Wednesday, February 27, 2008

i am just doing my job ma'am

this can well be the catch line of 'shining, rising and developedment' india. politicians are just doing their job of looting villagers of their land, businessmen are just doing their job of making politicians just a bunch of jokers and government officials like mr.patil of this story is just doing their job of getting things done.

aquene freechild works with international campign for just in bhopal and her conversation is below on the arrest of innocent villagers who are protesting against a dow plant/factory/r&d kind of facility that is coming up in chakan village near pune. dow, we need not remind you, has washed off their hands in a cool manner over the world's worst industrial disaster in bhopal.

Conversation with Mr. Nangre Patil – I encourage you to call this guy as he is presently picking up his phone. He tried hard to remain calm and sound reasonable with me. The conversation went something like this:

Aquene: I am looking for Nangre Patil I am calling from Boston US regarding the arrest of 5 villagers from near Chakan

Patil: Can you speak more slowly?

Aquene: I am calling with regard to the arrest of 5 villages near Chakan with regard to the Dow plant construction.

Patil: Oh Dow. Ok there has been a committee formed with bureaucrats to deal with that matter ma'am.

Aquene: I know there has been a committee formed and as far as I understand from the newspapers there was an agreement to not do any work on the Dow site until the report was submitted. You must release the arrested villagers immediately. Dow is harboring a fugitive from Justice in Indian Criminal court, how can you permit them to build?

Patil: Ma'am the committee has been formed to look at this issue and address it. They will make a report and until the report comes out Dow should continue construction.

Aquene: That is not the way it works, why should Dow continue the construction while waiting for this report? What good will that do allowing construction to continue when the project has not been evaluated? The project will already be done before the issue is clarified. When will the report come out?

Patil: Within a fortnight ma'am.

Aquene: Well good, but until that time the construction should not be permitted on the Dow site. You should leave the villagers alone and release those who have been arrested.

Patil: Not that much construction can happen in such a short time ma'am. They are not at that stage of construction.

Aquene: If they are not at that stage of construction why did you send 3 trucks with Special Forces to the site?

Patil: I am just doing my job ma'am

Aquene: What is this doing your job and arresting innocent villagers for a company that won't even respect Indian Law?

Patil: Good Night Ma'am

Aquene: We are watching you from around India and from around the world. We are watching what you do there. Those concerned about Human Rights are watching.

Patil: Good Night Ma'am

Aquene: Please release those villagers

Patil: Click

Do call again and again every few hours until the villagers have been freed.

In Solidarity,
Aquene Freechild
Environmental Health Fund

Don't Work for Dow Chemical! Your signature kindly requested and definitely needed:
From: Aquene Freechild
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:01 PM
To: ''; ''
Subject: URG Axn: Dow Sets Police on Indian Villagers

Dow Sets Police on Indian Villagers

Five men from Shinde Vasuli village, near Pune, were arrested today after nearly 250 armed police from the State Reserve Police made their way to the construction site of Dow's proposed R&D facility. Construction at the site remains suspended for more than 40 days. More than 1000 villagers, including at least 300 women, have closeted the police contingent inside the Dow site, and are demanding that the police should release the five arrested villagers.

The State Government has ordered reinforcements and a lathi charge is feared overnight tonight. TAKE ACTION:

Please call:

District Collector. Mr. Deshmukh: +91 9881221144

Rural SP. Mr. Nangre Patil: +91 9923088887

Will send Fax numbers and land line numbers shortly.

Talking Points:

a) The Collector had assured that no work will begin until the report is submitted and the villagers are convinced about the nature of work. Why has he gone back on his word? Newspapers have reported this.

b) Any violence against villagers and on behalf of Dow will be viewed very negatively by the world. Release the arrested villagers, and withdraw the police force, and talk to the villagers to find out what their concerns are.

Background: Construction work at the site had been suspended after local villagers took over the approach roads and stopped all work more than a month ago, triggered by fears about the pollution impact of Dow's facility. The villagers had also questioned Dow's right to go about business as usual while the company's Bhopal liabilities remain unresolved.

