(Hundreds of shorter perennial monsoon fed west flowing rivers like Sharavati, Netravathi, Periyar and the Bharathapuzha travel through steeper and more undulating topography before emptying into the Arabian Sea.)
MUMBAI: The entire Western Ghats must be considered as ecologically sensitive, especially to ensure the sustainability of the rivers of the Indian Peninsula, the Madhav Gadgil Committee report has said. Peninsular rivers such as the Krishna, Godavari and Cauvery that drain the Deccan Plateau and flow eastwards originate in the Western Ghats.
"Hundreds of shorter perennial monsoon fed west flowing rivers like Sharavati, Netravathi, Periyar and the Bharathapuzha travel through steeper and more undulating topography before emptying into the Arabian Sea. A rough estimate reveals that 245 million people in the five Western Ghats states directly depend on these rivers for their diverse water needs. Geographically, the Western Ghats is the catchment for river systems that drain almost 40% of the land area in India," reads the report. According to the report, the Ghats meets all these criteria and so deserve to be protected in its entirety.
The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report Part II has now been placed unofficially in the public domain. The committee, which prepared the report was headed by noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil. Though the report was submitted in August last year, the union ministry of environment and forests has been reluctant to make it public.
The recommendation of declaring the entire ghats that traverse through the six states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa Maharashtra and Gujarat would mean a complete ban on mining and stricter green laws for other industries such as power and agriculture. The panel has based its recommendation on various studies carried out by scientists and institutions across the six states, geo-spatial database, etc.