Sunita Narain | Centre for Science and Environment

Sunita Narain


No free lunches in India

It seems that the people who matter in this country have a simple enough formula for life and liberty. We should open up the market, create opportunity for the organised industry, mix and stir, and then the work will be done. They will tell you that this will mean taking risks. It is another matter that they will not define who and what is at risk. If you object, you will be told that you are archaic, or worse still a communist, who wants to perpetuate poverty in the country.

Oil price hike: quick-fix measures wont work

Railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu are the clowns of Indian politics. But think of the actions of the two in the past fortnight and you will begin seeing the difference. Sidhu led the protest for the Bharatiya Janata Party against the fuel price hike by riding an elephant. Effective but clearly stupid. Do excuse my intemperate language but the gall of the politicians to believe we are myopic and their complete lack of leadership in this time of crisis makes me mad.

Why do farmers have to die?

The agriculture minister told parliament last week that 100,000 farmers had committed suicide from 1998 to 2003, a period for which his government had data. This means 45 farmers killed themselves each day across the country. There is now information that suicides may be on the increase. In the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, unconfirmed reports talk about three suicides a day among cotton farmers, up from one a day a few years ago. But the matter goes beyond statistics.

Want to be fried?

I first learnt about slapp when we released a study about pesticides in colas. PepsiCo had filed a defamation case against us in the Delhi High Court and our lawyer, fresh out of law school in Bangalore, jumped as he read through the company’s petition saying this was a classic slapp case. We were bemused, knowing nothing about such legal intricacies. slapp, he explained, was an acronym in the us for ‘strategic lawsuits against public participation’.

Pesticides is the point, not bottled water or soft drinks

In February, we released a study on pesticide residues in bottled water being sold in the market. We reported how we found legalised pesticides in bottled water. In other words, the norms for regulating pesticide levels in these bottles were so designed that pesticide residues would not be detected.

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