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Gadgil moots online environment database

Special Correspondent
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Chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) Madhav Gadgil has mooted a participatory movement using Web technologies to create an online database on the state of the environment in India.

In a message delivered in absentia at the inaugural session of the Kerala Vikasana Sangamam held here on Tuesday, to mark the 50{+t}{+h}anniversary of the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad, he said the pilot project could be implemented in Kerala with interested citizens working in tandem with a consortium of scientists to create an easily accessible database on biodiversity and environmental resources.

Prof. Gadgil proposed that information be published on the online Wikipedia platform so that users could edit and contribute to the data. The technical support consortium could assess the quality of data posted by students and citizens on various Wiki sites and the data could be confederated in the form of a publication called Kerala Parisara Sthithi. He said KSSP could take the initiative to launch the pilot project in Kerala.

Prof. Gadgil regretted that constitutional rights of the people were being violated and scientific information suppressed or distorted, hand in hand with the destruction of the environment. “This is being done in furtherance of a reductionist approach of pursuing economic growth at any cost. The approach militates against the wisdom of adopting a holistic perspective in addressing the complex problem of charting the course of development in one of the world’s most multifaceted societies”.

Intellectuals’ role

He exhorted Indian intellectuals to play a positive role in addressing the challenges of protecting the environment, safeguarding democracy, and nurturing the spirit of science. He also highlighted the need to empower local bodies to decide on environmental issues. “Our problem is not inadequate legislative framework, but deliberate subversion of legal provisions to protect the environment”.

Chairman of the organising committee K.P.Kannan presided over the inaugural session.

In his address, CPI leader and former Forest Minister Benoy Viswom called on the Left parties to fulfil their commitment to protect the environment. He said it was time for all political parties to ensure that commitment to the environment was translated into action on the ground.

Mr. Viswom said the relentless assault on the state’s forests, wetlands, and hills was driven by corporate forces and commercial interests. He said Prof. Gadgil and WGEEP were being portrayed as anti-development by forces wanting to perpetuate the cycle of wanton destruction of the environment. He added that the younger generation was more sensitive to the need to preserve the environment.

T.M. Thomas Isaac, MLA; C.P. Narayanan, MP; former chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board V.S. Vijayan; and KSSP leaders T.K. Devarajan, T.P. Kunhikannan and K. Rajesh spoke.




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