The blockade by the villagers was lifted after the District Collector assured them that no construction would take place until a committee set up to evaluate Dow's proposal presented its report. The report has not yet been submitted. But Dow has managed to strong-arm the Government into sending police reinforcements to escort construction material. The site has no construction workers as all of them left as soon as the blockade began.

With Dow breathing down the necks of the State Government, it is highly likely that the State will resort to use of force to enable Dow's construction. The villagers have said they will not move until their men are freed.

17 villagers have been arrested by the Police in Shinde. They have been kept in Chakan Police Station. Women protestors have still gheraod the police at Shinde. Police planning brutal action against the women. Anything can happen in the coming hours. Kindly circulate this message and help as you can in this situation of crisis.

Shashi Sonawane

we have got to salute this man. he is a sub collector in kerala and his name is Pranab Jyotinath. and we got to double salute this man. he is a retired public servant now committed to a cause of the crucial river. his name is K.A.Verghese and he is a local environmentalist in pathanamthitta district.

his interest and hardwork along with support of his staff and local environmentalists have given a glimmer of hope for the Manimalayar river. this amazing river in pathanamthitta district of kerala is not only a vital lifeline for agriculture and drinking water but also a amazing scenary to those who venture into rural kerala.

like most rivers of india this river is being abused by huge illegal sand mining and the effort of local environmentalist Mr. Verghese is amazing. quoting a para from the report,
Mr. Verghese had to bear with physical attacks from the sand mafia thrice in the past three months, besides the unending life-threatening calls. Once he was roughed up by goons when he tried to block a lorry smuggling sand from the Manimalayar at Vallamkulam in the late hours. He had a narrow escape when his scooter was knocked down by a vehicle laden with sand on January 12.

kudos to these gentlemen. may their tribe grow. let india understand the true meaning of sustainable development from these amazing individuals.
(manimalayar river in kerala. a vital river being pummeled by illegal sand mining. with effort of local people, there is a chance that this river can be protected and sustainable. each and every river in kerala is a gift of god and its beauty is amazing. manimalayar river is no exception)

Friday, February 22, 2008

dam dam,
here we come

we like to dam dam,
even the smallest streams

show me a might river,
i will reduce it to a whimper
show me a beautiful flow,
i will make it a sorrow

does not matter whether
it is sustainable,
does not matter whether
it is feasible,
does not at all matter whether
it is a needed one

for i have got cement
and massive trucks,
to rain upon crucial rivers

for i am killer called dam
and kill you i will

among independent india's notable 'achievements' is the gross neglect of the north east. with the rulers in delhi pre-occupied in their own comforts, the north east is perhaps the least cared in all of india. zoom forward to these 'modern' days of development, india has got sudden concerns for the north east. and what better way to reward than nice dams huh?

and what more about dam inauguration even before mandatory eia and public hearing process is done. and what about social and environment impacts on the region whose people have long depended on the natural resources for a living.

a proper way would have been to conduct what is needed most for the region and then do follow up actions on those. but india seems to telling north east, "don't ask what india has done for you, ask what you have done to india'. and not only india is asking this question, infact they are following the latter part of 'ask what you have done' in a brutal manner as experience in arunachal, tripura, manipur and sikkim states in name of massive dam construction.

of course, we have got the standard answer for this massive dam building mania. it is called 'development' and 'progress', '10% gdp growth' and 'fortune 500 construction and cement companies'.

binayak sen case is well known one. well known among people and media who really care about. least known among people and media who care only about cricket, fancy malls, glamorous bollywood stars and those who talk about fake development.

how the new china (india that is), can crush a true gandhian - a very talented doctor who could have made millions of dollars in corporate world - in name of fake charges and brand him naxal and jail him on the filmiest of the charges and burying him deep in the legal quagmire.

even naxals, whose violence is not pardonable and not sustainable, would be throwing up on seeing a perfect human rights crusader being braded a naxal.

tehelka has a hard hitting story on binayak sen case. india's democracy started with the birth of mahatma gandhi as a freedom fighter. india's transformation as china has started with the arrest of binayak sen under fake charges.

