» Dec 12,2003::NewsToday exposes the noise polluting resorts along the ECR
» Apr 07,2003::Courts will regulate fire-crackers
» Apr 04,2003::Court jails a polluter
» Mar 25,2003::A success story of citizens' joint action
» Mar 20,2003::Another Judge lashes out against noise pollution.
» Mar 9,2003::Citizens reclaim a designated lake from encroachers.
» Mar 8,2003::Don't laugh: this law against spitting will serve us well in the future.
» Mar 5,2003::A brave though humble crusader for environmental issues on our own East Coast.
» Mar 11,2003::A Judge of Madras High Court speaks out on noise pollution.
» Feb 18,2003::An article on Coastal Zone Regulation Notification.
Dec 12,2003::NewsToday exposes the noise polluting resorts along the ECRgo Top.
Last week the owner of a resort in Muttukkadu celebrated the wedding of his son with blaring music, noisy fanfare and cone speaker announcements.
When Capt Pathak, his neighbour couldn't endure it any more and complained, the owner threatened him directly, face to face. In so many words, he cautioned him to be careful and that the Capt.'s house would be demolished. That the resorts was in a commercial area and had the right to make all the noise. This resort owner is an ex-law maker to boot.
For years citizens along the ECR have endured the noise menace from resorts along the ECR. We have been running from pillar to post. At last we have a supporter in G Babu Jayakumar of NewsToday. Writing a major expose in the newspaper Jayakumar asks if all the pollution control laws are for the city only and businesses can violate them with impunity in the rurarl areas. ECCO members now hope that there will be some positive consequence because of this report. Read the full story here.
Apr 7,2003::Courts will regulate fire crackersgo Top.
There is a clear indication the Supreme Court is agitated by the indiscriminate use of fire crackers.
The Hindu on April 7, 2003 reported that the Court had taken suo moto notice of the noise pollution due to fire crackers and wanted the Department of Explosives to work out standards and monitor the pollution. The Dept. has now pleaded itself ill-equipped and the Court has appointed an amicus curiae to explore other ways to tackle the menace. The Central Pollution Control Board may be called upon to establish noise standards.
Apr 4,2003::Court jails a polluter.go Top.
'The Hindu' on April 4,2003 reported that a two member Bench of the Supreme Court observed that in matters related to environmental hazards, if the orders of the highest court were disobeyed, the health of the entire society was at great risk.
A Delhi industrialist Mr Ashok Kumar Chabra was ordered by the Supreme Court to be jailed for a week and fined a sum of Rs.100,000 in a pollution related case. Chabra continued to run a hot-mix plant in the city even after the Court had ordered closure of 44 such units as being polluters.
The Judges said that a strong signal must be sent, so that others did not repeat this offence.
Mar 9,2003::Citizens reclaim a designated lake from encroachers.go Top.
The Hindu today featured the succes story of Vengaivasal village near Tambaram, where designated water bodies had been taken over by vested interests and 'sold' to poor dwellers. The Collector helped evict the encroachers once he was convinced the villagers had the collective will to improve the lakes.
The lakes were then deepened by villagers. With the next rains, they brimmed with water-- a sight unseen for many years.
The Hindu has a lovely picture of a birded lake. To read the full story, get to http://hinduonnet.com, go to the Archives section and select the issue of this entry's date.
Mar 8,2003::Don't laugh: this law against spitting will serve us well in the future.go Top.
With the gap between the intent of a law and its implementation being what it is in India today, most people don't bother to pay heed to laws until they are personally aggrieved. What is worse, we blithely break the laws ourselves.
The press reported today that the President has given assent to a law enacted by the Tamil Nadu Government to ban smoking and spitting in public places. The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Smoking and Spitting Act bans smoking and spitting in auditoria, hospitals, cinemas, amusement centres, restaurants, parks etc etc -- it's a long list of designated places.
The first instinct is to think it applies to a menace originating with the poor. But think again. Can you deny variations of this cameo does not occur often enough on the streets of Chennai?: a car costing upwards of Rs.10 lakhs stops at the lights. The driver is a well groomed tycoon in a spotless white safari suit. Electric window rolls down. A fair head with blood red lips leans out, pouts and squirts betel juice on the street. No care about who will clean it up. No worries about the influence on his school going children in the back seat. It's almost his fundamental right, in this land of rights and no duties. Who cares?
Well, there's a law now. It's a pity there was need for one. But here it is. There's the legislature that has passed it. Courts will readily find against the offender. So, if the menace continues, who is to be blamed. Surely, you and me who won't blow the whistle. We don't because we feel the cops must do the job. In a perfect world they must indeed. In India, with its realities, can the private citizen sit back and expect his world to get better?
