Noted environmentalist Prof MK Prasad, a prominent figure in the historic grassroot level movement to save the evergreen tropical rain forests in Kerala's Silent Valley from destruction, passed away on the morning of Monday, January 17, his colleagues said. Prasad was 89. He breathed his last at a private hospital in Kochi while undergoing treatment for COVID-19 related complications, they said.
Prasad was a guiding force behind the national movement against the state government's move to set up a hydro-power project in Silent Valley in Palakkad district in the 1970s.
The Silent Valley issue was first brought to public attention in a 1969 report published in the Mathrubhumi Weekly edition, which was written by MK Prasad and commissioned by NV Krishna Warrier, the then editor-in-chief of Mathrubhumi.
Bowing to unrelenting pressure from ecologists, the government was forced to abandon the project. The struggle was called off in the early ‘80s after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assured that Silent Valley forests will be protected.
Prasad, who held various academic positions in Kerala, including the post of Pro Vice Chancellor of Calicut University and Principal of Maharaja's College, Ernakulam, has also authored numerous books in Malayalam on environmental issues and popular science. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the demise of Prasad recalling his contributions as a leader of ecological movements. Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Leader of Opposition the state Assembly V D Satheesan also condoled the demise of Prasad.