Thursday, May 31, 2007

ibnlive has a interesting section that so far i have not noticied.

it has a section called citizen's reporter and there was a timely story on the manipal-udupi road in the coastal karnataka. (thank god citizen's reporter is not reporting on the belly dancing class room sessions of some movie actress. no pun intended though!)

udupi is one of the gorgeous coastal places with sun kissed beaches, long coastlines, beautiful western ghats and more.

but most rural places in india, it is neglected and it is not in the 'development' screen of booming urban sectioned india.

as bhaskar ballal points out, the manipal-udupi route is nothing but a huge garbage dump. a pristine land is now abused with filth, waste and garbage and points to a failed policy of having no useful recycling or green strategy of our planner.

'development' after all means use, spend and trash rather than sustain, nourish and protect.

the latest 2 frontline editions carried 2 very simple but brilliant articles on mining situation in orissa. 'development' in orissa is indeed 'dangerous'. dangerous to environment, dangerous to the people and dangerous for everybody.

oh yeah, dangerous for everybody except big time industrialists, their sleazy contractors and the development mongering politicians.

some excerpts from the article is below.

Down the road from the mines, the residents of Deojhar have seen their streams dry up, the water table fall and the soil lose its fertility in the six years since Jindal began operations. "The very basis of village life has fallen apart since the project began," says Sridhar Nayak, a leader in Deojhar. The crops have died, there is no place to graze cattle, people cannot collect firewood in the project area and the handpumps yield foul, yellowish water. Nayak says the inevitable dust that any project breeds has severely affected the health of the residents, particularly the young, among whom the number of cases of lung congestion has increased.

The reality of Orissa's iron ore mines, where the promise of prosperity is just empty rhetoric. An average family with a small rice farm and a betel vine patch along the beach is estimated to earn between Rs.10,000 and Rs.12,000 a month. "The project will destroy our livelihoods," says Shantilata Behera, a resident of Gadakujang. "They say they bring jobs, but we already have jobs, we have fields and we have boats."

Village after village, panchayat after panchayat, community after community, the story of eviction, displacement, shattered livelihoods and exploitation repeat themselves with mind-numbing continuity. Every settlement exists in a state of almost permanent insecurity, suspicious of every move of the government, the companies and even their own fellow settlers. Iron belt or agricultural land, beach settlement or reserve forest, everything is up for grabs in Orissa.

development is indeed mind numbing....

(Mining, transportation of iron ore and dumping of waste have transformed the Joda block in Keonjhar district from a green belt into a surreal moonscape. picture courtesy frontline.)

(Hundreds of hectares of forests have been lost to mining over the years in a situation where encroachments are impossible to monitor. The most common illegality is to continue mining long after the lease has ended. picture courtesy frontline.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

the continuing tragedy of eloor has been chronicled in this blog. although it is not being captured on daily basis, eloor , the tragedy, unfolds every day.

the latest being the sulphuric acid gas leak from FACT (Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore) factory in eloor. and this time the gas leak not only affected the people of eloor but also Kalamassery.

only when the next bhopal occurs in eloor, will the authorities and the policy makers wake from their very deep slumber. until then blatantly polluting factories like FACT will keep on adding useless points to our gdp score card, a score card that benefits only the rich and kicks out the environment and the marginalised people.

as expected, the kerala cabinet has rejected the buffer zone proposal of silent valley national park.

kerala govt, is moving cleverly in pitching athirapally and pathrakadavu head to head and hoping to move athirapally inside with the argument 'don't oppose all 'development' projects'.

when it comes to 'development', projects more than people matter and when it comes to electricity projects, it is being pitted as choose one irrespective of destruction that the 'project' presents.

interestingly declaring a small area in the crucial vembanad lake also got rejected. i don't know the exact details but from the report it looks like a much needed one for the badly abused lake which is crucial for livelihood, sustainable tourism and natural might that it presents.

well, when the policy is blind with respect to nature preservation and human development vis-a-vis gdp growth, crucial bills like these will never see the light of the day.