one para from the article was touching. it is below.
Sometimes the true measure of people is revealed in the small, random remarks of those who know them. When the Supreme Court denied him bail, an old man told an activist at a rally for Binayak, "If the courts are not going to free our doctor, should we storm the jail?" Then he continued ruefully to himself, "But what's the use? All the other prisoners would run away, but Dr Binayak would stay back."

india should bow its head in shame, utter shame on jailing such a renowned person as binayak. india is now officially in idi amin territory.

when truth is
chased away,
when non-violence is
met with brutality,
when fakism
rules the day,

when honest men
are hauled away,
when loud thunder
steals the soft rain,

when it does not matter
for what the true cause is,
when nobody cares
to know the truth,

then will raise in revolt
the humbled men and women,
whose questions will not be just questions
but thunderbolts that cannot be stopped.

those who question fake development, those who question fake dams, those who question brutal SEZ's, those who ask questions - all will be jailed. if you are not from corporate world or if you are not in the paybook of the elected-politicians-turned-middlemens, you have no rights.

(binayak sen treated as a low grade human being. india has now replaced idi amin's uganda, mao's china and mugabe's zimbabwe as the official paranoid state of the world. a state that cherishes money more than values, a state that crushes poor people on its stomach in name of fake development projects. even shame will bow its head to india's actions. picture courtsey tehelka)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

i was aghast on seeing a mammoth tree being felled just like that. a tree that has taken years to grow, that gives wonderful shade and that is pleasant to the eyes is being murdered in broad day light.

the reason given is that its roots interfere with the strom water drain and hence resulting in water logging.

if that's the reason, a different path for storm water drain can be constructed with minimal effort. why fell such a huge grown tree that gives crucial shade in the horrible madras summer (did i say madras, nah chennai, has summer 12 months of the year).

urban areas of india are virtually becoming unlivable with pollution, dust and car-crazy-crowd. the only saving grace is the few trees left.

we, in india, are inventing new reasons to kill good things.
(a well grown tree being murdered in broad daylight. new ways of reasoning is being given to kill of greenery in urban areas of india. picture courtsey hindu)

hindu headline screamed "Advani promises new GDP".

i was like vow. atlast the leader of the opposition, of a party whose track record on human rights is not to be told, has woken up and is going to propose a new kind of development strategy - i thought.

i was like hmmm. can he bring in the real change if his party, whose major contributions last time was the brutal gujarat genocide and the fake india shining slogan, do the correct thing - i was piqued.

i was like ahhh. can he bring real change when his own party has kicked out tens of thousands of people for the fake narmada dam.

but after reading the report, i was like 'aha, here is the usual talk ofcourse in a new bottle'.

and in para he is serious,
“How can we tolerate this reality? We cannot and must not. The BJP and the NDA certainly will not. We shall take bold and innovative measures to ensure that wealth is distributed across regions and across social class,” he said.

and in next para he is so dangerously funny, that he calls the genocide tainted gujarat government as an example.
This resolve, he said, had been strengthened by Narendra Modi’s spectacular victory in Gujarat that has signalled the triumph of good governance, development and security over the politics of vote-banks.

the same government in gujarat that is royally screwing up its coastline by approving massive sez'z, that is killing democracy by bringing in fake unsustainable projects is an example?

hey ram. oh allah. ha jesus. - nope, none of them can save us from this kind of talk that has no substance. we need to look beyond the present government, beyond the opposition party for some saner voice to come in and deliver genuine leadership.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

that was an illuminating article in bbc. although not related to india, it has a strong india angle. the story is the sad story of burma, now myanmar.

chinese, we know, are fully on businesses. genocide or no genocide, brutaliaty or no brutality, mass killings or no killings. it does not matter to chinese government. as long as your country has oil, gas, coal, forests - the game is on for the chinese to feed its hungry industries ever willing to crank out cheap goods to american consumers.

india - the largest democracy, a great nation that has welcomed refugees from burma, from srilanka, even from bangladesh, the land that gave gautama buddha to the world, the land that gave mahatma gandhi to the world - is now the new china.

now india is a happy partner with the brutal inhuman burmese military junta haggling over burmese natural resources.

the very sad part is the following from the report.
"There are a lot of Indians here," I said to one in Hindi. "The Indians are here, the Chinese are over there," he said with a smile.

