Report on Western Ghats misinterpreted, says Gadgil

Report on Western Ghats misinterpreted, says Gadgil

Ecologist Madhav Gadgil on Sunday said the report prepared by the Western Ghats ecology expert panel (WGEEP) has been misinterpreted by vested interests. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the State-level seminar on saving Western Ghats, Gadgil said: “Rumours are rife that if our report is implemented, development will lag behind.

 There is a false information spreading that our report recommends farmers should not cultivate arecanut and coffee in the Ghats. Corporate and real estate mafias are behind this. Our report has been translated into Marathi by the Government of Maharashtra. However, the information has been distorted to suit their interest.” 

While the report is being discussed in Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra, it has been left in cold storage in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

“The chemical factory established in the foothills of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra has given employment opportunities to about 20,000 people. But what about 11,000 people who are using River Vasishta which is fully contaminated?” he said. Gadgil said corporate companies, on the pretext of tiger conservation, have been destroying the flora and fauna in the Ghats. 

Environmentalist P J James, who participated in the seminar, said that more than 40 per cent of the Western Ghats is destroyed. 

“The Gadgil report was submitted in August 2011 by the WGEEP, but the Central government kept it in cold storage for nine months. In May 2012, it was finally released, but was slammed by political parties and corporate houses. Followed by this, the Central government formed the Kasturirangan Committee to prepare a report,” said James. 

Campaign

Members of the Western Ghats Ulisi Sanghatana Samiti - Karnataka, who organised the seminar, said they would bring out a 100-page book on the pros and cons of the Kasturirangan and Gadgil reports. 

“By March-end, we will launch the book in Kannada. We will soon start a campaign across the State to insist that the Central government should not implement the Kasturirangan report as it does not have any recommendation related to environment conservation,” said R Manasayya of the Karnataka Raitha Sangha.

Social activist S R Hiremath said the Gadgil committee recommendations need to be discussed at the grassroots level that includes Gram Panchayat and local communities.The Save Western Ghats Struggle Committee comprising 17 members was formed on Sunday.

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