Friday, August 29, 2008

there was an article in hindu businessline , telling the lukewarm response to solar projects in tamilnadu. this is surprising and clearly shows that tneb (tamilnadu electricity board) is turning the heat on producing more energy from renewables. i wrote a letter on this to hindu. it is below.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 10:08 PM
Subject: tamilnadu electricity board should follow pacific gas and electric utility example in renewables

dear hindu,
i want to bring attention to your article at

solar and solar thermal is being promoted in big way in california. the california utility pacific gas and electric (pg&e), which has a mandate to get 20% of electricity from renewables by 2010, is ramping up big time on solar and solar thermal energies (apart from wind and geo thermal sources).

i want to highlight the recent deal that pg&e signed 2 deals 2 weeks back bringing total of solar energy production to 800mw. one technology of 550mw is via thin film technology by optisolar, a san francisco bay area based firm and another 250mw is photovoltaic based technology from sunpower corp, another san francisco bay area based firm. infact the 250mw solar power project perhaps is the single most biggest pv based solar plant in entire world.

switching angles, nano solar that provides solar energy via thin films out of copper indium gallium selenide materials is ramping up close to 1000mw of production to cater to upcoming projects ( pg&e has already signed a contract of 900mw with brightsource energy to generate power via solar thermal route.

pg&e is cleverly looking at a bucket of technologies to satisfy the 20% energy goal. one thing to note that is solar energy calls for subsidies either via tax credit or power purchase agreements, but with massive scalability in upcoming years, solar energy should come much closer to grid parity thereby reducing subsidies significantly.

needless to add sir, that coal and nuclear energies are also subsidised either in form of environmental disasters due to coal mining, global warming, dangerous nuclear radiation and toxic waste storage apart from many other fiscal incentives like SEZ's. and also many coal thermal plants being proposed in coastal regions are severely opposed by many coastal area sections including fishermen.

tamilnadu electricity board should tieup for knowledge sharing and skills in solar electricity area with utilities like pg&e so that we can also one of the leaders of renewables. if we go the pg&e route, needless to say that many thousands mega watt of electricity can be produced by non polluting solar and solar thermal and this can be a huge boom in jobs creation/safeguarding our environment/getting carbon credits/being a world leader in fighting climate change.

will tamilnadu electricity board steps upto the challenge or will they be going the same route of polluting coal and dangerous nuclear roads. the choice is clear and it is renewables, for in renewables (along with green building technologies and conservation campaigns) we can safeguard our land and environment for our future generations.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

one small foot note in india's great progress so far. yet another farmer committed suicide last week.

if somebody is reacting to this news, how will that reaction be?

an ipod wielding city youth: so what dude, many lakhs farmers have committed suicide, tell me something new. is rajini's latest film hit or flop? huh?

honorable finance minister who comes from the farm belt of tamilnadu: well, we have given 50,000 crore rupees and not even one single farmer should commit suicide. infact we do not recall any major incidents of suicides since we are always giving cash whenever agriculture sector is under distress.

honorable cricket minister who is also incidentally agriculture minister: as far as i know, these incidents are not happening. infact when i was speaking with sachin tendulkar on his elbow issue yesterday evening, he also did not tell me anything about farmer suicide's.

honorable prime minister: well, we have a super efficient harvard educated finance minister and a very rural politician as agriculture minister. if they are convinced farmer suicide is not a major issue, chalta hai yaar. i do not have time for all small small things. i need to call bush and thank him again for upcoming nuclear fuel supply.

indian media: actually sir, if kareena kappor had reported any farmer suicides we would prompt coverage. or atleast dhoni should say it. we cannot be covering non-news nah!

there was some interesting comments from the Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (Kalpakkam).

when queried over some of crucial points like a)nuclear radioactive waste b) nuclear safety in potentially many tens of new nuclear power plants c) nuclear disasters like chernobyl or three mile disasters.

pat came the answer. "it is all a matter of political will"

well sir, the present situation of that 'will' is a disaster. in jadugoda, radioactive mining has been a disaster. not only that there are strong protests in new nuclear mining places in andhra pradesh and meghalaya.

and india's 'will' when it comes to sustainable development is almost zero.

i highly recommend the article in latest siliconeer written by mr.m.v.ramana that exposes the fake nuclear ambition of india.

Despite this less than stellar history and the hand wringing about international sanctions, the DAE has continued to make extravagant predictions. The current projections are for 20,000 MW by the year 2020 and for 207,000 to 275,000 MW by the year 2052. The likelihood of these goals being met is slim at best. But even if they are met, nuclear power would still contribute only about 8-10 percent of the projected electricity capacity in 2020, and about 20 percent in 2052. There is thus little chance of nuclear electricity becoming a significant source of power for India anytime over the next several decades.

