It seems the Malayattoor-Neeleeswaram grama panchayat is caught between the devil and the sea over the inclusion of the panchayat under the purview of the Kasturirangan report. As environmentalists and some organisations have already raised the demand, the panchayat is yet to take a decision in this regard. The matter has not been discussed in the panchayat council so far.
Malayattoor-Neeleeswaram panchayat president Radhakrishnan Chengattu said that the topic would be discussed in the committee meeting scheduled after December 15.
“The panchayat is an ecologically-sensitive area. If it is included under the purview of the Kasturirangan report at least the quarry activities here can be curbed which is a major threat. There are more vulnerable areas in the panchayat and protection of these regions have become a priority now. Considering the historical importance of the place, it should be tagged as an ecologically sensitive area,” said panchayat member Mini Thomas.
According to the Kasturirangan report about 123 villages of Kerala has been found to be ecologically-sensitive. They have divided the Western Ghats into cultural and natural landscapes. The committee has recommended a complete ban on mining activity in the area. It has banned the construction of any buildings over the size of 20,000 sqm and townships more than 50 hectres. It has banned quarry activities and even the presence of industries that come under the red category in this area.
As per the report places in Kothamangalam, Kunnathunad and Muvattupuzha taluks in Ernakulam district were mentioned in the report. Malayattoor-Neeleeswaram panchayat, north eastern corner of the district and the meeting point of a mountain and river, do not come under the scope of this report.
Malayattoor-Neeleeswaram is in Aluva taluk and has an area of 34.22 square kilometer.
However panchayat president Radhakrishnan Chengattu differs to the proposal that the panchayat should be brought under the scope of the Kasturirangan report.
“Sections of people raise this demand without reading the full report. A proper study has to be conducted to examine the necessity to include the panchayat under the scope of the Kasturirangan report,” he added.