Two new headlines, when you read them together the results are dangerous for our environment.

‘NDA govt to dilute environment rules for projects.’

In lay man’s terms what it means is that they would more easily give permission to cut all the trees to clear forests and make way for industries. What would be its impact on environment and climate? Obviously a bad impact. The proposal was opposed by environmentalists. “We cannot dilute any parameters, and we must move fast, and decisively to notify such inviolate areas, as we are losing water catchment areas, forests, and wildlife habitats at a very fast rate,” said Prerna Singh Bindra, a former member of the standing committee of National Board for Wildlife.

Whenever Govt attempts to collude with corporates and takes some decision against human rights or environmental rights the only entity that opposes such move is the civil society, the activists, NGOs. But what if the credibility of the civil societies is questioned? This brings us to the next alarming headline.

Foreign-aided NGOs are actively stalling development, IB tells PMO in a report

This is a strange report that insinuates that Indian NGOs are deliberately being used by foreign donors to stop development process. “According to the report, the funding for such campaigns came from foreign donors under charitable garb for issues ranging from protection of human rights, violence against women, caste discrimination, religious freedom etc or to provide a “just deal” to the project-affected displaced persons or for protection of livelihood of indigenous people.” So is this an attempt by the Modi govt to create a ground where they can silence the NGOs to carry on crony capitalism that is likely to harm the environment?

Suddenly fighting for a cause is anti development. How would this affect the civil society movement in India, how would this affect the displacement issues led by Medha Patkar and the likes?

At one hand govt is likely to flout environment laws to promote industry and on the other hand they are likely to silence any protests by civil societies by calling them anti development. What would be the impact of these two news read together on the India’s environment?

Update: 11th June 2014

Indian Express reports today that the same IB document have also indicted Greenpeace India’s efforts are a threat to India’s national economic security. “Throughout, the IB report sees Greenpeace as the prime mover of mass-based movements against development projects. “It is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security… growing exponentially in terms of reach, impact, volunteers and media influence,” it notes. The efforts are focused on “ways to create obstacles in India’s energy plans” and to “pressure India to use only renewable energy”.

Greenpeace have responded to the IB report on their Facebook page:

“IB is a respected organisation but unfortunately in this case, they have drawn a wrong conclusion. Greenpeace has been active in India for more than 10 years with clear-cut campaigns and we stand by people’s movements. We engage with the government as well and do not agree with the government’s narrative in some areas. That does not mean we are anti-development.”- Bharati Sinha, Communications Director, Greenpeace India

Update 12th June 2014

Outlook reports that Greenpeace has rubbished the IB report. They have written to the Government seeking a copy of the IB report. They said if the IB had engaged with the NGO they would have come to a different conclusion. “It is an attempt to silence our voice. In the past, an attempt was made to silence us but we never bowed down. We will respond when the matter comes to us…”, Abhishek Pratap, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace, India, told a press conference here.

Asking the government to share the IB report with Greenpeace, he said “we believe that this report is designed to muzzle and silence the civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth”.