Senior Communist leader and former Chief Minister of Kerala VS Achuthanandan on Thursday slammed political party leaders for not yet realising that environmental degradation was the cause of the calamities that the state is presently witnessing. He also stressed that there is a public outcry to implement the Madhav Gadgil committee report on the Western Ghats. The report which mooted regulation of activities in the Western Ghats regions, was opposed equally by ruling and opposition fronts of the state in 2011.
VS in his Facebook post stated that any child in the state knows that uncontrolled quarrying and filling up of wetlands were the cause of calamities in the state. “It is only the people’s representatives who have still not understood the significance of all these issues,” VS stated.
He also added that though there have been multiple study reports on environment and climate change, Kerala was avoiding it for certain conveniences. “The state which is witnessing heavy rains and drought, is now also facing severe calamities yearly. Experts have already told us the reasons for these tragedies. The reports of experts like Madhav Gadgil are in front of us,” he said.
“People are becoming helpless when they see governments elected by them justifying illegal constructions, giving concession for laws pertaining to protection of wetlands and paddy fields, and giving ample permission for stone quarrying,” said VS.
He also added that though it is comforting to hear that quarries in the areas which had been hit by disaster will not be allowed to function, it must not be forgotten that giving permission in the first place was the reason for the calamities.
“Every action that is a threat to the environment and against scientific recommendations should be strictly avoided. There is no need to wait for yet another flood to decide that stone quarries should be away at least 200m away from human habitation and to demolish the illegal constructions in hills and ecologically sensitive areas,” VS stated.
VS also cautioned that Kerala is itself responsible for the calamities that is waiting to hit the state if we don’t take urgent measures to stop the destruction of Western Ghats. “If it was houses that were swept away in last year’s flood, this time it is villages,” he added.