The Western Ghats are India’s Amazon. Over 30% of India’s animal and plant species live in the Ghats but the constant mining and quarrying in the area have made them vulnerable and fragile. The most recent Kerala Floods are an outcome of this impact. While the heavy rainfalls took most of the blame, the real reason why the flood occurred was that the Western Ghat hills, that can stop the floodwaters, have been destroyed.
8 years ago, Ecologist Madhav Gadgil headed a committee that recommended to the Govt that the mining and quarrying in the region be stopped – but that report was detested as ‘anti-development’. And 8 years on, the landslides leading to the floods occurred right around the areas where the mining and quarrying happens.
The World Bank has estimated a loss of Rs. 31,000 crore to India because of the Western Ghats floods. Over 35,000 people in Wayanad alone have been moved to relief camps, and more than 2 lakh people have been affected. And it’s high time we started talking about this.