It is by no means clear that even with the resumption of international nuclear trade the DAE will be able to generate a significant fraction of the country’s electricity requirements for decades. Further, such electricity is likely to be expensive. In the case of French reactors which are typical of Western supplied power plants, M.R. Srinivasan, former head of the DAE, has stated that, “Recent cost projections show that if an LWR were to be imported from France, the cost of electricity would be too high for the Indian consumer. This is because of the high capital cost of French supplied equipment.” The estimated capital cost of each 1000 MW foreign reactor is about $2 billion or about Rs. 8,000 crores. To this must be added the interest cost during construction, roughly another Rs. 2,000 crores. In all, if one were to think of 10,000 MW of foreign reactors being imported over next decade, the total cost will be Rs. 100,000 crores — no small sum.

A second motivation for the deal represents another of DAE’s failures: in ensuring sufficient supplies of uranium to fuel its nuclear reactors. For the reasons mentioned earlier, India has been unable to import uranium for most of its nuclear reactors. Current uranium production within India is far less than the fuel requirements of its reactors if they are run efficiently. DAEDAE’s desperate efforts to open new uranium mines in the country, including in Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh, which have met with stiff public resistance, primarily because of health impacts of uranium mining and milling on the communities around existing mines.

pipe dream in india nowadays walks around in the name of 'nuclear dream' and as long as india's upper elite who benefit the most from the mindless development can be made dreamers, more such dreams will be floating around.

well americans have refused to buy this fake dream and hence there has NO single new nuclear power plant in past 30 years. but to sell to india's upper elite is an easy task as easy as selling the fake nuclear deal.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

bow to this 11 year old kid in mumbai and watch how eloquently he talks about the importance of mangroves in protecting the great city of mumbai.

my mumbai friends used to tell that the city never left even a single human being hungry every night. if its citizens don't protect the crucial mangroves, the city will be left with no choice except to submerge itself.

in kids like madhav there are small hopes that the city's ecosystem can be saved hence saving the city itself.

for people wondering the upfront costs and viability of solar power in their residences, they better read mercury news story.

With the PPA, Bunyard and Pambianco paid about $17,000 to SunRun — or $30,000 less than the original installation estimate from installer REC Solar.

Before going solar, McConkie said he was paying about $258 a month for electricity. This summer, his bills have dropped to $20 or $30 a month.

with novel ways like power purchase agreement and tax credits, huge amounts of savings can be done on upfront installation and also whopping savings in monthly basis (with the feeding of solar power back to the grid).

san franscisco bay area is a leader in innovation and in having solar power companies and in solar power installations they are setting a fierce pace for the rest of the world that is acting blind.

in india solar power potential is HUGE to say the least. if only politicians, policy makers, urbanities wake up and realise its potential, the change it can bring in india will also be HUGE in terms of saving our ecosystem from deadly nuclear and polluting coal power apart from huge unsustainable dams on already abused rivers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

now let me tell you guys, our ceo's have great humor. even in really tense situation our ceo's can make you cry with laughter.

let's take the case of tata's head mr.ratan tata on the controversy over singur plant that is being setup for the small 1 lakh car nano.

“We do not want to come to an area where, we perceive, we are unwanted,” Mr Tata observed.
hello!!!! right from day one, there has been protests against the entire process of land acquisitions and our not-so-communists communists rejected all these protests with police heavyhand. now suddenly, the ceo seems to be doing we-wont-come dance.

He had no doubt that the relocation of the factory would cost the company and its shareholders heavily. “But it will also hit hard West Bengal, where the Tatas decided to come at a time when there was hardly any development as this part of the country was ignored from the investment point of view,” he said.
of course, west bengal needs development, but not developedment. if seizing of land is by force, if development comes via fake SEZ's, if massive environmental violations aid mining and polluting factories, if unsustainable dams are being pushed ruthlessly, let's reject that fake process of development. why can't west bengal develop. how about an agricultural export zone in singur. how about organic agricultural zone in singur. how about incentives to other industries that can come up in singur and its related areas in terms of less land usage like software companies or bpo sectors with good incentives from state government.
we should reject this typical ceo talk of 'if i wont come, there wont be any progress' talk. this is not talk, this is more of a threat.

It is now for the people here to decide whether we are unwanted or whether we will be accepted as good corporate citizens that we are”.
"good corporate citizens"? then how about listening a little bit about dhamra port. how about the massive titanium dioxide plant in southern tamilnadu. how about stop being a broker for a multinational that still does not own responsibility for the world's deadliest industrial disaster.

“We are extremely sensitive about the needs of the rural community and we believe in the balanced growth of rural and industrial development. In Singur, we have taken on lease the land offered to us and we have not come here to exploit any one.”. “Perhaps, many people do not want us to be here,” he said.
"extremely sensitive about the needs of rural community"? oh yeah right. we can ask the people of kalinganagar in orissa for that sensitivity i guess.

bottom line is this. tata group, one of india's premier group, is after maniac profits. profits at any cost. in nano, they wanted free land along with a lot of other incentives so that they can produce a cheap car and in volumes make a killing. not only in singur, but in many cases (a sample of which i have quoted above), the tata group seems to be hell bent on being a money making machine.

and tata it seems seems to be repeating the same line. if not you then somewhere else.
But Tamil Nadu is faced with the threat that Tata could take its business elsewhere. Tata Steel managing director B. Muthuraman has warned it that Tata “will have alternative plans if things don’t work out in Tamil Nadu.”

