Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the list of padma vibushan and padma bhusan awardee is amazing. you have got a 2 software pioneers, a mining magnate, couple of illustrous sports persons, a huge conglogromate chairman and singers.

oh yes, there is also the IPCC chairman mr.pachuri.

if you notice the list, the list is full of achievers who have set a goal and has proceeded relentlessly to attain it. names like sachin and anand are example of this. as we have noted in this blog the 2 industrialists featured are also big names who have left no stones unturned and no villages unoccupied to build their empires.

what's missing from this list is the total lack of recognition who are working in rural areas of india or non government leaders who are working on the environmental side or people who have pioneered and rebuilt their villages and who can be a model for a whole set of villages.

what's also missing from this list, is the fact that those who defend our internal ecosystems and those who strive to protect it by protection or research or community development.

with no offense to the participants in this awardees, it would been indeed much nicer if the awardee list is also inclusive. or are these awards only to those high achievers who set an individual path that can be used as an example of success and growth?

our concern is inflation. thus spoke our learned and honorable finance minister. and he spoke some more too which is below and this below speech has not been spoken even for a while even as the finance minister, the planning commission chairman and the prime minister bulldozes across rural india uprooting people in name of SEZ, mines, dams and what not.

let's see the speech for a moment though.

"Our concern is inflation. We have a large number of poor people in India who don't feel anything about growth. Their main concern is inflation. Our main concern is to moderate inflation without affecting growth," Chidambaram told CNBC-TV18 in an exclusive interview in Davos.

and the location is davos. that's the irony. he could have made this speech in a village in gujarat or in tamilnadu or in impoverished bihar and he could have followed up his speech with a plan on how to make sure the growth is inclusive, the growth is non destructive, the growth does not benefit only the few but also reaches out to the vast majority.

right from his native tamilnadu to gujarat onto sikkim and onto jammu & kashmir, all environmental pillars and rural ecosystems are being torn apart and fed into the devil called sponge iron industries, SEZ's, textile industries, mining, etc and we have the same finance minister who is guiding these programs in the relentless pursuit of gdp growth talking about 'poor people' in the western davos.

poor indeed are the poor people who cannot hear our poor finance minister talk about them. very poor perhaps.

Friday, January 25, 2008

these indian farmers are jokers. especially the one's from tamilnadu are real comedians. let's see what they want (or perhaps lots of farmers across india want).

1. water for agriculture and perhaps good maintenance of water table via local water storage
2. good renumerative prices for their crops
3. prevention of pollution from industries on the lifeline rivers that flow across their areas
4. prevention of illegal sand mining that kills the rivers by stabbing in its stomach
5. government policies that are attuned to farmers needs
6. no SEZ type abduction of their lands
7. no forced displacement for industrial projects coming on their fields.

these farmers are real jokers i am telling you. they KNOW NOTHING of development. they KNOW NOTHING of gdp. they KNOW NOTHING of their finance minister who comes from an agricultural belt in tamilnadu and who in turns KNOWS NOTHING of rural development. they KNOW NOTHING about the pollution friendly industries and politician turned moneywallahs.

now they want a green bench to exclusive hear cases of illegal sand mining in tamilnadu because this sand mining (of course which adds to 'development' and 'gdp' by alliance between polticians and businessmen) is destroying them.

oh yeah right. let these farmers go and speak to the dead bodies of lakhs of farmers who have died uncared and unheard.

oh year right. these farmers KNOW NOTHING of the development mania sweeping india.

the annual bravery awards for our very brave and heroic soldiers have been given. some of the names and their heroic deeds are unmatchable for they have paid the ultimate price to safeguard india's borders.

i read an interesting article related to the issue in kashmir in rediff that was written way back. jammu and kashmir has cooled down greatly as our neighbor fights their the very monster on which they were riding.

in india side there is a new monster called development that threatens to destory our internal systems and environmental borders. who is going to protect us from that. the politicians have turned into middlemen, our businessmen want land, land and land alone, our courts including a judge from green bench is happy commenting that 'development' and not forests are important - who will protect us from these very pillars that are supposed to protect and guide us.

