THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Going back from its earlier stand declared in the Assembly, the government will provide survey numbers of Ecologically Sensitive Areas in the 119 ESA villages, before the Centre. A 6-member panchayat level committee will inspect and mark the survey numbers of ESA regions in each village.
Discarding ESA mapping done by the Forest Department, it was finalised that only existing forest portions - protected as forest land - would be marked as ESA in the report to be given to the Centre.
On Friday, a high level meeting was chaired by the Chief Minister, to finalise the report to be submitted before the Centre regarding ESA villages marked by the Kasturirangan committee, made it clear that only existing forest land would come under ESA. The ESA portions identified by the Oommen V Oommen committee will continue unchanged. The CHR (Cardamom Hill Resorts) land would not come under ESA as per the decision. The decision to discard ESA mapping by the Forest Dept could kick up a row as it would help encroachers.
“A 6-member team will complete the work in two days - July 23 and 24. If there’s same survey number for forest and farm land - where agricultural activities are happening within forest region - a sub-division number will be given for that area,” said Oommen Chandy. The final report will be submitted to MoEF by July 29, he said.
Hartal plan Off
In the wake of the decision on ESA villages, the High Range Samrakshana Samithi called off the hartal in Idukki on Monday. The Samithi welcomed the decision to discard the ESA mapping by forest.