Indira, green networks helped save Silent Valley: MP

Without the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the helm of affairs in New Delhi, the Silent Valley would not have been preserved as a national park, according to former Union Minister for Environment and Rajya Sabha

MP Jairam Ramesh.

Delivering the Kerala Assembly diamond jubilee lecture series here on Wednesday, Mr. Ramesh said the Silent Valley was a victory for the ecological network in Kerala. The Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad

(KSSP) spearheaded the movement.

Cleared in 1970s

The Planning Commission had cleared the Silent Valley hydroelectric project in the mid 1970s. India Gandhi was clear that the valley had to be protected. But she was equally worried about how the power needs of Malabar would be met. The alternatives were tied up in Kerala’s disputes over the Cauvery with neighbouring States.

On October 17, 1983, Indira Gandhi decided against the project. She wrote that the Silent Valley had to be preserved for “valid ecological reasons”.

She did not impose her authority unilaterally. She watched the debates and discussions among environmentalists, scientists,

politicians, and the public on the Silent Valley. Her position on the valley was influenced by the counsel of Salim Ali and M.S. Swaminathan. She was also aware of the intense international focus on protecting the valley.

Many lessons

Mr. Ramesh said that Indira Gandhi’s statesmanship held lessons for contemporary India when the country grappled with environmental issues even as it tried to strike out a trajectory of high economic growth.

Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan; and K.S. Sabarinathan and V.T. Balram, MLAs; spoke.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:33:40 AM |

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