for you never know
you may be the next
from those who talk only about money
that nothing matters much

it's terrorism yesterday
it's fake development today
for both destroy people
in name of doing good

it's fake ideology on the former
it's fake greed on the latter
it's the common people who suffer
for it ain't matter to the players

we probably need our heroic jawans and officers to be the internal pillars. when democracy fails and acts as though it is succeeding, we need to call time out. time out for fake development and time out for fake pillars.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

there we go again. again we visit the pet subject. from cement contractor, to dam builder, to politician, to political middle men, to businessmen and the 'developmentwallahs' all talk of linking of rivers.

now even the governor of a state has joined the fray and the state is the state of tamilnadu which has absolutely no clue on safeguarding its own water bodies.

cauvery is screwed up royally, noyyal is almost dead thanks to textile industry, bhavani is choking with filth, sewage as it passes via kovai, chennai urban rivers and waterbodies are nothing but sewage and dirt, palar is almost a toxic channel due to leather indutries, the list is endless.

and now we want to link all india's rivers so that all these pollution can join and enjoy. if that is not possible, then we want to link all these polluted hell flows so that we can 'use' water effectively.

how about safeguarding and protecting existing waterbodies, how about letting the thristy chennai re-invigorating its own rivers, how about cauvery, noyyal, bhavani, etc be bought back to life so that the places that originated tamil culture can regain the glory that it has long last and also sustainable for its river basin farmers.

how about respecting water and not polluting and destroying it. hey how about sustainable development?

where are we as a nation. where are we as people. where are we as support and healing mechanisms. where are we in terms of equality and inclusive growth.

nowhere. nada. nip. zero. zilch.

india as nation can add the above n's and z's suffixes.

and a major reason for this zeroness is the fact that our elected politicians have been turned into easy brokers and middlemen by our struggling big mega industries and their lobbies.

so only as the brilliant editorial of sunita narain points out our industrialization is cheap and dirty and it will not work. it will not work for india as a whole. it will not work for our 700 million odd marginalised poor people. it will not work for our vital ecosystems.

the fact that india's poor and tribal lands are snatched, their homes bulldozed, their stomachs and chests kicked violently is not development has to be understood by one and all. and this understanding has to be on the very top on the mind of our urban elite because they are one's who are driving this development by their 'devil may care but i want all' attitude.

till we change the attitude, the kalinganagar's, the tuticorin's, the narmada's, the athirapally's, the brutal bhopals, the eloors, cuddalores, etc will keep on happening inflicting huge damage to the concept called india, a concept that legends such as mahatma gandhi dreamed of and whose dream is in now in tatters.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

do we want alphonso mangoes (benefitting several thousands families in a pristine coastal area) , the prince among maongoes or do we want to mow down this and have polluting thermal power plants.

as this blog has pointed out on many cases, thermal power plants are being bulldozed onto coastal areas on the backs of fishermen and farmers to facilitate 'development'. of course development of the rich and destruction of the marginalised and rural people.

the same power being planned can be achieved in several ways including t&d loss cut, mandatory conservation, green buildings, mandatory building codes for factories, software companies, renewable energy, etc. but the easy way is to generate more and more power and that too with more and more polluting technologies.

mangoes, they say is tasy. development i say is toxic.
(an indian portal proudly displaying ratnagiri alphonso mangoes. shall we say to the europeans, americans and singaporeans that these mangoes also will contain little -only little- toxic thermal waste via water and air pollution. oh yeah, they should be okay because it after all is 'development')

letter from kalpavriksh on the upcoming niyamgiri mining case. pretty powerful case of denying permission to mine a very sensitive area in which depend thousands of people.

the question to ourselves, is how can can we allow this blatant one sided growth that trashes all known environmental and human norms possible?

The Honourable Chief Justice of India K.G.Balakrishnan,
Justice Arjit Pasayat, and Justice S.H.Kapadia,
Supreme Court Bench, T.N.Godavarman v/s Union of India
Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi 110001, India.

