Environmental Movements : Alternative Development Paradigm Kumar Sanjeev

People's movements are basically social actions conditioned by people's own responses. The frame of reference originated from people's own responses may be educational, environmental or ecological and the context may be legal, social or political. In all the cases protestors challenge existing mode of living, in totality or in part, and want replace it by some alternative mode. India faced a series of environmental movements like Chipko, Appiko, Narmada Bachao and Sons (Gangetic Dolphin) Bachao Andolan. These environmental movements provide alternative paradigm of development. In the present article the author show cases some of the environmental movements which brought the paradigm shift in our development.

Context : Environmental issues are negative aspects of human activity on the biophysical environment, whether it is pollution, global warming, green house effect, acid rain or problem related with vanishing animal species viz., tiger, Gangetic dolphin (Platanista Gangetica) etc. of our earth. The en- vironmental problems in India are growing rapidly. The increasing economic development and a rapidly growing population that has taken the country from 300 million people in 1947 to more than one billion people today is putting a strain on the environment, infrastructure, and the country's natural resources. Industrial pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, rapid industrialization, urbanization, and land degradation are all worsening problems. Overexploitation of the country's resources is its land or water and the industrialization process has resulted environmental degradation of resources. With India's population at 1.2 billion people and counting, plus internal economic migration to urban areas from the countryside, the country's cities are bursting at the seams. Housing shortages, electricity and water cuts, traffic congestion, pollution and a lack of basic services are the reality for millions. The demographers are predicting that India will add three to four hundred million new people to its population over the next 40 years. In the name of development enough damage has already been done to the environment, however, in reaction, there have been various kinds of protest by the people at large at the grassroots level arising consciousness among the people through systematic and continuous environmental advocacy, education and activism. The environmental movement started in the 1960s. It is basically a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues like conservation and green politics. Various NGOs with its large mem-bership, varying and strong beliefs and association with private citizens, professionals, religious devotees, politicians, and extremists have been engaged in arising the consciousness of the people from the large to grassroots. In India, this consciousness has arisen only during the past one decade, particularly after the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy (one of the world's worst industrial disasters in which only 7 people convicted for claiming 15,000 lives and crippling millions). Thereafter our country faced a series of the environmental movements like Chipko, Appiko, Narmada Bachao, Ganga Mukti Andolan and Sons (Gangetic Dolphin) Bachao Andolan. The details of which are as follow: Legacy of Bhopal Gas Tragedy : 'Justice delayed is justice denied'. This dictum truly fitted in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy verdict. After 25 years of long trial (i.e., on 7th June, 2010 ) the lower court of Madhya Pradesh convicted seven former senior employees of Union Carbide's Indian subsidiary of 'death by negligence' for their roles in the 1984 leak of toxic gas that killed an estimated 15,000 people and awarded them a maximum of two years imprisonment, in the world's worst industrial disaster, leaving the then Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide, Warren Anderson free from trial. The light sentences of two years in prison is too little and too late given the scale of the damage. In India's slow justice system, the appeal process could drag on for years, even decades, while those convicted remain free on bail, as the judgement comes against the backdrop of a debate on the Civil Nuclear Liability bill which would provide for compensation to victims in case of a nuclear disaster. Basically Bhopal Gas Tragedy legacy is a people's action against the Union Carbide Corporation's management, the negligence of which killed more than15,000 people of Bhopal and areas. On the morning of December 3, 1984, a pesticide plant run by Union Carbide leaked about 40 tons of deadly methyl iso-cyanate (MIC) gas into the air of Bhopal, quickly killing about 4,000 people. Lingering effects of the poison raised the death toll to about 15,000 over the next few years, according to government estimates. Union Carbide India Ltd. was the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co. Union Carbide India Ltd. was established in Bhopal in 1969 to formulate pesticides. MIC is one of the intermediates used to produce pesticides. Until 1979 Union Carbide India Ltd., was importing MIC from the U.S. After 1979, Union Carbide India Ltd. started manufacturing its own MIC. MIC is a very dangerous chemical. The tragic gas leak that occurred that fateful night in the Bhopal plant killed thousands and has caused