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Western Ghats, a night mare for many ministers
December 26, 2013 by:
Ravikumar Ambadi Points: 12
Two successive ministers in India had to leave the chair for taking decisions to protect the bio-diversity of Western Ghats.
Western Ghats is well known for its bio-diversity and it is considered the second in the world to have a vast range of animals and plants. The Western Ghats have immense influence in the climatic conditions too. The long range of mountains spread across around five states in India has been mentioned internationally also because of its bio-diversity. At a time when millions of dollars have been spent internationally to conduct seminars on ecological protection and the measures taken to fight global warming and other evil effect, there is no doubt that Western Ghats are to be protected at any cost.
Mr. Jairam Ramesh, when he was the central minister in charge of forest and Ecology, he brought the idea to appoint a commission to study about the impacts of different human activities in the Western Ghats and to recommend measures to protect the bio-diversity existing there. Dr. Madhav Gadgil, the eminent ecologist and environmental scientist has been appointed as the chairman of the committee.
After a lot of studies and researches this committee reached a conclusion and submitted the report. The report was supporting the farmers who do farming in this area. However, there were certain conditions also put forth for farmers. First of all they should gradually shift to organic farming. Secondly, they should try different crops in different seasons to exploit the soil maximum, but should not follow this in lands which are in slope. There he preferred permanent crops which will give yields for years.
However, he expressed his concerns about quarries and other major industries coming up in Western Ghats. Similarly, huge constructions also affect the nature. He recommended a complete moratorium on all major industries in this area and also recommended that the permission for construction should be awarded to individual building with built area less than 2500SFT.
This is the nutshell of his report and there is nothing against either farmer of common people. The people who will get affected if this report has been implemented are those who are running quarries and other major industries here. Unfortunately, those people have immense influence in the corridors of powers and many religious organizations too come forward in their support.
The result was the removal of Jairam Ramesh form the ministry. Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan came in his place and experiencing the fate of Jairam Ramesh, she preferred to play safely. She appointed another committee headed by Dr. Kasthurirangan, an eminent space scientist to conduct another series of studies and researches on the matter. Recently Dr. Kasthurirangan also submitted his report in which most of the suggestions were same as in the case of Gadgil Committee Report. He only differed in the number of places that are to be declared as Ecologically Fragile Lands. Going along with the report, Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan decided to implement the same and the result is her resignation from the ministry.
Although the forthcoming parliament election is the sited reason, if someone goes by the history of this government, there is a scope to doubt about the influence of her decision to implement the report in her resignation. And now Mr. Veerappa Moily has come in her place.
Although the corporate lobby and quarry owners are against the implementation of this report in all the five states, the agitation gained momentum in Kerala with the support of different Christian Churches. It turned communal to certain extent. At this juncture, the government does not want to irritate Christians who can influence the results in any elections in Kerala. Both the ruling UDF and the opposition LDF in Kerala are extending full support to the agitators. Ultimately it has been proved that nature is nothing to our political parties when the votes are on the other side.
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