Chandy flays LDF for hartal over Kasturirangan report
Kerala CM called th strike by the opposition as “politically motivated”
Thiruvananthapuram: Terming as “politically motivated” the strike by CPI-M led LDF over Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats conservation, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy warned that the government would deal with the situation firmly.
Accusing the Opposition LDF of disrupting normal life and causing the exchequer losses to the tune of Rs 900 crore, Chandy sought to turn tables against it alleging the CPI-M had favoured the Kasturirangan report and planned to implement it after taking people into confidence.
Speaking to the press here, Chandy asserted that the state would mount pressure on the Centre to make changes in the report after its expert committee, constituted to study it, submits findings. Chandy charged that CPI-M veteran and Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan had actually wanted to implement the Madav Gandgil Committee report.
He assured people of the hill region and settler farmers that no one would be evicted and their livelihood affected due to the implementation of the report and asked them to call off their proposed agitation. Chandy said Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jayanthi Natarajan had informed the government that concern of the state on the report would be “positively considered” and this has also been conveyed to KPCC Chief Ramesh Chennithala when he met the minister today.
Recommendations of the Kasturirangan report which classify 123 villages and 121 panchayats as ecologically sensitive cannot be accepted, Chandy declared. On the question of High Range Protection council threat to block the functioning of power houses in Idukki district, Chandy said government would deal sternly when an agitation cross its limits.
The Opposition LDF, however, rejected Chandy’s plea to desist from the shut-down protest claiming that the Centre had clarified that it had only issued a draft notification and a final call on the report was yet to be made. Except BJP, most mainstream political parties, including Congress and its partners in the UDF have voiced concern over implications of the implementation of the report in the state.