Thrissur: Prominent environmentalist and member of the Gadgil Committee Expert Panel, Dr. V. S. Vijaykumar, said that the reason for floods and landslides that is ravaging Kerala at the moment is because the government failed to implement the Gadgil Report.
The Gadgil Report, which was a detailed study to preserve the highly sensitive ecosystem of the Wester Ghats, was not implemented by the government. The report that suggested practical recommendations to protect the environment was sabotaged by the government after vested interests in Wayanad and Idukki opposed it.
The main lobby behind the opposition was the powerful quarry owners, who had much to lose if the Gadgil report was implemented. The quarry owners made huge financial gains by exploiting the nature without any regard whatsoever. Mountains were drilled and exploded by bypassing environmental laws.
The Christian churches also spearheaded the protests against Gadgil Report to safeguard its interests in Wayanad and Idukki. Most farmers in Wayanad and Idukki belong to the Christian community and thus the Church got actively involved in the agitations. The Church has a huge stake in these regions and they fear that if the report is implemented they would lose their hold over their lands and buildings.
The protests against the report took a ugly turn at many places. The government relented and the Gadgil recommendations were never carried out. The UPA government at the center also tried to create fear and confusion among the people by delaying to publish the report.
Vijayakumar said that Kerala is suffering because of neglecting the Gadgil Report and accused the government of sabotaging it. He also told that the government must answer about the support it gave to these quarry owners.
For two constitutive years Kerala is going through unprecedented hardships owing to heavy rains, floods, and landslides. The Chief Minister reported that around 80 landslides were reported from many parts of Kerala. Wayanad topped the list in the number of landslides.
People living in hilly regions on the slopes of Western Ghats now realize their folly for opposing the Gadgil Report.
Madhav Gadgil, a renowned ecologist, was appointed by Ministry of Environment and Forests to study the highly sensitive Western Ghats and to lay out plans to protect the region.