Appeal to protect the rich biodiversity of Niyamgiri and the lives of the Dongria Kondh Adivasis (A Primitive Tribal Group) from being destroyed by bauxite mining

Honourable Sirs,

We write to you with reference to your judgment dated 23rd November 2007 in I.A. Nos. 1324 & 1474 related to the mining of bauxite by M/s Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) . We appreciate the fact that the forest bench of the court has taken a very clear decision not to allow VAL to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri in the light of the facts of the case and the report of the Norwegian Council of Ethics. However, we are deeply concerned by the concession that has been given to Sterlite Industries of India Limited (SIIL), which is clearly a subsidiary of VAL with the parent company having a substantial stake in it. Further the report of the Norwegian Council of Ethics also clearly refers to the SIIL in India as being a determining factor from them withdrawing funding from VAL. Therefore, we feel that allowing SIIL permission to mine, even with the conditions prescribed would mean indirectly permitting VAL. We are aware that SIIL has filed its affidavit before the court and the matter is scheduled to be heard by the Godavarman Bench in the near future.

Along with the fundamental legal contradiction within the judgment we believe that mining in Niyamgiri Hills will have far reaching consequences. It will not only have a critical impact on the lives of the Dongria Kondh tribals whose lives , culture and very existence are deeply linked with the Niyamgiri Hills but is also likely to set a negative precedence wherein extremely sensitive habitats will be allowed to go through irreparable change, despite alleged legal violations.

1. The cost of mining the Niyamgiri:
The Niyamgiri Hills are home to a number of vulnerable wildlife fauna species including tigers, leopards, sloth bears, pangolins, palm civets, giant squirrels, mouse deer, langurs and sambhars. It is also a part of an elephant migration corridor and home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. Allowing mining in this area will cause irreparable loss to the already dwindling wildlife of our country.

The Niyamgiri Hills are home to more than 300 plants species of which 50 species are known to be medicinal plants. The Niyamgiri hilltops harboring these plants also act as a bridge for evolutionary migration of plant species from the Himalayas to the south and vice versa. Allowing mining will spell doom to the rich and pristine biodiversity of the area.

The Niyamgiri Hills are the birth place of hundreds of streams (most of which are perennial) which feed at least 2 large rivers namely the Vamsadhara River and the Nagavalli River. These rivers flow through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh and are the sources of drinking and irrigation water to millions of people in both these states. Allowing mining in the Niyamgiri hills will dry up these streams and deny drinking water and irrigation water to millions of people in the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

The Niyamgiri hills are home to the Dongria Kondh Adivasis – a Primitive Tribal Group whose rights and way of life are protected under the Constitution of India and the Forest Rights Act 2006. The Dongria Kondhs have a rich and symbiotic relationship with the Niyamgiri hills. They conserve the area with their strong tribal wisdom, belief system and faith while the hills and forests support them in their daily sustenance and livelihood. The very identity of this Primitive Tribal Group is dependent on the hills and their life around it. The tribal group has made it clear that they prefer their way of life and do not want the area to be mined, their wish needs to be respected. Allowing mining in this area will result not only in the loss of home and livelihood of these gentle people but also result in the annihilation of the Primitive Tribal Group, their unique way of life, the resources they conserve and their associated traditional knowledge.

All this clearly points to the fact that there is a major dispute on the issue as to whether the said mining should be allowed in this socially culturally and ecologically rich and sensitive area. However, the Honourable Court insisted in its earlier ruling that, ‘it is not in dispute that in this case the mining of bauxite deposit is required to take place on top of the Niyamgiri hills’. This is something that needs urgent review.

2. The validity of the Environment and Forest clearances obtained
The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) (The advisory body constituted by the Supreme Court to advise it on environmental matters) in its report to the Supreme Court has clearly indicated that the project has two components: Mining and Refinery. VAL has consciously concealed the need for forest land to be diverted for the project so that the environment clearance of the refinery is not revoked for want of forest clearance of the entire project. It is the mining component that entails diversion of forest land for non-forest use and requires environmental clearance as per the Forest Conservation Act .

VAL has also de-linked the two components (Refinery and mining) of the project, in their arguments before the CEC and later argued in Supreme Court that the mining is critical for their Refinery. At the time of the grant of the environmental clearance even the proposal for the use of the forest land for the Niyamgiri bauxite mines had not been filed with the MoEF.