"Where are the Burmese?" I asked him. "Up there," he said with a dismissive wave.

not only the dismissive wave is for the poor burmese people but also for a once great nation called india that cared about the poor, about the vulnerable and about human rights.

gone are those days. when india can brutally stab innocent villagers in name of sez'z, mining, polluting factories, massive abusive dams, what is the worth of poor burmese.

gandhi would be turning over in his grave, at the sorry plight of the might indian democracy lying flat on the feet of military junta's and dictators following the heartless chinese government steps in order to secure natural resources and project wins for its corporations.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

following up on sunita narain's editoral, businessweek has a piece on it.

titled, "Environmental farce", it seems much saner voice is present in a business magazine editorial board than that of government corridors.

the editorial tries to kind of sum up how the government can go on to do projects when it comes to land acquistion. quoting from the link,
"If projects needing land are to go ahead, they can do so only with the support or at least consent of those being displaced. This has been the lesson from the SEZs and from Singur and Nandigram; and the sooner governments realise this, the better."

this suggestion is a little preposterous. it assumes, that 'consent' can be obtained for destructive project. 'support' can be achieved for polluting factories and dangerous mining.

the first step that should happen is an unbiased honest open eia. this has to be followed up with proper and open public hearing. and other crucial thing such as local development versus massive polluting chemical unit, agricultural/diary/etc initiatives versus dangerous mining, track record of the company that is proposing the unit, the lifestyle and livelihood of the local people and many other things has to be considered.

when money is the start all and end all in india, the best way to stop that money is to make sure that honesty stays 100 steps in front of the money. if 'support', 'consent', 'okay', etc comes into picture it will mean that honesty is 100 steps behind the money as the south goa case - on which the editorial takes off from - shows.

well at least the editorial has some sense into it when compared to the utter non sense that the present champions of fake development are holding out.

sunita narain's editorial on the public hearing, mining and eia strikes a raw nerve. state after state, village after village, forest after forest, river after river, coastal area after coastal area, india is being carpet bombed by destructive projects ranging from dangerous sponge iron units to mega jolly polluting chemical factories onto bauxitie/iron ore/etc mining.

it seems we need a revolution spanning villages and onto urban areas so that people enjoying life in luxury in urban areas can see the plight that hits at the bottom of the very exisistence of the rural people.

sunita narain sums it up on what will happen next in her para
"What next? My colleague Chandra Bhushan tells me the rest is fairly predictable. The minutes of this public hearing will be sent to the Union ministry of environment and forests. Its expert committee will deliberate, or sit, on the matter for a few months (as it is controversial). Then it will call the company to explain how it will take into account the issues raised by people. An improved power-point presentation will be made by another consultant; more deliberations will follow; new conditions will be laid down. With these conditions, the expanded mine will be cleared, people’s opposition be damned."

and then she hopes this goa case will be different. i have seen many, many cases in which the end result is the same wherein the businessmen is able to 'convince' the elected-turned-now-middlemen politician who then pressurizes the easy going ministry of non-environment and non-forests to look the other way.

i wish this south goa case is different wherein truth will prevail to stop the destructive mining. but hope is fading fast under the present government which seems to unshackle each and every inch of rural india in name of fake development.

Monday, February 18, 2008

jindal group is a powerful, rich and leading industrial group of india. its titan, mr.naveen jindal biography is super impressive. to quote a line, "Committed to the cause of putting a successful India on the global map and instilling a feeling of patriotism in every single individual, his achievements are many."

pretty impressive. to put it simply.

only till i read a leading article in downtoearth on how jindal coal mine in chattisgarh has openly flouted crucial environmental impact assessment.

already there are allegations on jindal group, whose young naveen jindal wants to make india more 'developed', on environmental angle. the downtoearth report is disturbing to say the least.

now lets shift our camera to another jindal group report. jindal steel and power to pay a whopping 150% dividend to its shareholders.

pretty damn impressive. to put it mildy.

