Call to abandon Kerala’s SilverLine

The project will deprive environment services, ecologists claim

A group of environmental scientists who observed November 1 as the Western Ghats Day demanded that the State Government abandon its proposed SilverLine project connecting Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram.

When crores of rupees are to be spent for the proposed project, it will be depriving environmental services worth many more crores of rupees, they point out. No amount of damages paid to the people living in the project area will help compensate for the wetlands and other natural resources to be deprived by the SilverLine, they say.

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) or Gadgil Commission member V.S. Vijayan led the discussion on the topicality of the Gadgil Commission. The experts point out that serious discussions are being held about some sensitive areas mentioned in the Gadgil Committee Report only when some landslides and disasters take place there. They call for preventive measures to be adopted at ward level before yet another disaster strikes the sensitive areas.

They say the 2030 United Nations agenda for sustainable development could be easily achieved in an exemplary manner if the people and the Government want. They also blame the Central Government for diluting the country’s National Forest Policy by encouraging privatisation.

Wildlife Protection Society of India’s South India coordinator S. Guruvayurappan presided over the function. Pondicherry’s Aranya Forest and Sanctuary director D. Saravanan, Kumar Kaland Mani from Goa, the youngest member of the Save Western Ghats March, and Salim Ali Foundation scientist P. Pramod spoke. The National Green Corps, Ashrayam Rural Development Society, and the Collective of Tree Planters of India, Palakkad, organised the programme.

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