why does india's biggest group need to profit on our environment and the blood of rural people. why can't they draw a line and say we have made enough and will be making enough money. but that money will come with more human face and not with a brutal hand.

they can, but they won't. in the dog eat dog corporate world, the top dog wins, even if it bites and destroys anything that it is in front of it.

cartoons and caricatures pack such a punch when they try to convey the agony of the situation. here's one from the legend david horsey of seattle post intelligencer. all copyrights belong to david horsey. this cartoon is about the russia georgia conflict.

kudos david on a brilliant cartoon. it would be lovely to caricature india's fake development with your cartoons too, except that we would have use blood instead of ink to tell the sorry state on the ground.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

hills, mountains, forests
here we come.

we love ya so deep,
we want to screw up you.

we blast you,
we chew you,
we mine you,
we quarry you.

blind love, they call love,
our love is totally blind for sure.

all due to affection,
for the mountains,
all of us need 'developedment'.

illegal quarries are destroying and eating up like cancer, our vital ecosystems. if i were to blog those, this blog will be a quarry blog. 2 cases one in chamarajanagar, karnataka and one in the archeologically important site in madurai, tamilnadu illustrates the nastiness that is going on in name of 'progress', 'growth' and 'developedment' in india.

the already turbulent politics of andhra became more turbulent with entry of telugu cinema superstar chiranjeevi.

without commenting on whether chiranjeevi did the right thing or not by entering into politics, his comment yesterday is a great one.

he asked his fans not to rush to hyderabad but to plant trees. this is a welcome statement. but in filmi style he just told a one liner to plant trees.

he should follow up on this to make sure tree planting is taken up in sustainable manner in urban and rural areas so that trees are not planted just because chiranjeevi told but because chiranjeevi is passionate about trees.

the power of cinema stars is immense in india. if only they can raise their voice on important issues without getting into politics not only the issues will get into forefront of the cinema crazed urbanities but also the cinema stars can fully avoid the nasty politics that come along.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

by now we all will be familiar with the word bolt which chewed to dust the 100m and 200m world records in 2008 beijing olympics. like bond, he is bolt, usain bolt. nope. he is much more than bolt, usain bolt.

he is thunder bolt, lightning bolt, cyclone bolt. nope much more. tsunami bolt perhaps? nope he is much more bolt. which is?

he is 'developedment bolt'. like the maniac speed that crushes all his opponents in the 100 and 200 meters race, 'developedment' that is practiced by india's policy makers and cooly supported by india's upper class crushes everything in front of it.

like bolt, against 'developedment bolt' nobody can stand. no law's, no policies, no honest politician, no ngo's, no tribals, no ecosystem. nobody has a chance against both bolt and 'developedment bolt'.

both are merciless.

(i am bolt, 'developedment bolt')

the struggle continues against destruction that is masking itself as 'development'.

in cuddalore, in eloor, in bhopal, in athirapally, in gundya, in north east in various locations against massive destructive dams, the list is endless. can we learn to walk lightly? or we will reckless money making machine for the richest people and leaving others in the dust?


From: Shweta Narayan

Date: Aug 20, 2008 2:34 AMSubject: Protest against new chemical/ polluting industries in SIPCOT Cuddalore

Join the Residents of SIPCOT in Demanding

"No Further Industrialisation of SIPCOT Cuddalore with Chemical and Polluting Industries"

Public Meeting

22 August 2008 (Friday);
4.00 pm to 6.00 pm

Opposite Collector's Office in New Town Cuddalore

Cuddalore is reeling under pollution, and its people are suffering. Chemical industries in Cuddalore have destroyed lives and livelihoods of thousands. According to a latest scientific report prepared by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute on air pollution in and around SIPCOT chemical industrial estate, there are atleast 94 chemicals in the ambient air, including 15 that are known hazardous air pollutants. The report also estimates that SIPCOT Cuddalore residents are at least 2000 times more likely to contract cancer in their lifetimes due to their exposure to high levels of toxic gases from chemical industries in the region.

Anybody traveling on the Cuddalore-Chidambaram highway can smell the horrible smells from the industrial estate. Entire villages live inside the industrial estate, adjacent to hazardous factories. Gas leaks and industrial accidents are a common feature in SIPCOT Cuddalore.

Rather than take action to reduce the pollution and preventing toxic exposure to the community and environment, the Tamil Nadu Government has earmarked coastal Cuddalore for locating the dirtiest and most hazardous industries in the area. According to senior Government officials, the Government has decided to concentrate polluting industries in Cuddalore based on the perverse logic that it is wiser to pollute an already polluted place.

In the most recent move to pursue its agenda to sacrifice the communities of Cuddalore for the "larger good" the Government has given environmental clearance to a Chlorinated Polyethylene manufacturer – Aria Chemicals to set up its facility in the neighbourhood of Sonanchavadi, a fishing village in SIPCOT phase II.

Aria Chemicals will manufacture 20000 tonnes of Chlorinated Polyethylene. It will use at least 40 tonnes of deadly chemical chlorine daily to achieve its target production. Chlorine is a known toxic volatile gas used regularly in the industrial processes. Exposure to low levels of chlorine can cause eye and nose irritation, cough, change in heart beat and extreme exposure could even result in death.