when jindal group can put silk carpet to its shareholder, then why can't they take strong measures on the environmental side also. why can't they make sure their power plants does not come in ecologically sensitive area. why can't the eia be honest and true instead of being faked. why can't the progressive young chairman of jindal group stand on his empire and say that 'we want inclusive development of india. we will respect and uphold environmental parameters of the project that we are involved in. by having sustainable devleopment and making tribals, rural people and environmentally dependent people partners in progress, we can instill much more patriotism rather than bulldozing them into submission. for us the stakeholders and shareholders are equally important and crucial for the company sustainable progress and nation's inclusive growth".

will jindal do that. so far the track record says 'no'. for that track is paved with asphalt of fake development.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

what is the single most 'greatest' achievement of previous central government headed by bjp. of course the gujarat genocide and then the fake 'india shining' slogan.

what is the single most 'super duper' achievement of the present central government headed by present congress party. it is the special elimination zone or scam zone or displacement zone, also widely called as special economic zone (sez).

with a classic example of land acquision for nagpur airport, well known writer praful bidwai puts it simply in one para.

Nagpur records just 2 per cent of India’s aircraft movements and only 65,301 domestic passengers a month. By contrast, Mumbai handles 1.65 million, 27 times more. Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore do 8 to 12 times more. Nagpur has half as much traffic as Guwahati, Goa or Jaipur. It makes no sense to increase its monthly passenger capacity from 65,301 to 1.2 million under Mihan.

the land acquisition for airport (and of course posh hotels, sexy IT parks and nice villas - dude we need 'development' dude) is such a fake, that the government wants to construct an airport to field 1.2 million people from little over 65000 now.

voww...that is indeed 'development' where government plans to construct an airport through brutal land acquisition for nagpur city in such a way that place is supposed to get 10 times air traffic!!!!

dude, what are you talking about. we need 'development'. does not matter even if it is a scam or elimination. development of the few and destruction of many - that is the way we rich can become more rich.

as the year unwinds slowly from january to february, it seems our corporations are busy unwinding their effluents rather aggressively.

and our river cauvery in tamilnadu side is being held in a big bear hug by polluting industries dotting mettur.

"A fish study conducted by Dr. M. Arunachalam, an expert in the ecology of lakes and streams and Dr. M. Muralidharan confirms that the fish diversity downstream of the Kaveri beneath the Chemplast discharge point is characterised by low or no fish population."

when the mighty cauvery that bought civilisation to tamilnadu, that bought the tamil language to tamilnadu, that was a witness to several social and pioneering movements can be royally screwed by easy pollution right at mettur, where cauvery enters tamilnadu, what chance does the poor fish downstream has.

when 'development' can eat up mighty rivers, destroy villages, uproot tens of thousands of people in rural areas and dart them into urban slums, what can poor fish population in cauvery do. other than to consume the poison that is washed in its habitat and die.

die fish die,
for you have no chance
to survive

choke fish choke,
for you are not needed
in our scheme

disappear fish disappear,
for we can import fish
from outta-outisde.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

toxic links is the ngo that works on the toxicity part of development. if you will, they work on pollution, pesticide pollution, toxics, ewaste, hospital waste, urban wastage, etc.

as one of the very early voices against toxicity in india, they are leading ngo's. as part of their work they reach out on various issues, analyzing the issue and even providing solutions or paths in which the issue can be addressed.

needless, to say they have no place in the 'development' of india or the 'growth' of india's poor industrialists. and on the way, they have also brushed by speaking the truth and bringing out the facts and have a few feathers.

i want to quote from the report the 2 below para's.

These environmentalists are a threat to the nation’s food security and enhanced earnings for farmers, said Raju Shroff, chairman of the Mumbai-based United Phosphorous Limited.

