Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, stating that his personal views on the Athirapally project or the Western Ghats had not changed, said the report submitted by the Madhav Gadgil-led Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel was balanced and detailed as well.

Talking to the media here on Monday, Mr. Ramesh said though he had “nothing to do with Athirapally now since the Environment and Forests portfolio was not anymore with him”, his views on the issue had not changed and that he believed the Gadgil panel to have done an “outstanding job”.

When pointed out that Kerala and other States had opposed the proposals in the report of the panel, with Kerala having already written to the Centre rejecting the proposals, Mr. Ramesh said he knew many States “were not happy” with the report and that he did not know why they were opposing it.

The Union Minister said Madhav Gadgil was appointed deliberately to lead the panel after a lot of thought, because “he was a sensible person”. State governments would have their own views, these would be discussed and the choices would be made.

“One has to take a call. It is for the States and the Centre to sit and talk it out. The report should not go into the dustbin. Once again, let me repeat that these are my personal views that are expressed publicly,” he said.

“I hope the Government will listen to the people on Athirapally, because there are many from the public too who are against the project,” he added.

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