Is Narmada water being made to flow in Sabarmati not supplied to city of Ahmedabad? This has furthered the idea of river...
I have been selling glass for commercial buildings talking about light, thermal/solar heat gain etc.etc..but I...
Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
The interview, “Tribal philosophy can’t be ignored beyond a point” (April 1-15, 2012), is highly relevant in the context of the ongoing conflict between development and tribal philosophy. Mahatma Gandhi was the first pre- and post-Independence politician and social activist to comprehend the importance of rural way of life. He wanted the state to protect it.
But the first and successive governments that inherited the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi had different priorities. Instead of protecting the rural systems, they unleashed development programmes based on the Western model. The fallout of such a model now appears disastrous and difficult to reverse. The development programmes remained city-centric. The industries churned out products which caused the withering of rural crafts that sustained villages. The advent of plastic sounded the death knell for village leather craft, pottery, earthernware and bamboo craft. Similarly, textile mills banished the handloom.
Remains of this craft are seen in various state-sponsored craft melas. But they serve only as decoration accessories rather than becoming articles of everyday use. It is true that the increased population needs development and development brings consumerism. But if we make villages the central unit of development and assimilate rural philosophy of life in our programmes, the march of consumerism can be halted. We need to make our villages self-reliant by decentralising development policies and protecting rural ethos.
L R Sharma
All for mafia
It is sad that as a large amount of money changes hands between politicians and mafia in sand mining, upright and honest whistleblowers are the victims (‘Sand slips, April 16-30, 2012). The transfer of IAS officer Girish Sharma and the brutal killing of IPS officer Narendra Kumar, both belonging to the Madhya Pradesh cadre, are clear pointers to mining mafia having a field day with the patronage of men in power. Of late illegal mining has increased in scale, benefiting politicians, contractors and corrupt bureaucrats.
It is also baffling that chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have denied the existence of sand mafia in their states despite clear evidence. Despite the ban on sand mining by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, clandestine operations go on unhindered under the nose of officials.
K R Srinivasan
This refers to the article, “Kudankulam meltdown” (April 1-15, 2012). A critical issue that was left out of the article was that of radioactive waste disposal. There is no safe place for dumping of radioactive waste, an issue that remains unresolved in the world. Even without a Fukushima-like disaster, the Kudankulam plant will have severe negative effect on environmental and human health. Studies have indicated a positive relation between incidence of cancer, especially among children, and proximity to nuclear plants.
Apart from the questions regarding the desirability of nuclear technology, Kudankulam also raises questions about the existing space for democratic debate in our country. During the past month, the Tamil Nadu government tried its best to stifle the intense protest in Kudankulam, not allowing outsiders and the media to enter and blocking supply of power, milk, vegetables and even water in the area. This is gross violation of democracy.
This refers to the article, “Eat at your own risk” (April 1-15, 2012). The mushrooming of eateries points to the fact that no one cares what they eat as long as the taste buds are tickled. Many people do not bother even to look at the nutritional information on the packaging. It is time the government pitched for mandatory labelling on the front of the package and highlighted statutory warning in all high-fat foods and their advertisements. There should also be a mention of the calorie content on the menu card. High taxes should be levied on food rich in cholesterol to discourage people from consuming it. This has to be followed by lab tests to validate the correctness of information on the packs.
This refers to the editorial, “Grand distraction called river interlinking” (March 16-31, 2012). It is claimed that river interlinking will reduce damage to agriculture from droughts and floods. But the duration and intensity of droughts and floods are determined by the amount of daily rainfall and its distribution in the crop season, which vary even in small areas. So no irrigation project can be or has ever been used for mid-seasonal drought alleviation in farms as envisaged under the river linking scheme. Irrigation projects mainly cater to farming in normal season.
Moreover, storage of flood waters in reservoirs will be costly and environmentally damaging. There are year-to-year variations in rainfall in catchment areas of rivers. Analysis of availability of water needs to done yearly for operational purposes. This is a stupendous task which can perhaps be accomplished by keeping water levels in reservoirs in accordance with the water-sharing agreements. For this co-ordination among all riparian states would be required.
But with upper riparian states flouting court orders at will this seems difficult. The lower riparian states will end up being deprived of water after construction of dams or during drought years and used as a drainage basin during years of plentiful rains. The record of independent India in utilisation of created irrigation potential is also not encouraging. The projects have not realised the envisaged increase in gross irrigated acreage. What we need are programmes to harness water resources locally.
A decade of inaction
This refers to the article, “Mired in sewage” (March 16-31, 2012). More than a decade ago, when A K Antony was the chief minister of Kerala, I wrote a letter to him on the problems of drinking water and sewage disposal caused by the construction of hotels and multi-storey buildings. I also pointed out the urgent need to supply piped water and dispose sewage in a scientific way.
I had suggested that a scheme should be worked out by the Guruvayur Devaswom and the municipality of Guruvayur town with funds coming from the temple and the state government. This was acknowledged by the CM’s office with an assurance that this would be looked into. The article now published in Down To Earth indicates that nothing tangible has been done till date. Unlike other temple towns, Guruvayur is full of pilgrims throughout the year and with fund-rich Devaswom it would not be difficult for the state government to work out a proper scheme.
T N K Kurup
What about Kachoris, Vadas?
This refers to the editorial, “More to junk than meets the eye” (April 16-30, 2012), I appreciate the hard facts you have presented about the presence of trans fats in a number of popular pre-packaged food brands. By doing so, you have educated people of the fallacies regarding the so-called statutory compliance of food safety standards by manufacturers. But I find your approach rather lopsided, as I do not find you equally concerned about potential hazards of the tiffin, roadside food and sweets commonly eaten by millions of Indians—from poori-kachori to vada-pao. All these are cooked in hydrogenated vegetable oil. Since these are not packaged food products and are produced and sold by the unorganised industry, they do not come under the purview of the food safety regulations. Are the health and safety concerns of only those who can afford Lay’s or McDonald’s important to the regulators as well as to you?
Partha Das Gupta
Finally an article that gets the point across through the thick skulls of indifferent parents. The culture of celebrating through food is pervasive across all countries. When you couple this with the culture of consumption, where we feel satisfied only after buying a trolley-load of packaged and processed items, it spells doom for us. Till the late 80s, Indian snacks were sufficient for a party; now no birthday is complete for a child without a bash at McDonald’s or Pizza Hut. Don’t parents care about their child’s nutritional needs? What’s more, feeding kids chocolates and chips because of the “they are small, let them enjoy” attitude needs checks. One in four Americans is obese and Indians are on the same track to beat their record.