S. Ganeshan, spokesman of Endosulfan Manufacturers and Formulators association, said the NGO’s action had a negative impact on the manufacture of agrochemicals.

very funny. whether to laugh or cry depends on you. on the same angle you might want read about the endosulfan victims in kerala still struggling to meet their basic needs due to the slam-bam on their health due to endosulfan spraying.

of course, these industrialists are in no way a threat to the millions of rural marginalised people and crucial ecosystems at all!!!! we don't play the same coin that these lobby groups play. for when you point out the facts, the facts play for themselves.

india's movies has lot of comedians. india's industries has a lot of comedians too. the difference is, in the former, you can laugh and be happy. in the latter, if you laugh and speak out the truth, you will be thrown in jail.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

tigers, gharials, elephants, forests, rivers, coastal areas - you name it and it vanishes.

one thing that has sped up in last 5 years (a process which started in early 1990's) is the gurantee abuse of any wildlife area or nature spot in name of development. of course by development here we mean more pollution, more abuse, more displacement, more SEZ's, more mining, more, more....

the latest in the list of amazing species that is on verge of disappearing is gharials, a specices of crocodile which is native to india and south asia. with its plunging numbers aided in major part by illegal sand mining on its river sources, gharial joins the pride of tiger, elephants and other species that are being driven out of india in name of development.

i guess, we have to replace the world development with word vanishing, where ever you read it.

as urban areas of india fight for water, politicians, businessmen and power brokers see it as a great opportunity.

great opportunity to dam some river 400 kms away, great opportunity to put cement pipeline for 400km, acquiring land for the pipeline and throwing out farmers, then piping the water on to the urban elite homes.

and all of the above adds to the gdp and of course to the development.

chennai hosts the pride of the urban area when it comes to water. blessed by beautiful coast and urban rivers such as adayar, buckhingam canal and with numerous temple tanks and water bodies, chennai is supposed to be the pride of urban area.

only until, chennai trashed its own water sources. adayar river and buckingham canal are nothing but sewage canals, water bodies encroached and destroyed with sewage and wastewater and temple tanks in such bad shape that even gods would run away.

puzhuthivakkam lake in the outskirts of chennai belongs to the uncared, unloved and untapped water source. water bodies like these can give huge boost to local water needs thereby cutting down wasteful dams and unneeded pipelines. but this lake, like numerous other waterbodies of chennai, is abused.

well, when local waterbodies and local rivers do not contribute to gdp and development, then what use is it?
(the abused puzhuthivakkam lake of chennai. vital local sources of water has no place in shining and rising india)

Monday, February 11, 2008

capitalism is important for development, thus spoke our beloved communist.

"nope", did not say we.

capitalism, just like socialism, is needed for any economy if the people who live under that economy wants to survive.

"nope", did say we, when the same capitalism becomes extreme making the likes of our orissa chief minister, our own beloved communist chief minister and many others nothing but politicial brokers.

when capitalism can be merged with socialism, when capitalism can be inclusive, when capitalism is not cheap for capitalists, when capitalism is not polluting but green, when capitalism is not just 2000% about enhancing share holder value, when capitalism makes the land owners also capitalits - we all can agree with our beloved communist leader of west bengal and also his fellow not-so-left comrades of his own party.

unfortunately, the capitalism we are seeing in india pertains to fake development. the capitalism of india has many characters. notable among them being - businessmen and urban upper class elite alone make a killing of money on the backs of rural poor -thrives on land grab -easy pollution by starting red tag industries kicked out by west -fake and abusive eia's, etc.

we welcome capitalism that is clean. for dirty capitalism let it stay in germany, uk, france and america. you know what the capitalism they have is clean but the capitalism that they export and the one's we import is dirty.

which one we want? clean and compassionate capitalism in which state plays its social role correctly or dirty and brutal capitalism in which state is nothing but a cheap power broker?

baba amte is dead. a man, a legend, a fearless leader - who stood for his principles till the very last has passed away this week.

right from starting his social work with leprosy patients onto his numerous other causes including fighting stupidly planned and fake huge dams - baba amte stood a great man amongst cowards who pushed development in all its filth and dirt.

notable to know that baba amte returned the padma shri and padma vibushan awards to protest against the dastardly attack on innocent tribals on each and every turn of building the abusive sardar sarovar dam project. what use is awards given by the state, when the same state hits, bulldozes and abuses it's own poor and marginalised people?

