy!
k) DOUBLE STOREYED TOILETS IN SLUMS
Sri. Ram Naik Ji has been a man of vision known for his awareness and eye for the details. It is common knowledge that in big cities, slumlords construct unauthorized chawls on government and private lands leaving little vacant space for civic amenities particularly toilets. The slum-dwellers therefore find it extremely difficult to have toilets in good number.
However Shri Ram Naik overcame this problem by suggesting to construct two - storeyed toilets from his M.L.A. fund. The governmental red-tape tried to put spokes in this idea putting a remark on the file that double-storeyed toilets are never constructed. Sri. Naik Ji then argued with the Minister saying that we construct 20 storeyed buildings and each flat on every floor has toilets; why then not two - storeyed toilets. He suggested that ground floor can be used by gents and first floor by ladies. This would also avoid eve-teasing.
(Courtesy: Adarniya Sri. Ram Naik Ji’s official website www.ramnaik.com)
Therefore, the people of Mumbai North should deeply think twice before selecting their candidates; they should keenly put an end to the twinkling star candidates like Govinda or Nagma or any other candidate, who seldom care for the development of constituency or for the nation as a whole; or who rarely present in parliament to raise a question concerning the people’s burning issue or relating to the any part of the constituency. Obviously, selecting such dubious characters shall be a sheer waste to the nation’s exchequer. Hence, the major responsibility anticipates also among the people selecting fitting candidates who will serve the entire constituency. I positively think, at present, no one in fray in Mumbai North fitting the towering stature of Sri. Ram Naik Ji. Truly Sri. Ram Naik Ji, inspired by all the communities irrespective of caste and creed and his triumph be not only required for this nation, but also to this prestigious Mumbai North Parliamentary Constituency.
Therefore, I request all my Netizens friends, dedicated cadres, well wishers of BJP, particularly the electorate of Mumbai North and above all my Muslim brothers and sisters to Vote in favour of one and the only Sri. Ram Naik Ji, the Grand Old man with a dynamic Vision and thereby strive hard for his glorious victory with a thumping majority in the 15th Lok Sabha Elections.
VOTE FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE, VOTE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND VOTE FOR SECURITY,
NATION FIRST; BJP IS THE BEST.
VOTE YOU MUST,
ELECT THE BEST,
VOTE FOR SRI. RAM NAIK JI, THE VOICE OF MUMBAI NORTH PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCY.