From Counterview.org: The Sabarmati River Front has been in the news lately as a model of “river beautification”. When in reality, it is a dead river, filled with effluents and sewage. It was “rejuvenated” with Narmada water, which came at a great cost of the displacement of lakhs of people and destruction of the environment.
News Click reports: The Ministry of Environment plans to amend the National Green Tribunal Act, which was passed during the UPA regime as part of India’s commitment under the Rio Declaration. The move will result in a dilution of the powers of the body, widely regarded as the most effective environmental court in the world.
Ken-Betwa river-linking project, if realised, will destroy livelihoods and ecology, including a portion of the Panna Tiger Reserve. Curiously enough, ground reports show that farmers in the project area are themselves not keen on it. Also included is a documentary, ‘Links of a Broken Chain’, as well as a detailed technical analysis of the project.
The Guardian reports: El Salvador has made history after becoming the first country in the world to ban metal mining. Cristina Starr, from Radio Victoria, said: “Today water won over gold. This historic victory is down to the clarity and determination of the Salvadoran people fighting for life over the economic interests of a few.”
The Wire reports: India’s environment ministry issued a notification that’s a remarkable show of partisan support to projects that have been illegally operating without environmental approvals. The document lays out a process by which illegal industrial units, mines, ports or hydro projects can be granted clearance and “brought into compliance” within the next six months.
Dr George Schaller, considered one of the finest field biologists in the world, and has a close connection to India. His work with tigers in Madhya Pradesh’s Kanha National Park, revolutionised wildlife research in India. He tells Scroll.in how Indian conservation has changed, why scientists need to engage with governments and what keeps him going.
Ritwick Dutta, noted environment lawyer and founder of the highly accomplished Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE), received the Bhagirath Prayas Samman, an award that recognises efforts towards protection and conservation of rivers. Manu Moudgil caught up with him on his journey so far and how we can further expand the constituency of environment.
Nihar Gokhale writes: In environmental policy, there’s one Supreme Court case that beat all others: TN Godavarman Thirumalpad versus Union of India and others. Writ Petition (Civil) 202 of 1995. On 1 June, days before World Environment Day, the man who lent his name to the most iconic environment case in the country, passed away.
India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar has been constantly in news, and not always for the right reasons. Under fire for diluting environmental protection mechanisms, critics have in the past labelled him ‘minister for environmental clearances’ for favouring industry over the environment. As the Narendra Modi government completes two years, here’s a look at Javadekar’s chequered record.
Nayantara Narayanan reports: The UPA government left behind a legacy of weakened safeguards for India’s environment, forests and forest-dwelling people. The Narendra Modi government has lost no time in weakening them further. The process has been so accelerated that journalists have struggled to keep pace with them. Here is a look at seven reported changes.
Wildlife conservationist Neha Sinha writes: In the past, environmentalists have often been blamed as obstructionist and anti-development. Legal environmental clearance processes have been described as green terrorism because questions of sustainable development and conservation do not always go hand in hand with polluting industrial expansion. But many environmentalists feel being called anti-cultural and anti-Hindu is something new.
Rohini Mohan reports: In under a year, the Modi government has begun to undo policies of fair land acquisition, undermine environmental protection and reverse the fight for tribal rights. The finance, environment and rural-development ministers, and Modi himself, have called these safeguards to protect people’s property, the environment and tribal rights “roadblocks” to economic growth.
Basudev Mahapatra writes: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, has “delinked forest clearance from clearance by the National Wild Life Board and halved NBWL clearance requirements from 10km to 5km around forest reserves, besides emasculating the Board by replacing eminent experts and concerned NGOs with rubber stamps. He has also relaxed procedures of the Forest Conservation Act.
Basic protections to safeguard the environment, that were not particularly strong to begin with, are being wiped out. While in general, faster moving transparent government processes are required, the Modi government’s predilection for protecting private corporations at the expense of public welfare, does not bode well for the environment nor the well-being of India’s peoples.
Kabir Arora writes: According to Modi, it is not climate which is changing, it is humans who have changed. And for the same reason, a meagre Rs. 100 Cr. have been set aside for climate change adaptation. Yes Mr. PM, humans have changed a lot, and have made climate far more variable than ever before.
Jay Mazoomdar writes: Narendra Modi does mean business. So his government has gone about eliminating the policy paralyses that many claimed ailed the previous regime. This meant dismantling roadblocks that hamper economic growth. But here is what also happens to be under fire: laws and rules that safeguard India’s environment, forests, wildlife, and tribal rights.
Papri Sri Raman reports: The new environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, met Defense Minister Jaitley on June 10 and later announced a policy that would enable India’s border states with Pakistan, China and Burma to clear defense projects falling within 100kms of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), without approaching the union government for environment clearances.
Avay Shukla writes: The most disappointing and worrying aspect of the recent elections, for me, has been the almost complete absence of any debate or discussion on the environment. Some political parties, the BJP included, did make weak proforma noises about it in their manifestos but there was no mention of it in their campaigning.
The lion, tiger, turtle, butterfly, orchid, mudskipper and one-horned rhino will need every helping hand to survive the development ambitions of a nation that believes that economic ambitions can be fulfilled at the cost of its wildernesses. We know that’s not possible and hope that you will move us away from the subcontinent’s biological-climate precipice.