Saturday, August 28, 2010

Niyamgiri mining project cancellation:discussions on western ghats e-group

24 August 2010

A landmark decision by Jairam Ramesh - excellent in quality and exceptional in courage for upholding environment policy and law. Moreso, when Orissa Chief Minister who rarely travels outside the state, flew to Delhi to raise the issue with the Prime Minister, of course in support of Anil Agarwal's Vedanta. Interestingly, the Chief Minister had the cheek to remark `i hope it is not politics'. Someone should tell CM Navin Patnaik that what he was doing in Delhi was undoubtedly `politics'.

The wildlife, the trees, the tribals and the gods of Niyamgiri shower blessings on Jairam!

Keep it up!

Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

24 August 2010

Dear Dr. Sharma,

I am sure the Niyamgiri gods must be praising this human endeavour of Jairam!

Isnt it interesting to note that humans are helping gods.

Anyway, the minister deserves a Jaadu ki Japhhi.

Lets see how he deals with the POSCO case.


Rakesh Bhatt

24 August 2010

I join you Sudhirendar in congratulating Jairam Ramesh for this landmark decision ! This was indeed courageous and a strong signal to industry and government officials involved in corrupt practices and in the habit of ignoring the laws of the Nation.

Carmen Miranda

24 August 2010

we really must enlist the aid of some competent person or group to look at such same violations

around lonavala eg amby valley and lavasa

and they claim to be planned cities

only all their working staff is bussed from far away

in any case the gods be praise d

Shyamala Sanyal

24 August 2010

Good decision. Positive signals!
Congrats to entire team particularly to the Saxsena committee, Dr.
Usha Ramanathan, Shri Vinod Rishi, Shri J.K. Tiwari.

This decision gives more hope and energy for people working in
stopping the mining related works.

Mohan raj K.

14 August 2010

I too join Sudhirendar in Congratulating the minister. In this great ancient country the democracy has some hopes and there is a space for people and nature. We should support JR ..


25 August 2010

I only hope all these congratulatory messages are going direct to the Minister. He needs to know as well.


25 August 2010

Aptly said Sudhirendar!

I feel lucky to be a witness of these processes here in Delhi. Am presently working closely with the ministry on Green India Mission Project so get to know first hand news on Vedanta, Jindal etc...

Regards to all,

25 August 2010

Dear All,

It is a luck of the forests,wild life,rivers,valleys,marine life & tribals in our country that some body like Hon'able MoEF Shri Jairam Ramesh is still there to do the justice.Otherwise it seems the entire governance is happening for the corporate lobby & under the name of "Development",they are hell bent on creating deserts every where.But at last this decision about OMC in Orissa is a ray of great hope in future.

Even in Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg ,all new permissions to mining/TPPs etc are given a moratorium upto Dec'10.It seems the green,biodiversed patches at the foothills of Sahyadri in Konkan region would get declared as ESA,as WGEEP would submit its report & Hon'able MOEF seems to be positive about it.

Let us see.

Long live Jairam Rameshji !!!

Dr Jayendra Parulekar.

25 August 2010


This (below) is my e-note to Mr.Jairam Ramesh on his Decision concerning the Vedanta project in Orissa. His Decision is ATTACHED, in case you have not seen it. It is long (as any reasonable speaking order would be) but surely worth reading in this troubled case.

Best wishes,

Sudhir Vombatkere

Dear Mr.Jairam Ramesh,

I have just read through your Decision dated 24 August on the Lanjhigarh bauxite mining issue. Please accept my most hearty congratulations for having upheld the Constitution of India and the laws made by Parliament, in letter and spirit. Such a speaking order as your Decision is, puts many Supreme Court and High Court judgements to shame.The fact that you have immediately placed it in the public domain speaks for your commendable sense of fair play as far as the people are concerned.

By your Decision, you have not only done a service to the Dongria Khond people but to the entire nation by upholding people's rights and protecting them against the on-going depredations of corporate raiders in collusion with government officials.

In an age of declining standards of governance, your bold and transparently honest action has provided that “light at the end of the tunnel” that all of us Indians are longing for. In an ambience of declining hope of fair governance, I pray for more strength to you in your endeavours to show that there can still be a people-oriented, law-abiding governance system. I also pray for your personal safety, especially as you have displeased very powerful forces.

