Kolkata: India's development plan is to "assassinate" water resources, with the authorities holding nature as an obstruction to economic progress, environmentalist Bittu Sahgal said on Friday.
"In the last five years, we have gone through the worst period of environmental destruction because there is a misunderstanding. People think that nature is an obstruction to development. In fact, wetlands, forests, rivers and lakes are part of infrastructure with huge economic value," Sahgal told IANS.
He said the Sunderbans, the world's largest mangrove running through parts of India and Bangladesh, is not just a forest but an infrastructure.
"It is preventing the eastern metropolis from being washed away by cyclones and storms. It is feeding a very large chunk of Asia as it has been a breeding ground of fish. Sunderbans is not meant for industry, thermal plant and chemical complex," he said, adding every forest is a "mega dam".
Sahgal, a former member of National Board for Wildlife, said the development plan of the country is "a plan to assassinate water sources of India".
"I would say that part of the reasons that this government currently at the Centre is in trouble is that they never recognise that farmers were being severely damaged by their development plan," he said at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here.
He said the nature is "self-preparing and built to repair itself".
"This is something that people do not understand. They think only an engineer can fix things though they (engineers) are only tampering with things," he added.