Beautiful Kerala, known as the ‘God’s own country’ is facing the brutal face of nature. The data suggest that 300+ people have died and thousands of people became homeless, till now. The Incessant rain and the flood have claimed many lives, loss of livestock, destroyed crops and homes, building, flyover & bridges and left Kerala in complete shambles.
The loss is much more than just the mere numbers. It is incomparable and it will take decades to mitigate this loss. Today ‘God’s own country’ is left out with submerged roads & homes, homeless people, orphans, pain and the undying hope. A hope to get back Kerala back in shape.
While we are running blindly in the race of economic growth and development, leaving alone our environment, an important question comes to us- what next, after Kerala?
Madhav Gadgil, a noted ecologist, has warned that Goa may face the similar situation as Kerala. If it doesn’t take precautions on the environmental front.
With the advent of Industrialization, natural resources and forests got displaced by industries in name of economic growth & development. Manufacturing sector overtook primary sector and a blind race started to become rich by exploiting natural resources. Over the past many decades, our so-called economic policies are helping rich to get richer and this constitutes only 1% of the population.
All the development, we are making at the cost of our environment is insignificant in the context of the cost of the destruction of nature. By exploiting the natural resource to earn extra pennies, we are creating ways to destroy our earth layer by layer. The greed of ‘Development’ is causing huge destruction and we are on the way to pay it back to nature.
The Gadgil Report
The Gadgil report on the Western Ghats clearly established that deforestation of fragile catchments, construction of too many dams, and construction in floodplains was a recipe for ecological disaster.
Gadgil headed, ‘the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel’, in its report 2011, had suggested that many areas in Kerala which come under the Western Ghats be classified as ecologically sensitive. It had recommended to strictly curb the mining and quarrying and the use of land in certain areas for non-forest purpose.
The recommendations were not taken seriously by the state and Central Government and the result is clear to everyone today.
Reasons for Calamity
We need to understand that we have a specific proportion of land which can either be cultivated and made productive or can be destroyed by mixing chemicals and cutting down trees. Gadgil had clearly mentioned in the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel Report that 64% of the land in the Western Ghats was sensitive to any kind of deforestation and man-made activity.
Gadgil clearly stated that the mere greed to make unlimited profits by exploiting the environment and illegal mining were the biggest reasons for the Kerala catastrophe.
“Certainly all sorts of problems are beginning to surface on the environmental front in the Western Ghats. Of course, the Western Ghats are not as high in Goa as they are in Kerala, but I am sure Goa will also experience all sorts of problems,” Gadgil said.
Ecologist, Gadgil, emphasized that the similar practices of exploitation of natural resources are happening in Goa. He stated that according to the Justice MB Shah commission the estimated illegal profits from illegal mining is around Rs 35,000 crore. Also, stone quarrying business fetches heavy profit with a very little investment.
Goa could face the similar fate
In 2011, Gadgil had carried out an extensive study on Goa’s environment based on Environment Impact Assessment Reports submitted by Iron ore mining companies. He claimed that the mining companies had submitted false information in their EIA reports. And, strictly recommended curbing these malpractices to save Goa from the similar fate of destruction.
“In Goa, they had asked me to look into the impact of mining on the environment. Every EIA suppressed fact about the hydrological impact of mining,” the 73-year-old ecologist said.
All the governments served their terms, since 2011, ignored Gadgil report to safeguard the Western Ghats from any kind of man-made activity.
Kerala catastrophe will remain with us for ages. But, we have a chance to save Goa from the similar fate. Here, we are standing. where we have to decide if we want to develop on the name of the destruction of ecology. One of our very close neighbours, Bhutan, as a country, aims for achieving Gross National Happiness as a measure of socio-economic well-being. The choice relies on us- how do we want to measure of development? Is it the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross national happiness (GNH)? Or would we find a balance between GDP & GNH?
Donate to help the people of Kerala at this time of need. Here you can find the details-
Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF):
Account Number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City Branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
Donations can also be made online through the CMDRF website:
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