Monday, May 21, 2007

pampa river in kerala is facing its battle of life.

now the sand mafia has got new technique to rape the river. what they do, as per hindu report, is that to ship sand by individuals in plastic bags and then onto jeeps and then onto big trucks.

and as usual the pillars who need to protect our rivers, pollution control board, environment ministry, river authority are busy sleeping.

novel, is the way of development, in india.

(A worker engaged in mining sand from the close vicinity of the well foundation of Kozhencherry Bridge on the Pampa at Maramon near Kozhencherry)

global warming is a huge threat to india.

global warming is accelerating at a huge pace. while developed countries like by american government has paid no heed to call to tune their policies on global warming, china and india is gleefully following the leaders.

global warming is a threat to developed countries. but the same global warming will be a disaster to india.

himalayas, with its receding glaciers, might potentially make several rivers including ganges run dry in next decade or so.

our outgoing moef minster mr.a.raja makes a funny remark and i quote hindu "We are the lowest polluter. According to Kyoto Protocol, we are safe and cannot make any commitment on further reducing emission levels,"Raja said.

"we are the lowest polluter" - this is probably the understatement of the decade. india 90% of rivers are polluted, india's cities have bad air that ranks top in asia, india's car emission standards are poorest in the world, india's coastal region are nothing but a tsunami of chemical factories, india's aqua farms belch pollutants to virgin coastal lands, the list is endless.

india's environment and forests minister, did nothing on his ministry to gear india to face the challenges. on the external front, india did nothing to show it can run much cleaner and force developed countries to follow suit.

all india is doing is taking 'we are cleaner than thou when it comes to emissions'. the reality is we are not cleaner, we are not efficient and we cannot force developed countries to go clean.

when all the indian government is concerned is the 9.2 gdp growth, we are blind to the huge local pollution let alone global pollution and its serious effect on india.

(himalayas face huge threat due to global warming with a direct disastrous consequence of making india a huge desertland due to lack of water from the several rivers that originate from himalayas)

Friday, May 18, 2007

a petition drive by icjb on the need to prevent DOW and IIT trying for a tie up.

shameless, will be the word when IIT ties up with DOW
killers, will be the tag when IIT ties up with DOW
money mongers, will be the synonym when IIT ties up with DOW
killer development, will be the trajectory of development when IIT ties up with DOW

a prestigious and crucial institution should not tie up wtih DOW which has so far not done anything to solve the crisis that pollution affected families of bhopal disaster still face.

The Indian Institutes of Technology are some of the most advanced schools in the world, known and respected worldwide for their commitment to excellence.


So why are they considering a partnership with Dow Chemical?


You’ve heard of Dow.


They refuse to clean up the poisons their fully-owned subsidiary, Union Carbide, left behind in Bhopal.


The issue is settled, they say - “ $500 is plenty good for an Indian.”


However Union Carbide remains a fugitive from Indian law. Dow says they won’t allow Carbide to appear for trial because India has “ no jurisdiction.”


In 2005, the Global IIT Conference tried to honor Dow’s Chairman by inviting him to keynote the event. 1300 IIT alumni called for his invitation to be recinded, and he quietly withdrew.


Now Dow is trying to buy their way into the IITs.
If you’re an alumni, sign the petition.
Tell the IITs not to deal with a company that scorns India’s law and perpetuates the suffering of its citizens.

Help us make sure the IITs do the right thing. To get involved, contact:
Priya Ranjan, IIT alum:
Sudarshan Suresh:


Ryan Bodanyi
Coordinator, Students for Bhopal
(401) 829-6192

i am a keen follower of international campaign on bhopal issue. please see one of their very genuine protests.

when politicians and officials come to america - a country in which law and order and envrionment is very crucial and safeguarded very well - they totally forget that they have abused in india, the very same parameters that america stands for.

in name of 'development' - we are willing to ignore disasters like bhopal and narmada.
Chouhan: Disrupted
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister was in the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday, May 16, 2007. A few of us from AID, FOSA, NBA and Ruckus Society participated in a private luncheon that the MP CM and his delegation was having with the investors from the area.


The luncheon started with the delegation painting a beautiful picture of why Madhya Pradesh is the ideal destination for investment and how they would bend over backwards to get the dollars and pounds. Speaker after speaker reiterated how anything and everything was negotiable for the investors and how every obstacle will be removed for the investments.

