The Neduvasal Project : Locals getting Vocal
Neduvasal is another wake-up call for many among us since the alarming levels of pollution in many eco-systems across the country (and the world) are sounding alarm bells. This is pushing many citizens (otherwise law-abiding) to fight for the protection of their environment.
Development is fine if the Devil doesn’t elope with common sense
Often, in the garb of development and immediate socio-economic gain, authorities or businesses may take calls that are very counter-productive for the eco-system. But the authorities and business often have limited liability unless the Law and the Contract provides for it. There is an Hindi idiom,” Khare Khoi, Bhare Khoi”, which means One does, Another pays.
Local Community the Biggest Stakeholders
Any decision that can affect an eco-system (irreparably/ over the long run ) needs to be taken with circumspection. All stakeholders need to concur, particularly the ones who would be the most affected, like the local inhabitants. The hydro carbon projects and the ‘Neduvasal’ protests need to be looked at from this perspective. If the local citizens (otherwise law-abiding) don’t wish a project in their neighbourhood, why should it be stuck down their throats?
The Importance of Citizen Activism
In the twentieth century, huge protests by activists and common citizens against The Silent Valley hydro-electric project in Kerala led to its shelving. This is one positive act (ecologically) that one is thankful to Mrs Indira Gandhi for. The Silent Valley Protests are also a reminder to all of us of the power and importance of citizen movements. We may have found alternate mechanisms to generate the electricity that was planned in the above project. Or managed to do without the electricity. But the age old rainforest, part of the UNESCO certified Heritage Western Ghats’ ecosystem still survives along with all its dependents!!!
Is it not naive to assume that any Government (however benign or even well meaning) will be more bothered about possible negative outcomes than the local/resident communities? The very people who will be most impacted by the Government’s oversight, however innocent the cause (of the oversight) maybe!!!