Thursday, July 26, 2007

hemendra kothari, chairman of DSP merrill lynch Ltd is a well known figure in financial circles of India and abroad.

one other facet of this distinguished personality is that he is also a wildlife/forest champion. through his wildlife conservation trust (wct) he is doing good work in protecting tiger's in the forests of india.

it is indeed rare for corporate leaders to be wildlife or forest champion especially when they are bulldozing forests and wildlife in name of 'development'. it is heartening to see people like kothari from high positions talking about sorry state of affairs with respect to tigers and wildlife of india.

but some of hemendra kothari's interview comments in sanctuary asia magazine stuck a raw chord. let us take one of them. when the editor asks why MoEF is being all rules to favour a project that destructs wildlife and forests, pat comes below reply.

Q:That is the problem. Environmentalists say that the Ministry of Environment and Forests bends and even breaks laws to benefit businessmen with political contacts.
A: Then they can go to the courts. We are a democracy. Once a project is a fait accompli, why waste energy fighting it. If instead cooperation is achieved, the interests of wildlife will be better served.

so as per the honorable chairman of a big finance company, if somebody breaks law and MoEF allows it, then we have keep quiet and instead cooperation should be achieved. pardon me, if i dont understand his intention. but looks like we should not fight the project which has come up illegally violating eia and other environmental laws but we should 'save' our energy to achieve cooperation with perhaps the same company to plant more trees.

turning kothari's logic around, will he be okay if somebody cheats his company for 10 million dollars and he wont fight it in courts and outside but will be work with the individual to settle?

are we missing the forest for the trees. or, our corporate honcho's think we are dumb, dumber and dumbest.

hemendra kothari's initial comments spoil the interview and also the good work he has been doing. let him step openly out of corporate pedestal, come and mix with people, ngo's, bittu sahgal, etc and see the havoc that is being caused in name of indiscriminate and exclusive development.

i betcha he wont come. for that matter no corporate person will come. therein lies the tragedy for india's tribals, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, wildlife, etc. when profits is the guiding principle of corporations and crucial government pillars -elected by people, paid by people tax- do 'wee willie winkie went through the town', death and destruction is what remains for india's ecosystem.


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