What is the Modi government doing against the NPA

The Blender: Narendra Modi

In Prayagraj on the banks of the Ganges, Modi's politics of the past five years can be observed - and his current election campaign: lighting smoke candles at the right time

Between January 15 and March 4, almost 120 million Hindu believers took a bath at the Ardh Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj and had the impression that Narendra Modi kept his election promise of 2014 and cleaned the Ganges.

Data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also showed that the water in the Ganges in Prayagraj (Allahabad until 2018) was not just as clean to the eye as it was for a long time. The oxygen content had tripled compared to last year, and pollution had decreased by the same amount.

But 10 days after the Mela has ended, I am standing in Prayagraj on the banks of a polluted corridor. In addition, it is obvious that the water level has decreased rapidly in the last few days: The Modi government had agreed with that of the state of Uttar Pradesh to channel around 225,000 cubic meters of water per second via the tributaries into the Ganges during the Mela.

"To this end, most of Kanpur's 200 leather tanneries that channel their chrome-contaminated sewage into the Ganges were closed for the time of the Mela," says Rakesh Jaiswal from the environmental organization ecofriends from Kanpur, who has been fighting against pollution on the Ganges for 20 years.

"But the industrial plants in Dada Nagar in Kanpur continue to channel their untreated wastewater into the Pandu, which then flows into the Yamuna River, which in turn flows into the Ganges behind the Kumbha Mela area."

Why the Prime Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the radical Hindu priest Yogi Adityanath, succeeded in closing the tanneries for at least three months is also obvious: They are predominantly owned by Muslims.

All measures taken by those responsible were only aimed at creating the impression that the Ganges was clean for the time of the mela. The first tanneries in Kanpur have already started operations again.

Rakesh Jaiswal

Jaiswal's words are underlined by a study by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) from 2017, which shows that the Ganges is dirtier in most places than in 2014. Another study by the CPCB from 2017/18 showed that not even the monsoons the water quality of the Ganges improves so that the pollution before and after the rainy season is the same. Dr. ToxixWatch's Gopal Krishna reiterates his criticism:

To cleanse the Ganges you need a plan and a system. Modi has neither one nor the other. He may be able to deceive his constituents, but not us scientists.

Gopal Krishna

A few kilometers from the Kumbha Mela area, a cluster of 60 small boats is anchored in the middle of the Yamuna River. From them men dive down to the bottom with tin buckets and bring up sand. As soon as a boat is fully loaded, the load brings it to the shore, where a stocky man stands next to large piles of sand and says, "I pay 50 rupees per cubic foot and get 52 rupees if I sell the sand on."

Huge bubble in the real estate market

Although the illegal sand robbery is taking place completely openly in front of everyone, the black spots on the corpulent man's face indicate that the business is tough: "The policemen's demands for bribes are getting more and more outrageous," he says with an expression full of aversion to the injustices of this earth. A look into the center of Prayagraj shows why the government is turning a blind eye despite the damage caused by the massive sand robbery on India's rivers.

There, one new building after the other is being pounded out of the ground. No new buildings without sand. Only quartz sand from the earth or water can be processed further, because the grains of desert sand are ground so round by the wind that they can no longer "get stuck" due to missing edges.

But in the Civil Lines area you can see that all the sand is not needed: the expensive shops in the new buildings and the shopping mall are hardly visited. There is only one small stall that sells the rice dish biryani cheaply and is so overcrowded that the security guards in the expensive shops have to drive away the eating biryani lovers.

A huge bubble has formed on the real estate market in India, warn even the otherwise optimistic Indian financial newspapers. Real estate loans worth $ 14.6 billion must be paid back by 2021 - but apartment prices have fallen rapidly as demand has plummeted.

Under Modi, growth without reason had priority: In the last three years of his years in office, the NPA (non-performing assets) of Indian banks have increased fivefold - from 32 billion US dollars to 150 billion. The NPAs are loans that are more than 90 days past due.

The debtors of 80 percent of these loans are Indian corporations such as Modi-friendly Reliance Industries. At the same time, the country suffers from the highest unemployment in 45 years.

