Stakeholders? Who?

the arrogance of the British?

BUT they were sent packing decades ago!

The powers that be, in this case Mysore University, are planning to commercialise the best natural lake in Mysore: Kukkarahalli Kere used by hundreds of locals for invigorating walks and a wonderfully diverse population of birds.

They seem to be stuck in the past.. development-itis means buildings, creating a boating lake (we already have a boating lake –  why not  buy some better boats and get that one working properly?) destroying the very aspects of the lake that attracts the birds and creates the necessary life-enhancing biodiversity. A case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Well this morning, there was a tremendous turnout of local people from allsorts of local organisations and all political affilitiations, to highlight what will be lost with this inappropriate development. Appreciating their picture show of birds to be found on the lake and signing their petition were hundreds of local people who love the lake as it is now.

Well done the managers of Mysore University, who are acting just like the autocratic British invaders with no sensitivity to local needs and wishes. They might as well be invaders from outside given the complete lack of sensitivity to local stakeholders with little understanding of our need to live in harmony with the natural world. Maybe their brain is not in tune to a real world,  they are contributing to the destruction of Mysore and what makes it unique. Maybe they will realise our loss when its too late.

Unfortunately it was too foggy this morning to properly appreciate the place. Maybe that’s appropriate as it helps illuminate what it will be like after the ‘development’ as we’ll see fewer birds. There will however, always be a place in the hearts of the heartless for the lesser spotted digger, the painted TATA Hitachi, the tool of develpment -itis.

Farrell Factoid

The thread throughout all my careers has been engaging people. One of my current workshops, delivered in the UK as part of the Corporate Responsiblity Academy is a ‘development’ model that is based on stakeholder dialogue and their active participation.

 

 

Chamundeshwari fought the demon

It’s early in the morning, a little after 7 am. I cycle up to the brow of the hill and can hear a drumming in the background. Maybe it’s a significant day, a Mela or something else to do with the local goddess.

This is the home, of the goddess Chamundeshwari, her temple and effectively, her woodland garden, the hill is one of the most sacred in the whole of South India.

As I get closer, I realise it’s not what I first thought.

The ‘drums’ are the sound of the diggers breaking up the stones as part of the redevelopment of the hill top.

The hill takes its name from Chamundeshwari the local goddess (aka Durga) who lives on the hill which is just behind Mysore Bed and Breakfast. You can just about see the temple Gopura in the main picture in the far distance.

DSC01379Chamundeshwari is famous for dispensing with the demon: Mahishasura after which Mysuru or Mysore is named.

It looks to me that there is a new demon that she’ll have to deal with and the demon is development.

A few days later I join a walk up the hill to find out a little more…..

 

Hundreds of people walked up the hill as part of a demonstration against the planned development. For those of you who’ve visited you’ll realise its a bit of a mess up there. God knows what it would be like it if wasn’t a plastic free zone….. so there is no doubt  the need to do something

But does it need a new guest house? (there are already two that are not used), a shopping complex? a mulit-storey car park? and a four lane highway? In our view all these plans will devastate the hillside, damage its bio-diversity and make matters so much worse but do the local powers that be give a damn?

Hence I think there is a new demon in town that the Goddess needs to sort out!

Its that magic word development that they keep throwing around. Politicians use it as a catch-all phrase to defend all sorts of unsuitable decisions. Are we against development? by which they must mean progress… well erm yes, if it means destroying the lungs of the city and decemating the woodland, yes if it means worshipping and promoting growth regardless of the consequences.

It has the potential to be an amazing place, not least for the views of the city.

DSC01162

But for that to be realised, we must have: some participation of the people in this thing called democracy, an end to mindless development and some sustainable and practical proposals to deal with the problems. These are currently  unfettered illegal growth, litter and too much traffic. These are practically and relatively easily resolvable with the right approach and many local organisations have come up with suggestions. In my view, it isn’t about grand schemes as they will not work and are, in any case, designed for the short term gain, with money going into a whole range of pockets and the needs of the people and the environment completely neglected..

This will be an interesting story to follow to see how local politicians and the civil servants manage to properly manage the conflicting priorities and show how well they are suited to representing the interests of people and the environment whilst  maintaining long-term sustainable development when and where its appropriate..