Say government also part of this misinformation campaign

Environmentalist A. Achuthan has said that the State government and various religious organisations are misleading the public on the Madhav Gadgil committee report on Western Ghats.

He was speaking at a meeting of environmentalists convened here on Wednesday to form the district unit of the ‘Kerala Western Ghats Protection Council.’

The council has launched grassroots-level campaigning in Kannur and Wayanad district, seeking the implementation of the Gadgil committee report.

“The Western Ghats is a rare biodiversity hotspot which needs to be preserved. The pressure of population and consumerism has resulted in the depletion of such areas. The Gadgil report is important in such a scenario. Nowhere the report suggests that the construction of houses should be banned in the area, as is being spread by certain sections. It only suggests alternative methods of construction using lesser materials,” said Mr. Achuthan, who is one of the patrons of the newly formed council.

Vinod Payyada, co-ordinator of the council, said that the report might have certain limitations in the demarcation of taluks in the various zones, but that was no reason to demonise it.

“The Gadgil committee report says things that are already part of environmental laws in India, including the Environmental Protection Act of 1956 and the Kerala Ecologically Fragile Lands of 2003. But a fear is being spread among the people in the region by spreading rumours which are not even part of the Act. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy did not discuss the contents of the report with the public and out rightly took positions against it. This needs to be read along with the way his government promoted the Emerging Kerala summit,” said Mr. Vinod.

Mr. Vinod said that only voices opposing the report had been heard till now and so it was important to bring out the facts to the general public.

He also expressed reservation over the expected outcome of the study on the Gandgil report being conducted by a high-level working group, headed by space scientist and Planning Commission member K. Kasturirangan.

Expertise questioned

“Kasturirangan’s expertise in the field of environmental conservation is questionable. A positive assessment cannot be expected from such a person who is a known proponent of globalisation,” said he said.

  • Meeting of environmentalists held

  • Reservations over study by high-level panel