November 26, 2014

Poachers turned protectors fight for their survival

Source: India Water Portal
Nature and wildlife can be better conserved if local communities are duly educated and motivated. Nearly 70 km south of Bhubaneswar, the Mangalajodi village on the edge of Chilka lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, is a testimony to that argument.

About 25 villagers, many of whom were once-known bird poachers, have now become saviours of the avian winter guests coming in from different parts of the globe including the Siberian and Arabian countries. 

November 19, 2014

The Modi Government’s war on environment

The Modi Government is pushing through reforms that weaken India’s existing environmental laws and threaten the rights of those who rely on the forests for their livelihoods.

Despite the bold warning from the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of the catastrophic impacts of rising temperature on the global climate, Narendra Modi's Government is all set to enact changes to weaken the existing environment and land acquisition laws of India, in order to promote industrialisation and ensure high economic growth, allege activists and environmental experts.

October 19, 2014

India’s fight against terrorism

Al-Qaida's aging leaders are struggling to compete for recruits with Islamic State. Nevertheless, India must prepare itself for all sorts of terrorist threats, not least terrorist re-emergence in Afghanistan. What role might NATO play in this?

The issue of Islamic terrorism has once again become India’s primary concern since the Al-Qaida (AQ) chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a video released in September, announced the launch of "Qaedat al-Jihad fi’shibhi al-qarrat al-Hindiya” or al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent to carry out jihadist activities in India and countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar (also known as Burma).

October 17, 2014

Disaster risk management is not just evacuation

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, the very severe cyclonic storm Hudhud mauled the coastal city of Visakhapatnam and adjacent districts in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh. But the storm couldn’t gather further strength or last longer because of the geographical gift in form of the hill range that cushioned the city where the storm made the landfall.

The southern part of Odisha was also partially affected by the storm but there was no large scale devastation one normally associates with such powerful storms.

October 05, 2014

From starvation deaths to surplus

Farmers of Kashipur region in Odisha revived traditional practices to deal with ecological ruin and malnutrition.

GROWING CROPS had never been easy in Kashipur. Farmers practised shifting cultivation, depending on rains to produce whatever little was possible on the rocky slopes. But with onslaught of bauxite mining, large scale felling of forest trees and changing weather patterns, the going has got tougher.  

August 15, 2014

Land grab under DQ: it's all guided by principle!


In view of the involvement of several of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders and ministers of his current as well as the previous cabinet in the land allotment scam in the state of Odisha, one must hail Naveen Patnaik for tracing and inducting so many talented leaders in the party and his cabinet. In spite of the fact that a part of responsible media is genuinely critical about Naveen Patnaik and his government, this letter (in form of a satire) intends to hail Naveen Patnaik for his search of talents that make his cabinet transparent and principled.

June 05, 2014

Environmental issues ignored in India

Source: Global Times
India on May 16 witnessed the crushing victory of its new prime minister, Narendra Modi, leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The 63-year-old promised to improve the lives of all Indians and vowed to "make the 21st century India's century."

However, desperate to keep pace on the highway of economic growth, the flip side of India's success story is the tale of ruining the environment. Even though every cross-section of its population faces the wrath of environmental degradation and climate change, green issues are yet to become priorities for the newly elected government.

May 09, 2014

Turtle disaster: Gahirmatha to be abandoned by marine turtles?

Coastal erosion and climate change have forced hundreds of thousands of endangered olive ridley marine turtles to skip this breeding season at Odisha's Gahirmatha beach, one of their favorite destinations for mass nesting.

Named after their olive-colored, heart-shaped shell, these Pacific turtles migrate thousands of miles in the Indian Ocean for mating and nesting.

April 11, 2014

Fear of Maoist extremists overshadows India’s elections

As India goes to the polls in the world’s biggest democratic vote, left-wing extremism and mistrust in government threaten free elections in the eastern state of Odisha, writes Basudev Mahapatra.


As voting begins in India’s 2014 elections today political tensions are rising, as is the fear of violence by extremists intended to disrupt the biggest ever political event in a democracy. The country is going to polls today in the first phase. Poll management preparations are in full swing with security arrangements in areas of armed conflict at the top of the agenda.
A few days back, Odisha’s Director General of Police (DGP) Prakash Mishra said, “Proper coordination has been established with the police of neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand for conduct of peaceful elections in the state.”

March 28, 2014

BJD red carpet for royals, short shrift to women

Democracy, they say, begins where feudalism ends. But political parties in Odisha, the poorest state in the country, obviously have other ideas. At least 13 scions of ‘royal’ families have been fielded by various political parties for the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state this time.

Curiously, as many as 10 out of the 13 have been nominated by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a party that has never tired of tom-tomming its ‘pro-people’ and ‘pro-poor’ credentials. While seven of them have been fielded in Assembly elections, three have been nominated for Lok Sabha polls, ironically from constituencies that comprise some of the poorest regions in the state: Kalahandi, Bolangir and Kandhamal.

March 07, 2014

In maoist land: A story of deprivation and victimisation

It was half past eight in the morning when we landed at Laxmipur, a small town in the Koraput district of south Odisha. Laxmipur is about 22 km from Narayanpatna, home to one of India's fierce tribal movements led by the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS).

On the way we passed two Border Security Force (BSF) camps–one at Palur between Laxmipur and Narayanpatna, and the other at Podapadar, the striking ground of the CMAS in 2009. Our guide, Anil Subudhi, a local journalist told us that the BSF personnel stationed at Podapadar would verify our identity and purpose of visit. They might even deny us entry into the forest, which was considered the seat of the conflict between the tribal and non-tribal communities, between the armed forces of the state and left-wing extremists.

March 04, 2014

Posco steeled for trouble

Source: Global Times
Posco's proposed steel plant near Paradip in Odisha, India, seems to be plagued by conflict.

Recently, the supporters of the project have taken up to agitation against Posco alleging non-fulfillment of promises made by the company and the local administration. While the movement opposing the project has delayed its execution, this fresh agitation by supporters has become another problem for Posco and the Odisha government.