Un voyage A travers l’Europe, le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique sur le theme du changement climatique

jeudi 25 décembre 2008

What is justice?

I sometimes wonder where politicians, the judicial system and the common people stand in term of fairness. Aren’t the politicians supposed to be the Voice of the common people? If so isn’t the Judiciary supposed to be more sensitive to needs of the common people? By common people I mean those who care for survival more than money or cars. Where exactly do we common people stand in this world?

Photo de AleReportage

The Bhopal Gas tragedy (1984) is the classic example for understanding the term “fairness” or “justice” since they’ve been denied it for years. Though rather blatant were we about the money swindled (if there was any) from the victims, I believe there are still second-generation victims who continue to suffer while Mr. Anderson (Former CEO of Union Carbide) who though absconding lives a luxurious life in New York. Mr. Warren Andersen faces charges of culpable homicide for deaths of 20000 and more people since.

Justice is yet to come, and so is the compensation. Those 1,20,000 survivors of Bhopal could hardly survive on the court orders that the High Court put up. Back then it was a jublious moment of course, The Courts had ordered compensation. As of today to many it is just a fleeting memory of unkept promises.

With the latest High court orders from the Madhya Pradesh Government to send 350 tonnes of the toxic waste (which till date is in Bhopal) to Gujarat, it seems like a perfect end to this horror of a situation. Though god forbid the US has any say in it, let the US authorities be safe and feel as less obligated as they can while we burn and have ages of biological and mental repercussions faced by people who care nothing more than their own survival.

While various NGOs in India continue to oppose the decision of the High Court citing:

  1. Backlog of 7000 tonnes of our own waste to be incinerated in the Gujarat Ankaleshwar site, the High court in complete disregard for the people, NGOs and justice give out arbitrary orders.
  2. Dangerous working conditions as found by GTZ GmBH, international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations. It was also found that the incineration sites mentioned by the High Court of India are ill equipped to handle the highly toxic waste.

We still believe the state of Gujarat should find a solution to the waste forgotten by the traitorous company to clean up.

The question is what is stopping the US from:

  1. Keeping upon its extradition policy and handing over Andersen to the Indian Government. We seem to coming harsh on terrorism these days.
  2. Handing back the toxic waste, which has been left since to Union Carbide or Dow chemicals.

Isn’t that Fair? This brings me back to where I started… what is fair? What is justice?

Dimanche 30 novembre 2008

Save Bombay from Terror

Its horrible that this is happening...Bombay is no more the safe place it used to be..its not only these terrorists , our own people have also acted like one, if one just scratches the head to remember the recent raj thackeray jing bang (MNS) incident for example..

This incident is now being used by our dear old politicians to collect votes... how obscene can we get!!!

Right now the soldiers are being called from the north and south of india as well..mind you our cops were doing a great job along with them as well!!!

the only problem is is how far are we going to continue this...being used as vote banks.

Not only we need to come together to show that we as people of Bombay and we Indians we are one as a group- to prove that we can fight our own politicians just like our soldiers fight the terrorists and we refuse to let our spirits die...That we offer our condolences to those who have died ..we show our solidarity to our NSG soldiers as they relentlessly even as I write this mail are fighting to save lives while they risk their own...

Why are we the first ones to complain everyday as we cross potholes on the streets in our cabs..when as this gruesome incident still plays itself we refuse to come out and show our solidarity.

Its is really shameful on our part to be stuck at home watching news and complaining!!!

In regards to all these problems that our politicians use as a leverage to reach their nefarious goals.

I call all of us to meet opposite carter rd cafe coffee day on the 30th of November at 6PM. please do come..I honestly shouldnt be pleading you..its your duty as a citizen of inida to care about these issues!!

also please pass this to everyone as sms or email or word of mouth as its very short notice..its a sunday we can afford 1 hour from our scedules for this meet.. get your spouses get your childern get all your friends.

I have made a FACEBOOK group as well: Save Bombay from Terror! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=35599254173

Please join the group and invite everyone else to as well... PLEASE Post it on twitter as well. Try and spread this to everyone we know.coz thats what we need to show that we are together in this !!

Dimanche 10 août 2008

Blood Cars.

The Tata’s in India hold a very prestigious position and now in the past couple of decades they have grown by leaps and bounds. Ratan Tata (Chairman of the Tata Group) is not only considered as an eminent businessman of India but has also been listed as 2008’s most powerful people in Business by Fortune Magazine and as one of the most Influential men in the World by Time Magazine. Not only astute in business The Tata Group is also very well known for Philanthropy bequeathing a large part of its wealth to various trusts started by its various founding members and its other successors.

Photo from wikipedia

One of the highlights of the Tata Group this year has been the inauguration of the Tata Nano Car. Presented as the worlds cheapest car it boasts of slick design, being fuel efficient with low emissions. One of the first few remarks made by Mr Tata when presenting the car earlier in January this year was that these production cars will be rolling out of the Singur plant later in the year. As India stands today most Indians and others congratulate Mr Tata on creating the middle class mans dream come true.

Photo from wikipedia

Its isn’t surprising, this hypocrisy, that though while the middle class dreams are being built up, it’s the poor men, women and children whose lives, homes and living that has been quashed, burnt, beaten up and left to die. The residents of Singur will yet fight on whereas the Tata’s Nano cars will be “rolling out ”. Situated in the state of West Bengal) with about 20,000 residents in a quiet district of Hooghly about an hour away from Kolkata. This tiny farming and food producing community decided to fight back when on September 27, 2007 while being evicted by the Left Front West Bengal Government. Thus in the name of development, 1253 hectares of land was to be given up by those who have resided there for over generations.