The Government also has plans to set up the following toxic projects for the region in the future:

l Nagarjuna Oil Refinery, Thyagavelli Panchayat: The 6 million tonne/year refinery is coming up near the coast. This will cause widespread air pollution (see Manali area in North Chennai), and will pollute the sea with oil. Effluents will be disposed at sea. Groundwater will be extracted.
l 1350 MW capacity coal-fired thermal power plant, Naduthittu: The plant will generate more than 300,000 tonnes of toxic flyash, and air pollution.
l SIMA Textile Park, Chinnandikuzhi, Periyapattu village: Much bigger than the Tiruppur dyeing factories, units in this park are set to come up on prime agricultural land. The toxic effluents will be disposed into the sea.
l Shipbuilding Yard, near Cuddalore harbour.

The communities in Cuddalore is up in arms against pollution and polluting industries.
Support their struggle for a toxic free future.

For more details contact:

In Chennai – Shweta Narayan – 9444024315

In Cuddalore – T. Arulselvam – 9443737134


Sunday, August 17, 2008

let's see how a 'project' and the ground level 'reality' are so different in india.

first the project:
tamilnadu's local administration minister unveils common effulent treatment plant (cetp) to process the mega effluents coming out of tanniers in trichy district. and the cetp side is telling that
'effluents have come down 1/3rd'!!!!

now the ground level reality:
I am of the firm view that either the individual or the cetps will not be able to treat the effluents that contain more than 275 toxic chemicals—acids, nitrates, chromium, dyes, common and chemical salts. This project is an eyewash and a colossal waste of public money.

The effluents are responsible for the destruction of hundreds of hectares of fertile farmland and several waterborne diseases for over two decades.

now you know the actual situation right. a project for the sake of the project. the ground level story the same as before. with hundreds of tanneries using old production techniques, using mostly illeterate labourers working under hazardous conditions and an industry which has destryoed vast amounts of agricultural land doing an eyewash in launching this cetp just to take care of some procedural things.

in reality, the government should have cracked down on these tanneries, securing the future of thousands of farming families who depend on ground water and local rivers which have been abused by pollution and also giving alternative livelihoods on a well planned manner to the illeterate labourers of the tanneries.

but the government went by old playbook. which is to fool all the people all the time in all the places.

our honorable prime minister has got really funny. well, i am serious when it tell this. let's see couple of comments from prime minister in an event in new new delhi last week.

from our prime minister,
"What we are trying to do in government is to give concrete shape to those ideas of what I would call 'growth with a human face' or 'growth with social justice'," Singh said.

These ideas and ideals had inspired our national movement, and they continue to inspire those of us who occupy the “center” space in Indian politics, and walk the “Middle Path” on social, political and economic issues.’

India stands as a shining example of a poor country seeking its economic and social salvation within the framework of a liberal and secular democracy."

growth with human face?
where in niyamgiri? in posco issue? in naramada dam issue? in still fighting bhopalis saga? in one of the biggest and massive scam and abuse in independent india in name of SEZ's? in the suicide of lakhs of farmers for past several years? where is the human face. all that is present is abusive face of the government machinery pushing 'growth' for the rich and 'death' for the marginalised.

growth with social justice?
in allowing dow chemicals to come happy to india without taking them to task for the union carbide disaster in bhopal? in allowing massive dams in north east under most fake environmental impact assessment (eia's)? in sleeping for full 5 years when agricultural sector got devastated? in caring a hoot on the situation of tribals and forests for past several years?

india standing as a shining example of 'poor' country seeking solution via the framework of democracy?
shining example in crushing the struggles against ill fated dams, mining projects and polluting factories? shining example in hitting rural farmers in the stomach when land grabbing in name of SEZ's? packing off taslima nasreen to europe in the dark of the night afraid of vote banks? in proposing various legislation's that hit the foundation of environmental laws of india?

well, i told you. our prime minister has become more humours these days.

how about some catchup on the never ending pollutions, sorry development, of india.

protests continue against the proposed coal power plant in chamalpura in mysore.
polluting units in mangalore told to mend ways. (well they have been told to mend ways nth time before this. so this makes it n+1).
pollution saga continues in tiruppur, tamilnadu.

this is just a cull of the bottom news regarding environment coverage in the media. imagine how bad the situation will be if media actively covers environment just as it covers kareena kapoor or cricket.

well, that is development folks. never ending and never stopping destruction for marginalised communities and environment and never ending and never stopping for the rich businessmen and the upper middle class elite in urban areas.

