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

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Superheated Expectations

The courage and tenacity of Bhagat Singh was invoked in a meeting at Meja in Uttar Pradesh when villagers gathered to discuss resistance to superthermal power plants.

Three “superthermal” power plants are being put up in the immediate vicinity of Allahabad—at Meja, Bara and Karchhana. The likely environmental impact of these is, alas, only too predictable. One only has to go to the adjoining districts—Sonbhadra, Obra, Robertsganj—to see what a silenced nature looks like—not just silenced, but tortured, throttled. Fears of a comparable ecological catastrophe engulfing Allahabad have prompted the hesitant beginnings of resistance. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh trumpets these achievements, without any sense of irony, as emblems of his ummeedon ka pradesh—the pradesh of expectations, great expectations.

Local lore has it that the area was once well known for its fauna, its birds and its blackbucks—but even allowing for nostalgia, it is certainly true that it is a surprisingly verdant plot of earth. Surprising, because it is, of course, part of the harsh Bundelkhand landscape, where one expects the ground to be hard and stony, and the water, scarce. But although the landscape is dominated by just such a rocky ridge, some geological accident has produced acres of fertile, tillable land around it which are, this late in March and despite the catastrophic rains that have damaged standing crops in so many parts of the country, quite the image of pastoral plenty, with their fields of mustard and wheat, ripe for harvesting.

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