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Statewide hartal: Chandy slams CPI-M

Statewide hartal: Chandy slams CPI-M

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday said that the CPI-M sponsored shutdown was being organised with an eye to the next Lok Sabha polls.

"I have in my possession a letter written by the CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan wherein he has complimented both the centre and state for repelling the Gadgil report and accepting the Kasturirangan report. He says this report should be implemented after discussing with all. And today they are leading a shutdown protesting against the Kasturirangan report. This is nothing but playing politics," said Chandy.

Chandy added that the state government had constituted a committee that would interact with all stakeholders and once the committee came out with their findings, the state government would again take this up with the central government.

The dawn-to-dusk state-wide shutdown, called by the Left opposition to protest an order on implementation of the Kasturirangan panel report on conserving Western Ghats environment, has virtually confined people indoors.

Across the state, shops and markets were closed and barring private vehicles, no public transport vehicles were operating service, leaving many stranded at railway stations and bus stands.

"It's sad that political parties act irresponsibly. It was only last month that we read a report that the Left opposition boycotted an all-party meeting called by the State government to discuss the implication of the Kasturirangan Committee report and today they are protesting against it. We doubt if shutdowns like this with regular periodicity happens anywhere in the world," said a couple who arrived at the railway station here Monday morning and were trying to reach home.

Idukki district witnessed huge gatherings of people at various locations protesting the order. At a few places, the locals took to the streets along with domestic animals to register their protests, and at many places the Church also took the lead as numerous priests and nuns joined in the protest.

"This order should be withdrawn immediately and we are not going to go back with our protests. Our protest is not going to end with the shutdown, we are taking this forward in the coming days also," said a group of anxious locals who fear their livelihood would be affected if the order is implemented in letter and spirit.

Across the state, government and private offices saw thin attendance and at the ISRO Space Centre and at the IT hub (Technopark), the employees were escorted by armed police convoys.

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