Friday, August 15, 2008

way to go california. way to go arnold. way to go the california electricity utility pg&e. bravo california, bravo.

today pg&e announced a huge 800 mw deal to power electricity from solar. this is huge. pge&e has been mandated to procure upto 20% of its electricity from renewables and this utility scale version from sunpower (250mw out of total 800mw) is a huge thing for pv based solar electricity generation.

as the sunpower official tells,
But the SunPower deal, where electricity is generated using silicon-based photo-voltaic solar modules, will "probably have people falling off their chairs from Osaka to Madrid," said Julie Blunden, a SunPower vice president. That's because many still think photo-voltaic systems are only suitable for homes and businesses, she said.

from osaka to madrid, people will notice this huge 250mw deal probably the biggest in the entire world for pv based solar electricity generation. you can also catchup with sunpower ceo interview here.

it is super duper HIGH time that india noticies this also. the potential in a sun soaked country like india is HUGE for solar power. instead of champioining coal based and going to great extent for deadly nuclear power plants, it is high time india shows its leadership to match california in sustainable electricity generation.

(sunpower plant in portugal powering 11mw. plants like this are highly needed in india to generate solar based electricity thereby sparing india from polluting coal power and deadly nuclear power. it is time india bypasses the fed government of america and talks directly with leaders like california on knowledge sharing and partnership for sustainable electricity generation. we do not need india america bhai bhai, but we need india california bhai bhai)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

as this blog chronicles the huge destruction that is happening in india in name of 'development', one common question will be:

'can any of the things that is happening in india in name of development be done more sustainably, more inclusive and more lightly on the environmental impact'.

the answer is yes, yes and yes. check out the note from cseindia on mining. mining in india is done by mainly by huge corporations apart from politicians run companies. but if this mining if done sustainably can be of huge game changer to environment, to local communities and to the revenue generation of india itself.

Is sustainable mining possible?
The CSE report points out that mining cannot be sustainable or truly environment-friendly: one, because all ore bodies are finite and non-renewable and two, because even the best managed mines leave “environmental footprints”. But it also concedes that mining and minerals are necessary. Adds Chandra Bhushan “The issue is not whether mining should be undertaken or not. Rather, it is about how it should be undertaken. It is about ensuring that mining is conducted in an environmentally and socially acceptable manner.”

The report goes on to recommend a range of policy initiatives that could help India meet this challenge. Some of its main recommendations include recognising people’s right to say ‘no’ (mining should not take place without the consent of the people); independent, impartial preparation of EIA reports; disallowing mining in forests; framing stronger mine closure regulations; and “doing more with less – a key to sustainable development”.

we agree with a big YES. if mining (and many development activities like dams, factories, power plants, etc) are done with basic human and environmental parameters, the activitiy will be a huge boom for the local population and also for the rest of india.

but will india care? will its middle class elite bother? will its powerful, rich businessmen and their politician friends have some basic human responsibility?

i do not have much hope. when you care least about human beings, human rights, environment and rule of the land, the more you do destruction in name of development.

after all in india, you can fool all the people all the time in all the places.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

do you know the place in india that has the largest collection of private aircrafts. the people engaged in this business are so rich they also perhaps have the largest fleet of helicopters.

let's take a guess.

how about the diamond hub of surat?

how about the textile hub of tirupur?

how about the software headquarters of bangalore?

how about cinemawallahs of mumbai?

the place is one of the most abused and enviornmentally destroyed place in india. once called by mahatma gandhi as the 'kashmir of the south', it can be called now as 'death bed of the south'. it is bellary in karnataka.

you name any mess and it is there in bellary.

child labour?
of course.

environmental violations?
oh sure.

destruction of local livelihoods in agriculture and dairy farming?

huge environmental degradation?
we love that. by the way, what is 'environment'?

i want to quote a para from cseindia report as quoted by ibnlive.
Infact, illegal mining is so rampant in Bellary that the CSE report says that there has been a huge drain on the state exchequer. Karnataka lost an estimated Rs25,000 crore. The government now says that it will take a tough stand on illegal mining in Bellary.

the private miners (mostly powerful local and state level politicians) have made couple of thousands of crores. karnataka has lost tens of thousands of crores. the local population + their livelihood + the ecology damaged perhaps beyond repair.

welcome to bellary. welcome to the 'development' of india. we all can have much more bellaries all across india right? who does not want to own a fleet of aircraft's anyways?(the face of bellary, karnataka. with huge mineral resources and absolutely no rules or laws, this places have been ravaged beyond control. in what could have been a boom to the state, local residents if managed sustainably, this place has been loot all place. and cases like this looting is easily called 'development' of india)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

behave like a guest, this is 'developedment india'.

behave like a guest, once upon lived gautama and mahatma here.

behave like a guest for modi is a friend and you are nobody.

behave like a guest for you have no freedom of speech.

behave like a guest as vote bank politics is paramount.

behave like a guest as we have no control over communal forces and infact we tie up with them depending on political situation.

sad, but true. in india not only taslima nasreen has to 'behave' but also many millions of marginalized people have to 'behave within their limits' so that government machinery can do whatever they want.

when the not-so-left comrades sleep with communal forces and the always soft communal congress wants the vote bank, writers like taslima nasreen has no future in india.

there we go again. as human race, we are more interested in 'rapid action', 'land sovernigty', 'superiority', etc rather than blood and life.

russia - georgia conflict has at minimum taken 2000 lives. innocent mothers, sisters, brothers, kids, men and women - gone in a second by massive bombing by russia.

without going into who is right and who is wrong between russia and georgia, it would seem common sense for both russia and georgia to talked out the issue first before raising the fist. the lives lost are not of the presidents, prime ministers, officers, etc but of innocent people.

shame on entire humanity on this conflict, a totally unwanted and unneeded one.

somebody said,
how many more people have to die,
to tell that lot of people have died.

how much more blood has to flow,
to tell that lot of blood has flown.

how many more women and children have to die,
to tell that precious human lives are getting thrashed.

how many mouths will have to keep quiet,
to tell that entire humanity is dead.

