Congress leader and Former union minister Jairam Ramesh today said preservation and protection of the Western Ghats remains a serious concern. He was delivering a lecture organised by the Kerala legislative assembly as part of its diamond jubilee celebrations. Emphasising former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s interest in preserving ecology, Ramesh said she had shelved a proposal in 1976, mooted by the Kerala State Forest Corporation,to fell 65,000 hectares of forest in Western Ghats in South Kerala. However, the protection of the Western Ghats remains a serious concern, he added. Ramesh also highlighted the key role played by Indira Gandhi in preserving the Silent Valley rain forest.
On shelving the Silent Valley Hydro power project due to agitation by environmental groups, Ramesh said the ultimate victory was that of the active ecological network of Kerala. But there was no doubt that without Indira Gandhi at the helm in New Delhi, Silent Valley would not have been preserved “the way it has been”, he said. “She should be applauded both for the manner in which she took the decision as well as for decision itself”, he added.
“This is not without contemporary relevance when we grapple with issues of ecological security as we pursue high economic growth”, he added. The Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and State Law Minister A K Balan also spoke on the occasion.