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Inspiration from Burning Man

Rajni Bakshi

Take a break from your worries about the Indian economy and spare a moment for those who are worrying about civilisation itself, as at the Burning Man Festival

decommodify

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Barla’s battle of Nagri

By Moushumi Basu

Fiery tribal rights activist Dayamani Barla has been jailed in Jharkhand for leading another adivasi protest, this time against the acquisition of their agricultural lands for an IIIT and other institutions

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Climate change is a depressing reality in Assam

By Aditya Malaviya

The floods in Assam this year are only the most recent manifestation of the impact of climate change in the Northeast. Assam's people are struggling to cope with the impact of climate extremes on their livelihoods. A special report

Families seek refuge on raised embankments, Morigaon

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Token ombudsman?

By Kanchi Kohli

A fisherpeople's union in Mundra, Gujarat, which has been battling thermal power plants in their vicinity, has attempted to engage with the ombudsman and monitoring process of multilateral funding agencies. The exercise has revealed the flaws in this internal recourse mechanism

Thermal power plants Adani group Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd

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What does it take to save India’s tigers?

The Supreme Court order to ban tourism in core tiger reserves, and decisions to shoot poachers at sight find favour with some conservationists, the middle class and media. But what will their impact be on the people who live in and around the tiger reserves, asks Tarsh Thekaekara

Tiger conservation Tiger tourisms

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Kerala government nixes Gadgil report

By N P Chekkutty

The Kerala government has rejected the Madhav Gadgil Committee report on the preservation of the unique ecosystem of the Western Ghats, recently accorded World Heritage status. Kerala also continues to back the Athirappally hydro-electric project which the Committee has nixed

Western Ghats  World Heritage

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JAL thermal plant: The dust refuses to settle

By Manshi Asher

A landmark High Court verdict has ordered JAL’s illegally cleared thermal power plant in Himachal closed and levied damages of Rs 100 crore. But the local petitioners vow to continue the fight against the company’s polluting cement plant which has got away

JAL thermal power project

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National Green Tribunal stalls POSCO

POSCO and/or the government can appeal the Green Tribunal’s decision in the Supreme Court, but no work can begin till the review process is completed

POSCO project

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Mountains of marble waste

By Bhomik Shah and Aakash Mehrotra

More than 1,500 marble mines are operating in the Aravallis in Rajasthan, destroying the hills and ecology, depleting groundwater and leaving mountains of waste and slurry on pasturelands and riverbanks

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Resistance to dam project grows in south Gujarat

By Priyanka Borpujari

People from 16 villages on the Gujarat-Maharashtra border have been demonstrating their resistance to the Par-Tapi-Narmada river interlinking project, another multi-dam project which is slated to submerge 3,572 hectares of forests and displace 25,000 people

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Raising the dust on illegal mining in Goa

By Joseph Zuzarte

Only nine of the 90 active mining leases in Goa appear to be valid, preliminary investigations by the Justice MB Shah Commission reveal. The rest have been exploiting a legal loophole to extract upto 54 million metric tonnes of iron ore per year. Joseph Zuzarte reports on the dust that is, finally, being raised in the state about illegal mining

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To integrate or not: What do the Jarawa think?

By Jananie Kalyanaraman

The courts have upheld the isolation of the Jarawa tribals in the Andamans, but the local administration is encouraging their ‘integration’. Has anyone, as the NAC recommends, asked this indigenous group what they want, wonders this reporter as she travels the Andaman Trunk Road

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How much is a 50-year-old tree worth?

By Vasanthi Hariprakash

Will ascribing an economic value to natural capital such as forests help us conserve them? The TEEB study, commissioned by the UNEP, believes it will

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Maa Bonbibi in the land of tigers

By Kalpita Dutta

Maa Bonbibi, the multicultural goddess who is said to protect the woodcutters, honey collectors and fishermen of the Sunderbans from the attacks by tigers, is being invoked by conservation authorities in the Sunderbans over the last 10 years. Not a single tiger has reportedly been killed for straying into villages in a decade

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Peddling POSCO

On June 10, a barricade of women and children prevented Orissa state forces from entering Govindpur and Dhinkia to begin land acquisition for the POSCO steel project. Elsewhere, the acquisition is going ahead, and all dissent is being silenced. Javed Iqbal reports from the ground

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Do cooperative forests have a future?

