Kerala floods: Jairam Ramesh flays non implementation of Gadgil panel report

Thiruvananthapuram: Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday blamed the non implementation of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report authored by eminent ecologist Madhav Gadgil in 2011, as the major reason for frequent occurrences of devastating floods and landslides in hilly areas of Kerala.

"Whenever there is a natural disaster in Kerala, the Madhav Gadgil's Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report of 2011 is recalled. A decade later it remains unimplemented—despite devastating floods in 2018 and 2020", Ramesh wrote on twitter, a day after flash floods and landslides wreaked havoc killing people and damaging properties in hilly areas of Kerala's Kottayam and Idukki districts. The former Union Environment Minister told PTI that the report has continuing relevance for the entire Western Ghats extending over six states but sadly it has been mothballed while ecological destruction continues unabated.

His statement comes as many social media users raised the need of implementing Gadgil committee report in protecting the ecology of Western Ghats, one of the world's largest biodiversity hotspots, in the light of recent floods.

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, also known as Gadgil Commission headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil, was an environmental research commission appointed in 2010 by Ramesh, when he was union environment minister in the Manamohan Singh-led UPA government.

The commission submitted its report to the government on August 31, 2011 in which it had recommended 64 per cent of the Western Ghats area be declared as an ecologically sensitive area.

However, later in 2012, the ministry formed a working group on Western Ghats under Indian space scientist K Kasturirangan to examine the Gadgil Committee report.

He said the Kasturirangan report drastically reduced the area to be protected from 64 per cent to 37 per cent and also denied any role to democratically elected local bodies in protecting the hills.


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