I VIVIDLY remember the scene at the railway station on the morning after the nationwide lockdown was announced to curb the spread of COVID-19 on March 24,” says lawyer-activist Priyanka Shukla from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. The lockdown, which took effect at midnight, was announced with just four hours' notice. During that short period, more than 300 people had managed to reach the station and were waiting for connecting trains to go to their villages or home towns. But they were stranded after the railways too cancelled all passenger trains.
What came as a rude shock is that the railway authorities had even shut down the public utilities and were chasing the people away, recalls Shukla. The widespread apathy prompted her to take to the social media to garner support. One of her tweets, that highlighted that 126 of the stranded labourers were from Jharkhand, prompted the state’s chief minister Hemant Soren to reply. Immediately, the local administration provided vehicles for their safe return. Soon, similar arrangements were made for labourers who hailed from Bihar. Meanwhile, following the public pressure, the labourers who hailed from West Bengal and Assam were temporarily shifted to schools. Towards the end of April, the government announced that it will charge ₹3,000 from each labourer for ensuring their safe return home. “By now, I was volunteering with 14 of my friends and we all mounted pressure on the government through social media,” she recalls, adding that she received calls from officials who accused her of defaming the government.
But as their social media presence increased, they also started getting requests from people who wanted to help. So, Shukla and her group decided to set up a small kitchen on the outskirts of Bilaspur to provide meals to the desperate travellers. By May, about 200 workers were crossing Bilaspur every night on foot or on cycle. They mostly hailed from Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and were travelling from the southern states and Maharashtra. Shukla and her group hired buses to ferry the returning informal workers back home. “We did not want to handle money so we asked the people who were donating to directly transfer to the vendors we were buying from,” she says. We are glad that many came forward to support us and help the returning workers.
Sri Lanka returns illegal waste containers to UK
AFTER A two-year court battle, Sri Lanka has started shipping back the 263 waste containers that were illegally brought into the country from the UK.
The containers were brought into the island nation through 2017 and 2018 under the National Environmental Act 1980. This was done to circumvent the Basel Convention, which calls for clearances from the governments of both the exporting and importing countries.
Wealthy western nations ship their waste to developing countries since it is cheaper, helps to meet their recycling targets and also reduces domestic landfill needs.
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One of India’s worst malaria-affected districts, Malkangiri in Odisha, is on its way to win the fight against this scourge
The great discontent
Farmers delivered the country’s historic harvest bucking the pandemic in 2020. But the year also broke all records of their protests as they demand fair price and access to markets
Fungal attack in apple orchards across the valley
WIDESPREAD FUNGAL infection is set to hit apple production in Kashmir this season.
SHRINKING WORLD OF CHANGPAS
The Changpas are trans-Himalayan nomads. For ages, they have roamed the Changthang region of southeastern Ladakh, cut off from the world. Some accounts say they travelled across the Himalayas to arrive here around the 8th century. Located at an altitude of 4,500 metres, life in this arid, vast and rugged plateau is hard. Winters are very long, summers short and vegetation scarce. As a result, the Changpas have led a pastoral life. They rear Changthangi goat, from whose under coat comes the famous pashmina wool. The goats graze on the mountainsides, feeding on seasonal grasses. The weather, however, has changed in the past few decades. The winters and summers are warmer, and there is a perceptive decline in precipitation and snowfall between November and March. This has drastically reduced the size of the grazing grounds and the Changpas now have to shift locations more frequently. RITAYAN MUKHERJEE captures the changing lifestyle of the Changpas