By Sudhirendar Sharma

Over the last 13 years, 143 primary farm forestry cooperatives have regenerated 27,000 hectares of wasteland in 13 districts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The MoEF under the Green India Mission intends to increase India’s forest cover by 5 million hectares, but forest cooperatives don’t even get a mention

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Waste to energy project not so green

By Ranjit Devraj

How did Jindal’s waste-to-energy (WtE) project come up in the heart of Delhi without any public consultation or clearance from the pollution control board? And will it be another illegality that the MoEF will regularise?

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Chilika's fishermen set to battle prawn mafia themselves

By Kalpita Dutta

Despite a court order in February directing demolition of the prawn gheris that have trapped roughly 40% of the waters in Chilika Lake, no action has been taken. Now the Chilika Matsayjibi Mahasangh has vowed to demolish the prawn enclosures itself and take the state to court for ignoring judicial directives

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Vedanta and Posco: A tale of two projects

Why was the POSCO project treated so differently from Vedanta? One was given clearance, with conditions, while the other was rejected, despite the fact that both were found to be in violation of the Forest Rights Act and other laws. Is it realpolitik that guides these decisions, asks Pradeep Baisakh

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Haathi Mere Saathi

By Kalpita Dutta

The ongoing Rengali left bank canal irrigation project on the Brahmani river, in Orissa, is seriously disrupting traditional elephant migration routes, leading to an escalation in man-elephant conflicts

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No respite for Jharkhand's beleaguered tribals

By Kalpita Dutta

Just last year the tribals of Khunti and Gumla blocks in Jharkhand ousted steel giant Arcelor Mittal from the region. Now there’s another flashpoint around the Rs 65 crore Kantijalashay dam planned by the state government on the Chata River. The rivers, streams and fountains are all ours, they say. Why should we accept water from a dam?

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The end of Keoladeo's avian glory?

By Kalpita Dutta

A serious water crisis at Keoladeo National Park, exacerbated by caste politics and strife, has put its World Heritage Site status at risk. Barely 10% of the migratory birds that used to flock to Bharatpur are to be seen today. How feasible are the solutions proposed?

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If not GDP, what?

GDP as a measure of progress is being shown the door. But what should take its place? Shruti Sharma reports on the Happy Planet Index and other proposals, but argues that retaining GDP but including within it additional natural capital flows might still be the best way to protect the environment

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How government agencies fast-tracked Lavasa

By Rifat Mumtaz

Lavasa, the picturesque planned hill station being developed by Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) near Pune, is facing charges of illegal land acquisition and environmental violations and construction has been stayed pending an inquiry. This article says that the focus should be not on the misdemeanours of the corporation but on the collusions and oversights of government

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Ladenge, Jeetenge! Narmada Bachao Andolan at 25

The Narmada Bachao Andolan movement is 25 years old. What started as a struggle in the Narmada valley has spread to every corner of the country and changed the definition of development, reports Kathyayini Chamaraj from the commemorative events that began on October 22 at Dhadgaon and concluded in Badwani on October 26

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The hidden impacts of Solar India

The National Solar Mission envisages a solar generation capacity of 20 GW in India by 2022, and claims zero environmental impact. But serious environmental risks do exist in the manufacture of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal cells, and the establishment of solar manufacturing plants, says Shawahiq Siddiqui

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Niyamgiri: A temporary reprieve

The Dongria Kondh know that their battle against Vedanta and for the preservation of their sacred Niyamgiri is not over in a state where money matters, people and the environment don’t, reports Ranjan K Panda from Orissa

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Treasure hunt in the Kendujhar forests

By Subrat Kumar Sahu

Dark clouds are gathering over Kendujhar district in north Orissa, this chronicle reveals. As in other forested areas across India, adivasis are standing up to fight the takeover of their forest resources. What kind of wisdom is the forest department driven by when it undertakes large-scale commercial plantation after clear-felling natural forests that rightfully belong to them, they ask

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Chemical warfare in Jhabua

By Sachin Kumar Jain

Petlawad block in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district illustrates in microcosm the crisis of Indian agriculture. Desperate farmers are using a phenomenal 600 kg of chemical fertiliser per hectare of farmland. As yields decline and costs of inputs rise, the average village’s debt is four times its annual income

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Supporters of the forest rights law intimidated in Orissa

