Pachauri favours public debate on Western Ghats reports

Environment ministry has lost independence, rues Prashant Bhushan

Pachauri favours public debate on Western Ghats reports

Noted environmentalist R K Pachauri on Friday demanded an informed, transparent public debate on whether the Kasturirangan report or the Madhav Gadgil report on Western Ghats should be implemented.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the 7th International Congress of Environmental Research, organised by the RV College of Engineering, in the City. Pachauri said, “Amending the Kasturirangan report will further destroy biodiversity. A lot of prejudices prevail about the reports. Thus, a proper transparent debate is needed.”

But Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan was in favour of implementing the Gadgil report. He said, “The Kasturirangan report was backed by political will. There is a need to protect Western Ghats. A lot of people are opposing Gadgil report as they are being misguided.”

Bhushan said that the present government was no different from any corporate firm, keen on making profits, increasing GDP growth, creating more jobs and having an economic agenda. It was not paying attention to environment and what will remain for future generations, he said.

It seems to dilute various environment laws and acts like Forest Rights Act, Environmental Regulation Act, Tribal Rights Act and Land Acquisition Act. The Ministry of Environment which should be an independent regulatory authority has lost its independence as officials from coal and industries departments who were promoting projects earlier are now posted here and are clearing them.

The Supreme Court had ordered creation of two separate environment bodies as regulatory authorities, but till date none has been formed. The ‘pollute and pay’policy has not been implemented till date, Bhushan said.

Pachauri said, “Prestigious institutions like IIT and IIM with sufficient faculty have contributed nothing to strategy and economic path. Those who enter them are caught up in lure and glamour of the West. Their souls migrate to US and the body lives five years in future. By following Indian culture, Indian lifestyle and mitigating climate change we will improve. This means that economic growth will reduce by 0.06 per cent and GDP growth rate will be a year late. But that does not make much a difference. Yet, future of India is youth and I will work closely with them.”

On the forthcoming climate change conference in Paris, Pachauri said India should understand the science of climate change and not go ahead with the way it is heading now. Government alone cannot be blamed for environmental problems. It is a democratic country and people are also responsible for environmental hazards.

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