KOCHI: The stand by the BJP-led Union Ministry of Environment to pick Kasturirangan panel report for the protection of Western Ghats is in contrary to the stand of Sangh Parivar which was pitching a campaign in favour of the Gadgil Committee report.
The move gains significance as two high-level meetings of the RSS in the state had passed resolutions in less than a year’s time for implementing Gadgil report to protect the ecologically-sensitive Western Ghats, declared a natural heritage zone by the UNESCO. However, RSS veterans in the state have expressed confidence that the organisation will be able to convince the BJP Government at the Centre to re-consider its decision.
“This is the stand of the earlier government and it can be reconsidered. There will be pressure on the Central Government to revoke its decision,” said senior Sangh Parivar leader Kummanam Rajasekharan, who is spearheading the agitation on environmental issues.
Incidentally, RSS supremo Mohan Bhagavat is camping at Idukki as part of his week-long tour in the state to bolster the party’s activities.
Kummanam stated that the BJP also cannot retract from its pro-Gadgil stance.
“The people have elected the party to power based on the promises it made. As a political party, the BJP has the responsibility to abide by its manifesto, which included implementation of Gadgil report,” he said.
The RSS state working committee meet held in Palakkad last month had passed a resolution backing the Madhav Gadgil report while expressing serious concern over the threat posed by indiscriminate human intervention to the ecologically-sensitive Western Ghats.
“Grama sabhas must be convened, as recommended by the Gadgil committee, and measures must be initiated after popular debates to protect the Western Ghats from quarry mafia and land grabbers. However, the interests of the farming community should be protected without hampering environment protection,” said the resolution.
Moreover, the RSS national executive council held here in October 2013 had condemned the then UPA Government for rejecting the Madhav Gadgil report outrightly.
The high-level meeting attended by top leaders, including Mohan Bhagavat, had called on the Central and state governments to rethink their plans and initiate a larger debate on the issue.
On the Gadgil report on preserving the unique ecosystem of Western Ghats, the national executive termed it unfortunate that the government chose to dump it completely instead of placing the recommendations of the panel before the people. The RSS is of the view that several recommendations of the panel are in the larger interests of the nation,” it had said.