Indefinite Fast at Jantar Mantar to Oppose Corruption in Rajasthan, India sign now

Chief Minister
Government of Rajasthan
State Secretariat
Jaipur 302 005
(Rajasthan)

Dated 24 March 2011


Dear Sir,

Sub : Rajasthan Against Corruption : Indefinite Fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi starting Baisakhi, 13 April 2011

We often read in the media the statements from you and others in the Government of Rajasthan about the development of the state. We regret to say that because of rampant corruption almost everywhere in the state government, Rajasthan continues to be a backward state. During the various Rajasthani Conclaves in India and abroad a large number of memorandums are signed but hardly a few of these materialize because of unending exploitation, harassment and victimization of the potential investors, all because of rampant corruption in the state government and the refusal of well meaning people to pay the bribes.

The good people and good governance in Rajasthan are an exception, rather than a rule. Most of the people in authority and power are least bothered about the state - they are concerned only about themselves. It is disgusting and pathetic, to say the least. One will not realize it till one gets into it. Anyone just tries to establish something, even a simple school in a remote village, and he/she will soon witness how the sharks within the system pounce on him/her. They are not concerned that he/she is struggling with life-time savings and borrowed funds, they are not concerned that he/she is doing something good for the society and the state, they are not concerned that he/she and his/her family are making immense sacrifices, and so on.

We can give many real examples. Let us just give one and very briefly :

The Governor and Chief Minister of state say that IITians talk a lot but do not do anything for the state, nation and the society.

Listening to the above in person, around twelve years back, one first class alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedbad proposes to leave the cushy corporate world and all the comforts and returns back to Rajasthan, after being away for 24 years.

Governor and Chief Minister of Rajasthan promise all the support, including land, orally as well as in writing.

Believing the above, he resigns from a senior position with a top American multinational, withdraws his children from a top school in national capital and return to Rajasthan to establish a unique educational campus comparable to IITs & IIMs.

He meets the Collector and Divisional Commissioner of Jodhpur. They act fast. The government land at various places is shown to him. He finalizes the land. Collector sends the proposal to the state government for approval.

One middle man from the government meets him to negotiate. He says that let the government issue a demand note for the reserve price of land to be paid by him and he will pay it promptly by cheque or demand draft. He refuses to pay anything under the table.

He does not get the land. Instead he is asked to abandon the project and leave the state. He refuses. To force him to leave, a large number of false cases are filed against him including for disturbing peace in the city, molestation, rape, death and what not by the local administration, state government and its cronies. There are also a large number of enquiries instituted against him by the government. Highly damaging letters are written by the top persons in the state government to the distinguished people associated with his institution.

He refuses to buckle. There are attempts on the lives of him and his family members orchestrated by the local administration and the state government.

He still refuses to give in and hopes that the next government will be better. The new government comes to power. Again the proposal for government land is sent duly recommended by the District Collector. He is again told clearly by the well-wishers in the government that he will not get the land since he does not pay the bribes. In any case the matter is taken up strongly by some leading supporters of his with the top persons in the state government - who appreciate the project but say that giving the land without payment of bribe will create a wrong precedent. Thus he again does not get the land.

Still he refuses to give in. Six years back he decides to purchase private land. Since he has limited borrowed funds - he purchases extreme barren wasteland with salinity five times the sea on which there is no water and nothing can be grown and nothing can be constructed. The reports from central government authorities like Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment & Forest and ISRO also advise him against this land.

He and his team work painstakingly on such an extreme wasteland and transform it with plenty of water through water harvesting (there are now 15 lakes with 6 crore litres of water) and various other natural means whereby the land now has over 6000 trees and organic vegetables grown for the hostels.

Some local politicians expect him to pay bribes even to keep the land. He refuses. These politicians send their goondas to damage the trees and lakes. They also ask the police to file false cases against him.

One of the state ministers asks him to meet and pay the bribe. He refuses. The minister instructs the Tehsildar to issue fraudulently order for auction of land by the government. He is not even given any notice before the government doing so.

He somehow manages to stop the above. He applies for conversion of land so that he can begin the construction of the campus. He pays to the state government the entire conversion amount of around Rs. 60 lakhs in advance by cheque.

After six months, the state government returns back the cheque of around Rs. 60 lakhs and refuses conversion, on the pretext of some change in the rules.

He applies again and Marwar Education Foundation (MEF) completes all the formalities for the conversion of above land and also deposits the required full conversion charges with the state government way back on 09 October 2009. The proposal for conversion, along with the fact finding report of the Tehsildar, Bilara is sent by the District Collector of Jodhpur to Revenue Department of Rajasthan vide letter dated 30 October 2009.

One year passes but the state government does not approve the conversion. In fact there is not even an acknowledgement from the state government. He gets the pressure put on the state government for approval by requesting many well-wishers from all over India and abroad to write to the Governor, CM and others in the state government.

As the number of letters swell and the pressure increases, he is advised by the office of CM that he should stop these letters and CM was issuing the orders for approval, which he would get within a week.

One week is over. He does not get the approval but instead he receives a show cause notice issued by SDM for acquisition of his land in violation of the provisions of law, on an application by Tehsildar, Bilara. In the law there is clear exemption from the land ceiling for educational purposes. However, still the land ceiling law is quoted by the same Tehsildar who had earlier himself said in report that everything was okay and recommended the conversion. On the date of hearing, SDM is not in the office and dates after dates are given, on none of which the SDM is in the office. The case remains pending and cited as a reason for not granting the conversion approval.

