ONE road, One decision, and Changing COLOURS--
By : Gopikrishnan
Had you been following this blog, or the environmental news for some time now, the terms “Niyamgiri” and “Vedanta” might ring a bell. A battle that had went on for almost five years, between an Ambitious firm and an ecosystem that was home to a large number of species. The war between money and morals, between man and man. The Niyamgiri Hills, as was mentioned in an earlier post, is the home to the Dongria Kondh Tribe and has been for centuries. Vedanta Resources, having found that Niyamgiri Hills was home to a rich Aluminium ore as well, had planned to exploit the available resources.
Had it succeeded, Niyamgiri Hills would’ve been another ode to the shame man has brought upon himself by killing the life around him. The ecosystem’s very existence would’ve been jeopardized. What has been a never ending list of crimes against nature finally had an exception when Environment Minister emphasized, “There is no emotion, no politics, no prejudice… I have taken the decision in a purely legal approach.”
Whatever the reasons, conscience says that had it been emotions, it would still have been justified.
It was a project that would’ve killed more than 10,000 trees and countless other flora, and fauna dependent on the former. The Tribes inhabiting the place, who are heavily dependent on forest produce, would’ve found survival a hard issue to face.
Men, Women and Children whose lives were threatened, along with those that sympathized (Who were willing to do more than the “tch tch tch”) stood against this blueprint of un-sustainable development. Protests were staged, petitions were sent, and it has been a hard war to win, but on August 16th 2010, a committee, initiated by the Environment ministry to investigate the mining of Niyamgiri Hills against the wishes of the Dongria Kondh, exposed the violations that the mining corporation had already committed.
On 24th August, the Environment Ministry rejected the project stating that it is against environment protection Acts and that it would jeopardize the livelihood of the tribes.
The ones who’ve fought, you can be content. You can find your peace in her smiles and in the knowledge that hers is but one among the thousands.
The Laws of Karma applies to ecological sins too, as Vedanta have found out to their cost. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to slap a show cause notice on the aluminum czar, asking why his refinery unit should not be denied the right to expand its plant from one million tonnes per annum to 6 million tonnes per annum. Another show cause notice has been served on Agarwal, asking why his plant should not be shut down for infringement of the Environment Protection Act.
The voices against this injustice have won. Those that have believed that development should NOT be made at the expense of humanity have finally been able to make the world see reason.
The Nature needs its saviours. In the name of development and prosperity, if nature is destroyed, we too will end up as losers, being dependent on nature as much as any other animal is. It would do us good to remember that we are from the nature, and not otherwise.
It’s wonderful to write about the victories. It feels good to hope and believe that all future wars be waged by millions will be for nature and not for material profits.
Let Us Live And Let Live.
My profuse thankfulness to Mr.T.K. Karunakaran, who has inspired me and many others to think the way we do, and whose wonderful words have helped me in framing this article.