Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Sunday warned against “blind, extreme and unscientific environmental fundamentalism”, and said that his government’s objective was to ensure “environment conservation without stagnating development”.
The statement sparked a row in the ruling LDF, with the CPI, the second largest partner in the front, saying that the “right-wing development agenda” was not acceptable to those who believed in Marxist ideology.
In a Facebook post marking World Environment Day, Vijayan, a CPM Politburo member, said, “The laws related to environment conservation should be made stricter. At the same time, the misuse of raising environment conservation issues should be checked. The blind, extreme and unscientific environmental fundamentalism should also be regulated. Environment conservation without stagnating development is the objective of the LDF government. These two (environment conservation and development) are two sides of the same coin.”
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According to his post, more research mechanisms were required on environment issues. It should be left to experts to record commendable opinions on green issues. Lasting solutions to problems could be found only through prudent interventions after studying such opinions and public views.
The post added that subjects such as waste disposal, exploitation of resources, energy misuse, exploitation of nature and unscientific use of water should be studied and resolved through legislation, if necessary. Timely changes were required in this regard, he added.
Reacting to Vijayan’s observations, senior CPI leader Binoy Vishwam said the remark “environmental fundamentalism” was not expected from a Communist leader like Vijayan. “Anyone who believes in Marxist ideology cannot accept the right-wing development agenda. I am sure Vijayan would stand with the Left line on development,” he said.
Last week, the CPI opposed Vijayan’s idea of reviving the Athirapally power project, which green activists have been opposing for the last three decades. After the recent Assembly elections, the CPM has indicated that it has a new development agenda which calls for large-scale investment. This is uncharacteristic of the party in Kerala.