India’s latest plan to save its vultures from dying due to drugs used on cattle offers little hope
THE GOVERNMENT’S NEW PROPOSAL ON EXTENDED PRODUCER’S RESPONSIBILITY ON PLASTIC WASTE IS A MOCKERY OF THE COVID-19 REALITY WE FACE TODAY
Gated farming societies
An agritech startup in Bengaluru is helping city dwellers own and manage farms for long-term wealth benefits
2020 Endless Fallouts
COVID-19 has turned the clock back in terms of global health and development indices. The recovery will be long and arduous for a world facing climate change on an unprecedented scale. Indicators are already there that the year ahead will be turbulent
Question Of Ecological Identity
ISHAN KUKRETI speaks to a legislator, an anthropologist and legal experts to make sense of this simmering debate
We need pure honey
It is time we outwitted the business of adulteration. This requires government to act decisively. It needs industry to be made responsible. It needs consumers to be made aware of the purity of the honey they consume. This demands change
कोरोना वैक्सीन की पहली खेप पहुंची यूपी-बिहार, झारखंड को इंतजार
कोरोना वैक्सीन की पहली खेप पटना पहुंची है। स्पाइस जेट से दोपहर करीब डेढ़ बजे पहली खेप में साढ़े 5 लाख वैक्सीन की डोज पटना एयरपोर्ट पहुंचाई गई।
Commercial Coal Mine Auction: Dawn Of A New Era
The month of November turned historic with the execution of country’s maiden auction of coal mines for commercial usage that marked country’s transition to a liberalised coal sector that promises access to a fuel on demand at competitive prices without bureaucratic hassles and monopolistic attitude.
राज्य भी केंद्र को लोहे के चने चबवा सकते हैं
झारखंड के गठन के बीस साल हुए। इन वर्षों में झारखंड की दशा-दिशा क्या रही और चुनौतियां क्या हैं? इन सवालों के साथ एक साल पूरा कर रही झामुमो-कांग्रेस गठजोड़ सरकार के युवा मुख्यमंत्री हेमंत सोरेन कोरोना के दौर में खाली खजाना और विपक्ष से भी मुकाबिल हैं। उन्होंने चुनौतियों और कामकाज पर आउटलुक के नवीन कुमार मिश्र से अपने अनुभव साझा किए। बातचीत के प्रमुख संपादित अंशः
COMMERCIAL COAL MINE AUCTION Dawn of A New Era
The month of November turned historic with the execution of country’s maiden auction of coal mines for commercial usage that marked the country’s transition to a liberalised coal sector that promises access to a fuel on demand at competitive prices without bureaucratic hassles and monopolistic attitude.
पर्यटन से बदलेगी झारखंड की तसवीर
टूरिज्म से न सिर्फ सरकार को राजस्व की प्राप्ति होती है, बल्कि, इस से लोगों को रोजगार भी मिलता है. इस परिप्रेक्ष्य में टूरिज्म को बढ़ावा देने के लिए झारखंड सरकार की दूरगामी योजना काफी उम्मीद जगाती है.
एक नया धर्म संकट
आदिवासियों के धर्म सरना कोड का प्रस्ताव झारखंड विधानसभा ने पारित कर केंद्र से इसे जनगणना में शामिल करने की अपील की है. लेकिन पूरे देश के आदिवासी इससे सहमत नहीं हैं और इस समुदाय में ही नई बहस छिड़ गई है
Migrant Parents Pushing 20,000 Young Children Towards Death In Jharia's Tunnels
Parents keep pushing little children towards death in Jharia’s mines
Selling the dream
The Making of Aadhaar: World’s Largest
Shoppers Stop's festive saga
Shoppers Stop continues with its festive windows fest across India - Diwali (North, West) Pujo (East) & Dasara (South), paying a tribute to the country’s rich traditions
EIA ACT AND REALITY
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important process for evaluating the likely environmental impact of a proposed project. It is a process whereby people’s views are taken into consideration for granting final approval to any developmental project or activity. It is, basically, a decision-making tool to decide whether the project should be approved or not. According to the government, the new notification of EIA Act 2020 is being brought in order to make the process more transparent and expedient by the implementation of an online system, further delegation, rationalization and standardization of the process. However, the environmentalist said that the draft will further dilute the EIA process.