Environment Support Group

Environment Justice Matters- Vol 2. Issue 22

Farmers’ Protest 

After an historic and unprecedented year-long protest, farmers forced the Government of India to withdraw  three controversial farm laws. These laws had been rushed through Parliament in September 2020 by the Government of India without debate.  Some analysts claim the laws could have been improved to the farmers benefit. But the farmers uncompromisingly have held that they were pro-corporate and anti-farmer, and launched a protest in Delhi. But the gates of Delhi were shut on them and so hundreds of thousands of farmers were forced to camp at Delhi’s borders – for a year now. 

On 19th November the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi announced the decision to repeal the laws – “with all sincerity of purpose and from the bottom of my heart” – he also chose to specifically highlight India would now move to adopt Zero Budget Natural Farming.  Bhargavi Rao and Leo Saldanha analyse what PM Modi’s shift to Zero Budget Natural Farming entails and its implications for India’s farm, food and biodiversity sovereignty. 

The lack of democratic debate in passing these laws and in withdrawing them has been widely and sharply criticised: “Debates are the lifeline of Parliament; their absence will diminish the institution, put a question mark on the next set of laws and deepen already hardening fault lines.”  

Widespread call to Bangalore Metro to abandon ruining Sacred Grove of All Saints Church in Bangalore 

The All Saints Church congregation and the wide public came together on 28th November demanding the 150-year-old heritage church be protected from a concrete station box which Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) proposes to build by destroying the biodiversity-rich sacred grove. Steps for emergency acquisition of the grove were initiated by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB).  This section of the Metro is financed by the European Investment Bank. Besides destroying the biodiversity-rich garden, which foregrounds the heritage Church, it is a space used for all church gatherings. Besides, students of Arpana Special School and residents of the Old Age Home run by the church use this space every day. Cutting soil, uprooting 150-200 years old trees, digging deep, blasting and construction activities merely 20 meters from the fragile church could result in its collapse. 

An appeal to the Chief Minister of Karnataka to explore far better alternatives which massively increase footfall at the station and improve efficiency of the proposed line, is gaining widespread popular support. Even as the protests continue with carol singing and viewing “Our Metropolis” which documents how Bangalore has been ripped open by Bangalore Metro. Join the continuing protest demanding All Saints Church is protected for posterity as Bengaluru’s Living Heritage on Sunday, 12th December, 10.30 am.


Climate change intensifies impacts with reckless urbanisation

Through November and early December, southern Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have witnessed intense and unprecedented rainfall. Many parts of  Chennai and Bengaluru witnessed waterlogging, flooding and power outages

A massive apartment complex in North Bengaluru and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) were flooded for several days as lakes overflowed and canals were blocked. There are fears HIV and COVID-19 viral samples being studied in the JNCASR lab may have been compromised. Chennai was completely devastated due to floods, with 11,000 people being moved to shelters and required deployment of National Disaster Response Force

Leo Saldanha speaks of how this disaster in Bangalore is the direct outcome of undemocratic urbanisation. He argues that implementing directions of the Karnataka High Court in ESG lakes case, in particular guidelines issued by Justice NK Patil Committee on wise rehabilitation of lakes and rajakaluves, could save the metropolis in coming decades, as such extreme weather events will become frequent.  But, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has responded by directing Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to build concrete retaining walls for 88kms of Rajakaluve claiming that will solve Bengaluru’s flooding problem. Estimated to cost Rs. 900 crores, this engineering solution – concretising storm water drains – is unscientific, increases flooding risks and will destroy wetland ecologies, it is being widely argued.

The New Water Policy by the Ministry of Jalshakti also holds immense relevance in this context. The “multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder approach” adopted in the New Water Policy with emphasis on “nature based solution” for water management and  water governance proposes radical measures that can lead the nation towards water security. 

While cities are reeling under floods due to poor planning and corrupt urbanisations, farmers across India are suffering from rain induced crop losses – crops ready for harvest. Example: Kandavara Lake on Bengaluru-Bellari road in Chikkaballapur and of onion growers at Gadag. The damaged crops have to be thrown or sold for pitifully low prices placing farmers at grave financial risks and economic losses. The Government has assured farmers compensatory relief, but this is unlikely to be a resilient solution. 

What is the 9 ‘K’ movement?

The focus of conserving water and soil is largely on protecting and rehabilitating lakes; canals and watersheds are largely neglected. This does not help slow down or arrest water flows everywhere possible. As a result, when it rains, it floods, and then there is  the long summer when there is no water almost everywhere. 