VAL was in fact brought to court through three applications before the CEC indicating violation of the Forest Conservation Act, and had not applied for forest clearance by themselves as has been interpreted in the final judgment.

All these and many other instances cited by the CEC clearly show that the law of the land has been undermined many times over by VAL to obtain mandatory clearances. Unfortunately, the Honourable Supreme Court in its judgment of the said case makes no reference to the manner in which the clearances were obtained and states that, ‘All requisite permissions have been obtained by the said applicant.’

3. Supreme Court judgment critically influenced by the Norwegian Council of Ethics report
The Honourable Supreme Court in its judgment referred to the report of the Norwegian Council of Ethics to deny Vedanta the clearance to mine the Niyamgiri Hills.

This report states that a number of linked companies – (VAL, SIIL were among them) have been investigated by the body and found guilty of severe environmental damage and involvement in violations and forced dislocation of tribal people . The report also pointed out that the repetitive nature of the violations and damages inflicted on both the environment and human rights over a long period of time, showed a pattern of behaviour where such violations are accepted and have become an integral part of the corporate practices of the said companies.

In particular, SIIL was found guilty of irresponsible handling of hazardous waste, illegal production expansion, and repeated and severe violations of a series of environmental requirements systematically and over many years that have caused great damage to both the environment and human rights in India.

The Norwegian government report clearly paints both Vedanta and Sterlite with the same colour and the Supreme Court judgment clearly refers to this report . It is not clear why SIIL which was found equally guilty by the same report was given the liberty to continue with the process from where Vedanta had left off .

We feel that the judgment passed by the Supreme Court on 23 November 2007:
1. bypassed important environmental, human right and biodiversity concerns,
2. overlooked the willful manipulation of the requirements of the law by VAL,
3. ignored the advice of its own advisory body which had clearly done its homework and laid out all the facts,
4. denied permission to mine to one company on the basis of a report and invited another party for the very same purpose linked or otherwise that was found equally guilty on all counts by the same report.

We hereby request the Supreme Court bench to take serious consideration of the fact that VAL and SIIL are indeed part of the same entity, and review its earlier decision to allow SIIL to mine the Niyamgiri as long as it adheres to the conditions laid out by the Supreme Court. We also request you to consider the fact that mining on Niyamgiri hills will lead to irreparable damage of the biodiversity of the area; and the lives, cultures, wisdom and livelihoods of a primitive tribal group so critically dependant on this area and its biodiversity.

Thanking You
Yours Sincerely

Ashish Kothari /Erica Taraporevala
Apt. 5 Shree Dutta Krupa
908 Deccan Gymkhana
Pune 411004
Tel: 91-20-25675450
Tel/Fax: 91-20-25654239
Email: ashishkothari@vsnl.com
Website: www.kalpavriksh.org

Saturday, January 19, 2008

i am no fan of violence. even amidst the carnage that is being wrought upon on our rivers, coastal areas, forests and the entire ecological system, violence is no answer to the grave unjustice that is happening on many environmental fronts that this blog has chronicled.

with that denouncement of violence, it is important to look at the growth of naxalism in central india. when naxals thrive one thing seems to be common. absence of sustainable growth, destruction of environment and total lack of understanding of ground level problems.

downtoearth in its leader page has put a great article on the naxal issue vis-a-vis prime minister recent statement and vow to 'crush' it. i reproduce the article below. all copyrights belong to cseindia. it is a great article that each one of our so called business leaders and political leaders should read and take some consciousness out of it.

Containing a virus

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rightly called Naxalism a “virus” during a meeting with chief ministers of Naxalite-affected states. Unfortunately, he did not take the analogy further. A virus cannot grow or reproduce without a living cell. Naxalites, thus, must have living hosts. Singh failed to identify the living organism that sustains the Naxalite ‘virus’. Not surprisingly, his prescription for eliminating this virus was misplaced.

