• Don’t dilute the Forest Rights Act, 2006
    In December 2006, the Parliament passed the Forest Rights Act to address the historical injustices meted out to tribals and traditional forest dwellers, and to recognise their rights over forest lands. This Act provides some much-needed rights to India’s tribal communities to conserve forests, use forest-based products for their housing and also to cultivate for their basic needs. The Central Government is now attempting to dilute and violate the act, denying tribals’ their rights and disempowering them. Here’s a quick timeline of what transpired: On February 13 2019, the Supreme Court passed a controversial order directing states to evict 2 million forest dwellers, after the Tribal Affairs Ministry pointed out that the process of settling their claims left a lot to be desired. After widespread protests from activists and environmental collectives, the SC temporarily suspended the implementation of the order on February 28. It asked state governments to submit detailed information on whether due process was followed; if tribals got a fair opportunity to present their claims; and also file appeals against the rejection of their claims. The next Supreme Court hearing is on July 24. As Mr Xavier Kujur of the All-India Front for Forest Rights Struggles (AIFFRS) put it, instead of implementing the Forest Rights Act, the government is attempting to take back the rights of Adivasis on forests. Conservation and livelihood are both important when it comes to the governance of India's forests. If thousands of us amplify the rights of the Adivasis by adding our voice to this campaign, the Environment Ministry will be forced to acknowledge our protest. Sign this campaign now. Sources 1. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/supreme-court-stays-its-feb-13-order-directing-eviction-of-11-8-lakh-forest-dwellers/articleshow/68199017.cms?from=mdr
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  • Do not approve sterilization of animals without assessing the impact on biodiversity
    The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has launched a project to undertake ‘immunocontraceptive measures’ for population management of four species of wild animals — elephant, wild boar, monkeys and Nilgai(1). Currently, there is a court injunction for using immunocontraception on elephants(2). The Ministry is trying to overturn the order and go ahead with the plan. The Asian elephant, once prevalent throughout India is now listed as an endangered species & included on the IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature), Red List! Out of the 40,000-50,000 Asian elephants in the wild, India is home to around 25,000 to 27,000 wild elephants. The Human-wildlife conflict has been a result of the loss of habitat. Instead of focusing on the conservation of their natural habitats, the government wants to eliminate animals from the wild. The government’s decision has come without assessing the long-term impact on biodiversity, especially sterilisation of keystone species like elephants, which have been considered nature’s guardians for centuries(3). We humans, are responsible for the loss of habitat of the wild animals. Let us not first take their homes and then their lives just for our convenience. Sources: 1. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/environment-ministry-plans-to-use-immunocontraceptives-for-wildlife-population-management/article28307106.ece 2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/SC-pulls-up-West-Bengal-for-planning-elephant-sterilization/articleshow/41565790.cms 3. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/10/10-selfish-reasons-to-save-elephants
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  • Send recommendations on Delhi parking policy
    Are you sick of Delhi’s traffic troubles and the pollution levels, which are only compounded by vehicular emissions? You need to know this. The Delhi Government has recently released the final draft of the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules 2019. These rules are intended for all public parking spaces owned or managed by public authorities. These changes directly affect the life of every citizen of Delhi. There has been a significant increase in the number of vehicles over the last few years. With limited space , increase in private vehicles has led to serious traffic management issues like persistent jams and lack of parking spaces. As a result , air pollution levels in the city are soaring. Infrastructural developments like malls, high-rise buildings, etc. compulsorily require Environment Impact Assessment but the government hasn’t followed this,to the utter dismay of environmental activists. Currently, Delhi govt does not seem to realise that it not the lack of parking spaces, but a surplus of vehicles on the roads that is the real reason behind the city’s traffic, parking and environmental problems. Short-sighted solutions will only aggravate the problems and won’t have any tangible and lasting impact. Send this letter to demand that the omitted clauses of base parking fee on public spaces as under Rules 2017 be restored in the final draft of Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules and the same be implemented effectively.
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  • Send your objections to Save Aarey, Mumbai’s Green Lungs
    The Tree Authority in the BMC recently issued a public notice inviting suggestions from citizens in Mumbai on the issue of felling 2238 trees for the construction of a car shed in Aarey Colony. The last date to send these is one week from now, July 8. In October last year, over 14,000 Jhatkaa members like you had sent in their objections against the cutting of these trees. At the then public hearing, thousands of angry citizens had shown up, and taken the BMC to task for their flawed decision-making process in felling the precious trees in Aarey Colony, Mumbai’s green lungs. The Bombay High Court has now lifted the stay on the Tree Authority, and we have just about a week to send in our objections before the public hearing on July 8. Mumbai’s pollution levels and temperature are regulated because of the limited green cover we have, including the lush Aarey Colony. With help from Watchdog Foundation, we have put together this email that contains observations and objections directed at the Tree Authority. All you have to do is sign it, and an email will be sent in your name. Feel free to add your thoughts in the email. Environmentalists, tribals (who reside at Aarey) and citizen activists have been commitedly fighting against this indiscriminate tree cutting. Let’s add our voices to this movement, and show the BMC what strength in numbers looks like. Sign and send this email NOW!
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  • Bangalore is not prepared for Monsoon
    Memories of the flash floods in Bangalore in July 2016 and inundation of low-lying areas in August and September last year are still fresh. At a time when pre-monsoon showers are flooding the city, civic agencies are underprepared to tackle the issue...yet again. Over the past few weeks several areas of Bengaluru have been suffering power outage. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) has identified 246 low-lying areas where even a brief spell of rain sees flood water entering homes(1). This has been handed to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) andso far the action taken is fairly limited. Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister G Parameshwara had set the deadline for end of May to finish all preparatory work for the monsoon(2) --the work is yet to be completed and Bengaluru struggles with the chaos of the aftermath of pre-monsoon showers. Accumulated silt causes clogging of the stormwater drains and results in flooding in low-lying areas. Currently, less than one-third of stormwater drains have been cleared(3). It is imperative that the entire 842 km stretch of stormwater drains are de-silted and encroachment over drains are taken care of before the beginning of monsoon season. Additionally, KSNDMC also suggested the installation of water sensors in all 246 vulnerable spots and so far only 25 water sensors have been installed(3). This needs to be done as soon as possible for better mitigation of stormwater accumulation in the city. Waterlogging in Bangalore results in the city coming to a standstill and we cannot let this happen year after year. It is time that Bangalore city council and BBMP are held accountable and the city is better prepared to tackle heavy rainfall. Sources 1. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/dy-cm-reviews-bbmps-rain-preparedness/article26934179.ece 2. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-infrastructure/are-civic-agencies-complacent-about-monsoon-733247.html 3.https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/bbmp-scrambles-to-get-city-rain-ready/articleshow/69151326.cms
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  • Increase ridership of Pune buses
    Are you aware that amongst all the sources of air pollution, vehicular emissions have the highest adverse health impacts? The main hazardous pollutants of fossil fuels-based vehicular emissions are particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide(NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and greenhouse gases. Out of these, the fine and ultrafine PM is able to penetrate the cells of most organs and cause severe respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological illnesses and even premature death, especially in children and the elderly. While Pune city’s population is approximately 3.5 million, the number of registered vehicles has reached 3.62 million. This explosive growth in vehicular population has meant an increase in vehicular emissions, and hence increased air pollution. Reducing the usage of private vehicles will reduce vehicular emissions to a large extent. A robust public transportation system can address these issues and ensure that citizens have an option to use their personal vehicles. Shifting from cars to public transport can deliver a 65 per cent emissions reduction during peak times and a 95 per cent reduction in emissions during off peak times from the commuters that make the shift. *The fuel consumption of a passenger travelling on a bus carrying 40 passengers is 4 times lower than the per passenger consumption of a car carrying 2 persons. * Buses fare way better than cars even in terms of road space. Per passenger road space taken by a bus is 3 times lower than a car. Therefore, congestion increases when cars take up extra road space. * Higher the congestion more is the time spent by vehicles on the road. The vehicle's engines run longer, thus emitting more pollutants. It has now become crucial for the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) to encourage citizens to shift from their personal vehicles and increase its ridership substantially by providing an efficient system - clean and comfortable buses deployed at regular intervals providing a safe and reliable journey to commuters. The current average daily ridership of PMPML buses is around ten lakhs. The existing fleet of 1,978 buses, of which only 70% ply on any given day, falls woefully short of the number prescribed in the city’s own Comprehensive Mobility Plan. Breakdowns are frequent –almost 35 every day! Along with Parisar, a civil society organisation working on making Pune city more liveable with a focus on sustainable urban transport, we urge the PMPML to set a target and take steps to double their ridership in three years with a 25% increase each year. Sign this petition urging the PMPML to commit to double the ridership in three years. There should bean increased bus force, efficient deployment and maintenance of buses and better management of routes to help achieve the long-term goal of clean air and a congestion-free Pune.