Friday, August 08, 2008

thy name is progress?
thy name is development?
thy name is growth?


thy name is pollution,
thy name is destruction,
thy name is SEZ,
thy name is disaster,
thy name is death.

this story in tumkur district of karnataka shows how screwed up india's fake development path is. it has bought pollution, destruction of water sources, death to human being via poisoning of their health and their livelihood.

Kamalamma, 32, showed her hand covered with black dots because of acute allergy to dust. Yashodamma, another resident, said that it was no longer possible to cultivate land because dust covered everything and there was neither rain nor water left in borewells.

who cares about kamalamma and yashodamma. we are more interested in kareena and bipasha. ain't it!!! and in our utter ignorance and carelessness thrives the fake foundation for development that is brining death to our rural people and the enrivonrment in which they depend on.

the verdict has come. the verdict that vedanta mining can deposit 10 crore rupees annually and gleefully mine in the niyamagiri hills.

i don't think this is just a verdict. this is death sentence for thousands and thousands of tribals who live in the hills and who have been dependent on the ecosystem of niyamagiri.

hindu businessline calls it "a morale booster for the investing community". we should call it a death sentence for the tribals and the environment, both of which are under brutal assault in name of fake development.

sanjiv parikh, one of the lawyers involved in the case puts it eloquently.
He says popular protests will continue and ultimately it is the people who are supreme, not the court. Sanjay Parikh, a lawyer, says the judgment will, for the first time, fix a price that a company will have to spend on the community. He adds that money cannot be a substitute for the land or river taken away from the people and the court will have to restore the lands of the people.

what is tragic is that the supreme court order has come in the face of the recommendation from its own cec. from the link,
The Supreme Court order today has come against the advice of its own Court Empowered Committee, which said in 2005 that mining should not be done on the Niyamagiri hills (see box). The mining activities may pollute or even dry up the sources of the rivers which flow from them, thus ruining the cultivation and livelihoods of the people living downhill.

this is a super sad for india. an india that is ready to put a price on precious natural ecosystems on which depend thousands of thousands of tribals, so that multinational companies can gleefully mint money.

'tragic' is the word that has no meaning on this black day.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

you might want to catch up on the details of proposed neutrino project in the western ghats forests. when our honorable elected ceo 'would try his best' for posco project, anything can happen in india.

as the downtoearth article says “Development” in India has become inherently violent. i would say that 'development' has not only means violence to marginalised communities but also abusive and stomach kicking to most of the people who live on the fringes.

well, that is 'development of india', is it?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: NBR Alliance <>
Date: Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 11:30 PM
Subject: More on the INO

Greetings from the Nilgiris!

The New Internationalist has published this article on the upcoming Neutrino Observatory at Singara. It is the main feature on their website - for now. The full article is also posted on: .
There are some strong statements from reputed Conservationists at the end.
Best Regards,
NBR Alliance

Tigers or Neutrinos

A huge new scientific experiment plans to go looking for tiny particles in the middle of India's oldest Biosphere Reserve, moving mountains of rock and earth as it goes.

Singara Hill in the middle of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is the proposed site of the controversial Indian Neutrino Observatory.

Singara Hill in the middle of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is the proposed site of the controversial Indian Neutrino Observatory. Tarsh Thekaekara

Tigers are under threat. That's not news. What is new is that the threat comes from a huge science project proposed for a tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu.

India is home to the largest tiger population in the world, and the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important tiger habitats in the country. There are plans to put up a major Neutrino Observatory (INO) inside the Singara hill in the middle of this Reserve. It will tunnel more than two kilometres into the hill and build a 100,000 ton iron detector underground.

I grew up in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and instinctively felt the project had to be moved out of here. But I am also a physics graduate and felt I had to talk to everyone involved and take an impartial view of the whole situation. At first I was convinced that the environmentalists were going overboard with their protests. But what is fair when the playing field is not level; when the Government of India, an ex-President and influential top-notch scientists are opposed by a mere handful of concerned environmentalists? Closer inspection brought to light implications too serious to ignore.

The Biosphere Reserve

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) is a large tract of over 5,500 square kilometres of contiguous forest spread across three states and containing six protected areas. It was the first Biosphere Reserve in India, established under UNESCO's Man and Biosphere programme in September 1986. At least four of the major rivers of south India originate in this region - the Bhavani, Moyar, Kabini and Chaliyar. It is also home to a host of endangered and endemic species. In all, 676 species of plants, 173 species of vertebrates, 12 species of amphibians, 38 species of fish, 46 species of reptile, 87 species of birds and 28 species of mammals (including tiger, leopard, gaur, wild dog, bear, deer and elephant) live around the proposed site for the project.