lingering disability and diseases to the survivors. A central team, which visited the Bhopal gas plant after the disaster found lapses in safety norms and maintenance. Taking moral responsibility, UCC settled a civil suit in 1989 by agreeing to pay victims about $470 million. However, UCC denied accepting legal responsibility for the Bhopal plant, since that plant was operated by the Indian subsidiary, Union Carbide India Ltd. Union Carbide Corp had 50.9% stake in the Indian subsidiary, Union Carbide India Ltd. and the remaining stake was owned by various Indian investors. In 1994, UCC sold its entire stake in Union Carbide India Ltd. to MacLeod Russell (India) Ltd. Union Carbide India Ltd. was renamed as Eveready Industries India, Ltd. Criminal charges were filed against eight Indian officials of Union Carbide India Ltd, and Warren Anderson, the then Chairman of Union Carbide Corp., USA. Only the eight Indian officials are facing the trial as Anderson is absconding. Had the Indian subsidiary implemented the various changes as recommended by a three-member safety team from the Union Carbide headquarters in the U.S., or had the safety and environmental laws and regulations been strictly enforced, such a disaster wouldn't have occurred. The Bhopal gas victims want capital punishment for the accused but the defense counsels have contended that their clients were in no way responsible for the deadly accident. Legal action against Union Carbide has dominated the aftermath of the disaster. Legal issues began affecting Union Carbide, the US and Indian governments, the local authorities in Bhopal and the victims of the disaster. On fourth day (December 7, 1984), of the catastrophe Madhya Pradesh Police had arrested, Warren Anderson, the Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide, and released on bail by ordering to remain in Bhopal. The arrest, which took place at the airport, assured Anderson would meet no harm by the Bhopal community. Anderson was taken to Union Carbide's house after which he was released six hours later on $2,100 bail and flown out on a government plane. On 14 December 1984, W. Anderson, addressed the US Congress, stressing the company's 'commitment to safety' and promising to ensure that a similar accident cannot happen again. Thereafter, the Indian Government enacted the Bhopal Gas Leak Act in March 1985, allowing the Government of India to act as the legal representative for victims of the disaster leading to the beginning of legal wrangling. March 1986 saw Union Carbide propose a settlement figure, endorsed by plaintiffs' US attorneys, of $350 million that would, according to the company, generate a fund for Bhopal victims of between $500-600 million over 20 years. In May, litigation was transferred from the US to Indian courts by US District Court Judge. Following an appeal of this decision, the US Court of Appeals affirmed the transfer, judging, in January 1987, that UCIL was a separate entity, owned, managed and operated exclusively by Indian citizens in India. The judge in the US granted Carbide's forum request, thus moving the case to India. This meant that, under US federal law, the company had to submit to Indian jurisdiction. Litigation continued in India during 1988. In 1987, the Indian government summoned Anderson, eight other executives and two company affiliates with homicide charges to appear in Indian court. Union Carbide balked, saying the company is not under Indian jurisdiction. The Government of India claimed US$ 350 million from UCC. The Supreme Court told both sides to come to an agreement and 'start with a clean slate' in November 1988. Eventually, in an out-of-court settlement reached in 1989, Union Carbide agreed to pay US $ 470 million for damages caused in the Bhopal disaster, 15% of the original $3 billion claimed in the lawsuit. By the end of October 2003, according to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department, compensation had been awarded to 554,895 people for injuries received and 15,310 survivors of those killed. The average amount to families of the dead was $2,200. Throughout 1990, the Indian Supreme Court heard appeals against the settlement from activist petitions. Nonetheless, in October 1991, the Supreme Court upheld the original $470 million, dismissing any other outstanding petitions that challenged the original decision. The decision set aside a portion of settlement that quashed criminal prosecutions that were pending at the time of settlement. The Court ordered the Indian government to purchase, out of settlement fund, a group medical insurance policy to cover 100,000 persons who may later develop symptoms and cover any shortfall in the settlement fund. It also requests that Carbide and its subsidiary voluntarily fund a hospital in Bhopal, at an estimated $17 million, to specifically treat victims of the Bhopal disaster. The company agreed to this. However, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal notes that the Court also reinstated criminal charges. Beginning in 1991, the local authorities from Bhopal charged Anderson, who had retired in 1986, with manslaughter, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Anderson has so far avoided an international arrest warrant and a US court summons. He was declared a fugitive from justice by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal on February 1, 1992, for failing to appear at the court hearings in a culpable homicide case in which he was named the chief defendant. Orders were passed to the Government of India to press for an extradition from the United States, with whom India had an extradition treaty in place. The Bhopal Medical Appeal believe that neither the American nor the Indian government seems interested in disturbing him with an extradition. A seemingly apathetic attitude from the US government, which has failed to pursue the case, has also led to strong protests in the past, most notably by Greenpeace. A plea by India's Central Bureau of Investigation to dilute the charges from culpable homicide to criminal negligence has since been dismissed by the Indian courts. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the decision of the lower federal courts in October 1993, meaning that victims of the Bhopal disaster could not seek damages in a US court. The Rajiv Gandhi government reached an out of court settlement for compensation for the victims. Meanwhile, very little of the money from the settlement reached with Union Carbide went to the survivors. On the anniversary of the tragedy, effigies of Anderson and politicians were burnt. In July 2004; the Indian Supreme Court ordered the Indian government to release any remaining settlement funds to victims. The deadline for this release was extended by the Indian Supreme Court. In April 2005, giving the Indian government until 30 April 2006 after a request from the Welfare Commission for Bhopal Gas Victims. The fund is believed to amount to $500 million after earning interest from money remaining after all claims had been paid. August 2006 saw the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City uphold the dismissal of remaining claims in the case of Bano v. Union Carbide Corporation. This move blocked plaintiffs motions for class certification and claims for property damages and remediation. In the view of Carbide, the ruling reaffirms UCC's long-held positions and finally puts to rest both procedurally and substantively the issues raised in the class action complaint first filed against Union Carbide in 1999 by Haseena Bi and several organizations representing the residents of Bhopal. In September 2006, the Welfare Commission for Bhopal Gas Victims announced that all original compensation claims and revised petitions had been cleared. On June 7, 2010, the verdict fell in Bhopal, in the Union of India through CBI versus Keshub Mahindra and others case. The Union Carbide subsidiary's former employees, all Indian nationals and many in their 70s, were sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay fines of 100,000 rupees apiece. All were released on bail shortly after the verdict. But this judicial activism raised some questions: Why not the then CEO of UCC Warren Anderson convicted for the world renowned homicide? Under what circumstances he fled away to USA under full administrative security? Who is responsible for this unconstitutional activism? Why not Indian Government trying for their extradition? Which are to be still unanswered.

Chipko Movement (Hug the Tree Movement): Embrace the trees and Save them from being felled; The property of our hills, Save them from being looted. This folk song of a Chipko poet Ghanasyam Raturi, which echo throughout the Himalayas of Uttar Pradesh, advocating the method of embracing the trees to save them from felling. Protecting the tree through hugging the tree became the activism of Chipko movement. Commonly known as Chipko Andolan it practicsed the Gandhian methods of Satyagraha and non-violent resistance, through the act of hugging trees to protect them from being felled. This modern socio-ecological movement was started by the Sarvodaya activists of Dasauli Gram Swarajya Mandal (DGSM) in Mandal village in Chamoli district of Garhwal Himalayan region, in Uttarakhand state in Northern India. The landmark event in this struggle took place on March 26, 1974, when a group of female peasants in Reni village, Hemwalghati, in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India, acted to prevent the cutting of trees and reclaim their traditional forest rights that were threatened by the contractor system of the State Forest Department, and transpired hundreds of such grassroots level actions, throughout the region. By the 80s, the movement spread throughout India, and led to formulation of people sensitive forest policies and stopping of open felling of trees in regions as far reaching as Vindhyas and the Western Ghats. The historical legacy of Chipko strategies of tree-saving goes back to 1763 when in Rajsthan 363 persons belonging to Bishnoi sect, led by Amrita Devi sacrificed their lives for saving (by hugging) their Khehri trees which were being felled under the orders of the then king of Jodhpur. Today it is seen an inspiration and a precursor for Chipko movement of Garhwal but actually there is no link between this historical event and Chipko movement except in the similarity of action. The Himalayan region had always been exploited for its natural wealth, be it minerals or timber, including by the British. The end of the nineteenth century saw implementation of new approaches in forestry, coupled with reservation of forests for commercial forestry, causing disruption in the age-old symbiotic relationship between the natural environment and the rural peasant, both in Kumaon and Garhwal. The few peasant