Eco-sensitive zone row: Protests simmer in Wayanad, parties engage in blame game

Protests are simmering in Wayanad, which is one of the most affected districts in the state, against the recent Supreme Court order on the eco-sensitive zone.

Published: 13th June 2022 03:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2022 06:37 PM   |  A+A-

Kalpetta town wears a deserted look following the LDF’s hartal on Sunday against the Supreme Court's eco-sensitive zone order. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

KALPETTA:  Protests are simmering in Wayanad, which is one of the most affected districts in the state, against the recent Supreme Court order on the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). Political parties blame each other for the situation and try to politicise the issue. The LDF hartal in the district on Sunday against the ESZ verdict drew widespread criticism since it was a public holiday. The UDF is holding a hartal on June 16 in the district. 

N D Appachan, UDF district convenor, said, “LDF is responsible for escalating the issue till this level. The state cabinet meeting recommended the one-kilometre ESZ around wildlife sanctuaries in 2019. Now, they held a hartal on Sunday seeking to quash the court ruling. This is merely a drama to divert the public attention from the ongoing controversies related to the gold smuggling case.” 

The LDF has blamed the Central government and demanded urgent intervention and new legislation on the issue.  While not completely opposing the declaration of the buffer zone, BJP district president K P Madhu and general secretary K Sreenivasan blamed the state government for including the populated areas in the ESZ. The party is also organising a hunger strike and other protests.

However, the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi district committee has accused the political parties of fooling the people on the buffer zone issue.  “We are against the hartal called by the different political parties on different days. It would only worsen the plight of people who are the victims of the ESZ order. The political parties are just focusing on holding hartal to show off. We want a practical resolution of the issue,” said Samithi district K K Vasudevan.

Alex Ozhukayil, chairman of Kerala Independent Farmers Association (Infam), said in a meeting in Sultan Bathery on Saturday that 150 sq km of land and 2.5 lakh people in Wayanad would be affected with the new ESZ order. 


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