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  • Save Agumbe from landslides!
    Agumbe Ghat is a biodiversity hotspot in the Western Ghats that records the second highest rainfall in the country. It is the habitat of the endangered King Cobra and houses nearly 6000 species of flora and fauna. This biodiversity spot is also home to the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of an UNESCO World heritage site. A delicate area like this is meant to be protected and improved. Instead the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has diverted 1000 sq.ft of forest land at Aane kallu for unwanted and illegal road expansion activities. Many areas surrounding Anne kallu and Agumbe itself are prone to landslides. The decades-old trees that hold the soil are being uprooted for this unnecessary road expansion. The landslides in Kodagu in 2018 and the minor earthquakes in Shimoga in February 2019 are enough evidence of the impending doom in Agumbe if this widening continues. NHAI is not only breaching several environmental laws, they are also disrespecting the locals and the sacred beliefs they hold at Aane kallu. Additionally they are putting this biodiverse area, all the species and humans who reside here at severe risk of earthquakes and landslides. Sign the petition before it is too late to save Agumbe.
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  • National Climate Emergency
    UPDATE: June 25, 2019 The current water crisis in Tamil Nadu is a wake-up call. Nearly two lakh cattle in the state have been reported dead for want of water. Acute water shortage is a reality in many Indian towns, and the crisis is now reaching mega cities. The UK, France, Canada and Ireland have formally recognised a climate crisis. Sydney's council recently declared an emergency too! It's time the Indian Government follows suit and declares a National Climate Emergency. Context: Inspired by Swedish student and climate change activist Greta Thunberg, lakhs of students and youth across continents went on a climate strike in March '19, demanding urgent climate action from their national governments. India is a signatory to the historic Paris Agreement, an international treaty to combat climate change and limit rise in global temperatures through Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Special Report has sounded an undeniable warning call to nations to collectively limit the rise in global average temperatures to well under 1.5°C. [2] - India’s INDC has yet not fulfilled the commitment of renewable energy generation. - Thermal power plant companies missed the 2017 deadline to reduce emissions (now extended to 2022), - The government has now commissioned more plants resulting in a 1.4% parallel rise in emissions - Funds from the National Clean Energy Fund was improperly diverted making them unavailable for clean energy initiatives. -The INDC also aims to create an additional carbon sink by increasing forest and tree cover by 2030 yet the decades-old national target of 33% forest cover has not been met under successive forest related policies. - Hasdeo Arand is one of the largest, continuous stretches of very dense forest in Central India. Once declared a no-go area, has now been given environmental clearance to expand the coal mining.[5] Air pollution and climate change are fundamentally inter-linked! There is an immediate need for India to phase out fossil fuels through an efficient exit strategy and supply all energy demands through renewable energy. It is hereby demanded that a National Climate Emergency be declared to bring climate justice to the forefront of national policy agenda. This can be done through strict implementation of India’s international and national obligations under the Paris Agreement to attain the IPCC goals. Join the global movement for climate justice. Let’s act now before it is too late to save our planet. References: https://fridaysforfuture.org/ https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments/ https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-commissions-more-thermal-power-plants-despite-pollution-concerns/story-SLb6uQTD2q3KnR3XLbwoPJ.html http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=128403 https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-s-nod-for-mining-in-170khectares-of-forest/story-F60Pb7W8ybegHntaQ9YBwK.html
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  • Implement Pune's parking policy
    In the last 5 years, Pune’s air pollution has crossed the permissible stage. Particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns are found in abundance. These microns enter the bloodstream and cause a host of diseases amongst people. Vehicular parking on roads has become a menace in the last few years. Cars and bikes take up parking space in multiple areas around cities, causing traffic blocks and congestion. More than 90% of these parking spaces are free. To regulate this, in 2018, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) proposed a parking policy for the city.1 This policy mandated a minimum charge for two-wheelers and four-wheelers for parking and special overnight parking charges. PMC officials said that this policy was required so that the roads have space for free vehicular movement. Apart from that, this policy also encourages using public transport thereby reducing pollution and improving air quality. Some of the highlights of the policy are: -- Subdivide the city into parking districts to cater to the customised needs of each district -- Improve last mile connectivity by having no parking charges for cycles and intermediary transport (autos, taxis etc) -- Achieving 80% of motorised trips through public transport by 2031. -- Important parts of the city will be named ‘no parking zones’ Despite being approved in March 2018, the Mayor is reluctant on implementing this much needed policy. It has been over a year since the approval and in this time, the Mayor hasn’t reviewed or chalked out a plan for this policy. Worse, in December 2018, the ‘pay and park’ scheme was scrapped before polls to appease the citizens. This resulted in the clogging of several areas in Pune and a chaotic traffic condition. In collaboration with Parisar, a civil society organisation working on transport and civil society development, this campaign is appealing to the mayor of Pune to implementing this parking policy, which is imperative for the long-term vision of clean air and a congestion-free Pune. Sign the petition now and ask Mayor Mukta Tilak to implement the parking policy.