These are tiny, chargeless, almost massless particles that are generated in nuclear reactions. They pass through matter almost undisturbed - even the earth seems immaterial to them. But a few of them may collide and interact with a nucleus of some element on earth - this is what the physicists hope to detect and study. The laboratory proposes to study atmospheric neutrinos, generated in the sun and stars. Putting it underground ensures that all other particles and rays are naturally filtered out. But not just underground - the 100,000 ton iron detector has to be at least a thousand metres underground.

What exactly we gain by studying them is difficult to define. Fundamental research rarely has any direct applications in everyday life, and essentially only widens the horizon of human understanding. But as far as history has shown, fundamental scientific research has lead to unforeseen and often positive developments for humanity. Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 got him the Nobel Prize only in 1922, and the applications of it – solar cells to generate electricity – are becoming more and more relevant every day.

Then again, Einstein did not threaten the survival of the tiger. Is fundamental research today taking a new stance that could lead us to an unforeseen ecological and environmental crisis, in a world that's paying heavily for its mistakes and struggling to reverse the damage done?

Why here?

The Western Ghats are one of the oldest and most dense rock formations in the world. This makes it ideal for drilling, since it won't collapse easily. The INO team say they cannot drill vertically down, so they have to find a steep hill and drill into it horizontally from the side. Another reason not so widely talked about is that the observatory needs three megawatts of power - and your average Indian hill does not have that kind of power readily to hand. Singara already has a hydroelectric plant, the Pykara Ultimate Stage Hydro Electric Project (PUSHEP) inside it, so this won't be a problem. PUSHEP drilled into the same hill, so all the shears and joints have been mapped and a second tunneling project would be relatively easy. Singara is also just 240 kilometres to Bangalore. But this 'a little more damage won't make much difference' argument is dangerous, and could open up a pandora's box to a host of other R&D projects that need to be underground.

There are a host of other reasons why Singara is ideal - but absolutely no information on the efforts that went into looking for a suitable site. The only other site identified is in the unlikely region of the Lower Himalayas, also next to a power station. It is difficult to believe that no other site can be found - for example, in some parts of Kerala or other parts of the Western Ghats.

An ideal situation would be a complete study of the entire country with appropriate methodology – GIS studies of slopes, accessibility, geology and existing facilities. In the unlikely event that no appropriate site for horizontal drilling exists, alternative sites should be explored with vertical drilling or sub-horizontal drilling. For a project costing nine billion rupees ($180 million) it would be peanuts to conduct the necessary studies to identify a site with fewer environmental implications.

The logical conclusion is that two or three possible sites were chosen, and then the budget was tailor-made to suit one of them. There is a clear disdain for the considerable effort India is putting into conservation; anyone who questions the logic of this exercise is categorized as obscurantist. This is a serious bias that is certainly unexpected from scientists.

Collateral damage

A quick run through the INO website gives the impression that everything is under control – there is not going to be any serious environmental damage. But claims to transparency have been glazed over by their refusal to make public important documents - like the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Environment Management Plan (EMP) - even to serious, established environmentalists like the WWF and Nilgiri Wildlife Environmental Association. This lack of transparency casts a shadow of doubt over all the claims made by the scientists and the long-term motives of the project. Since it is a scientific project without commercial gain, an EIA and EMP is recommended - but not mandatory. But since the size of the project exceeds 20,000 cubic metres, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) requires an EIA. So, somewhere behind all this confusion, the INO team is hiding the EIA and EMP. The project has been given the green light from the MoEF - so these documents ought to be in the public domain. The FAQ website makes lots of apparently sincere claims - but none are backed by hard facts or significant information.


The mostly widely debated issue is the site location. The INO team vehemently deny that it is in the middle of the forest - and insist it is on the (TNEB) Tamil Nadu Electricity Board's land. In fact, the forest department leased a small piece of land to the electricity department for the hydroelectric power plant, and the entrance to the tunnel lies on this land. But it is surrounded by forests. I doubt if the elephants and tigers have been informed that they are no longer welcome on that little piece of land.


The next issue is the construction. The plan is to excavate 225,000 cubic metres of the hill - despite a complete ban on mining and quarrying in the Nilgiris. The debris will weigh 630,000 tons and will require almost 80,000 truckloads to move it out. Add 100,000 tons for the detector and 35,000 tons of construction material - another 17,000 truckloads. So, during the scheduled four years of construction, every single day there will be 130 truckloads passing through 35 kilometres of forest - and two tiger reserves.

The INO website claims they are going to store the muck close to the site, and will take it out slowly, at the rate of six trucks a day. This seems ludicrous. At this rate, simple maths suggests that it would take 36 years to get rid of it. They couldn't even get all the construction material to the site in four years.

The PUSHEP engineers also had a similar bright idea - with disastrous results. During construction, in May 1996, vast quantities of quarry muck - residue from the tunneling - was dumped into the Karimar water hole, which flows into the Moyar river. The entire river was contaminated, making the water undrinkable for the animals as well as the tribal hamlets downstream. It became so bad that the sluice gate at Glenmorgan had to be opened to flush the river. Even so, there has been a slow leaching of the muck into the river for many years - and there are still 200,000 tons sitting in the middle of the forest. Should they be allowed to add to it?

