Wednesday, March 10, 2004

National Highway is a Robbery, Vandana ma'am says so

I love environment. I mean it's nice saving the planet and stuff. I live in here, you know, and I want it to be kinda safe. That makes me respect people who respect nature, birds and Vandana Shiva. The earth has existed for millions of years and I give Greenpeace its due credit. But Vandana ma'am also derserves full praise.

She saves the earth and things. Like Lord Shiva is the god of destruction, Vandana Shiva is the goddess of anti-destruction. And this news item about Vandana made me swell proud of environmentalists. No wonder she's angry as hell at this Golden Quadrilateral stuff. "A recipe for displacement and uprooting of the people and ecosystems," Vandana ma'am says.

"The highways is totally against the common man and is driven by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and ADB which funded the projects only to create markets for automobiles," she said

She was speaking after releasing a report "Highway Robbery: Shining India Campaign and the Price the People Pay," in New Delhi on Tuesday.

That's what we call courage and stuff: a lone woman standing against the Prime Minister's pet project. I mean imagine the number of trees being cut, the number of species of grass being uprooted, people who live on the roadside being removed just to widen these blasted roads.

Where there is a road, there are automobiles. Where there are automobiles, there is pollution. It's a vicious circle, you know. And show me one person who loves pollution. No, na?

According to Vandana ma'am estimate the highways would displace over 200,000 people immediately and would leave millions of people jobless.

Show me one guy who loves unemployment. I mean is the government trying to unemploy millions of people? At this rate they'll unemploy the whole country, I tell ya. Plus the government is making 200,000 people homeless and that too immediately. Serious stuff, man.

And mine and Vandana ma'am heart goes out for the horses and bulls, who used to pulls carts. They too are unemployed. "The western model does not fit in our system as it marginalises many of the transportation modes which we had in the country since ages," she rightly says.

"There is no place even for "jugaad" (a make-shift fourwheeler commonly used in villages for transportation), she said. Now you'll say jugaads are one of the most polluting vehicles put together by human beings. But if it has the approval of Vandana ma'am, they must be good for the country. We must love jugaad.

And to save jugaad we must not make roads and let western countries sell cars here. I mean we can all fly, make our own planes. After all we invented jugaad, right?

I am dying to see the day when I would fly to office every morning. You can't fly a jugaad plane to long distances. No problem, we'll walk till Hyderabad and then fly to Chennai from there. Nice, na? Trains? No we have to stop using them because if you encourage trains they'll start expanding train networks with finances from World Bank and ADB. And people will be uprooted. Vandana ma'am won't like it.

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