Reading this new report on our government's "great", "insightful", "inclusive", "development oriented" plans I had a couple of quick thoughts run through me (with a good measure of sarcasm). So now that we have executive orders/ordinances in place to overcome environmental regulations, next in agenda is more structural and policy-level changes in order to lead us (quickly) to that promised land of #achedin.
To begin with, additional clearances will be done away with (the aim is obviously “speedy development”). Heck, if the government had its way, it would implement and then inform its people. We are not quite there yet. When that happens we can enjoy "achedin" in a nice, blissed out, totalitarian environment.
There are plans to redefine the legal definition of forests. Now who is redefining it, what is the new definition? Who knows? But that is irrelevant. Imagine the real estate prospects here!! Gold! I mean don't we all aspire to live in a gated community, in a sprawling bungalow, in the middle of the Western Ghats!. Imagine people...just imagine! Ah! "achedin" indeed!
Private sector to be involved in afforestation practices. Meaning how? Financial support or actually deciding what trees/plants to grow where?!?. So here is how I imagine it- Mrs. Ambnani glides into her husband's gold plated suite (yep..in my head the super rich glide and live in gold plated rooms) and goes -"suniya jee--wouldn't it be wonderful if we planted conifers in that large tract of forest land, down south, in Kerala, on that site the minister jee had mentioned. It will be just like Europe and those who cannot afford to travel to Europe or way up North can get the feel on home turf. Wouldn't that be a win-win? And Mr. Ambanani goes- "sure darling - what a thoughtful, brilliant idea!". And Mrs. Ambnani giggles shyly.
Now you decide if this is a funny or a frightening scenario.
The report talked about two step changes planned - “mild changes” during the current session and “radical changes” in the next. Someone explain mild and radical please? I thought things were pretty radical enough. And I don't think my poor self can handle anymore radical changes.
And last but not the least – the government is all set to overhaul environmental and forest regulations but no plans to enhance monitoring. Excellent! This is like the government being an indulgent parent where the petulant child gets his/her way whom they neither care to monitor and nor do they want to spend on a nanny.
Venting over, looking for aspirin.