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Kasturirangan Panel Report on Western Ghats , Discuss

"A Conservatism lie with the fellow who thinks this world is borrowed from his children rather is given by his fathers."
How it would be if someone wakes up and find alone someday morning without air to breath, water to drink and environment to have aesthetic gratification ...?? Seems to be quiet horrible…Isn't it?? Human's unquenching thirst to serve his pocket has led him to be intentionally adopt frivolities steps against the ecology whose result becomes a nightmare supposed to be without its essential assets. Straightly coming to the point in the primetime, human has depleted his environment for self motives. Industrially being at apex in terms of share and money, he has somewhere regretted his ecology. Setting up of infrastructures, he has diverted space, time, and money not only in ignoring the fruitful establishment of environment but also has intended to modify the pre-existing one. Since this topic is concerned about the Kasturirangan panel reports on Western Ghats, we would discuss in salient details.

Entire report at a glance-
Around 60,000 sq km of western Ghats ,spread across six states should be turned into a no-go area for commercial activities like mining, thermal plants, polluting industries and large housing plans, the high level working group, headed by Dr. Kasturirangan ( Renowned alumini of JNU, New Delhi and winner of Shantiswarup Bhatnagar award)recommended. The Kasturirangan panel was set up to study the Gadgil committee report on Western Ghats. The Gadgil panel report had faced unanimous oppositions stating that almost 3/4th of hills, including plantations, cultivated lands, be turned into restricted zone. The committee has in contrast advised against bringing habitations outside the ambit of such a restrictive regime called ecologically sensitive area (ESA) under Environment protection Act, 1976. Instead, it has suggested that 90% of the natural forests left in the Western Ghats complex adding upto 60,000 sq km and constituting 37% of entire hilly belt be conserved under provisions of green law. The committee ensured there would be complete restriction of mining within the period of next 5 years, except the habitations owned by tribal people under State Tribal Act, 2015 which doesn't permits for bringing any devastation to the area but they could serve in conserving the same so as with amplifying their livelihood. It has not recommended a ban on hydroelectric projects in the zone, but put a regime of stricter clearances for dams and other projects. Cumulative studies to assess impact of dams on a river and ensuring minimum distance at 3kms and that not more than 50% of the river basin is affected at any time. The report has steered clear from demanding a strict ecological control over the Western Ghats complex requiring changes and regulations on agricultural practices the way the Gadgil committee report ought to suggest.

The committee has not recommended an outright rejection of the Athirapally hydroelectric project in Kerala and Gundhya dam in Karnataka .It has warned that the state govt. must assess if the former is valid with viable and if the trade off the loss of irreplaceable biodiversity is beneficial. It has strictly said there should not be a green nod on the existing projects going against the biodiversity, unless all would be proved vague.

"Pros" of Kasturirangan reports over Madhav Gadgil ones-

  • Gadgil reports were biased towards ecology and its maintenance disrespecting the needs of people in accordance to their jobs, they acquire from existing projects.
  • It focused on only the 64% of the entire Ghat to ecologically sensitive which seemed to be practically impossible.
  • Kasturirangan reports endured both on ecology diverting 37% of the hill for ecology assessment and rest along with some part of that for livelihood.
  • In the primetime the demand should engrave both towards people and ecology, failing anyone to serve will damage the system.
  • Basing upon the above points, Kasturirangan reports seems to be more fascinating than that of the other which tries to cater the needs of both. Strictly speaking, human interventions knows no bound as far as his needs are concerned ,if he keeps on moving likewise, vis-à-vis he might suffer in near future. "If human commits war against the nature, and even though he wins it, he will be the only fellow to cherish his victory, as he sows, so shall he reap, since everything flows downhill."

Abhisekh Sahu