Posts tagged ‘Jairam Ramesh’

11/07/2014

India’s ‘Plastic Man’ Chemist Turns Litter Into Paved Roads – Businessweek

For as far as the eye can see, there’s stinking, smoking, untreated garbage. It’s concentrated in the municipal dump, in the South Indian city of Madurai, but not contained by it. The surrounding fields are also piled with trash. Stray dogs nibble at mounds of rotting food. The trees are denuded and covered with shredded plastic, the blue and pink and yellow bags like some kind of sinister confetti.

India's 'Plastic Man' Turns Litter Into Paved Roads

The road to the dump, and beyond it to Madurai’s airport, is like a Hollywood vision of dystopian ruin: lifeless, black, choked with human refuse. And that’s why Rajagopalan Vasudevan’s enthusiasm is so jarring. As he makes his way through the rubbish, he’s like a child on a treasure hunt. “Wonderful resource,” he says, admiring a jumble of plastic bags, jerrycans, and torn food packets. “With all this plastic, I could lay the whole road to the airport.”

It is difficult to exaggerate India’s garbage problem. Jairam Ramesh, the nation’s former environment minister, has said that if there were a “Nobel prize for dirt and filth,” India would win it. As much as 40 percent of the country’s municipal waste remains uncollected, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Of the waste that is collected, almost none is recycled. Most of it sits in open dumps such as the one in Madurai, leaching into the soil and contaminating groundwater. Some of it is burned, releasing dioxins and other toxic chemicals into the air.

Much of India’s garbage is made up of plastic—a scourge of the nation’s new consumer economy. The country’s Central Pollution Control Board says more than 15,000 tons of plastic waste are generated daily. Although the nation’s per capita consumption of plastic is low compared with that of the U.S., it’s expected to double over the next five years as India continues to develop. This poses huge environmental, social, and economic challenges. As the Supreme Court of India recently observed: “We are sitting on a plastic time bomb.”

Vasudevan sees an opportunity. A professor of chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, near Madurai, he insists that plastic gets a bad rap. Rather than an incipient environmental calamity, plastic, in Vasudevan’s opinion, is a “gift from the gods”; it’s up to humans to use it wisely. And he’s devised a way to transform common plastic litter—not only thicker acrylics and bottles but also grocery bags and wrappers—into a partial substitute for bitumen in asphalt.

In recent years his method has been gaining recognition. He’s become known as Plastic Man and travels throughout India instructing engineers how to apply it. The college holds a patent for his technique but often licenses it for free. To date, more than 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) of plastic roads have been laid in at least 11 states. The Central Pollution Control Board and the Indian Roads Congress, two leading government bodies, have endorsed the method.

via India’s ‘Plastic Man’ Chemist Turns Litter Into Paved Roads – Businessweek.

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06/11/2013

Interview – Jairam Ramesh: Narendra Modi has marginalized his own party – India Insight – Reuters

Jairam Ramesh, the rural development minister in the Congress-led government, told Reuters on Tuesday that Narendra Modi’s career reminded him of the rise of the Third Reich, the strongest comments yet by a minister of his rank on the Bharatiya Janata Party leader.

(Click here for main story)

Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:

Where do you feel public sentiment is at the moment?

If you look at the social media, the sentiment is in one way. If you travel like the way I do to remote parts of the country where social media footprint is very very inconspicuous, the sentiment is some other way. We are going through the noise phase of the election campaign … Sentiments change, by the way; there is no such thing like a permanent sentiment.

The Modi campaign has got a lot of momentum and the perception is that the Congress campaign lacks that momentum.

Modi-entum, not momentum. The BJP is a master of hype. I have seen them now for 20 years closely and they are the world’s greatest experts at hype. And very soon they come down to earth because they begin to take their hype very seriously. When you start believing that hype, then you run into serious trouble. This is what happened to the BJP in the past. India Shining was a good example of that hype.