When the MP CM took the podium and started talking, two of us unfurled a banner asking them to fulfill their responsibility in Narmada and Bhopal before coming across seas and wooing investors. The message went loud and clear across the hall and the delegates and investors were taken by surprise. The volunteers were ejected and the CM continued to propagandize about the state and its investment opportunities but he appeared to be a little thrown off by the incident.


As he wrapped his speech, the CM wanted to clear up the cloud hanging over Narmada and Bhopal and started making his stance saying all was well with the communities and they have been taken care more in a much better manner than promised. At this point, a volunteer started distributing fliers saying why we shouldn't trust this man as he has made many many such false promises.

When the CM finished his rejoinder to the protest, one of us stood up and said she had been to the valley and the compensation was woefully inadequate and if he continued in this manner, the SEZs in his state will become like Nandigram. She was ejected from the room and they also attributed her speech to ignorance about ground realities in Madhya Pradesh because she lives in California.

At this point, two of us left the room and left more fliers in the bags that the Madhya Pradesh delegation had assembled to give to the attendees (but left it carelessly outside the room).


In the Q and A session, a volunteer questioned their credibility about Bhopal and Narmada to which the answers were indirect and reeked ignorance. Some of us followed them to the car with our questions.

At a separate event in the evening, one other person showed up to question Mr. Chouhan on his relief and rehabilitation package for the Bhopalis and Narmada dam oustees, a visibly upset Chouhan refused to answer the question and the delegates, organizers asked the volunteer to leave as they did not want more problems like the afternoon.

It is deplorable that public servants come to the US on public money in the name of doing good for the public but sit in private board rooms and not answer questions from the citizenry.

More pictures available at:

Ryan Bodanyi
Coordinator, Students for Bhopal
(401) 829-6192

Thursday, May 17, 2007

i was shocked on reading the statement of the learned tamil scholar and administrator, the CM of tamilnadu describing those who oppose the sethu project as anti-nationals.

this is a shocking statement. this is same as bush administration indicating that those who oppose the ill fated brutal iraqi invasion as "unpatriotic".

sethu project had huge issues. even the bnhs (bombay natural history society) questioned the very usefulness of this project which is cutting time to travel because of the new dreged channel.

several emininet people have called for caution. one letter in dte magazine called for caution.
The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (sscp) has been cleared by the Union ministry of environment and forests and the cabinet committee. Despite this,

the crucial project, which will cut through a natural chain of shoals to link the Gulf of Mannar with the Palk Bay, needs the attention of the world’s environmentalists. The region is the habitat of many endangered organisms of subtropical, shallow marine environments, such as algae, fish, coral reefs, sea horses and several kinds of plants. The aquatic wealth of this very protected, subtropical, shallow marine region may be affected adversely as the regional food chain will be disturbed.

the cover story by downtoearth magazine done on march 2006 pointed out the huge negative effects of this project.

but suddenly our honorable CM is giving a dangerous twist to the project. to quote hindu, "
The implementation of the project would lead to economic prosperity for the state and elevation of India to the super power status, he said."

how so?

if thousands of poor fishermen are thrown away from their daily livelihood will india become a 'super power'?
when there are big EIA violations and the project itself is being conducted in utmost secrecy, lead india to become 'super power'?
and finally if india does not become 'super power' because of this project, will those who pushed this project become anti nationals.

strange indeed is the logic of 'development' of india. now those who oppose fake development are not only hindering 'progress of the rich' but also are 'anti nationals'.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

cse has come up with a primer on anil agarwal writings. it is called AA Reader - Anil Agarwal Reader.

anil agarwal (1947-2002) was a pioneer and shall we call, the father of india's environmental movement. he pioneered several ideas/concepts/solutions/etc that even now - 5 years after his death - are far ahead of our times.

this takes the cake. if ever we wonder why we want polluting factories to task is because of precise 'drinking water' that anil agarwal had.

Turned out that they were specimens of the “drinking water” available to the villagers of Bichhri, Rajasthan, who had lost their only source of potable water when a firm manufacturing H-acid moved into the vicinity. It was typical of Agarwal to display those bottles as an irrefutable argument for why polluters must pay.

