Even as the UPA government is easing green norms and pushing for a more pragmatic approach to projects in Western Ghats and the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) is backing the Kasturirangan panel recommendations,Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh feels the Madhav Gadgil report was the roadmap to conservation in the ecologically sensitive area.
Space scientist K Kasturirangans report is seen as a diluted version of the Gadgil report submitted when Ramesh was Environment Minister.
The MoEF headed by Veerappa Moily is backing the Kasturirangan report after some states objected to the Gadgil report. Moily,who took charge after Jayanthi Natarajan quit last week,met CMs of Kerala and Maharashtra on the very first day to discuss the matter. He assured them his ministry will seek suggestions and concerns of affected states.
On Sunday,at a function to award Gadgil an honorary doctorate degree,Ramesh backed his report. I still feel the Gadgil panel report is the roadmap,the blueprint. It is not the last word. It should be discussed at Gram Panchayats,Zilla Parishads,Vidhan Sabhas…That public debate did not take place. The public debate was hijacked by a few political voices who had vested interests…I feel that once the elections are over… by June,July,there would be a calm and dispassionate debate on the Gadgil Committee report at various levels, he was quoted by PTI as saying in New Delhi at the function.
Gadgil,awarded honorary doctorate by the Central University of Koraput,said that over 1,700 stone quarries were operating illegally in Kerala where there were strong protests against both the Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports.
All across the crestline of Western Ghats in Kerala,there are stone quarries and machines…Now,there are apparently 2,700 quarries of which 1,700 are illegal. They have no licence from the collector,they have been denied permission to operate by village panchayats…but still they are operating, Gadgil was quoted by the agency.
WITH PTI INPUTS