Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Environmental and Ecological Disaster

Mining blow to Western Ghats:

The beauty of the Western Ghats, one of the last few remaining densely forested areas in the country, may soon be relegated to the realm of the picture postcard. In what could bring forth one of the worst ecological disasters in years, the state government has approved 49 mining leases for excavating iron and bauxite ores in the eco-fragile Sindhudurg region.

Sindhudurg, incidentally, has the highest green cover in Maharashtra (49%) and was declared the first eco-tourism district in the country in 1997. Worse, 32 of these mining permits have been given in the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg zone, which has the highest forest cover within Sindhudurg, and is an integral part of the wildlife corridor between Koyna sanctuary in Satara, Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary in Kolhapur district and the Anshi-Dandeli tiger reserve in Karnataka.

The biodiverse region, with perennial streams and rivers, is home to a spectrum of wildlife, such as the leopard, bison and deer. Forest officials say there have been at least four tiger sightings as well in the past two years.

Four mines are already operational in the area. On Wednesday, TOI visited one, which began work last year, in Kalane village in Sawantwadi block. The sharp colour contrast at the site said it all: a long red strip of a half-slit mountain jutted out like an ugly sore amid the lush green canopy around it. Huge earth movers dug deep into the mountain and gouged out red mud, which was transported by a trail of dumpers to processing units.

Stalin D, project director of Vanashakti, an environmental NGO working on mining-related issues in Sindhudurg, explains that the mining companies use open-cast processing to excavate iron ore and bauxite. "The mountains have to be slit open and dug up to extract minerals lying deep beneath the soil," he says. "What remains are huge craters filled with unpotable water full of heavy metals. The miners never bother to refill the hole or replant native vegetation to regenerate the eco-system."

Before operations began here, the villagers of Kalane had passed a gram sabha resolution stating that they did not want mining, as it would destroy both the rich flora and fauna and their agricultural farmlands. "The villagers in Kalane objected at the two public hearings, as the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report prepared by the mining firm did not mention the existence of perennial water bodies, rivers and the reserve forest in the adjoining Ugade village," says Sawantwadi-based environmental activist Dr Rajendra Parulekar. "It is shocking that based on the false EIA reports, mining companies got licences to operate here." Activists say that there were physical skirmishes between the mining companies and villagers, and that the latter were threatened.

Wildlife experts and botanists say that if other mining companies start operations at the proposed sites, the mountains will become huge craters in just a few years from now. "Just look at how miners have destroyed stretches of Goa along the Sahyadri, where instead of green mountains we have ugly open craters now. The government should revoke all these licences if it wants to protect its rich natural resources, and instead encourage eco-friendly business models," says Goa-based environmental activist Claude Alvares, who has been advocating zero mining in all eco-fragile zones in the country.

Interestingly, Alvares believes that mining companies are increasingly eyeing Maharashtra ever since the ministry of environment and forests imposed a moratorium on issuing fresh mining leases in Goa till its government came out with a comprehensive mineral policy. "It is a well-known fact that the mining mafia is controlled by politicians from both states, as the money involved is huge," he says.

According to Parulekar, there is an estimated Rs 25,000 crore of mineral wealth in Sindhudurg. "Lured by this, if mining continues unabated, it will have tragic human consequences as well," he says. "Devoid of rivers and agricultural land, farmers will have no option but to leave their once fertile and self-sufficient villages. The result will be urban migration and ensuing poverty and misery."

Is money and the so called "Development" of mankind, all that matters to humans? Don't we care to look at the aftermath of our heinous crimes towards nature? Extensive Mining, Construction, Unplanned expansions of city boundaries, Razing down hills and jungles, is this all we can do?

Is'nt it time to pause and look back at what we are doing and look forward to what repurcussions might occur due to this misuse of our natural resources that is happening all around us? We are killing earth and its eco-system at a very fast pace now. Within months massive constructions wipe out huge expanses of greenery and hills, all in the name of development, all at the cost of nature.

One thing we are guarenteeing for our future is slow death of our planet. Because ultimately mankind can't survive on its own on earth. It needs all elements of nature, be it plants, animals or natural structures.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Celebrating Friendship on Friendship Day!!

For all my friends - The bonds of Friendship!!

The Burning Man - A salute to Creativity.


Burning Man is a week-long event that inspires people from all over the world to come and celebrate creativity and self-expression. The Desert floor or “playa”, in Black Rock Desert in Nevada, is converted into a city of sorts with a theme.
The Burning Man
Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, in the United States. The event starts on the Sunday before and ends on the day of the American Labor Day holiday. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening. The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.

Satellite image of Black Rock City showing the familiar "C" or semicircle pattern.
Because of the variety of goals fostered by participatory attendees, known as "Burners", Burning Man does not have a single focus. Features of the event are subject to the participants and include community, artwork, absurdity, decommodification and revelry. Participation is encouraged.

The Burning Man event is governed by 10 principles, which are radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy.