protests that arose during this period were crushed severely. Notable protests in the 20th century were that of 1906, followed by the 1921 protest which was linked with then independence movement imbued with Gandhian ideologies, the 1940s was again marked with a series of protests in Tehri Garhwal region. After post independent, the forest cover started deteriorating at an alarming rate, resulting in hardships in labour intensive fodder and firewood collection. This also led to deterioration in the soil conditions, and soil erosion in the area as the water sources dried up in the hills, and water shortages became rampant. Subsequently, communities gave up the raising livestock, adding to the problems of malnutrition in the region. This crisis was heightened by the fact that forest conservation policies, like Indian Forest Act, 1927, traditionally restricted the access of local communities to the forests, resulting in scarce farmlands, in an over populated and extremely poor area, despite all its natural wealth. Thus the sharp decline in the local agrarian economy, lead to migration of people into the plains, looking for jobs, which created several de-populated villages in the 1960s. Gradually a rising awareness about the ecological crisis, which arose from an immediate loss of livelihood caused by it, resulted in initial activism sparks in the region. Starting in 1964 with the establishment of Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS), lately known as Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal (DGSM), set up by Gandhian social worker, Chandi Prasad Bhatt in Gopeshwar, and inspired Jayaprakash Narayan and the Sarvodaya movement, with an aim to set up small industries using the resources of the forests, their first project was a small workshop making farm tools for local use. Here they had to face the restrictive forest policies, a hangover of colonial era still prevalent and on top of it the contractor system, in which these pieces of forest land were commodified and auctioned to big contractors, usually from the plains, who brought along their own skilled and semiskilled labourers, leaving only the menial jobs like hauling rocks for the hill people, which paid next meagerly. On the other hand, hill regions saw an influx of new population, which added to already strained ecological balance and cracks started showing everywhere. Hastened by increasing hardships, the Garhwal Himalayas soon became centre rising social ecological awareness against reckless deforestation which had denuded much of forest cover, which eventually resulted in the devastating Alaknanda River floods, in July 1970, when a major landslide blocked the river, and affected an area starting from Hanumanchatti, near Badrinath to 350 km downstream till Haridwar, further numerous villages, bridges and roads were washed away. Thereafter incidences of landslides and land subsidence became a common feature in an area which was experiencing rapid civil construction. Soon villagers, especially women had started organizing themselves under several smaller groups, taking up local causes with the authorities, and standing up against commercial logging operations that threatened their livelihoods. In October 1971, the Sangh workers held a demonstration in Gopeshwar to protest against the policies of the Forest Department. More rallies and marches were held in late 1972, but to little effect, that is when the decision to take direct action was taken, and first such occasion arrived when the Forest Department turned down the Sangh's annual request for ten ash trees for its farm tools workshop, and instead a awarded contract for 300 trees to Simon Company, a sport goods manufacturer in distant Allahabad, to make Tennis rackets. In March 1973, the lumberers arrived at Gopeshwar, and after a couple of weeks, they were confronted at village Mandal on April 24, 1973, where about hundred villagers and DGSS workers beating drums and shouting slogans, forced the contractors and their lumberers to retreat. This was the first confrontation of the movement, and finally the contract was cancelled and awarded to the Sangh instead. Though by now, the issue had enlarged from procuring the annual quota of three ash trees, and encompassed a growing concern over the commercial logging, and forest policy of the government, which the villagers saw as unfavourable towards them. The Sangh also decided to resort to hugging the tree, Chipko as a mechanism of non-violent protest. But the struggle was far from over, as the same company was awarded more ash trees, in the Phata forest, 80 km away from Gopeshwar. Here again, due to local opposition, starting 20 June 1973, the contractors retreated after a stand off that lasted a few days. Thereafter the villagers of Phata and Tarsali, formed a vigil group and watched over the trees till December, when they had another successful stand-off, when the activists reached the site in time, and the lumberers retreated leaving behind the five ash trees felled. The final flash point began few months, when the government announced an auction scheduled in January 1974, for 2,500 trees near Reni village, overlooking the Alaknanda River. Bhatt set out for the villages in the Reni area, and enraged the villagers, decided to protest against the move of the government by hugging the trees, over the next few weeks, rallies and meeting continued in the Reni area, and the