By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 8: Green activists on Monday accused Union Minister for
Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan of wearing “her rose tinted
glasses" on the state of India’s forests and its mega diversity.
Reacting sharply to the opening remarks of Jayanthi Natarajan at the
11th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological
Diversity here, Greenpeace India head of campaigns Divya Raghunandan
said, “It seems the minister wore her rose tainted glasses this
morning”. Jayanthi Natarajan presented a positive picture of the
biodiversity conservation in India.
Divya Raghunandan said India should first set its house in order on
biodiversity conservation before going to "teach" the world on the
subject. India has been constantly losing vast habitat of its
indigenous flora and fauna threatening its very mega diversity stature.
“The minister presented a glowing report on India and her government’s
commitment to protecting the environment, suggesting that India can
‘teach the world’ how to protect biodiversity. India can only ‘teach’
the world if it gets its own house in order and it must begin by
halting its mad dash for coal that is driving mass forest
destruction,” she pointed out.
The Greenpeace also accused the Minister of remaining silent on one of
the most important issues facing the planet today – over fishing in
the oceans, which threatens many species. Her government has yet to
take a principled stand on marine conservation in a country that is
home to 15 million fishermen and 8000 km coastline.
“Protection of marine biodiversity is one the key issues facing this
conference. Her government should lead by example by protecting local
fishing communities around the Indian coastline and the ecosystem they
depend on. This speech will be remembered more for what it did not
say. We can only hope that in the coming days the Indian Government
rediscovers the values that once made her a standard-bearer for
environmental protection, biodiversity and the planet,” Divya said.
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