'Our model of development is carbon intensive'
There might not be any end to the debate on how to develop without harming the environment, but an environmental journalist and author feels the problem lies in our "development model that alienates locals perspective and is carbon intensive".
"There is something wrong with our model of development that is so carbon intensive, and doesn't take into account how local people feel about natural resources," Bahar Dutt told IANS.
An environment journalist, Dutt has compiled an account of her work assignments in a book "Green Wars" (Harper Collins; Rs.299) that talks about development in different parts of the country, and how this aimless deforestation is destructing serene environment and displacing many people.
One of the chapters of the book highlights how in 2006, the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, proposed a plan to build a state-of-art airport at his ancestral Safai village in Etawah district.
This "development" meant a death warrant for sarus cranes of India, who have made these vast wetlands their homes. So when Dutt got a wiff of his fancy, she questioned him on abandoning the non-migratory crane's natural habitat.
He got furious and refused to answer, but when her CNN-IBM news channel spoke of the issue, Yadav had no other option but to drop the project.
The tit-bits of this "investigative-environment reportage" is what the book is all about.
"The book looks at areas of conflict, for instance in the northeast where over 100 dams are slated for construction in a biodiversity hotspot, or areas like Goa where people have waged a war against mining," she said.
"Everyone says that mining or dams will bring development to a region, but by that logic Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand should have been our most rich states," she said.
Dutt feels development models sustain lifestyle of the riches, and hardly do anything for the development of the area of the poor.
"I wish our development models were for our population or the poor. But what I have tried to highlighted is that more dams, roads and mining projects are being used to sustain the lifestyles of the rich in our cities," she said.
"If they were meant for the poor, then that would still be less of a problem. Oddly enough we develop coal power plants for the rich and want the poor to turn to renewable sources of energy such as solar," she concluded.
(Posted on 13-06-2014)