Rajendra Pachauri: Friend of the Environment?

August 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

Matters have apparently become uncomfortable for Rajendra Pachauri, the controversial chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on  Climate Change (IPCC). But this time, according to an article in India Today, climate change is the least of his worries (backup link here).

An oversight body, called the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), has been auditing the 2010 Commonwealth Games that were held in Delhi. The auditors accuse the Delhi government of wide-ranging mismanagement.

Moreover, it is being alleged that the government failed to ensure that “specific environmental concerns” were addressed during the construction of the Games Village near the Yamuna river.

Beforehand, Indian environmentalists were opposed to that particular building site. But their initial High Court victory was overturned by the Supreme Court.

This past January, a news story reported that:

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh…expressed regret over the construction of the Commonwealth Games Village on the ecologically-sensitive Yamuna bank…”The Games village should not have been given clearance. It stands right on the riverbed,” Ramesh said…

But back to Pachauri. According to a news article published last week, the Supreme court apparently allowed the Games Village construction to proceed after it received assurance from a government minister that a committee “would ensure that flagged environmental issues would be addressed.”

Pachauri was a member of said committee. But the auditors now say there’s no evidence it ever met. In the words of the newspaper article:

This is contempt of a Supreme Court order.

The CAG had reportedly inquired from Dr R. K. Pachauri who is believed to have told the auditors that he had not been called to any meeting of the panel. The CAG report is likely to be tabled in Parliament soon.

Yikes.

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In February 2010, a British newspaper ran an article that suggests Pachauri is less than beloved by environmentalists in India. According to that piece:

environmentalists in his own country have…launched their own attacks on a man they claim is harming endangered forests, depleting scarce water reserves and promoting power companies which emit the carbon gases that cause global warming.

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