Save the Western Ghats from smothering into supposed Development

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The pandemic has certainly proved beneficial for the environment, with pollution levels strolling down, water bodies devoid of our filth and mother- nature rejuvenating. The lockdown that has accompanied this pandemic has been stressful for us but mind you the same is not true with the Union ministry of Environment ,Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), they in fact used this as an opportunity to approve some long –pending “supposedly developmental projects “. The National Board for Wildlife has permitted more than 30 such projects via video conference in early April, its hurried clearance of these projects raises questions .But the clearance is not just a mere formality , the protocol is says 40% of total proposals put up requires site inspection , which as you all can imagine is possible through a video-conference Duh.. Each of these projects would have long lasting impact on the greens of western ghats the lungs of our land. This may have catastrophic impact on this “Green jewel of Southern India “.

The following projects for instance pose a great threat to Sahyadri :
1)Hubbali –Ankola railway project : This controversial project has been pushed deliberately for mining purposes . It can
* Affect 596 ha of protected area, a total of 178,325 trees to be axed (IMAGINE!!).
*Disturbs ecological sensitive regions in the Western Ghats .
*It intersects the elephant movement corridor, it could be a major cause of wildlife mortality, including Tigers, Leopards, Sloth bear, sambar, Indian fox and Chital to name a few
* A rich biodiversity is being compromised despite a railway line existing just 80km north of this.

2)Kaiga Atomic Units 5 and 6 expansion : This project has already compromised sustainability, it further can :
*Lead to deforestation of as much as 54 ha forest 8,700 trees to be cut down.
*Diversion of Anshi National Park , a home to number of tigers and rich in flora.
*The transmission line will cut through pristine forest disrupting the highly functional ecosystem.
*Moreover the current establishment has already disturbed the ‘kali tiger-reserve”.
3)Sharavathi pumped storage Hydroelectric Project: Proposed by the previous govt and is being highly pursued by the current govt. Despite stiff opposition from experts the Karnataka Government has given a thumbs-up to this project, this project is both economically and ecologically unstable quoted analysts.
*Classified as ENDANGERED by the IUCN “Lion-tailed macaque” resides in the mountain range.
* The Great Indian Hornbill that thrives here will be put to testing its survival.
*150 ha of forest area of the “Sharavathi Lion Tailed Macaque Sanctuary” to be diverted, and this poses catastrophic danger to this already endangered species.
* The near endangered ‘Deccan Mahaseer’(fish specie) and numerous other endemic species can literally go extinct .

The above mentioned are only some projects which pose a threat to the ecosystem, we do not oppose development but sustainability has to be taken into consideration. Our evolution is inevitable but the only way forward is together ,with every species of flora and fauna. These noted projects tend a greater threat to the environment moreover it can disrupt our life as well.
These projects tend to disrupt the forest , animals , birds and aquatic life which in one or many ways affect our lives as well. Classic and recent examples of this are “Nipah Virus” which was due to changes in ecological conditions that led to fruit bat coming out of its habitat and feed on agricultural produce to be consumed by us. Another example is “Kyasanur forest disease with fatality rate up to 10% (more than corona virus .IKR!). Removal of native species of vegetation will deprive the fauna of their food and force them to enter human habitations.
Dr M D Shubash Chandra says “Even a small intervention will have irreversible damage to one of the last remains of primary forests and disturb the habitats of numerous species”. By signing this petition Please do your bit as it will be directed to concerned and influential authority. I hope you do ,EACH SIGN COUNTS!