villagers were prepared for the stand-off. On March 26, 1974, the day the lumberers were to axe the trees, the men of the Reni village, and DGSS workers, were in Chamoli, diverted by state government and contractors to a fictional compensation payment site, while back home labourers arrived a truckload to the start logging operations. Finally when a girl on seeing them rush to inform Gaura Devi, the head of the village Mahila Mangal Dal, at Reni village (Laata was her ancestral home and Reni adopted home). Gaura Devi led 27 women of Reni village, reached the site and confronted the loggers. When all talking failed, and instead loggers started shouting and abusing the women, threatening them with guns, the women resorted hugging the trees to stop the tree from being axed. This went on into late hours, and the women kept a whole night vigil guarding their trees from the cutters, till a few of them relented and left the village. The next day, when with the men and leaders back, the news of the movement spread to the neighbouring Laata and others village also Henwalghati, and more people joined in. The then state Chief Minister, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, set up a committee to look into the issue which eventually, ruled in favour of the villagers. This then became a turning point in the history of eco-development struggles in the region and also across the world. The struggle soon spread across many parts of the region, and such spontaneous stand-offs between the local community and timber merchants occurred at several locations, with hill women demonstrating their new-found power as non-violent activists. As the movement gathered shape under its leaders, the name Chipko Movement got attached to their activities. The movement took up economic issues of landless forest workers and asked for guarantees of minimum wage. Globally Chipko demonstrated a clear link between environment concerns till now considered a luxury of the rich, in a new perspective as a matter of life and death for the poor, always the first ones to be devastated by an environmental tragedy, and several scholarly studies were made in the backdrop of the movement. In 1977, in another area, women tied sacred threads, Rakhi, around trees earmarked for felling, in a Hindu tradition which signifies a bond between a brother and a sister. One of the prominent Chipko leaders, Gandhian Sunderlal Bahuguna took a 5,000 kilometre trans-Himalaya footmarch in 1981-83, spreading the Chipko message to a far greater area. Gradually, women set up cooperatives to guard local forests, and also organized fodder production at rates condusive to local environment. Next, they joined in land rotation schemes for fodder collection, helped replant degraded land, and established and ran nurseries stocked with species they selected. The Chipko movement though primarily a livelihood movement rather than a forest conservation movement went on to become a rallying point for many future environmentalists, environmental protests and movements the world over and created a precedent for non-violent protest. It occurred at a time when there was hardly any environmental movement in the developing world, and its success meant that the world immediately took notice of this non-violent Tree hugging movement, which was to inspire in time, many such eco-groups, helped in slowing down the rapid deforestation, exposed vested interests, increased ecological awareness, and demonstrate the viability of people power. Above all, it stirred up existing civil society in India like never before, which started looking towards tribal and marginalized people and their issues like never before. Today, beyond the eco-socialism hue, it is being seen increasingly as an ecofeminism movement, as though many of its leaders were men, women were not just its backbone, but also its mainstay, because they were the ones most affected by the rampant deforestation, leading to lack of firewood and fodder as well as water of drinking and irrigation. Over the years they also became primary stakeholders in majority of the forestation work that happened under the Chipko movement.

Appiko movement : Appiko movement was a revolutionary movement based on environmental conservation in India. Basically it was the expansion of the Chipko Movement of Uttarakhand. The Chipko Andolan (Hug the Trees Movement) in Uttarakhand in the Himalayas inspired the villagers of the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka province in southern India to launch a similar movement popularly known as 'Appiko Movement' to save their forests. In September 1983, men, women and children of Salkani 'hugged the trees' in Kalase forest. The local term for 'hugging' in Kannada is 'appiko'. Appiko Andolan gave birth to a new awareness all over southern India. In 1950, Uttara Kannada district forest covered more than 81 percent of its geographical area. The government, declaring this forest district a backward area, then initiated the process of development. Their major industries  a pulp and paper mill, a plywood factory and a chain of hydroelectric dams constructed to harness the rivers - sprouted in the area. These industries have overexploited the forest resource, and the dams have submerged huge forest and agricultural areas. The forest had shrunk to nearly 25 percent of the district's area by 1980. The local population, especially the poorest