Srinivasan’s cup of woes seems to be spilling over with the sports ministry joining the growing chorus of demand for his resignation as BCCI president into the ongoing IPL spot-fixing scandal
The sports ministry on Wednesday joined the chorus for demanding resignation of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief N Srinivasan over the spot fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In addition, several Board officials like Rajiv Shukla, who is also the chairman of IPL, Arun Jaitley, vice-president and BJP leader and Jyotoraditya Scindia, the union minister for power have urged Srinivasan to step aside pending an enquiry.
Gurunath Maiyappan, the son-in-law of Srinivasan and team principal and chief executive of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the IPL franchisee has been arrested by the Mumbai Police for alleged involvement in betting. CSK is a unit of India Cements, a company owned by Srinivasan.
The sports ministry said it is observing the unfolding events “with considerable disquiet” and reiterated its commitment towards a strong anti-corruption law for sports.
“The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is in favour of a law to curb malpractices in all sports. It will send its comments on the Bill drafted by the Law Ministry, and is looking forward to working with the Law Ministry and other stakeholders for the development of a comprehensive law against match and spot-fixing,” the statement read.
The Ministry, meanwhile, rejected reports that it was in favour of legalising betting to curb corruption in sports.
“The Ministry of Sports has also observed that a section of the media has reported that it is in favour of a law regularising betting in the sporting events in the country.
“The Ministry clarifies that betting is a State Subject and cannot be part of a Central law. The Ministry has made no recommendations to regularise betting to the Law Ministry or to any other organisation,” it said.
A three-member BCCI inquiry committee is also probing Meiyappan and the allegations against three Rajasthan Royals players and its franchise as well as the Chennai Super Kings.
Justice T Jayaram Chouta, former Judge of the Karnataka and Madras High Courts, Justice R Balasubramanian, former Judge of the Madras High Court, and BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale are members of the Commission.
Researchers are fabricating their findings to create the illusion of positive findings, instead of publishing their actual results, for the continuation of their steady stream of funding and grants.
“That the cartel’s medical monopoly has created a climate of bias in our educational system in which scientific truth is often sacrificed to vested interests.”— Edward Griffin
There was a bombshell in science journal Nature recently (Nature 483, 531–533-29 March 2012) about cancer research published in the leading peer-reviewed journals of the world. Authors of the paper, C Glenn Begley and Lee Ellis, were unable to replicate the results of 47 of the 53 (89%), studies examined. Begley stated in the paper: “These are the studies the pharmaceutical industry relies on to identify new targets for drug development, but if you’re going to place a $1 million or $2 million or $5 million bet on an observation, you need to be sure it’s true. As we tried to reproduce these papers we became convinced you can’t take anything at face value.”
Simply put, researchers are fabricating their findings to create the illusion of positive findings, instead of publishing their actual results, for the continuation of their steady stream of funding and grants. Based on such research papers, millions of hapless patients are led up the garden path to hell after spending all their life’s savings!
The Mayo Clinic, in 2009, concluded that data about harnessing the immune system to fight cancer had been fabricated, resulting in the retraction of 17 papers in nine research journals. Cancer research in the United States needs to be scrutinised. It is mainly money-driven and based on developing new drugs. Begley writes: “Fifty-three papers were deemed ‘landmark’ studies. It was acknowledged from the outset that some of the data might not hold up, because papers were deliberately selected that described something completely new, such as fresh approaches to targeting cancers or alternative clinical uses for existing therapeutics. Nevertheless, scientific findings were confirmed in only 6 (11%) cases. Even knowing the limitations of preclinical research, this was a shocking result.”
The final recommendation of the authors, at the end of the paper, is worth repeating verbatim here: “However, it is important to remember that patients are at the centre of all these efforts. If we in the field forget this, it is easy to lose our sense of focus, transparency and urgency. Cancer researchers are funded by community taxes and by the hard work and philanthropic donations of advocates. More importantly, patients rely on us to embrace innovation, make advances and deliver new therapies that will improve their lives. Although hundreds of thousands of research papers are published annually, too few clinical successes have been produced given the public investment of significant financial resources. We need a system that will facilitate a transparent discovery process that frequently and consistently leads to significant patient benefit.”
I must have written more than a dozen papers in the past about this ground reality. All that I earned was the wrath of the cancer lobby. We have a moral responsibility here. We are dealing with human life and cancer is probably the cruellest disease. What surprised me all these years is how we have been accepting chemicals and radiation in cancer treatment knowing well that such treatments also destroy healthy cells.
