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The steel shock

Issue Date: Jun 15, 2012
When the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) started its Green Rating Project in the mid-1990s, India had just liberalised its economy. Fears were that it would be disastrous if the country took the route to economic growth that ignored environmental considerations.

Stink of India's steel frame

Issue Date: Jul 15, 2008
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. The sarpanch they said was earlier against the factory's pollution.

Efficiency versus democracy

Issue Date: Jun 30, 2007
Industrialist Ratan Tata has reportedly written to the prime minister cribbing about delays in implementing big buck projects. In his capacity as the chair of the government's investment commission he says over us $50 billion is tied up because of delays in allocating land and resources. His list includes major steel, thermal power, mining and aluminium projects of powerful houses--South Korean corporate Posco, uk's Lakshmi Mittal and India's Essar, Reliance, Jindal and, of course, Tata itself.

Poor regulators do not a rich country make

Issue Date: Dec 15, 2006
IN this past month, farmer associations in Haryana and Tamil Nadu have located and burnt field trials for genetically modified Bt rice. In Chhattisgarh the state government has stopped similar trials happening under its nose. It is all too easy to deride these actions as the handiwork of some misinformed eco-fundamentalists or miscreants out to seek 'cheap' publicity. It can also be argued that these actions will impede scientific progress designed to find answers to malnutrition and food insecurity in the country.

Oil price hike: quick-fix measures wont work

Issue Date: Jun 30, 2006
Railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu are the clowns of Indian politics. But think of the actions of the two in the past fortnight and you will begin seeing the difference. Sidhu led the protest for the Bharatiya Janata Party against the fuel price hike by riding an elephant. Effective but clearly stupid. Do excuse my intemperate language but the gall of the politicians to believe we are myopic and their complete lack of leadership in this time of crisis makes me mad.

A new deal

Issue Date: Dec 31, 2005
We got off the train at Abu Road station in Rajasthan to visit two cement plants located in the nearby district of Sirohi. The drive was predictable -- dry stretches interspersed with marginal agriculture and signs of livestock grazing. But I was keenly waiting for signs of the trees covered with white dust that would signal our arrival to the cement factory. Cement, after all, is known to be incredibly polluting with its emissions and dust from raw materials smothering nearby inhabitants.

The most serious news

Issue Date: Apr 30, 2005
Each time I visit the us I am struck by the lack of serious news on its many television channels and newspapers. The media here clearly follows the dictum 'if it bleeds it leads'. In other words, news is not about informing or educating people, but simply entertaining them. This state of affairs, I have realised, is neither accidental nor incidental. It is deliberate; indeed, inevitable.
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