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Western Ghats: CPI-M calls for hartal in Idukki, Wayanad

Western Ghats: CPI-M calls for hartal in Idukki, Wayanad

Idukki: The CPI-M has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Idukki and Wayanad districts on Friday in protest against the decision of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to turn 60,000 square kilometres of the Western Ghats into Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).

Announcing this here, CPI-M Idukki district secretary K.K. Jayachandran Wednesday said the LDF wished to draw the attention of the Central and State governments to the grave crisis that the Union Ministry’s decision would cause in the district.

Meanwhile, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has decided to boycott Monday’s all-party conference convened by Chief Minister Ommen Chandy to arrive at a consensus on implementation of the recommendations on the Western Ghats.

The Front is planning to stay away from the meet as part of its "boycott" of Chandy over the solar scam. The LDF, however, would give in writing to the government its views on the Western Ghats issues, LDF sources said.

According to Chandy, the UDF government's position on the issue is that the environment should be protected without causing practical difficulties to people living on the slopes of the Western Ghats for generations. In this context, the Kasturirangan report is more practical than the Gadgil report.

The Government also expects that the LDF shares the same approach with it and the state's collective approach would be conveyed to the Centre after evolving a consensus.

As per the report, parts of Idukki and Wayanad would come under the definition of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA), where humnan activity would have to be drastically curbed to protect the biodiversity hotspot from further assault.

Idukki and Wayanad have hundreds of small and marginal farmers living there for generations and they are afraid of being displaced if the Western Ghats report is implemented in toto.

Apart from political parties, the Catholic church and farmers' outfits have voiced concern over the recommendations of both Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports.

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