Older than the Himalayan mountain ranges, one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world, considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Western Ghats is not short of descriptions. The catastrophic monsoon floods and landslides have shifted our focus to the Western Ghats yet another time.
Traversing the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, the biodiversity hotspot holds a major share of endemic flora and fauna. The natural calamities as we categorize it, is a result of the unnatural acts we as humans and the elected governments have carried out in the ecologically sensitive zones. In the name of development and encouraging agriculture, large areas belonging to the ecologically sensitive zones have been fragmented, logged; leading to massive habitat destruction and topographical instability which is a co-operative factor for the current havocs. A study has found that 25 out of the 31 locations which experienced landslides this year came under the Ecologically Sensitive Zones identified by Madhav Gadgil panel in 2011 and 15 of it were mentioned in the Kasturirangan report. The panel report suppressed as anti-development and the High Level Working Group Report by Kasturirangan panel which modified the recommendations of the report has now landslided its way for aggressive discussions on the exploitation of Western Ghats.
Pashchimaghattom Gadgil Kasturirangan Reportukalum, Yadharthyavum, is an eye-opener on understanding the controversies surrounding the reports and the amendments made. It is a comprehensive analysis of the report of The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) or the Gadgil Commission and the Kasturirangan Report. Paschimaghattam: Gadgil Kasturirangan Reportukalum Yatharthyavum edited by Prof. M K Prasad and Adv. Hareesh Vasudevan has contributions from experts like Dr V S Vijayan, Dr T V Sajeev, T P Kunjikkannan, Dr A Achuthan, Sunny Paikada, Fr Alexander Paikada, Dr T T Sreekuamar etc. This book also has interviews with Prof Madhav Gadgil. It features the substantial debates surrounding these reports and the restrictions placed on the sensitive areas, the articles, researches conducted to support and oppose the reports are collected and presented in this book. The text is a fact finder about the broad- based inclusive approach to conservation and development, presented in two different perspectives which requires an immediate call to action for a sustainable and safe future.