By Subrat Kumar Sahu

A misinformation campaign on who will benefit from the Forest Rights Act is setting adivasis against non-adivasis in Bolangir district, Orissa, while those creating awareness about villagers’ rights under the Act are being harassed by the authorities who fear they are losing their control over natural resources

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Global double standards: BP oil spill vs Bhopal gas tragedy

By Anosh Malekar

Indian commentators have highlighted the contrast between the US response to the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in which BP has been forced to pay USD 20 billion, and the response to the Bhopal gas tragedy in which a US company paid out a paltry USD 470 million in compensation for 20,000 dead, thousands more injured, and a city poisoned

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Bhopal's Children: Generation II

By Pamela Philipose

Justice for the survivors of Bhopal has many dimensions -- and it includes the recognition that there are helpless, limb-locked, smiling children who are paying a terrible price for a disaster that had occurred long before they were born. The Chingari rehabilitation and education centre has 250 children, most with cerebral palsy, on its rolls, all born of gas-affected communities

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India has no rules governing radioactive waste

The recent radiation incident in Delhi’s Mayapuri industrial area may have goaded the authorities into action, but the dangers posed by radioactive material have mostly been ignored in India. Will the draft Electronic Waste Handling and Management Rules address this issue?

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Vidarbha: Dirty technology in the guise of development?

By Samir Nazareth

The government of Maharashtra plans to allow 43 new private and public thermal power plants in Vidarbha, a region that’s suffered years of neglect and is home to thousands of distressed, suicidal farmers. Is the government justified in sacrificing Vidarbha to the power needs of the rest of the state/country?

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The mirage of environment protection

By Samir Nazareth

Do initiatives like NDTV Greenathon, which encouraged viewers to donate solar lanterns to villages without electricity, really help the environmental cause? Do they question the inequitable distribution of resources between big industry/urban consumers and rural India?

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Pachyderm panic in Assam

By Teresa Rehman

Rampant habitat destruction has forced Assam’s elephants into close contact with humans. It is now all-out war between hungry elephants and angry tea estate workers. And still the forest department, the tea authorities and the district administration keep passing the buck

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'We must recognise a new type of crime: that which is committed against future generations'

Bianca Jagger, former wife of rockstar Mick Jagger, is a campaigner for the rights of indigenous peoples, including the Dongria-Kondh in Orissa who are protesting Vedanta’s proposed bauxite mines in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa. Jagger tells Infochange about the campaign that has led the Church of England and others to withdraw their investment on ethical grounds

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Waging a green war

By Anup Sharma

Former Bodo militants have surrendered their guns but are still at war – against poachers and the timber mafia that are destroying the Subankhata Reserve Forest in Assam’s Baksha district

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'The world cannot wait for USA and China to announce emission-cuts': Gro Harlem Brundtland

By Diva Arora

An interview with Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and one of the earliest leaders to focus on global warming

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The white tiger mystery

The sighting of a white tiger in Madhya Pradesh created a buzz in conservation and media circles recently. Ashish Kothari is the only one who has got the inside story

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'I was not going to Copenhagen to save humanity but to protect India's right to development'

Union Minister for Forests and Environment Jairam Ramesh talks to Diva Arora about the role of BASIC countries in the Copenhagen summit, the challenges of ‘green’ growth and why it’s important for India to engage positively with China

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Sanitation in the time of floods

By Teresa Rehman

When the annual floods come, Salma Begum puts her bed on an elevated platform and the family cooks, eats, and sleeps on the bed. Finding a place to answer nature’s call involves drifting in a raft until she finds a dry place, and the polluted flood waters are the only source of drinking water and bathing. This, at a time when India has launched a Total Sanitation Campaign that aims to eradicate open defecation by the end of 2010

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Proud Mothers of Sri Lanka

By Manipadma Jena

Five years after it was devastated by the tsunami, the fishing village of Mahaskaduwa in Kalutara district of Sri Lanka is back on its feet. The Proud Mothers women’s collective has swept the garbage off the streets, provided a livelihood for the villagers and improved health and sanitary conditions

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Change begins, literally, in your backyard

By Huned Contractor

Eco-pioneer Jules Dervaes has transformed his small garden in Pasadena into an organic farm, run on renewable energies, that not only takes care of his family’s year-long food requirements but also supplies to restaurants. His film on this revolution in urban sustainability has inspired thousands across the globe

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Glaciers in retreat

By Freny Manecksha

The Himalayas, with an estimated 475 small and large glaciers, is the largest reserve of water in the form of ice and snow outside the polar regions. What will happen to this ecosystem and the subcontinent when the glaciers melt faster than ever before and unleash these vast water reserves?

