Political storm in Kerala over Kasturirangan report

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Political storm in Kerala over Kasturirangan report
Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 4: The Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats conservation has triggered a political storm in Kerala with a section of KC-M, a partner in Congress-led ruling UDF, coming today against the Office Memorandum on the report, even as Chief Minister Oomen Chandy welcomed it saying the Centre has accepted the suggestions of the state.

Chandy said no one could make any political mileage out of the issue

 

Talking to reporters late tonight after a meeting with cabinet colleagues and state Congress president V M Sudheeran, Chandy said all apprehensions on the issue has been put to rest as the state government's main demand for demarcation again of 123 villages, identified as ecologically sensitive areas, has been accepted by the Centre.

"This is clearly mentioned in the new Office Memorandum issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest today... A notification incorporating the suggestions of Kerala would come out soon," he said. Chandy said no one could make any political mileage out of the issue.

"Persons who dream that UDF could be politically weakened on the issue will not succeed," he said. Earlier, speaking to reporters Chandy had made it clear that Kerala would not compromise on its declared stance that people-inhabited areas, agriculture land and plantation areas have to be declassified from ecologically sensitive area list. Government Chief Whip and KC-M nominee P C George wanted the Centre to issue a new notification and said his party was not satisfied with the Office Memorandum.

"We will be satisfied only if the recommendations become a law," he said. The High Gange Protection Committee, spearheading an agitation demanding withdrawal of Kasturirangan report, also expressed displeasure over the Office Memorandum. They wanted the Centre to issue a notification denotifying 123 villages as ecologically sensitive areas. The issue has become a hot topic of debate with the people living in high range areas protesting the Centre's decision to implement key recommendations of Kasturirangan report holding that it would adversely affect their livelihood and lead to displacement.

The CPI(M)-led LDF had also launched a series of campaigns against the state and Centre on the issue and held five hartals in high range Idukki and Kozhikode districts in the past five months. Seeking to cash in on the confusion over the report, CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balkrishnan welcomed KC-M to LDF fold if that party chose to quit UDF on the issue of Kasturirangan report. 

PTI

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