Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
Articles by the Author
Sikkim’s tryst with floriculture marks a new beginning for small growers, but poor market access and a flush of imported breeds may mar its sustainability
The Indian coastline no longer belongs to its traditional custodians—the small fisher people. A jamboree of development—cities, SEZs, power plants, ports, sand mining—is eating up the coastline and eroding it beyond repair. Leading coastal fishermen against a proposed nuclear power plant at Haripur in West Bengal, Debasis Shyamal got sucked into a public movement at his doorstep. Later, as member of the National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF)—an apex body of marginal fishers uniting many a local movement—he travelled along India's coastline, witnessing the plight of fisher communities, from Gujarat to West Bengal. Earlier this month, NFF created its youth platform, Yuva, to bring forth the second rung of leadership within the organisation. Shyamal along with Malisa Simoes from Goa, took over as conveners of the youth wing. Sayantan Bera spoke to him in Kolkata on the present and future of traditional fishers
Only 25 days of work provided per family as against the guaranteed 100 days of work; wages paid late in 55 per cent cases
Amid murder of an activist, 4,000 missing ponds and 195 FIRs on encroachments in East Kolkata Wetlands, West Bengal mulls a wetland policy
Traditional bio-sand purifier can filter arsenic which most commercial water purifiers fail to do
Flouting laws, over 90 hotels have mushroomed on what once was a pristine beach in West Bengal
Makes provision for public funding of corporate research and development
NASA scientist says India needs to attract talent into science, not management
With science communicators reading out drab and dull power-point presentations, the Indian Science Congress could better emulate the ‘Chai and Why’ model
Prime minister unveils new science policy at the inaugural of Indian Science Congress
Sayantan Bera chronicles the simmering discontent in the picturesque tea gardens of Assam, Darjeeling
Audit reveals loss of Rs 160 crore for minor ports in PPP mode
At more than Rs 65,000 crore, the mining scam in Odisha has surpassed that in Goa and Karnataka. The penalties, however, came too late
Census 2011 throws light on the darkness across India. Of the 246 million households, 67 per cent get electricity from the grid, while 31 per cent have no option but to use kerosene lamps. In 2001, government initiated a nationwide programme to provide off-grid, clean alternatives, mostly solar, in remote areas. Solar has now lit up more than a million homes —a 100 per cent increase since 2001—though the programme has its share of loopholes. This situation presents both challenges and opportunities. The answer to the country’s energy poverty could lie in decentralised solar.
Joel Kumar, who assessed the programme’s performance, says the case for off-grid solar is clear and urgent. Ankur Paliwal carries out a reality check in Uttarakhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and Sayantan Bera in Assam
A cooperative in Kolkata shows the way for urban sewage management
Study from West Bengal documents 94 brands of pesticides, farmers most influenced by local dealers
Activists fear noise control rules will be relaxed for manufacturers of firecrackers
Reiterates demand against diversion of forestland for industry, under amended Forest Rights Act rules
An inefficient industry is marring prospects of jute, paving way for plastics
Kolkata-based architect Laurent Fournier tells how ceilings can float and why bamboo-reed-mud make more sense than brick-concrete-steel
Once called lords of the jungle, the Chhattisgarh tribals are being evicted without adequate relief
Issues show-cause notices to Jharkhand and Delhi for payment of monetary relief
Tata Motors welcomes verdict; Mamata says people’s choice will prevail
India’s largest FDI might downsize initially, to get going
Government starts building massive embankments on the fragile delta using untested technology. Experts say the project benefits contractors, not islanders
Ho tribals lose hold of Saranda as mining is set to take over the pristine sal forest. A report and photographs by Sayantan Bera
Seven hundred squatters occupying prime land rendered homeless; activists demanding their rehabilitation branded Maoists
Faulty procurement, rising farm inputs force West Bengal farmers to commit suicide
Harsh environment, government apathy are literally driving Sundarbans inhabitants mad
Forest departments across the country owe millions of rupees to communities. For 20 years communities toiled under the Joint Forest Management programme in the hope of getting shares in revenue from timber and bamboo sales. As forests mature for harvesting, forest departments apply mathematical tricks to bring down monetary share to almost nothing; a few states do away with giving cash to communities. Disillusioned, people are now abandoning the programme. One school of experts questions carrying on with the programme of joint management when Acts giving communities legal rights to manage forests on their own have come into existence.
