THE THREAT OF FOREST DESTRUCTION
Dear serious reader friends, as you are reading this article, you should please realize that India is standing at a crucial juxtaposition of a battleground, the fight to save the green forests of our land. This is very serious, and a
fight of great proportions. The issue stems from the fact that recently a forest region marked as a no-go zone by the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests in Chhattisgarh was cleverly scraped off in order to make room for coal mining (the Lemru reserve in korba). This was done even after the Chhattisgarh assembly earlier unanimously agreeing that preserving the forests as a safe habitat for the elephants (and other wild animals) and sending a resolution to the MoEF. The MoEF actually acted on this resolution and decided to demarcate the forests as No-Go zones, but due to some unexplained reasons, the Chhattisgarh government silently backtracked on its decision and decided to destroy the forests. Well, the reasons are not so unexplained; if you consider the fact that some end-user ministries like coal, road & transport and power were backed by some very rich corporate lobbies to promote the destruction of the forests. The Chhattisgarh government also apparently seemed to realize that the money that the ministers will get from the corporate lobbies is much more than that allocated by the Central government for preserving the forests.
The disastrous role of coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal in facilitating the destruction of the forests is also worth special mention here. The coal minister now wants more forest regions to be approved by the environment ministry to be allowed for coal mining. As the situation stands now, environment minister Jairam Ramesh has to explain his stand to the other ministers, including the home and finance ministers, in his bid to save the forests from the clutches of coal miners. The best wishes of the right-minded people are with minister Ramesh as he diplomatically and politically fights the opposition presented by other ministers backed by rich corporate lobbies. The next meeting of the Group of Ministers is scheduled to be held on 15th this Month, in order to decide how to find the perfect balance between development and environment.
Now, reader friends, you might be thinking about the balance between environment preservation and development needs.
Of course, development is very important and the central and state governments have to fulfill their development targets, but one may ask what kind of development is this at the cost of our nature and the life of thousands of natives of the forest? Both the brave tribals and the free wild animals of the forest have every right to not to let the forests to be destroyed. The development should be backed by a good intention, which is clearly betrayed when you agree to cut down trees (the source of life on earth) in order to bring in more investments. Well, if the government is in so dire need of money, why doesn’t it concentrate more on bringing the huge amount of Indian Black money stashed in foreign banks? The money that can be retrieved will presumably solve India’s all money problems for a few decades to come. In fact, the concept of development can be a big eyewash, a vote bank politics to fill in the pockets of corrupt ministers and bureaucrats. When crores of rupees are involved, such as in projects like this, everyone knows there is a scope for widespread corruption. Also, why not plan developments that will not destroy the environment; for example, investing more in generating renewable sources of energy like
solar and wind? It is good to know that the government is aware of the reality of the situation as is evident from this post from a government website, http://indiagovernance.gov.in/news.php?id=595.
Well, minister Ramesh is definitely not alone in this fight. He is being supported by NGOs like Greenpeace who delivered more than 30,000 signatures to the Group of Ministers against destruction of forests. The signatures had a good impact, as the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee took notice of the effort and called on Greenpeace for discussions. In addition, minister Ramesh is also supported by those thousands of tribals who stand at the risk of destruction of their ancestral forests, where they have lived since as early you can imagine. The tribals are forest people you see.
Why saving the forests is important really does not require any explanation. Still, since everyone seems to have forgotten the obvious, here’s a reminder of why the forests are important.
- The forests are green lungs of the earth, always purifying the air and changing the poisonous carbon dioxide to life or Oxygen; that is the process of photosynthesis as we have learnt in our school text books.
- Forests have been in place since ancient times, they are our national heritage. Every effort must be done to save the forests rather than destroying them in the name of coal mining.
- Forests prevent floods as the roots of trees hold the soil particles together even during heavy rain.
- The forests are home to thousands of birds, animals, and the brave people of the forests.
What can we do? Well, we can at least sign this petition from Greenpeace and hope for the best things to happen. http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/What-We-Do/Stop-Climate-Change/Quit-Coal/support-the-forests/
If you are thinking that this article is promoting Greenpeace, it is of course doing so. They are right-minded people who are at the forefront of this environmental fight and we should do everything to provide more support to them. One thing that sets apart Greenpeace from many other NGOs is that Greenpeace is a proudly independent organization working on the donations made by its supporters. It does not accept any donations from corporations and governments. That is a very credible thing to do in today’s corrupt context.
To sum it up, if law can restrain corporate greed, then we can definitely find many opportunities for balanced development. Can’t the all-powerful government do that, instead of wilting down to a lot of money, some of which is definitely heading to Swiss banks as Black money?
see this news report
Villagers and environmentalists are working hard to rid the forest of wild shrubs and then plant saplings of fruit bearing trees. Its part of an effort to cater to the needs of different animals.
The initiative is a bid to lessen the damage done by the humans to the forests over the years, and try to give back the animals their natural habitat.
by a freelance writer