Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Indian farmers stage dirty protest against plan to import Dutch dung

NEW DELHI - Angry farmers tried to dump 11 ox carts full of manure outside the Indian agricultural ministry to stop the Delhi government from approving a Dutchman's plan to ship The Netherland's growing heap of dung to India, writes Tim McGirk. In a business proposition akin to selling ice to Eskimos or sand to the Saharans, a Dutch entrepreneur, Hans Prins from Seaswan BB, is trying to convince the government to let him sell 3 million tons a year of cattle manure to India, a nation where, even in congested cities, cow mess adorns practically every street corner.

'It's all because the Dutch eat too much. They have too many cows, too much meat. So why send their dung over to us?' said Rajiv Vora, a protest organiser from the Gandhi Peace Foundation. A Netherlands embassy spokesman in Delhi replied to this accusation. 'It's not true we're fat. We Dutch are rather boney. I would not like to mention the other nations with a more serious fat problem,' the spokesman said.

Police stopped the stinking protest from crossing into Delhi, evoking an old law that the traffic of ox carts across the Yamuna river bridge was banned during the morning rush hour. But when some farmers voluntered to carry dishes of fly-swarming manure balanced on their turbans into the capital, they too were turned back by police ready to shoot off tear gas. The Dutchman, who had received funding for his project from Dutch cattlemen, has left India after being heckled at a public meeting in Gujarat.