It is the State’s duty under the Directive Principles (Article 48A) of the Indian Constitution as well as the citizens’ responsibility under Article 51(g) of the Fundamental duties to ensure clean air and a healthy environment. Over the years, we have noticed the Supreme Court laying down certain principles when it comes to securing a clean and healthy environment.
While the Rafale fighter jet deal will entail huge financial losses for the country, the agreement for the world’s largest nuclear power project at Jaitapur in an ecologically diverse and fragile region like Konkan, along with attendant concerns of the safety of EPRs, an unsteady French nuclear industry and its inexperienced Indian counterparts, will pose serious challenges to the environment, biodiversity, health and livelihoods of lakhs of people in and around the region.
We see obfuscation of the various illegal processes undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government and corporate interests to alienate people from their lands in several villages of the state, cleverly masked by news headlines that scream of encounters and surrenders. Standing in the way of this naked state-corporate greed are the original inhabitants of these areas — the adivasis who have forever been denied their rightful claim in the “development” of this country.
The Koodankulam anti-nuclear movement intensified following the catastrophic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011. The accident, coupled with Tamil Nadu’s memory of the devastating Tsunami of 2004, and state apathy to the people’s concerns, all played a role in invigorating the agitation, which was met with unprecedented repression by the State.
The past week has been a devastating period for the state of Kerala, for almost triple the estimated rainfall was experienced by the State. Yet, Central government’s puny financial grant of Rs 600 crore when the loss exceeds at least Rs 20,000 crore, its refusal to categorise the Kerala floods as a ‘national disaster’, and instead calling it a “calamity of a severe nature”, and finally not accepting foreign aid directed towards Kerala — indicate a strong bias against the southern state.
Tribunal in its long report running into 2,700 pages has recommended for changes in the Act of 1956 and as well as in the functioning of Central Water Commission as it found many shortcomings in its report. It has in total allocated 38.25 tmc of water of inter-state river Mahadayi, which consists of 24 tmc to Goa, 13.4 tmc to Karnataka and 1.33 tmc to Maharashtra.
Ajit Nayak was the president and an active campaigner of the Kali Bachao Andolan, a movement to rejuvenate Kali river, that protested against the damming of the river, industries polluting the river and rampant sand-mining on the beds of the river. His murder is not a rare occurrence but a continuum in the line of attacks on human rights lawyers and Right to Information activists witnessed across the country.