After the Gadgil Report was rejected by the Centre as well as states concerned, now the Kasturirangan report too has been laid to rest. But both the reports can be reconciled and some kind of consensus arrived at in the interest of the ecology and biodiversity of the Ghats, says ecology expert and one of the authors of the Gadgil report, Raman Sukumar.
Speaking on ‘Confusion over Conservation in the Western Ghats’ on Saturday, Raman Sukumar from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, said, “A lot of deliberate scare-mongering about the Gadgil report took place and it was believed that no development or construction could take place in the Ghats if the report was implemented.”
He said the main differences in both the reports were about the area that comprised the Ecologically Sensitive Zones in the Ghats. The Kasturirangan report says it’s 37 per cent and clearly demarcates it through villages according to space imagery whereas the Gadgil report had divided the areas according to ground experiences. The former also divided the areas into Ecologically Sensitive Zones 1, 2 and 3, depending on the attention they would need.
Sukumar said states like Goa and Karnataka have decided to allow mining. “If Kudremukh mining was continued, it would have sliced the mountains,” he said.
He said, essentially the Gadgil report was about banning genetically modified crops, phasing out plastics, treatment of waste and introducing incentive payments as conservation service charges for forestry on private lands.
Sukumar also said that human settlements have been in the Ghats for 12,000 years. So, ecology and biodiversity can still be preserved as a participatory exercise.