The Western Ghats Protection Council, an umbrella organisation of environmentalists, social activists and political leaders, on Saturday held a state-level convention at Thodupuzha to chalk out future course of action with regard to the protection of the environmentally sensitive Western Ghats.

Inaugurating the convention, formers Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said that the availability of water, food security and even the survival of the farmers depend on the Western Ghats and it is crucially needed for the economy to protect it. The climatic change has already affected the food security, he said adding that the decline in farm production will have a direct bear on the economy. The Western Ghats' pivotal role in controlling the climate should not be sen in a lighter perceptive and its protection is the need of the hour, he said.

In a message read out at the convention, former Forest Minister Binoy Viswom said that there was no anti-people recommendation in the Madhav Gadgil report and it was not true that it enforces certain condition affecting the farmer adversely. The report says that through discussions and grassroots measures, there should be effective steps for protection of the Western Ghats. He said that the quarry mafia and those who with ill-motive had unleashed a campaign against the report creating a fear psychosis among the people. He said that effective measures for the protection of the Western Ghats was needed for the existence of the future generation.

About 300 delegates participated in the seminar held in two sessions with experts presenting papers stressing the need for protection of the Western Ghats. Prof M.K. Prasad, C.R. Neelakandan and John Peruvanthanam among others spoke at the general convention.

The meeting also adopted a draft document for protecting the bio-diversity and environment of the Western Ghats.

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