Gadgil slams govt on setting up another Western Ghats panel



Gadgil slams govt on setting up another Western Ghats panel New Delhi: Madhav Gadgil, who led an ecology expert panel that reviewed the impact of mining and other development activities on Western Ghats, today slammed the Centre's move to set up another committee to study its recommendations.

He said the move to set up another committee to study the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) was "inappropriate" and it was taken without taking inputs from people living in the mountains.

The Centre has decided to constitute the another panel comprising experts from central and state governments to examine the Madhav Gadgil Committee report on Western Ghats considering the opposition mainly from Kerala and Karnataka, according to Environment Ministry sources.

Gadgil urged the Ministry of Environment and Forests to first translate the English version of report into regional languages and make it public so that the people depending on the Western Ghats can read it and make appropriate suggestions.

"It is an inappropriate move," Gadgil told PTI from Pune when asked about the Centre's decision.

"The report is published only in English language, which common people cannot understand. It should be translated into all regional languages making easy for the people to read it. The recommendations which we made in the report should be discussed in the public forums," he said.

Gadgil said the review committee can be formed only after getting inputs from people who are living in and around the Western Ghats.

"98 per cent people of Western Ghats have not seen the report. Its English version will be posted in the Environment Ministry website only for 45 days. That time is not enough to study the report in detail. The report was prepared after consulting with all stakeholders including mine owners, farmers and officials in the state governments," he said.

"A decision on the report should be taken only after considering the opinion of the public," he said about the report on the Western Ghats-- a 1,600-km-long mountain range spread over in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

According to the Gadgil Committee report, the Western Ghats, which secured UNESCO's heritage tag recently, are home to precious biosphere reserves, which are threatened by a number of developmental activities such as mines, roads, railways, dams and other developmental initiatives.

PTI