Published: Tuesday 15 December 1998

Paradise lost

The article on the state of the natural world 'Lost wonder' (Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 12; November 15)made interesting reading. Despite conservation programmes all over the world to save endangered species, it is shocking to know that the world has lost about one-third of its natural wealth.

In my opinion, conservation programmes do not always serve this purpose. Most of the time, bureaucratic hurdles are responsible for the failure of these programmes. Moreover, a nexus between forest officials and poachers is depleting whatever is left in the wild. It is not my intention to say that conservation programmes have totally failed. What is missing is the participation of the people in these programmes. ...

Grassroots view

The interview with Union minister for agriculture Som Pal (Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 9; September 30) by Sumita Dasgupta has an elaborate note on farmers' right on the draft of the Plant Varieties Protection Bill.

The interviewer lacks primary knowledge about farmers. She does not know whether farmers can breed and develop seeds and crops. She goes on arguing for farmers rights in biodiversity and their contribution to agricultural system.

The farmers never developed traditional varieties at any stage but only preserved plants and seeds in the fields.December 15,1998 Down To Earth. They should be compensated for their contribution in the field of agriculture as cultivators.

The intelligentsia should try to understand the needs of the farmers. Even the minister has said that the farmers must be allowed to develop and reuse the seeds they have bought. ...

More caution

This is with reference to the article 'The countdown begins' (Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 11; October 3 1). The directive from the Supreme Court needs to be implemented with some caution. Three-wheeler taxis, for instance, accommodate eight passengers at a time. The alternative to these three-wheelers would be counterproductive specially in areas where roads are not wide enough to run buses.

In the West, the trend is towards recycling and refurbishing, wvithout compromising on quality, thus conserving resources and minimising pollution. Why cannot this approach be adopted in India also? ...

Friendly advice

The theme and content of your magazine is quite praiseworthy,but its reach and impact gets limited due to its almost academic approach. The name of the magazine is beautiful, but the articles tend to pontificate as if from a high pulpit. I wish the magazine was closer to the common man. The magazine can become reader friendly if you 'relax the layout' and adopt a more imaginative approach in writing the articles....

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