Best wishes and regards,

Maj Gen Sudhir Vombatkere (Retd)

25 August 2010

Hi folks

I am pretty sure Jairam Ramesh's email box must be full by this time with letters of praise and support. Nowadays i feel proud to be living in an
India responsible towards its environment. Let us Thank Shri Jairam Ramesh for making us feel proud. He deserves all the credit for taking such a courageous decision in midst of so much indecisiveness in other development sectors,The Minister through this landmark decision has also stated that arresting the destruction of forests and saving the ancestral lands of tribals is also 'Development'.

We are with you

Latha Anantha
Research Centre

26 August 2010

I am not joining the bandwagon in garlanding the Honorable Minister
for Environment and Forests for the decision to halt Vedanta in its
tracks. The truth of the matter is that it was HUGE pressure, both
nationally and internationally, that left the government with no
choice but to do what it did. It was FORCED to. It also helped that
there was enough evidence to suggest that Vedanta Resources was a
company damned several times over, internationally.

For all the roses thrown at his feet, I am not inclined to forget the
minister's prevarications and arrogance when conducting public
hearings over the infamous BT brinjals...or the fact that the the
minister and his government chose to ignore the fact that farmers in
Andhra Pradesh had already grown the damn brinjals and were exhibiting
them at the hearing in Hyderabad! Who gave them the seeds??

Let us please not forget that on the other side we still have the
Posco project, guilty of violating the laws but now expected to be
cleared by the PM himself, the fundamental reason of course, above any
law of the land, and certainly above what any of us may think, is that
high-growth-rate India should not frighten away foreign investment
with something as petty as environmental 'intransigence'.

Before we pat ourselves on the backs and pop out the corks, there's
also the matter of a dam in Andhra Pradesh and Adivasis there soon to
have water flowing above their noses. There's Sterlite in Tuticorin,
where, a week or so back, in collusion with the police, activists
protesting the project were arrested and detained. There's still Coca
Cola in Kerala isn't there, contesting a decision that the world and
its mother knows went against the company? There's the farcical
situation of Goa, where no one, not even the most ardent activists can
tell you exactly which mine is legal and which is not, such the legal
skulduggery at work, such the impressive technique of throwing
activists to the mercy of wolves in the courts.

But then why should this information be made easily available when you
have provision for the RTI, a state-sponsored device intended to keep
you from the truth as long as it takes to have illegalities brought
within the ambit of the law. In Goa there are over 400 illegal stone-
quarrying businesses, but since politicians and their functionaries
have a hand in this trade, the government in Goa now proposes to make
these quarries legal!

Isn't this the bottom line? It translates into a very simple logic.
Companies give out the money and start the work, knowing full well
that the necessary clearances will come...

The way it works recalls a political cartoon of the 60s, showing an
American tycoon giving out coin to an impoverished African with his
right hand, and stealing from behind him with his left hand...

The honorable minister is yet to be tested. Let's keep our roses till
we really know...

Hartman de Souza

26 August 2010

Dear Hartman

It is indeed true that the Honorable Minister for Environment and Forests still has a long list of crucial issues to tackle and battles to win, as you rightly pointed out.

But lets put ourselves in his shoes for a moment and measure the high level pressures he is confronting every day from every other Ministry in the government and the PM and big business and industry and so on, plus the huge power of corruption by government officials and the judiciary - all in a terrible rush to pursue "rapid economic growth at all costs" and just interested in getting rich fast at all costs, all of them totally against any decisions and lawful measures to protect the environment and therefore out there together to block the work and the mandate of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The corruption is so ingraned in the DNA of our political and administration systems and big business and politicians are so used to get away with murder with impunity and so used to ignore laws and regulations that when someone like Jairam Ramesh puts the breaks in one of the most powerful and notorious multinational companies like Vedanta, we need to acknowledge it as an achievement, as it required an enormous amount of courage and integretity, despite the international pressure.