Rahul Gandhi: Basic income for 270 million poor Indians

At least Rahul Gandhi of the Congress Party has recognized that there is not only an aspiring middle class in India: He promises the estimated 270 million poor Indians who live on less than 27 to 30 rupees (35 to 39 euro cents) a day monthly basic income of 6000 rupees (77 euros).

"Of course Rahul's promise is owed to the elections, but it could be a turning point for the elections," says Bengali journalist and activist Sushovan Dhar. "And maybe there will really be an important reform because fewer and fewer Indians are forgetting the promises made by politicians."

"Since 1947 we have been ruled almost entirely by the corrupt Gandhi clan and its family party, the Congress Party. Modi deserves another chance," says Alok Kuman Gupta, a high court attorney for the Modis Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is close.

Although 44 alleged "beef eaters" were murdered by religious cow rescue groups in India between December 2015 and 2018 alone, Gupta considers the news of hatred against minorities to be exaggerated. "Yogi A. and Narendra Modi are simply less corrupt," Gupta insists on his main argument.

We are sitting in the venerable India Coffee House, a place everywhere in India where activists and supporters of the political left meet. Not so in the conservative and heavily religious Prayagraj: the only shadow of a "leftist" I met on five mornings is an extremely relaxed fifty-year-old who visits his mother.

Every day after morning coffee he lit a big joint. His quiet, feather-light spoken sentences can be summarized as follows: Leave me alone with politics. A priest rules in Uttar Pradesh, what else are you going to argue about. I do my thing and relax.

For his part, lawyer Gupta turns out to be more critical than expected in a further conversation with his BJP: "In Prayagraj, too, we have had a problem with stray cows since the cow rescue programs of our government. Most of the worries are the cows that have become unproductive [note: none Giving more milk] and invading the farmers' fields in large herds. Yogi's government has clearly failed to provide enough space for the cows that roam free. "

The consequences can be seen everywhere in Prayagraj: cows lie in large groups on the streets and populate almost every pile of rubbish. When it comes to polluted rivers, Gupta knows that the government is not doing enough to clean it up.

"They only talk about a clean Ganges, but completely forget that the pollution is also transported via the tributaries. If you show me evidence that the industrial plants in Dada Nagar in Kanpur pollute the Ganges in a roundabout way, I will take legal action against it ", says Gupta and promises to contact Rakesh Jaiswal.

But there is another problem area: With its hard-handed policy, the Modi government set the disputed Kashmir region on fire again. The previous government of the Indian National Congress had shown that exactly the opposite - namely reaching out to the majority Muslim population in Kashmir - ensured a decrease in violence.

Narendra Modi runs a similar route with neighboring Pakistan. Although the so-called surgical strike In Balakot, Pakistan, according to international observers and based on satellite images, Modi did not kill terrorists or hit one of their camps, Modi, with the help of friendly media, reprimanded anyone in the country as supporters of Pakistan who openly spoke the facts.

But India's reputable daily The Hindu added further facts this year that also exposed Modi's clean image as a bluff: The newspaper published papers that prove that the Indian government had instructed its French counterparts to join Anil Ambani’s Reliance group to prefer over 36 fighter jets in the Rafale weapons deal.

Thanks to his cleverly placed smoke candles from nationalism, religion and pure window dressing, it could be just enough for the dangerous populist Modi in the Lok Sabha elections, which start next week on April 11th.

Part of the responsibility for this is also the Congress Party, which since the neoliberal reforms in the 1990s has listened too closely to the needs of the big business players and ignored the fact that a large part of the population did not benefit from increasing economic growth: the rich one percent owns 73 percent of property in India.

In return, the materially poor part of the Indians has to deal with the side effects of growth: 14 of the 15 most contaminated cities on earth are now in India. In addition, at least 1.2 million Indians die every year as a result of air pollution - in the east of Delhi and other neighboring towns, life expectancy is shortened by 12 years because of the polluted air.

Read comments (21 posts) https://heise.de/-4365488Report an errorDrucken