He was the archetypical activist-bureaucrat. For A N YELLAPPA REDDY, former special secretary to the government of Karnataka's department of environment and ecology, the issues were real and live. He would not let avaricious politicians and big business lobbies destroy the valuable ecosystem of the Western Ghats. Naturally, he could not continue for long and voluntarily retired in late …
"Nature is not loved in India"
HARISH GAONKAR took his childhood passion for butterflies seriously enough to carve out an illustrious career in lepidopterology for himself. A polyglot, Gaonkar prefers illustrating his own work His interests seem to reflect a rare blend ofscience and the arts. Gaonkar spoke to KEYA AUHARYA on his views on the relation Indians share with their natural environment
"Sometimes, cost is not at all an issue"
The World Bank pumps in US $1 billion into Asia for environmental purposes every year. In India, the bank has been financing projects to control industrial and vehicular pollution. Maritta R V Bieberstein Koch-Weser , the head of the environment and natural resources division of the Bank's Asia technical department spoke to Frederick Noronha about the latest green initiatives in the Indian …
Droughts in India were caused by El Nio
Richard Grove , a noted environmental historian from the Australian National University, Canberra, takes an active interest in the climatic and ecological aspects of India's colonial history. He firmly believes that an ecological assessment of the past is urgently needed to understand the current environmental crisis. Grove recently spoke to Max Martin in New Delhi about his latest work -- …
Home truhs, colonial lies
A noted Gandhian historian, DHARAMPAL has enquired into variousfacets of M-British Indian society. He has authored several books, including Indian Science and Technology in the 18th century and The Beautiful Tree. In a conversation with MAX MARTIN in Delhi recently, he spoke on India's achievements in agriculture and science, the efficacy of indigenous systems of Local governance and the …
"I have yet to apply my mind to the forest convention"
Even uith the United Nations General Assembly Special Session to held in New Yorkjust two weeksfirom now, the Union minister for environment and forest, SAIFUDDiN SOZ, tells SUPRIYA AKERKAR that the government is neitherfor a glqbalforest convention nor against it
"We are fighting a losing battle"
The mere knowledge that mosquitoes are the carriers ofa number of Diseases like malaria, filariasis and dengue is not enough to check the spread of vector-borne diseases. P K Dits, director of the Pondicherry-based Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC) was at the Centrefor Science and Environment recently and spoke to SONIA KAPOOR and PRITI KUMAR about the problem
"We are starved of funds"
KALYAN BANERJEE, director of the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, speaks to MAX MARTIN about the emergence and re-emergence of viral diseases in India. Banerjee warns that the hantavirus, one of the most lethal killers discovered till date, may be lurking around in India, infecting unsuspecting people. NIV scientists havefound antibodies to this virus in humans, but have no funds …
"We don't intend to threaten India"
The Environmental Investigation Agency ( eia) is one of the leading international environment organisations in London. Recently, it has initiated a campaign on the Indian tiger and has brought out a report -- The Political Wilderness -- India's Tiger Crisis, with the aim of bringing international pressure to bear on India to take stringent measures to save tigers. Max Martin and …
Developed nations are not bothered about marine resources
Fifty-five-year-old thomas kocherry , one of the founders of the National Fishworkers Forum -- a trade union network of 200,000 traditional fisherpeople -- has been its chairperson since 1983. Although he has worked for traditional fisherfolk since 1971, the government's 'liberalising' move to open up Indian waters to foreign deep-sea vessels has found Kocherry at the forefront of a bitter …
"Urban management in India is poor"
Every year during monsoons, many towns in India experience heavy flooding. These floods - some natural, others human-induced - result in a heavy loss of lives and property. ASESH K MAITRA, environmental planner and director, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, discusses the reasons for the floods in interview with VINEET KATARIYA
"Right should belong to scientists"
For the first time in India, the draft of the Plant Varieties Protection (PVP) Act is being finalised by the ministry of agriculture. India, as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is obliged to enact this law to protect the interests of innovators of new crop varieties and the plant breeders. A debate has been raging in the last four years on who should be the prime beneficiaries …
Political parties cannot offer solutions
Well into his seventies, the veteran of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Kushabhau Thakre recently took office as president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Now heading the coalition government, the BJP has made a broad-brush reference to the environment in its manifesto. Rajat Banerji met Thakre to discuss the key issue of water
Iodine deficiency causes mental handicap
Chandrakant Pandav , additional professor, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, is a leading member of the International Council for Control for Iodine Deficiency Disorders, Office of the Regional Coordinator, South Asia and Pacific. He spoke to Manisha Rawat on iodine deficiency and related disorders in India
"Natural resources need to be protected"
For centuries the people in Bhinyad, a village in Barmer district, Rajasthan, been planning their agricultural activities while preserving the natural resources in the region in a unique way. , who is doing research at J N V University, Jodhpur, has attempted to provide a scientific basis to the traditional knowledge. Parihar spoke to Indira Khurana on the biodiversity of some selected …
Waste is being dumped in Russia
Galina Sdasyuk is a researcher at the Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, and is formulating a sustainable model of development for her country. She spoke to Vineet Katariya on the economic and ecological crises faced by her country
"The North is driven by the industry"
Christine von Weizsaecker is a senior microbiologist based in Wuppertal, Germany and the vice-president of Ecoropa, the premier European environmental group. She is involved in the on-going negotiations related to the Biosafety Protocol. In an interview with Sumita Dasgupta , she spoke on the various issues that are related to biodiversity and specifically to genetically modified organisms
"Polluters are today's environmentalists"
Crusader for the rights of over eight million Indian fisherfolk, Thomas Kochery , 57, made news headlines when he rejected the US $150,000 Fellowship of Pew foundation of Massachusetts, USA. He was recently elected unanimously the general coordinator of the World Forum of Fish workers and Fish-harvesters (WFF) -- launched to fight for the rights of over 100 million fisherfolk across the globe.…
The benefits of organic farming far outweigh the costs
HAY SOREE , economist and director of Yardi and Sore, a New Delhi-based company involved in organic farming and marketing, spoke to Down To Earth on the dangers of using pesticides and the need to switch to organic farming