G. Narasimha Rao
Nearly 40 delegates from various parts attending it
ANANTAGIRI (Visakhapatnam district): Like-minded individuals, environmentalists and NGOs working the areas of environment protection, gathered here to find ways to beef up their campaigns and evolve new strategies to protect the Eastern Ghats.
Samata, an NGO and Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme India are jointly organising the programme, to be held on Thursday and Friday, in the wake of Governments’ attempts to destroy the Eastern Ghats by taking up mining and irrigation and other projects, and thereby causing damage to the environment as well as the life and culture of Girijans living on the hills and people in the plain areas, said executive director of Samata Ravi Rebbapragada in his opening remarks.
Nearly 40 delegates from various organisations in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are participating in the two-day programme, titled “conservation and livelihood -- a consultation on Eastern Ghats”.
Coordinator of NTFP EP India Madhu Ramnath felt that the delegates, after discussing the issues, could decide on forming a sort of network to fight the issues.
Arjun Nag, who is fighting for the rights of tribals in Bastar area, said the Girijans have their own and proven methods of agriculture, technology, etc. but the new methods and ideas being thrust on them were proving to be alien to them. A Girijan would never cut a tree or plant unless it could regenerate. This was how the Girijans were protecting the forests, Mr. Nag said. An environmentalist R. Sridhar talked on mountain ecosystem and explained how the destructive and disruptive projects would harm the people. Prof. J.P. Rao of Hyderabad, Dr. Chiranjivi Pattnaik of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Piyush Sethia of Speak Out Salem, Snehalata of Keystone Foundation (Tamil Nadu), Sohan Hatangadi of Samata, Sanjeev of Velugu, and others participated in the discussions.