Showing posts from June, 2007

Letter to Press on Uranimum Mining in Meghalaya

Letter to Press about Uranimum mining in Meghalaya Please find enclosed a letter requesting endorsements on the Uranium mining proposal in Meghalaya. It is self explanatory. Kindly DO NOT ignore this incident. Such action as arrests are being undertaken under the new EIA Notification, and anyone who is a researcher, activist, environmental enthusiast, NGO worker, etc. is potentially a victim of such excesses by the State. Leo Saldanha -------- Original Message -------- From: Himanshu Thakkar Dear Friends Many of you may have followed the events in Meghalaya over the proposed Uranium mining by UCIL. Tarun Bhartiya has sent the following letter from Shillong, asking for people to put their names to a letter that they want to release to the Press in Shillong on Friday, June 29, 2007. Could you please pass this around urgently, and send your assent to >? Thanks Sanjay Kak --------------------------- Open Letter for Release to the Press We are deeply troubled at the repress

PMO's collusion with the disgusting Dow

"Around 1 a.m. on Monday, the 3rd of December, 1984, in a densely populated region in the city of Bhopal, Central India, a poisonous vapor burst from the tall stacks of the Union Carbide pesticide plant. This vapor was a highly toxic cloud of methyl isocyanate. Of the 800,000 people living in Bhopal at the time, 2,000 died immediately, and as many as 300,000 were injured. In addition, about 7,000 animals were injured, of which about one thousand were killed. A series of studies made five years later showed that many of the survivors were still suffering from one or several of the following ailments: partial or complete blindness, gastrointestinal disorders, impaired immune systems, post traumatic stress disorders, and menstrual problems in women. A rise in spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and offspring with genetic defects was also noted. (The Bhopal Disaster) This incident we now refer to as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, which has also been called Hiroshima of the Chemical Industry

Warning for repetition of 2006 flood disasters?

High Water Storage in Reservoirs before the monsoon Warning for repetition of 2006 flood disasters? Even as the nation awaits the arrival of monsoon (parts of India already drenched), a number of large water reservoirs in the country have significant water storages, which go upto 87% of their storage capacities. As per the Central Water Commission records updated on June 16, 2007, of the 76 large reservoirs monitored by CWC, 41 reservoirs had water filled upto more than 20% of its capacity, when ideally, the storage level should be 10% or less. In case of 20 reservoirs, the water level was over a third of the reservoir storage capacity. This situation could be dangerous as it could help create flood damages in the monsoon. Existence of so much water stored just before the monsoon is difficult to justify in most cases. Particularly when such storages are seen in drought prone areas like Vidarbha (Maharashtra), Gujarat and Rajasthan and also flood prone basins like the Mahanadi. V

250 years of Battle of Plassey

In Kolkotta on June 23, a play, "Plassey" marked the completion of 250 years of the Battle of Plassey. The Battle of Plassey took place on June 23, 1757, at Palashi, India, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta, near Murshidabad, then the capital of the Nawab of Bengal. The opponents were Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company. The battle was waged during the Seven Years' War in Europe (1756–1763); the French East India Company sent a small contingent to fight against the British East India Company. Siraj-ud-Daulah's army commander defected to the British, causing his army to collapse. As a result, the entire province of Bengal fell to the Company. The enormous wealth gained from the Bengal treasury allowed the Company to significantly strengthen its military might. Today, Plassey is judged to be one of the pivotal battles leading to the formation of the British Empire in India. PĂ´las

Citizens Call for Repeal of SEZ Acts

Even as the three day SEZ researchers' national workshop and All India Citizens' Convention Against Atrocities on the People of Nandigram and Against SEZs called for repeal of the Central and State SEZ Acts central government gave nod for SEZ land acquisition. Union Commerce Secretary G K Pillai has reported to have said that the state government can go ahead with the land acquisition provided the farmers had no objections to their land being acquired. Since April 5 empowered group of ministers led by Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee came out with a decision, prohibiting the state government from acquiring the land for SEZ, there had been confusion in the state government quarters over the acquisition of land for SEZs in the state. The Maharashtra government has notified around 10,000 hectares for acquisition in 45 villages of Raigad district for MSEZ. In a letter written by Pillai on June 1 to the Maharashtra industry secretary V K Jairath, he has said, since state go

