Thiruvananthapuram: As protest over Centre's decision to implement Kasthurirangan report continues, Kerala Congress (M), a key partner in the Congress-led UDF government, Tuesday demanded a physical verification of demarcated areas by a joint team of officials from the Centre and state.
KC-M Chairman and Finance Minister K M Mani, in a letter to Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jayanthi Natarajan, expressed the party's concern over the Centre's decision to implement the report on Wester Ghats conservation.
Mani pointed out that remote sensing technique and aerial surveys adopted by Kasthurirangan Committee for demarcating landscapes have erroneously marked coffee, rubber and cardamom plantations with forest and earmarked as natural land scape area.
Since these plantations and agriculture areas are also thickly populated in the state, these areas should come under cultural landscape areas in the Westernghats, he said.
If the cultural landscale areas were earmarked as natural forest area, it would adversely affect the interest of agriculturists living in that area, he said.
Mani said only after a physical verification of demarcated areas by joint team of the Centre and the state should the Kasthurirangan report be finalised.
Referring to the report, Mani said the committee had demarcated entire Western Ghats into 'cultural and natural landscapes'.
Cultural landscapes include human settlement, agriculture fields and plantation areas, while natural landscapes include forest land and lands touching with forest having no human habitation.
The state observed a shut-down in response to a call by CPI-M led LDF Opposition in protest against the Centre's decision. People living in high range region fear that implementation of the recommendations would result in displacement and adversely affect farming, their main livelihood.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had asserted that there was no need for anxiety, saying no one would be evicted and no hardship brought to farmers and people.