A way to get out of this vicious cycle of floods and droughts is to carefully assess every space where water flows can be slowed down, even briefly arrested, without any negative impact, but enhancing water, food and ecological security. 

When ESG Team set out to list all minimalist interventions that build water, food and ecological security we discovered: Kere (Lake), Katte(Bund), Kunte (Pond), Kalyani (Sacred step wells), Kaluve (Canal), Kesaru (Wetland/Soil), Kavalu (Pastures), Kaadu (Forest) and all these supporting sustainable Kayaka (Livelihoods)! Thus 9 K! Or ವೊಂಬತ್ಕೆರೆ! (Kannada).

We invite you to join  this movement to save over 39000 lakes of Karnataka, and in the process save thousands more ponds and watersheds. We believe this effort will ensure that we have water security without having to destroy rivers and forests and villages with mega dams. Fill out this form and express your intent to be a part of the 9 ‘K’ Movement.

An update on the Glasgow COP26 – A conversation with Soumya Dutta 

Soumya Dutta, member of CoP26 Coalition International Committee and multiple climate justice forums, recently participated in the CoP26 at Glasgow. He stopped by at ESG to share what he witnessed.  He highlighted that UNFCC’s COP is the only global forum which, despite all its inadequacies, brings together nine recognised constituencies including governments, industry, media, academia, and civil society – broadly categorised as Blue (Official Negotiations), Green (Business, Academic and pro-establishment NGOs) and VIBGYOR (Peoples’ Forum, Free Civil Society, and Red and Green networks).  

While Justice and Equity are central to these negotiations, and negotiations ought to be based on  consensus and Common but Differentiated Responsibility, this premise has received a serious push back since the 2009 COP at Copenhagen and subsequently Paris COP in 2015 (Thanks to then US President Barack Obama who piloted an independent draft involving 20 big economies, including India).  This transition took away long held argument for science based action to save the planet, and instead pushed into a highly politicised pledge and review mode that has been to the advantage of industrialised economies, not to the planet and her people.  The super rich economies were also released from their obligations under the Polluter Pays Principle (Europe and North America combined are accountable for over 60% of historic carbon emissions since the 18th century – beginning of Industrial Revolution).  Besides, promises of technology transfers and contributions of money to save affected countries – mainly the poorer countries – have all remained on paper.

Glasgow COP was held with the awareness that the Earth over the past 11000 years of human activity has warmed < 1 ℃.  But in the past century > 1℃  With 36.4 Giga Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent dumped in the atmosphere in 2016 globally, at which rate warming in the next three decades would climb to a point of no return – > 1.5℃, it was hoped there would be collective action to reverse global warming by cutting carbon emissions. Instead, it grew to 38 GT in 2019.  Global shut down due to COVID gave the earth’s lungs some respite from industrial activity. But as economies struggle to revive and get going, the surge in carbon emissions is likely to push the planet’s atmosphere beyond stability in the coming two decades. United Nations estimates that $ 1 trillion investment is needed every year to keep Earth from warming beyond 1.5 ℃. But the rich countries have been far from keeping even to the $100 billion annually they promised in Paris.  

Despite all its serious handicaps, Glasgow was the last major opportunity for the community of nations to get its act together in tackling climate change.  It was an opportunity to upgrade Nationally Determined Commitments, to commit public finance to tackle climate change, to engage with loss and damage estimations and commit compensation (critical for island nations and really poor countries), to finalise a “Rule book” to hold down to commitments on actions needed, and so on. But it ended up becoming a forum for the dubious “Net Zero” commitments, a euphemistic resolution to not shake up way things are but give the feeling that there is action underway.  On the upside, Glasgow ensured global commitments were made to stop global deforestation by 2030 and of halving methane emissions by 2030.

But for Earth to not reach the ‘hot house’ state, it is critical that people everywhere come together to hold down their local, regional and national governments to cut back on emissions, which means they need to force government policies away from business as usual and aggressive pro-corporate anti-people and anti-Earth developmental models. This will need concerted peoples actions to force rich economies to cut back substantially on their perpetual growth strategies, which could give developing economies space to ensure genuine human development, so humanity can progress together to reverse ongoing climate change.