Not to mention the land being fertile and resourceful, the generations of existence by marginal farmers was to be dropped and cleared while the 552,692.26 sq km of wasteland in the country is left untouched. It is rather unfair while the SEZs (Special Economic Zones) introduced with the intent of fair policies to both corporate as well as the other lesser mortals such as the middle class and lower communities, the environmentalists and the activists, etc , it is a shame that “development”(read financial) seems to be weighing down the corporates. So these farmers environmentalists activist have another job at hand; the men giving up hard work, children on education, women on their kitchen and labour to join the activists’ to take up indefinite hunger strikes.

Act Two: The Government decides to provide a compensation Package. Yet we ask is it fair to displace people, to expect these labourers and farmers to give their land, culture and existence? Compensation Package or none the people of Singur refuse to leave their home. By December 2007 the situation is worse with Rapid Action Force being called in Singur to prevent the damage being done. As the riots continue for months, many are injured and dead. Leading activists like Medha Patkar (of Narmada Bachao Andolan Fame) also stepped in to provide support. The Chief Minister then decided to call for a dialogue which was immediately refused by all. Refusal demanding reversal of the decision made by the Government without the consultation of the residents involved.

The story continues till today, as on 9 August 2008 the plan to acquire 43000 acres of land as SEZ for industrial purpose continues (Singur being a part of this plan) creating massive riots in West Bengal in the regions of Nandigram, Kalinganagar. Now the residents of the mentioned regions continue to suffer without food, the daily income with the land being taken away and without any sort of compensation. Mamta Banarjee the opposition leader of West Bengals is yet again on an indefinite hunger strike. On a lighter note you can see the absurdity of the State and its precious police when you read that 10 to 12 year old Indian girls are being charged with rioting. I think it’s about time we think twice about buying that car if it has someone’s blood on it. Age of Blood Car ??

mardi 29 juillet 2008

Dahanu Thermal Power Plant

It was almost 2 years ago when I started working with DTEWA (Dahanu Taluka Environment Welfare Association) as a campaigner. The organisation when I joined had embraced many issues like Solid Waste Management, Tribal Upliftment etc. But the core issue remained that of the Thermal Power Plant. To understand the problem of the Thermal power Plant, it is important to know about Dahanu.

Located on the border of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Dahanu is only a mere 120 kms away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai/Bombay. Dahanu is a small town with most of it population being land owning, horticultural Parsis and Iranis whose forefathers had migrated there after leaving Persia and indeginous Warli tribe who have over the years become marginal fisherfolks, farmers, labourers etc. Situated in a ecologically strategic location Dahanu is still 42.5 percent of forest.
Thus owing to the forest cover, its coastal location, providing abundant natural resource, its tribal culture and its horticultural wealth, It was one of the three, among its kind in 1991 , to be declared as Ecologiacally Fragile by the State of India. The Notification specifically restricted the setting up of polluting industries in Dahanu and restricted these to a limit of 500 acres. The Notification also classified industries into Red, Orange and Green categories on ecological considerations.
The Notification also stipulated "no change in land use" while directing the State Government to prepare a Regional Plan demarcating all green areas, orchards, tribal areas and other environmentally sensitive ones.

dahanu thermal power plant entry

All said and praises for Dahanus beauty, but it is yet a fight for those living in Dahanu. It was in 1986 when the The Dahanu Thermal Power Plant was proposed to be built in Dahanu. Even though it was met with a fierce protest from residents and farmers who formed DTEWA (Dahanu Taluka Environment Welfare Association) under the leadership of Ms Nergis Irani and Katy Rustom, the Thermal Power Plant was built and put to function. Surprisingly all the committees appointed by the State and the Central Government to ascertain the viability of a fossil based Thermal Power Plant in the area were unsure of its repurcussions and gave it a negative verdict.
Yet, the Ministry of Environment and Forests granted permission to the company then owned by the Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) Co. Pvt Ltd to set up a 500 MW thermal power plant in the region. However, the company was given clearance conditionally with fifteen consent conditions laid down "to minimize pollution caused by the Plant and to protect Dahanu Taluka".

dahanu thermal power plant Satelite view of the coal power station with google.

Meanwhile the DTEWA appealed to the Mumbai High court against the permission but lost the case as the court cited the need to produce energy to provide electricity for Mumbai as a reason to sanction the Thermal Power Plant in Dahanu.

Dahanu Thermal Power Station (DTPS) is Reliance Energy Ltd.'s single largest power generating facility. It is a 500 MW (2 X 250 MW) coal based thermal power station. Located over a spread of 834 acres of land the Thermal Power Plant is directly adjacent to the coastal area therby making it easier for the Thermal Power plant to dump the hot water produced into the sea. This especially is a cause of concern among the fisherfolk as the decreasing annual catch bears witness to their plight and concern.


Over the years the fight for a clean existence for the residents of Dahanu has been a part of Daily life. One of the stipulations of the environment clearance was the setting up FGD (Flue Gas Desulphuristaion) unit with 90 percent efficiency. This condition imposed in 1989 was left hanging till the environmentalists decided to pull up the Thermal Power plant as they saw no attempts being made of its installation. The environmentalists took up the issue with the specially constituted quasi-judicial authority, the Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority (DTEPA) that passed an order on May 12th 1999 directing the company to initiate the process of "setting up of the FGD unit within a period of six months and complete the same within a reasonable time period."
This was then again delayed by Reliance till March 2005 who was then ordered by the Dahanu Authority to put in 300 crore Rupees as a bank guarantee towards the commitment of protect Dahanus Environment. This was then again appealed in the High Court by Reliance only to have the amount lowered to 100 crores. The FGD was finally installed and is now being monitored by various environmentalists and the DTEWA as they receive bi annual reports of its function.