Jairam Ramesh opposes proposal for cricket stadium

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 6 (PTI) Union Minister JairamRamesh today expressed reservations over the proposal toconstruct a cricket stadium at Edakochi, a mangrove-rich areanear Kochi.

"All parties in Kerala stand united on the issue. But weshould ask ourselves a question before demanding a stadium insuch a mangrove-rich region. What is more important for us --cricket or mangroves?" he asked while delivering thepresidential address in the Fourth Southern Forest MinistersConference 2011 here.

Mangroves are nature''s bio-shields and southern states inthe country have a large mangrove cover. "But they aredwindling in an alarming rate... especially in the last 25-30years," the Environment and Forests minister said.

The Kerala Cricket Association has take up the stadiumproject in the wake of Kochi becoming part of IPL. However,state-based environmental groups have come out against thestadium, holding that it would pose a threat to mangroves.

He said everyone should remember how mangroves acted asbio-shields and protected the surrounding environment duringthe time of tsunami which hit south India some years back.

The minister said south Indian states should take newinitiatives to regenerate mangrove areas to ensure theirpreservation and also for generating livelihood for the localcommunities.

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