Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay Tamang faction) has announced help to the Gorkha families who have been left out of the NRC, to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court.”The persons who have been left out of the NRC will get a 120 day period to plead their cases in the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court. As it involves a lot of money, it will be very difficult for the economically weaker sections who have already sold off all their belongings to appear for the multiple hearings in distant places. We will provide them with all support to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunals or the Apex Court. For this we will not collect any money from Assam. We have already told them to approach our representatives within a month with proper documents so that their cases can be put up,” stated GJM president Binay Tamang. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaTamang was addressing media persons in Darjeeling following a 4-day tour of Assam to study the ground reality and meet with the Gorkha families whose names have been struck off. There are more than 1 lakh Gorkhas whose names have been struck off the list. “Along with this legal aspect, we will counter this problem on an administrative and political level. On the administrative front, we will write to the Prime Minister and Union Home minister. We will also seek their appointment so that this grave issue can be discussed. We demand that the Gorkhas be enlisted in the Protected List, thereby declaring them as original inhabitants,” Tamang said.
Interpreted as a show of brute power and a display of institutional dominance, the detention of the senior most leader of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah under Public Safety Act (PSA) also speaks of disregard for the mainstream politicos of the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. The two sections of the 1978 Act are public order and threat to security of the state. Its provisions warrant that any person can be detained without trial for 3 to 6 months under public order and for two years for being a threat to national security. There is also a need for the administration to constitute a committee which confirms the action under PSA. The senior leader is said to have been booked under PSA to prevent him from participating in a rally planned by opposition leaders ahead of the UNGA session next month. The former CM had last addressed the media on August 6 in dismay over the Centre’s decision to scrap the special status of J&K accorded under Article 370 which was made inoperative on August 5. 81-year-old Farooq Abdullah was thrice the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, a Union Minister, and five times Member of Parliament. At present, an MP from Srinagar, his father and National Conference founder, Sheikh Abdullah, was instrumental in integrating Kashmir with India upon Independence from the colonial rule. He led Kashmir’s Muslim population to reject the two-nation theory that led to Partition and the formation of Pakistan in 1947. The third generation of this family, Omar Abdullah is also a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and a Union Minister. The role of Sheikh Abdullah at the time of Independence and was critical in winning the confidence of the local people in the state. It was established way back then the value of local leadership and how important that is for the Indian government. The government must acknowledge that respecting the regional leadership is only of gain to them and erratic decisions will have very serious long term ramifications.
India has for long lived in denial of the environmental hazards surrounding its citizens. Water levels have risen, flash floods have devasted thousands, earthquakes have become commonplace in hitherto unfamiliar terrains, uncontrolled construction in sensitive zones have brought forth nature’s fury, but we, as a country, have lived in denial followed by acute inaction. Therefore, it was a welcome Independence Day speech from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that pledged to act against single-use plastic from October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. Also Read – Hijacking Bapu’s legacyIt is heartening to see the Indian government finally making some much-needed announcements regarding the environment, used to as we are of hearing news of ecological devastation. Whether it is the metro rail car shed construction threatening to wipe out large sections of Mumbai’s green cover in Aarey Colony or intermittent news of destroying the Aravallis, foam-spewing Bengaluru lakes or anti-green industrial activities—much of India’s progress and development has been coming at the cost of nature and our own future. Holding up this bleak prism in front of us, the restriction of single-use plastic is the first of several steps urgently needed for the nation to go green. Corporates such as Goldman Sachs, Infosys, Flipkart, Samsung, RPG Group, Mahindra Group, and Godrej Group have already started efforts to eliminate single-use plastic. Also Read – The future is here!Single-use plastic essentially means plastic that is discarded after it is used once. Those thin, white/transparent grocery bags, bottles, straws, milk packets, plates, cutlery etc. made of plastic qualify as ‘single-use’ according to the United Nations. India is now set to adhere to these strict definitions. It is about time that we start becoming more conscious about sustainable living. Carrying reusable glass or metal bottles in place of plastic, taking cloth or jute bags for grocery shopping, opting for environment-friendly material for packaging and in the F&B industry, would contribute towards sustainable living. While becoming conscious and aware is welcome, there are mixed thoughts on a complete blanket ban on single-use plastic given its ramifications on the Rs 2.25 lakh crore plastic industry that employing 4.5 million (according to the All-India Plastics Manufacturers Association). As per the India Brand Equity Foundation, the industry has 2,000 exporters and over 30,000 processing units, 85-90 per cent of which are small and medium-sized enterprises. A complete ban on single-use plastic would make this labour-intensive industry deeply vulnerable, and that too at a time when the country is already battling slowdown. Forcing yet another industry into crisis when others are already reeling under the after-effects of demonetisation and GST compliances would be imprudent. Reports also indicate that India is hardly the leading culprit in plastic generation contributing only 4.49 million tonnes compared to China’s 59.08 million tonnes and US’ 37.83 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2010. In India, the lacuna lies in the proper segregation, collection, and recycling of waste and this is where proactive action is needed. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generates 26 metric tonnes of plastic every day but 11 metric tonnes of plastic remains uncollected. Some Gurugram residential colonies, for example, have taken up the task of proper collection and recycling of garbage very seriously and invested in intensive training sessions for residents and domestic help. Ultimately, much more of these efforts will have to be made to ensure that India doesn’t mismanage its plastic waste. The images of dead whales stuffed with plastic are heartrending and there is no denying that plastic poisons the earth. But banning it completely is not as simplistic as it sounds. Plastic obviously, still has enormous practical use. It’s been that necessary evil that brings down the cost of production, packaging, preservation, transportation etc. It’s that cheap material that has since 1957 provided the best economical way of living life, doing business, and indulging in consumerism. As an industry, it provides jobs and livelihood to lakhs of people. Therefore, a more concerted effort needs to be implemented to wean citizens off the use of plastic where ever possible, bring in eco-friendly processes in business (come on, Amazon! You really don’t need that much plastic for packaging) while ensuring that the plastic industry too gets adequately rehabilitated. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) stated that in 2015-16, the National Rural Road Development Agency laid around 7,500 km of roads utilising plastic waste. Ingenuous ways of using plastic along with better collection and recycling would be a step in the right direction without delivering yet another shock to the already sensitive Indian economy. (The writer is an author and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal)