Thursday, August 07, 2014

Development for the people and against the people

"Ban on new industries in critically polluted industrial areas lifted; pollution index-based moratoriums stopped"! - NDA eases green rules to push investment

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. This entire article is nothing short of scary. This approach is similar to the approach of those people who will dump their garbage in the neighbours yard and feel happy about how easily they have cleaned up their own. We should realise that we don't live in isolation.

Many public hearings that I have read about have apparently been more of a hoax than a fair hearing (Tribals kept out of public hearing: Vedanta showed its anti-people face once again). Filled with party workers and paid crowd, they are an irritating formality that the govt official has to get over with. Some of them don't even happen on ground. Easing of these norms will get this irritant out of the way to a large extent! Clap, should we?

Easing environmental clearances with no logic or without proper checks and balances can cause disasters. (Building in old river courses magnified Uttarakhand disaster, Why north Bihar residents remain vulnerable even as Kosi waters recede)

And every once in a while, a smaller group of Indians (read farmers/tribals) sacrifice their life, home, comfort etc and are forcefully displaced without fair compensation so that someone can make money in the name of development and to benefit a larger group of Indians. Now the district administration can consent for a project, on behalf of the affected smaller group, and declare that the rights of the villagers/tribals affected have been "settled". This declaration can happen in 60 days irrespective of the settlement status!


All this in the name of development.

As time passes, you realise that corruption at every level is eating so much into this development money that the larger group pretty much ends up with a "thullu".


So what should the govt do? While announcing the easing of norms, they should also talk of enforcing an environmentally favourable triple bottom-line reporting for all industries affecting the environment in a big or small way! The amount of damage done has to be compensated with same amount of Eco-restoration. Get them to balance out their carbon footprint.

However, there is no answer to the settlement declaration rights being given to district administration. That's just pure sham. Distt Administration is a representative if the govt and not a democratic body. They will not work on the interest of the affected people but of the govt decision. This decision is like taking away the walking stick from the blind.

Bottomline - An unbalanced pro-development but environment and people-unfriendly approach by Modi govt. Who are you doing the development for if some of the people are left unhappy and homeless while others don't get to live in a healthy environment?

Intellectual Property - Beware