Kerala government to set up expert panel on Kasturi report
The Kerala Government will constitute an expert committee to firm up its stand on the Kasturirangan-led High-level Working Group(HLWG) report and will raise objections to the panel’s recommendations as they are against the interests of the state, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Monday.
Speaking to reporters after the all-party meeting to reach a consensuses on the implementation of the Kasturirangan report that was boycotted by the LDF, Chandy said that the state has not rejected the report completely, but is against the demarcation of ecologically-sensitive areas(ESAs). “As many as 123 villages are included in ecologically-sensitive areas. This is 33.72 percent of the geographical area of the state. Some of these villages are larger than even taluks,” Chandy said.
He said that there are concerns that occupations like dairy industry and hospitals are included under the red industry category. “This will affect dairy farmers in this region. Also these villages branded ecologically sensitive cannot be denied hospitals. The state also plans to circulate the HLWG report’s Malayalam version to all the 123 villages that have been marked as ESA and take their views,’’ he said. He also said that a complete ban on mining and quarrying activities in ESA may also create problems like shortage of raw materials for construction activities and the hill ranges may have to depend for raw materials from downtown areas like Muvattupuzha. “But the state is against the destruction of environment and will try to strike a balance on ecological conservation and livelihood issues,’’ he said. Chandy stressed that the Kerala is relieved that the MoEF has rejected Madhav Gadgil’s WGEEP report.
“The Kasturirangan committee had taken out all major restrictions on agriculture clamped by the Gadgil Committee. The conditions imposed on the kind of seeds that can be used by farmers have also been done away with,” he said. The CM said it was unfortunate that the CPM boycotted the all-party meeting.