Conflict of interest ridden committee is always suspect
Construction on the floodplain of Yamuna for 2010 Commonwealth Games will wreak havoc in Delhi because the site for the Games Village is on the riverbed of the Yamuna. Emaar MGF Company won the contract for Rs 321 crore. It is supposed to hand over one-third of the flats to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) once the Games are over.
The Delhi High Court bench of Hon'ble Justice AK Sikri and Hon'ble Justice Rekha Sharma heard the matter on November 3, 2008 wherein they have said that a committee headed by Dr R K Pachauri will look into the subject and inform the court about the river bed of Yamuna and its suitability or unsuitability for the Games village.
Dr Pachauri, his The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and their collaborator DDA are interested parties with no record of even an iota to impartiality.
Justice Rekha Sharma has aptly noted in her order, "As would be borne out ...neither NEERI nor Ministry of Environment and Forest nor DDA can be said to have acted fairly and objectively. Their hands appear to be tainted."
DDA's project incharge for the Commonwealth Games Village, Shekhar Dey informed India Today (12 May, 2008) that "The Village does not fall in the floodplain and the earthquake-resistant structures are being built in collaboration with the The Energy and Resources Institute" (TERI). Dr Pachauri is the Director General of TERI
The fact is there is no doubt now that their hands are indeed tainted. They should use gloves, not Dr Pachauri.
Justice Sharma should be informed about the background of both Dr Pachauri and DDA's involvement with his TERI because she appears to been misled into believing that the presence of Dr. R.K. Pachauri " is a matter of great relief".
In fact it is quite unethical and immoral for Dr Pachauri to have "agreed to be the Chairman of the said Committee" on Yamuna despite knowing that his hands and TERI's involvement is also tainted. It is a manifest case of conflict of interest.
Fortunately, Justice Sharma does ask very pertinent questions in her order like "the constitution and other salient aspects concerning the Committee...need to be spelled out in detail. Who will appoint the Committee? Who will be its members? What exactly would be the scope of enquiry by the Committee? Can the Committee give interim report? And to whom? Similarly to whom it is to give the final report? And to what effect? These and other issues need to be dealt with."
Someone should inform the Delhi High Court that he is not fit for recommending steps for saving Yamuna. He has never been an environmentalist.
Will someone enlighten the Delhi High Court that neither Dr R K Pachauri nor his TERI is a noble laureate; it is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that shared the noble prize with Al Gore?
Also Dr Pachauri or TERI has rarely been on the right side of environment. It was he and his TERI that opposed the CNG in Delhi and sought to promote Diesel run automobiles.
Even Indian Express reported on Sep 13, 2008 that "TERI's varsity campus not all that 'green'" although it was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil. Environmentalists were up in arms against what they called "lack of environmental responsibility" in the construction of the university building on the protected ridge area in Vasant Kunj.
A memorandum has also been sent to the President requesting her to put a stop on any further constructions on this 640-hectare ridge area.
"This 'green building' was built on the Capital's most sacred natural heritage, the 'gloriously pristine' Delhi Ridge, as it is described in the Masterplan. It is a subterfuge to have a green building that destroys the Green Ridge — our oldest natural heritage", reads the memorandum .
The area is protected as ridge in the Master Plan: it was demarcated so by the Geographical Survey of India, 1997; as a forest by the Environment Protection and Control Authority, 1999; and as a pure water recharge 'notified' area by the Central Groundwater Authority in 2004.
"We find it irresponsible on part of an organisation that talks of combating climate change but does the reverse at home. It is misusing the word 'green building' to mislead the public. A green building can never replace a green ridge," said Diwan Singh of the Ridge Bachao Andolan.
"It is also a vital water recharge area with an ability to recharge up to 80 per cent of rain that falls on it (according to a 2004 CGWA report). It can give USD 2 billion worth of pure mineral water to the city if preserved," said Dr Vikram Soni, Research Scientist with the National Physical Laboratory.
Besides Pachauri has proposed solutions like "a major expansion in nuclear power, use of GM crops to boost biofuel production, and reliance on unproven technologies" to mitigate adverse climate change.
Such solutions have put the group on a collision course with those who argue that simply replacing one set of technologies with another set of technologies won't work. Nuclear reactors are dangerous and land clearance and chemical pesticides and fertilisers used to grow fuel crops can cause huge environmental damage. Pachauri is also a known supporter of Interlinking of Rivers project involving massive land use change-a listed cause of climate change as per Kyoto Protocol.
It must be remembered that Dr Pachauri, an Indian engineer and an economist had replaced Robert Watson, a US atmospheric scientist in 2002 as the Chairman of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Watson has been the chairman of IPCC since 1996. Pachauri received 76 votes as a result of George Bush administration's reported campaign against Watson who got only 49 votes. At the behest of fossil fuel lobby, the US campaign worked on a strategy for Watson's removal to ensure industry friendly officials at IPCC. The world's biggest oil company, Exxon-Mobil among others had proposed this strategy in liaison with oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia. It is also a fact that Dr Pachauri is currently serving his second term as the Chairman of IPCC.
His anti-environment and industry friendly approach manifested itself in all the seminars, conferences and workshops he organized either as IPCC or TERI by taking sponsorship from all those corporations who are known for heinous corporate crimes.
When the Indian Ministry of Water Resources Resolution dated 24 February, 2003, made him a member of the Task Force on Interlinking of Rivers project constituted "with a view to bringing about a consensus among the states," it became evident that he represents corporate interest and not the public interest that has rejected the mega project. A December 2002 resolution of Government of India has presented it as a panacea of all water problems that cannot be questioned.
Is it believable that likes of Dr Pachauri and TERI do not know about these grave ramifications of their megalomania- a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, genius, or omnipotence?
As France starts investigation into nuclear safety fraud, India must rethink Jaitapur - This week, the French nuclear safety regulator ASN has initiated probe after receiving warnings from whistle-blowers. It should act as an awakening call ...