Kasturirangan says panel will submit a balanced report to Union government
Planning Commission member Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, who is also the head of a working group to assess the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) report and submit an action plan for its effective implementation to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), has said that the panel would submit a balanced report to the Union government.
Speaking to mediapersons here, after hearing public suggestions on the implementation of the Madhav Gadgil committee report on Western Ghats from people’s representatives, presidents of local bodies, representatives of farmers’ organisations and environmental organisations in the district on Monday, Mr. Kasturirangan said that they would make a judicious balance between the socio-economic developmental requirements and the need for preservation of the ecosystem of the district.
The working group had got elaborate inputs from Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, he said. It got nearly 1,200 suggestions, he said.
The group would go through the suggestions and it was planning to complete its work by April 15, Mr. Kasturirangan said.
Darshan Shankar, chairman, Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bangalore, and a member of the working group said the Western Ghats, one of the eight important hot spots in the world, is famous for its biodiversity and it should be conserved for the very existence of the country.
People’s representatives expressed their concerns over the move to demarcate eco-sensitive zones on the border of wildlife sanctuaries, setting up of a tiger reserve in Wayanad and a suggestion in the Madhav Gadgil report to include the three taluks of the district under the eco-sensitive zones.
There were enough Acts enacted in the State to conserve forest and environment, they said.
They also felt that any move to execute the recommendations of the WGEEP would adversely affect the development of the backward district.
Eco groups’ demand
The representatives of the various environmental groups wanted the Madhav Gadgil committee report to be implemented to preserve the environment and natural resources of the district.
Youth Affairs Minister P.K. Jayalakshmi, M.I. Shanavas, MP, James Varghese, Principal Secretary, Environment, I. C. Balakrishnan, MLA, and District collector K. Gopalakrishna Bhatt also attended the meeting.
The panel would visit Idukki on Tuesday.