The teeming millions on foot and pedal are powering mobility in Indian cities. Their numbers exceed those who use cars. Yet they are victims of policy neglect. The result is high number of road accidents. Improving public transport systems and road design will encourage more people to walk and cycle. But are cities prepared to make this transition? There is a change of trend in certain pockets of India where communities are organising themselves to assert their right to walk and cycle. These zero carbon emitters have checked the country’s pollution from soaring.

The Supreme Court has stayed the Centre’s ambitious cheetah re-introduction project. The project initiated by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2010 aimed to bring the cheetah, which became extinct from India’s forests in 1952, back to the country.

Despite decades of restoration efforts by a rich ensemble of state-development actors, cultural heritage votaries and rights activists, the Bagmati is nothing less than a sewage canal by the time it meets its tributaries in Kathmandu. In her book Reigning the River: Urban Ecologies and Political Transformation in Kathmandu Anne Rademacher, assistant professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University, chronicles how the river’s degradation resonates with the perceived social, cultural, religious and political disorder in the tumultuous democracy.

Some states have banned mechanised mining, but the mafia is not ready to obey. Illegal mining is hollowing the riverbed putting at risk the stability and ecology of rivers. This special report in Down To Earth examines the murky business of sand mining.

Delhi municipality constructs yet another waste-to-energy plant at Ghazipur. Waste-to-energy projects figured in the election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party during the recent civic polls in Delhi. BJP hoardings across the city declared that “the citizens will not be charged to generate power”. It seems the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is obsessed with the idea of generating energy from garbage. Despite ample evidence that the technology is a failure and people’s oppositions to the projects, three waste-to-energy projects are under way in the capital city.

Report predicts forced displacement of poor people from their land to meet EU targets to grow fuel crops. The European Union’s biofuel policies are driving up global food prices and pushing people in poor countries off their land, says a recent report of ActionAid. EU has a target of 10 per cent renewable energy in transport by 2020, and 88 per cent of this is expected to come from biofuels. The report Fuel for Thought comes at a time when the European Commission is set to submit a report on Renewable Energy Directive to the European Parliament this year.

Other states may follow suit as cash-strapped state discoms find the going difficult. Odisha government has asked the Centre for a subsidy to purchase solar power, saying it is too costly. The move makes Odisha the first state in the country to openly express its inability to purchase costly renewable energy. The state may not be the last one to demand aid—cash strapped state discoms are increasingly finding it difficult to purchase renewable energy.

But the country lacks a tidal energy policy. The Gujarat government is all set to develop India’s first tidal energy plant. The state government has approved Rs 25 crore for setting up the 50 MW plant at the Gulf of Kutch. It will produce energy from the ocean tides. The state government signed a MoU with Atlantis Resource Corporation last year to develop the plant. “The proposal was approved in this year’s budget session,” says Rajkumar Raisinghani, senior executive with Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL).

Shows cold response to recommendations on curbing illegal mining of iron, manganese

THE UNION Ministry of Mines has responded coldly to the recommendations of the M B Shah Commission on curbing illegal mining of iron and manganese ores. In its response, filed in December last year, the ministry also seemed at loggerheads with the state mining departments over their suggestion to ban export of the minerals to check illegal mining. The commission was set up by the Centre in November 2010 to look into the growing illegal mining of the minerals and suggest remedial measures.

Centre continues to allocate coal blocks despite calls for competitive bidding