[Assam] [WaterWatch] Death Certificate to Prodipto Ghosh led Ministry of Environment ?
mikemahant at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 3 08:56:01 EDT 2007
Could somebody complete this epic description of a mafia Don?
Could we have a few of his mugshots.
I am certain -he is Kalam's speechwriter/Power Point presenter.
What is Prodipto Ghosh's Dr. mean?
Homeopathic or Witch variety?
To: waterwatch at yahoogroups.comFrom: yadaswati at gmail.comDate: Sat, 2 Jun 2007 10:18:25 -0700Subject: [WaterWatch] Death Certificate to Prodipto Ghosh led Ministry of Environment ?
Death Certificate to Prodipto Ghosh led Ministry of Environment?No one who is aware of environmental issues and the sad role of environment ministry under Prodipto Ghosh can expect anything other than insincere platitudes from him. Ghosh has nothing but utter contempt for MPs, MLAs, Journalists and civil society members.If one is serious about climate change how can one think of letting Prodipto Ghosh Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) address the issue when he is known to have allowed massive environmental damage to happen for his lust for corporate profit. Will he explain how carbon trade will alleviate poverty? He is known to have been totally brainwashed by World Bank Group. If there is any evidence to the contrary, let someone share it. Ghosh's obsessive love for organisations like The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), an NGO known for its anti-public interest stance is an established fact. TERI has consistently been supported and sponsored by several corporate criminals and some NGOs who have allowed themselves to be coopted. He has blessed TERI-BCSD, India (Corporate Round Table for development of strategies for Environment and sustainable development- Business Council for Sustainable Development, India) is working as a secretariat network of corporates. In 2002, TERI became a partner of the WBCSD (World Business Council on Sustainable Development), a coalition of some 140 international companies like Dow Chemical, DuPont etc and distributes fake Corporate Social Responsibility Awards. Ghosh provides patronage to TERI and have a reciprocal relationship with it. If there is any evidence to the contrary, let someone share it. The civil society members who invite Dr Ghosh or TERI seem to either betray their affiliation to corporate interest as opposed to public interest Campaign for Environmental Justice in India or ignorance about the issues involved.Just take a look the note of Environment Support GroupWHY WAS A DEATH CERTIFICATE SERVED ON THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS?On the 14th of November 2005, in a daring demonstration of strength, over 200 people from the Campaign for Environmental Justice -India (CEJ-I), entered the highly secure Central Government Offices complex in New Delhi and held a 5 hour long protest at Paryavaran Bhavan, headquarters of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). This event (called MoEF Chalo!) was a follow-up to the public hearing called MoEF Suno! conducted the previous day at the Constitution Club in Delhi.Both these events, MoEF Suno! and MoEF Chalo! drew participation from across the country including project-affected communities due to Sethusamudram ship canal and Sterlite Industries from Tamil Nadu; Polavaram dam in Andhra Pradesh; Vedanta Alumina Refinery and Bauxite mining in Orissa; Narmada dam evictees; Communities threatened by dam building and mining in the North Eastern states of Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh; Mining-affected communities from Rajasthan; Jindal Steel affected from Chattisgarh; and others. Additionally, a host of NGOs and campaign organizations represented similar struggles against the destructive impacts of dam, thermal power, infrastructure, industrial and other projects.The main purpose of entering Paryavaran Bhavan was to demand the scrapping of the proposed reform of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification and the draft National Environmental Policy, formulated without consultation with elected representatives and the wide public, by Dr. Pradipto Ghosh, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests. World Bank helped Ghosh rewrite law:Dr. Ghosh is on record that he has formulated these policy and legislative reforms in consultation with the World Bank. Not a single consultation has been held in any part of the country with local communities and elected representatives, even as Dr. Ghosh has been very busy attending consultations organized by industrial and corporate lobbies such as the Confederation of Indian Industry and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.The current Notification is already fraught with many inconsistencies, and has made the Ministry merely, and literally, an environment and forest clearance agency. Environment Impact Assessments and Environmental Public Hearings have become merely ritualistic, with consultants paid by investors producing reports that support the project and hardly ever critically examine its environmental and social impacts. There is not a single case where the Ministry has rejected clearance on grounds of