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Show them the money: Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC chief

By Rashme Sehgal

Let's face it, says UNFCCC chief Yvo de Boer, without financial support the engagement of developing countries in climate change mitigation is inconceivable. Rich countries need to place $ 10 billion on the table to get the action plan moving, besides demonstrating clearly how developing nations can get long-term funding in order to pick up the bill to implement these changes

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Letter from Dhaka: A river trip and climate change

By Khademul Islam

A sail down the ageless rivers of Bangladesh is a reminder that 20 years from now the teeming humanity and its way of life, the abundant flora and fauna will disappear as a consequence of climate change. A rise in sea surface temperatures and levels could mean that 10% of Bangladesh would be under water in 20 years

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Slaughter of trees

By Papiya Bhattacharya

A German botanist laid the foundation of the gardens of Bangalore as well as all the significant parks and gardens in the then princely state of Mysore. As recently as 2000, 374 tree species were recorded in this garden city. In the last decade, many of these trees have been lost

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Rage against road kills

By Huned Contractor

Pune-based activist Vilas Kane has been documenting road kills of animals in Maharashtra. In the hill station of Mahabaleshwar alone he reports 600,000 snakes crushed by vehicles in a single year. So many kills can disturb the ecosystem

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E-asy sell out

Creating a database of biological resources and traditional knowledge, and computerising land records may seem like two enlightened initiatives, but if they are done without securing people’s rights over their resources, they could lead to further alienation, warn Shalini Bhutani and Kanchi Kohli

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Mundra: An incomplete verdict?

By Shawahiq Siddiqui

Construction of the Mundra Port and SEZ has had serious repercussions on the environment and on the livelihoods of 10,000 fisher folk. The National Environment Appellate Authority recently directed the state government to protect traditional fishing rights, but said nothing about violations made prior to the environmental clearance

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Climate change according to Jeffrey Sachs

By Rashme Sehgal

Grand global brainstormings at Copenhagen or Kyoto will only result in nations agreeing that nothing will be agreed upon until everything has been agreed upon, says economist and environmentalist Jeffrey Sachs. In this interview he discusses the global strategies that need to be thrashed out to deal with climate change and growing food insecurity

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Shelter from the storm

By Ranit Mukherji

Rising sea levels in the Sundarbans have seen excess salinity in the soil and river water, leading to the slow death of the magnificent mangroves that protected these 102 islands and the hinterland from the cyclones that sweep across the Bay of Bengal. Massive replantation programmes are the only solution, and community plantations are already under way on some islands

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Endangered raptors alive and thriving in Hazaribagh

By Moushumi Basu

The endangered white-backed vulture and long-billed vulture -- two of the three rarest species of vulture listed as ‘critically endangered’ -- have been found to be thriving in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district thanks to the efforts of local villagers and special rescue teams

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Mercury in your 'maach'

By Rina Mukherji

Most of the 264 fish samples picked up from different locations in West Bengal showed mercury contamination well above the stipulated safety level. Given the high consumption of fish in the state, local government bodies need to take the findings of the study seriously

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Submergence is better than unjust compensation

By Anup Sharma

Builum village in Mizoram faces submergence in the next two months when water from the new Serlui mini-hydel project is released. The villagers are not budging, claiming they have not been adequately compensated for land that has been taken over

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The hungry tide

By Santadas Ghosh

This is a detailed account of the ways in which cyclone Aila has snapped the fragile balance between man and nature in the delicate ecosystem of the Sundarbans, rendering a return to normalcy almost impossible. And Aila could be only a forerunner in a series of storms caused by climate change

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'Environment is clearly a political issue'

By Jyoti Punwani

Stop visiting wildlife sanctuaries and start contesting elections, says Rishi Agarwal, environmental activist from Mumbai, who stood for elections in the recent polls – and won 3,000 votes

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Majuli faces red alert

By Monideepa Choudhuri

Majuli, situated bang in the middle of the Red River, the Brahmaputra and the largest freshwater island in Asia, waits in trepidation for another monsoon. With the landmass eroding at roughly 7 sq km a year, Majuli’s 1.70 lakh residents are fast losing their lands and livelihoods

