Indian ecologist plans to float country's first environmental party

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London, September 21 (ANI): Subhas Dutta, a prominent Indian environmentalist, is going to meet leaders of the UK Green party in his attempt to set up India's first dedicated environmental party.

Subhas Dutta is known for championing a succession of green causes including saving a renowned green space in Kolkata and forcing the authorities to ban 60,000 old cars from the streets of the West Bengal city.

According to a report in The Guardian, Dutta will discuss party organisation, issues and finances as well as the dos and don'ts of green politics.

"Green activism in India is localised and scattered in the form of pressure groups in different parts of the country," Dutta told the Guardian. "There is no united green movement," he said.

In a country where almost a third of the billion-strong population live below the poverty line, environmental issues are generally put on the back burner.

Recycling and other household measures to combat climate change are largely ignored. The Indian government has been skeptical about western nations' exhortations on climate change.

But, Dutta said that a nascent environmental awareness is emerging.

"People are more environmentally conscious now and eager to fight climate change," he said. "The marriage of my activism and the time-tested policies of the Greens will yield a political party tailored to address the environmental and social needs of a progressive India," he added.

He plans to mount a grassroots campaign in rural India to persuade ordinary people of the commercial sense of green choices.

Redressing social injustice will also be a significant part of the party's agenda.

According to Green party MEP Jean Lambert, "Linking social and environmental concerns makes the latter more accessible. Mr Dutta's proposition is an interesting and positive initiative."

"India needs to keep in mind climate change, especially in the run-up to the Copenhagen convention on the Kyoto protocol. After all, resource efficiency is good business practice," Lambert added.

Dutta plans to reach out to Indian heavyweights such as former chief election commissioner and politician TN Seshan, the former chief justice Kuldeep Singh, and environmental activists like MC Mehta.

After six months of preparation, he plans to convene a committee of 20-25 members.

"What I want to do is to initiate a positive politics of change. I can't comment on the success or otherwise of the Green party in India, but this is a start," said Dutta. (ANI)

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