There is much ado about the Western Ghats getting tagged as a World heritage site by the UNESCO.
So, like everyone around me here, I too am excited about sharing my views on it.
Firstly the stronger points for consideration:
- The western Ghats is home to very rare species of flora & fauna- many snakes, frogs, birds etc. are critically endangered and also unique only to these Ghats.
- These ghats stop the wind from the east and bring rainfall to the south.
- The major rivers of the South are rain fed and originate here.
- I being an ardent nature lover would definitely support to save the ever lush green ghats.
Now, the points not to consider:
- There are a no. of tribes living in these Ghats like the Soligas, Kurubas, Maleya-kudiyas etc who will all be forced to vacate the forests and will be disturbed from their natural habitat though the government may promise them of providing alternate homes.
- The Coorgs (Kodavas)- by themselves are a very small community fighting hard against the “Jamma Bane” issue and now have yet another blow. Many localites holding lands in the identified areas will be forced to vacate and this will inturn force them out of Coorg.
- Myself being a hardcore Kodavathi, I would never be able to take this by my stride.
And now, the strongest of them all:
- The Ghats are a rich source for mining, timber and a major hub for tourism leading to severe deforestation in the name of building resorts, nature sports and the likes.
- It is important to consider that our beloved elected representatives are frequently in the limelight for the mining scams. The major share of resorts in this region are owned by big names and are tucked away deep in the core area of the jungles which compete for providing the best tiger spotting, elephant spotting, wild hunting, etc. etc, activities for their guests. So there is a valid point for these scamsters to fight against the prestigious tag.
- The heritage tag limits the human entry to most regions. Let alone restrictions on activities like trekking, hiking etc. just walking around this place without knowledge would lead to high penalty.
But, what if this has an impact on a Coorg’s lifestyle: the tag has come as a much needed respite for a nature lover like me. We are Coorgs at the end of the day. We have lived our way through thick jungles, heavy downpours, deep dark nights, wild animals in our porticos. And that’s the way we enjoy our life at it’s best. So we can definitely live strong with thick jungles. We want our Green cover to be saved…!!
I am frustrated of being helpless and just a mute spectator watching the depletion of green cover in the name of development. I can hardly see any development in my area other than the fact that big names (let me say powerful people) are buying properties by offering good money and settling down in Coorg, becoming stake-holders in resorts etc and turning all their black money white.
I used to eagerly wait for the rainy season to start so that I would get my monsoon holidays while I was in school. And now, I am even more anxious that this rainy season may pass by without even seeing a “rainfall”. Yes, only conservation of these ghats can bring us the rains that we need.
I am frustrated with the fact that the place where is grew up catching little fishes and crabs with my cousins as a little girl beneath big boulders is now nothing but a fully concrete platform for the tourists to rest on.
What I once knew as a beautiful waterfall and a place where my grandpa gave me my swimming lessons is now nothing but a pool of sewage flowing from the town littered by ruthless tourists. The stench of this mess gets tears streaming down my eyes everytime I stand on the very same concrete platform and try to recollect the good old greener and cleaner grandpa days…
And here I sum up (with lines from a famous song of a Bollywood movie):
Give me some sunshine, give me some rain– 3 Idiots
Give me another chance, I want to grow up once again…