Panaji: Goa may face the same fate as the flood-battered Kerala if it does not take precautions on the environmental front, noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil warned on Sunday. Gadgil had headed a committee that authored a widely debated study on the Western Ghats a few years ago.
Reacting to the worst-ever floods in the southern state, he said, "Certainly all sorts of problems are beginning to surface on the environmental front in the Western Ghats. Goa, of course, does not have the Western Ghats which are so high as in Kerala, but I am sure Goa will also experience all sorts of problems."
According to the ecologist, Goa is witnessing activities which are driven by greed for unlimited profits. He said that the reason for not taking any environmental precaution (in general) is pure greed for unlimited profits.
"The greed for enormous profits has been allowed to go on unchecked, which has actually worsened economic disparity in the society. So now those who are making money through these means are even more effective in getting the government to allow this kind of rampant illegal behaviour," Gadgil said.
Gadgil said that the governments have been lax on implementing environmental norms. "The central government is actually bending over backwards to make sure the National Green Tribunal does not function properly," he said.
Gadgil had done an extensive study on Goa's environment based on the data provided by iron ore mining companies in their Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) reports in 2011.
The 73-year-old expert had headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) set up by the government.
The WGEEP, in its 2011 report, had recommended that several areas in Kerala which come under the Western Ghats be classified as ecologically sensitive.
The panel had recommended strict curbs on mining and quarrying and on use of land for non-forest purposes.
The deadly monsoon rains that savaged Kerala has claimed 13 more lives on Sunday, taking the toll to 210 in the last 10 days as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said most of the marooned had been rescued and the focus would now be on their rehabilitation.
Nearly 58,000 people have been rescued in different parts of the state. The authorities have withdrawn the red alert for all districts in Kerala. More than six lakh people have been moved to over 3,000 relief camps so far.
(With inputs from agencies)