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Mining is a matter of serious concern: Sunderlal Bahuguna

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Creating awareness: Environmentalist and founder of the Chipko Movement Sunderlal Bahuguna interacting with children at a function in Shimoga.
Creating awareness: Environmentalist and founder of the Chipko Movement Sunderlal Bahuguna interacting with children at a function in Shimoga.

Special Correspondent

Favours a people-powered movement against government injustice

Tapping of solar and wind energy suggested

‘Government should not take people

for granted’

SHIMOGA: Environmentalist and founder of the Chipko Movement Sunderlal Bahuguna said here on Thursday that mining in the environmentally sensitive Western Ghats region was a matter of serious concern.

In an interaction with students of local schools near Shimoga, he said the very word mining “smacked of danger as it was environmentally disastrous”.

He said mining should be opposed not only in the Western Ghats, but wherever it was being taken up. “If action is not taken, all available fertile land will be rendered barren”, he added.

‘Embrace the trees’

Embrace the trees — was his cryptic reply when a student asked how one could protect the environment. “If you do so, nobody will dare cut them,” he added.

Mr. Bahuguna said the Chipko Movement, which was the result of a spontaneous protest in the northern parts of India against the destruction of forestland, grew into a sustained movement. He said nobody had the right to destroy trees, without which life would not be possible.

When asked about the proposed diversion of major rivers, he said he was against the idea and said there should be no human interference in river courses and that they should be allowed to flow naturally. “Then only will rivers become life-savers,” he observed.

‘Available in plenty’

Mr. Bahuguna said hydel projects were not the only answer to the power crisis. He suggested that wind and solar energy sources be tapped as they were available in plenty.

He said the Government would start taking the people for granted if they did not resist anti-environment projects.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the Copenhagen talks, he said he did not have faith in such discussions. “I believe in the power of the people,” he added.

To a question, he said the environment could be protected if small and cottage industries were encouraged.

Mr. Bahuguna’s wife Vimala and the former principals of the Sahyadri Science College, T.S. Hoovaiah Gowda and A.S. Chandrasekhar, were present.

Nearly 500 students participated in the programme.

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