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Kerala rules out compromise on Western Ghats report

Kerala rules out compromise on Western Ghats report

Thiruvananthapuram: With the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats conservation becoming a poll issue in the state, the Congress-led UDF government today demanded that the state's suggestions for changes in the report should be accepted by the Centre.

Addressing a press meet after a cabinet meeting here, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said people-inhabited areas, agriculture land and plantation areas have to be declassified from the ecologically sensitive area list.

There is no question of compromise on this issue, he said.

Kerala had already submitted to the Centre its suggestions for changes and a report of an Expert Committee. Report was prepared after doing on-the-spot study and the Kasutirangan committee came to its conclusion after surveying the areas through remote sensing method, he pointed out.

The issue has become a hot topic of debate with people living in high range areas protesting the Centre's decision to implement key recommendations of Kasturirangan report holding that it would adversely affect their livelihood and lead to displacement.

People in the area, irrespective of political affiliations, accuse the Centre of being insensitive towards their demand.

CPI-M-led LDF Opposition has also launched a series of campaigns against the state and Centre on the issue and has held five hartals in high range Idukki and Kozhikode districts in the last five months.

Meanwhile, an indefinite relay fast in front of Kozhikode civil station by representatives of farmers, demanding withdrawal of Kasturirangan report, entered the seventh day today.


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