The "Burners"
History: The annual event now known as Burning Man began as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice in 1986 when Larry Harvey, Jerry James, and a few friends met on Baker Beach in San Francisco and burned a 9-foot (2.7-meter) wooden man as well as a smaller wooden dog. Harvey has described his inspiration for burning these effigy figures as a spontaneous act of radical self-expression.
Black Rock City, LLC is the company that organizes and administrates the annual week-long Burning Man festival ending on Labor Day, on the dry lake of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada. Headed by a board of 6 LLC members, the company conducts the year-round, behind-the-scenes work needed to build a temporary city of almost 50,000 participants. Event ticket sales provide a multi-million dollar budget for the organization. These revenues help the organization obtain required permits from the Bureau of Land Management, rent portable toilets and equipment, secure medical, fire, and law enforcement services, and cover other organizational expenses. The organization also holds a title to the nearby ranch used as a staging area. Although the organization has a for-profit form, its efforts are largely volunteer-driven, and its primary goal is to establish community.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Bloody Duke's Nose!

Date: Sunday July 18 2010

The day began @ 4 AM in the early morn. Dawn saw us sitting on window side seats in a train to Khandala from Pune Station. Our co-passengers were other participants of the Explorer's Group's Duke Nose trek. After reaching the station at Khandala, we had some breakfast (Idli and Chutney, which tasted gr8 coz we were hungry :) )

We began The Trek @ 8:30 AM sharp. We touched Duke's Nose @ 1 PM, tired from a long uphill trek and hungry. We had lunch sitting on Duke's Nose, amongst the clouds. And then began the trecherous trek back down to the base, on the other side of Duke's Nose, in Lonavala. Slipping and sliding, trying to best maintain our balance, in a single file, on a dangerous path, we came down soaked to our skins in rain and covered in mud. I breathed a sigh of relief once we touched base. As if the uphill trek was any less dangerous.The view from the top was breathtaking, the trek, exhilerating. All in all, an awesome, tiring and dangerous trek.

But what we didn't anticipate was the 6-7 Km stretch from the base of the hill to the station. Never have I felt more tired... all senses seemed to have vanished except tiredness and pain!! I can safely call it the worst walk ever. But the amazing view of Lonovala was breathtaking, from the lakes to INS Shivaji up to the station. But believe me nothing gave me more pleasure than the first glimpse of the station. After a 2 hour long ride on the local train back to Pune, we reached the main station. Finally at home and after a hot bath I felt normal again.

On our way up the hill to Duke's Nose we passed a waterfall, we saw greenery and shrubbery of a variety I had never seen before, snails leaving silvery trails in their wake. But I was dissapointed to find no birds or animal life whatsoever. But I think thats what happens when man invades into nature's territory without any respect for its safety.

The view from several points up the hill was amazing. We could see all around us, with a birds eye view of Khandala and then Lonavala. Also a number of hills around the one we climbed.

{These pics are actual clicks taken by me during our trecherous trek up the Duke's Nose.}

Friday, July 2, 2010


BP Oil Spill - Catastrophe!!

The Gulf oil spill's disastrous effects on marine life : The explosion on the British Petroleum-leased drilling rig Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010, killed 11 workers and started a flood of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. As the slick grew over the weeks that followed and BP struggled to cap the well and deal with mounting outrage, attention shifted from the accident itself to the massive environmental impact of the gooey brown plumes gushing from the ocean floor a mile deep. That impact is likely to extend far beyond what is apparent on the surface or in the marshlands and estuaries of the Gulf Coast; the oil's effect on fragile underwater ecosystems could be truly catastrophic.

With Carbon Emissions escalating, Steep rise in Populations, Water Tables running out of water, Sundarbans predicted to drown in a few years.


What legacy are we leaving behind for our future... We are on a path that ends in a deep deep ravine and there is no turning back... The most we can do is try and slow down on this sure shot path to death... But we dont even seem to be doing that!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Connecting The Dots!

You've got to learn to connect the dots!
-Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios

Life's road is like an invisible path... We have to keep moving ahead even though we cant see where the path leads to or what's coming ahead. But, when you look back at the road of life, you realize that its a game of Join-the-dots! Steve Jobs said you need to look back and connect the dots, and you'll realize that the various events and milestones in your life add up to what you finally achieve in life.
If you come across potholes and bumps in this path they might not be hurdles but stepping stones for you for reaching the ultimate goals in your life.
Due to recent happenings in my life I've started believing that things, good or bad, happen for a reason. Things for which I complained when they happened, I realized later that if they had'nt happened i would not have got the good things that materialized later.

When too many coincidences happen - its god fixing things for you :)
Sounds so true all of a sudden!!! Life has its twists and turns... We need to maintain our balance.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Bumpy Road.

LIFE is a bumpy road and I am a cart. Life has its ups and downs. One moment is filled with joy and we rejoice and praise our luck. And then the very next moment is full of pains and sorrows and we worry about them. I wonder sometimes if life plays games with me?

