Renowned environmentalist Claude Alvares has said that there is nothing against development in the Madhav Gadgil report. Delivering the 11th N Narendran commemorative lecture here on Friday, he said that the Kerala Government should revise its view on the report as it was prepared by a mainstream scientist appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the Government of India.
He said that Gadgil had prepared the report after taking all the concerns of the stake-holders into consideration and all the 20 criteria followed by the committee to identify the ecological hotspots on the Western Ghats were in conformity with the policies of the State Government. ‘’The Chief Minister and Ministers concerned have not read the report.
Instead, without going through the report, the government was assuming that the it would be against development,’’ he said. He pointed out that the 38 sites on the Western Ghats identified as heritage sites by the UNESCO had to be preserved. The general tendency is to create false propaganda about the report to get it rejected outright.
Gadgil report is part of the existing laws in the country included in the Environment Protection Act of 1986. He said that the sites on the Western Ghats demarcated and graded into three categories as Z1, Z2 and Z3 by eminent scientists had put the details on the website of the Ministry to facilitate public discussion and enlighten the masses.
There has been special guidelines and criteria to conserve the sites scattered over 15 of the 63 taluks of the state. The first of it is against introducing GM crops in the Z1 category site which is in conformity with the State Government’s policies. Phasing out of plastic in three years, restrictions on land use, provisions against destroying the water bodies, conservation of special habitats of species and the like could be acceptable to all, he pointed out. Criticising the trend of the political system to reject a scientific report, he said that excessive contamination of the environment had even tampered with the monsoon.
“Our politicians and governments have not understood the impact of the monsoon over the economy of the country. Without monsoon everything will collapse, nothing will survive,’’ he warned.
He said that it was the excessive thermal pollution and nuclear power plants which caused the increase in the atmospheric temperature and equalised the temperature of the land and the sea, preventing the cold cloud movement, ultimately resulting in the shortfall of monsoon rains.
He demanded the government to understand the exercise done by the scientists in preparing the Gadgil report.
and translate it into Malayalam and help the local bodies near the Western Ghats discuss it and come to their own conclusions. ‘Thanal’ chairman Jayakumar, Parvathy Devi, Manoj Puthiyavila and D Pramesh Kumar spoke. Narendran’s friends and colleagues attended the function.