One of your more quoted statements is that the Bagmati is dirty because there is too much money flowing in it.

Bagmati is nature. She needs to be honoured and feared like nature. Feared like a teacher. She does not like money. Hindus believe when they die, they will be reclaimed by the five elements or panchatatva—jal (water), prithvi (land), vayu (wind), agni (fire) and aakash (space or void). I’m almost 90 and very sensitive to the need to protect nature. It will then care for us. If you start handling nature in a bad way, it will not honour you. If we concentrate our science on these five elements, we may be able to revive the Bagmati. Maybe it will take a long time. The easiest way to revive the Bagmati now is by not thinking big projects.

Khan Market in boulevard Delhi is said to be the most expensive real estate in India, maybe even in the world. But in this richest shopping destination, buyers do not want to pay for parking their vehicles.

Why a health film festival?

I thought it would be a good idea to have the festival in Greece because Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was born there. Coincidentally, I found support from the mayor of the island where Hippocrates was born. The directors who have participated in the first two editions of the festival agree that a film festival that showcases medical work from all perspectives is a good idea. We do know about films that focus on good medical practices, on human well-being, on preventing illness and on social issues. But we do not know much about films that deal with scientific aspects of medicines, surgery for example. We have tried to fulfil that need. We showed 90 films in the first edition and 120 in the second.

Sustainable mining is an oxymoron. Environmentalists will tell you this. Mining—coal to limestone—takes away forests, devastates mountains and leaves the land pockmarked. It also destroys livelihoods of people and displaces them. Worse, modern, mechanised mining takes away livelihood based on land but does not replace it with local employment—all estimates show that direct employment in the mining sector has fallen sharply. It provides wealth, but not for local development.

Why have yields stagnated?

My article last fortnight about people’s fight against POSCO has brought me interesting responses. They call for clarifications and further discussion. The question is about the value of current livelihoods of the people of coastal Odisha. Is earning from betel nut farming being exaggerated to reinforce the romantic and misinformed view that people are fighting projects because they are better off today? The equally valid question, then, is: why are the people so apparently poor if they are earning Rs 10-17 lakh per hectare (ha) each year as I had said?

The sight on television was heartbreaking: children lying in rows in the searing sun to be human shields against the takeover of their land for Korean giant POSCO’s mega bucks project. Facing them were armed police sent by the state government to assist in the operation.

What is the mandate of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (bee) set up under the Energy Conservation Act?

Once again there is a food safety scare. A deadly strain of E coli bacterium has hit Germany, where it has taken the lives of 25 people and affected another 2,300 till date. German food inspectors on the trail of the source of contamination ha­ve as yet made two errors—blaming Spanish cucumbers and then organic bean sprouts—but no breakthrough.