Public Health

A new variant of the novel coronavirus, Omicron, emerging as a major threat to public health globally, is considered to be highly virulent and escape protections offered by the Covid-19 vaccines now being used. As virologists and epidemiologists study the behaviour of this virus, which has  mutated 32 times beyond COVID 19, the key question is how to ensure humanity is saved from a carnage repeating: “Omicron is undoubtedly a bump in the road leading us out of this pandemic, and quite possibly a major pothole, but based on what we know so far, it seems unlikely to send us back to where we were a year ago.” 

A less commonly known, yet deadly disease, Scrub Typhus, caused by the Orientia tsutsugamushi bacterium, has also been affecting people in different parts of India – largely unnoticed. Low awareness about it, and even less knowledge about the environmental conditions aiding its spread, is making tackling this disease complicated.

Birsa Munda Jayanti

Taking a dig at the Congress party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that tribals, who have been ignored in the past, were now partners in development of the country, and the beneficiaries of various schemes of the BJP governments. He has also announced that Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, the birth anniversary of revered tribal icon Birsa Munda, will be celebrated in a manner similar to Gandhi Jayanti, Sardar Patel Jayanti and Ambedkar Jayanti in the future. This pitch for Adivasis rights comes across as hollow if policies affecting tribal and indigenous peoples of India are critically analysed: their rights have been systematically attacked and in various forms – there are attempts to amend Forest Laws, open up pristine forests for mining and plantation projects (oil palm in particular), and there are several events of evictions from traditional lands. In which context, the question is if Birsa Munda Jayanti is an attempt to appropriate adivasi agendas for electoral gains? 

Law and Society

The Supreme Court ordered regularisation of 300 houses in the highly contested and controversial urban development, Dr. Shivaram Karanth Layout, promoted by Bangalore Development Authority. While the preliminary notification for this layout was quashed by the Karnataka High Court in 2014, involving 3,500 acres of farmland spread across 17 villages in Yeshwanthpur hobli, Hessaraghatta hobli, and Yelahanka hobli of Bengaluru North taluk, the Supreme Court’s support for the project appears to have resulted in pushing those who have lived for generations here and farmed, into a state of homelessness. It has been found that demolitions have predominantly targeted Dalit owned homes

The Supreme Court has provided temporary protection for Bengaluru’s trees, restraining Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDCL) from felling ‘heritage trees’ for the widening of roads until the matter is finally decided by the Karnataka High Court. The ongoing High Court matter pertains to the future of 7512 trees, of which the Expert Committee appointed has found 3068 trees would be cut, 642 trees would be retained and 1801 trees would be translocated.  


गुरु नानक जयंती के अवसर पर प्रधान मंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने तीन कृषि कानून के रद्द होने की घोषणा की | यह एक वर्ष  से चल रहे किशन आंदोलन की एक ऐतिहासिक जीत है | संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा ने घोषणा का स्वागत करते हुए  प्रधान मंत्री को याद दिलाना चाहा की यह आंदोलन न केवल तीन कानूनों को निरस्त करने के लिए है, बल्कि सभी कृषि उत्पादों और सभी किसानों के लिए लाभकारी मूल्य की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए भी है। किसान आंदोलन के इस जीत ने बिहार के तीसा आंदोलन और उत्तर प्रदेश में बाबा रामचंदर द्वारा चलाए गए किसान आंदोलन की यादें ताज़ा कर दीं. श्री शम्भुनाथ शुक्ल लिखते है की यह जीत अहसास दिलाता है की कोई भी जनांदोलन बेकार नहीं जाता है.

योगी आदित्यनाथ के गाय रक्षा नियम के कारण उत्तर प्रदेश के किसानो को गायों की अत्यधिक आबादी तकलीफ पंहुचा रही है. किसानो को दिन रात खेतों की रक्षा करनी पड़ती है, खेती और इत्यादि काम का समय बर्बाद करना पड़ता है. समस्या को विस्तृत करते हुए किसान कहते है, “‘अब लोग (बेकार) दूध न देने में सक्षम गायों को और बछड़ों को छोड़ देते हैं, पहले की सरकारों में इस तरह के जानवरों की बिक्री हो जाया करती थी, कसाई खरीद लेता था, अब ये सब बंद है… पहले नगर पालिका से चमड़े के ठेके होते थे, अब सब बंद हैं.”


