Don’t play with environment while rebuilding Kerala: Founder of Goonj

While rebuilding Kerala after the deluge, it is vital to ensure that the ecological demands of the state are met without allowing the interference of external forces that seek to impose their designs on the state, said MrAnshu Gupta, founder of Goonj, a leading NGO that focuses on humanitarian and community development works.

“After the floods it is the rebuilding phase in Kerala. Hence, make sure that there’s no interference of any external forces to enforce their designs on the state and that it meets its own ecological demands during the course of its reconstruction,”Mr Gupta said, while addressing the ‘Meetup Cafe’  of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM)on Wednesday.

The theme of the session, held at KinfraHi-Tech Park, Kalamassery, was ‘Rebuilding Kerala – Lessons from Flood,’conceivedas a platform for exchanging ideas, fostering partnerships and building beneficial networks to help the state devastated by the recent floods.

“When outsiders like us reach this state and try to force their agenda, make sure that we are stopped from that endeavour. Other states like Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Bihar have also seen floods in the recent times. Unfortunately, the reconstruction carried out in these states blatantly defied the ecological demands. Many multi-storied buildings cropped up in no time. Hence, make sure that a state like Kerala, renowned for its architectural style and tradition did not fall into this trap,” he said.

Since a lot of construction is going to happen across the state, it is important to ensure that we do not play with the environment any further, he observed. “It’s a misconception that it would take another 70 or 100 years for another natural calamity. In reality, our ecosystem has become highly fragile,” he said.

The activist also pointed out that their interactions with the flood victims in the state showed that the biggest demand is still for ‘dhal’ and ‘chawal’ (basic food). “Thousands of people in Kerala have lost everything that they have earned. Hence, the next three to six months are very crucial,” he pointed out.

MrJayaram Subramanian, coordinator, AnboduKochi  andMrHari Krishnan, volunteer, Compassionate Keralam, spoke about their experience during the floods.

MrGopinathan Parayil, co-founderof Chekkutty dolls, a social initiative,Mr John Mathew,  MrArunGopi and Mr Jofin Joseph,  representing the start-ups – Riafy Technologies, QKopy,  Profoundis  which have come up with various technologies to support the rescue operations and rebuilding the state also spoke at  the programme.

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