Feb 20, 2012
Feb 20, 2012
Feb. 9, 2012
Today a lot of state governments promise companies investment opportunities free of ‘encumbrances’. Investors are assured of government assistance in securing requisite clearances for projects. Sample, for example, the following sentence from a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between an international investor of a high profile project and the Orissa government.
At its summit, the northeastern ridge of the Niyamgiri hill range has a bald patch, typical of hilltops with bauxite deposits. A dense tree cover that provides a welcome shade to climbers struggling some 8 km up the steep forest path gives way to a vast stretch of open grassland. A full-grown leopard silently pads across the open expanse. Up here, all is at peace. For now.
Arunachal Pradesh is awarding hydroelectric projects to private companies at the breakneck speed of one every nine days without proper scrutiny. The government says hydroelectricity is the key to the state’s development. But ARNAB PRATIM DUTTA finds out that the people exposed to risks will not gain much from the projects. Read full story...
As far as public protests go, Puducherry, formerly Pondicherry, has generally been a backwater. But the government’s resolve to fast-track a deep-water port, upgrading the existing fair-weather port, has provoked a chorus of protests from citizens across the board—NGO members, fisherfolk, lawyers, politicians and farmers.
This is a story about the environmental clearance mechanism in India. Arguably legally strong, it fails in implementation. The project proponent looks upon the mechanism as a hurdle; for the administrator, it is mere routine. For affected communities, there is only one hope: the public hearing process. But it always fails them, in the end. So where does this mechanism go wrong? What changes are needed? KUSHAL PAL SINGH YADAV looks for answers.
On the face of it, the ambitious Sethusamudram project to bridge the east coast with the west coast of the country seems a great idea. The prospect of not having to circumnavigate Sri Lanka and cutting short travel periods by 30 hours sounds as interesting as it did 150 years ago when a draft plan for the canal was first mooted (see box: Taking shape). A Tamilian dream is now beginning to take shape.