Left to boycott Oommen Chandy's all-party meet

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 17 : Kerala's Left Front will boycott the all-party meeting called by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy next week to formulate the state's response to the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel (WGEEP) report, it was announced here Thursday.

The Left Front has called a shutdown in Idukki district Thursday and in Wayanad Friday over the WGEEP report. If its recommendations are implemented in toto, then these two districts, among others, will see no human population at all.

The all-party meeting has been called for Monday after the Supreme Court sought the centre's opinion in a case filed by a Goa-based NGO seeking the implementation of the WGEEP report.

Numerous social and political organisations and the Catholic Church have been up in arms since Madhav Gadgil, who headed the panel that drew up the WGEEP, submitted it to the union environment and forests ministry last year.

The key recommendations include categorisation of the Western Ghats into three zones of varied ecological sensitivity with broad guidelines for each of these zones besides a framework for the establishment of a Western Ghats Ecological Authority with adequate legal and administrative powers.

Following the outcry from six states which would have far reaching implications if the report is implemented, the centre deputed Planning Commission member G. Kasturirangan to visit the two districts in Kerala that would be affected.

"Compared to the Gadgil committee report, the Kasturirangan committee report brings solace to us. We wish to arrive at a consensus because there are a few recommendations which are not favourable to us. Once we arrive at a consensus, we will try to put across our apprehensions with the Centre and the apex court," said Chandy in a letter.

The Left parties have decided that since their boycott of Chandy continues, they will not attend the all-party meeting. Instead, they will give their recommendations in writing.

The Idukki diocese of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has termed the report as nothing but part of an international conspiracy. They are supporting the shutdown called by the Left parties.

--IANS (Posted on 17-10-2013)

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