Environment activists from Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu came together for two days brainstorming session from October 28 and 29 to discuss and take stock of the threats to the Western Ghats vis-a-vis powerful pressures from growing population demands and to discuss about the socio-economic development needs, new government policies and climate change and to break the impasse on the political and popular acceptance towards immediate implementation of the best of WGEEP reports.
Pandurang Hegde, the initiator of Appiko movement has co-ordinated the meeting. Claude Alvares, the Director of Goa Foundation at the inaugural session said, “As a result of the Save Western Ghats movement launched in 1987, the area under the Western Ghats to be protected was increased from 8000 sq.km to 65,000 sq.km, which is a great success. In order to strengthen our mission further, youngsters should take part in the movement and achieve the unfinished goals.”
Environmentalist Ramesh Gauns said, “Unplanned and haphazard development in name of hinterland tourism will result in creating garbage and other wildlife conflict related problems and these need to be studied”
Kumar Kalanand Mani of Peaceful Society told, “We have to give the call of ‘Chalo (go to) Western Ghats’. There is need of documenting various struggles launched for the protection of environment and ecology in the form of book and web site. We have to build up strong groups for the implementation of Kasturirangan’s Report and to start dialogue with government about Gadgil Report.”
S.R. Hiremath, Padmashree Adv. Norma Alvares, S.Y. Prabhu, Vaishali Patil, Rajendra Kerkar, Nirmal Kulkarni, Terence George and 70 other researchers, wildlife activists, lawyers and grassroots workers took part in the brainstorming sessions. People for Western Ghats, Peaceful Society and Mhadei Research Center jointly organized the meeting.