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Activists: Western Ghats should be made a no-development zone

Raviprasad Kamila

Future of the country is in tree farming: Sunderlal Bahuguna

— PHOTO: RAVIPRASAD KAMILA

A MESSIAH OF TREES:Sunderlal Bahuguna signing an autograph for a boy at the valedictory of a three-day meet on ‘Save Western Ghats 2011' in Moodbidri on Sunday.

MOODBIDRI (DAKSHINA KANNADA): A three-day meet on “Save Western Ghats, 2011” that ended here on Sunday resolved to press the Government to declare the Western Ghats as “no new development zone.”

More than 200 eco-activists from Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra participated in the meet organised by different groups and forums having common interest on saving the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats.

Environmental activist Sunderlal Bahuguna while addressing eco activists at the valedictory stressed on the need to create a mass awareness on saving forests. “Future of the country lies in tree farming,” he said. The Government should change its energy policy and solar energy should be utilised more.

To a question in an interactive session with eco activists, he said issues such as special economic zone (SEZ) versus farmers should be made an issue before the election. Vijayan, an activist from Kerala, said that Western Ghats was the lifeline of people. The Union Government should declare the entire stretch of the ghats as ecologically sensitive area. It should be freed from use of chemicals and chemical fertilisers.

He said that following protests from people against use of Endosulfan in plantations in Kerala, now it was being pumped to the market in the name of “Devisulfan”. At the valedictory, a group from the State said environmental studies should be a part of the curriculum in higher studies. They stressed on utilising energy in an efficient way and on organic farming. They suggested that people should be enlightened on planting a sapling on birthdays instead of cutting cakes.

The group from Kerala suggested that in every panchayat, a 10-member bio-diversity committee should be formed to create awareness among people on saving ecology. Goa group stressed on eco-activism using the Right to Information Act, participating in gram sabhas and having on-line eco forums for communication.

The group from Tamil Nadu suggested that priority should be given on protecting shola or rain forests and then planting saplings. People should follow responsible tourism without damaging ecology.

Activists from Maharasthra stressed on creating an interactive tool in Facebook or other websites to discuss eco issues. Students should be taken out on field visits to sensitise them on environmental issues. The activists visited Kudremukh mining areas on Saturday.

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