THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a last-ditch attempt to ensure that Kerala’s concerns on the implementation of Western Ghats repots are effectively addressed, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will likely raise the issue surrounding the Gadgil, Kasturirangan reports with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
With Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar making it clear that the Ministry of Environment and Forests will take a final call on the reports on June 4, the state is left with no other alternative but to seriously pitch for its cause.
Speaking to Express, Chandy said the issue would in all probability figure in his meeting with Modi, which is, however, a courtesy call.
“It’s a major issue affecting six states and hence any decision should be taken only after taking these states into confidence. Kerala has completed all necessary proceedings for the final notification on Western Ghats, including the demarcation of villages under 123 ecologically sensitive areas. As the Environment Minister has made a statement that a decision will be taken by June 4, the issue will of course be taken up with the PM. We will demand that Kerala’s concerns should be addressed before taking any further step,” the Chief Minister said. Sources said the Chief Minister had already instructed his office to prepare the state’s requirements to be presented before the Centre at a later stage.
Matters which could be addressed under the Prime Minister’s 10-point agenda would be given importance. Issues such as the Western Ghats reports and the Coastal Regulation Zone rules would be part of priority items, they said. The state’s efforts to address the concerns of those living on Western Ghats can turn out to be futile if the Centre revokes the decision to implement the Kasturirangan report and go for the Madhav Gadgil report, a previous study which has a more rigid set of proposals.
The BJP’s state unit had demanded that the Gadgil panel report should be implemented.
“We have always maintained that the Madhav Gadgil report is suited for the protection of Western Ghats. However, the state created a political storm and rejected it. The CPM is also opposed the Gadgil report in an attempt to gain political mileage. If farmers have concerns about certain regions being termed ecologically sensitive, the Gadgil report has only three proposals to address them. We have always maintained our opposition to the Kasturirangan report,” said party state president V Muraleedharan.
A four-member party panel formed to raise the state’s issues before the Centre would decide on whether to once again press for implementing the Gadgil report, he added.