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Jadugoda: No expansion until promises are met

By Moushumi Basu

The uranium mining and processing facility in Jadugoda, severely indicted for its health impact on local communities, is all set for expansion. A public hearing was held on May 26. But the hearing was as skewed as the environmental health and safety reports submitted by UCIL, claim activists

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Mystery surrounds uranium poisoning in Punjab

By Braj Mohan

UK-based clinical toxicologist Carin Smit recently came out with startling revelations that traces of uranium and other heavy metals were found in the hair samples of children and adults in Faridkot district. But there are no uranium mines in Punjab. So where is the contamination coming from?

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Katwa thermal power plant: Down but not out

By Panchali Ray

With an eye on the elections and unwilling to stir up situations like Singur and Nandigram, the West Bengal government has stalled plans to build a thermal power plant in Katwa, even though 9.910 acres of land have already been acquired. But nobody believes the project has been scrapped and villagers who will have to give up their land and livelihoods are preparing for a long battle ahead

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Forest Rights Act: A blueprint for future conservation

By Tushar Dash

The Forest Rights Act has been opposed by those who fear it will pave the way for the destruction of forests and wildlife. But in Orissa there is evidence that the Act is in fact being used by local communities to strengthen their conservation initiatives

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Toxic dreams

By Nilanjan Dutta

Clearance for a huge chemical hub on the barren island of Nayachar, West Bengal, has come just weeks before the polls in the state. But this time around, there is no opposition. While the hazardous project will not displace people, an expert committee of civil society organisations says it will have serious and far-reaching consequences for fishing, marine ecology and the Sunderban biosphere reserve

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And there was light

By Moushumi Basu

At a time when rural electrification is moving at snail's pace in Jharkhand, with nearly 50% of villages continuing to live in the 'Dark Ages', villagers are using bio-gassifiers and micro-thermal plants to light up their homes and streets

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Dark clouds over India's sponge iron industry

By Rifat Mumtaz

India has emerged as the world's largest producer of sponge iron. But the cost of this spectacular growth is being borne by people living in areas that produce sponge iron, such as Bellary, Karnataka. Thick black smoke, contaminated and depleted water supply and falling agricultural yields are just some of the fallouts

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The retreat of the peacocks

By Usha Rai

With the undergrowth in Delhi's Lodhi Gardens being steadily removed to extend the gardens for more courting couples and morning walkers, peahens are being displaced and forced to nest on the ledges of adjoining buildings 24-36 feet from the ground

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Apologising to the aboriginals

By Tarsh Thekaekara

Many countries have ill treated and persecuted their indigenous people, often in worse ways than India. But while some leaders like Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have gone on record to apologise for past actions, India doesn't even want to acknowledge what it has done to its tribal populations

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Toilet trail

By Ishaprasad Bhagwat, Indira Khurana and Richard Mahapatra

As policymakers from across South Asia meet in Delhi for the Third South Asian Conference on Sanitation, 665 million Indians continue to defecate out in the open. If India is to meet its target of 100% sanitation by 2012, we will need to set up 78 toilets a minute, or 40,000 toilets a day, over the next four years. Can we do it?

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Kerala's vanishing hillocks

By N P Chekkutty

Micro-level studies conducted by KSSP reveal that since 1987 over 50% of hill in panchayats and municipal towns surveyed in Kerala have been excavated by the construction industry. This has serious consequences for agricultural and drinking water supply

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'What comes out of the labs must percolate down to industry'

By Rashme Sehgal

Dr Prodipto Ghosh, member of the PM's Council on Climate Change and collaborator on the National Action Plan on Climate Change, believes that government's focus should be on promoting research and development on renewable energies, not in providing subsidies. After that, the private sector should be allowed to take over

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"How can your development replace our god?"

