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Sunita Narain's picture
1 September 2011
Sunita Narain

We were standing at the edge of what looked like a swamp—grass and pools and streams. On one side was heavily barricaded land with high walls, barbed wires and armed security. A board read: East Coast Energy, Kakarapalli. This was where a bloody battle had taken place a few months ago. People protesting the takeover of their wetland were shot at and three lost their lives. Now the site of the 2,640 MW thermal power plant is under siege—locked and in court.

Sumita Dasgupta's picture
31 August 2011
Sumita Dasgupta

I was in Kathmandu last week. An interesting time to be in Nepal as a political observer, watching the Jhalanath Khanal-led government run out of time to cobble together a coalition. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there as a political observer. My task was to meet with the top brass in the government’s Education department. And to try to figure out if an environment programme that has managed to excite and engage school students in India, would work its magic in Nepal, too.

Sunita Narain's picture
16 August 2011
Sunita Narain

Khan Market in boulevard Delhi is said to be the most expensive real estate in India, maybe even in the world. But in this richest shopping destination, buyers do not want to pay for parking their vehicles.

Sunita Narain's picture
1 August 2011
Sunita Narain

Sustainable mining is an oxymoron. Environmentalists will tell you this. Mining—coal to limestone—takes away forests, devastates mountains and leaves the land pockmarked. It also destroys livelihoods of people and displaces them. Worse, modern, mechanised mining takes away livelihood based on land but does not replace it with local employment—all estimates show that direct employment in the mining sector has fallen sharply. It provides wealth, but not for local development.

Sunita Narain's picture
16 July 2011
Sunita Narain

My article last fortnight about people’s fight against POSCO has brought me interesting responses. They call for clarifications and further discussion. The question is about the value of current livelihoods of the people of coastal Odisha. Is earning from betel nut farming being exaggerated to reinforce the romantic and misinformed view that people are fighting projects because they are better off today? The equally valid question, then, is: why are the people so apparently poor if they are earning Rs 10-17 lakh per hectare (ha) each year as I had said?

Sunita Narain's picture
1 July 2011
Sunita Narain

The sight on television was heartbreaking: children lying in rows in the searing sun to be human shields against the takeover of their land for Korean giant POSCO’s mega bucks project. Facing them were armed police sent by the state government to assist in the operation.

Sunita Narain's picture
16 June 2011
Sunita Narain

Once again there is a food safety scare. A deadly strain of E coli bacterium has hit Germany, where it has taken the lives of 25 people and affected another 2,300 till date. German food inspectors on the trail of the source of contamination ha­ve as yet made two errors—blaming Spanish cucumbers and then organic bean sprouts—but no breakthrough.

Sunita Narain's picture
1 June 2011
Sunita Narain

My position on the need to re-position forests in development (see ‘Rethink growth with forest capital’, Down To Earth, May 16-31) has brought me a huge response. On the one hand are those who argue that functions of forests already include conservation vital to life; they need to be valued and protected. The unsaid (and often stressed) corollary is that any discussion on the need to improve productivity of forests through the involvement of people needs to be shunned. The stretched and simplistic positioning of this view is that forests and people cannot go together.

Anumita Roychowdhury's picture
20 May 2011
Anumita Roychowdhury

'We want free parking…..' is the petulant tantrum of the rich in Delhi. Read this news…The trader association of one of the most happening, and upmarket area in Delhi – Khan Market has moved the High Court to oppose the orders of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to charge for parking.

Sunita Narain's picture
16 May 2011
Sunita Narain

Can you love tigers but hate forests? This is the question that troubled me as I visited the middle of India last fortnight. I was in Nagpur, where local politicians, conservationists and officials were discussing what needed to be done in this chronically poor and backward region endowed with forests and tiger habitats.

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