fraudulent environmental and social impact assessment.The proposal for Dandeli Dam by Murdeshwar Power Corporation was on the basis of an EIA produced by international financial and consulting giant Ernst and Young which was nothing but a photocopy of an EIA being prepared for Tattihalla Dam, in the neighbouring Dharwar district. Despite being exposed by Environment Support Group and Parisara Samrakshana Kendra, no criminal action was initiated against the consultant or the project proponent. Instead, The Energy Research Institute was commissioned to do another EIA, which once more turned out to be fraudulent. Despite such serial frauds, the dam is even now being proposed for construction, threatening the last stretch of natural flowing river and surrounding forests on Kali River.Such cases are plenty from across the country. Work on the massive Rs. 20,000 crores Polavaram Dam across the GodavariRiver started without environmental and forest clearances and despite a stay on the dam. The Andhra Pradesh Government interpreted the stay as merely on the dam and not the canals! The Government ensured the Statutory Public Hearings were reduced to a farce by making it a forum to promote the project. Yet the Ministry cleared the project, disregarding evidence of adverse impacts on 280 villages (mainly tribal) and extensive destruction of thick forests and decimation of wildlife.In a similar case of environmental fraud, the Ministry cleared the massive Sethusamudram Ship Canal along the Tamilnadu coastline, disregarding appeals and protests from fisherfolk that this project would destroy the spawning grounds and thus adversely affect the livelihoods of about 10 lakhs fishing people on both the Indian and Sri Lankan coasts. Various research institutes questioned the very scientific credibility of the Environment Impact Assessments produced by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, and pointed out that the assessment had not even considered the impact of a Tsunami, should the canal funnel the waves into a more destructive impact than what was tragically experienced last December. Questions of financially unviability of the project were simply brushed aside too. Environmental Public Hearings became terrain to terrorise communities demanding more information on the project, despite which the Ministry proceeded to grant environmental clearance.In the North East dams are being cleared aplenty, with the ridiculous objective of generating 65000 MW of hydro power. In effect every river will be dammed submerging tropical forests and destroying forever rural and tribal life and livelihood. There is absolutely no plan or consideration for the displaced communities. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the only agency of the Government that could intervene to set the balance right, and here too, it has become an agency for project promotion.If such highly destructive projects are to be cleared without any careful consideration of adverse impacts on human settlement and the environment, then the very existence of the Ministry is to be questioned. A systematic analysis of the problems in environmental decision making was undertaken by issuing a series of Open Letters over the past year, urging the Ministry to truly work within the spirit and mandate of the Environment Protection Act and related Acts by which it is constituted. These Open Letters were endorsed by hundreds of organizations, networks, movements and individual researchers from across the country. Repeatedly, the Ministry was urged to open its doors to voices of concern and reason, but it chose to shut its doors firmly. (Open Letters are online at www.esgindia.org)At a so-called "National NGO consultation" held by Dr. Ghosh in his chambers on the draft National Environmental Policy, 29 November 2004, only 7 NGO representatives were present in a room otherwise full of empty chairs. Outside the door were at least 10 representatives from people's networks and movements, including Narmada Bachao Andolan, Jungle Bachao Andolan, Brahmaputra Barak Watch, National Alliance of People's Movements, etc., requesting that they also be given an opportunity to share their views even though they were not "officially invited". An ESG representative who was an official invitee repeatedly urged Dr. Ghosh to accept this democratic request. Yet he chose to call his security and bundle out all those who were "officially not invited". It was in this "official consultation" that Dr. Ghosh also pushed his reform of the environmental clearance mechanism in Indiaas a non-agenda item. Embarrassed by MoEF Chalo! MoEF issued a Press Release a day after claiming the November meeting to be evidence for its claim to being "completely transparent in the process of development of these two documents".If the Ministry was genuinely interested in fixing the problem ridden environmental clearance mechanisms, then it should have begun by at least listening to people when they came knocking on its doors on 14 November 2005. But neither the Minister nor Secretary would come to meet this large representation. In effect they lent credence to the widely held opinion that the Ministry of Environment and Forests was unwilling