Say Ghats reports not sacred; want people to have the final word

The Gadgil panel report should be implemented after it is debated in the grama sabhas and necessary changes made to it.

This was the view that emerged after a day-long programme organised by the Western Ghat Protection Forum, a collective of over 25 environmental organisations from the State.

Comprehensive

Speaking at the programme, environmentalist P.V. Krishnankutty observed that anyone with a basic knowledge of the geography and ecology of Kerala would not be against the Gadgil report.

The report was prepared after a series of consultations and studies by esteemed scientists in the country, he said.

On controversy

Mr. Krishnankutty, who had translated the Gadgil report into Malayalam, maintained that the controversy about the report was owing to the ignorance of the people about its contents.

“Unfortunately, people including farmers were overwhelmed by emotion when it came to understanding the report,” he said. According to him, different vested interest groups and religious leaders also played their roles in misguiding the public.

He maintained that the Gadgil report was founded on the basic principles of democracy that the fruits of development should be equally distributed among the people and participation of the people should be ensured.

Environmentalist T. Shobeendran, who moderated one of the morning sessions, said that there was no need to consider the Kasturirangan or the Gadgil Committee reports as sacred or the final word.

Changes possible

Instead, people should be allowed to have the final word, he said. “If the respective grama sabhas wanted certain changes to any segment of the report there was nothing that stops them from doing so,” said Mr. Shobeendran.

He said that the Gadgil report was better than the Kasturirangan report, which was the outcome of different vested interest groups including quarry mafia pressurising the authorities to dilute the Gadgil report.

Film screenings

A host of programmes including screening of environmental films including documentaries and short movies, interactive sessions, lectures, presentation of papers, sessions on organic farming and cultural sessions was organised during the programme.

Representatives of different green organisations and conservation campaigners from different parts of the State attended the programmes.

A number of noted environmentalists including A. Achyutan, M.A. Johnson and T.V. Rajan spoke in different sessions of the programme.

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