Western Ghats report: Chandy seeks consensus
Thiruvananthapuram: Concerned over the difficulties that implementation of the Kasturirangan report on protection of the Western Ghats would pose to Kerala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has called an all-party meet on October 21 to work out a political consensus on the issue.
Though the opposition LDF is likely to boycott the meet, the Front would later give in writing its view on the issue, which has caused anxiety to the people living in upland districts like Idukki and Wayanad.
The Front is planning to stay away from the meet as part of its "boycott" of Chandy over the solar scam. The LDF, however, would give in writing to the government its views on the Western Ghats issues, LDF sources said.
As per the report, parts of Idukki and Wayanad would come under the definition of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA), where human activity would have to be drastically curbed to protect the biodiversity hotspot from further assault.
LDF has called a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Idukki and Wayanad districts tomorrow to protest UPA government`s stand that the Kasturirangan report was acceptable while pointing out practical problems that could crop up while implementing the recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil committee on Western Ghats.
According to Chandy, the UDF government`s position on the issue is that the environment should be protected without causing practical difficulties to people living on the slopes of the Western Ghats for generations. In this context, the Kasturirangan report is more practical than the Gadgil report.
The Government also expects that the LDF shares the same approach with it and the state`s collective approach would be conveyed to the Centre after evolving a consensus.
Idukki and Wayanad have hundreds of small and marginal farmers living there for generations and they are afraid of being displaced if the Western Ghats report is implemented in toto.
Apart from political parties, the Catholic church and farmers` outfits have voiced concern over the recommendations of both Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports.
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