They also claim they will reuse half the debris for construction. But this sounds like eyewash again. They don't plan to have any major buildings on the surface - so all the debris has to go back into the hill. It seems a little unlikely that they will tunnel out 225,000 cubic metres, only to fill half of it back in.


However many trucks there are, they will use a road that cuts through a crucial elephant corridor connecting the Eastern and the Western Ghats. Elephants are long-ranging beasts and migrate over great distances. The migratory paths are passed on genetically, and are not easily re-learned. The INO website claims to employ trackers to monitor elephant movements and regulate construction as necessary. But no biologist has yet managed to convince the elephants to put in their travel itineraries in advance. There are 25 female elephants to every male, with the males being poached for ivory. All calves in a herd are now likely to have the same father. Conservationists are concerned about the limited gene pool and possible in-breeding. Cutting off migratory paths will only add to the pressure.

The last straw

The INO team claims that they have been talking to local conservationists and environmentalists for the last year, and have been completely transparent. Yet they fail even to acknowledge that the 130-year-old Nilgiri Wildlife and Environmental Association - the oldest conservation organization in the country - prepared an independent report. It is based on a site visit by forest officials, scientists, INO representatives and members of the Association. The report categorically states that many of those present 'strove hard to drive home the point: No INO in the Singara area of the Nilgiris'.

The scientists seem genuinely concerned about minimizing the damage the project is going to do to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. But somehow they don't seem to see that any more damage could be the last straw. One more major threat – even with minimized damage, will be the beginning of the end

'The project will undoubtedly affect the Asian Elephant and almost every other species in the area, but the bigger problem with a project like this is the massive infrastructure development that is going to happen in this fragile area.
'Their offer to offset the damage they are going to cause by putting a small percentage of the budget into conservation is ridiculous. Its like suggesting we kill off a few tigers and elephants, sell all their body parts and use the money for conservation.'

Ajay Desai, the co-chair of IUCN's Asian Elephant Specialist Group

'Development for deprived communities living at the fringe of the Reserve is essential. But a project like this won't benefit the local people at all. Its not like they are going to send our Masinagudi (small town close to the proposed site) boys into the hill with a pick axe each and shovel in each hand. All the money spent on construction and after, will only go to multi-national companies, and will only highlight the difference between the élite and deprived in our country.'
N. Mohanraj, WWF's Coordinator for the Nilgiris and Eastern Ghat Landscape

'Every wildlife habitat has a threshold level of threats it can handle. The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve has already reached that threshold, and is under attack from all sides – the booming, indiscriminate tourist industry, the massive cattle over-grazing, the huge traffic coming through.'
R Arumugam, a biologist working with WWF India, has spent 20 years in the forests around the Reserve.

Monday, August 04, 2008

as india proceeds at break neck speed to make the rich more richer, the upper middle class more upper, the politicians more powerful and the business more fortune 500 oriented, one of the crucial segments of our population, the marginalized tribal communities have been left to fend for themselves.

in health, in education, in their human rights, in their livelihood, they have stayed and continue to stay in the fringes of india.

and in working with that borderline people, dr.prakash and mandakini amte has done what ideally should be the bread and butter of any government. that is to serve the weaker sections of the society.

dr.prakash and mandakini amte has won the prestigious magsaysay award for 2008.

from the hindu report, it is amazing to see the gamut of work done by this doctor team. indeed let their tribe grow more stronger.

Prakash and Mandakini Amte, a husband-and-wife team of doctors, were cited for community leadership for enhancing the ability of the Madia Gonds tribe in eastern Maharashtra to adapt to modern society through their healing and teaching work.

They abandoned their urban practices in 1974 when Dr. Prakash’s father, Gandhian-humanitarian Baba Amte, called him to take over a new project among the Madia Gonds, who lived on hunting, gathering and shifting cultivation. The couple moved to the remote Hemalkasa region and lived simply among the tribesmen, learned their language and patiently gained their trust.

The couple’s 50-bed hospital and five doctors treat 40,000 patients a year for free. Their school introduced the tribe to settled agriculture — growing vegetables, fruits and irrigated grains organically — and encouraged conservation and protection of forests and wild animals.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

2 dams, 2 different places, 2 different cultures, 2 different languages - but same story and same forest ranges. the story of fake development.

as the athirapilly dam in thrissur district, kerala proceeds at break necks speed to get clearance, the gundia dam (also called gundya) in hasan district, karnataka comes for clearence at bull dozing speed - the forests and the rivers on which the dam is to be built stands as mute witness to the spectacular destruction that is about to come.

as the kerala forum points out, electricity in kerala can be easy saved/generated/etc in a much cleaner and also much efficient manner so that unwanted dams can be avoided.

but in this mania called development, which indian's elite and middle class so easily gets fooled about, the politicians, officials and contractors push destructive projects with the sole aim of making a killing in these multi mega hundreds of crores of money involved.

bravo india. bravo development.

after a small break, this blog resumes to monitor and note down the non stopping 'development' that is taking place in india...