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On infrastructure

I would disagree with the view that environment need not be included
in infrastructure.

As somebody has already mentioned, I think we do have a very elite,
urban bias in our discussions. Just as electricity, roads, etc, are
seen as vital components in the urban context, reliable, clean sources
of natural water, vegetation, herbs, catchment areas, etc. are
critical components in the daily lives of tribal and other village
communities and in many ways our own lives. This is the infrastructure
for them. That this is sustained and regenerated is absolutely
necessary. They say that the architecture of our cities reflect our
culture at any point in time. I believe that the state of our
environment also critically reflects our societal behaviour and

We should understand that "environment is not just about pollution and
saving the tiger". The building of largescale urban infrastructure
very often destroys ecosystems elsewhere. Ofcourse some of these are
in farflung areas and villages, who nobody cares about !

There is micro infrastructure and macro infrastructure. At the
national level, we look at efficient communications viz:roads,
telecommunications & other technologies; power and water, healthcare,
city and town nodes.

At the microlevel, we look at selfsufficient systems in small towns,
villages and hamlets. This means availablity of energy, shelter, food
& water which is intricately woven with the health of their immediate

We are looking at a new millenium and how our nation should transform.
Let's not still be reigned in by what has been.

I'm also not in agreement of the urbanisation of the countryside. The
urbanisation process destroys many things in its wake. It creates
artficial values and mores. It ruins and displaces agricultural
communities. Transforms food production cycles into cash crop ventures
which is short lived. 

Let's ensure that the policy framework that we are trying to evolve is
based on sound knowledge and not just on what we "feel" should happen.
We should try and get in people with the requisite knowledge.

Some of these have been touched on in one of my earlier posts
"FuturePast:Scenario 2005?"

Rajeev Manikoth

( Possible contacts : Anil Agarwal / Centre for Science & Environment,
Delhi. He's also editor "Down to Earth magazine"
Bittu Sehgal / Sanctuary Magazine, Bombay )

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