I think a time will come when Mr Modi will begin to get judged differently. But India right now in 2013, I would say, we are going through what Germany went through in 1932. The classic symptoms, I am beginning to read all my old books about how the Third Reich came into being, how fascism overtook parts of Europe. Because, look at Mr Modi’s — what are the three principles of his ideology? Political autocracy, social divisiveness and economic liberalism. This is sort of Mr Modi reduced to three dimensions, the 3D Mr Modi. This is exactly what created the autobahns and Volkswagens in the 30s but also created the disaster of Germany.

Don’t you think it’s a bit over-the-top to compare Modi to Hitler?

It’s not. It’s certainly not. I didn’t compare him to Hitler, by the way. I never took the word Hitler anywhere. Mr Modi has demonstrated in 12 years that he’s been in power. He runs a one-man show in Gujarat. It’s a one-man political party. He has marginalized not only us, he’s also marginalized his own party. Yes, he is industry friendly. But whether he is crony-friendly or market-friendly, I don’t know. Mr Modi has demonstrated a singular incapacity to abide by rules.

via India Insight.

23/09/2013

Food security law may leave out many dalits, tribals

Times of India: “A good number of dalits and tribals may be left out of the ambit of the ambitious Food Security Act, with the socio-economic caste census reporting lesser number of households of the two communities than found by the decennial census, a fraught prospect that has led to jitters in the government.

As per the preliminary figures of socio-economic caste census (survey),1702 tehsils across 27 states have fewer SCs and STs than found in the decennial population census 2011. The census figures of SC/ST population exceed the survey numbers by 1%.

It implies that fewer SCs/STs would be part of the poverty list to be shortlisted by the much-awaited survey. Once finalized, the survey is to serve as the blue book of poor households for entitlement schemes and its first big use would be in the implementation of food security scheme that Congress has called a “game-changer”.

The discrepancy has been found in the poorest states like Bihar (124 tehsils), Madhya Pradesh (163), Odisha (132) as also in Andhra Pradesh (450) and Maharashtra (154). However, the absolute number of households in Andhra is not high because the tehsils are small in size, sources said.

According to sources, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has shot off letters to 26 chief ministers and the administrator of Daman and Diu, seeking proactive initiative to detect omissions.”

via Food security law may leave out many dalits, tribals – The Times of India.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/political-factors/indian-tensions/

08/09/2013

Jairam blames ‘forcible acquisition’ for Naxal problem

The Hindu: “Coming down heavily on PSUs for displacing tribals, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday blamed their actions for growth of Naxalism in many areas and cautioned that the era of “forcible acquisition” was now over.

The Union Rural Development Minister said if the new Land Acquisition Act is implemented properly, it will put an end to “inhumane” displacement of tribals from forests and check Maoist menace. File photo

The Union Rural Development Minister said if the new Land Acquisition Act is implemented properly, it will put an end to “inhumane” displacement of tribals from forests and check Maoist menace.

“The record of public sector (PSUs) in displacements is worse than the record of the private sector. This is a sad truth… that more displacement has been caused by government and public sector projects than private sector projects…particularly in Naxal areas. And this is why Naxalism has grown in these areas,” the Minister said.

Mr. Ramesh slammed National Thermal Power Corporation for allegedly seeking police help for forcibly acquiring land in Keredari block of Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district, where a villager agitating against land acquisition was shot dead two months ago.

He was addressing Hindi and regional media two days after Parliament passed the path-breaking ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’.

Criticising NTPC for the alleged forced acquisition, Ramesh said, “Companies must also learn to be sensitive, changing aspirations.”

“NTPC will face a challenge. If there is firing in an NTPC project and people get killed in that firing, they cannot acquire the land…Indian companies still believe that they can use government to forcibly acquire land. That era is gone. You cannot do forcible acquisition,” the Minister said when asked about the reported criticism by a top NTPC official of the new Land Acquisition legislation.

“If this (new) land acquisition law is properly implemented, it will defeat Naxalism,” he said, referring to incidents of “inhumane” displacement of tribals from forests for various public and private sector projects in mineral-rich states like Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The new law will be notified in three months.