though the legend has passed away, let his ideas and philosophies grow. for they are needed in much bigger way to even stand up to the fight against the fake development that pervades each and every corner of politicians, businessmen and media's booklet.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

as politicians of mumbai fight over who has done what for mumbai dragging cine stars, politicians, and common man into a 100% unwanted and 1000% unneeded verbal violence spilling onto the streets, one thing entire maharastra and entire india has forgotten easily.

that is the fact that farmers suicide is rocketing at the speed that even nasa rockets wont rocket. hindu's report shows shocking statistics and maharastra is the 'proud' leader all the way.

sitting in mumbai in comfortable a/c rooms and Z category security, our politicians sure don't have any control of their tongue. but they wield immense control that can put proper policies and programs that can save the farmers of maharastra.

maharastra is also a leader in special elimination zone (sez) creation. double jeopardy is what you can call this. farmer suicide with a cricket busy agriculture minister and regional flame stocking mumbai politician on one side and special elimination zones on the other side.

the old mumbai will hang its head in shame. a great city that said no to nobody and that fed each one of its inhabitants with work and food every day and night - now hangs its head in shame on the fire stocking politicians and the poor state of its own farmer sons on whose fields come the rice, vegetables and fruits and on whose dead bodies nobody cares.

what has high profile projects such as posco steel plant in orissa, tipaimukh dam in manipur and the monster dibang hydel dam in arunchal pradesh have in common.

all these projects have, had and will have the highest blessing from prime minister office (pmo) even though there are grave environmental violations, people displacement and environmental impact assessment (eia) abuse.

welcome to india. welcome to development. welcome to prime minister office. in all these 3 places, only mad money talks. everything else is deaf and dumb.

ibnlive's bahar dutt has captured her shock in her story on the dibang dam. when a project can be inagurated without even eia being done, what will be the fate of india's environment and tribals on whom this bulldozer called development is being crashed upon?

(a native tribal of diban valley - above - and dibang valley - below. widely called gateway to heaven in the remote arunachal pradesh, india will surely turn this place to gateway to hell by building the hugely disastarous dams with scant respect to environment and local people)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

whether it is progressive kerala, or revolutionary tamilnadu or cultural karnataka or hot andhra or raja's rajasthan - one thing is common. the rivers and waterbodies in these crucial states are dying, dead and condem-dead.

when it comes to competition for growth from industries that pollute the rivers so joyfully, the dyeing and textile units of luni river basin area in rajasthan can give stiff competition to the tirupur area industries of tamilnadu who are also into dyeing (shall we say 'dying' as in dying of rivers) and textiles.

rajinder singh the water man of india who revolutionsed alwar region with water conservation has taken up the cause of river luni. poor man. he is the main man for india to turn to for river crisis. when our politicians, business leaders, celebrities, software engineers and upper class elite are busy touting development to make money and of course abuse environment.

river luni is salty they say. look closely it has different colors. blue, red, green, etc - all of course 'development effects' from the industries that abuse it.
(river luni in rajastan. a brilliant salty river with amazing views has been condem-dead for a long time. it flows uncared and unwished except for the poor farmers who depend on it for farm irrigation, a subject that has no place in 'developing' india)

finally, i read a rare news, that is supposed be news everyday. families of farmers affected by agricultural crisis and suicides met with our agriculture minister turned cricket minister and full time busy politician.

and as usual our agriculture minister, sorry, cricket minister promised to do things like writing letters to concerned governments and take action.

when blood flows
on the streets,
it's time to step,
on the blood and stamp

if it ain't your blood
doesn't matter at all,
for it's somebody future,
that has run red

the color is red and
you are color blind,
as long the color is not yours,
it ain't matter that much

Friday, February 01, 2008

an interesting invite from river research center, which works on the issues of chalakudy river basin in kerala. in india's 'development', rivers, forests, coastal areas, etc have no place. they are nothing but a dump bins for dumping whatever 'development' wants to dump.

Invitation: Brain storming Discussion

Pandu Ranga Hegde and Dr. Sudhirendar Sharma to participate

Do Our Western Ghats Rivers Have A Future?

