News Alerts

Indian Ocean Nations to test tsunami warning
January 1, 1970

Eighteen countries around the Indian Ocean Rim will participate in a United Nations-backed tsunami exercise on 14 October to coincide with World Disaster Reduction Day, the first time that the warning system set up following the devastating disaster that struck the region in 2004 will be tested, according to UN information brief. The exercise takes place in the wake of the tsunami that killed more than 100 people in Samoa last month, "providing a sober reminder that coastal communities everywhere need to be aware and prepared for such events," stated the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization . Following the 2004 tsunami, UNESCO -- through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) -- helped countries in the region set up the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS). Following are the details of the upcoming drill – Known as "Exercise Indian Ocean Wave 09" -- will test and evaluate the effectiveness...

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Grow more rice with fewer inputs and save the environment for free!
January 1, 1970

The procurement of rice for distribution under the proposed Right to Food scheme has renewed the fears of irreversible depletion of water table in India’s grain producing regions. It is feared that unless more scientific and progressive methods of rice cultivation are used, the otherwise welcome scheme would lead to more sowing of summer paddy leading to more injudicious water use and further soil degradation. Many rural NGOs and agricultural scientists have been reminding the government of promoting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which offers arguably the best solution in terms of food security and environmental sustainability. SRI technique helps in growing more rice with fewer inputs. The technique is both seed and labour saving. Use of SRI methods reduces the agronomic and economic risks that are usually faced by the farmers. The National Food Security Mission (2007) too has recommended SRI method of farming to increase rice productivity....

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Protest against proposed Cash for Food in Delhi
January 1, 1970

  Several civil society and trade union organizations are getting together in Delhi over the next week to protest against the proposed cash for food scheme of the Delhi Government and to press for a more fair and equitable criterion of identification of BPL families, in the National Capital. BPL families living in slums areas, Jhuggies & unauthorized colonies are expected to participate in big numbers, say the organizers. Led by the Delhi Shrimik Sangathan, the protest is being organized in the form of a mass rally and a public meeting on October 8 from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. The main demands of the organizations are: a) Abolition of the proposed cash for food scheme; b) A fairer BPL identification criterion; c) Universal PDS; d) Abolition of categorization of ration cards; e) Better transparency in pro-poor schemes and increased participation of people; and f) Strict action against corrupt politicians,...

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Farmers’ suicides continue in Vidarbha despite relief package
January 1, 1970

Five farmers committed suicide from the Vidarbha region of Maharastra within the last two days of the month of August, 2009. The farmers who committed suicides belonged to the districts for which special relief package was being announced recently. According to a press note circulated by the Vidarbha People’s Movement Committee, within the last 48 hours of August, farmers were forced to commit suicide as they faced crop failures owing to severe drought. Those who took to suicides were: Dilip Chawan (Yavatmal), Onkar Unhale (Buldhana), Ramdas Rathod (Wasim), Babarai Daware (Wardha) and Balkrishna Sonawane (Gondiya).     The news of farmers’ suicides from Vidarbha, a region whose name emerged previously too in the international media for being the dark spot of agrarian crisis, appeared at a time when the government boasted that the number of suicides being committed dropped drastically during the first six months of 2009. According to a recent report...

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Damned projects of Uttarakhand
January 1, 1970

Just when everyone thought that the debate over large dams was settled against displacement, mega dams are back in business. Refusing to learn from our own mistakes are the three newly created states, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. The three states are locked in battles against one another to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to construct several large dams and barrages ostensibly to give a push to a new wave of industrial development. However, a large number of civil society organizations have been warning the big dam enthusiasts in the government that in the past such development projects, that include construction of large dams and barrages, has not only led to massive displacement of the native people and forest communities but has also exposed the ecology and pristine environment to increased vulnerability and irreparable damage. The Matu People’s Organisation of Uttarakhand has condemned the attempts of private companies, both national and...

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