Breaking their long silence, the Green brigade MLAs in the UDF have come out in the open registering their strong protest against the remark of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on utilisation of paddy fields for purposes other than agriculture.
Ahluwalia, during the recently-concluded Emerging Kerala meet, had said that Kerala should not focus to achieve food security but instead promote the use of land for investment purposes.
In the blog started by the Green MLAs, they posted: ‘’His(Ahluwalia)’s statement is against the declared policy of our state and it is also against the founding principles of our nation. A person occupying an important position of Planning Commission deputy chairman should not have made such an irresponsible and superficial statement,’’ it said.
The MLAs said that agriculture is the base of life and the fields and wetlands are not only vital for food security but it also ensures water security. “One cannot measure the value of agriculture land as it is life- sustaining and the base of all human development. It is the government’s first and foremost duty to protect every inch of agricultural land,’’ it said. The Green brigade have now joined KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala and senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran who had earlier voiced their opposition to Ahluwalia’s views. The Green MLAs comprising V D Satheesan, T N Pratapan, V T Balaram and Hybie Eden (all Cong), M V Shreyams Kumar (SJD) and K M Shaji (IUML) also registered their concern about certain projects rejected by the Chief Secretary reappearing on the Emerging Kerala website and put before investors again. It is a matter of concern that certain projects rejected by the Chief Secretary have reappeared on the Emerging Kerala website and put before investors. “We suspect that it is the pressure of certain quarters masquerading as agents of development which is behind this,’’ they said.
The government must be vigilant and ensure that only sustainable and viable projects are given clearance. It is the government’s primary duty to protect forest land from the clutches of land grabbers and real estate hawks, the blog said.