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The Union environment ministry is expected to approve the K Kasturirangan panel report on Western Ghats and declare around 60,000 square kilometers of the southern hills — spanning across six states — as no-go area for mining, thermal power plants and heavily polluting industries. A disaster waiting to happen. 

According to this report, 90% of the natural forests in the Western Ghats complex - adding up to 60,000 sq kilometers and constituting 37% of the entire hilly belt —to be conserved under the Ecological Sensitive Area provisions of the green law. The forest area falling within the ESA would also cover 4,156 villages across six states. 

But it does not recommended a ban on hydroelectric projects, dams and other such projects which are one of the biggest threats to the ecology of the region and all such projects will require prior-informed consent and no-objection from the Gram Sabha (village council) of these villages which we suspect would not be very difficult to get. 

Now, 60,000 sq. km. does sound like a big achievement but you need to look at the big picture. The Western Ghats stretches upto 1,29,037 sq. km. and if you do the calculation this is not even 50% of the whole area. 

If you read the fine print, this is just a diluted form of an earlier report of a team of ecologists, headed by NAC member Prof. Madhav Gadgil, that had suggested for almost 75% of the ghats to be put under various levels of restrictions much to the opposition of the states and other interest groups alike. 

Mr. Gadgil himself has criticised the new report and wrote an open letter to Mr. Kasturirangan saying “You advocate a partitioning amongst roughly one-third of what you term natural landscapes, to be safeguarded by guns and guards, and two-third of so-called cultural landscapes, to be thrown open to development, such as what has spawned the 35,000 crore rupees illegal mining scam of Goa.” 

Here’s the link to the letter written by Mr. Gadgil: http://tpgindia.in/blog/an-open-letter-to-mr-kasturirangan-by-prof-madhav-gadgil/

Read the full story here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/developmental-issues/60000-sq-km-of-Western-Ghats-to-be-green-zone/articleshow/20548905.cms?intenttarget=no

Signed,

Upamanyu Raju

This petition closed about 1 year ago

How this will help

Remember- we are talking about one of the only two Biodiversity hotspots of India. 

Are we ready to lose it to the greed and hunger of our politicians who persuade us using the blanket of...

Remember- we are talking about one of the only two Biodiversity hotspots of India. 

Are we ready to lose it to the greed and hunger of our politicians who persuade us using the blanket of unsustainable development? 

We have to do something to protect our Western Ghats so that we don't regret not taking any actions and if cannot save our Western Ghats, we should not take pride in calling ourselves conservationists. 

Please sign the petition and spread it across so that we can question the concerned authorities and save this wild heritage. 

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