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Kerala criticises Gadgil report on Western Ghats

Last Updated: Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 20:26

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has raised serious objections to the Madav Gadgil Committee report on the Western Ghats conservation, arguing that many of its recommendations would adversely affect the state`s interests.

The state`s response to the report, to be submitted to the Experts` Panel of the Environment Ministry, held that it did not take into proper account the specific socio-economic and geographical features of Kerala.

This was made clear by the UDF Government in its response to the Gadgil report, drawn up by an expert committee and approved by the cabinet earlier this week.
Apart from its adverse fallout on the farm sector in the state, the suggestions would seriously affect electricity generation of the state, which mainly depends on hydel sources, the state`s response release here today said.

"The Gadgil Committee recommendations will impose serious constraints on existing and proposed hydro-electric projects," it said.

Questioning the basic approach of the panel towards Kerala, the state complained that the recommendations did not take into account the fact that the state had for long been categorised into three geographical zones--highland, midland and coastal area.

However, the Gadgil report, which overlooked the fact that Kerala is not part of the Deccan Plateu, took the state into a single unit as far as conservation issues were concerned. As a result, Economically Sensitive Zones within the state were had been extended upto the coastal area by the panel.

The report also did not recognise such state-specific issues as its peculiar land utilisation, population pressures and socio-economic factors, it said.

Stating that it recognised conservation as a vital issue,
Kerala`s response said the state already has 10 state legislated laws and 29 central laws, which are sufficient to protect nature from further degradation.

The state viewed seriously the Panel proposal to form a Western Ghats Conservation Authority as it feared it would upset the government`s activities and procedures.

On the report`s fallout in the power sector, it said though Kerala`s total hydel potential was estimated to be 6,000 MW, only 35 per cent of it had been harnessed so far.

"The panel had suggested decommissioning of dams which were 35 to 40 years old. This would pose a question mark on the existing and proposed power projects and would plunge the state into darkness," it said.

Similarly, the panel had put the state`s irrigation projects at stake.

Apart from its recommendations that would hit the state, the panel did not make concrete proposals on offsetting liabilities to be suffered by the state while implementing the recommendations, it added.


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First Published: Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 20:26

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