The Kerala government has written to the Centre to exclude 886.7 square kilometres “non-forest land” from the area demarcated as Ecologically Fragile Land (EFL) under Kasturirangan report for preservation of the Western Ghats. This was stated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the Assembly while calling attention to the necessity to exert pressure on the Centre to exclude populated areas, agriculture land and plantation regions from the final notification of the EFL areas based on Kasthurirangan report.
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“If necessary state government will approach the Centre again with the same request”, Vijayan said, adding, the government had already written to the Centre on the matter on February 23.
The state would take necessary steps to preserve and protect the 886.7 sq km area of the state for preservation and protection and wanted to maintain the forest area of 9107 sq km as EFL.
“As per the Centres February 2014 draft notification, 9993.7 sq km area in 123 villages was declared EFL, of which 9,107 sq km was complete forest and the rest non-forest land,” Vijayan pointed out.
As per the Kasthurirangan report a total of 13,108 sq km areas that included stretches in 123 villages were demarcated as EFL.
Following protest and agitation from the local people, the state assembly unanimously passed a resolution in January 2014 asking the Centre to exempt populated, agriculture and plantation ares from the ambit of EFL.
Kerala also submitted a report of an expert committee justifying the state’s stand and based on that, the Centre in a draft notification issued in 2014 declared 9993.7 sq km areas as EFL, he said.
The Chief Minister said the final notification was getting delayed as Tamil Nadu has not yet submitted its recommendation on the subject.
The date for the draft notification of the Western Ghats report will expire on March 4.
K C Joseph (Cong) who moved the calling attention said the state should take up the sensitive issue before Prime Minister Narendra Modi before issuing the final notification by the Centre.