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Monday, July 16, 2012

Microhydro Drives Change in Rural Nepal

BAGLUNG, NEPAL: In Rangkhani, a remote mountain village in western Nepal, a 12- hour walk on steep dirt roads from Baglung, the district’s chief town, families until a decade ago used kerosene and butter lamps to banish the darkness when dusk fell. River water is channeled to mi- crohydro facilities, providing power for villagers. The generators have little effect on the environment and the waterways are similar to irriga- tion channels already in use. Communication and health care were poor. Work, apart from traditional farming and small trade, was scarce.But since 2001, a microhydro project has harnessed the tumbling waters of the nearby Kalung Khola river to provide electricity for Rhangkhani and neighboring villages.

The World Bank estimates that Nepal’s swift-flowing torrents could supply as much as 83,000 megawatts of electricity through such projects, some without costly and environmentally damaging dams, making them one of the largest untapped hydro power resources in the world.“Nature has given us tough terrain: It’s difficult for infrastructure,” said Bhupendra Shakya, a renewable energy expert in Katmandu.“But it’s suitable for hydro,” added Mr. Shakya, who works with Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood, a project run jointly by the Nepalese government, the U.N. Development Program and the World Bank.

When the Kalung Khola plant was built, the villagers at first did not believe that water could create electricity. Khagaraj Sharma, 48, a school teacher, recalled in a recent interview how 150 people had gathered at the small powerhouse for the startup ceremony. All eyes were fixed on a light bulb outside the one-room concrete shed housing a generator powered by running river water. When the bulb glowed, villagers cheered and danced.

CPCB fails to file report on groundwater contamination by Dow’s Bhopal plant in Supreme Court

New Delhi : In a letter to ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Vijay Panjwani, Supreme Court lawyer for Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has assured that “CPCB would file report (on groundwater contamination by Dow’s Bhopal plant) as soon it is ready. There is no reason for CPCB to hold back or delay filing of report on contaminated ground water in Arif Nagar,etc near UCC/UCIL/DOWCHEMICAL plant in Bhopal.” 

The report of ground water contamination by the plant of Dow Chemical Company’s Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) has not yet been filed although the deadline for filing it on June 4, 2012 is long over.

In a letter to Mira Mehrishi, Chairperson, CPCB, Additional Secretary Union Ministry of Environment & Forests, TWA had reminded CPCB about the need for filing the report on removal of contamination of ground water in UCC’s Bhopal plant area in compliance with Supreme Court Order dated April 19, 2012 and March 28, 2012. A copy of the letter was also sent to Panjwani as well. The letter dated July 14, 2012 is attached.

Panjwani added, “Even otherwise supreme court has not stopped you to go ahead and collect samples immediately for presence of toxic heavy metals.” TWA feels that after the rains the test results of the samples will not be credible due to dilution by rains.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quebec, Canada and UK Urged to Stop Financial Support to White Asbestos Industry‏

New Delhi: In a letter to Jean Charest, Premier, Government of Quebec, Canada and Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Government of Canada, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has expressed its sense of outrage and dismay at the announcement of a $58 million loan for revival of the Jeffrey Asbestos mine under the influence of Chrysotile Institute, a white asbestos industry funded group. Canadian High Commission has confirmed that the letter dated July 6, 2012 has been sent to their offices. 

In a separate letter to Prime Minister of Government of United Kingdom his urgent intervention has been sought to stop banks, financial institutions and companies from investing in the Indian white asbestos industry. TWA has pointed out that companies like Jagjiwan Enchem Udyog Limited Company are admittedly “associated with world’s leading 150 years old reputed company M/s. Scandura Ltd., the British Belting Asbestos group of companies. Mr. Dilip J. Pandya founder promoter of the company had undergone intensive
asbestos process training at M/s. Scandura Ltd., in England.” The company reveals that its Aqua Dispersion Process technology imported from *BRITISH BELTING & ASBESTOS GROUP of U.K. *The letter dated July 10, 2012 is attached. Such involvement of British business interests in asbestos companies is unacceptable. This also reveals a manifest case of double standard given the fact that use of asbestos is banned in UK.

Beware of Campaign by POSCO and Government to create ‘Feel Good’ ambience for project

By Prashant Paikaray
Recently the government and POSCO have engaged in a media campaign aimed at confusing the entire mass.  They claim to have “downsized” the proposed steel plant, that the “people are coming around” and that the plant construction work will start in October 2012 etc. These  are apparently made to create a ‘feel good’ ambience in favour of the project. Stay cautious on such claims as many of such may simply be bewildering!   

