A Lot to Say.....
I was interning under Sharmila Sinha (Deputy Programme Manager, AAGC, CSE)and helping her out with designing the website for Agenda For Survival 2013 and it was amasing to see the enthusiasm with which she was working for it.
I always use to wonder how it is going to be, what kind of people I will meet. With work and such similar thoughts going on, came the first day with the Amit Baruah
(Programme Director, Education and Training, CSE) and Sharmila Sinha entering the hall.
Amit started with his introduction and talked about how through Agenda For Survival people from all over India have been brought together in the same hall, my excitement for the course grew more. It was interesting to hear him speaking about how even after being so diverse we can still remain united.
Everybody was asked to introduce themselves and it was fascinating to see people with such versatile hobbies under the same roof, but what was worth more acknowledging was that still everybody shared a common interest in environment and its preservation. With the passing time, the exchange of words, the barrier of formalities broke and being with them was even more fun.
After a small break of tea and snacks finally came the moment everybody was waiting for, meeting our first speaker N.C Saxena (a former bureaucrat, now a member of National Advisory Council).
With the help of maps Saxena explained about how the tribal in india suffer even though they live on the land richest in natural resources. Quoting his words "poorest people live in the richest areas", he also shared his experience of bureaucracy, when he actually realised where the flaw lies and why every step towards development (which is supposedly for the betterment of people) is opposed and considered meretricious.
I was appalled to know how the land owners, and tribals are cheated by the govt., private corporations and land mafias during land acquisitions. The asymmetry of power and information for and about their land always leave them in a distressful situation and with nothing in hand, food to shelter everything snatched away. They are even deprived of the little benefits that they could gain from the set up of industries, hence ending up gaining nothing but abusive handling from the employees of the so called republic govt. which is apparently for the people, by the people and of the people. Many such issues were discussed but N.C still was in favour of industrialisation which was repeatedly striking my rationality and logics.
Thankfully, he explained about it, and allowed my high blood pressure to get normalise.
He explained how the fault doesn't lie in the development or industrialisation but the plan and tact that are followed. There are no doubts that, industry create more jobs than agriculture would on the same unit of land but the local people are not benefitted, he emphasised. He also mentioned about how important it is to train the local people for skilled jobs before setting up an industry and, when and where should govt. check its involvement and policies by giving the example of maintaining Eucalyptus forests by the govt. And opposed the govt. For letting private companies take over forests.
By the end of the discussion I understood the point this erudite gentleman was trying to convey.
Development is an essential part but what is of greater importance is to plan and implement the process well. The benefits and gains should reach the local people who had to pay the price and are now landless and displaced.
At the same time what i also learned was how alert one should be not to fall in the trap of Pseudo development.
After the lunch at C.S.E canteen Sharmila took over and talked about how Shri Anil Agarwal didn't follow the beaten track but the vision he had and established C.S.E, later we were taken to the C.S.E library, of which we are definitely going to make best use till the time we are here.
By - Nishant Saxena