[Reader-list] Olive Ridley turtles

S. Jabbar sonia.jabbar at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 09:53:10 IST 2008


Thanks for your mail detailing Tata's Gopalpur activities. I really think
the large corporations who go to town advertising their corporate
responsibility ought to be exposed for what they are.

I was really excited about Tata BP solar at first when I discovered they had
many products oriented towards the individual consumer.  I wanted to install
a solar powered inverter in my apartment this summer.  Try finding an
outlet— it was near impossible.  So I got in touch with them through their
website. No response. So I wrote off an angry email and finally someone sent
me a number of a distributor. I called him.  The price was exorbitant, at
least 20,000 Rs. more than a regular inverter! I rapidly lost interest. He
was a nice guy so we had a long chat about the ridiculousness of the
situation, how things were overpriced and there was no govt. subsidy for the
urban consumer and no Tata subsidy either.  Surely if they priced themselves
reasonably they would have enough demand for the product to be profitable in
the long run.  Surely they know this, so why don't they do it?

My other grouse is about their smoke belching diesel vehicles.  My love of
the mountains often takes me to places like Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti.  Next
time you are there remember to look at the hillsides along the highways,
particularly on corners.  Because there is no vegetation it is easy to see
the effect of Diesel trucks.  The rocks are black with deposits.  It is
disgusting that companies like the Tatas have been allowed to continue to
produce sub-standard engines in their trucks and buses .  Why aren't they
subjected to emission norms?  They really ought to be taxed heavily when
entering the high Himalayas with their very fragile eco systems and  made to
clean up the rock faces at the very least.

And then the much touted one lakh Nano.  How I would have rejoiced if all
the R&D had gone into producing a one lakh electric car!  BTW poor REVA,  I
believe they don't get any support from the Go I.


On 4/21/08 8:16 PM, "Tapas Ray" <tapasrayx at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sonia,

Thanks for forwarding this release. I agree with you that one need
> not
go starry-eyed about Tata. Look at the way it has steamrolled over a
> section of people unwilling to give up their land in Singur
(West Bengal),
> helped by an obliging state government and CPI(M).

A little over a decade
> ago, as a journalist, I covered the popular
opposition it was encountering in
> Gopalpur-on-Sea (Orissa) for its
plan to set up an integrated steel plant,
> take over the small local
port and turn it into a large one, etc. Predictably,
> the state
government (of Orissa) was bending over backwards, sending in
> police,
to carry out its wishes. There were clashes, roads were dug up,
> etc.

I believe the company has had - or is going to have - its way
> despite
all that resistance ... perhaps more than it had bargained for at
> that
time, because later there was talk of an SEZ. As we know, these SEZs
> nothing but militarised outposts - considering the way their
> structure has been planned - of global capitalism, on
whose block Tata is now
> the new kid, and is duly revered for this by
state governments and political
> parties across the spectrum in India,
from Gujarat to West Bengal.

I used to
> think that the Tata group is an enlightened one, but have
been rather unsure
> of that since I saw what they were up to in

A side note - there is
> a parallel between our SEZs and Shanghai. My
suggestion to the state and
> central governments in India: if you want
to emulate China, don't beat about
> the bush; just turn the whole
country into one big Shanghai.

Another side
> note, this one about Greenpeace: Some months ago, in one
of their newsletters,
> they were talking about "green Apple". A couple
of months later, they realised
> that Apple wasn't that green after all.
I think they need to be more careful
> with their assessment of
corporations and governments.


On 21/04/2008,
> S. Jabbar <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com> wrote:
> From the Greenpeace campaign for
> the Olive Ridley Turtles.  Not that I find
>  the TATA environmental record
> that great...
>  Why Save the turtles?
>  Consider thisŠ Olive Ridley
> turtles rely on an inexplicable, in-built
>  navigation system that guides
> them, when it¹s time for them to reproduce,
>  back to the precise coast on
> which they were born.
>  Now consider something elseŠ The proposed Tata port
> at Dhamra threatens a
>  nesting site that is amongst the last honeymoon
> suites for the remaining
>  Olive Ridleys, a highly-endangered species that
> swims all the way here from
>  places as far away as Australia and the
> Philippines.
>  When you consider these two facts together, it seems only
> logical that Tata
>  would reconsider its decision to build the port at
> Dhamra, and build it in
>  an area that¹s less ecologically sensitive. It
> seems especially logical when
>  it¹s Tata we¹re talking about.
>  After
> all, Tata has grown from a national giant into an international
>  player,
> while constantly stating its commitment to the principles of social
> upliftment, environmental justice and sustainable development. The Tata
> brand is ubiquitous, present in hundreds of products that have genuinely
> improved the lives of generations of Indians; from the Tata salt that
> flavours our daily bread, the Tata BP solar geyser that warms our winter
> baths, the Tata Telecom that manages our communications, to the Tata cars>
> that Œdrive a billion dreams.¹
>  And yet, in Orissa, we¹re witnessing a
> different side to the same Tata. A
>  Tata that shuts its ears to reason. A
> Tata that looks the other way when
>  confronted with evidence. A Tata that
> cares nothing for the community, and
>  even less for nature.
>  The port
> Tata is proposing to build in Dhamra will directly affect the Olive
>  Ridley
> turtles. With 150,000 to 350,000 Olive Ridley turtles nesting in the
> vicinity, the average number of hatchlings is believed to range from 15
> million to 35 million.
>  When confronted by Greenpeace Tata promised
> concerned citizens that it would
>  abandon the port Œif evidence of turtle
> presence and the ecological
>  significance of the area were ever
> unearthed.¹
>  The evidence was submitted , but this promise wasn¹t kept.
> The perfunctory
>  EIA carried out in this area isn't worth the paper it's
> printed on. Another
>  nesting season has passed us by, with turtle mortality
> from mechanized
>  fishing agonizingly high. Coming in addition to this annual
> death toll, the
>  Tata port could be the final nail in the turtle¹s coffin,
> ensuring that this
>  area is never safe for turtles again.
>  Will this
> willful destruction be the legacy that Tata leaves behind in
>  Orissa?
> Not if you can help it.
>  Please do what I've done. Write directly to Ratan
> by clicking here
> <http://www.greenpeace.org/india/turtles/write-to-tata>
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