Jan 14, 2005
Reasons for GNI’s silence
Loyal readers must have wondered why GoodNewsIndia [GNI] has not been updated in recent weeks. Many worried readers have also written-in querying. First off, do banish your worst fears. GNI has survived the tsunami and will soon be back in full flow. Now to an explanation for the long silence.
This piece cannot be written except in personal terms. So here are some facts about GNI that you may not know. I, D V Sridharan, aged 63 have been publishing GNI for close to five years. I have been the site’s one-man staff, doing all the researching, reporting, writing, designing, tech-ing and funding the website. It has been worth the trouble because of the growing, loyal, worldwide readership. Many believe, GNI pioneered a genre in publishing in India. GNI has come to champion those many small heroes of India who have stood up against great odds and made a difference. There was no way I could remain uninfluenced by the people I have met in these years.
So when I became aware in 2003, of blatant law-breaking activities of MGM Beach Resorts in my village Muttukkadu near Chennai, South India, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma: either I -ignoring the common counsel of petrified local people- took on this powerful, spiteful bully or I stopped writing inspiring stories that were goading my readers to action.
The perils of a whistle-blower’s life in India were not lost on me but here was a bundle of issues too difficult to ignore: land grab, official apathy, frivolous use of the legal system, seducing the police to serve commercial ends, environmental vandalism, destruction of a local way of life in the name of tourists’ interest and breaking of every law that seeks to regulate business.
In Feb, 2003 I and a few - alas, too few- residents started a campaign group called East Coast Citizens’ Organisation [ECCO] to bring laws to bear on the growing number of law-breaking resorts along Chennai’s East Coast Road [ECR]. ECCO began a website which you can access here. A report you can download from there, has been overtaken by events but still gives details of our campaigns.