Sayantan Bera, Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, Aparna Pallavi, Ankur Paliwal and Sumana Narayanan travel to West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh respectively—five states with substantial forests under the programme—to find out how joint management of forests has fared
Constant exposure to noise can make one deaf. The major culprit is road traffic. Can one avoid noise? It’s difficult. Checking it, however, is not impossible. As the Central Pollution Control Board regulations remain unimplemented, the authority has initiated a nationwide real time noise monitoring, hoping for an improvement. Sayantan Bera in Kolkata, Ankur Paliwal in Delhi and Sumana Narayanan in Chennai report on the increasing noise levels
Iconic paan no more appeals to farmers, traders and common people. They say the contagious spread of chewing tobacco, especially gutkha, is fast taking over the paan market. Farmers have more reasons to shy away from the crop once referred to as green gold. Skyrocketing input costs, water scarcity and unpredictable weather mean betel gardens are no more lucrative.
Richard Mahapatra, Sayantan Bera and Moyna travelled to betel leaf gardens of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Delhi and visited paan markets to understand the fate of the cash crop considered ideal for small farmers
Rice is at the heart of a fierce strategy debate as the country prepares to launch the second Green Revolution in the eastern states. Policymakers and scientists have drawn up ambitious plans to increase the productivity of this cereal which feeds two-thirds of Indians.
Enormous funds are being poured into research aimed at improving seed varieties, with a heavy focus on developing hybrid rice. Is it the right option for millions of small rice farmers who are already battling high input costs and increasingly unpredictable weather? Or does part of the solution lie in efficient methods of cultivation that will cut down water use and improve yield?
Latha Jishnu analyses these varied strands as she visits research institutes and gets down into the paddy fields of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to understand what might work. She discovers that traditional rice varieties are making a significant comeback in Odisha—as in Karnataka, where Aparna Pallavi finds some farmers have abandoned high-yielding varieties in favour of indigenous varieties and organic farming to meet the challenges of climate change.
From West Bengal, Sayantan Bera reports that the largest rice producing state has a different set of problems to contend with if it has to reap the promise of the new Green Revolution.
Clashes erupt as government resumes construction of coastal road at Jagatsinghpur in Odisha
Book>> Forest Of Tigers: People Politics And Environment In The Sundarbans • By Annu Jalais • Routledge • Rs 395
West Bengal bureaucrats to monitor panchayat institutions, implement their decisions
Sayantan Bera tells the story of a man and a state, paralysed inside the remote islands of Sundarbans
Want to know about a lost variety of rice or a cure to asthma? Answers lie in the notebooks of schoolchildren and women of the Sundarbans and Madhyamgram, says Sayantan Bera
Pilot survey under Project Dipankar in four prosperous districts shows 87 per cent class I students of government schools are undernourished
Rural employment guarantee scheme is keeping them engaged
Guwahati allows construction on wetlands, but will not spare poor settlers on hills. A photo narrative by Sayantan Bera
Guwahati indicts poor settlers for flash floods, ignores damage on wetlands by construction work
As India continues to lose its rich butterfly diversity at an alarming rate, a handful of individuals work towards creating newer habitats
The Odisha government is trying to acquire land on a shoddily drawn compensation package
Sayantan Bera captures the mood at Jagatsinghpur, Odisha (Photos from June 16 and 17)
Despite protests administration demolishes 37 betel gardens on the forestland. Land acquistion put on hold till June 17
Angry villagers from the hotbed of political violence told Sayantan Bera, the day a new government took oath in West Bengal
The newfound success of brand Darjeeling is fuelling suspicion between planters and workers. Sayantan Bera reports
Olive Ridleys jostle for space at the shrinking Gahirmatha beach in Odisha
Kolkata witnesses the last days of a non-polluting and once-efficient mode of transport, while trams make a comeback in cities around the world. Sayantan Bera reports
Environment ministry goes soft on South Korean steel giant POSCO
Sayantan Bera travels to Jagatsinghpur in Odisha to find that villagers labeled ‘pro’ POSCO do not have a choice otherwise
Chunks of Intanki National Park in Nagaland are sold for Rs 2,500 a hectare as the forest department looks on. Sayantan Bera visits encroachers’ settlements with his camera
Sayantan Bera photographs the no-nonsense obsession with muscles