03rd Sep 2014

a few comments on the move to amend env, forest & wildlife laws

What i said to NDTV on the issue of reviewing environment, forests & wildlife laws (http://envfor.nic.in/content/comments-invited-suggestionscomments-are-invited-high-level-committee-hlc-review-various-env) a) that it says review, an amendment -and could still mean that the laws...

04th Aug 2014
Stifle this Roar: Bollywood mauls tigers

Stifle this Roar: Bollywood mauls tigers

What angers me is the inane, and absolutely false propaganda of the Sundarbans tiger as compulsive maneaters: "anyone who enters its territory will not come back alive. Oh yeah? (In which case your truly would have been dead atleast five times over.) The guy who did the research (if any was done at all ) is worse than pea-brain.

06th Jun 2014

World ‘Environment’ Day

In a recent essay, eminent historian and Ramchandra Guha called India “an environment basket case.” It’s true, and it doesn’t bode well for the future. Think beyond your token contribution, of shifting from conventional bulbs to LED, from plastic to paper. Think beyond June 5th. Treat every day as World Environment Day––conserving the environment, knowledge of our impact, and reducing our footprint should be a way of life, not a day’s fad. India needs growth, but not at the cost of her children's future.

21st May 2014

Editorial: TigerLink, May 2014

Reserves like Manas in Assam, Palamu in Jharkhand, Satkosia in Orissa and Udanti-Sitanadi in Chhattisgarh. They are tiger reserves too… though not as celebrated as those closer to power centres. Here, tigers are not an easy photo-capture, nor an easy ‘sighting.’, and in some their numbers have been questioned. But, they are part of vast, high potential tiger landscapes, significant fragments of just two percent of tiger habitat that remains in the country and harbour other rare species. Yet, they struggle with acute shortage of manpower, uninterested governments…a few are under siege of insurgency, and saddled with dispirited leadership. So will we write them off? Because it is easier to shrug off responsibility? Or will we take them on as a challenge, and turn them around, making them examples like NSTR which has clawed its way back to recovery or Panna which shed the shame of local extinction to nurture a ‘new’ tiger population, even feeding tigers to other reserves today? The choice is ours to make. I hope we will have the wisdom and the vision to conserve, rather than allow deterioration and death by apathy.

18th May 2014

What India wants: “We must cease to perceive environment & forest laws as hurdles’

Protected Areas—barely 4.5% of our land—are the last refuges for our endangered wildlife, and cannot be fragmented any further. They’re strictly no-go, and sacrosanct. Additionally, important wildlife habitats and corridors must be brought under the umbrella of Eco-Sensitive Zones, particularly in view of the escalating human-wildlife conflict nationwide.

08th May 2014

Manas: Nobody’s tiger reserve…

Manas, today, again stands at breaking point. Two days ago, with the outbreak of violence in the region, over 5,000 villagers surrounded and mobbed the Bansbari Range Office causing extensive damage and compelling Forest staff to fire in self-defence. Another camp in the national park, Narayangudi, has been burnt and destroyed and park vehicles have been targeted too. Vehicles of conservation NGOs working the region were also attacked. It is reported that there is a move to withdraw all arms from forest staff in Manas NP. If this is done, how will they defend themselves and the wildlife of Manas in the face of such threats? It is critical to strengthen the security by putting in paramilitary forces till situations improve and normal patrolling inside Manas can be facilitated. Equally, the forest staff and management of Manas must be supported and strengthened.

09th Apr 2014

Ecologically (In)sensitive Areas

What has dictated ESZs instead, are interests other than ecological. Taking note of this, members of the NBWL’s Standing Committee, pointed out in a meeting that “the methodology of selection of many ESZs appears to be arbitrary, and at times, influenced by factors other than ecological” and pressed for “a careful oversight mechanism.” Yet, the process has been opaque, with negligible involvement of ecologists, conservationists or scientists outside of the government either at the state or at the centre.

09th Apr 2014
Little space for conservation in the election manifestos

Little space for conservation in the election manifestos

The year 2014 saw, what is being tipped as, India’s most exciting Parliamentary elections in India. But sorely missing in the electoral fervour, speeches and promises, debates and issues is...