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Kerala CM: Don’t protest too much over Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats

If Kasturirangan report is dumped, the Gadgil report will take its place, cautions Chandy
Scrapping of Kasturirangan panel report on conserving Western Ghats may bring about unintended but harmful consequences, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He said this to newspersons here on Tuesday while briefing them on deliberations during a special meeting of the Cabinet held earlier in the day.

Farmer activists settled in the Ghat areas have been demanding that the State government press the Centre for withdrawal of ‘in-principle’ acceptance of the Kasturirangan recommendations.

“But this will only bring into play the Gadgil recommendations,” the Chief Minister said of a stricter list of proposals submitted by eminent ecologist Madhav Gadgil that preceded Kasturirangan’s.

Chandy said the State government would like to ensure people’s participation in conservation of ecology. But the act of conservation must not deny them their right to land and livelihood.

The government’s resolve in this regard has been conveyed to the Centre in no uncertain terms. It has done more or less all that is normally expected of it under the circumstances, he said.

Response awaited

A favourable response is expected to the request for bringing about changes in the Kasturirangan script to relieve farmers of fear of alienation of land and denial of livelihood.

The changes suggested pertained to removal of human inhabitations, plantations and farms from the list of ecologically fragile areas.

The report had originally identified 123 villages in the State as ecologically sensitive. But the government has objected to this, saying such areas do not make up entire villages.

It believes that the panel did not take into consideration human settlements and agricultural holdings in these villages.

The State Cabinet is meeting here for two days in succession to take decision on a list of prioritised subjects before the election code of conduct comes into effect.

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