Kasturirangan Reports will be Damaging the Ecological Balance

Published on: 23 Nov, 2013
Published under: Cochin District News, General Kerala News

23 November 2013

The Kasturirangan report has thrown open the ecologically sensitive areas of Western Ghats to mindless exploitation which would seriously hazard ecology, according to its critics.

According to member of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) V.S. Vijayan: the report has in a way permitted uncontrolled quarrying in most parts of the ghats regions of the State. Those protesting against the report in Kerala were indirectly demanding quarrying rights in 123 villages too, which were earmarked as ecologically sensitive areas.

While the WGEEP report wanted illegal mining and quarrying to be stopped immediately in the ghats, the Kasturirangan Committee permitted mining and quarrying in 63 per cent area. It was estimated that around 17,000 mines, including the reportedly illegal ones, were operating in the ghats region of the State, he said.

The Shah Commission, which inquired into the operation of mines in Goa, revealed that the State government had lost Rs. 35,000 crore to illegal mining. It was high time that a commission was appointed in Kerala too, to evaluate the functioning of mines in the State, said Dr. Vijayan who is engaged in the process of bringing out a comparative study on the two reports.

If the panel report was accepted, even the protected areas of the ghats would be open for development. There are also provisions in the report for diverting forest land for non-forest activities. Of the 1, 64,280 sq km of the hill ranges, around 60,000 sq km would only come under the conservation regime. The area set apart for conservation includes National Parks, Sanctuaries, Reserve Forests and other protected areas, which were covered by some protection mechanism, he said.

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