2 of my favourites quotes of the legend are

"The environment is not just pretty trees and tigers… threatened plants and ecosystems. It is literally the entity on which we all subsist, and on which entire agricultural and industrial development depends." "It is time we demand environmental security, just like we demand economic security".

"It is time we demanded environmental security, just like we demand economic security".

(anil agarwal: 1947 - 2002, founder of cse, leader and pioneer of india's environmental movement)

minister of environment and forests, mr.a.raja departs to head the IT and telecom ministry.

he has been a minister for nearly 3 years as head of MoEF. in these three years, we can tell that his work in the ministry was mediocre at best.

he was bulldozed by his powerful counterparts finance minister and shipping and transport minister to push destructive projects.

the blatant dilution of EIA rules, the ruthless bulldozing of sethu project, his inability to rein in brutal private sector mining companies in orissa, the deteriorating quality of wetlands, rivers, etc, the death bed state of pollution control boards, the disappearance of tigers in sariska, his lack of leadership in tribal bill issue, etc - all are glaring examples of the poor job that raja did.

media pundits are saying that how can raja be effective in the new ministry when he was not effective in his old ministry. they are more concerned that telecom ministry is crucial than MoEF and so more able person than raja should hold the ministry and probably let raja stay in MoEF. I, for one, is saying let a new blood come in a very crucial ministry like MoEF and give it a strong push towards preservation of india's environment and forests.

because, our environment and forests is as crucial as telecom. because without pure drinking water to drink and a healthy air to breathe, the dollars and rupees we have in bank will be just papers. papers, using which the rich pillage the environment and forests and destroy the very lives and livelihood of several hundreds of millions of people.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

we have chronicled quite a bit the huge pollution that is taking place in tirupur belt of tamilnadu.

the dyeing and textiles units have abused river noyyal, cauvery and have screwed up thousands of acres of farmland. even with repeated court intrevention, the well to do textile factory owners have cared nothing about the sorry state of affairs.

now adding to the toxic chaos, sewage is freely flowing into this vital kalingarayan canal thereby making it a very dangerous cocktail (cocktail of development, i guess).

hindu erode section had the news report on this latest tragedy. tragedy, i guess, has no meaning in these parts for the farmers who fertile land has become wastelands.

it will be far better if the textile mills come up with 'green' line of clothing with extra cost attached to the clothing. using the extra money gained, at least, they can invest more on cleaning up and fixing the pollution issue. but i am pretty sure even with extra money, the pollution will remain, as there is zero monitoring and enforcement by tamilnadu pollution control board (tnpcb).

tnpcb is virtually a dead agency as examples in mettur, cuddalore, pallikaranai, kodaikanal, etc a shows and many vital pillars that are there to protect our environment is dead under the assault of 'development'.

(Large quantities of sewage and effluents from textile industries and tanneries stagnate in the Kalingarayan canal at Periya Agraharam and Karungalpalayam area.)

there is a simple but brilliant slide show on the dangerous impact of the proposed puducherry(pondicherry) harbour by cseindia.

it shows vividly how a beautiful place has been turned into an unsustainable destructive place for whole of puducherry, all in name of 'development' which rode on the back of fake environmental impact assessment(eia) and false promises - just like most of big ticket projects in india is being conducted.

as expected the locals are severely opposing this new harbour and medha patkar is scheduled to visit the place.

whether it is the mighty gujarat government that ruthlessly crushes opposition for the fake narmada dam or whether it is the tiny puducherry government - the trend is the same. lies, lies and more lies riding on top of flawed eia and false promises on the project. the end result - politicians and contractors make a killing whereas environment, local people and tax payers suffer a huge loss.

who cares- when it all adds to the gdp figure that our finance minister touts - when it creates the illusion of development.