Singh’s response to Naxalism is typically bureaucratic—he sees it as a law and order problem and has thus asked for a specialized security force to ‘crush’ the Naxalites. The home ministry has responded by setting up a 37,000-strong Indian Reserve Force battalion dedicated to anti-Naxalite operations.

It is perhaps not true to say that Singh entirely failed to spot the widespread poverty in the districts affected by this armed insurgency. All Naxalite-affected districts feature in the Planning Commission’s list of 150 poorest districts. And most of them have been among the poorest over the past four to five decades. Going by the most recent poverty estimate, these districts have 35 per cent of India’s poor. But his response remained bureaucratic because all he had to offer by way of a more penetrating response was lip-service to questions of development. The problem is lip-service is good for pr, to assuage urban consciences, it doesn’t fill bellies, so all Singh has left is the option of repressive force. But how will that work?

The new force will be added to the existing 43,000 central police personnel on anti-Naxal duty. This means for every Naxalite, there will be seven armed personnel. Compare this with other data: in Naxalite-affected areas, average landholding is less than half a hectare and there is hardly one drinking water source for every 10,000 people. In such conditions, the new measure has to fail. Deploying security forces has not contained the Naxalites so far. Rather, it has resulted in further alienation, as the experience of counter-insurgency in Chhattisgarh shows. If the government wants a solution, it should look to Operation Barga in West Bengal, which virtually finished off the Naxals in the state.

It would be naive to believe that the government does not know that meaningful reform is the answer. What is probably true is that reform does not suit its purposes. It is easier to let things drift because it gives it the opportunity to brand all those who oppose its smash-and-grab acquisition strategies to fuel untrammelled industrialization as Naxalite and beat them into submission.

when it comes to shining and polluting of our environment, our corporates are absolute leaders. whether it is cuddalore or mettur or eloor or patancheru or bhopal it is the huge mega corporates that lead the way. way to go guys!!!!

now it is our old chaliyar leader grasim industries that is in the news for merrying the tungabadhra river in karnataka. and the important part it seems is that this factory (like the many one's in india's toxic hot spots, er development gateways) has and is expanding beyond capacity without any of the proper eia's, permissions, etc.

way to go leaders
lead us to the light
let that light be
merry and shiny

lead us all the way
let that way be toxic
and take us down the road
least traveled and most polluted

for we don't exist
without the gdp
for that gdp
we need more and more toxicity.
(tungabhadra river in karnataka. carrying the fruits of toxic development and contributing to the gdp.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

when it comes to sez, from tuticorin to goa stands united. that sez's are the worst kind of thing to be perpetuated on rural india in decades. not even ruthless dictators can pull of such a naked trick that our democratic government has done.

and the coastal area of vizag in andhra is an easy target for sez's. with a willing state government playing coy, the sez proponents are stripping vizag in name of mines, in name of steel plants and in name of 'coastal development.

one thing to notice is that andhra is not a poor state like bihar for sez's to be setup and 'people alleivated out of their poverty'. several measures can be taken to improve the livelihood of rural people including agriculture, horticulture, diary farming, tourism, etc. when locals are given a stake in sustainable development genuine development can happen.

but with a bulldozer called sez, these rural areas are being occupied by force. even british were little lenient i guess.

what has ratnagiri in maharastra to do with russia. if it is 'development', then ratnagiri will even be california. when it comes to fakism, india's business especially the one's that loot the environment, can pull out magic tricks even our holy men cannot attempt.

the article in livemint might be shocking on how a very important process called environmental impact assessment can be abused, but also it shows how our regulatory authorities especially moef has failed in an absolute manner. failed might be a wrong word. the correct word should be capitulated. capitulated by money power, capitulated by negligence and capitulated by sheer ineffectiveness to protect india's crucial ecology.

Monday, January 14, 2008

a worthy article in business standard regarding the e-waste situation in india. with 330K of e-waste locally and several tens of thousands tons of illegal e-waste dumping by western countries in collusion with local indian authorities, e-waste is a looming disaster for which the 'shining and rising' indian elite has no clue.

well, as long as e-waste is dumped in neighboring slum or in a nearby village or in a nearby river or in a place where poor people live, who cares. hey, even e-waste import adds to the gdp number. ain't it?