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  • No amendment to Delhi's Master Plan
    Delhiites, this needs your urgent attention! Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has proposed a modification to the Delhi Master Plan - 2021 (MPD) to make it more transit-oriented. Basically, this modification will cause great harm to Delhi’s already depleting green cover, prioritising more unnecessary concrete buildings. One of the major flaws in this plan is its blatant disregard of the environment. It considers dense, green areas like Sarojini Nagar and Yamuna floodplains as ‘underutilised’. The massive scale of construction under this plan will worsen Delhi’s air quality and will also lead to much lesser green cover. The proposed green cover under this plan is 20%, with its definition ranging from wild grass to fully grown trees. Furthermore, this modification goes against Delhi’s master plan. The capital is reeling under alarming environmental hazards, which is causing severe health issues amongst its citizens. Adding needless malls, offices and other buildings at such a time will prove to be expensive for the city’s near future. Citizens’ voices are growing in unison to stop this modification. DDA has asked for comments on their modification before April 23, 2019. Add your voice to this by signing the petition. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to add your name, email address, phone number and contact number at the end of the email. Image source: Times of India
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  • Make NOTA accountable
    Their is a huge percentage of people who don’t vote cause they really don’t feel like voting for any party for reasons like corrupt candidate, corrupt parties or any other reason where they don’t see that the elected representative will do any good, hence they prefer not to vote at all , Secondly because NOTA voting is allowed but it doesn’t have a significant value, rather than wasting a vote, People cast a vote for the next best option, just for the heck of it. Once you give power to NOTA then even the political parties will think twice before making false promises & will focus on letting their work do the talking, Once NOTA is made accountable and people are educated about it, It will prove the true mandate of the people of this country & It will result in a governance by the people & for the people. Just as written in the constitution.
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  • Stop the draconian Indian Forest Act, 2019 from coming into force
    This is bad news, and needs your urgent intervention! Earlier this year, our Union government proposed an overhaul of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. This colonial-era law was imposed by the British so they could exert autonomy over India's forests. Replacing this much criticised act is a welcome move. However, the draft law that the government has proposed in its place is worrying. It has enhanced the policing and quasi-judicial powers that forest officials enjoyed under the original act and gives them some more. For instance, the power to shoot people without any liability. Basically, the forest department can shoot at citizens, search and seize property and arrest people even on mere suspicion of committing a crime. Doesn't this remind you of something? Yes, this draft law is much like the Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA), in that it gives forest officials the same legal protection as soldiers in disturbed areas. In addition, it will reduce and restrict tribals' and forest dwellers' access to forest produce, relocate people against their will, hand over forests to private companies for afforestation and diminish the role of gram sabhas by letting forest officials have the last say. The law has currently been shared with state governments for consultations, for them to share their suggestions and recommendations. States Governments must take a united stand against this draconian act, that threatens the livelihoods of marginalised communities. Together we can put pressure on the Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, and consequently the Union government, to scrap the draft Indian Forest Act, 2019. Sign this petition now. Source 1. https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/centre-drafts-stricter-alternative-to-colonial-era-indian-forest-act-1927-119032001071_1.html?fbclid=IwAR0t6neo_E6RjbI10vWwDfPs0krq1YJyIYgY1hDNM2WFspqcoTqk11SOKyI 2. https://forestrightsact.com/2019/03/22/bjp-govt-wants-to-declare-war-in-forests-are-tribals-and-forest-dwellers-the-enemy/
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