Arrested Burma's Prime Minister's Birthday

On 19th June, 2007 the 62nd birthday of Prime Minister of Myanmar (Burma), Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was celebrated in New Delhi in the presence of Gandhains, socialist and communist leaders. More than 1 lakh signatures were received from across the country expressing support for Suu Kyi. Members of Parliament from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) was present on the occasion. In Rangoon, people gathered at the NLD headquarters on Shwegondine road to offer food to monks and release white doves as symbols of their hope for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom. A large mob of unidentified men in civilian clothing also surrounded the NLD headquarters and monitored the celebrations. Suu Kyi is under house arrest in Burma by the military dictatorship since 20th July 1989 although her party National League for Democracy won decisively in 1990 general election called by the military dictators and she is legally the Prime Minister of Burma. In her famous "Freedom From Fear&quo

BBC spreads mis information to support G4 process

BBC spreads mis information to support G4 process Burghard Ilge ====================================================================== Dear all. BCC just published the article below. Which uses the argument of the expiration of fast track authority of the US on 30th of June to legitimize the G4 process. Maybe it would be a good idea if someone [maybe from the US or the UK] would address this mis information and demand an official public rectification by the BBC. Burghard ================ source: (visited today 18:00 CET) WTO talks get push for late deal Four key World Trade Organization members have reopened trade talks to see if an agreement can be reached ahead of a key deadline. The US, Brazil, India and the European Union (EU) are meeting for five days in Germany to see if a global trade deal is still possible, the EU said. Attempts to resolve the Doha round of trade talks have failed to date, after disagreement over farming

Honesty thy name is Vijayakumar

Honesty thy name is Vijayakumar M.N. Vijayakumar is an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He belongs to the Karnataka cadre. He has served in Karnataka for the last 25 years. And he is only one of three IAS officers, of the 200 or so working in Karnataka, who has filed his assets and liabilities. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Vijayakumar, currently of the Principal Secretary grade, has been transferred six times in six months during the H.D. Kumaraswamy regime. From September 2006 to February 2007, Vijayakumar has sat on a different seat in a different office in a different capacity�"each time for “reporting serious corrupt practices by senior officers”. His wife, Jayashree J.N., has now launched a spirited, even brave, campaign on the web that throws light on how the IAS folk deal with “black sheep” in their midst and how they use the convenient alibi of “disobedience” to quell debate, discussion and action. Jayashree asks: # Is informing

Undertrials and Media

Media does not accord priority to the undertrials that they deserve. Undertrials are those prisoners behind bars who, in the eyes of law, are yet to be convicted by the absolute final judgement, and they pass their days with suspense and expectations like light and shadow in their minds. Prison is a State subject in the Constitution of India. States have to spend Rs. 55 per day per under trial in detention. At this rate, the States incurs more than Rs. 461 crores annually on undertrials. According to the official classification of Undertrials as per the length of stay in Tihar Jail as on 30th April 2007, there are 10698 male undertrials and 387 female undertrials. This means a total of 11085 undertrials are in Tihar jail. As per the same classification of Convict Prisoners as per term of imprisonment as on 30th April 2007, there are 2377 male convicts and 74 female convicts. The total number of convicts is 2451. Tihar Jail Complex in New Delhi is one of the largest prison compl

Putin's Censored Press Conference

"I have no one to talk to since Mahatma Gandhi died." Putin's Censored Press Conference The transcript you weren't supposed to see By Mike Whitney 06/10/07 "ICH" --- - On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an hour and a half-long press conference which was attended by many members of the world media. The contents of that meeting---in which Putin answered all questions concerning nuclear proliferation, human rights, Kosovo, democracy and the present confrontation with the United States over missile defense in Europe---have been completely censored by the press. Apart from one brief excerpt which appeared in a Washington Post editorial, (and which was used to criticize Putin) the press conference has been scrubbed from the public record. It never happened. (Read the entire press conference archived here ) Putin's performance was a tour de force. He fielded all of the questions however misleading or insulting. He

Is poetry dying?

