News item: Supreme Court puts on hold decisions taken by the National Body for Wildlife, reconstituted by — and chaired by — Prime Minister Narendra Modi

News item: In the wake of the SC ruling, Modi decides to reconstitute the NBW as per the statutory requirements he had earlier ignored

News item (This just in): NBW okays 81 development proposals — including nine right in the middle of protected tiger reserves.

News item (This, too, just in): The NBW led by Modi’s Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar cleared at least six projects, three of them in wildlife reserves, before carrying out the mandatory inspections. In other words, the “inspections”, mandated by law and the courts, are now merely a formality.

As PM Narendra Modi said earlier, our tigers, and our environment generally, are in good hands:

Prime Minister, who was presented a report on the status of tigers in India, expressed satisfaction at the reported increase in the country’s tiger population, and said it was an illustration of India’s commitment to respect for nature.


Prime Minister said the people of India have been the protectors and devotees of nature. He said we need to project this fact properly, so that the world realizes that India cannot be questioned in this regard.

It is, after all, about projection, not reality. Modi understands that. As does Javadekar, who recently instructed his officials to use the right language.

An intra-ministry communication issued on July 16 by Javadekar’s private secretary Vinay Srivastava stated: “Hon’ble minister has desired that henceforth in all communication the word ‘Clearance’ should be replaced by ‘Approval with Adequate Environmental Safeguards’ and the word ‘Diversion’ should be replaced by ‘Reforestation’.”

As the minister — who, to his credit, is a master at the use of language sans intent — said, in words that cannot be improved upon:

“This is all about thinking positive, and using the right expression”

But it doesn’t matter, really, if your heart is in the right place. As for instance:

The proposal for the widening of NH17 passing through Karnala Bird Sanctuary was earlier rejected twice by the NBWL in its 17th and 29th meetings. In both instances, the proposal was opposed due to the availability of an alternative alignment.

However, the standing committee in the 34th meeting concluded that, “widening within the sanctuary will smoothen the traffic and reduce the foul emissions from recurring traffic jams, which are harmful for the birds and other wildlife”.

See? We build broader roads through protected areas so traffic can flow smoothly and the emissions from jammed vehicles don’t give the birds a coughing fit.