The fact that the people still oppose this unjust project is shown by the fact that yesterday i.e. on 9th July 2012, more than 700 villagers staged a rally in Dhinkia village in spite of  heavy rains. We reiterated our strong opposition against the recent move by the Naveen Patnaik government to acquire our land for the proposed POSCO steel plant project.  The State government is preparing to take over 700 acres of government land that had more than 500 betel vines  and about one lakh cashew trees belonging to our villagers. In order to acquire this  700 acres of forest land adjacent to Govindpur village, the company and the government are using the technique of “trap and divide” our people. However we are determined to defeat such designs by proving that we stand united.

It was decided at the meeting that to hold similar meetings in some other villages of the area, such as Gobindpur, Patana, and Nuagaon during this week  and  to prepare for a bigger rally at Batatikira at a later date. As you may know that at Batatikira, our villagers have been continuing daily with dharna since June 2011. The villagers have promised to foil any attempt by the government to acquire land for the POSCO. Our people had barricaded in many places to prevent the entry of officials in these areas.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore : 5 year Integrated Programme in Management (IPM) Admission-2012
Eligibility:  Candidates who have passed Higher Secondary/XII standard/+2 level/equivalent  examination and those who are likely to complete the examination by the end of 31st July, 2012. 60% aggregate marks in SSC/X standard equivalent and 60% aggregate marks in HSC/XII standard/+2 level/equivalent; or SAT-1 overall score of 1600 out of 2400 (for General/NC-OBC category) 55% aggregate marks in SSC/X std/equivalent and 55% aggregate marks in HSC/XII std/+2 level/equivalent; or SAT-1 overall score of 1475 out of 2400 (for SC/ST/PwD/DA category) SAT-1 score obtained during 01st January, 2011-20th July, 2012 are only valid
Age limit: Not more than 20 years as on 30th June, 2012 (for General/NC-OBC category); not more than 22 years as on 30th June, 2012 (for SC/ST/PwD/DA category)
How To Apply:  Admission Procedure and Selection Criteria

Friday, June 29, 2012

In Haryana, you are punished if you fight corruption!‏

Sanjiv Chaturvedi
Sanjiv Chaturvedi, an officer of Indian Forest Service in Haryana, has been forced to go on leave for unearthing several scams worth several cores in the forest department of the state. Gopal Krishna reports.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, a Haryana cadre officer of Indian Forest Service, been forced to proceed on earned leave from June 3. Chaturvedi is a whistleblower who tried to resist and expose corruption in the Congress-led government in Haryana.It all started when Chaturvedi stopped the destruction of Saraswati wildlife sanctuary, Kurukshetra, at the hands of influential contractors of the state irrigation department in violation of Supreme Court orders and provisions of the forest and wildlife laws. The destruction would have happened due to construction of an irrigation canal through the sanctuary without statutory clearance. It is noteworthy that Haryana's share of forest cover is the lowest in the country. The Saraswati sanctuary is home to about 200 hog deer. It is believed that Saraswati, the mythical river, flows beneath the surface of the sanctuary.

Chaturvedi has been fighting back while remaining within the system but it seems he is tired now. He has been forced to go on leave in spite of his work getting support from many quarters.The ministry of environment and forest said in March: "Having regard to the advice of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and facts of the case…the issues raised (by Chaturvedi) …are worthy of an independent probe by an investigating agency."The CVC has said on December 16, 2011, that, "The Central Bureau of Investigation has now informed… that issues raised by Chaturvedi are worthy of an independent probe." Even, CBI says, it is "willing to take over the investigation of the matter… "

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sex determination rampant in J&K despite crackdown‏

Srinagar: A year after the Jammu and Kashmir government cracked down on sex determination centres, CNN-IBN has learnt that many of them have opened up again.In 2011, year when census figures had revealed the declining numbers of the girl child, the state government had come down heavily on the diagnostic centres suspected of conducting sex determination tests. A year later these clinics have started to open slowly prompting questions whether these clinic owners have been emboldened or the government has just become complacent.

More than 90 clinics were sealed when the census report suggested that sex ratio had skewed sharply from 941 to 859 per 1,000 males. In Leh, it was a dismal 583 girls to every 1,000 males.Kashmir private clinics association advisor Dr Shabir Ahmad said, "Some people got relief through the courts while other registered by paying money. There are some unregistered clinics functioning with the department's knowledge."

CNN-IBN went around and could see several clinics functioning and some were even working surreptitiously during late hours. Ironically, these clinics are in close proximity to the health department, which pleads ignorance.Health services director Saleem Rehman said, "If anyone tips us about sex selection being done at a clinic with credible proof, Rs 50,000 will be given to him and his identity won't be revealed. We will take strict action."Tough laws and strict monitoring along with government intervention can only check that the girl child does not go missing.