Saturday, August 18, 2018

The heavy price for Kerala on ignoring Prof. Gadgil’s advice ..

The Harvard educated Padma Bhushan former IISc Professor Madhav Gadgil, the environment scientist ..

If only the so-called Kerala intellectuals had heeded his advice .. 
He was called in by the social forestry department, by the then government of Kerala as part of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) to study the impact of deforestation in the Western Ghats: Illegal quarrying; illegal occupation of forest lands; sand mining from rivers and converting paddy fields to real estate.  

The WGEEP did submit its report in 2011. Prof. Gadgil cited all these and said Kerala, and districts from other states nearby, in the long run, will see devastation of unimaginable proportions.  Landslides will occur in every hilly region of the State and rivers will flood without any sand in their beds … and riversides will become a morass of illegal construction.

This gentleman professor gave a report over two thousand pages and urged the government to take action.  They did.  He had to leave in disgrace.  

The left parties and the right parties, in unison, called him names and conducted marches against him in all the hilly districts.  Nobody supported him.  No, not any one of us! So he left silently … and now, the most literate state in the Nation is gasping for survival.  It has been reduced to looking for help from every possible agency and even the Central Government.  

How many people have died and families rendered homeless! Politicians will survive; they always do, but shame on all us.  We have allowed ourselves to be betrayed by a nexus of arrogant politicians, advocates, builders and a corrupt administration.  Need anymore be said? (from the Internet ..)

We only have ourselves to blame ..

The watered down version of the WGEEP report (submitted in 2011) called the  "The Kasturi Rangan Report" was prepared in 2012 to placate the warring groups from the church and mainstream political parties, diluted the recommendations of the Gadgil committee report. The Gadgil Committee report was accepted by the UN and accordingly Western Ghats was declared part of the world heritage site.  The new diluted Kasturirangan committee (headed by former ISRO Chairman K Kasturirangan) to balance the concerns of ecological protection and development, instead of declaring 67% of the Western Ghats as Ecologically Sensitive area (ESA) zones as per Gadgil Report, brought it down to 37% ESA zones.

No amount of dilution to placate the public and the church will be tolerated by mother nature. What is happening in the state presently is very tragic .. Taking advantage of the piety of the average literate Keralite, both within and outside the state, religions and religious organisations are in top gear out to squeeze him even more to offer help to the suffering brethren, not taking a penny from their already overflowing resources. The churches inn Kerala are already overflowing with funds, still they want to squeeze the common man.  The government machinery in the flood affected areas has totally collapsed as the devastation is unimaginable ! 

Rains are pounding yet again across this small South Indian state of 33 million inhabitants and people  have to undergo great hardships .. The splurging culture of the average Malayali in extravagant spacious houses, cars and gold ornaments (one solid investment) has seen Kerala remain a place of unproductive investments. 

Even though the literacy rates are high in the state, there have been very low investments in job creating industries in the manufacturing and service sectors. The money order economy initiated by expatriates from the Gulf has started losing its charm of late, given the Arab urge to educate their citizens and promote their economic development. 

Trading, healthcare, education, real estate and cash crops like spices and of late the surge in IT companies opening up offer the only hope for the state in the present circumstances. Even though coupled with militant trade unionism, the socialistic experiment in Kerala has helped raise the standard of living and up the healthcare metrics, the average Malayali even to this day has to look outward of the state for gainful employment.


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