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.
On March 27, 2007, the town saw its biggest protest in over two decades. A motley group of over 5,000 protestors marched from the old bus terminus to Raja Talkies in Anna Salai and burned photocopies of their ration cards. Later they courted arrest. For more than two hours the town came to a halt, with the protestors shouting: “Down with the new deep-water port. Let’s not create another man-made tsunami.”
The minerals sector is a key driver for the country’s industrial growth. However, it has brought in its wake severe environmental repercussions and social conflicts. One of the greatest challenges, therefore, is how to make mining environmentally and socially acceptable. Unfortunately, most EIA/SIA reports either overlook or poorly interpret the critical issues related to a mining project.