ಮೇಕೆದಾಟು ಅಣೆಕಟ್ಟು ಯೋಜನೆ, “ಈ ಯೋಜನೆಯು ಪರಿಸರದ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾರಕವಾಗಿ ಪರಿಣಮಿಸಲಿದೆ; ಅಣೆಕಟ್ಟು ಕಟ್ಟಲು ಮುಂದಾದರೆ ಈಗಾಗಲೇ ಬರಿದಾಗುತ್ತಿರುವ ಕಾಡು ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ನಶಿಸಲಿದೆ. ಇದು ದಟ್ಟ ಕಾಡಿಗೆ ಗೋಡೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿದಂತಾಗಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಜೀವ ವೈವಿದ್ಯೆತೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರತಿಕೂಲ ಪರಿಣಾಮ ಬೀರುತ್ತದೆ. ಅಪರೂಪದ ಪ್ರಾಣಿ – ಪಕ್ಷಿಗಳು, ಜಲಚರಗಳು ನಾಶವಾಗುತ್ತವೆ. ಇದರಿಂದ ಆನೆ, ಹುಲಿ, ಚಿರತೆ ಸೇರಿದಂತೆ ಹಲವು ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳು ಒಂದು ಕಡೆಯಿಂದ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಕಡೆಗೆ ಹೋಗಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಆಗ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಮಾನವರ ನಡುವಿನ ಸಂಘರ್ಷ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದುವರೆಗೂ ಅಣೆಕಟ್ಟು ಕಟ್ಟಿದ ಕಡೆಗಳಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲಾ ಈ ಸಂಘರ್ಷ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿರುವುದನ್ನು ನಾವು ನೋಡಬಹುದು” ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ ಪರಿಸರವಾದಿಗಳಾದ ಲಿಯೋ ಸಾಲ್ಡಾನರವರು. 

ಏನಿದು ಹೊಲಕ್ಕೊಂದು ಕೆರೆ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣ?:ರೈತರೇ ತಮ್ಮ ಹೊಲಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಹಿಡುವಳಿಯ ಶೇ 10 ರಷ್ಟನ್ನು, ಅಂದರೆ 4 ಎಕರೆ ಜಮೀನು ಇರುವ ಹಿಡುವಳಿದಾರ ಕನಿಷ್ಠ ನಾಲ್ಕರಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದಂಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆರೆ ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು. 100 ಅಡಿ ಉದ್ದ, 100 ಅಡಿ ಅಗಲ 20 ಅಡಿ ಆಳದ ಕೆರೆ ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಿದರೆ ಸುಮಾರು 2 ಲಕ್ಷ ಘನ ಅಡಿ ನೀರು ಶೇಖರಿಸಬಹುದು. ಒಂದು ಎಕರೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆರೆ ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಲು 2 ಲಕ್ಷ ಘನ ಅಡಿ ಮಣ್ಣು ತೆಗೆದು ಸಾಗಿಸಲು ₹ 3 ಲಕ್ಷ ಖರ್ಚು ಆಗ ಬಹುದು. ಕೆರೆ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣಕ್ಕೆ ತಗಲುವ ವೆಚ್ಚದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಣ್ಣ, ಅತಿ ಸಣ್ಣ, ಎಸ್‌ಸಿ, ಎಸ್‌ಟಿ ಸಮುದಾಯದ ರೈತರಿಗೆ ಶೇ 50, ಇತರರಿಗೆ ಶೇ 25ರಷ್ಟು ರಿಯಾಯಿತಿ ನೀಡಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ವರದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆಯೋಗ ಹೇಳಿದೆ. 

ಕೆರೆಗಳ ಹೂಳೆತ್ತಿ, ಭೂಗತ ಜಲಾಶಯಗಳನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಿ, ಮಳೆ ನೀರು ಸಂಗ್ರಹದ ಸೌರಸೂರು ಗಳನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಿ, ಹಸಿರು ಉದ್ಯಾನಗಳ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿದರೆ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ನಗರ ಅಂಥದ್ದೊಂದು ಪರಿಕಲ್ಪನೆಯನ್ನು ಜಾರಿಗೆ ತರಲು ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತ ನಗರವೆನಿಸಿದೆ. ತರಲು ಬೇಕಾದ ವೈಜ್ಞಾನಿಕ ಪರಿಜ್ಞಾನ ಮತ್ತು ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಕಟಿಬದ್ಧತೆ ಮೂಡಬೇಕಾಗಿದೆಯಷ್ಟೆ. ವಿಜ್ಞಾನ ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಗಳ ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳ ಅಂಗಳಕ್ಕೇ ನೀರು ನುಗ್ಗಿದಾಗಲೂ ನಾವು ಆ ತುರ್ತನ್ನು ಅರಿಯದಿದ್ದರೆ ಹೇಗೆ? 

