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Sunita Narain's picture
1 February 2011
Sunita Narain

Some hundred people, men and women, were gathered on the hill. Many more, I could see, were trudging up. Their faces were resolute. I asked why they were opposing the cement plant. Their answer was simple: “We cannot eat cement.” “But the plant will bring you employment and prosperity,” I said. The reply this time, with a touch of irritation, was: “We have our fields and now with the water in the tank we have good produce. We are not rich like you but we have food to eat.” I persisted, “But your land is not being taken away to build the plant. The government says it has only allocated village grazing land and wasteland to build the factory.” Their anger spilled out.

Gita Kavarana's picture
31 January 2011
Gita Kavarana

Jhabua is home to a unique indigenous poultry breed called the Kadaknath. The tribals value the breed for its cultural as well as its health values and also consider it sacred. The bird is high in iron and amino acids and low in fat. It tolerates extreme heat and cold climatic conditions and requires minimal management inputs. The breed is disease resistant and is valued for the quality and flavour of its black meat. It is also locally known as Kali masi because the bird is black inside –out – skin, feathers, legs, meat, blood, etc.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 January 2011
Sunita Narain

2010 was a loud year for the environment. High profile projects—from Vedanta to Posco and Navi Mumbai airport to Lavasa—hit the headlines for non-compliance with environmental regulations. While 2009 was the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was only last year that we were all outraged by the disaster. The realisation of how every institution—the judiciary, parliament and government— had miserably failed to provide justice to the victims shocked us deeply.

Gita Kavarana's picture
14 January 2011
Gita Kavarana

‘Only minral water availabale (sic)’ -- where in India can you see such a sign? Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi? Or even Bhopal, Indore, Lucknow, Ahmedabad? Sorry, this was in a hotel in Jhabua, the district capital of the tribal district of Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. I asked the hotel manager, a school drop-out tribal, why he had put up this sign. He said that most of the customers demanded bottled water.

Sunita Narain's picture
31 December 2010
Sunita Narain

Last fortnight we discussed the clandestine endgame afoot at Cancun to change the framework of the climate change negotiations to suit big and powerful polluters. Since then Cancun has concluded and a deal, in the form of a spate of agreements, has been gavelled into existence by the chair. Commentators and climate activists in the Western world are ecstatic. Even the critics say pragmatism has worked and the world has taken a small step ahead in its battle to fight emissions that determine its growth.

Sunita Narain's picture
16 December 2010
Sunita Narain

As I write this, some 24 hours are left to finalise the agreement at the 16th Conference of Parties to the climate change convention being held in Cancun. At this moment it seems the predictable deadlock in talks will continue. Like all other global climate meetings, the world remains deeply divided on the matter of how to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that even today determine economic growth. Not much is expected to happen at the beach city of Cancun.

Chandra Bhushan's picture
9 December 2010
Chandra Bhushan

December 6, 2010

The post-2012 emissions reduction commitments for Annex 1 countries under the Kyoto Protocol (KP) are presently going nowhere. Japan had fired the first salvo when in the opening plenary, it categorically stated its opposition to the second commitment period of KP. Now, countries like Australia, Canada, and some European nations have joined the chorus to disband KP.

Chandra Bhushan's picture
6 December 2010
Chandra Bhushan

I have reached Cancun few hours’ back to attend the 16th Conference of Parties (CoP-16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and have been greeted with news that can only be characterised as bad or worse.

Sunita Narain's picture
1 December 2010
Sunita Narain

The definition is contested as the answer has immense economic implications. If bamboo is a tree or timber, it belongs to the forest department and can be auctioned to the paper and pulp industry, often at throwaway rates. If it is a grass, then it would be classified as a minor forest produce and people would have the right to cut bamboo for sale or for value addition by making furniture or baskets.

Gita Kavarana's picture
20 November 2010
Gita Kavarana

Of the one billion people that defecate in the open in the world, 638 million are found in India alone. In Badasilonia, a Nirmal Gram village, in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, we inspected the toilet of Punna bai. The toilet or “latrine” as it is called, had only the four walls of the outer structure. On the opposite side of the road, we visited the house of the sarpanch. His toilet was completely and properly built and had an additional twin room for bathing. He also had a water storage tank close to the toilet.

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