Its like the carrot and stick approach. Some times life dangles a nice juicy carrot in front of me and entices me to look up, smile, and move forward. Then suddenly it hits me with a stick and makes me wince with pain and forces me to move forward in pain.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Black Monday : 19 April 2010

Black Monday
Today I witnessed a complete break down of Pune's infrastucture. The area in and around Hinjewadi IT Park, today saw one of the worst traffic jams I have heard of. Constricted roads were chok-a-block full of cars honking their horns in a flutile gesture of trying to get ahead of others. Slow moving trucks were only helping in worsening the situation. The jam overflowed onto the Kothrud/Chandni Chowk to Wakad stretch of the expressway, blocking the expressway for people going to and from Pune and Mumbai.
This is but a small example of how the times-to-come are going to be for us. India's infrastucture is seen breaking down each day, with no respite anywhere. Roads are not wide enough anywhere to sustain the traffic they have to bear each day. the present roads are damaged beyond repair, and yet no effort is being made to hasten the process of building new roads where they are desperately required.
IT park Phase I, II, and III, the pride of Pune's development, has bought with it lakhs of individuals vying for a place in the industry. But how about the infrastucture? Is it capable of bearing the weight of the ever-increasing number of vehicles?
The once green and cool, holiday makers paradise, the sanctury of peace for retired folk, Pune, recorded temperature levels of 41 Degree+ C. The surmounting levels of pollution have bought with them extreme temperatures. Nature seems to have lost its battle for survival in Pune and is now letting man overtake and build his concrete jungles everywhere. Pune has eaten the hills, in and around its no-longer-existant boundaries, and has grown like a fast spreading parasite, eating into its suroundings and destroying whatever comes in its path. Trees and plants seem to have become extinct comodities.
...To be continued. Please feel free to add in your thoughts.
Finally, with the rains soaking the city, Pune has become green again. :) ... But the endless expanses of concrete jungle are fast eating up the green areas in and around the city, leaving gashes across hills and tier after tier of concrete structures slowly spreading their arms around the city.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yaaron dosti badi hi haseen hai,
Yeh na ho to kya phir, bolo yeh zindagi hai.
Koi to ho raazdaar
Begaraz tera ho yaar
Koi to ho raazdaar...
Yaaron mohabbat hi to bandagi hai.
Yeh na ho to kya phir, bolo yeh zindagi hai.
Koi to dilbar ho yaar
Jisko tujhse ho Pyaar
Koi to dilbar ho yaar...
Teri har ek buraai pe daante woh dost
Gam ki ho dhoop to saaya bane tera woh dost.
Naache bhi woh teri khushi main.
Arey Yaaron dosti badi hi haseen hai...
Yeh na ho to kya phir, bolo yeh zindagi hai.
Koi to ho raazdaar
Begaraj tera ho yaar
Koi to ho raazdaar...
Tan mann kare tujhpe fida, Mehboob woh
Palkon pe jo rakhe tujhe, Mehboob woh
Jiski vafa tere liye ho...
Are Yaaron mohabbat hi to bandagi hai
Yeh na ho to kya phir, bolo yeh zindgi hai.
Koi to dilbar ho yaar
Jisko tujhse ho pyaar
Koi to dilbar ho yaar...
Yaaron dosti badi hi haseen hai,
Yeh na ho to kya phir, bolo yeh zindagi hai.
... Remembering the days gone by, with tiny drops in my eyes and a smile on my lips. Missing those who made those days so... special. Life moves on and you move with it. But don't ever forget... those days gone by.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Perception!! Your perception, my perception. Sometimes I feel this word "Perception" is a very complicated thing. Whats right might be percieved as wrong and whats wrong as right. We always ask ourselves whats right and whats wrong, whats black and whats white? But what we fail to see, is that it all boils down to our own perceptions.
To each his own. Thats how it rolls.
Beauty & uglyness, affection & hatred, love & lust, it all comes from our perception.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Black Poison

Each day while I chug down the road, choked by heavy slow moving traffic, to my office, I observe that Indian roads are home to every conceivable moving object. Right from Pedestrians, Cycles, Bullock-carts, Autos, 2-wheelers of all kinds, 4-wheelers in all shapes, sizes and colors. Trucks, trailers, buses, and other giants, to animals of every breed from cows, dogs, cats and such. The pot holes dont help much in already constricted traffic jams each day. Pollution is a slow poison with which we are living each day. When i see the trucks, buses, autos (3-wheelers), tempos, 6-seaters( specific to pune) emmit extraordinary amounts of black poison, I am reminded of "Green Vehicles", the ecofriendly cars.
    A Green Vehicle is one that is significantly less harmful to the environment than comparable conventional vehicles. Presently, the term is used for any vehicle surpassing the Euro6-norm such as LEVs and ULEVs, and also more informally to California's zero emissions vehicles and other low-carbon emission vehicles. Certain green vehicles may provide a way of sustainable transport.What is the relevance of these green vehicles when our local tranportations are slowly taking us on a sure shot path to death...?

To be continued. Please give your inputs.

My Favourite Books

  • The Best Laid Plans (1997)
  • Morning, Noon and Night (1995)
  • Nothing Lasts Forever (1994)
  • The Stars Shine Down (1992)
  • The Sands of Time (1988)
  • Windmills of the Gods (1987)
  • If Tomorrow Comes (1985)
  • Master of the Game (1982)
  • Rage of Angels (1980)