Recognized as one of the 24 biodiversity hotspots in the world, the Western Ghats in south-western India is not only the most important and picturesque ecosystems but one that is gateway to the monsoons in the sub-continent.

A unique repository of floral and faunal biodiversity with high degree of endemism and restricted range species, the need for preserving this Global Biodiversity Hot Spot has been reiterated in all concerned regional, national and international forums. The intrinsic role of the Western Ghats in sustaining the livelihoods and survival of the populations of three South Indian Peninsular States of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in particular are also self explanatory.

Inspite of several studies and research papers on the Western Ghats and crores of public money spent in the name of Western Ghats Development, this Paradise on Earth is on the verge of an ecological disaster with far reaching social, economic and political implications.

The manner in which this region has been exposed to unprecedented destruction over the last 200 years for denudation of forest, clear felling of natural forests for raising commercial plantation, submersion of large areas under river valley projects, forest fires, damage to areas due to mining, soil erosion leading to silting of reservoirs and reduction in their life span and the adverse effects of floods and landslides, encroachment of forest land and poaching of wild life, infrastructure development etc. are already taking their toll.

Drying up and dying rivers, increasing water scarcity, intermittent droughts and floods, dwindling fish stock, displaced tribal livelihoods, the list continues..

Not long ago, however, the region had posted one of the greatest successes in ecological activism by restoring the Silent Valley to its pristine beauty. It had reflected the testimony of the people's resilience and the effort to conserve whatever remains of the dwindling natural resources. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve launched in 1986 with a total area of 5520.40 extending over the

states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu around the Nilgiri Mountains became perhaps the indicator for all the three states to come together for conservation of its common natural heritage.

In the recent past, new assaults in the disguise of economic growth and job creation on this life-support system of pristine waters and rich biodiversity are further weakening the fragile connectivity between the remaining fragments of forests The political economy of development is exerting enormous pressure to weaken the resilience of the system, be it the ongoing tussle on the issue of Kerala's Athirappilly dam or the elusive 4000 MW Thermal Power project along the west coat at Tadadi, in Karnataka. One only needs to stretch beyond one's window to locate such symbols of so-called progress.

However, several forms of resistances are also emerging and ongoing in several tracts of the Western Ghats in the three states.…. To save the remaining forests, rivers and mountain tracts, tribal habitats from damming, mining, industries, infrastructure etc.

The challenge therefore before us is,

  1. To honestly assess the possibilities of trying to connect the losing connections between the localized struggles for conserving the forests, rivers, mountains and ecosystems within the Western Ghats in the three states under the changing socio-political context
  2. To bring the Western Ghats into the mainstream of public policy agenda, for developing a holistic vision for conservation of the natural resources in the Western Ghats.
  3. To generate widespread discussions on the need to save our dying rivers from further damming and degradation of catchments and watersheds

In order to discuss these and related issues, we are organizing a brain storming meeting.

Main Speakers:

Pandu Ranga Hegde,

Leader, Appiko Movement and environmental and social activist from Karnataka.

Have lead struggles to save Kali River, Saravati River in Karnataka.

Dr. Sudhirendar Sharma

Well known water expert and development analyst. Director of Ecological Foundation. Campaigning against the Inter Linking of Rivers Project. Authored the book 'Paradise Lost… almost', an as is the basis account of the plight of the Western Ghats.

Venue: Vyapara Bhavan, Chalakudy,

Date-time: February 3, 2008, from 2.30 p.m. to 6p.m.

This meeting is organized by Appiko Movement and Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithi with support from organizations working on and for the Western Ghats.

River Research Center, Thrissur, Kerala.

so what do corporates do when they want to 'spread development'. well they act with jolly, jolly and merry.

this is what a company that is known for pollution in that area did when it wanted to get rid of effulents from its factory. they started shipping them to neighbouring states (karnataka especially) and they were caught doing so on one of the trips.

oh yeah, of course no FIR was registered, no case was probed, no culprits were caught and no police were present. india right? where only money rules and of course yeah development also rules.
(the lorry and its consignment seized while spreading development from sipcot cuddalore. development in sipcot cuddalore should not only be 'beneficial' to the poor villagers there but also to neighbouring states!!!. )