The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), besides notifying K Kasturirangan’s report, should also notify Prof Madhav Gadgil’s Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) report on conservation of the Western Ghats, environmentalist and the Goa Foundation Director Claude Alvares, stressed on Sunday.
“If the Centre is unwilling to implement Prof Gadgil’s report, then it must justify why it notified Kasturirangan’s report,” said Alvares, who along with other NGOs had filed a case in The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on December 17, 2012, demanding implementation of the Gadgil report.
Alvares informed that their case was still pending before the NGT.
He recollected that in its recent directions (November 13), the tribunal had urged the MoEF to consider the recommendations of both Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan panel reports before granting clearance to projects in ecologically sensitive zones of the Western Ghats.
“We have nothing against the Kasturirangan report. If the Gadgil report, which is idealistic, had been notified, we would have been happy. But it was unacceptable to the Centre, which has the least concern for the environment. The NGT had issued directions for a comparative report of the two reports,” he said.
WGEEP member Vidya Nayak, when contacted, said Kasturirangan’s report lacked foresight.
The WGEEP report compiled by the 14-member team within 18 months is a compact report, she maintained. “I visited Gundiya and Athirappilly (Kerala) where the dam would displace many tribals. The report accommodated salient features of previous five reports on conservation of the Western Ghats,” Nayak said.
She said the WGEEP report recommended full-fledged powers for gram panchayats in ecologically sensitive zones to have a final say on approving projects.
This recommendation and others on river diversion are missing in Kasturirangan’s report, she added.