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LDF MLAs protest against Western Ghats report

LDF MLAs protest against Western Ghats report

Thiruvananthapuram: Thirteen MLAs belonging to CPI-M led LDF Opposition Tuesday staged a sit-in in front of the Assembly complex demanding rejection of the "anti-farmer" recommendations of the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghat conservation.

Earlier, LDF, which raised the issue in the assembly through an adjournment motion, alleged that both Centre and state government were indifferent and insensitive towards the feelings and apprehensions of the people living in hill regions over the "anti-farmer" recommendations in the report.

Though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan assured the House that no one in the hill region would be evicted on account of the suggestions in the report, LDF members led by its leader V S Achuthanandan, not satisfied with the reply, walked out and announced the dharna of MLAs in front of the assembly premises.

Replying to the notice for motion, Chandy asked the Opposition not to create fear among the people over the report and said the State was committed to protecting the interest of farmers in the region and "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has supported the state's stand."

Chandy also brought to the notice of the House the Office Memorandum issued by the Centre on December 20 last which stated that Kasturirangan report would be finalised only after fixing the boundary of Ecologically Sensitive Areas in tune with the suggestions of stakeholders and states concerned.

However, LDF members accused both the Centre and state of cheating the people and said an 'unannounced eviction' threat loom large over the people in the hill region.

CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also expressed reservations over the Supreme Court order yesterday for setting up a Regulatory Authority for Environment Impact Assessment clearance and said the order had virtually speeded up the suggestions in Kasturirangan report.

Chandy said government would examine the apex court order and take appropriate steps.

After Chandy's reply, Speaker G Karthikeyan disallowed notice for the motion moved by K K Jayachandran (CPI-M).

People in the hill region under the banner of High Range Protection Committee have been agitating ever since the recommendations of the Kasturirangan report came out as they fear that it would lead to large-scale displacement and badly affect their livelihood.

Meanwhile, people from the hill region took out a march to the secretariat in protest against the report.


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