to listen and learn and thus was good as dead. Even the Press in Delhiwho wanted to cover MoEF Chalo! was banned entry by CISF, questionably on the instructions of Dr. Ghosh.In light of such non-responsive and non-committal approach of the Ministry, a token ceremony was held to symbolically announce the death of the Ministry. A Death Certificate (see enclosure) was served on them by pasting it on the walls of Paryavaran Bhavan to symbolically announce that MoEF is dead within the context, spirit and letter of the Environment Protection Act by which it has been constituted.CEJ-I representatives have now submitted a representation to the Prime Minister's Office urging him to reject the proposed reforms of the EIA Notification and the draft National Environmental Policy. A demand has also been placed before the Prime Minister to sack Dr. Pradipto Ghosh, Secretary, MoEF, for admittedly, he has formulated reform of law and policy in consultation with the World Bank, which is illegal. Enclosed: Death Certificate of the MoEF and Background NoteCampaign for Environmental Justice in IndiaDeath CertificateWe, the people representing a wide range of tribal, rural and urban communities, the rivers and forests, wildlife and coastal regions, deserts and mountains, declare the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests dead as it has failed to protect our environment.This death befell the Ministry by its own act of commission, omission and collusion in order to support the agenda of destructive development in India prescribed by agencies like the World Bank, IMF, and our own technocrats. Financed by grants from such institutions, Ministry officials have casually and carelessly given clearances to all and sundry, including to those investors with plans causing environmental destruction at any cost.The cause for the Ministry's death is rigor mortis. Normally this condition visits the dead after death has occured. But the Ministry suffers from a very rare disease of the living dead. The cause of which is its penchant to twist law and policy to advantage investors at any cost. A related cause was its compulsive habit of treating with disdain the simple and wise opinion of ordinary folks across the country, who have asked for that kind of development that would benefit all. That kind of development that would not compromise the survival of wildlife and its habitats, and the livelihoods of present and future generations.We must not mourn this death, however. Instead we must celebrate this death. For the living dead are a terrible affliction on the truly living.For this is an opportunity for us to create anew the kind of Ministry of Environment and Forests that this great country, with its wonderful diversity of ecosytems and peoples, deserve.Delivering this Death Certificate to the Prime Minister of India, we present the Government of India an opportunity of bringing to life a Ministry of Environment and Forests that will uphold the law of the land and serve to protect the country's environment and human rights.Issued on the approval of peoples' groups across India, by the Campaign for Environmental Justice in India, following a Public Hearing entitled "MoEF Suno", 13th November 2005, at Delhi.Background to the Proposed Amendment to the Environment Impact Assessment Notification by the Ministry of Environment and ForestsOver the past few years, there has been systematic erosion in implementation of very progressive elements in the environmental law and regulatory systems of India. Both State and Central governments across the country have vigorously pursued a policy of accommodating industrial, infrastructure and mining development at any cost -- including the loss of precious rivers and forests and causing displacement to hundreds of thousands of people from both forest-dwelling and agrarian communities.Experience with the existing EIA notification and Public Hearing processes:The existing EIA notification brought into force on January 27, 1994, is perhaps the only provision in the entire gamut of law where public participation in decision-making by conducting by Environmental Public Hearings is mandated for high-impact projects. Yet, experience with this notification over the past decade demonstrates that there are very serious flaws in the current process.To cite a few examples, despite objections from the State of Tamil Nadu, the Sethusamudram ship canal (450 kms along the East Coast of India) was cleared by the Central Government without adhering to any norms relating to public consultation and participation in decision-making. The livelihood of over ten lakh fishermen on both the Indian and Sri Lankan coasts is directly threatened. Yet the Prime Minister inaugurated the project, questionably in Madurai (way off the coast), in an attempt to avoid embarrassment due to widespread resistance along the coast.Last month, a farce of a public hearing was conducted in several districts facing submergence by the Polavaram dam project in Andhra Pradesh. Here, over 150,000 acres of land will be submerged and at least two lakh people directly affected by displacement. Demands for meaningful participation and accurate assessment of environmental and social