Wayanad, Aug 13 (IANS): Following several deaths due to floods and landslides in many parts of Kerala, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to install early warning systems in the vulnerable areas.
Gandhi, on a visit to his parliamentary constituency since Sunday, said in his letter, "Wayanad has some of the most fragile parts of the Western Ghats and is home to 10 per cent of the biodiversity of the country."
The Congress leader said, in the past two days he had visited two major landslide sites -- Kavalapara in Malappuram and Puthumala in Wayanad districts -- where many people had lost lives, livelihoods and property.
"In this context, may I suggest the measure of installing early warning system for your consideration. Many lives can be saved if early warning systems are installed in vulnerable areas and specially-designed landslide/flood shelters with communication facilities be provided in such places," Gandhi wrote.
He also advocated a long-term strategy and action plan, supported through a special package of assistance, to protect life and livelihoods.
Stating that agriculture and animal husbandry are the mainstays of the people in Wayanad, he said, "Paddy cultivation that also sustained wetlands and has the capacity to hold excess rainwater and mitigate flood damage, has been on decline since 1970s. Large number of farmers have committed suicide in the last two decades due to the farm sector crisis."
Destruction of forests and depletion of inflow into streams and rivers endangered farms and people in three states -- Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he said. Mining and quarrying continued in the Western Ghats, he added.
"The depletion of the forests is rapidly increasing man-animal conflicts within and in the periphery of forests," he said.