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Growth needs to include the green aspect

The killing of various activists in the last few years reminds us that we have a long way to go as a country before we welcome rather than despise activists and listen to them rather than shut them up.

delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2011 00:51 IST
Bharti Chaturvedi

The killing of various activists in the last few years reminds us that we have a long way to go as a country before we welcome rather than despise activists and listen to them rather than shut them up. Most of those murdered were people protecting the environment and even, wildlife, using the RTI tool.

A new killing, with many details unclear, reminds us, once more, of the imploding environmental crisis in India. Sister Valsa had spent over two decades working with the locals in Jharkhand's coal rich Santhal Paraghnas. Thanks to her work, they had secured a good compensation package, from housing to medical clinics.

These were not honoured to satisfaction. But think of it-without her presence, the locals would have been displaced and crushed, the coal under their home mined and they themselves reduced at best to specs of irrelevant ink on a census form. Sister Valsa's death reminds us of the urgency of inclusive development, and shared growth, in a time of Maoism, governance fatigue and despair.

But we must ask: can any of it come at a high cost like this? The mining industry has come to be seen as an industry with scant regard for the human cost of its operations.

Suburbian dilemma
Urban development has to face enough environmental challenges. Now, there is also the crisis that sub-urban development is forcing us to see.

See what is happening in Hyderabad's own Gachibowli area, on its peripheries. This is supposed to be where the big and rich are setting up their offices-a kind of tech zone. Despite the boulder-laden terrain, there were sizeable trees. Most of that is gone, and not because of the buildings.

It has been lost because of the nature of the buildings, and their decision not to invest in architecture that acknowledges nature.