impacts have been disregarded and the state of Andhra Pradesh has pushed the file for clearance to the MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests). Given the recent history of the ministry, it is likely to clear the project as it did in the Sethusamudram case.In the State of Karnataka, the BMIC (Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor) project is an excellent example of how both the State and the Central Governments have systematically snuffed out access to information and participation in environmental clearance decisions. The result is that NICE (Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises), in collusion with senior bureaucrats of key departments, has grossly violated land acquisition processes and claimed land far in excess of actual requirements. This has happened even as doubts remain about the very viability of the project. Consequently, affected farmers have needlessly been put through a traumatic phase of their lands being notified for acquisition in the districts of Bangalore, Mandya, and Mysore over the past decade.In a similar case, communities in and around Padubidri in Udupi District have, for the past 20 years, found their lands locked into acquisition process for the siting of a 1000 MW coal-fired power plant by Nagarjuna Power Company. A significant campaign that succeeded in stopping the Cogentrix power project on environmental violation and corruption grounds in those same villages seemed a good indicator of the possible cancellation of siting power plants in that region. However, the Government of Karnataka is still strongly pursuing the project against the will of local people. This project along with many other proposed projects in and around Mangalore are in gross violation of the Environment Department's own Environmental Master Plan for that district which clearly recommended against locating highly polluting industrial and infrastructure projects as this would ruin the tract of Western Ghats and rivers in that region.There are other communities in Karnataka which have for very long suffered from severe impacts of pollution by industries which continue to pollute with impunity as the regulatory systems such as Pollution Control Boards and the Regional Office of the MoEF are condoning such acts of pollution. The result has been very serious and adverse impacts on the health of local communities and also on the local environment. The pollution of Kali River caused by West Coast Paper Mills and that by Binaga caustic soda plant near Karwar are examples that almost every district in this state has suffered in one way or the other.More recently, the impact of urbanisation has been severely felt both within cities and outside cities with planning accommodating merely the interests of middle and upper-middle classes. Effluents are being discharged into rivers, streams and tanks causing havoc to agricultural systems in the hinterlands. Similarly solid waste is being dumped on farmland surrounding cities and even forest areas nearby.In the case of Kudremukh, systematic campaigns by local communities and environmental groups ensured the end of mining in this wonderful forest, that also is a global biodiversity hotspot, and a region where three major rivers take birth. If the government was sensitive to the aspirations of the local communities, they would have regarded their active involvement going for an end to mining as an indication of their desire to protect their forests. Instead, by taking the decision to implement the provision of Wildlife Act to protect this forest, it has unfortunately disenfranchised communities that actually fought to save the forests thus giving room for an aggressive posture of resistance against displacement as advocated by the People's War Group/Naxalites. The result of not involving people meaningfully in decision making has been a disastrous situation resulting now in deployment of the STF (Special Task Force) Police. Given its past history, STF is likely to further intensify violation of human rights and perhaps also lead to needless disturbance in the forest.In acknowledgement of such dynamics, there has been an evolution of considered thinking across the world which is best reflected in the Rio Declaration, particularly principles 10, 11, and 17 identifying the key precepts for meaningful participation in decision making. These principles require Governments to:- ensure meaningful and progressive participation of people at all levels, especially the local,- introduce appropriate environmental legislation and ensure their implementation and- develop special regulatory mechanisms to assess potential social and environmental impacts and ensure they are implemented honestly and fairly.India has been very active in bringing in a series of environmental legislations (such as Water Act, Air Act, Wildlife Act, Forest Act, EP Act, National Environmental Appellate Tribunal Act, etc.) in keeping with such international commitments. It has even established a network of institutions to ensure effective implementation of these legislations. Growing concerns over the systematic destruction of our environment, loss of precious biodiversity and wildlife and unnecessary