Dr.  V. S. Vijayan, member of Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), has said that it was now almost clear that sthose opposing the Madhav Gadgil report were linked to pesticide, quarry and sand mafia.

In a seminar organised at the Idukki Press Club in Thodupuzha on Tuesday, Dr. Vijayan said that the report should be seen in the light of the Uttarakhand catastrophe, where uncontrolled exploitation of nature made it difficult to take any counter measures when the calamity hit.

Dr. Vijayan said that the Gadgil report was much misinterpreted in the district, adding that it had only recommended to shift to organic farming but never opposed to farming.

“The report had demanded this to prevent pollution of drinking water sources by chemical pesticides,” he said. “Such a policy had made Sikkim a cent per cent organic state and it had created 35 lakh organic farmers in Andhra Pradesh.”

The report had suggested the existing factories in the region to go zero-polluting and that new factories can be opened if they are zero polluting, he said.

Dr. Vijayan said that the original report had recommended the people at the grassroots to take a final decision on implementation of it and it was not enforced upon the people.

The frequent intrusion of wild animals to the farmlands has already made farming difficult, said Fr Sebastian Kochupurackal, General Convenor, Highrange Protection Council.

He said that the report will adversely affect 48 grama panchayats in the district, which come under the ecologically sensitive zone. Referring to the Gagdil committee report suggesting the matter to be left to the grama panchayats to take a decision, he said it will make things worse than that of bureaucracy.

Environmentalist P. J. James moderated the seminar.