Friday, May 11, 2007

water in india is a hot topic. or rather shall we say 'hard to find' topic. as sunita narain puts it aptly, ""Water will define if we remain poor or become rich".

downtoearth had a book review on "Water: Private, Limited – Issues in Privatisation, Corporation and Commercialisation of Water Sector in India". privatising water is a tell tale sign of fake development in india.

there are huge issues in ppp model in water sector. mostly it is private sector benefit with public interest casualty. and there in the tom-toming of fake development lies. from the link,

Actually, ppp means private companies providing water to industries or residential areas, where people can pay, leaving the poor at the mercy of local government. The authors feel this has virtually sounded the death knell of the cross-subsidy system—in which water agencies collect from the rich to subsidise the poor.

Social responsibility is the casualty.
Privatisation almost always comes with increased water tariffs: in Manila and Guinea, water rates shot up by 500 per cent and 750 per cent respectively. The companies justify such hikes saying it was necessary to recover costs. But a simple audit of some private firms shows this argument doesn't hold water.

The authors cite Delhi's proposed privatisation plan in which zonal managers would get Rs 11 lakh a month as pay.

The company continues to operate the utility in face of stiff resistance from local people. For good reason: Radial Water is paid for supplying 4 million litres of water daily (mld), while the actual supply is 1 mld.
Often, consultants rake in more than what is allocated to a critical sector of a project.

frontline had a very good article on this titled aptly as "private water, public misery"

one para summarises it all when it comes to privatisation of water.
In an article written on the occasion of World Water Day in The Hindu (March 22), U.S. Ambassador to India David C. Mulford cited the Tirupur project "as a great example of how private sector involvement" can "dramatically improve access to water and sanitation".

The evidence certainly does not back his assertion that the involvement of the private sector actually results in lower costs and better services. Water is not only substantially more expensive as a result of the scheme, but large sections have been excluded from a service that was once the duty of the government to provide.

when it comes to even basic essential service like water, our government chasing industrialists for investments have forgotten their right to govern and have forsaken the right to govern right.
( Collecting water from a broken pipe in the heart of Tirupur. This is a common site in the town.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

you cannot fool all the people all the time.

but when it comes to fake dam and unsustainable development in india, you indeed can fool all people all the time.

hindu report details how the naramada dam waters is being diverted from drought prone regions to 'poor industries run by very rich persons' and to urban towns that do not understand the importance of waters.

indeed - development in india - can people be fooled all the time in name of 'development'.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

this hindu news story sums up the sorry state of focus on crucial environment sector of india.

the forest department sends its proposal to forest minister for clearance of the proposal to declare the silent valley national park buffer zone as a protected area.

the forest minister approves it 10 months ago. the proposal reaches the electricity minister of kerala, mr.a.k.balan, who does nothing for past 10 months. the proposal, if i can take a liberty, has been sent to all cabinet ministers so that they can approve it for final cabinet approval.

the electricity minister is sitting on the file and does not care a damn on the proposal. the reason is obvious. he wants to bulldoze the unsustainable, ill fated pathrakadavu hydel project in the name of 'development'.

if it had been a factory proposal or a dam proposal, the electricity minister would have cleared it in 10 days even without taking into considerations basic human and environmental laws.

silent valley has withstood several brutal attempts to build foolish dams. hopefully the story will remain the same.

one of the true human indicator in any developing/developed country is the free-ness and easiness in which human beings can walk.

refining further, one of the hallmark of any city/urban area/country that wants to become 'truly developed', is to plan, implement, enforce and monitor pedestrian walkways.

the joy of children walking on the side pavements, the elderly couple taking a leisurely walk, group of students crossing in a casual way main city roads via pedestrian crossings...these are joy to watch.

but in mindless madness, indian cities have eliminated even a few walking spots leaving mothers, children, students, pedestrians, etc clinging to their dear life.

cars, cars and more cars dominate urban roads and these car owners, who truly have prospered in india's lop sided development, don't care a damn on the poor pedestrians.

truly 'developed-ed' indeed is india. (a mother with his son watching dangerously in 'developed-ed' indian roads.)
(pedestrians crossing near guindy railway station, chennai, tamilnadu. there is not even a minimum safety net for poor pedestrians in face of onslaught of cars and other vehicles)

Monday, May 07, 2007

the latest study by pucl (people's union of civil liberties) in the 'most developed' (er...or shall we say 'most polluted') sipcot cuddalore area gave a shocking glimpse of the level of pollution in the area.