dislocation of large communities for projects whose benefits are simply not known or not even assessed is indicative of the fact that this institutional framework has failed to deliver the objectives of the legislation and international norms. It is not surprising, therefore, that there is great discontent across the country in terms of the kind of developments proposed as a substantial majority will not benefit from such development.Reform necessary, but not this sort:It would have been one thing to reform this notification to bring in the wide experience across the country to deepen the processes of participation and also extend participation beyond mere attendance in public hearings to actively addressing clearance conditions and post-clearance compliance. Also, it would have been appropriate if this reform exercise had integrated the progressive provisions of the 73rd (Panchayat Raj) and 74th (Nagarapalika) Constitutional Amendments. In particular this would have strengthened and systematised the involvement of local governments through District Planning Committees in environment clearance decisions.Instead, MoEF has issued a draft EIA notification which presents itself as an attempt to decentralize decision making, but in effect, actually devolves the power of clearance to the State Governments, without evaluating existing capacities to ensure good decisions are the outcome. It has however arrogated to itself the powers of setting procedures and standards for public involvement, developing ecological and environmental standards, etc. while completely ignoring the legitimate role of local governments in participating in environmental clearance decisions.The Draft EIA Notification guided by World Bank grant:This draft notification is an outcome of the consultancy contract partly awarded by MoEF to ERM, a Dutch consultancy, based on a World Bank IDA grant of about Rs. 200 crores under a project titled Environmental Management Capacity Building. Dr. Pradipto Ghosh, Secretary MoEF has confirmed that the MoEF had "Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ several consultations with the World Bank and then came up with this draft EIA" (more).Clearly this is a case where an agency external to the governance mechanisms of Indiahas been party to drafting law. Clearly a most illegal engagement of the bureaucracy. What is shocking is that not only does Dr. Ghosh not think this is illegal, but further defended it in a Press Release of MoEF issued through the Press Information Bureau: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=13328. Here Dr. Ghosh clarifies that "(t)he World Bank made available the services of a team of qualified international and national consultants" for so drafting India's key environmental clearance law and also its national policy on the environment. Needless to state both efforts are reflective of the much criticised World Bank policy of weakening environmental appraisal mechanisms to encourage growth at any cost.This process can also be traced back to the Govindarajan Committee on Investment Reforms which was set up by Shri Arun Shourie, Minister of Disinvestment during the Vajpayee Government. Among the whole array of reform proposals that this committee made, a primary recommendation was to ensure environmental clearance mechanisms should be investor friendly. Dr.Prodipto Ghosh served as a member of this Committee and over the past two years as Secretary MoEF has ensured that all notifications and rules relating to environmental clearances are modified in accordance with the Govindarajan Committee recommendations.If the proposed amendment to the EIA Notification were to go unchallenged, it would sound a death-knell to the environmental conservation and human rights protection efforts from across the country. This would undermine the efforts of hundreds of small, medium, and large social and environmental action groups who have worked systematically to ensure that only such developments are allowed that are in line with sound principles relating to human rights, socio-economic development and environmental conservation.The present draft notification is nothing but a veiled attempt to precipitate a process by which investment decisions can be taken speedily to only aid investors with absolutely no guarantees or checks and balances to ensure implementation of clearance conditions. As a result, our collective efforts would become secondary to the interests of investor-induced pressures, and the capacity of local communities and affected communities to access justice and participate in decision-making will be severely undermined.In addition the draft EIA Notification could seriously erode good governance possibilities in the following ways:1. It will complicate the process of decision making by attempting to devolve powers of granting clearances to the State Level, but without actually doing anything substantive in building capacities. In the process, the Local Government involvement, especially through the constitutionally mandated District Planning Committees, is completely ignored. The result is likely to be quick and weak clearances across the country and in general lowering of environmental regulatory