ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Kamal K MurariSubscribe to Kamal K Murari

Appraising the Debate on Biodiversity Conservation in the Western Ghats

This critical review and comparison of the Gadgil and Kasturirangan panel reports on the Western Ghats highlights various concerns related to their methodology, recommendations, and the manner in which they resolve the contradictions between the imperatives of environmental protection and economic development. It also focuses on basic demographic data on the affected areas in the Western Ghats, statistics on agricultural land use, and occupation data of the affected population in the ecologically sensitive zones, none of which has been considered in the two reports. The paper argues that the constitution of expert panels for the Western Ghats is an attempt to appeal to the principles of scientific certainty for addressing the dual concerns of environment and development. The two reports have an unwitting common ground: while they are alive to environmental concerns, they ignore insights from development theory and practice. The recommendations of both the reports presume that environmental and developmental imperatives can be combined without a political debate.
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