groups, was displaced by the dams. The conversion of the natural mixed forests into teak and eucalyptus plantations dried up the water sources, directly affecting forest dwellers. In a nutshell, the three major 'ps', paper, plywood and power,  which were intended for the development of the people, have resulted in a fourth 'p' i.e. poverty. The Sahyadri Range, or the Western Ghats, in southern India is the home of a tropical forest ecosystem. Although this tropical forest constitutes a potentially renewable resource, it is also a very fragile eco-system and therefore merits special attention. The past 30 years have seen the onslaught of development activities and an increase in population, both of which have exhausted this fragile resource system. In the case of Kerala, which comprises 42 percent of the entire Western Ghat area, the forest cover fell from 44 percent in 1905 to a meager 9 percent in 1984. Such deforestation in the Western Ghats has caused severe problems for all southern India. The recurring drought in the provinces of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu clearly indicates watershed degradation. The power generation, water supply and ultimately the whole economy of southern India is adversely affected. The drought in Karnataka province indicates the extent of the damage caused by change in Sahyadri's fragile eco-system. The deforestation in the Western Ghats has already affected hydroelectric dams, reservoirs and agriculture. The central government's Planning Commission has recognized the high depletion of natural resources in the Western Ghats in its Seventh Five-year Plan document. The first area of priority for the Appiko Movement is the remaining tropical forests of Western Ghats. The area is so sensitive that to remove the forest cover will lead to a laterization process, converting the land into Rocky Mountains. Thus a renewable resource becomes a nonrenewable one. Once laterization sets in, it will take centuries for trees to grow on that land. Before we reach such an extreme point the Appiko Movement aims to save the remaining forests in the Western Ghats through organizing decentralized groups at the grassroots level to take direct action. The thrust of the Appiko Movement in carrying out its work reveals the constructive phase of the people's movement. Through this constructive phase, depleted natural resources can be rebuilt. This process promotes sharing of resources in an egalitarian way, helping the forest dwellers. The movement's aim is to establish a harmonious relationship between people and nature, to redefine the term development so that ecological movements today form a basis for a sustainable, permanent economy in the future.

Silent Valley Movement (SVM) : Silent Valley Movement (SVM) was launched in India to protect the flora and fauna of Silent Valley of Kunthi or Kunthipuzha river of Kerala state of South India. Silent Valley forests are locally known as 'Sairandhrivanam' and are considered as one of the last representative of tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forests in India. Its floristic compositions were one of the most complex kinds and had not yet been researched properly. It has a gene pool of immense utility for the future. It has eight thousand nine hundred fifty hectares of rain forests with rare plants and three endangered mammalian species: lion-tailed macaque, tiger and Nilgiri tahr. In 1793, the then state government of Kerala actively considered to launch Silent Valley Hydro Electric Project and make a dam to narrow the gorge at the lower end of the valley, to fill the reservoir upstream and generate electricity. It would have submerged 830 hectares including 500 hectares of prime tropical evergreen forest. The project would have generated 240 MW of electricity to facilitate industrialization in the region, irrigate some 10,000 hectares of land in the relatively underdeveloped districts of Palghat and Malappuram, and would have given employment to 3000 persons during the construction. But it pointed out that the total demand of electricity in Kerala by 1990-91 will be about 7,730 million KWH to which hydro electric project could have contributed a mere seven percent. From the point of overall expected irreparable damage to the ecosystem, hydro electric project was marginally significant. In this hydro electric multipurpose dam, there was no question of displacement of human beings involved, since it was uninhabited area. So it was only the direct ecological ground on which the people started agitation against Silent Valley Hydro Electric Project. Thereafter a Marxisant organization popularly known as 'Kerala Sastra Shahitya Parishad' (KSSPS) had taken initiative in opposing the project. After a yearlong discussion and debate within the KSSPS, a resolution opposing the imple-mentation of the project was adopted at fifteenth annual conference in 1978. KSSPS started a mass campaign in order to save the Silent Valley. Meetings, lectures, seminars, exhibitions, marches and street plays were organized for a decade. After a decadelong effort of KSSPS convinced the common people of the futility of the Silent Valley Project and the agitation was strengthened. Many Scientific organizations both in India and abroad came forward in defense of Silent Valley. Many eminent scientists voiced their protests. Finally in 1983, Government of India withdrew sanction of the project.

