1,000 signatures reached
To: Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani
Prevent future floods: Save Western Ghats
1. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change must endorse/ accept the Gadgil report immediately
2. Begin a series of consultations at the gram sabha level on protection of the Ghats based on Gadgil report, as was envisioned when the first notification draft was released.
Why is this important?
In 2015, more than 500 people were killed and over 18 lakh were displaced in the Chennai floods.
In 2018, over 200 people have died in the worst floods Kerala has seen in several decades.
These are painful reminders of how “development” is harming us. And these reminders are only going to increase in frequency over the next few years.
In 2011, a landmark report by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (also known as Gadgil committee) had detailed measures for the preservation of the natural environment of the Western Ghats. The report had recommended that the entire Western Ghats, spread over six states, including Kerala, be declared ecologically sensitive.
The committee had strongly recommended a ban on certain new industrial and mining activities in the area, and called for strict regulation of other ‘developmental’ work in consultation with local communities and gram panchayats.
The report met with resistance from the governments of all six stakeholder states.
A new committee later formed severely watered down the recommendations of the Gadgil panel, suggesting that only a third of the Western Ghats be identified as ecologically sensitive.
Of the area that was finally notified, only 9,993.7 sq km was in Kerala.
The floods and landslides in Kerala are a result of the unmitigated development activities like illegal excavations and stone quarrying that were being done for over a decade. Noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the panel, said that irresponsible environmental policy was to blame. Gadgil has now warned that Goa may face the same fate if it doesn't take environmental precautions.
The 2011 report made several significant recommendations -- no new hill stations and special economic zones, banning conversion of public lands to private, regulation of tourism and no issue of mining licenses, dams, thermal power plants and other large-scale wind power projects in ecologically sensitive zones.
It’s time the MoEFCC formally accepts the Gadgil report, before another disaster takes place.