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Sunita Narain's picture
15 July 2008
Sunita Narain

We were standing in Sarova village, not far from Raipur, the capital of mineral rich Chhattisgarh. All around us we could see some black stuff scattered on the ground. The villagers told us that the sponge iron factory owner was giving this away as a ‘gift’ and would even transport it to their lands. They refused to say if they were being paid to dump this reject on their land. But they did whisper to me that the land on which we were standing, laden with black reject belonged to the brother of the sarpanch.

Sunita Narain's picture
30 June 2008
Sunita Narain

After much vacillation and prevarication, the government has finally done the inevitable—raised the price of petroleum products—by doing a little of everything. But the bottom-line is that even after the cut in customs tax, reduction in excise duty, a ‘modest’ increase in the cost of petrol, diesel and cooking gas for all and a further request to states to slash their taxes, the oil companies are still left with massive deficits in every litre or every cylinder sold. It is a job half done at a time when the burden of the task is spiralling.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 June 2008
Sunita Narain

In the first week of April this year, a group of men came and stood outside the Centre for Science and Environment (cse), New Delhi. They carried placards with offensive slogans directed at me. We understood the ‘protesters’ were ostensibly from an ngo we believed was a front for the pesticide industry. We also understood the picket to be the latest in a dangerous pesticide industry mindgame.

Sunita Narain's picture
31 May 2008
Sunita Narain

Look out of the window the next time you travel by road or by train anywhere in India. Hit a human settlement, and you will see, heaps of plastic coloured garbage apart, pools of dirty black water and drains that go nowhere. They go nowhere because we have forgotten a basic fact: if there are humans, there will be excreta. Indeed, we have also forgotten another truth about the so-called modern world: if there is water use, there will be waste. Roughly 80 per cent of the water that reaches households flows out as waste.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 May 2008
Sunita Narain

Did the Nobel Prize committee make a mistake when it gave the 2007 Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former us vice president Al Gore? I wonder. My disquiet is not because the prize recognized and put climate change at the centre of global debate. It stems from the fact that the Nobel Prize has held up, as champions, an organisation and individuals that are cautious, conservative and play strictly by the book when searching for answers to tackling climate change. There is nothing wrong in being so.

Sunita Narain's picture
30 April 2008
Sunita Narain

My colleague Pradip Saha has been filming in Ghoramara, an island in the Sunderban delta, to understand why, in this zone suspended between land and water, people talk of nothing but subsidence. Savita’s narration captures the mood. Two years ago, rising water tore into this housewife’s life, taking away her land, source of livelihood and her dignity. She wasn’t compensated. She then moved further landward, paying a landowner to build another home. But now the water’s grasping at her tiny house again: she shows the camera deep gashes in the ground just outside.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 April 2008
Sunita Narain

India has added two more swanky symbols to bolster its first-world ambitions: the Rajiv Gandhi international airport in Hyderabad and the gleaming Bengaluru international airport in our software capital. But look beneath this glitzy façade and you will find another instance of development on the cheap. We refuse to admit that our dream of world-class infrastructure is not grounded on the hard reality that we are a rich and poor country at the same time. As a result, we do not think differently and plan for solutions that suit our needs.

Sunita Narain's picture
31 March 2008
Sunita Narain

The 2008 Union budget must be remembered. Not because it heralds an early election, but because it comes at a time when the world is battling four different but inter-linked developments. First, there is the impending us recession, which is already causing our financial markets to tumble. Second, crude oil price—this week, it has reached a record high of over us $100 a barrel, astoundingly up from us $35 a barrel just a few years ago.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 March 2008
Sunita Narain

It was the mid-1980s. Environmentalist Anil Agarwal was on a mission: track down the person who had conceptualized the employment guarantee scheme in Maharashtra. His search—I tagged along—led him to a dusty, file-filled office in the secretariat. There we met V S Page. I remember a diminutive, soft-spoken man who explained to us why in 1972, when the state was hit with crippling drought and mass migration, it worked on a scheme under which professionals working in cities would pay for employment in villages.

Sunita Narain's picture
29 February 2008
Sunita Narain

Every chair of the community hall of the Shree Shantadurga temple in South Goa’s Quepem taluka was taken. In a few minutes, the public hearing for Shakti bauxite mines was to begin. Then there arose a whisper: the temple had objected to the hearing being held in their premises; it was being called off. It was the second time the hearing was convened and this time, too, the villagers told us, the 30-day notice rule had been violated.

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