Saturday, July 19, 2014
Church plea to save India’s forests: The Church of England Newspaper,
A pastoral letter issued by the Church of South India’s Bishop in Central Kerala has called for Christians to support a government plan to curtail development of the Western Ghats. A UNESCO recognised natural heritage site comprising a contiguous forested mountain range stretching from Kerala to southern Gujarat, the Western Ghats were the subject of a 2011 government report that recommended a halt to mining, deforestation and a strict limit on building. The Kerala and Goa state governments had fought implementation of the conservancy initiative as had the Catholic and Syro-Malabar Orthodox Church. However the pastoral letter read in churches on 1 June 2014 from the Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, Bishop in Central Kerala said conservation would benefit farmers. Bishop Oomen’s letter, entitled “Let us raise our voice for the sustenance of life” said: ”Those who are against the Gadgil report have vested interests and there is nothing that is detrimental to the interests of the farmers.” The new BJP federal Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar is expected to approve the conservation report as it had campaigned in favor of the reforms.