standards..2. The process of public engagement is sustained as merely a one time process. Proper decision making demands constant engagement with the public, especially affected public. No attempt whatsoever has been made to correct this malady. Instead the proposed draft amendment even proposes the possible cancellation of Public Hearings at the discretion of the District Commissioner. Considering that the DC is a State official, s/he could easily become a pawn of political expediency in project level decisions, as is already happening across the country. Rather than correcting this malady by vesting this role with the District Planning Committee, MoEF seems content in endorsing a process already fraught with problems.3. The draft notification ridiculously attempts to constrict the concept of wide public as merely being the project affected, and none else. This would be a significant erosion of constitutional provisions protecting the right of every citizen in participating freely in public processes of governance across the country.4. There is absolutely no thought paid to the widespread experience of fraudulent or poor quality Environment Impact Assessment's being the basis of decision making. Surprisingly, MoEF even proposes to exempt the need for EIA in some cases, while offering a variety of dilutions that benefit industry and infrastructure developers. In general it plans to make the EIA more of a statement of impacts, rather than a careful and credible review of environmental and social impacts with a view to managing them.5. There is no thought paid at all to the lateral and vertical decision making possiblities in conjunction with other Central and State agencies. Even the involvement of the Forest Department in clearance decisions is not integrated with the final outcome, even though the same Ministry manages this portfolio too.6. The categorisation proposed for dividing clearance decisions between the Central and State level is extremely complicated. Similar is the case for allowing exemptions from the requirement of a full environmental clearance. In addition, no guidelines are prescribed to guide the many agencies involved by this proposed mechanism.Needless to state, this comprehensive amendment to the EIA Notification is likely to create enormous confusion and promote collusion between investors and decision makers to duck the law, make project impact information dissemination more in-transparent and involvement of affected communities complicated and difficult. In this context it can be observed from our individual and collective experiences that the proposed draft amendment to the EIA Notification is, in short, a disastrous proposal.Non-consultative processes:Ever since Indiajoined the rat race of globalisation, there has been a systematic adjustment of our regulatory systems to ensure free flow of foreign direct investment and enable integration of India's economy with that of the rest of the world. Several committees have been set up to ensure that such integration is smooth particularly in serving global private capital interests.Just in the course of the last year, a new National Environment Policy (NEP) has been prepared and now the EIA notification is being amended drastically Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all with the view of improving the investment climate of the country, but at the cost of the environment and all the people that depend on the health of that environment. The process of preparing draft NEP and draft EIA notification is indicative of the investment-centric stance of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.Yet when a series of open letters (endorsed by a wide variety of organizations and individuals across the country) have been written to the Ministry and Prime Minister questioning the directions being taken, not so much as an acknowledgement to the letters have been received. Even when NGOs and campaign organizations went knocking on the doors of the "official" consultations on November 30, 2004, they were not allowed inside the room even though there were several empty chairs. Kalpvriksh's effort in preparing the National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP) with widespread consultation across the country involving leading scientific, civil society, community, rural and tribal organisations was met with a 2-line terse response from the MoEF rejecting the recommendations of this massive exercise. MoEF was content in claiming its exclusive claim to knowledge on Biodiversity by stating everyone else had got it wrong.It is this context of secrecy, stonewalling, silence, and complete unresponsiveness that has led several organizations and people's groups to recently come together under the banner of Campaign for Environmental Justice-India. __._,_.___
Messages in this topic (1) Reply (via web post) | Start a new topic
Messages | Files | Photos | Links | Database | Polls | Calendar
New MembersVisit Your Group
South east asia
Three gorges dam
It's Now Personal
advice & more.
Get it all!
With the all-new
Yahoo! Mail Beta
Host a free online
conference on IM.
Catch the cricket action with MSN!
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the assam