Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Konkan Tragedy

Frankly, I am in love with the Western Ghats and the Konkan coastline. Just as if it were a living, breathing person. And each time I cross the Ghats to enter into Konkan, it just takes my breath away.

It was here that Shivaji's armies hid from their persecutors. it was here that they conquered forts and set the tone for Swaraj. It is here that thousands of species endemic to this region flock to set up a unique eco-system. It is here that rivers and streams intermingle with trees and jungles in a manner that brings forth the deep connection we have with Mother Earth. it is here that a pristine and virginal beach greets us at each turn off the Sagari Mahamarg. It is here that people speak in so lilting a melody that we feel they might break out into song with another word. From its richness in folklore to its unique biodiversity, the Western Ghats and the Konkan coastline are truly a paradise on earth.

Why do we need a Global Konkan? Why do we need an international airport right in the middle of a bio-diversity hotspot (like the one being built at Chippi village)? Why do we need an MIDC right plumb spang in the middle of the Western Ghats (like the one being developed in the Tamhini Ghat)? Truth be told, Global Konkan is just a sham trick to sell condomiums, row-houses, apartments and bungalows at the expense of the ecology. An international airport is just an excuse to build resorts, theme parks, water parks and bring more "pseudo-urbanization" which shall destroy the tender balance of this beautiful region. And an MIDC in the Western Ghats is just plain myopic.

Take a look at the beauty we are destroying - 

Every time I traverse any of the ghats; be it Tamhini, Amboli, Karuli, Phonda, Mandhardevi or Bawda and enter into the Konkan - I see this richness slipping away. I see how we are destroying it with our very own hands. I see us raping Mother Earth in unfathomable ways. And every time, it breaks my heart.