ಭಾರತದ ಮೊದಲ ಜೀವವೈವಿಧ್ಯ ತಾಣ ಎಂಬ ಹೆಗ್ಗಳಿಕೆಗೆ ಪಾತ್ರವಾಗಿರುವ ಈ ತಾಣವು ಶತಮಾನ ಕಂಡ ನೂರಾರು ಹುಣಸೆ ಮರಗಳ ನೆಲೆವೀಡು. ಸುಮಾರು 410 ವರ್ಷಗಳಷ್ಟು ಹಳೆಯದಾದ ಭಾರಿ ಗಾತ್ರದ ಹುಣಸೆ ಮರಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. 

ಕೋಲಾರ ಸೀಮೆಯ ಜನ ಉಣ್ಣುವ ಪ್ರತೀ ತುತ್ತು ಪಾತಾಳಗಂಗೆಯ ಕೃಪೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಡಕಂಡಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆರೆಗಳಿದ್ದರೂ ಖಾಲಿ, ಖಾಲಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದವು. ಇಂತಹ ಬರದ ನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಳೆಯ ಮಾಯೆ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಿದ ಸಂಭ್ರಮ ಎಂತಹದ್ದು ಗೊತ್ತೆ? ಇಂತಹ ಬರದ ನಾಡಲ್ಲಿ ಮಳೆಯ ಮಾಯೆ ಈಗ ಪುಳಕ ಮೂಡಿಸಿದೆ; ಕನಸಲ್ಲೂ ಕಂಡಿರದ ಜಲಸಮೃದ್ಧಿಯನ್ನು ಕಣ್ಣೆದುರು ಇರಿಸಿದೆ. ಕೋಲಾರ– ಚಿಕ್ಕಬಳ್ಳಾಪುರ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಗಳ ಬಹುಪಾಲು ಕೆರೆ, ಕುಂಟೆ, ಕಲ್ಯಾಣಿಗಳು ಭರ್ತಿಯಾಗಿವೆ. ಜಲಮೂಲಗಳು ಸಚೇತನಗೊಂಡಿವೆ. ಕೆರೆಗಳು ಪುನಃ ತುಂಬಬಹುದು ಎಂಬ ವಿಶ್ವಾಸವೇ ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಜನರಲ್ಲಿ ಉಡುಗಿಹೋಗಿತ್ತು. ಅಂತಹವರಲ್ಲಿ ಪುನರ್ಭರ್ತಿಯ ಅನುಭೂತಿಯು ಖುಷಿ–ವಿಶ್ವಾಸ ಎರಡನ್ನೂ ಉಕ್ಕಿಸಿದೆ.


পুরসভার তথ্য অনুযায়ী, অতীতে জল জমার জন্য কলকাতা শহরের বেশ কয়েকটি এলাকা (উত্তরের ঠনঠনিয়া, কলেজ স্ট্রিট, মহাত্মা গাঁধী রোড, চিত্তরঞ্জন অ্যাভিনিউ থেকে শুরু করে দক্ষিণের বেহালা) বিশেষ পরিচিত ছিল। তবে গত কয়েক বছরে দেখা গিয়েছে, একটু বেশি বৃষ্টি হলেই শহরের বিস্তীর্ণ এলাকায় জল জমে যাচ্ছে।চিহ্নিত কারণগুলির মধ্যে একটি হল শহরের নালাগুলির রক্ষণাবেক্ষণ না করা I কিন্তু আরেকটি প্রধান কারণ হিসেবে চিহ্নিত করা হয়েছে কলকাতার পূর্বাঞ্চলে জলাভূমির দ্রুত রূপান্তর I 

উষ্ণায়ন এমন জায়গাগুলিতে অভূতপূর্ব তাপমাত্রা বৃদ্ধি ঘটাচ্ছে যেখানে কখনও এত উচ্চ তাপমাত্রা দেখা যায়নি।এখন দার্জিলিং-সহোদরা শৈলশহর কালিম্পঙেও পাখা প্রয়োজন পড়ছে I

Environment Support Group (Trust)
1572, 36th Cross, Ring Road
Banashankari II Stage
Bangalore 560070. INDIA
Tel: 91-80-26713560
Voice/Fax: 91-80-26713316

Website: esgindia.org Email: [email protected] 
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