In a few days, I will be off for a week of exploring/fact-finding in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. While I normally don’t consider my personal travels to be newsworthy, I share this with Gristmill readers because Chhattisgarh is a classic example of why environmental governance in countries like India is so difficult — and why government statistics about the environment in developing countries can rarely be relied on.
Chhattisgarh is one of the forgotten parts of India. Despite representing almost 1/10th of India’s landmass and containing 22 million people, it might as well be in another universe — not just from the perspective of the outside world (crack open your 1,000-page Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to India and you will be lucky to find even a page or two on Chhattisgarh) but to India’s own government. Even the hyperactive newspapers in major metros rarely mention news from or post reporters in Chhattisgarh, which is India’s most forested state (officially), with 44% forest cover, and has perhaps India’s richest overall bounty of natural resources. The state is also home to a 32% tribal... Read more