Kerala CM to take up report on Western Ghats with PM

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 3 : Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he will take up the G.Kasturirangan committee report about the ecology of the Western Ghats with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who began a three-day visit to the state Friday.

Chandy said this soon after receiving the state government-appointed three member expert committee's report that studied the Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel recommendations and held consultations with a cross-section of the people.

"This report will be put up on the website and people can still submit their recommendations and then only the final report will be submitted to the central government," said Chandy here.

Speaking to IANS, K.P.Laladhas, member secretary of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board whose chairman Oommen V.Oommen headed the state government appointed committee, said one of the main recommendations in the report submitted to Chandy was that a proper physical verification of ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) as identified by the Kasturirangan committee has to be done and all human inhabited areas, plantations and farm lands should be excluded.

"Among the other key recommendations include scrapping of the ecologically fragile land rule that has fulfilled its purpose, there should be no cutting of trees in private properties, besides a complete ban on quarrying in forests areas within ESAs, a ban on using of dynamite and chemicals for catching fish in the rivers," said Laladhas giving a few points.

The union environment and forests ministry November last year came out with an order which had five conditions applicable to 123 villages in the state.

As the order was made public, all hell broke loose among residents of the areas to which these orders pertained, especially from the hilly district of Idukki and the hill areas of Kozhikode and Kannur districts.

The Left opposition called for a state-wide shutdown to protest the order.

The union ministry in December withdrew the order and said it would be replaced with one that has more clarity.

--IANS (Posted on 04-01-2014)

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