In my modest opinion, Jairam Ramesh has won a big battle in a long term war, which should be seen as a lesson and a reminder to all those businesses and industries wanting to carry on "business as usual" , that the path to drag India to the 21st Century and modernity includes respecting the laws of the land and the rights of the people and the protection of the environment.

JR will win some and lose some battles in the process, but given the current circumstances in the country which is pursuing rapid economic growth, I wouldn't like to be in his let's give him the courage and popular support he needs to fight our battles in the front line!


26 August 2010

Dear all,
just adding to what Carmen is pointing out,

Please do not forget that the Legal recourse for vedanta is not shut. they can file an appeal against the MoEF order in the High court or in the Supreme court. Secondly, in this entire hullabaloo the struggle of the people, their supporters is completely missed and not being acknowledged and the entire process is being hijacked by the minister and we as civil society members are taking this away from the people who actually kept the struggle on on the ground locally, nationally, internationally. Thirdly, we should not forget that the Lanjigarh plant at the foothills of Niyamgiri is still functioning and will procure bauxite from somewhere else which the COO of the company has already hinted at and he has also made the Orissa State govt liable for procuring bauxite for their Lanjigarh plant as per their MOU. So friends the war is still on..... this should be looked at as a breathing space to muster more strength and continue to apply the pressure and as Carmen rightly put it - ' lets keep our roses till we really know'

Aameen! – Krishna

26 August 2010

Dear Carmen and Hartman

I think we need to bear in mind that this is not really about Jairam. He may be more scrupulous than most Indian politicians, but the issue is how the MoEF operates in relation to big companies and the power clusters in the political parties.

The MoEF now potentially has money on the table for Carbon trading from its forests and other green funding streams (REDD+, CDM, voluntary carbon markets). This gives it a position vis-a-vis the Chidambarams of this world: The environment is going up the budgetary agenda.

But there are indeed still the POSCO and TATA projects, Jindal sponge iron and so on and so on.

This is about the regulatory and institutional environment, the above political economy and pressure from mass movements ultimately. In other words, we need to work in a way that is not dependent on one politician being "nice" even if that is helpful sometimes.

The point is that there are legal limits on the power of these Companies, in terms of both environmental and tribal rights legislation, but that these rights will not be respected without ongoing pressure from social movements, as well as funding streams for the environment.

This is why conservationists and tribal rights people need to get onto the same page, because otherwise things like Carbon Trading will be converted into something that ends up funding the diversion of Forest by the Vedantas of this world - this is already the pattern emerging with the Supreme Court's moves to implement Compulsory Afforestation Schemes under the Godarvarmen case - rather than acting to protect the forests and the people that live in them.

It should also be noted the UK DfID has a huge influence in Orissa, and has been part and parcel of opening up Orissa to private mining companies like Vedanta. This means that Firengs like myself have a responsibility to get our governments to stop such corruption of the rule of law.


26 August 2010

Krishna, I take the points you both made, and yes, we must not forget the tremendous long term suffering and pressure put by the civil society in Orissa and across India about this issue which I have no doubts also contributed to the ultimate decisions taken by the government. However I am under the impression that in this democracy of ours, the voice of the people is seldom listen to when business interests are considered.

Perhaps I am wrong, so please elucidate me!


26 August 2010

Vedanta's Malco plant was shut down after a prolonged legal & ground battle over illegal mining in kolli hills/ shervarayon ranges & Mettur.

Jindal's proposed iron ore mining project in eastern ghats - kanja malai, salem dist & in kawithi hills, thiruvanamalai dist were cancelled following a huge public uproar.

The company infact had to withdraw its salem dist application.

Sheer power of people & that is the only thing that would win ....