studies by pucl shows that fishes in river uppanar bas been born with one eye, a genetic deformity, due to result of massive pollution by the mega-crore-profit-earning factories in sipcot cuddalore.

previous studies and reports show that fishes have been found with rashes, a severe indication that pollution has become deadly.

development can be deforming to local ecology and people too apart from destroying it.
(A fisherman displays a fish damaged by pollutants in the River Uppanar)
(Indiscriminate dumping of toxic wastes has spoilt agricultural fields and groundwater.)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

mani shankar aiyer seems to be waken up a little.

in his speech before the lobby organisation cii (confederation of indian industries - or shall we say confederation of polluting indian industries - considering the huge damage various sectors like leather, chemicals, cement, sponge iron, mining, etc are causing in a wilful and reckless manner), he has bought some valid points.

couple of them are below.

You go to Hirakud, which is where Jawaharlal Nehru actually used the expression modern temples of India, and you ask what happened to the tribals who were driven out of there. Absolutely nobody knows.

n these circumstances, when a proposal came before the government to spend Rs 648 crore on the Gram Nyaya department, we were solemnly informed by one of the most influential ministers in the government to remember that we are a poor country. I was delighted when the next day he was with me in a group of ministers and I reminded him of his remark and said in that case can we stop spending the Rs 7000 crore on the Commonwealth Games and he said, “No, no, that is an international commitment and a matter of national pride.” This national pride will of course blow up if you spend Rs 7000 crore on the Commonwealth Games. We will be on the cover of Time and Newsweek.

maybe mr.aiyer ought to waken up earlier. or better mr.aiyer should follow up on his awakening process and use his ideas to point out and correct the lopsided 'developedment' of india. will he?

Friday, May 04, 2007

what happens when top notch companies want to grow. what happens when leading software companies want to increase their revenue, what happens when foreign multinationals want to grow in a new market area, what happens...

let us stop...

we all know the answer. they put a strong management team on ground to make sure that team can drive all pieces in achieving the goal.

now what should happen when the important forests and vital environment of india needs to be protected. the same thing, the custodian of forests, the government which is elected by the people, has to put strong team on the ground so that team can take care of our natural wealth.

in india's maniac growth for blind development, all our pillars (environment, forests, pollution control, audit, etc) are being dusted to the ground.

how else we could explain the following para from the news report.

The situation is alarming, around 40-50 per cent posts are lying vacant and the average age of the staff is around 45 years. Besides, due to lack of proper infrastructure, it is difficult to protect our national wealth of forests," the Committee noted in its report tabled in the Parliament recently.

'development' - indeed is fast becoming a very dirty word when it comes to environment and marginalised people.

cseindia, has been focussing on EIA (environment impact assessment) process of india for a considerable time. as part of that they run courses, which is very vital, on eia to ngo's, journalists, environmental activists, etc.

one such class is profiled at their website and the below picture caught my eye.

of all things, why does cse, give the participants water bottles. ain't water bottle environmentally degrading?. the oil that is being used create the bottle itself, the oil and pollution it takes to ship the bottles to various location, the neglect of water bodies by govt as the private sector mines for water in agricultural lands thereby making huge profits and obviously greasing government sectors concerned to water to die a slow death, etc, etc - all these are allegations against the water bottle industry.

i think cse has to come up with its own green audit. apart from being an environmental organisation, it is also a journalistic organisation. following things from cse will help us to understand how a pioneer manages its own waste.

1. electricity used/consumed/conserved.
2. fresh paper used/recycle paper used.
3. where does the paper comes from for its pioneering and path breaking downtoearth magazine.
4. how does it manage its waste water.
5. what rwh structures are in place and how much they are able to cut out delhi water supply because of that
6. how much green building techniques they have inbuilt in their building
7. conservation measures in place as process for electricity, water, waste, etc
8. what kind of sewage recycling they have, if any. (like ecosan toilets).
9. what kind of packaged products (bottled water, packaged food, fast food) it serves to its team and outside participants and how it is being recycled, if any.

being green should start from everybody. cse is not an exception to this.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

former supreme court judge v.r.krishna iyer wrote a stunning piece in hindu with respect on hydel power projects in lieu of the sudden raking up of pathrakadavu hydel project in palakad district.

this article surely will rank among one of the top ones when it comes to 'development' versus environment debate.

some quotable quotes are below. powerful words for saner people. will development mongers, who are equal to war mongers, listen?