2 pictures from hindubusinessline that captures the indian story that is mis focussed and more skewed towards corporates. the first picture shows the honorable finance minister getting cozy and oogly over the new car in the india auto expo 2008 in new delhi. the next picture shows an eco tourism initiative in kerala.

nothing wrong in finance minister of a 'developed' country like india appreciating the power of indian industry. but the pertinent question is whether he is finance minster for the industry or for the country. whether his policies address development as a wholesome sustainable initiative or just as a money spinning venture.

i have never seen the finance minister or his buddy our honorable prime minister ever visiting an agricultural farm or a eco tourism initiative or a forest under stress or an abused river or a molested coastal area.

we have seen our fm and pm cozying up with big shots of industry, inviting those big shots for policy lobbying and of course in auto expo in delhi.

development is more of cars rather than people.
(finance minister in auto expo 2008 in new delhi. amazed by 'india industrial growth', he seldom pays attention to other sectors leaving them in the dust and worst getting tramped by these amazing leather, textiles, chemicals, sponge iron and other great units that west has kicked out long back)
(an eco tourism boat initiative in kerala. people intensive sectors like agriculture, handicrafts, small ventures, eco tourism, conservation and livelihoods have no place in our finance minister books)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

if we see a hill
we mine it
if we see a river
we dam it
if we see a coast
we construct it
if we see people in these places
we shoo them afar away

we need development
at any cost
we need growth
over any dead body
we need mad money
for we need to enjoy

this song is apt for the bauxite mining proposal that is floating around in vizag area of the jerilla hill ranges. with all machinations, fakism, bypassing of rules in place, mining is touted to bring development, prosperity and what not to this area. forget about people living here, forget about the impact on ecosystem and forget about the rules and laws that is related to mining as it pertains to schedule areas.

only thing that matters is mad development and mad money.

voww....what happens when a learned judge belonging to the forest bench of supreme court thrashes environment and forests and tells that green currency is more important than green cover, things are indeed bleak for india.

when it comes to environment, the awareness among indians is very low. so low that they have seen beaches, forests and rivers only in movies, so low that most of the city urban elite do not know where their piped water comes from or their sewage goes to, so low that even a learned judge can trash the crucial ecological thoughts.

when it comes to environmental justice, as a judge, he or she needs to go by law and take a stand as per the law and decide on a case. but when the judge goes by 'development' and 'growth', that is super fake in india, then what we get is a trashing for environment.

and going to the extreme the judge tells that in majority of forests only cows and dogs. does he know why cows and dogs are present. why not wildlife and a thriving green cover that can be managed by local people and benefiting them. why not a viable conservation and livelihood wherein forests and local communities can thrive. oh yes, i know why. when forests are healthy and local communities benefit from them, then there is no role for industries to come and mine, to come and destroy the ecosystem and no role for judges, prime ministers, politicians, urban elites and media to take about '10% gdp growth' or 'super development of india'.

how sad. can it go more sadder.

Monday, January 07, 2008

as the protests against the hydel projects across the crucial and magnificent teesta river continues, there is an interesting article in the ecoworld blog.

raises lot of interesting questions. we, as a nation, as a nation that wastes and treats electricity as its birthright have gone too far in asking more and more from our rivers, coastal areas and ecosystem to cater to our luxury.

many rivers like teesta are under huge hit of dams that has been built or will be built soon on top of fake eia's, sham public hearings and blatantly false facts. oh yeah, they add to gdp figure that makes india galloping in world financial charts at the same time plunging india into a unlivable country especially for its hundreds of millions of rural people who depend on vital ecosystems for survival.

so spake our honorable prime minster. that we need clean energy. that nuclear power is clean. that industry usage of natural resources is inefficient. that india needs clean coal.

well, can we speak now. or shall we point out the facts since facts are much more powerful than 'speech'. or shall we point out the fact that his government role in promoting clean energy, in cajoling and regulating industry for efficient use of natural resources is zero and the fact that india's environment is plummeting to new depths unseen in independent india. that the congress party that the honorable prime minister heads was founded by the smt.indira gandhi a avid naturalist and keen enthusiast of natural resources of india.

india needs leapfrog policies, measures, monitoring, incentives, technology to bypass pollution, bypass negative impact on air, water and ecosystem, to make sure india's teeming millions basic welfare can be taken care and these teeming millions need not be the floor mat for india's poor businessmen who need big SEZ's.

if only the current government had acted a little on environment front with proper policies and a proper healthy ministry (and not the sick and ailing moef), things would indeed have been different.

shall we speak more. not so i guess as it will make our finance minister turned prime minister and his pet finance minister and his more pet planning commission chairman all go speechless.

