Kerala Chief Minister votes to shield people's interests before electing to protect forests
The CM was responding to a demand by Congress leader P T Thomas for a general debate on a report by WGEEP headed by Madhav Gadgil.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan made it clear in the Assembly on Tuesday that the state government could not ignore the interests of the people while taking steps to protect the Western Ghats.
''No one is against protecting the Western Ghats, but the government took the stand that people’s interests should also be considered when the Ghats are protected,” the chief minister said.
The CM was responding to a demand by senior Congress leader P T Thomas for a general debate on a report by Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) headed by Madhav Gadgil. ''The report has triggered grave concerns among the general public. Political parties have also objected to the report,'' Vijayan said, adding that Thomas's own party has been unable to agree fully to the panel's recommendations.
“The fact that the Kerala society has declined to even discuss the panel report is another form of fascism,” Thomas said in the Assembly. He urged the chief minister to organise a debate on the reasons why the report, which sought to protect and conserve the ecologically valuable region, could not be discussed.