The full text of a Public Interest Litigation initiated before the Supreme Court of India, by Akhilesh Chipli and Shankar Sharma, requesting the court to draw firm legal limits on India’s suicidally destructive economic growth during the last three decades, which has led to rapidly deteriorating ecological conditions (air, water, soil, climate) in the country.
National Green Tribunal
Rajeev Suri writes: In keeping with his belief that most cases are being filed by blackmailers, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, the new Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal, has been following the three D rule; Dismiss, Dispose, Disburse. The Chairperson is also known for his previous association with the ruling party and strong RSS leanings.
The fracas over water sharing has obscured the fact that the Cauvery itself is facing a major threat: two railway lines to be constructed through Kodagu, the forested hill district where the river originates. A river’s fate – and those of the millions that depend on it – now hangs in balance, writes Chirag Chinnappa.
Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, one of India’s most courageous and persevering environmentalists, is no more. Here’s a tribute to Ghosh, best known for his campaign to save East Kolkata’s wetlands and its fisher and farming communities from the city’s real estate mafia. Also included, a video where he explains the concepts of cognitive apartheid and positive footprint.
From The Wire: An Indian Oil Terminal, which can store up to 15,400 metric tons of cooking gas, is scheduled to be built in Vypeen, Kochi, which is among the world’s most densely populated islands. Will Kerala’s Communist Patrty-led government allow this high risk project to come up, defying all common sense and public opinion?
Dr Latha Anantha, an expert on rivers and one of the first names to crop up in the struggle to protect them, is no more. The founder and moving spirit behind the River Research Centre, Kerala, she was best known for her efforts to save the Chalakudy river. She’d been diagnosed with cancer in 2014.
TheWire.in reports: The Aghanashini is one of the last free flowing rivers in Karnataka: it has no major industrial establishments, dams or townships on its banks. It is in this rich and highly productive estuary that the state government plans to build a multi-purpose estuarine port, which’s now one last step away from final clearance.
Ritwick Dutta writes: The National Green Tribunal recently passed a landmark judgment ruling that only those persons who have ‘special knowledge’ and ‘practical experience’ in ‘matters relating to environmental protection’ are eligible for appointment to pollution control boards. Unfortunately, across various states, persons who do not fulfill the criterion have been appointed in these posts.
Nityanand Jayaraman writes: The complexity of river systems, the hydrological dynamics that determine their ebb and flow, and anthropogenic confounders such as land-use change and climate change had no influence on the tribunal order… Today’s planners try to spare water for ecological flows, not realising that ecological flows are what keep the river a river.
Nehmat Kaur writes: The National Green Tribunal covered new ground for the ‘polluter pays’ principle by invoking it in two landmark judgments recently. Activists are hopeful that this will help deter corporations from functioning with impunity, under the cover of governmental apathy. The judgments in both cases acknowledged governmental inaction in dealing with environmental damage.
The National Green Tribunal has virtually given the go-ahead for the proposed mega port at Vizhinjam, to be built and run by the Adani group, setting aside appeals by local fisher folk and environmentalists. Here’s a closer look at what’s at stake at Vizhinjam, and why many consider it another developmental disaster in the making.
Jay Mazoomdar reports: Three-quarters of the Environment Ministry’s Environment Supplement Plan — 2,900 words of the 3,850-word draft — is directly lifted from a similar US government document. The draft notification proposes to allow those who go ahead with project work without prior environmental clearance. Under existing laws, these are criminal offences punishable with imprisonment.
Neha Miriam Kurian writes: The Left-Front government in Kerala is reviving the Athirappilly Hydro Electric Project against stiff resistance from local tribes and environmentalists. If implemented, it will displace the ancient hunter-gatherer Kadar tribe and submerge the only remaining low elevation riparian forests left in the Western Ghats, one of the world’s eight biodiversity ‘hotspots’.
Job creation for Keralites from the controversial Adani-run Vizhinjam Port project is estimated at around 2,000. Compare that to 50,000 fisherfolk who’ll lose their livelihoods. Anjana Radhakrishnan takes a closer look at a project that already seems a social, ecological and economic disaster in the making, but has so far escaped the national media’s attention.
This March, the central government set the ball rolling on a new set of rules intended, supposedly, to protect India’s wetlands. In this special feature, we present articles that look at the state of wetlands, and critically examine the new legislation, which many fear is a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
Nayantara Narayanan reports: The UPA government left behind a legacy of weakened safeguards for India’s environment, forests and forest-dwelling people. The Narendra Modi government has lost no time in weakening them further. The process has been so accelerated that journalists have struggled to keep pace with them. Here is a look at seven reported changes.
Swati Bansal writes: The waters of many rivers were declared as unfit for human consumption. This included rivers in Goa with fecal coliform bacteria, and rivers in Karnataka where none were suitable for drinking. But pollution was just one factor, the other was hydropower power projects which continue to choke rivers such as the Chenab.
Vasanth Srinivasan of The Hindu quotes former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav as saying, “there is a crying need for environmental politics” in India, but with the following caveat. “If green politics does not restrict itself as urban environmental activism but emerges as a binding agent of various marginalised groups and concerns, it definitely has a future in India.”
Outlook Magazine Mangroves in peril Navi Mumbai airport site How The NDA Is Whittling Down Green Norms Change in definition of no-go area in dense forest, leaving more area open for project Keeping powers with the Centre to even allow projects in ‘no-go areas’ of dense forests Proposal to allow firms to take over afforestation,
Rohini Mohan reports: In under a year, the Modi government has begun to undo policies of fair land acquisition, undermine environmental protection and reverse the fight for tribal rights. The finance, environment and rural-development ministers, and Modi himself, have called these safeguards to protect people’s property, the environment and tribal rights “roadblocks” to economic growth.