Onus of conservation only on poor, it’s like apartheid days of SA: Gadgil
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Renowed ecology expert Madhav Gadgil who headed the Centre-appointed Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) has drawn a comparison with the era of apartheid in South Africa with conservation efforts in India at present.
Speaking at a two-day seminar on Urban Sustainability in Pune, Gadgil said that like the white supremist government under apartheid in South Africa, a large chunk of well-to-do chunk Indian population is being excluded from the process of conservation.
"In India the onus of conservation is apparently on the poor and needy, while the rich are allowed to go scot free," said Gadgil.
Pressing for involvement of local communities in conservation efforts, Gadgil said that local knowledge should form the basis of further growth of the area. "When I was in Goa, I inspected a mine which according to locals had resulted in destruction of two important rivers. However, when I asked for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the mine, it didn't even have any reference to the rivers as they had relied on geological maps to prepare it. The maps didn't have the blue lines indicating rivers," he said. Gadgil said there was general apathy at the government level when it came to conservation. In particular Gadgil referred to the Zonal Atlas for siting of industries, which apparently has been put in the cold storage by the government.
"This Atlas was to limit pollution any industry could do in a location. However, at present this proposal has been kept in deep freeze by the government as this would have put hurdles in the process of industrialization," he said.
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