What would happen to the patient at the end of the day whose immune system cells are as damaged as the cancer cells? Have we ever given a thought to this human aspect of cancer treatment? One of the greatest brains in biology, a Nobel Laureate, Albert Szent-Györgyi, wondered how cancer treatment could be developed as the cancer cell works exactly like a normal cell. His concern was to develop a drug that kills the cancer cells and not the healthy immune body cells. In fact, cancer treatment does destroy all fast-dividing cells; the bone marrow and the immune cells do just that. How can anyone expect to heal a patient by destroying his immune system? Would any of you like to get on to a plane which is sure to crash 89% of the time? That is cancer treatment today!
“Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud and that the major cancer research organisations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them.”— Dr Linus Pauling (Twice Nobel Prize winner)
Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.
A novel idea could be to announce the names of selected winners of the coal blocks, and provide a time frame of 30 clear working days within which, if anyone has any objection, he must subject the details, in writing, for a public scrutiny and debate
In the last one week, several issues relating to the coal industry have come into prominence.
First refers to the increased profits realized by Coal India Ltd due to higher volume and the profit soaring to Rs17,356.4 crore for the year ending 2012-13. Production rose to 452 million tonnes (mt) but the despatches were higher at 465 mt due to apparently stocks lying at pitheads. Production target for current fiscal is at 492 mt.
CIL has also brought about change in the coal prices directly in relation to gross caloric value (GCV). Those in the GCC of 6,000 to 6,300 will get a reduction of 12% while grades 2,200 to 6,000 GCV will be increased by 10%, with the effective average resulting in a 4.75% increase in coal prices.
Second concerns the original plans of CIL, who really do not have a direct experience, to import 16 to 20 mt of coal due to the projected shortfall in indigenous coal production, and imports are arranged upon firm requirements being received from the consumers (power generators). The question of fuel supply agreement (FSAs) and the pricing mechanism have also been subject to various debates.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has categorically stated that CIL should meet full requirement under FSAs with power utilities. Although coal prices have softened a little bit overseas, in actual practice, when requirements are floated, prices tend to go up and getting competitive bids for freight at short notice are also not practical and certainly not recommended. Overseas suppliers are not in a tap, which can be opened and or closed at will and there is no guarantee that sudden heavy rains would not flood mines leading to an extraordinary situation of short supply from indigenous sources. We need to establish adequate stocks for such emergencies.
Thirdly, the issue of quality of coal supplied to NTPC by CIL has been a matter of dispute, leading to payment delays by the power producer. In the meanwhile, it appears that Coal Ministry has objected to the Power Ministry raising the issue of coal quality (GCV) after NTPC has been consuming coal from the very same source for its requirements for several decades now!
CIL has shown its willingness to have quality control and assessments made at the mine but not after delivery to NTPC. It is essential to arrive at a mutually agreed quality inspection mechanism while considering the purchase of washed coal, which may be marginally higher in price, suggested by CIL, but at least the quality will be assured, and there would not be any power blackouts!
In the meantime, the Power Ministry and Central Electricity Authority (CEA) have started the processing of applications, received for the 14 coal blocks, located in different states - five in Chhattisgarh, four in Odisha, two in Jharkhand, one each in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Although 235 valid applications were received, only 126 are in further process-consideration to allocate these 14 blocks, which include public sector units (PSUs). It seems the Ministry of Power and CEA will take into consideration the state priorities for proposed thermal power projects and evaluate other logistics before making a decision to allocate these 14 blocks.
What is required, in the entire process, is TRANSPARENCY and above-board dealing, so that no fingers are raised, and no delays in allocation. In fact, a novel idea could be to announce the names of selected winners of these 14 blocks, and provide a time frame of 30 clear working days within which, if anyone has any objection, must subject the details, in writing, for a public scrutiny and debate. The usual muck must stop here, by this process, because scams and scandals break out years after an 'event' is over! Let's start something new, with a clean slate, can we?
Separately, Coal Ministry plans to auction seven coal blocks for steel, cement and iron units. These seven blocks have in place reserves of about 14 million tonnes per year and identities of these have not been made public so far.
One of the major hindrances in the movement of coal from pitheads to the consumer's site has been inadequate availability of rakes, delays in transit, loss/ theft in transit and non-availability of dedicated rail corridors for movement.
And the good news is that Larsen & Toubro (L&T) along with SOJITZ Corp of Japan are likely to be awarded the contract to design and construct a 640 kms twin-track stretch between Rewri in Haryana and Palanpur in Gujarat, estimated to cost Rs6,700 crores. This dedicated freight corridor is part of 1,483 Kms Western Corridor proposed between Dadri (near New Delhi) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai. This entire project will be financed by Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA), and the approval for this award is expected in the next few days. In this case, fortunately, land has been acquired, all other clearances including environment and forests are on hand.
Further details are expected shortly, but the expeditious completion of the corridor will greatly relieve the movement in the Western sector, and indigenous coal production and supplies will increase as a result.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)