Jhatkaa’s letter to Western Ghats Members of Parliament: Add your name
Honorable Member of Parliament,
I’m writing to you today because I believe that as our elected representative from a key constituency of the Western Ghats region, you are one of the few people who can do something to safeguard these pristine forests and its people.
Most people in this region are not unaware of what the true meaning of an Ecologically Sensitive Area is nor were they given the opportunity to understand relevant reports like the Gadgil report and the Kasturirangan report. It is in this environment of misinformation and non-inclusion that the Center and State governments are trying to impose an unsustainable and weak system of protections for the Western ghats.
This citizens’ fact finding report put together by Jhatkaa, along with leading environmentalists from this region, highlights the fact that the process of public consultation and ground truthing that the Western Ghats states were mandated to conduct has been a sham. This fundamentally denies local communities their right to decide the future of the Ghats and only serves to protect vested commercial interests.
We urge you to act. Please write to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and/or to raise these points in the Parliament:
- Immediately put in place a time bound, clearly-defined process for the next year to ensure that states and civil society work together with the Ministry. This will ensure local communities in the Western Ghats region are engaged effectively, culminating in a participatory public consultation process. The results should be incorporated into any further decision making.
- Ensure that both the WGEEP report (Gadgil Committee report) and the HLWG report ( Kasturirangan report) are translated in relevant regional languages immediately. They should be shared with Gram Sabhas of the villages in the proposed Ecologically Sensitive Zones before any decision is taken on this issue.
- Maintain compliance with the National Green Tribunal order banning activities like mining in the Western Ghats until a sustainable solution is found.
- Conduct investigation into the veracity of the various States’ claim of public consultation before accepting the State’s’ responses to the Kasturirangan report at face value.
- All processes undertaken from time-to-time by the government in this regard should be announced in detail in all local and regional newspapers of the states of the Western Ghats.
As you are well aware, the Western Ghats are under threat and have been under threat for years now. Through a public campaign run by Jhatkaa.org, thousands of citizens like me have reached out to Minister Javadekar and tried to convince him that the Western Ghats need to be protected in a sustainable, participatory, and holistic manner. This is not just for the sake of India’s biodiversity and natural heritage, but also for the survival of 200 million Indians who depend on these ecosystems.
As a Member of Parliament, it is in your power to demand answers from the Minister and to ensure that the best interests of your constituents are safeguarded. I hope that by sharing this information collected by concerned citizens from across the Western Ghats I have done my part as a proactive and vigilant citizen. I urge you to raise these points with the Minister and/or in parliament at the earliest.
Thank you for being a proactive and effective leader. I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to tell us how we can support you further on this matter.
[ADD YOUR NAME]