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“Rapacious” Development?

July 2, 2013

Uttarakhand has been in the news over the last fortnight and for the wrong reasons. Or are they good, right reasons to pay attention to?

Local politicians and administrators make the point that tourism and dams and mining and agriculture are required for the economic sustenance and development of the local people. There is at least one special interest group (it masquerades as a political party) in Kerala that thinks the land in the Western Ghats should all be tilled. There are those who have made a career out of opposing anything in sight  and decry every developmental activity. And then there are those who want to tread a middle path and think of having laissez faire  with a policemen standing somewhere in the middle. The environmental issues are there not only in the  hills, the Himalayas and Western Ghats or Khasi and Jaintia, but some mining activities like surface mining destroy vast tracts even in the plains.

It is interesting to see that the “Central” government wants to appear to be fair and look after the environment as well as economic needs. So they have environmental clearance procedures and appoint committees to get around blocks. Projects are cleared with archaic data (like in the case of the water flow assessed at Athirapally a dozen years before upstream dams were built) or with “public” hearings that are essentially hidden.

And when the appointed committee writes something the establishment dislikes, you can appoint another committee. Like you appoint the Kasturirangan Committee to assess the Madhav Gadgil committee (Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel)’s report. No matter the second committee (High Level Working Group, if you may!) has experts on the weather in Tierra del Fuego or outer space and not on the subject matter of the first! A wag was wondering why Gali Janardhana Reddy was not the chairman of the second committee ; he at least knows his mining in the Western Ghats.

Appearances. We  need to keep up appearances.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that the disaster in Uttarakhand was pronounced as man-made by “rapacious” development  by the loud electronic media looking at parts, not digesting the whole. May be it was; may be it was man-made just because even the extreme-weather warnings available were not acted upon. But where did you assess it?

Regardless of all the righteous anger, I find it amusing to note that Bhoomi Devi, Gaia will survive all the developers, contractors, profiteers, politicians and environmentalists.

If you do not take care of the environment, the environment will take care of you.

Tailpiece: All nations spy on each other, says Barack Obama. But PRISM is different (good), and what the Chinese do to US is different (bad).


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One Comment
  1. Induchoodan permalink

    When we talk of the disaster we have to consider if this region can have such large number of visitors coming every year, particularly as the facilities available are inadequate. If environment is to be protected, the first thing we have to do is to control the growth of population. None of these activists speak a word about that issue. Small screen anchors, of course , want to meet out instant justice by finding some body as the culprit. No need for detailed analysis or investigations. The emotional aspect of the story is enough for them. I think the small screen has brought in the culture of reductionism. The leftists and communists use to have such a simplistic solutions earlier where anything going wrong is attributed to the capitalists and their middle class henchmen.

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