[Reader-list] Turtles, Tatas and Reva
virtuallyme at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 19:42:00 IST 2008
agree with you on the need (and also the lack) of push in the form of
subsidies for the reva. if and when that happens, would also, apart from of
course ridding the scenery from smoke, pave the way for public discussion
and debate on the sources of electricty and the need for cleaner and
From: Shuddhabrata Sengupta <shuddha at sarai.net>
> Subject: [Reader-list] Turtles, Tatas and Reva
> To: radhikarajen at vsnl.net
> Cc: sarai list <reader-list at sarai.net>, Tapas Ray
> <tapasrayx at gmail.com>
> Message-ID: <FE4BF5FD-94A1-4879-9705-A71D736849BD at sarai.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="WINDOWS-1252"; delsp=yes;
> Dear Sonia, Tapas, Radhikarajen, and everyone else,
> Many thanks Sonia, for bringing our attention to the Tata versus
> Turtle question. I share all your concerns about the hype around the
> Nano, and Tata diesel guzzlers in general. I think they (and other
> corporations, including those based in India, or with an Indian
> history) need to be recognized for their high level of Corporate
> Irresponsibility and contribution to the sharpening of the lethal
> edge of global capitalism.
> I have been a fan of the Reva for a while, and have always wondered
> why more of them are not around. And why they attract neither
> support, nor subsidies. Is it because 'Reva' is another name for the
> river 'Narmada' - a name that is no longer uttered in polite circles
> in Delhi and Mumbai, in case you were branded some kind of luddite,
> anti-national, terrorist.
> Apparently, in a city like London, the quietly humming engineering
> success that is the Reva is not such an embarassment. London has a
> thriving Reva market. London has a 'congestion charge' aimed at
> discouraging people from driving cars into the city and using more
> public transport. The Reva (marketed successfully in London as the G-
> Wiz) is one of the vehicles exempt from the very high congestion
> charge. Also, from the spring of this year, London will have many
> 'charging points' where Revas can be conveniently 'charged' up. Now
> think, if, instead the pornographic excess that surrounds the launch
> of new cars in india, there would be some sensible and rational
> attention to alternatives like the Reva, which are inexpensive, safe
> (at city driving speeds) and green. How would that be? There could be
> incentives passed on to the consumer if they drove Revas in the form
> of tax cuts, lesser parking charges, (or exemption from cumpolsory -
> 'off road' rules for certain days of the week, by rotation, - which
> could be then applied on to diesel and petrol guzzlers).
> But, do we hear, or see, as much about the Reva, as we do about the
> Nano. Does Barkha Dutt drool at the mouth interviewing the Bangalore
> based engineers who dreamed up the Reva in the same way as she does
> when she sits face to face with Ratan Tata? Not likely.
> That is not the way things crumble. Powerful automobile industry
> lobbies, which include the Tatas, have the government, every
> political party, and the media in their pockets, in India, and run a
> well oiled PR machine. I noticed, some time ago, that when the Nanon
> was launched, within a few days, gushing and holier than thou, op ed
> pieces appeared in several newspapers, defending the 'little
> Indian's' right to an cchota-sa car of their own against what was
> called the 'elitist' calumny of green activists. The interesting
> thing is, no one had actually said anything against the Nano. Which
> means, the car-lobby had press releases, op-eds and first person
> defences of the little car all ready, in case there was aopposition.
> It was all timed to be unleashed, a few days after the launch of the
> car. The launch happened, there was no criticism, but the somewhat
> pointless counter-attack in defence of the Nano was unleashed anyway,
> exposing the workings of a well oiled machine.
> As India's dependence on the diesel and petrol powered automobiles
> increases, the demand for this kind of polluting energy will also
> increase. If all those who will buy the Nano, have to drive the Nano,
> there will be a demand for a lot more gas, and at affordable prices,
> the industry that propels this demand will grow greedy. It will
> demand access to more energy, more fuel, just as it does in the US,
> or France, or Japan. It will push India into aggressive acquisitions
> of energy assets elsewhwere in the world. The gas guzzling car is
> already tied into a logic of nationalism intoxicated with itself. It
> may not take long for this intoxication to thicken into the first
> Indian Imperialist misadventures, as Indian troops go marching to
> keep the Tata-Mittal machine running.
> You read it first, here.
> On 22-Apr-08, at 12:07 PM, radhikarajen at vsnl.net wrote:
> > Hi,
> > the releases regarding the ridley turtles, Tatas' adventures with
> > port and integreted steel plant and port, then misadventure at
> > Singur made any citizens think of the lengths the industrial barons
> > go to enrich themselves.
> > While huble REVA is good electricity powered vehicle is finding
> > it difficult to make itself affordable, electircally charged
> > scootys and two wheelers are trying their best to find market, the
> > hyped one lakh car manufactured over the hungry bellies of poor
> > farmers and farm labour at Singur is the new tryst with destiny in
> > the nation, the capitalism makes rich make more of wealth with
> > unequal distribution of wealth, socialism has one unique feature,
> > it distributes poverty uniformaly.
> > Tatas for all practical purposes got the land at throw away
> > prices combined with state oppression and undisguised force to
> > equip themselves of the lands, this mini car again will be
> > richmens' toy when it comes in to market. The emission levels of
> > tata vehicles are so high, that no authority seems to have courage
> > to see the smoke bellowing out of the exhausts of the diesel
> > vehicles. !
> > Regards,
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "S. Jabbar" <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com>
> > Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 9:53 am
> > Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Olive Ridley turtles
> > To: Tapas Ray <tapasrayx at gmail.com>, sarai list <reader-
> > list at sarai.net>
> >> Tapas,
> >> 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
> >> themselvesreasonably 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.
> >> Best
> >> sj
> >> 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
> >> large
> >>> 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
> >> are
> >>> nothing but militarised outposts - considering the way their
> >> administrative
> >>> 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
> >> Gopalpur.
> >> 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.
> >> Tapas
> >> 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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