ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Ajit Menon

Putting a Price on Tiger Reserves

The attempts by economists in India to estimate the economic value of tiger reserves must be seen in a context in which inviolate tiger reserves have imposed enormous social costs on local people. There is relative silence around the question of why one should value tiger reserves when they are already protected and who might benefit from such valuations. We call on scholars and activists working in conservation and development to question valuation approaches, given their problematic outcomes.

Can a Tiger Change Its Stripes? The Politics of Conservation as Translated in Mudumalai

The notification of Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu as a tiger reserve in 2007 has resulted in a contested politics between activists, non-governmental organisations and conservationists with regard to the future of protected area management. This paper presents an account of how these actors positioned themselves around not only the creation of the tiger reserve, but also the proposed elephant corridor and the Forest Rights Act of 2006. It suggests that due process of law has not been followed adequately and that sufficient scientific evidence has not been presented in the public domain as required. The Forest Rights Act is seen to offer an opportunity to democratise the management of natural resources with all its social and ecological complexities and provide the necessary checks and balances to bring about conservation based strongly on scientific evidence.

Reconfiguring the Coast

An enormous amount of funds (government, multilateral and non-government) flowed into the coastal areas hit by the tsunami of December 2004. But what has been the quality of rehabilitation and what lives do the survivors - the fishers - lead? A case study of one village in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu yields disturbing findings about government intervention, NGO activities and the reconfiguring of the coast in the name of development.

Engaging with the Law on Adivasi Rights

Judicial interpretations of constitutional directives towards assuring adivasi rights have been of many kinds, especially in instances when such rights have overlapped with the discourse of sustainable development or the need to ensure the greater common good. The struggle to ensure adivasi rights is one that must then seek a constant engagement with the law.

Environmental Policy, Legislation and Construction of Social Nature

Attempts to trace the changes in environment policy-making and the way social concerns have been problematised have been very few in the academic debates on the draft National Environment Policy, 2004 and the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill, 2005. But such an exercise is needed to understand the possibilities and limitations of policy pronouncements and legislative action, given the current politico-economic disposition. This is an attempt to fill that void and explores the changing nature of environment policy-making and the shifts in the manner in which social concerns are addressed.