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`Efforts must to protect Western Ghats' flora, fauna'

By Our Staff Reporter

DINDIGUL, JULY 26. Concerted efforts and a massive people movement alone will protect the flora and fauna of the Western Ghats, as its natural wealth has been deteriorating systematically owing to various factors, including development of eco-tourism.

This was highlighted at a workshop on assessing the present status of the environment in the Western Ghats stretching between the Nilgiris and Kanyakumari, today.

The Uttar Pradesh Swadeshi People's Movement leader, Banwarilal, expressed a grave concern over the rapid depletion of natural resources and said the people should take up the issue and tell what the Government should do.

Massive utilisation of groundwater by multinational companies has been posing a threat to groundwater resources.

Threat to environment in hill areas was imminent by Eco-Tourism, which has been gaining momentum in the country.

Natural resources should be the property of the people, Mr. Banwarilal said, and ruled out boycott of MNC products, as such a movement would not have any impact on the present scenario.

If depletion of natural resources by MNCs and others continued unabated, he warned that the people would be forced to go for a second freedom struggle against such forces to protect natural resources, land, water and environment.

The former Vice-Chancellor of the Gandhigram Rural Institute N. Markandan, said strengthening of the Panchayat Raj administration and creating an awareness among women and youth in rural areas would protect natural resources.

The Tamil Nadu Environment Council State convener, L. Antonysamy, said the Government should carefully expand tourism in protected areas.

Many speakers pointed out that frequent landslides in the Nilgiri hills depicted only the pathetic conditions of the environment.

Massive efforts to extend eco-tourism even to the interior forests and the hills would have adverse impact only.

Massive encroachment of lands, denudation of forests, drying up of streams owing to change in monsoons should be monitored meticulously to protect the Western Ghats, they said.

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