Ecologist Madhav Gadgil has said it is in the best interests of Kerala not to go ahead with K-Rail (SilverLine). In an online interaction with journalists on Saturday, he said the project implementation would require large quantities of raw material, including rock and M-sand, which would involve large-scale quarrying, aggravating the environmental situation.
Dr. Gadgil was delivering the 6th APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture organised by the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said the trend was towards making easy money through the collusion of political power and capital. This was taking place at the cost of environment and the common people. He said India lagged in global competitiveness, it was at the bottom of the list of countries in terms of global hunger index, among others.
Dr. Gadgil said a country should invest in health and education before going in for mega projects and cited the example of South Korea, which had made tremendous improvement in the lives of its people.
Illegal quarrying and mining were taking place close to human habitats and the case of Koottikkal in Kottayam district, where landslips continued to pose a major threat, was a prime example, he said.
Dr. Gadgil also said major projects such as SilverLine would affect the management of water resources and Kerala should imbibe lessons from the floods of 2018 and 2019. He said the Konkan rail project had affected the water flow and management systems in Maharashtra in a big way.
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