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National Workshop on Facilitating Consumer Participation in Electricity Regulatory Process

A two-day national workshop, organized by CISED, in collaboration with the Office of Consumer Advocacy of the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) and the Department of Management Studies of Indian Institute of Science. 

Venue: at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, September 11-12, 2008.

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Past Visiting Fellows

Ulhas Rane (2002-03)

Ulhas is a landscape architect with extensive hands-on experience in urban planning and  environmental management. At CISED, Ulhas carried out a review of water management  issues peculiar to small towns.

K.J. Joy (2002-03)
Senior Fellow, SOPPECOM

Joy has worked for more than a decade on the implementation and analysis of watershed  development, irrigation management and the water-energy linkage. At CISED, Joy  completed an extensive review of watershed development programmes in southern India. This was published as a CISED Technical Report in 2004. (Executive Summary)

Surendra Gadekar (2004-05)  
Editor, Anumukti

A Ph.D in Physics and a long-time anti-nuclear activist , Surendra Gadekar is a member of the Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalaya. In the course of his visiting fellowship at CISED, Suren wrote about his work  in Jaduguda on the health burden imposed on local communities and workers by uranium mining.

Priya Sangameswaran (2005-06)
Ph.D. in Economics

In her work, Priya has explored different dimensions of equity – specifically in the context of water – and the implications of particular notions of ‘community’ used in developmental policy.  As a Visiting Fellow, Priya explored questions of equity in a specific case of watershed development in western India (Full Paper), and further discussed how the notion of an ‘ideal village’ is used to construct feelings of community in the same case. She also conducted a review of the concept of right to water in three discourses – human rights, state legislation, and civil society initiatives (Executive Summary)

Praveen Singh (2006-07)
Ph.D. in Environmental History

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Praveen’s research interests relate to the political economy of development and environmental change. As Visiting Fellow at CISED, Praveen has written about the history of flood control in the floodplains of Northern Bihar during colonial and post-independence periods, in particular deconstructing the role of the colonial state and various interest groups, and looking at the distinct ecological footprint created by the interaction between these different social, economic, and technical forces in the region.

Suhas Paranjape (2006-07)
Senior Fellow, SOPPECOM

An engineer by training, Suhas became an active participant in social and popular science movements. His interests lie in participatory management of natural resources – particularly irrigation, and in watershed-based development. He has co-authored several books on sustainable water use and technology. Suhas has also been a core team member of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti’s watershed development project and a consultant with the CASAD. His VF study explored the tensions inherent in the relationship between the red and the green, against  the backdrop of the increasing awareness in the last two decades among members of  radical movements, of the need to accept social justice and environmental soundness as common goals and include them within a common framework of thought and action within radical theory and practice.

Rinki Sarkar (2006-07)
Ph.D. in Economics

Rinki’s research interests centre on the transition and change in forests in the Indian Himalayas, through an examination of the ecology of the Middle Himalaya andmapping the transformation thereof. She has conducted extensive field work in over 150 villages in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, to unearth the process of transition andchange that is occurring in this region, with focus on livelihoods and local forests. AtCISED, she explored the role of local governance mechanisms in mediating unsustainabletrends, especially with reference to the local forest resource base. The impact of specific dimensions of change on forest-use by local inhabitants was particularly assessed, andthe resilience of village-level resource use arrangements to withstand forces of change, critically evaluated.

Arupjyoti Saikia (2007-08)                                                                      
Assistant Professor in History, IIT, Guwahati

Arupjyoti’s research interests have revolved around the social and environmental history ofcolonial and post-independent Assam, with particular focus on peasant societies. His doctoral work was on the peasant society of Assam and its political struggle during 1945 to 1952, and he has since written extensively on the history of forest movements in the area. At CISED, he has explored the question of land rights in forest reserves, in the context of the Nambor forests and the Doyang Tengani peasant struggle in Assam.

Emmanuel Theophilus (2007-08)
Masters in Social Work

Theo has worked with rural communities since 1981 on aspects related to cooperatives in dairying and forestry, and later with Village Forest Councils in northern Kumaon. At CISED, he analysed the rapidly changing legal and administrative environment with regard to Village Forests and Van Panchayats, in the larger context of the effects of such changes on democratic decentralization and on land-use.

Forest Conservation and Peasant Struggles in Assam

Researcher: Arupjyoti Saikia

This study explores the historical dimension of the competition between the agrarian and forest frontier in Assam. It shows how the current conflict in Doyang Tengani is rooted in a series of state-supported ventures for forest colonisation. The study also examines the emergence of various forms of peasant protests in the state against the backdrop of the various environmental legislations and legal barriers that have redefined the power of the state in terms of its right to forests and wastelands.

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Though focused on Assam, the study throws light on forest and land policy questions of broader interest, and has implications for our understanding of social movements in general and movements around the forest-land rights issue in particular.


NTFP Policy in India: Rhetoric and Reality

Research Team: Sharachchandra Lélé, in collaboration with Manoj Pattanaik, Regional Centre for Development Cooperation, and Nitin Rai, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) constitute an important component of rural  livelihoods in many parts of India. As a part of a multi-country study coordinated by People Plants International, we drew upon existing case studies and secondary data to analyse the changes in state policy towards NTFPs in India, particularly in the central-eastern dry forest belt and the Western Ghats, and how these policies have affected the livelihoods of  NTFP-dependent tribal and non-tribal communities. Policies during the British and immediate post-independence period were focused on maximising revenues for the state and meeting demands of NTFP-based industries.

Starting in the late 1950s, the role of  NTFP collection in rural, particularly tribal, livelihoods gained attention, and a series of  legal, administrative, and fiscal initiatives were taken up in the 1960s and 1970s in several states, ostensibly to reduce the exploitation of the NTFP collectors, while ensuring supply to industry and royalties to the state. In practice, the thrust was on ‘nationalization’  (complete state ownership) of the most commercially valuable NTFPs and control of the other valuable ones and on a ‘coercive cooperativisation’ of NTFP collection and marketing, while continuing to lease NTFPs to companies in certain pockets and leaving regulation of extraction to the forest departments. The outcome of these policies was high levels of surplus extraction by the state, especially in the case of the most valuable products such as tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon) leaves, and only limited and uncertain gains for the collectors.

Where products were less valuable and less voluminous, such as in Karnataka, the surplus extraction happened locally in the guise of state control of tribal cooperatives. In Orissa, when efforts were made to return the profits from such NTFP collection to the collectors, the profits have ended up largely in the hands of non-collectors. These arrangements have remained largely intact or changed only recently in some states in spite of a major shift in national forest policy in 1988, initiation of joint forest management programmes, and efforts at political devolution in the early 1990s. Some progressive changes have occurred in Madhya Pradesh and more recently in Orissa, the livelihood impacts of which are yet to be fully realized. In all of this, little attention has been paid to resource sustainability, the complexity of which demands much greater effort.

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Ecology of the Middle Himalaya: Mapping Transformation and Change

Reseacher: Rinki Sarkar

This study looks at various changes occurring across a wide geographical expanse of the Indian middle-Himalaya, especially the construction of roads, market linkages, tourism initiatives, and mega hydro-electricity projects, and their impacts on several outcomes, including forest-use by local inhabitants, and the resilience of village-level resource use arrangements to withstand forces of change. While economic security and access to social and physical infrastructure in the region have improved, the resulting environmental externalities have been less obvious, even in an ecologically sensitive area.

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