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA): Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is a movement that mobilized tribal people, adivasis, farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists against the Sardar Sarovar Dam being built across the Narmada river, Gujarat, India. Their mode of campaign includes hunger strikes and garnering support from noted film and art personalities. Narmada River is the largest westward-flowing river of India; it originates from small tank called Narmada Kund located on the Amarkantak hill, in the Anuppur district of eastern Madhya Pradesh and flows into Arabian Sea covering 1,312 kms (815.2 miles) before draining through the Gulf of Cambey. About 20 million people live in the Narmada basin depending on the river for their survival in daily life. More than 80 per cent of the people live in the villages and there is a sizable population of tribal peasantry, namely, Bhils, Gonds, Baiga and others. Narmada basin is resource rich; it has remained under developed with lower agricultural yields, lack of medical, educational and banking facilities, lower energy consumption, high literacy, lower life expectancy etc. Politically the three states M.P., Gujarat and Maharashtra locked their horn over sharing of water, the area to be irrigated in each state and the level of Sardar Sarovar Dam since 1946. Due to inter-state differences in implementing schemes and sharing of water, the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal was constituted on October 6, 1969 to adjudicate over the water disputes. After10 years the tribunal submitted its report on December 12, 1979, advocating that Narmada Valley Development Project (NVDP) wants to develop and transform valley into 30 major, 135 medium, and 3000 small dams. Its two major dams are already built and third major dam, Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), the largest, is being constructed since 1979 but the work stopped in 1983 and restarted in 1986. People started protesting against SSP as it will displace about one lakh people in 243 villages of whom sixty percent are tribal. Out of 243 villages, 193 villages fall in M.P., while command area of major beneficiaries lies in Gujarat. Further, as an insult to injury, additional 4200 hectare of forests, on which thousand of tribal depend for their livelihood, are cleared for resettlement and rehabilitation of the dam displaced people. Narmada Bachao Andolan (1987), an NGO, has joined the movement under the leadership of Medha Patkar. They mainly protested for the inadequate compensation for the lands to be acquired and proper rehabilitation of the displaced people. Patkar approached the Ministry of Environment to seek clarifications on these issues. Her channel of communication between the government and the residents provided critiques to the project authorities and the governments involved. At the same time, her group realized that all those displaced were only given compensation for the immediate standing crop and not for displacement and rehabilitation. In 1989, the activists from the neighbouring villages of Badwani town uprooted the stone markets from the submergence area of the dam, took them and flung them outside the M.P. Legislative Assembly at Bhopal. On 29 September, 1989 sixty thousand volunteers gathered in Harshud rally under the leadership of Baba Amte, Sunder Lal Bahuguna and Medha Patkar. Thereafter, a 36-day long, solidarity march was organized among the neighbouring states of the Narmada valley from Madhya Pradesh to the Sardar Sarovar dam site. In 1991, her actions led to an unprecedented independent review by the World Bank. The Morse Commission, appointed in June 1991 at the recommendation of The World Bank President Barber Coinable, conducted its first independent review of a World Bank project. This independent review stated that performance under these projects has fallen short of what is called for under Bank policies and guidelines and the policies of the Government of India. This resulted in the Indian Government pulling out of its loan agreement with the World Bank. In response, Patkar said, "It is very clear and obvious that they used this as a face-saving device", suggesting that if this were not to happen; the World Bank would eventually would have withdrawn the loan. The World Bank's participation in these projects was eventually cancelled in 1995. In due course, the Supreme Court ruled the decision in the Andolan's favour thereby affecting an immediate stoppage of work at the dam and directing the concerned states to first complete the rehabilitation and replacement process. The apex court also deliberated on this issue further for several years but finally upheld the Tribunal Award and allowed the construction to proceed, subject to conditions. The court introduced a mechanism to monitor the progress of resettlement with the raising of the height of the dam through the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRA) in each of the party states. The court's decision referred in this document, given in the year 2000 after seven years of deliberations, has paved the way for completing the project to attain full envisaged benefits. The court's final line of the order states, "Every endeavour shall be made to see that the project is completed as expeditiously as possible".

