A day after the State Government issued an order of clarification asking officials concerned not to put hurdles in the way of farmers for remitting land tax, availing title-deeds or inking land transactions in the name of the Kasturirangan panel report recommendations, the same was rolled back on Saturday.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy issued directions for the withdrawal of the GO, citing that some grey areas with regard to a few recommendations are still remaining unaddressed.
The government will come out with a new order after receiving a report from the expert panel constituted by the State Government, which is currently into an exercise of collecting the opinion of various stake-holders in ecologically sensitive areas which had come under Kasturirangan panel’s scanner in the Western Ghats region in the state.
Friday’s order stated that no official shall act on the basis of the panel report without clear directives from the government and status quo should be maintained as on pre-Kasturirangan panel report days.
It was also specific that the office memorandum on the Kasturirangan panel recommendations had zeroed in only on mining activities and installation of thermal power plants in eco sensitive areas, apart from imposing a bar on raising buildings beyond a plinth area of 1.5 square metre or townships spread over 50 hectares and related developments.
The clarification order was topped with a warning that those officials found erring to follow the directives will face the music.
However, with the repealing of the GO on Saturday, officialdom which was refusing to toe the government line unless there is clarity on the Kasturirangan recommendations, have apparently gained an upper hand.
Ever since the Kasturirangan panel report was out, reluctant officials in the hilly regions had left those who had approached them with various pressing needs related with their small holdings, in the lurch.
The second thoughts of the government now while passing directives viz-a-viz the Kasturirangan panel report is based on an uncertain scenario on many counts.
The state is waiting for a policy and political decision from the Centre on a memorandum submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), that areas widely inhabited should be cleared from the list of eco-sensitive areas.
The state is also underscoring that a field survey should be conducted to determine the areas, as the remote sensing method followed by Kasturirangan and team was termed as totally unrealistic and insensitive to the interests and livelihood of thousands of farmers.