I have a story to tell you Mr.Jairam Ramesh
It is not long back in Indian history books when environment ministry was seen an office without a portfolio in political circle and its not far back when a former environment minister was fined by Supreme court due to his negligence in keeping environment regulation ( while minister of same) for his own hotel at Himachal Pradesh. This is how an average India had seen environment ministry growing within India.
BUT since Jairam Ramesh has took over as current environment minister in congress ruling regime this ministry has a special charm, not even a week goes without having a big news made by Minister of environment Mr. Jairam Ramesh. Sometime due to his blunt views on various issues and sometime his magnet views on various projects where environment ministry had sought stern action. Examples are numerous but some are due to have special attention like recent remark of his ministry on Adarsh housing society of Mumbai.
A common Indian man had seen someone like Jairam as winner of Indian cause, who uses Media as his weapons, who knows against whom and when to take action, who knows well by his ideological understanding what it meant to start a propaganda and for sure he had been a winner since beginning, I would say India had got someone who knows what to use and when to use.
But still I am concerned about put on front stunt made by Jairam ramesh because there are flaws what he himself follows within system, I would prefer to tell a story which might help him to initiate a real battle which is needed at most for a common Indian man and women.
I was visiting few days back to Maharastra ( Amrawati, Morshi) where some of the biggest power plant ( coal running) are planned and are taking shape in this region, so called Vidharbha which is been known by the media, a part of India where farmers take suicide, some people like my friend Asutosh Chaterjee name as the suicide capital of farmers. News is been known since long about these suicides but it never made to our mind the reason-hidden beneath these suicides, the real cause of farmers death. I had met Mr. Sanjay Kolhe in Morshi who is been known in that area for protesting against a Power project (Coal based) of a big Indian giant. I asked him what are the reasons behind his protest; he patiently shook my hand and asked me to sit with him in his restaurant, facing the upper Wardha dam built in this area to listen a story which goes beyond generations.
Mr. Sanjay a strong man in his personality started to speak and said that Morshi came in scene around 1960-1970 when water project specially dams were taking shape as temples of modern India, at that point a dam was also planned for farmers benefits around this area ( Now known as Upper Wardha Dam) but the major problem came at the time when many numbers of farmers were asked to leave their land what they were cultivating since generation for the benefits of other farmers who were assured to get benefit from this proposed dam. A campaign was done (by anchoring religious sentiment of Dana a Sanskrit word means giving away for better cause) with the help of few dominant individual to convince farmers to give away their land for this giant dam project and at last many farmers gave away their land to help their fellow framers who would get benefit by having water to irrigate and eventually it will help to increase the crop production and social conditions.
Dam was finished around 1990s or so then in this area (around Amrawati, Morshi) agriculture also took a notional growth by this Dam and canals, not only helped in irrigation but also it provides majority of the water to Amrawati city and around. Those farmers who had given their land years back were happy to see the development and growth by their Danathat they had done for society at large. Now the real story takes shape, some years back a power project was planned nearMorshi (30 km away) by a big company and now the water of this dam is planned to routed for coal based power project that is been known as water hungry. Mr. Sanjay Kolhe mentioned that now farmers feel defeated since their water is goingto be taken for this water hungry coal based power project and they will not have enough water to grow food for themselves and society, now those who had given their land for this dam project also feel defeated and sad for which theyhad given their land. Mr. Sanju Kolhe who himself had given some of his land for this cause now feel depressed and worrisome for the future of his fellow farmers and this climatic zone. Vidharbha as it is called in Maharastra also had seen various suicides in recent by farmers whose basis he puts on the policies which are taking shape in this area. He told me that numerous power project are coming in this Vidharbha zone, already a water stressed area, on top of that since this coal based project are going to emit an enormous degree of temperature it will cause severe damage to crop growth, maturity and so on. This is not only the case, I had met in another occasion some of the farmers living very close to Nagpur where they came to seek a suggestion for their land which is just next to a proposed coal based power project andthey feel that due to the heat and pollution they wont be able to produce any more vegetables and there will be water problem.
Now I question to Mr. Jairam Ramesh does these power project does not suit a drop on to environmental clearance (if it was given before) which is going to destroy a complete life style of a society with a heavy damage to farmers well-being? Does this does not come in environmental ministry notice? Cannot Mr. Jairam talk about it in media and for poor farmers who are left by themselves in this country, a country of farmers is not any more looking on to them who keep this country vibrating.
I hope my story reaches to Mr. Jairam ramesh and something can be done for more then 1,200,00 of farmers in Amrawati zone by stopping this water hungry coal based project and see some other alternatives for our life. As far as I see in this country poor people pay the price for rich peoples policy and need.
Hope one day my country would be the country what Mahatma Gandhi had sought long back.
(I dedicate this article for those poor farmers who are protesting with Mr. Sanjay Kolhe near Morshi against planned coal based power project)