Environment scientist and Western Ghats Experts Committee chairman Dr Madhav Gadgil has demanded that the 232 acres of excess land purchased for the Aranmula airport be distributed to the landless families.
Gadgil told reporters here on Thursday that the final decision on the project should be decided by the people of the area and not by the governments at the Centre or in the state.
The supreme power is vested with the people and the elected representatives should work as their agents, Gadgil said.
“The people and the grama sabhas are the final decision-makers of a project of any village. For integrated development, four types of capital are crucial: man-made capital, natural capital, human resources capital and social capital. However, the governments at the Centre and the state by giving thrust on man-made capital have a distorted view on natural capital and social capital.”
Development in the planners’ view is distorted and thrust is given to man-made capital and amassing of wealth, he said.
“Men at Yojana Bhavan or the government at higher-level failed to take into consideration the conservation of natural capital and social capital, Gadgil said.
Recalling his days with farmers of rural areas, fishermen and tribal people in forests as the chairman of the Western Ghats Expert Committee, Gadgil said they are the real protectors and conservationists of nature since they know the real value of the nature and how to protect it. The mindset of planners is narrow and with vested interests, he said.
Gadgil, who visited the proposed airport project area at Aranmula and the quarry units at Chempemudi hills, said the exploitation of nature at these places is against the will and sentiments of the people.
If the elected representatives fail to take into confidence the people of the area on projects, the people have the ultimate power to correct them in a democratic way, he said.
Gadgil said the Kasturirangan report is distorted. In the report, Kasturirangan gave undue prominence to conservation of natural forests, he said. However, the report made a distorted view on cultural land or the inhabited area close to the forest, he added.
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