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Plea Not To Dilute Gadgil Panel Report
April 09, 2013

Plea Not To Dilute Gadgil Panel Report 
 
 
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/plea-not-to-dilute-gadgil-panel-report/article4597306.ece
 
09 April 2013

Pathanathitta: The Kerala River Protection Council has called upon K. Kasturirangan, chairman of the high-level working group on Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), not to dilute the recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil committee.

It claims the report marks the beginning of a totally different planning process involving the local people as envisaged in the Panchayati Raj system.

In a letter to Dr. Kasturirangan, council vice-president V.N. Gopinatha Pillai and environmentalist Thomas P. Thomas alleged that no government had given the required attention to the deteriorating environmental conditions of the Western Ghats.

Dr. Thomas, botany professor at Kozhencherry St. Thomas College, said the destruction of forests, illegal mining, tourism, plantations, and cultivation had all debilitated the ecology and environment of the Western Ghats as well as the plains.

They alleged that those who opposed the Gadgil panel report were actually encouraging and protecting the forest and land lobby.

Report pro-farmer

“It is sad a section of people is trying to brand the report anti-people and anti-development, distorting the truth. Even some religious groups too were found to have joined hands with certain vested interests to oppose the report in the name of protecting the interests of farmers, disregarding the fact that the committee’s recommendations are absolutely pro-farmer,” they said.

The report had given utmost importance to the farmers, supporting them for more sustainable and productive farming, apart from recommending an array of incentives.

They said the report was acceptable as it had considered almost all issues concerning the ecological safety of the Western Ghats and ways and means to improve the livelihood of the poor, the very fundamental issue of sustainable development without causing damage to the environment.

Dr. Thomas and Mr. Pillai said the drought situation and the lowering of the water table even in districts such as Idukki and Pathanamthitta should be an eye-opener to the public and policymakers.

They urged Dr Kasturirangan not to dilute the suggestions of the Gadgil committee for the sake of posterity.