Mr. Ramesh said, “Land Acquisition is the root of the Maoist issue. If you have a humane, sensitive and responsible land acquisition policy, lot of your problems relating to Naxalism would go. Tribals will be with you.

“It is a fact that many of the tribals have been displaced and they have not got proper compensation, they have not got rehabilitation and resettlement…particularly in mining of coal and irrigation projects,” he added.

Mr. Ramesh, the architect of the new Land Acquisition Bill, said the 119-year-old Land Acquisition Act, 1894, had a “very important role” in encouraging Maoist activities in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, parts of tribal Maharashtra and tribal Andhra Pradesh.

When asked that 13 laws, including the Indian Railways Act, National Highways Act, Land Acquisition Mines Act and Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act, under which bulk of the land acquisition takes place, are exempted from the purview of the Bill, the Minister said, “Within one year, all compensation, all rehabilitation and resettlement…all these Acts will come under the newly enacted legislation.””

via Jairam blames ‘forcible acquisition’ for Naxal problem – The Hindu.

See also:

03/03/2013

* We will defeat Maoists design through development: Jairam Ramesh

Times of India: “The Centre would “fight” Naxals through welfare and empowerment schemes and protect tribals from being used as shields by the ultras, union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said.

Cropped from image of Jairam Ramesh the Indian...

Jairam Ramesh the Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“In the name of forest dwellers, Maoists have created an atmosphere of fear (in the society). Our fight against Maoists is continuing. Through schemes for tribal welfare and women empowerment, with a strong political willpower, we will defeat their design,” he told a meeting of Adivasi Adhikar Samavesa at Narla in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.

Stating that Maoists were using tribals as shields, Ramesh said the Naxal issue can be tackled by strengthening Gram Sabhas and accelerating political processes and greater participation among forest dwellers.

As promised, the UPA government had undertaken several developmental schemes for uplift of tribals and many more were in the offing, Ramesh said.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo, who also attended the function, said tribals remained deprived as benefits of developmental schemes failed to percolate to them and they should be brought into the social mainstream.

A large number of tribal representatives from different parts of Kalahandi and adjoining districts drew the attention of the two union ministers to various problems, including the issue of fake caste certificates.

In a major step to empower forest dwellers, Jamguda in tribal dominated Kalahandi became the first village in Odisha and second in the country to exercise its community right to harvest bamboo under the Forest Rights Act.

With transit passes given to gram sabha, residents of Jamguda are now free to harvest and sell bamboo and not wait wait for the government’s special permission.”

via We will defeat Maoists design through development: Jairam Ramesh – The Times of India.

20/12/2012

* Land acquisition bill deferred till Budget session

The poor landowners in India have to wait a bit longer.

The Hindu: “The controversial Land Acquisition Bill is set for further delay as its consideration was deferred on Tuesday by the Lok Sabha till the next session bowing to the wishes of Opposition members.

Farmers, adivasis, dalits and other communities, whose lives are being impacted by the indiscriminate and blanket use of Land Acquisition Act 1894, on a dharna in New Delhi on Aug. 22, 2012. A file photo: V.Sudershan.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the Bill will be taken up for consideration as the first measure in the budget session.

His statement came following pleas by BJP member Rajnath Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) and Saugata Roy (TMC) for more time to discuss the provisions of the Bill which will have a wide ranging impact on farmers and industries.

The Bill provides for a fair compensation to land owners in both rural and urban areas with the stipulation that consent of 80 per cent of the people for acquiring land for private industry is necessary.

Despite Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council pushing for the law for long, the Bill has been hanging fire for sometime. It was referred to a GoM in the wake of differences in the Cabinet over certain provisions in the Bill, which has been described by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh as a balanced one.

The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 was introduced in Parliament in September last year and was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee which submitted its recommendations in May.”

via The Hindu : News / National : Land acquisition bill deferred till Budget session.

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