Government of India vs Green Peace : An Unwise Confrontation

Green Peace fights for causes that they feel important according to their worldview. Green Peace had protested against killing of seals and whales. They had protested against oil exploration and oil spill. Green Peace had also protested against nuclear explosion by France as well as commissioning of Kudankulum nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Many a time Green Peace activists had endangered their lives for their cause. We may not agree with Green Peace’s worldview, but have no reason to suspect their intention.

In this context, it is important to take note of the recent standoff between Green Peace India and the Government of India. Ms. Priya Pillai a member of Green Peace India was invited to meet British parliamentarians. Ms. Pillai was to interact with parliamentarians on human right violation and environmental degradation.  Government deplaned Ms. Pillai and prevented her from going to London. 

I think move was foolish and should have been avoided. Reason I think why government goofed in Priya Pillai and Green Peace case are as follows:

Ms. Pillai could always do her presentation using Skype and Webex. Which Ms. Pillai did anyway. So, deplaning Ms.Pillai gave publicity to her cause and made government officials look foolish. On a national TV news channel debate also, Indian government officials came out looking not so good. Indian officials tried to make a case of Green Peace puts its donations in money market. Sine when it became a crime to make your money grow? Even government of india is planning to put pension fund of its eimployees to open market in the hope of getting greater return. Thus, speculating in money market does not make Green Peace a terrorist organization.

It is possible that British policy makers would frame policy discouraging investment in India. May be this document will circulate among all EU nations and may be in US and Australia, as well. It must be appreciated that India does not rely on British or European aid or grant, anymore. India is growing at a healthy rate, when many other economies are going through a slump. Multinational companies and foreign investors decide on investment based on economic growth and ease of doing business and not necessarily based on human right record. By that criteria, there will be no investment flowing into China.  

Broader debate should be about use of mineral wealth of India for greater common good vis a vis livlihood of people displaced by such an act. There is no denying that lives of people will be affected due to mining activity. A few questions that need answering are the following: Do all tribals necessarily want to hold on to their age old lifestyle? Should tribals not want access to modern life, access to health and education? 

Like many other countries that have created a balance between development and environment, why in India it has to be either environment or development. Why can we not have development in an enivironment friendly manner.

Country has voted for Mr Modi to make in India work and make India strong. Government with full majority need not be shaken by activists. Ruling formation should explain need for exploitation of national wealth for improving lives of Indians. Government should declare plan for compensating displaced people. By the way if activism is the way to go, Congress MP from Niyamagiri district in  Orissa, would not lose his seat and Congress party would still be in power in centre.


Tags: Development, Environment,  Government of India, Green Peace, Mining, Priya Pillai, Tribals
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