Thursday 4 November 2021 7:38 PM UTC
Some of the UK-Kerala Business Forum leaders with Virendra Sharma MP outside the parliament
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON Nov 4: As the world leaders discuss climate change in Glasgow, the UK-Kerala Business forum and Friends of Kerala MPs are urging the Government of Kerala to take immediate action to mitigate the damage caused to Western Ghats mountain range – the root cause of recurrent floods occurring in Kerala since 2016.
The UK-Kerala Business Forum is submitting a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Kerala to take action to bring Western Ghats to its former splendour.
The Western Ghats, a mountain range extending through India’s west coast, play a major part in the climate of Kerala. The Western Ghats influence Kerala’s weather patterns by intercepting the moisture-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the Southwest during late summer.
The front end of Western Ghats is in the southern part of Kerala. The monsoon used to hit Kerala on the first week of June, then slowly move to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra in an orderly and predictable fashion, controlled by this thick lush green mountain range.
Due to deforestation, the effective strength of Western Ghats has lessened causing erratic and unpredictable patterns to monsoon rains. Anamudi, standing at an altitude of over 2695 meters above sea level, is the highest mountain Western Ghats, just 13 km from Munnar, a popular holiday destination in the Idukki district of Kerala. Successive governments in Kerala authorised construction projects including several tourism projects and allowed deforestation on a massive scale in this area. Munnar alone has about 1000 hotels.
Virendra Sharma MP, the Patron of UK-Kerala Business Forum, who is also the Chair of the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group said: “Acting on climate change is not an option it is a necessity. For far too long we have treated the planet as an obstacle to be overcome, we are reaping the ‘fruits’ of that behaviour.”
“Preserving the best of our environment has to be our immediate aim. Kerala is a beautiful place we must do our best to keep it that way for our children and generations to come, so they can see the natural splendour of the place too.”
Stephen Timms MP for East Ham, who has close links with the Malayalee community said: “The beauty of Kerala is renowned around the world, and I made an unforgettable visit to the hills of Kerala myself. The state is deeply vulnerable to climate change. As world leaders meet in Glasgow to hammer out a global response, I hope there will be an effective response to the environmental challenges from the state authorities too.”
The Scottish National Party MP, Martyn Day, who had supported and raised funds to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Relief Fund following the worst flood in 2018 said: “Deforestation is something which we all must play our part in tackling”.
“Tree planting for the future is a very positive step to take as Scotland has demonstrated in recent years and I would encourage all nations to do more”
The memorandum also urged the Kerala Government to put pressure on neighbouring state governments to stop all construction projects in all parts of the Western Ghats, including the proposed railway line project approved by the Karnataka State.
Virendra Sharma MP – Patron, UK-Kerala Business Forum
Philip Abraham – Vice Chair, UK-Kerala Business Forum
B George – Vice Chair, UK-Kerala Business Forum
Pius John – Vice Chair, UK-Kerala Business Forum
Sujit Nair – Co-ordinator, British South India Council of Commerce
Cyriac Maprayil – Director, V K Krishna Menon Institute
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