May 29, 2020

This Is Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI, India – Unlike India’s other immense cities Chennai is a world apart. Tamil Nadu’s capital city does not have crowds of beggars trolling intersections like in Delhi. It is not nearly as traffic jammed as Mumbai. Its homes are well cared for, and many of its office buildings are new and Miami white, unlike the sagging and dilapidated built environment that describes Kolkata. The most distinguishing feature, though, for an American journalist who has …

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India’s Economy Slows As Condition of Water, Land, and Cities Deteriorates

At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Barack Obama arrives on Sunday in New Delhi, the first American president to honor Republic Day, the day that India’s Constitution took effect in 1950. During the three-day visit, the president and the prime minister are expected to talk about trade, and technology, and diplomacy. There could even be some kind of statement on climate-changing emissions. India is the planet’s third largest producer of coal, behind …

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This Is India — “Maybe Tomorrow”

GUWAHATI, India — Beggars prowl the sidewalks of every city I’ve visited — American, Scandinavian, Arabian, Australian, Asian. Still, there may be no more organized, encompassing, creative, and pathetic beggar culture in the world today than the one that operates in New Delhi, India’s capital. With 25 million residents, New Delhi is the world’s second largest city behind Tokyo, according to the United Nations. Seven years ago Delhi’s Social Welfare Department reported that nearly 59,000 …

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Meghalaya’s Coal Shutdown Is Leaky, Testing Authority of Law and Court

JOWAI, India — On April 17, in a ruling that stunned miners, truckers, and owners in this region of black dust and rivers that run the colors of the rainbow, India’s National Green Tribunal ordered Meghalaya’s $US 650 million coal mining industry to shut down. Nothing like it had ever happened to the coal industry in India or anywhere else. Ruling that Meghalaya’s globally unique ‘rathole’ box mines were too dangerous and too dirty to …

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Earth Pushes Back – Hard

There’s nothing demur about Mother Earth these days. She’s fuming and pushing back hard. Very hard. The Ebola emergency that began in West Africa and has since spread to two more continents has produced 5,000 deaths and is accelerating. Deep droughts engulf Brazil’s largest city and America’s largest state. Hurricanes drowned two major American cities since 2005. The 2013 Philippines typhoon killed 6,250 people. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed 228,000 people. A tsunami in …

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Narendra Modi, India’s New Prime Minister, Can’t Overlook Faltering Energy Production

India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept into office in May on a message of aspiration, and a reputation for action. During the nearly 13 years that Modi served as chief minister of Gujarat, before arriving in New Delhi, his successes included drastically curtailing the number of hours that manufacturers in India’s premier industrial state went without electricity. The state’s transmission grid was strengthened and Modi promoted the development of 900 megawatts of solar generating …

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This is India — TII

Noh Ka Likai Falls, India’s tallest and most beautiful waterfall, pours off a green and forested limestone cliff and plunges in a water-misted shower 330 meters to a blue pool. Photo/Keith Schneider SHILLONG, India — This beautiful and tidy hill station city in Meghalaya, in Northeast India, is steadily expanding along the ridge tops and steep slopes of the region’s Himalayan foothills. Among the reasons is that few cities in India, and few Indian states …

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Shillong Times and its Courageous Editor, Patricia Mukhim, Gain National Hearing On Coal Mine Safety

Patricia Mukhim, editor of the Shillong Times. Photo/Dhruv Malhotra SHILLONG, India — To the best of anyone’s knowledge, and that includes a tribunal of senior jurists who heard testimony here on January 24, 15 men drowned in a coal mine in this state’s mineral-rich Garo Hills on July 6, 2012. The disaster occurred in one of the thousands of Meghalaya’s dangerous and unregulated coal mines. It wasn’t formally reported for more than a week. The …

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Torrent of Water and Big Questions Pour From Matchless Peaks of India’s Himalayan Region

OKUND, UTTARAKHAND, INDIA – We made the crossing at night from Chamoli, reaching this Himalayan foothill town after dark. The innkeeper, anxious for guests in a travel economy that came to a standstill in mid-June, cooked dal and nan bread for dinner and then showed us to a room that was unlit and unheated. It didn’t matter. Thick blankets kept us warm. And at dawn we awoke to strong black coffee and the sun lighting the …

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On Water and Energy, India Is Different

A 1,350-megawatt coal-fired power plant under construction in Tilda, near Raipur in Chhattisgarh, is one of more than 100 big generating stations recently built or nearing completion across India. Only China has a bigger coal-fired power plant construction program. Photo/Keith Schneider TRAVERSE CITY — It’s been a couple of weeks since our Circle of Blue team completed its 27-day research trip to India. Our work, a scoping mission to prepare for a comprehensive project in …

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