We need to change before the world around us will.
Mar 25,2003::A success story of citizens' joint actiongo Top.
This is not quite about the concerns of ECCO. But the story has a relevance here because it is about how citizens got together against impossible odds to fight an unjust order. When the TNRDC built toll plazas along the ECR and began to collect a toll from long time residents most thought that it was something you had to just accept. But a few were revolted by the humiliation heaped on citizens requiring them to pay money to go to their homes.
Slowly between April and July, 2002, residents of this very same ECR got together, spread awareness of the justness of their cause down tens of kilometers south, agitated peacefully, engaged the media and finally in a crowning moment earned the personal attention of Chief Minister Ms. J . Jayalalithaa herself.
There was success because the cause was right. Through ECCO we can win too --whatever the odds we face-- as long as our causes are right. ECCO aims to follow in the same footsteps: we enrol like minded people, we make them aware, we use the web to spread information, we support each other --and in the end we prevail.
For those interested in the toll-saga, here's a link to that web site that tells the full story.
Mar 5,2003::A brave --though humble-- crusader for environmental issues on our own East Coast.go Top.
The New Indian Express today profiled I H Sekhar [ECCO has discovered that the report erroneously refers to him as T H Sekhar.] a resident of the fishing village at Injambakkam. While most priviledged Indians cower with vague fears and do nothing about their problems, this 42 year old man with little means has taken powerful cartels to courts for offending the environment. His first crusade was to stop the booming water supply businesses all along the ECR. Ten years ago you saw a convoy of these water tankers filling up at various borewells along the ECR. Today they are gone. How? Because Sekhar fought them in the courts with his own money -- and won.
The report by Priya M Menon, says that his files are "full of court orders and copies of letters written to district collectors and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board." He has fought against encroachments, land grab, sand mining, filling up of water bodies-- and won every time. The court battle to stop ground water exploitation took him 8 years to win. He was almost always alone, surrounded by fellow citizens bought out by money. But Sekhar scarcely blinked. He could be a role for responsible citizenship.
This inspiring man has a conviction that the educated classes often lack. He says, "I have great faith in the judiciary."
Mar 20,2003::Another Judge lashes out against noise pollution.go Top.
After Mr Justice Sivasubramaniam a few days ago, it was the turn of Mr Justice K Sampath today to convey his wrath against noise pollution. The New Indian Express headlined the story thus: "VVIPs pulled up for flouting rules." The case related to a petition by one M Venkateswaran of Karaikal. He had complained that his neighbour had built a temple and a kalyana mandapam on an adjoining property to plans that had been not been authorised. The influential neighbour then obtained police permission to install speakers. The speakers were blaring with little consideration to the neighbourhood. The Judge decreed that the Police Act of Pondicherry required them to enforce the pollution laws.
The Judge also observed that VVIPs "no rules to follow. They are a law unto themselves." Again, "loud speakers, heavy and light vehicles, two wheelers and three wheelers without silencers and impatient honking were the main source of the demalady." He scathingly observed in conclusion,"the law shall be enforced and the law shall be obeyed."
Feb 18,2003::An article on Coastal Zone Regulation Notification.go Top.
All of us connected with the East Coast should be aware that sound laws exist on paper. Yet why things are degrading? Non-implementation is the answer. Writing in Business Line, Aarthi Sridhar, a lawyer specialising on environemntal issues, begins:"After several years of environmental tragedies, 1991 saw the Government propelled into presenting the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification (CRZ) � a law promising protection to the fragile coastal areas and the marginalised communities, presumably from what was the acknowledged fallout of escalating industrialisation and urbanisation." She then goes on to discuss the reasons why the noble intentions are not realised. She observes that in Goa where an NGO has been co-opted compliance is much better. To read the full article click this.
Mar 11,2003:Judge of Madras High Court speaks out on noise pollution.go Top.
"It's a pity that the police and Pollution Control Board authorities are yet to strictly implement the rules and regulations in spite of repeated directions by the court and the Government," lamented Mr. Justice K P Sivasubramaniam, according to a report in the Hindu today.
He was passing these comments after disposing a case concerning Church of God in KKR Majestic Colony. CoG had been hauled up by local residents for blasting religious noise. When challenged, CoG went to the Supreme Court claiming a right to broadcast its services. It lost the case. The Judge yesterday declared that CoG doesn't forfeit other rights because of its loss in the Supreme Court but he went on to comment on CoG's ways with noise: "God ,whichever the religion, is said to be everywhere and does not require blasting and deafening amplifiers to hear the prayer."