The local panchayat persons ask for bribe and when refused, with the connivance of the state government personnel, a case is filed with Assistant Collector, Bilara creating problems even in the title of the land. In the case, originally the name of MEF is not even mentioned but it is added later on by hand. Even the Khasra (plot) numbers of the MEF land are not there in the case document. Here again the hearing does not take place and only dates after dates are given. The case remains pending and cited as a reason for not granting the conversion approval.

Marwar Education Foundation had purchased this 236 bighas (around 94.4 acres) of private extremely high salinity wasteland in Jodhpur District around six years back to transform it to establish a truly world-class educational campus consisting of the following:

o Aravali Gurukul University, to offer top quality education in the various areas where the students from all over India and abroad will come to study. It will have international affiliations and exchanges as existing in IIMs, IITs and other top institutions and universities internationally.

o Entrepreneurship Incubation Park, with basic objective to inculcate and develop entrepreneurs for the further progress of Rajasthan, in particular and India, in general.

o Centre for Scientific Temper, which will include a science museum, planetarium and a science park to develop the reasoning and remove superstitions amongst the masses.

o Aravali Gurukul School, for top quality 10+2 education, under Rajasthan Board especially for the children from the nearby villages and under CBSE for all.

The above educational organizations are independent of Aravali Institute of Management (AIM) but still the matters related to AIM like CBI case against AICTE officials is cited for not giving the conversion approval. In fact AICTE is not relevant to the matter of conversion for the above purpose and the CBI case is not even against AIM.

MEF had the ambitious plans to provide to the State of Rajasthan a unique campus where the people from all over India and abroad would visit to witness conversion of extreme wasteland into productive land, environmental preservation, water harvesting, non-conventional energy usage, societal benefit programmes and also truly top quality education. However, today because of MEFs persistent refusal to compromise and not to pay bribes, the above ambitious project is about to be shelved.

We will not allow the above state development project of national interest to be abandoned. In case MEF does not get the conversion approval latest by 06 April 2011 then, to expose corruption in the state government of Rajasthan nationally and internationally, we plan to start indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi from the day of Baisakhi, 13 April 2011. Lakhs of MEF supporters and well-wishers from all over India and abroad, including the alumni of IITs & IIMs, have pledged their support for this noble cause. In fact they will also go on indefinite fast in their own cities and towns all over India and abroad in protest against corruption within the Government of Rajasthan because of which the good people are not investing in the state.

Just in case the conversion approval is not received by MEF latest by 06 April 2011 then soon thereafter, there will be a press conference in New Delhi where the national and international media will be invited, shown the documentary evidences of harassment by the state government in view of refusal to compromise and to inform them the plans for indefinite fast. There will be e-mails and SMS sent worldwide about the indefinite fast, messages posted on the various social networking sites and the support galvanized from all over India and abroad.

We do sincerely hope that you will see the writing on the wall and looking to the seriousness of the matter will kindly do the needful latest by 6th April 2011, so that we are not compelled to go for indefinite fast from 13 April 2011.

We the undersigned stand by Varun Arya, IIT Delhi & IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, President, Marwar Education Foundation in his continuing struggle to establish the unique educational campus of top quality standards, as a model of no compromise, in an out of the way place like Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

Narendra Bhandari, IIT Delhi alumnus (1984 Batch), Muscat, Oman
A. K. Bhatia, IIT Delhi alumnus (1976 Batch), New Delhi
Mahesh Chadha, IIT Delhi alumnus (1979 batch) & IIM Ahmedabad (1983 Batch), Noida.
Anil Chandiramani, IIT Delhi Alumni Association, Mumbai Chapter
Mohinder K. Gandhi, IIT Delhi alumnus (1976 Batch)
Sachin Goel, IIT Delhi alumnus (1999 Batch), New Delhi
T. P. S. Jassal, IIT Delhi alumnus (1976 Batch), Chandigarh
Ashok K. Jhaveri, Alumnus of IIT Delhi (1976 Batch), Mumbai
Ram Krishnaswamy, IIT Madras alumnus (1970 Batch), Sydney, Australia
Vivek Kulkarni, IIT Delhi alumnus (1984 Batch), Mumbai
Prakash Lohia, IIT Delhi alumnus (1976 Batch), Ghaziabad
N. K. Madan, IIT Delhi alumnus (1975 Batch), Mumbai
Ajit M. Naik, IIT Delhi alumnus (1981 Batch), Mumbai
Partha Ramachandran, IIT Delhi alumnus (1976 Batch), USA
Ayappan Ramamurthy, IIM Ahmedabad alumnus (1983 Batch), Oman, UAE
M. N. Ravi, IIM Ahmedabad alumnus (1983 Batch), Chennai
Jatinder Mohan Saluja, IIM Ahmedabad alumnus (1983 Batch), New Delhi
Nishant Kumar Shrivastav, Alumnus of IIT Delhi (1976 Batch), Bhilwara
Raju Vir, IIM Ahmedabad alumnus (1983 Batch), New Delhi

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Latisha LoweryBy:
Politics and GovernmentIn:
Petition target:
Mr. Ashok Gehlot

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