Little did the tribals know that death awaited them at the village temple. On the night of 17 May, they had gathered at Edesmeta village in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district to celebrate a local festival when the firing started. Eight villagers, including three children, were shot dead. The CRPF, which was conducting a combing operation in the area, claims that its personnel retaliated after coming under Naxal fire, but the villagers dispute those claims.
Gond tribals and anti-nuclear activists took out a celebratory rally here after a public hearing, scheduled for Friday, on the Chutka Nuclear Power Project was indefinitely postponed by the Mandla Collector. They had threatened to picket the hearing on the environment impact assessment report, as they had received copies in English, and not in Hindi as they demanded. The project, on the drawing board since the 1980s, has been planned in a 497.73-hectare area in Narayanganj tehsil, on the banks of the Narmada. The area falls in a “high damage risk” seismic zone. Courtesy: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gonds-rally-round-fellow-tribals-protesting-chutka-nuclear-plant/article4747143.ece
In December 2010, Indian actress, Jayamala was investigated by the Crimes Branch of the police, on order of the Kerala state government in India, and then officially charged with violating Indian law.
Her crime, it seems, is to belong to a gender that menstruates!
Judging by the travel guidelines issued by various countries to their citizens travelling to India – from being duped into marriage to being slain by our terrible driving skills or attacked by stray dogs – it seems that the foreign traveller has a lot to worry about.
All of the above guidelines, that were part of a concerned, comprehensive list that promised to protect one from everything from sexual harassment to hepatitis, were issued by the Asian Development Bank when 4000 of its delegates were set to visit Greater Noida for its annual meet. It also had hawk-eyed observations that would help them not hurt our feelings by their insensitive actions, such as wearing leg-baring attire or holding hands. Maybe they thought the area has had no outside contact since the Brits left us alone and were just trying to be nice, but the travel advisory was later removed from their website, after sniggers and disbelief probably assured them that we could handle it.
US Cities Which Banned GMOs
Below are U.S. counties, cities and states which ban or call for restrictions on GMOs:
Mendocino County, California – The ordinance, Measure H, was passed by referendum on March 2, 2004.
Marin County, California
Santa Cruz County, California
Trinity County, California
Florida – GE Fish Regulation – State legislation restricting local control of GMOs: HB1717 Passed in 2005. Bt Cotton Geographic Restriction Passed in 2005.
San Juan County, Washington – Initiative Measure No. 2012-4, bans the growth of genetically modified organisms within the county.
Maryland has banned GE fish
Alaska – Bill (SB25) passed enacting a ban on GE fish, and also requires labeling of all GE fish and fish products in 2005.
City of Arcata
City of Point Arena
Hawaii – Ban on GE kalo/taro
Consumers and farmers across the whole of the U.S. have been taking action over the past years to protect their local communities from genetic pollution by passing local, city, and county ordinances banning genetically engineered (GE) crops. Cities, counties and townships have passed such laws to assure the health, safety, and welfare of their communities, while exercising their democratic right to local control.
At this point nearly 20+ states (the count was 16 6 months ago) are discussing GMO-related legislation, including moratorium bills in New York, Massachusetts and several others.
There is one caveat: Preemption. Preemption is a legislative action in which higher levels of government (state or federal) strip lower levels of government of their control and regulatory authority over a specific subject matter.
The Connecticut General Assembly is considering a bill, bill S.B. 244, to overturn the state’s preemption laws and allow municipalities to ban and regulate the use of lawn care pesticides. If the bill is passed, Connecticut will join the other 9 states that allow cities and towns to ban the use of pesticides on private property.
An open letter from Madhav Gadgil says Kasturirangan panel report will rob the region of its biodiversity
Dear Dr. K. Kasturirangan,
J.B.S. Haldane, the celebrated 19th-century scientist and humanist who quit England protesting its imperialistic invasion of Suez to become an Indian citizen, once said: “Reality is not only stranger than we suppose, but stranger than we CAN suppose!” I could never have imagined that you would be party to a report such as that of the High Level Working Group on Western Ghats, but, then, reality is indeed stranger than we can suppose!
In our report to the Ministry of Environment & Forests, based on extensive discussions and field visits, we had advocated a graded approach with a major role for grassroots-level inputs for safeguarding the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats. You have rejected this framework and in its place, you advocate a partitioning amongst roughly one-third of what you term natural landscapes, to be safeguarded by guns and guards, and two-third of so-called cultural landscapes to be thrown open to development, such as what has spawned the Rs.35,000-crore illegal mining scam of Goa.
This is like trying to maintain oases of diversity in a desert of ecological devastation. Ecology teaches us that such fragmentation would lead, sooner rather than later, to the desert overwhelming the oases. It is vital to think of maintenance of habitat continuity, and of an ecologically and socially friendly matrix to ensure long-term conservation of biodiversity-rich areas, and this is what we had proposed.
Moreover, freshwater biodiversity is far more threatened than forest biodiversity and lies largely in what you term cultural landscapes. Freshwater biodiversity is also vital to livelihoods and nutrition of large sections of our people.
That is why we had provided a detailed case study of the Lote Chemical Industry complex in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, where pollution, exceeding all legal limits, has devastated fisheries so that 20,000 people have been rendered jobless, while only 11,000 have obtained industrial employment. Yet, the government wants to set up further polluting industries in the same area, and has therefore deliberately suppressed its own Zonal Atlas for Siting of Industries.
Your report shockingly dismisses our constitutionally-guaranteed democratic devolution of decision-making powers, remarking that local communities can have no role in economic decisions. Not surprisingly, your report completely glosses over the fact, reported by us, that while the government takes absolutely no action against the illegal pollution of Lote, it had invoked police powers to suppress perfectly legitimate and peaceful protests against pollution on as many as 180 out of 600 days in 2007-09.
India’s cultural landscape harbours many valuable elements of biodiversity. Fully 75 per cent of the population of lion-tailed macaque, a monkey species confined to the Western Ghats, thrives in the cultural landscape of tea gardens. I live in the city of Pune and scattered in my locality are a large number of banyan, peepal and gular trees; trees that belong to genus Ficus, celebrated in modern ecology as a keystone resource that sustains a wide variety of other species. Through the night I hear peacocks calling, and when I get up and go to the terrace I see them dancing.
It is our people, rooted in India’s strong cultural traditions of respect for nature, who have venerated and protected the sacred groves, the Ficus trees, the monkeys and the peafowl.
Apparently, all this is to be snuffed out. It reminds me of Francis Buchanan, an avowed agent of British imperialism, who wrote in 1801 that India’s sacred groves were merely a contrivance to prevent the East India Company from claiming its rightful property.
It would appear that we are now more British than the British and are asserting that a nature-friendly approach in the cultural landscape is merely a contrivance to prevent the rich and powerful of the country and of the globalised world from taking over all lands and waters to exploit and pollute as they wish while pursuing lawless, jobless economic growth. It is astonishing that your report strongly endorses such an approach. Reality is indeed stranger than we can suppose!
– Madhav Gadgil, Chairman, Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel