Western Ghats: Jayanthi assurance fails to douse Kerala agitation

Natarajan told reporters in Delhi that the ministry had issued the draft on the recommendations of the report.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Published: November 18, 2013 12:58:44 am

Amdist the violent protests in hilly regions of Kerala over implementing certain recommendations of the Kasthurirangan report on Western Ghats,Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan said the final notification on the report would be issued only after hearing the states and stakeholders.

Natarajan told reporters in Delhi that the ministry had issued the draft on the recommendations of the report.

Certain construction activities have been banned temporarily as per the suggestions of the Kasthurirangan report. All states have been given 60 days to air their opinions on the draft. The final decision would be taken only after factoring in the opinions of the states,farmers and environmental activists,said the minister. But the MoEF assurance that the farmers’ interest would be protected did not help douse the agitation in Kerala. The CPM-led Left Democratic Front called for a 12-hour hartal in the state on Monday against the Kasthurirangan report. In Idukki district,the High Range Protection Council has called for a 48-hour-long shutdown. The district has large tracts of land under the purview of the reports. The council has threatened to stop tourists and lay siege to power stations.

On Sunday,Indian Union Muslim League joined the issue,demanding that the Gadgil committee report on preserving Western Ghats should be summarily rejected and the draft notification on the Kasthurirangan report should be withdrawn.

Meanwhile,the BJP alleged that the Catholic Bishop of Thamarassery Diocese Mar Inchananiyil,former CPM legislator George Thomas and Muslim league legislator C Moyinkutty were involved in the conspiracy behind torching the forest range office at Thamarassery which had housed crucial documents related to several forest cases pending in the court. BJP state general secretary K Surendran said the Muslim League legislator’s relatives were involved in the cases pertaining to forest encroachments. The legislator was involved in the conspiracy to destroy the documents.

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