Governments are misinforming people to suppress information gained through scientific research, Madhav Gadgil, chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), has said. Governments have sabotaged democratic dissemination of information. They are misleading people about dams with lies about their impact on the environment, he said.
Prof. Gadgil was speaking at a lecture on ‘Science, democracy and ecology’ here on Monday evening.
He said the Athirappilly power project should not be permitted as it did not have enough water to make power. “It will only make money for the contractors,” he said.
The panel’s report submitted last year had been mired in controversy and had been rejected by the State government. A second panel headed by Planning Commission member K. Kasturirangan was appointed by the Union government to review the Gadgil report.
Prof. Gadgil said he would study the Kasturirangan committee’s report when it came out and point out any flaws. “There are already some problems. They have not called the people to get their suggestions,” he said.
He said the panel’s report had called for further examination into some aspects of the Western Ghats ecology. The first was to prepare more detailed data maps that showed watershed boundaries, other geographical features, and local boundaries. “What measures we suggested should also go down to the local bodies. They should be taken on board, and their recommendations should be considered,” he said.
Prof. Gadgil suggested the WGEEP report could be translated into Malayalam and circulated to local bodies for their review.
“Our report was a genuinely scientific exercise in a genuinely democratic manner,” he said.
He said that traditional knowledge resources such as fishermen’s practices should be preserved before they were lost.