Lawmakers to discuss Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 9 : A Kerala government panel will meet legislators and parliamentarians here Wednesday to discuss the G. Kasturirangan report on the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel (WGEEP), an official said.

The Kerala government last month constituted a three-member team chaired by Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) chairman Oommen V. Oommen to discuss the report with all concerned and submit their observations.

In a statement issued here Saturday, KSBB member-secretary K.P. Laladhas suggested meeting with the lawmakers to understand how this report would affect the local populace if implemented.

Ever since Madhav Gadgil submitted the WGEEP report to the union environment and forests ministry in 2012, the Catholic Church and numerous social and political organisations here have been up in arms over its recommendations.

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

If implemented in toto, then districts like Wayanad and Idukki will see no human population at all.

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.

The Kasturirangan report with lenient recommendations brought solace to the state government unlike Gadgil's report.

But with agrarian interests under scrutiny in both the reports, the farming community with support of the Church compelled Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to constitute the three-member committee for discussions with all concerned.

"After the meeting with lawmakers, the committee will then move out to the districts like Idukki, Kannur, Wayanad and Kozhikode to meet those who are unhappy that they would loose their livelihood, besides environmentalists," added Laladhas.

--IANS (Posted on 09-11-2013)

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