Friday, January 04, 2008

hirakud dam is built across river mahanadi at about 15 Kms. upstream of Sambalpur town in State of Orissa and is one of the first post independence major river project and is probably the longest dam in the world.

without going into the dam need, we will take a post partum look on how the dam is serving the people. oh yeah forget the people. let us see how farmers are trying to get their fair share of water from the mega dam which is being siphoned by polluting mining industries even hundreds of kms away.

downtoearth has profiled this story. 2 para's summarise the struggle of farmers over the industries that treat water as their birth right.

An uneasy calm prevails in Talab village, near the dam. The village is where a major canal network, the Sason canal, originates. It irrigates 24,280 hectares (ha), benefiting 60,000 households solely dependent on agriculture. From the same location water-guzzling industries are lifting water from the reservoir. Jogesh Bhoi, the 32-year-old president of the local pani panchayat formed to manage the canal, is restless. “For the past five years there has been a war going on here for getting enough water in the canal. The war has reached a decisive phase. We are not sure what consequences it would have but we are firm on getting water,” he says. So 10 days after the massive protest, the villagers along with others erected a 16-foot-long wall right above an underground pipe laid by Vedanta Aluminium to take water from the reservoir for its smelter located far away.

On December 2, Hindalco, an aluminium company, started laying pipes for its second water lift-off plant from the reservoir. A massive protest from farmers followed and the work had to be stopped. “The company doesn’t have permission for the second pipeline,” says Pradhan, adding, “This shows how defiant the companies are and how confident they are of government approval; they could spend money without even knowing whether water will be granted.” On December 5, farmers near the Sason canal protested again on hearing that Bhushan Steel was preparing for a second pipeline to the reservoir. The situation is tense.

only in india, industries get super priority over anything else including the feasibility of whether water can be given to the industry considering the workload of water stored. only in india can the 'poor businessmen' who run these 'poor industries' can talk development right on the back of genuinely poor and beleaguered farmers.
(an aerial view of the hirakud dam. damn the farmers, dangle the carrot to the industries. damn sustainable and inclusive development, dance with polluting industries to get 10% gdp number)

india biodiversity, like any other country's biodiversity is a crucial resource. the forests, plants, trees, shrubs, medicinal herbs and many parts of the ecosystem is in dire need of protection in a populous country like india.

for the same reason india signed the biodiversity convention in 1992 and then passed several acts to reinforce the biodiversity. but as kanchi kohli's article points out, this remains only on paper whereas in reality, the protection does not even exist.

development and biodiversity should go hand in hand giving sustainable combo to the growth paradigm. but we wont do that because we believe in magic 10% gdp growth rather than anything else including drinking water, clean rivers, healthy forests and breathable air.

january comes and goes every year but india's forests, rivers and ecosystem is not able to chase away the january blues for 12 months of any year.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

all over 2007, get in 2008, money, money and more money for development, destruction, brutalization and more for environment and marginalized communities.

as 2007 wraps up and 2008 ushers in, it is happy new year. happiest new year for the urban elite, poor businessmen and politician and yet another year with swords hanging for environment and marginalized communities.

from niyamgiri mining to cuddalore air pollution to nandigram to narmada dam issue to the fake athirapally hydel project to unending river abuse - 2007 had it all.

will 2008 be better. may be or may be not. but the fight against this fake development, brutalising SEZ's, massive projects done even without proper basic EIA's, protests against violence against people who depend on crucial ecosystems - all will continue in 2008.

welcome 2008. we hope at least you will be little friendly for us, the real people.