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Latest Message:

October 25, 2006 CSE Newsletter

Previous Messages:

October 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

September 27, 2006 CSE Newsletter

September 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

August 3, 2006 CSE Newsletter

June 1, 2006 CSE Newsletter

May 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

November 24, 2005 CSE Newsletter

September 22, 2005 Newsletter

March 15, 2003 Newsletter

You can find CSE archives of past newsletters on their website.



October 25, 2006 CSE Newsletter

An e-bulletin from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, to our network of friends and professionals interested in environmental issues.


- Media workshop and fellowship: National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
- Training: Managing information resources in the digital age
- Green Schools Award: India's most environment friendly schools
- Editorial: Another India is (not) ours
- Cover story: Red alert in Chhattisgarh
- News: SC imposes ban on field trials of GM crops
- News: Parties in West Bengal set their anti-industry image right
- News: Maharashtra set to notify standards for private healthcare units
- Features: Revisiting a deceased farmer's family in Andhra Pradesh
- Science: El Nino, Indian monsoon may be linked
- Work with CSE: Science Editor & Technology editors


Media briefing workshop and fellowship
Hyderabad, November 16-17, 2006


Join us for a media workshop on India's ambitious poverty eradication scheme the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), which came into force in February 2006, is the latest initiative to try to combat poverty: it envisions regeneration of the rural economy by creating productive assets like water harvesting tanks, watershed development and plantation of trees for soil and moisture conservation. But is the Act equipped to meet its ambitious objectives, or is it just ~Qanother wage-employment~R scheme?

You are invited to a two-day workshop in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), where this and other related questions will be discussed and debated to facilitate understanding and reportage on the issue. The workshop will bring together media persons, policy experts, researchers and activists to explain the key topical areas.

Journalists participating at the workshop are also invited to apply for a one-month CSE Regional Media Fellowship to investigate the dynamics of poverty and environment in India, and explore the scope and potential of the NREGA as a development programme.
Areas of focus include:

- The productive sectors on which money is being spent
- The institutional arrangements being made for sustainable assets creation
- People~Rs participation in identifying and implementing works
- The role of panchayats and their empowerment for implementation of the programme
- State-level trend analysis of implementation
- The development impact of the programme on rural economy/livelihoods

Participants are invited to apply for a fellowship on poverty and environment.

Compensation: Rs. 40,000

For more information>>


Last date for application>>
November 5th, 2006


Training: Managing information resources in the digital age
New Delhi, November 21-25, 2006


This unique course covers the management of information at an institutional level and effective dissemination using the web.
The popular, hands-on training programme includes:

- Sourcing information (information acquisition and research)
- Classification and indexing (including digitised resources)
- Developing and managing audio-visual resources (films, photos, CDs)
- Library automation tools
- Product planning, services and marketing
- Digital library fundamentals (IT for information management)
- Web-based tools for information outreach
- Basic Webmaster skills
- Developing an information resource centre: Planning

Last date for registration: November 4, 2006

Register online >>

For more information contact:
Kiran Pandey < kiran@cseindia.org >


Green Schools Award: India's most environment friendly schools


For over a year, students have been monitoring the environmental performance of their schools under the Gobar Times Green School Programme. All participants performed a rigorous self-audit following a set of guidelines outlined in the Green Schools Manual. Now it is time to announce the winners of the Green Schools Award for India's top performing schools. You are cordially invited to attend the awards event.

Date: November 27, 2006
Time: 3:30 pm onwards
Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi

Awards will be given in the following categories:
- Top green schools of India
- Green teachers' team award
- Best students' audit team award


Editorial: Another India is (not) ours


By Sunita Narain

At a media-studded book release function, a leading editor was recounting a recent incident. He was traveling with a top Uttar Pradesh politician (who we will not name but call Mr A) in his brand new plane. The politician told him that the plane was a gift from a leading industrialist (who we will not name but call Mr AA). The editor was then told that the return gift by the politician was not meagre: it was 1,000 hectares (ha) of prime agricultural land for a new special economic zone (SEZ). Hearing this tale, we in the audience smiled wisely. This was titillating sleaze.

The idea of SEZs is borrowed from China, where zones are created to facilitate manufacturing and business activity, which are special in terms of labour and tax laws. These are countries within countries, intended to expedite reform that cannot be done across board. With the enactment of the SEZ Act 2005, the idea is catching on like wildfire in India.

And why not? After all, which industrialist will turn down the chance to get between 1,000-10,000 ha of prime land, for industrial and real estate development? The land is acquired from farmers by government - using all its persuasive and muscle power - and then handed over to industry. Which industrialist will not cut many corners to ensure that this scheme, which gives them not just exemption from custom duties but also income and excise tax, is not expedited? It is only incidental, they will say, that the scheme also allows them to build hotels, schools, hospitals, houses, airports and ports. They will not tell you that these mega-profit developments are carefully regulated by some clumsy rules so that the 'real estate' purpose is assured.

Why should we be surprised then by the sleaze and scam stories that surround these zones? These are the deals of modern India, in which corruption comes in many colours and kinds.

