Destruction in Kerala would have been limited if Gadgil report implemented: Experts

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Thiruvananthapuram, August 23: The miseries and destruction caused by the rains and floods in Kerala would have been less severe if the government had taken the initiative to implement the recommendations made in the Gadgil Committee report on preservation of the Western Ghats, a noted environmentalist has said.
Ecologist Madhav Gadgil’s report had suggested checks on quarrying, discouraging cultivation of yearly crops on hill slopes and planting fruit-bearing tress there and restriction on construction in the area, according to Prof V S Vijayan, a former chairman of the State Biodiversity Board.
“Climate change is a reality and heavy rainfall leading to floods witnessed in Kerala and droughts would occur in future also,” Vijayan, also a member of the committee, told PTI.
“What we can do is to take precautionary steps to resist the impact of such calamities. In this regard, the recommendations of the Gadgil Committee are very important,” he said.
The committee recommendations were submitted in 2011 and if the government had started implementing it, the damage caused now could have been less than 50% of what has happened, he said.
Advocating the implementation of recommendations in toto at least now, Vijayan said the main suggestion was to protect and preserve the Western Ghats as an ecologically sensitive zone.
“However, it was not possible to protect and preserve the whole of the Western Ghats as we need development also. So what is required now is to take development and conservation together,” he added.
The basic concept of the report was that development and conservation were not two conflicting things, he said. (PTI)