Overcrowding in India, pot calling the kettle black
Editorial

Overcrowding in India, pot calling the kettle black

Media coverage of the various matters relating to the country’s forests and their denizens, close to the heart of nature lovers, seems to have got stumped by reports of criminal acts by people at large and the ongoing verbal battles among the vote-seekers. Journos are getting unsolicited advisory by public speakers of all hues to eschew sensationalising happenings particularly involving politicos. But, the seasoned professionals in the media world know better what the mass of newspaper readers look for in their favourite rags. Episodes of an occasional assault by a pachyderm crushing an unwary villager to death or an incident of cobra bite killing its victim may not earn a prominent space in the daily. Headlines such as (a) Elephants and tigers together kill one Indian a day (on an average) or (b) Poisonous snakes account for India’s 50,000 fatalities in a year shall not fail to earn multi-column headlines. As for forest cover over the land’s total area, dwindling as it is, hardly any public outcry report causes concern in any quarters that count.

The country having a rich stock of flora and fauna, Karnataka too figuring in such frequently appearing reports in newspapers, is anywhere close to reality, then there is no reason for despair on the part of people at large about their continued well-being. However, they have to contend with reports that portray facts to the contrary.

In the absence of unanimity of views expressed by different knowledgeable groups on the contributing factors behind extremes of drought in some regions of the country and floods in some other regions, the administration and the functionaries in various departments all seem to be at seas as it were in the matter of dealing with the extremes. In the meanwhile, all is not well with the country’s water resources, particularly rivers getting depleted of the sand base, lakes going dry and water table sinking. The rapid expansion of urban territories doesn’t seem to be alerting whoever is concerned with the task of arresting the expansion.

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To digress, a report in a leading daily early this week, citing wildlife experts, has the headline fear of overcrowding due to increase in the country’s tiger population. Tigers must be amused at the remark even as urbanites are overcrowding themselves in cities —a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

February 2, 2019

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