Truth Behind Kerala Floods & Devastation Revealed
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Truth Behind Kerala Floods & Devastation Revealed

It has been a stated fact that too much stone quarrying and mushrooming doubled with illegal forestry and land acquisition are some of the reasons for floods in different parts of the world.

This is the case in Kerala too! In this article, we will discuss the Truth Behind Kerala Floods & Devastation.

Because of the aim to boost the tourism industry and make sure that tourist keeps flocking in, the government as well as the private companies and individuals ignored the basics of science and continue to push through with development regardless of the stakes at hand.

Madhav Gadgil, an ecologist who also is the founder of the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, stated that the Kerala floods and devastation were not due to nature. In fact, he said that it was a disaster made by humans. Nature simply reacted to the illegal excavations and stone quarrying that has been happening for more than ten years.

During his interview with Hindustan Times, Gadgil explained, “Irresponsible environmental policy is to be blamed for the recent floods and landslides in Kerala. Extensive stone quarrying and mushrooming of high-rises as part of tourism, and illegal forest land acquisition by private parties are the major reasons for the recent floods in the state.”

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To explain further and give the readers a picture, the Kerala floods and devastation mostly affected the zones marked as ecologically sensitive by no less than the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. This panel is also known the Gadgil Committee.

Gadgil accused successive Kerala governments’ inaction as the culprits behind the kerala flood disasters. According to him, the committee first submitted a report in 2011. However, he had a feeling that the government officials boycotted them, especially as the committee’s recommendation involved the stopping of illegal activities.

In the report, the need for the stone quarrying to be stopped was specifically pointed, stating that it might eventually lead to natural calamities “like the one happening in the state today.”

But unfortunately, most of the establishments decided to turn a deaf ear and not give any weight to the recommendations.

Gadgi stated that a total of 1,650 excavators had been deployed for stone quarrying and mining. However, only 150 of these were given permissions to do the activity.

With much grief, especially with the present condition in Kerala due to the floods, Gadgil said, “The government should at least now stop all the illegal stone quarrying activities after having faced the consequences. Although it is late, the government must act on the recommendation. . .”

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It is important to note that the politicians with different backgrounds, together with the Christian church, have made it their promise to oppose the proposed decision of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Their goal? To stop the possibility, no matter how small the percentage might be, of the implementation of the report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), which is headed by no other than Gadgil.

Many have criticized such report.

For instance, CPI(M) said the implementation of such a report would stall all the proposed power projects in the state. In effect, a severe power crisis would soon take place in Kerala.

It is instrumental to note here that CPI(M) was particularly annoyed by the WGEEP’s objections to the proposed Athirappalli Hydroelectric project.

“We will physically beat back anyone who comes to our area to implement this report” threatened PC George, MLA and chief whip of the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front government.

The Syro Malabar Catholic Church, which is considered as the state’s largest church, has also strongly opposed the report due to its effect on the residents’ livelihood.

They recommended that an international conspiracy should be done behind the WGEEP. “If the report is implemented thousands of people living in at least 100 villages would lose their livelihood for they all fall in the so-called ecologically most fragile zone according to WGEEP,” said a church spokesperson.

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This move by MoEF came shortly after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave November 12 as the deadline for the MoEF to give some clarification on whether or not they would accept the WGEEP report. The deadline set by NGTwas October 8, this followed the passing of the orders to implement NGEEP last April.

The NGEEP report envisages declaration of 37 percent of the Ghats as “Ecologically Fragile”.

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