March reaches Kannur; to cover entire State

A group of environmental and social activists are touring the Western Ghats areas in the district as part of their campaign in the hill areas of the State to interact with farmers and Adivasis.

The march, named Western Ghats Debate March, being held under the aegis of the Youth for Environment and Justice (YEJ), had begun at Bedakam in Kasaragod district on April 12. It will conclude at Vlavetti in Thiruvananthapuram on May 31. The march entered the district on April 15.

Team members

The 48-member team includes wildlife photographer N.A. Naseer, environmental and social activists N.P. Johnson, Dayabhai, documentary director Yamini Parameswaran and Fr. Augustine Vattoli, among others.

Objective

“Our objective is not to preach to farmers living in the Western Ghats areas about the importance of the protection of the region,” said Prajil Aman, general convener of the programme. The march, he said, was more to listen to the local people’s concerns.

He said the local people were highly sensitised to environmental issues. Their problems included acute scarcity of drinking water, changing agricultural practices, and mushrooming quarries in the hill areas.

The activists distributed pamphlets and interacted with people. Farmers they interacted with had diverse opinions about conservation of the Western Ghats region, the organisers said.

Report

“Each day during the march, the team members walked nearly 15 km,” said Mr. Naseer. After the march, views and opinions of the local people would be compiled in a report and submitted to the State government, he said.

Gandhian activist Sunny Paikata interacted with the farmers at Koorakund. The march also includes music programmes, screening of documentaries, photo exhibition and street play.

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