26 August 2010

I feel that if we could have a blog in a daily newspaper, as per the exchanges that have been happening here, it would be rivetting for people as an ongoing daily saga. What vitality & renewed liveliness it would bring to the press... The newspaper could say they have no responsibility for views expressed.. This kind of opening up could be so dynamic.. Any chance? Vanya

26 August 2010

news papers are owned by very powerful businessmen and politicians

that is why we will be depending on the internet

onne paper launches a campaign one man

eg cnn ibn lokmat is going hammer

and tongs

against the pawars

father anddaughter duo

who are up to all kinds of

shady deals

now the CBI has given that rascal sharad pawar a clean chit in the IPL business

only last month a news item in lokmat and on cnn ibn was blanked out after one day

it concerned supriya sules citizenship

it seems she has property in singapore

which she cannot have unless she has citizenship there

then what is she doing in indian politics

now we have to worry about the nuclear power bill

much disaster coming to unsuspecting people /villagers

we have so much sunshine

why cant we use more of solar power


27 August 2010


Hartman DOES have a very strong point. And I am among those who sent a personal congratulatory e-mail to Jairam Ramesh! I do not regret having sent it, because Jairam Ramesh DOES need support, but I at least need to ask him why he does not take similar action (or demand take similar action) in long outstanding cases which are very clear from the legal standpoint, as Hartman indignantly points out. In addition to the instances that Hartman lists, there is also the Narmada (Sardar Sarovar) case - a very old case - where all that he has to do is issue an order from MoEF based upon the Supreme Court's decision.

I have appreciated JR's action because it has given the Dongria Khond people a reprieve against the onslaught of one of the biggest corporate raiders (Vedanta). This will surely send messages to other corporate raiders that people's voices cannot be ignored because there are some people in government who are doing the right thing (even if for political reasons, as is clear in this case when Rahul Gandhi announced that he is their "soldier in Delhi", and which obviously gave political strength to JR to do what he did). The corporate land-grabbers will no doubt re-group and adopt different tactics ... but we need to have (1) one section appreciating what is right and good even while (2) another section asks for more, like NFFPFW demanding that land-grabbing by corporates all across India must immediately cease (SEE ATTACHED FILE), and (3) yet another section asks why A, B, C, D ... have not been done on the lines of Vedanta.

So let us all participate as best we can.

Bravo, Hartman!

Sudhir Vombatkere

27 August 2010

Dear friends

These communications have been most passionate, constructive, educational and balanced in tone and susbtance, and I want to thank all of you who have engaged in it so far and I hope we continue in the same spirit.

I now suggest we actually also think together in doing something constructive about it and go beyhond just writing to each other in this forum.

Could we perhaps write a letter supporting the Vedanta achievement not only to JR but to PM, and the CM of Orissa and Rahul Gandhi.

We could also perhaps give the MoEF a list of other cases that still need urgent resolution and we are all watching and waiting for results, although no doubt he knows very well what he needs to do next. We need to also write to Rahul Gandhi and give him a list of other people he can be not a soldier but promote him to a " general in Delhi"...

From our part we also need to be realistic about our expectations, given the massive list of cases pending and forces involved - given the slow pace of the justice system, I am sure many cases will take time to get resolved, but the Narmada !!!! ?? a classic case of chronic deafness by politicians when it comes to hearing the voices of the people!

The bottom line is that JR needs public support to do his job without fear of being transferred suddently to another ministry.... I frankly don't care much at this stage if he executes the mandate of the MoEF for political reasons or what ever reasons, after all he is there because he is a politician, as long as we get the right and just solutions.

We should support him and let the whole nation know that we support him when he manages to do something that is right , just and for the protection of the environment and people's rights and therefore from our point of view, like in the Vedanta case, which should not been seen as letting him off the hook about all the other similar cases that need resolving.

I am sure also that Hartman will be able to publish an opinion piece in a national paper like Hindustan Times or something, as it is important for us to try and infiltrate the mainstream press. It is not easy, but we can try. Come on Hartman, write something about what we have been discussing here and let's try and get it published.


27 August 2010

Carmen, you wrote “Could we perhaps write a letter supporting the Vedanta achievement not only to JR but to PM, and the CM of Orissa and Rahul Gandhi.

It means we write to Naveen Patnaik, the CM of Orissa who made a trip for agarwal & posco to get their files cleared. & to whom Manmohan, the PM of India that has been bleeding in the heart & head because Dear Manmohan/Montek & Chidu wanna fill their corporate master's pocket ...


27 August 2010

Sorry Piyush, you misunderstood me, that was not what I meant.

I think all those powerful people who supported Vedanta, should know that there are thousands of us out there who support the decision taken by the MoEF despite all the efforts to the contrary by the CM and government officials of Orissa and others.


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