The Left Democratic Front (LDF) hartal against implementing Kasturirangan report recommendations on Western Ghats hit normal life in Kerala on Monday. Public transport remained paralysed across the state. Shops remained closed and thin attendance was reported at government offices. Barring stray incidents of attack on vehicles,the dawn-to-dusk hartal remained peaceful.
In Idukki district,that has 48 out of 123 villages that would come under the purview of the report,the High Range Protection Council began street stay for 48-hours at 100 centres. Hundreds of people gathered at public places where they would cook and stay until Tuesday midnight. Congress MP from Idukki P T Thomas came under attack from local Catholic bishop Mar Anikuz-hikkattil over his stand. An honest analysis of the Kasturirangan report would not find anything harmful against farmers. Priests in the agitation have a political agenda, Thomas said. His stand was criticized by agitators and party colleagues in Idukki.
State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala met Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan in Delhi. There is not a single word against farmers in the report, Natarajan told the media after meeting with Chennithala.
Meanwhile,the LDF toughened its stand with convener Vaikkam Vishwan saying the front would support agitations against the report.
In Thiruvananthapuram,Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said misinformation campaign was going on over the report. The CPM,that organised the hartal,had supported the Kasturirangan report at the all-party meeting. The CPM was of the opinion that the recommendations should be implemented in consultation with the people.
The Union government should withdraw the draft report,said the convener.