V.S. Vijayan, Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) member, said here on Sunday that it was the failure on the part of the government to clear the misconceptions among the people about the Madhav Gadgil Committee report that had resulted in hostility towards its recommendations.

Speaking at a seminar on the protection of the Western Ghats, organised by the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, Dr. Vijayan said one could only speculate about the reason why the government had failed to allay the fears of the people about the Gadgil Committee recommendations.

People, for instance, mistook ‘Ecologically Sensitive Areas’ mentioned in the report for ‘Ecologically Fragile Lands’, which had stricter rules regarding their preservation.

The Gadgil Committee report aimed at protecting the Western Ghats which benefited some 28 crore people living in six States.

In contrast, the Kasturirangan Committee report would benefit only miners and industrialists. Many of its action items were easy to evade because they were not restricted by time, acting merely as suggestions and not directives, he said.

Inaugurating the seminar, poet Sugathakumari said “it is sad that the Gadgil report could not be communicated to the people in time and it is even sadder that false information was conveyed causing huge loss to a fine action plan.”

Plea to KSBB

She hoped that the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) would take a strong stand to safeguard the Kerala Conservation of Paddy and Wetlands Act, 2008.

Kasturirangan panel member and KSBB chairman Oommen V. Oommen said the Gadgil committee’s failure lay in not consulting government bodies or holding proper discussion with the people when formulating its recommendations.