Showing posts from May, 2005

Le Clemenceau, a toxic ship under Indian & French Law

The Financial Express, an Indian financial daily reported the `routine' announcement of French government on August 29, 2004 that passed almost un-noticed. It was reported that the French government has discarded aircraft carrier Le Clemenceau and this would be sent to Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat (India) for recycling. The contract for the demolition of the ship was signed on June 23, 2004 between France and the German company, Ship Decomissioning Industries Corporation (SDI), managed. At present Le Clemenceau is in Toulon where part of the dismantling has been completed. So far it has not come to India only because the appeal court of Paris has been approached by the environmental groups of France to save Indian workers from health hazards involved in the dismantling of this ship. But the Supreme Court constituted Hazardous Waste Monitoring Committee has visited Gujarat and has given clearance to Le Clemenceau, the French ship. It has been claimed that 90 percent of th

Right To Government's Information?

The Parliament has passed new Right To Information Bill on May 12, 2005. Indians now have the right to demand access to government information. This is likely to help eliminate corruption and usher in an era of better governance. This Right To Information Act has the widest possible reach covering both central and state governments, panchayati raj institutions, local bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which are recipients of government grants. One visible omission in the Draft National Environmental Policy was the right to information for improving environmental. It did not acknowledge the right to information as an important principle for environmental governance. Now that the Right To Information Act has become a law, the Environment Ministry is duty bound to incorporate it in its policy for meaningful participation of the people to examine the appropriateness of the decisions taken by others. But what is sad is that only this right to information confined to g

Democratisation of Communication Through Blogging

As is generally quite well known a blog, short for web log, is a personal journal published on a website. Blogs can be musings, opinions and news, and a blogger can have a dedicated daily audience through his postings. Although blogging is yet to develop a serious medium in India because of the issue of Internet access which remains a major impediment. It is still in its infancy but one imagines that very soon a serious network of bloggers would evolve and give a new meaning to mass communication as has been the case in US and Europe. Government's plan to recognise bloggers and cyber journalists as media professionals is a welcome move. Democratisation of communication means that one has the right to communicate, therefore it is indeed the right step. Now it is up to bloggers to build their reputation by blogging responsibly. If a blogger wishes to build a reputation for being a trusted news source, it will have to follow the cardinal principles of journalism. But both amateur

Official Alang

Alang is situated on the western cost of Gulf of Cambay near Alang – Sosiya village. It is about 50 km from Bhavnagar. It is covered under extended port limit of Talaja port, as per Government of Gujarat, Ports & Fisheries Dept. Notification dated 8/9/1995. By road it is linked to Bhavnagar-Veraval State Highway by a two lane all weather asphalt road via. Trapaj (about 10 kms) and also via. Sanodar-Kukad village (about 23 km). The nearest train link is Railway Station, Bhavnagar (55 km). The nearest airport is Bhavnagar. Alang is the largest ship-recycling yard in the world. Ever since its inception in 1982,it has emerged as one of the choicest ship-scrapping destinations for the ship owners around the world. Hundreds of ships from all over the world find their final resting place in Alang every year. There are 173 plots to carry out the ship-recycling activities. This activity forms an industry by itself, as it provides around 30,000 jobs in Alang itself and generates steel totali

Open Letter to the Prime Minister

To Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Room No: 152, South Block, New Delhi – 110 001 Tel: 23012312/23013149 Fax: 23016857 Hon'ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, We are sure you are aware that the 11th National Water Convention is being organized by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) in New Delhi on May 11, 2005 at Vigyan Bhawan. Any person of average intellect will be able to figure out that the Convention is planned on a flawed presumption that Interlinking of Rivers is the `good' for the well being of the people and the country. Ironically, an Agency set up in 1980 to promote scientific development for optimum utilization of water resources in the country has narrowed down on interlinking of rivers as the only recipe for meeting water exigencies across the country! It goes without saying that the NWDA has been working on a "National Perspective Plan for Water Resources Development" since 1982 to justify its terms of reference fo

UPA Govt's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs constituted New Delhi: June 8, 2004 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has been constituted with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, as Chairman. The members of the Committee will be as follows: 1. Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of Defence 2. Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture; Food & Civil Supplies; Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution. 3. Lalu Prasad, Minister of Railways 4. Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers; Steel 5. P. Chidambaram, Minister of Finance 6. T.R. Baalu, Minister of Road Transport & Highways; Shipping 7. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry 8. P.M. Sayeed, Minister of Power 9. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Minister of Rural Development 10.Dayanidhi Maran, Minister of Communications & IT. The Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission shall be the Special Invitee.

Interdependence of media education and media freedom

India ranks 128th out of 166 countries in the latest ranking of the state of press freedom done by Reporters Sans Frontieres. Would it not be fair if a similar rating were done for educational institutes of journalism? The essence of journalism seems to be betrayal or collusion in the era of embedded journalism, which has undermined media’s integrity. It has betrayed public interest and it colludes with the Government, the Corporations and even the NGOs. One must realize t here cannot be an identity of interest between the readers who seek information and the media houses, which seeks profits. The media as it exists today practices top-down communication without accountability. The First Press Commission recognised that the readers have a claim on news space in the media, a 60:40 news-advertisement ratio. The government passed the Price Page Schedule Act but the Supreme deemed it as an attack on the freedom of media. In fact it was an attack on the rights of the readers becaus