Industrialise or perish, the capitalist giants would agree. If ecological and environmental criteria are forsaken, `industrialise and perish' will be nature's retort.

The agrarian poor, with little land, have no voice — as against the powerful urban factory-owners and merchants with political influence. Green fields, rich forests which are the sanctuary of rare bird species, jungles with wild animals, and rivers which die dry if polluted or deprived of sandbeds — all these will disappear. So will the peasants who are the backbone of food self-sufficiency.

The purpose of development "should be not to develop things, but to develop man," said the Cocoyoc Declaration of 1974. "Development must be aimed at the spiritual, moral and material advancement of the whole human being, both as a member of society and from the point of view of individual fulfilment."

Today governments are controlled to a considerable extent by powerful private corporations. Under no circumstances, therefore, should Pathrakadavu or other such dubious schemes that are constitutionally culpable be undertaken. Never be a traitor to the future, or be hostile to the ecological command of the Constitution.
(silent valley, palakad district, kerala)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

periyar river sorry state has been catalogued in this blog many a times.

one recent hindu article summarises briefly but very effectively the sorry state of the majestic, crucial and lifeline river. for several years, the successive government has done just a lip service and not done anything concrete to fix the problems that is being faced by periyar.

when rivers like periyar is dying, india cannot be shining or rising. majority of india can only be dying and a tiny section can be rising.

coupled with this, total lack of enforcement/monitoring/regulation from crucial government pillars such as pollution control boards/environment, health ministries/ministry of environment and forests(moef)/etc + zero environmental awareness among common people + total neglect on part of government since india is already 'shining' and 'rising' - all causes periyar and other such rivers to die a sorry death.

(Waste from Aluva market being dumped in the Periyar, the major source of drinking water for the residents of Kochi.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

as india speeds without control, benefiting its urban elite, one section that is being pushed to the edge is the urban poor.

urban poor who rely on urban ecosystems for livelihood. fishermen who rely on coastal seas in urban areas, farmers who live close to urban areas, marginalised people who double/treble as janitors, road sweepers, etc - these are the sections that get slammed as a section of urban india rockets itself to glory amidst extreme squalor.

frontline article capture one such neglected section, the gorai fishing village of north mumbai.

the last 2 para's aptly sums up the lop sided development that is taking place in india.
"The rich are becoming richer by grabbing our lands but we are going to starve. They have no right to take our village, however poor we might be," says Stella Murzello, an elderly vegetable farmer from Gorai.

Amusement parks, high-speed bridges, pollution - it is life in the fast lane for Mumbai's elite. Its repercussions are being felt by the Kolis. The dreams of Mumbai's urban planners are turning into a nightmare for Mumbai's fishermen and other deprived communities.

i was little late in knowing about the unfortunate demise of krishna narain (KN).

i have not met him but have heard a lot about him. he has left his wonderful marks on various wildlife/forest related events all through western ghats. his work in banarghetta national park amidst heavy pressure from politicians, builders and quarry owners has been a remarkable one.

banarghetta national park (bnp) is probably the only national park in the world that lies so close to a major city (bangalore in this case) and that has viable wild elephant population.

bnp is a tiny 104 sq kms forest area that is being brutalised for quarrying, buildings, etc. this vital lung is being lost slowly and bangalore will be the biggest loser ever if this lung goes away.

KN had written an article on the need to proctect bnp. he suggests various practical ways in which the crucial bnp can be protected and he ends with a clarion call as,
"If Narayanmurthys, Nilekanis, Premjis and Sootas pitch in, we may well be able to save this beautiful national park that exists literally in the back yard of Karnataka’s silicon valley!"

will bangalore which hosts lots of millionaires and billionaires pitch in terms of efforts, time and money to stop the raping of bnp.

or will KN call be just a news article??