By Ranjan K Panda

Even as the Supreme Court clears Vedanta's mining activities in Niyamgiri, Orissa, the Dongria Kondh tribals argue that the abode of their deity cannot be demolished for "development" or profit any more than St Paul's Cathedral can. It's a last-ditch stand

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India's coast up for grabs

By Kannan Kasturi

The 1991 CRZ regulations did put the brakes on indiscriminate development of coastal areas. Now the environment ministry's draft Coastal Management Zone notification of May 2008 threatens to undermine the law and bring in changes in coastal land use for so-called 'development'

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Neutrino physics versus wildlife conservation

By Tarsh Thekaekara

A cutting-edge neutrino observatory is slated to come up in Singara in the Nilgiris, bang in the middle of a biodiversity hotspot and the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. There are sound geophysical reasons for this choice of location. But there is no doubt that the observatory will irreversibly damage the ecology of the region

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Jungle Raj!

By Ranjan K Panda

A divisional forest officer in Orissa proves that the forest bureaucracy considers itself above the law and, on a whim, can deprive people of rights over their resources. A case in Sambalpur district, where a man had to wait two years for permission to cut and sell some trees on his land, shows how

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Lille: City of the future

By Darryl D'Monte

The city of Lille on the French-Belgian border likes to describe itself as a 'Eurometropolis'. A major European industrial and services hub, the most interesting dimension of Lille is its greening. Lille is the only city in France to convert household waste to biogas, which is then used in public transport

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Jadugoda: Four decades of nuclear exposure

By Lina Krishnan

Earlier this year there was yet another leak of radioactive sludge from UCIL's uranium plant in Jadugoda, Jharkhand. The accident and the dismissive official response to it clearly show the low priority the nuclear establishment accords to the safety of Jadugoda's people

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Shyam Saran: 'Can lifestyle emissions be pitted against survival emissions?'

By Rashme Sehgal

Shyam Saran, the Indian government's key negotiator on climate change, explains India's polluter-pays stand on climate change in international negotiations

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Botezari: Model rehabilitation project, or relocation bungle?

By Aparna Pallavi

Five forest and revenue officials received letters of commendation for the 'model' rehabilitation of the village of Botezari. But what do the villagers think? They say they were made false promises and that most of their demands have been ignored

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Climate change: Satabhaya village in Orissa goes under

In this follow-up to Infochange's exclusive series on the impact of climate change on villages along the Orissa coast, Richard Mahapatra reports on the migration of families across Kendrapara district as the sea reaches their doorsteps

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Who killed Earth Day?

Hank Stueyer of The Washington Post writes that Earth Day is dead, following a long but admirable struggle with celebrity piety and corporate baloney and, more specifically, too many 'green' issues in too many magazines. A roundup of what other newspapers and websites had to say on April 22

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Suru Anna and the people's protest

By Manshi Asher and Kanchi Kohli

The massive April 1 rally in Kujang, Orissa, was a critical milestone in the three-year anti-POSCO agitation

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Losing the sand beneath their feet

By Aditya Malaviya

The black sand of Kollam district in coastal Kerala is classified as 'strategic' because it contains minerals for atomic energy and defence applications. Therefore, indiscriminate mining of the sand can continue, regardless of damage to the ecosystem and the livelihoods of people

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The cost of conservation

By Padmalatha Ravi

Thousands of tribal families lived in the 56 hamlets within the Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka. Denied access to forest resources, many have moved out without adequate compensation, while the rest continue to battle a State that seems to deny their existence. Will the new Forest Rights Act change anything for them?

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The trouble with nuclear energy

By Aparna Pallavi

The third national conference of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, held in Nagpur from February 1 to 3, 2008, went beyond the politics of nuclear militarisation and looked at the human, environmental and social questions intertwined with the issue

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The plunder of Kerala's rivers

By N P Chekkutty

The Portuguese adventurer Vasco da Gama came to Kerala to plunder its material wealth. Five hundred years on, modern-day plunderers are busy robbing the state of its waters and other environmental assets

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Sukinda: Top of the Dirty Thirty heap

By Madhumita Dutta

Sukinda valley in Orissa has made it to the top ten of the world's 30 most polluted places. Seventy years of intensive open-cast chromite mining have resulted in a scarred landscape, toxic water and soil, ruined agricultural fields, degraded forestland, and populations that are being slowly poisoned

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Silent Valley buffer zone: Major step in environment protection

By N P Chekkutty

In a move that's being hailed by environmentalists, the Kerala government has decided to set up a 148 sq km buffer zone around the Silent Valley National Park, home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. This should put to rest fears of a new hydel power generation project coming up in the area

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Break it up and speed ahead

By Kanchi Kohli

Although not a new phenomenon, the trend of breaking up various components of an infrastructure or industrial project in order to bypass environmental clearances and seemingly reduce the project's overall impact, is gaining in popularity all across India