Gangetic Dolphin Conservation : The conservation movement of Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is of great educational importance. Commonly known as 'Souns' or 'Susu'. Gangetic dolphin, is an mammalian species facing extinction. Its body is subtle and robust, attenuating behind the dorsal fin to a narrow tail stock. The coloration is grey all over and becomes blotchy with age. The snout is long and widens at the tip, resembling a forceps. In females, the snout is generally longer and may curve upwards and to one side. The eyes are extremely small, resembling pinhole openings slightly above the mouth. The dorsal fin is a low triangular hump. The broad flippers have a crenellated margin, with visible hand and arm bones. The flukes are also broad. Males are smaller than females, with 210 and 250 cm, respectively. Basically, dolphins are almost blind without lenses. Their eyes believed to be used only to differentiate between light and dark. They mainly use echo-location to find food along the floor of the river. They also exhibit another peculiar characteristic of swimming on the side, dragging one flipper against the muddy river bed. This, it is believed, enables them to navigate in water streams with low water depth, a well known characteristic of the seasonal rivers in the sub-continent. In April 2001, the honourable High Court of Judicature at Patna has taken a suo-motto action (C.J.W.C. No. 5628) against the rapid killing of Gangetic Dolphin in Bihar. Taking action on a news-clipping reported by the author himself and published in a national Hindi daily,Hindustan, the court has summoned nine DMs and SPs of riverside district of Bihar and ordered them to protect the life of the Dolphin. Later Patna High Court issued a directive to the government to protect the endangered dolphin. Following the high court's intervention, the government of India sanctioned Rs 3 crore for a dolphin conservation project, which has been strengthening the cause of Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary and the research and monitoring aspects of the sanctuary. After nine years of gap the Government of India has notified the Gangetic Dolphin as the national aquatic animal. The decision was taken in the first meeting of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of India. The population of this endangered mammalian species in India today is only about 2,000 individuals spread over the rivers of the Gangetic basin and the Brahmaputra river system. The dolphin and the rivers they live in are inextricably linked  something that can be seen in the way the creature has evolved to survive in these rather specialized environmental conditions. The dolphins have been poached for oil, fishing and meat. Oil extracted from blubber of the Ganges River dolphin is used as a fish attractant in India. This oil fishery is associated with the mortality of hundreds of dolphins every year. Although deliberate killing is believed to have declined in most areas, it presumably still occurs in the middle Ganges near Patna, India, in the Kaini-Kushiyara River of Bangladesh, and in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra River in Assam, India (Mohan et al. 1997). In Assam, they are also killed for their meat (IWC, 2000). Fish oil was repeatedly suggested as a substitute for susu oil (Mohan and Kunhi, 1996; Bairagi, 1999) and shown to have a better attractant effect on target species (Sinha, 2002). There is myth among the folk man that the dolphin's oil would cure the arthritis. Accidental killing is a severe problem for Ganges river dolphins throughout most of their range. The primary cause is believed to be entanglement in fishing gear, most often nylon gill nets. Ganges river dolphins may be particularly vulnerable to entanglement in gill nets because their preferred habitat is often in the same location as primary fishing grounds. No rigorous estimates of dolphin mortality have been published but the problem of accidental killing is expected to worsen as the demand for fish and for fishing employment increases (IWC, 2000 and refs. therein; Mansur et al. 2008). Dolphins may also become entangled in long-line fishing gear very similar to the rolling hooks used in the Yangtze river that have been cited as among the primary factors contributing to the probable extinction of the baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) (Mansur et al. 2008). It has been suggested that some fishermen see Ganges river dolphins as rivals that scare away the fish or tear the fish from the nets. For this reason, the fishermen would scare the dolphins into the nets to kill them. This, however, is unlikely because the high cost in repairing the nets would not be compensated by selling the entire dolphin or its products (Reyes, 1991 and refs. therein). Gill net encounter rate in the Ganges river is significantly different in different stretches of the river with maximum encounter rate recorded from Goalpara to Dhubri. Accidental killing through gill net and poaching of dolphin for oil are the most dangerous threats to the survival of these dolphins. Close monitoring of dolphins and their habitats involving local communities are required for long term conservation of the species in the Brahmaputra river (Choudhary et al. 2006). The other big concern is the increased pollution of rivers caused by chemical pesticide and fertilizers runoff from agriculture and the indiscriminate release of untreated industrial effluents into rivers. These environmental movements have an alternative vision of development may be considered in terms of economy, polity, science and technology, consumption pattern, culture and society and linkage to the world economy.

References : l Kumar, K. 2000. Understanding a People's Science Movement. Patna : Janaki Prakashan. l Prasad, M.K. et al. 1979. The Silent Valley Hydro Electric Project : A Techno-economic and Socio-political Assessment. Trivendrum: KSSPS l Sanjeev, K. 2001. Dolphin: Khatm Hone Ka Khatra, Dainik Hindustan (Madhyantar), May 3, column 1-4 l Sharma, S. 2001. Why People Protest: An Analysis of Ecological Movements in the Third World. Allied Publishers Limited, New Delhi. l Sinha R.K. et al. 2000. Ganges river dolphin, or susu (Platanista Gangetica) in Biology and conservation of freshwater cetaceans in Asia (Reeves RR, Smith BD, Kasuya T, eds). IUCN Species Survival Commission, Occasional Paper 23: 54-61.

(Source: People's Dialogue on Education)