THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the CPI putting its foot down, the state government has dropped the move to water down the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act to exempt urban areas from the provisions of the Act. In a meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here on Wednesday, CPI leaders, including Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar, stood firm on the party’s stand that the Act should not be watered down to exempt Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
Earlier, during talks held at AKG Centre, CPI leaders, including state secretary Kanam Rajendran, took the stand that the essence of the Act should not be lost. There were allegations that the government had introduced the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland (Amendment) Bill in a bid to help real estate developers.
In fact, the meeting with the CPI was called at a time when the Bill has already been referred to the subject committee of the Assembly. The committee is slated to meet on June 18, said Revenue Department sources.
The Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act was introduced by the V S Achuthanandan government in a bid to protect the dwindling paddy and wetland resources in the state. After the current LDF government came to power, certain exemptions were made for the GAIL pipeline project. The government decided on further amendments after demands arose that urban areas should be exempted to allow for development.