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Give developing countries incentives to maintain their forests: Stiglitz

By Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics, explains how climate change has globalised the consequences of pollution, and describes an initiative that addresses it and global poverty at the same time

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Orissa's tribals: Give us only what's rightfully ours

By Ranjan K Panda

Tribals living near the Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa step up their demand for rights over natural resources, in keeping with the new Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest-Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006

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Northeast of Eden

By Darryl D'Monte

India chooses to showcase the northeast as an exotic tourist destination of great natural beauty. Several documentaries at a recent environmental film festival in Guwahati showed it as a neglected corner of the country, with gaunt tribals and civil and political unrest

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Indian tobacco giant turns carbon philanthropist

By Keya Acharya

Environmentalists and international justice groups are voicing their concerns over proliferating tree plantations, as developing countries try to profit from a growing carbon trade. The India Tobacco Company claims to have stepped into the carbon sinks business in order to benefit village communities. But who really profits?

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'Acronyms are killing the planet'

By Rod Harbinson

Jargon-laden negotiations ensured a Kafkaesque crisis of communications at the just-concluded climate change conference in Nairobi

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Kashipur's 13-year anti-mining struggle vindicated

By Nilanjana Biswas

The Report of the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights has termed UAIL's bauxite mining operations in Orissa's Kashipur region unconstitutional, illegal and against the people's interests and demands that it be scrapped. Will the state ignore these concerns in the mad rush to speed up industrial development?

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A bottom-up approach to sanitation

By Darryl D'Monte

South Asia has 900 million people without sanitation. The problem, as the success of recent total-sanitation community projects have demonstrated, is not a lack of funds but a lack of conviction amongst people that they need sanitation, and that they can meet those needs themselves

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Sunil Kumar (1971-2006): The life and death of a Bhopali

By Indra Sinha

Sunil Kumar, a Bhopal gas survivor who worked tirelessly with the international campaign for justice on Bhopal, committed suicide recently. Thousands of other survivors suffer psychological afflictions, but there are no provisions for the treatment of mental health problems as a consequence of the gas disaster

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Sweden's green agenda

By Darryl D'Monte

Ninety-five per cent of all Swedes believe it is important to do something about climate change; two out of every three think it is very important. Sixty Stockholm families have embarked on a novel experiment related to 'smart consumption'

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Don't ban the ban

By Nityanand Jayaraman

Severe restriction, even a ban on Cola drinks can easily be justified. What can't be justified is the inconsistency in public reaction to other scientific studies about contamination. What is needed is not a scaling back of action against the offending Cola companies, but a scaling up of measures to ensure cradle-to-grave food and water safety.

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Chilika: A contested space

By Sarmistha Pattanaik

As the dispute over Chilika's aquatic resources continues, violent conflicts are erupting between fishermen and non-fishermen, authorised and unauthorised shrimp culturists, and locals and outsiders

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Food or fuel?

By Rajashree Joshi

Bio diesel blends are driving buses in Haryana, Karnataka and now Pune. As bio diesel becomes the buzzword and corporates rush to develop jatropha and oilseed plantations, experts warn of adverse effects on biodiversity and food security

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Two crore trees and the livelihood of thousands are at stake

By Kanchi Kohli

The Chhattisgarh Forest Development Corporation is to fell millions of trees in three districts of the state. Villagers claim that natural forests are being cleared to make way for commercial plantations. These forests are their lifeline

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Sea levels are rising: People's perceptions and scientific projections

By Richard Mahapatra

Are Orissa's coastal villages paying the price of global warming? The scientific community studying Orissa's tryst with disasters is polarised on the issue. But most scientists agree that the state's geographical location at the head of the Bay of Bengal, with a landlocked sea and a deltaic plain, makes the state extremely vulnerable to rises in sea level caused by global warming

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Falling off the map: Orissa's submerged villages

By Richard Mahapatra

In 1930, land records show an area of 320 sq km for the Satabhaya cluster of seven villages near Paradip in Orissa. Land records for 2000 indicate that this area has been reduced to 155 sq km. Five of the seven villages have been swallowed by the sea. Several other villages in Orissa are likely to suffer the same fate. Is Orissa paying the price of climate change? This special series by Richard Mahapatra investigates

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