No poetry appears in media these days. This was not the case just few decades back. Is it possible to replace some gross crime and political reporting with some poetry? Is media a 'back hole' in which all poetic sensibilities get sucked in, never to reappear again? Isn't poetry part of our traditional media? Does modern media leave a space for traditional media to co-exist?

Poetry in Media

Some years ago I read 'Na Hanyate' (it does not die), a novel by Maitreyi Devi. The book captures the essence of true intimacy. The readers of this novel say, it is a poetry in disguise. There are some movies that almost fall in that category. I am trying to remember the ones that moved us but we could never put the cinematic experience in words. I am exploring both the books and movies which have altered us in inexplicable ways. I am inviting the readers of this text to share their sublime experiences if any. The reason for initiating this series is to trace the remnants of poetry in media.

Poetry on Celluloid

There are very few movies that can be referred to as poetry on celluloid.

State of affairs at IIMC and the role of Information and Broadcasting Ministry

To Ms Asha Swarup Chairperson, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) Secretary, Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Government of India New Delhi Subject-State of affairs at IIMC and the role of Information and Broadcasting Ministry Dear Mrs Asha Swarup, Although belated I on my own behalf and on behalf of ex-students of IIMC wish to congratulate you on assuming the office of Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and for officiating as the Chairperson of IIMC. I wish to bring to your notice the sad fact that IIMC is rapidly losing its reputation due to so many factors. It is high time the institution is either turned into a University or is affiliated to a University to impart quality media education and to improve the quality of faculty members through better remuneration and better selection process. Please allow me to call a spade a spade. The Outlook survey (Outlook magazine's June 11, 2007 edition) shows that Ministry of Infor

Top mass communications institutes in India

The Outlook survey (Top mass communications institutes in India, Outlook magazine's June 11, 2007 edition)shows that Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has failed to act despite informing the Parliamentary Standing Committee (that approves its request for grants) that "due to the limited manpower availability owing to vacancies in Research Department, the IIMC is pre-occupied with sponsored projects (work) which generates more income and resources with the result that the Institutes‘ own projects are delayed." It did so in July, 2006. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting informed the Parliamentary Committee that "Considering the fact that the IIMC is a centre of excellence in the field of communication, teaching, training and research and it aims to be a world class institute, the Committee are of the considered opinion that the Institute must be provided with the necessary infrastructure to carry out their assigned jobs in an effective manner."

Forest Facts

Forest Facts · Before the British came in, the tribals lived on forest produce and also by cultivating parts of the forest area. · Britishers brought in the Indian Forest Act 1927, taking away the rights of the forests from the tribals and made provisions in the Forest Act that denied the inherent rights of the people. · After independence, the Government of India transferred the rights over forests to the states thereby enabling different state governments to exploit the forests to raise revenues and in the process the inherent rights of the tribals and forest-dwellers were restricted to the nistari rights · In 1976 the Constitution was amended and forests were brought under the concurrent list to enable the Parliament to pass the Wildlife Conservation Act · Alarming denudation of forests led to enactment of the Forest Conservation Act in 1980 by the Parliament taking away the rights of state governments to convert forest land for non-forest use. · In 1995, T.N Godavarman filed a

Climate Change in Social Vaccum

Apropos 'No more kindergarten approach to climate' (Down To Earth May 31, 2007), the current politics of climate change entails keeping society and social sciences religiously out of the climate change research from the very outset till date. Therefore, climate change debate suffers from paucity of social perspective. Until and unless this missing link is fixed there is no way to break the stalemate. The UN Security Council held its first-ever discussion on climate change as a serious threat to security and future political stability on April 17, 2007 that created so much heat that Indian Parliament was compelled to discuss climate change in early May 2007 although Indian society does and did not deem climate change to be a problem of utmost priority since it is grappling with agrarian crisis and farmers suicides as its pressing priorities. It is clear that Indian parliament was under tremendous international pressure to adopt climate change as its problem. Isn't absence o