New Delhi: As incessant rains continued to batter various parts of Kerala, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern over flood-hit people in his Parliamentary constituency Wayanad. In an official letter addressed to PM Modi, Gandhi highlighted urgent need to protect the biodiversity of the area saying it’s one of the most ‘fragile parts of the Western Ghats and home to 10 per cent biodiversity of the country’.
“I would like to highlight the twin crises, one that affects the life and livelihood of people in Wayanad and second, the critical status of the ecology in an area that is known as a global hotspot for biodiversity with the potential to contribute to carbon sequestration benefiting the country as a whole,” Gandhi, who recently returned from a two-day visit of his constituency, wrote in his letter.
Giving detailed account of how the livelihood of the locals living there has been badly affected, Rahul said,”Agriculture and animal husbandry are the mainstays of the people in Wayanad. However, paddy cultivation that also sustained wetlands and has the capacity to hold excess rainwater and mitigate flood damage, has been steadily declining since 1970s. Large number f farmers have committed suicide in the last two decades due to crises in the farm sector.”
Furthermore, he suggested two solutions to control the situation– (a) Installation of an early warning system to alert people living in vulnerable areas (b) Developing a long-term strategy to support the livelihood of the people as well as the environment in the region.
Meanwhile, the rain-induced death toll in Kerala has reached 93 and around 2.24 lakh people were staying at 1,243 relief camps. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 52 crore immediate assistance to the state, while the state government has sanctioned three-month free ration for the victims of natural disaster.
The worst-hit districts include Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur, Kasargode, Idukki, Kottayam, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Palakkad.