Vote for the environment
The parliamentary elections are just
around the corner and activists
throughout the country are keen to
project the environment as an issue
before the electorate.
The first to do so was the National Alliance of Peoples Movements, which recently concluded its yatra in Wardha, Maharashtra. Two more campaigns have quickly followed suit. The Jan Vikas Andolan (JV A), a nation-wide network of people's movements, is keen to focus on people's rights over national resources, while residents of Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district, have launched a campaign to place environmental issues on the agenda of local political parties.
The JVA is planning to rally support in several states on forest issues, including the collection of non-timber forest produce, the new draft forest bill and the restructuring of the forest department. Several yatras have already been held in the adivasi areas of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, while a civil disobedience programme is on in the Nagarhole forests of Karnataka. Several workshops and meetings are also planned for the forthcoming months including a JV A meeting in Madras in the end of March.
Meanwhile, a conglomeration of groups including farmer's organisations and fisherfolk's protect off committees, has launched the Save Dakshina Kannada campaign to higl1ligl1t its demand for an environment-friendly industrial policy. At the centre of the movement is the demand for a study on the carrying capacity of the environment in the region, before any new projects are cleared.
Says Dayanah Kotian, president of the Dakshina Kannada Fisher- men's Protection Committee, "Political parties will have to spell out their stand on the industrialisation of the district and also their plan for sustainable development of the region."
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