A large number of projects that are planned and implemented in the country are economically, socially, and environmentally unjustifiable ones, said noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil.
Mr. Gadgil was speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Environmental Governance: Tough Times Ahead?’ organised by the Centre for Continuing Legal Education and Extension of the National University of Advanced Legal Studies here on Thursday.
The Western Ghats is dotted by unnecessary and unjustified dams and many of them are not even properly managed. It was the improper management of water in the dams that resulted in the devastating floods in the State last year, he said.
The water management of the dams was conducted in an opaque fashion, ignoring public concerns and warnings issued by groups such as River Research Centre, Chalakudy, he said.
If water was released from the Kerala dams during late July and early August, the level of floods would have been lower by around 2 metres, which would have substantially reduce the damage, he said.
Dr. Gadgil observed that the Environment Protection Act was never implemented in its essence in the country.
Three Presidents of India failed to give assent to Plachimada Coca Cola Victims Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill, passed by the Kerala Assembly, he noted.
V.S. Vijayan, former chairman of the State Biodiversity Board, called for the establishment of an independent agency along the lines of Election Commission of India for the protection and management of wetlands in the State as the existence of wetlands was directly related to the availability of drinking water. The extent of wetlands in the State was shrinking at an alarming rate, he said.