Two key concerns have been raised: the fact that large areas of cultivable lands are being acquired for industry and there is inadequate compensation to farmers and others displaced. Two, that there will be a substantial loss of revenue for government with manufacturing and services moving to these tax-free havens. It is also suggested in fact that these zones will not lead to a flood of new investment, but indeed the flight of old investment, which will want the tax-free status. The case of Korean giant Posco's mega steel plant is a case in point. It 'managed' to get categorised as an SEZ, well after it had already come into the country to set up shop.

But SEZ status is the ultimate development dream. I have no doubt that in the current weak-political scenario industry will wriggle out with some glib answers and some tall promises of providing employment to the displaced.

I have also no doubt that SEZs are the beginning of the end of the idea of one India.

The fact is that SEZs are not even about creating a few special zones. They are about the abdication of responsibility to sort out the underlying problems that plague the country as a whole. The fact is that infrastructure, power, water, housing, education and health services are in a mess. Over the past 50 years, we have tried in our ham-handed socialist ways to find answers to provide services for all. We don't know why, but this approach is not working. There is growing impatience about growth. Therefore, the easier and much less complicated answer is to let that part of India, which can provide for itself, to prosper. The grandiose idea will be then the government can take care of the needy with some sops and some more developmental schemes. But we forget that the reason why the answers of the past were not working was precisely because we ensured that the rich were ecologically subsidised in the name of the poor. Now this will get worse.

But in this way enclave India will grow. Water will come, not from public municipal taps, which cannot be fixed, but from private companies, who will purify it and supply it in bottles or colony taps, for those who can pay. It is another matter that these companies will not pay or pay a pittance for the same water they consume. Power will come from electricity companies, who will produce it exclusively for those who pay bills covering the cost, plus profit, of its manufacture. Of course, there will be no garbage in the colony as cleaners will come from outside - for a price - and take it away. Where and how, it is best not to know. In this way, infrastructure development is no longer a problem: it is built for those who can pay. Flyovers can take people straight from the company-run airport to their homes and work. Rich and poor India are now separated at birth.

The fundamentally fatal flaws in this approach are many: first, let us be clear, this rich and exclusive India will continue to be subsidised to the hilt. Second, it will be built on the backs of the poor using the might of the state. The land, for instance, is not bought by the rich private sector paying the price the seller is willing to sell on - the market price and above. This private property will be acquired under the convenient cover of land acquisition acts at discounted prices. Third, the resources for development will be severely compromised, as growth will no longer contribute to revenues of government.

Who said that civilised countries had to tax their rich to support their poor? That was old India's baggage. This new India only dreams. Nightmares are for others. This is another India. Here, everything is possible. It is another matter that it is not ours.

Read the editorial online >>

To comment, write to >>


Cover story: Red alert in Chhattisgarh


Land acquisition is at the centre of intense political and social conflict in the tribal hinterland of Chhattisgarh. On the one hand, Naxals enforce their version of justice by opposing land alienation. But the new state has its compulsion: industrialisation. This is where the Salwa Judum movement kicks in: a citizens' militia patronised by the state, it moves tribals out of their land to expose rich subterranean resources.


More in Down To Earth magazine


News: SC imposes ban on field trials of GM crops Following massive campaigns by civil society organisations against genetically modified (GM) crops, the Supreme Court has passed an interim order banning all field trials in India and has slammed the regulatory mechanisms in place. The movement against GM crops started after reports that planting of Bt cotton -- the country's only approved and commercially available GM crop -- had caused death of sheep in Andhra Pradesh.

Read complete article >>


News: Parties in West Bengal set their anti-industry image right Political parties in West Bengal are in a fix. On the one hand they are opposing Tata's plan of setting up a small car plant in Singur as they fear many farmers will lose their agricultural land. However, on the other, most parties do not want come across as anti-industry and anti-development, and are therefore trying to get the project shifted to an alternate location.


News: Maharashtra set to notify standards for private healthcare units Regulating private healthcare units, which have sprung up all over India, is a huge task. Though the Centre has not taken any steps in this direction, the Maharashtra government will soon notify standards. The rules specify the minimum standards required for private in-patient facilities like nursing homes, hospitals and maternity homes. Referral facilities such as pathological labs, blood banks, clinics and government hospitals have been left out of their purview.


Features: Revisiting a deceased farmer's family in Andhra Pradesh Sopan Joshi visits the family of a debt-ridden farmer in Andhra Pradesh who had killed himself two years ago, and finds out that the debt trap has imprisoned more.


Science: El Nino, Indian monsoon may be linked Scientists have established a link between the Indian monsoon and the El Nino phenomenon, an abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean. During the course of their research, they found that whenever the monsoons failed, the sea surface temperature was high in the central Pacific Ocean. This development could lead to more accurate weather forecasts.


CSE is an independent, public interest organisation that was established in 1982 by Anil Agarwal, a pioneer of India's environmental movement. CSE's mandate is to research, communicate and promote sustainable development with equity, participation and democracy.
Contact CSE: http://www.cseindia.org/aboutus/feedback.htm
E-mail: < cse@cseindia.org>
Address: 41 Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110062

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© Centre for Science and Environment


Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.