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P.J Joseph skips Cabinet meeting

P.J Joseph skips Cabinet meeting

Thiruvananthapuram: Indicating that the crisis in the UDF government over the implementation of the Kasturirangan report is worsening further, Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph stayed away from Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting here.

Sources said Kerala Congress (J) leader P.J. Joseph skipped the Cabinet meeting demanding the government to take a strong stand on the matter of the implementation of the Kasturirangan report.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) chief K.M Mani has attended the Cabinet meeting held at the State capital this morning.

Talking to reporters before the Cabinet meeting, Mr. Mani has said the KC (M) has a clear stand on the issue.

Mr. Mani Monday had said that he was not averse to stepping down from the Cabinet if the party did not get a positive response from the Central government on the controversial clauses in the K. Kasturirangan committee recommendations on Western Ghats conservation.

Responding to the Office Memorandum issued by the Union Environment Ministry on the Kasturirangan report on Tuesday evening, Government Chief Whip and KC (M) nominee P C George had sought the Centre to issue a new notification and said his party was not satisfied with the Office Memorandum. "We will be satisfied only if the recommendations become a law," he said.

The High Gange Protection Committee, spearheading an agitation demanding withdrawal of Kasturirangan report, also expressed displeasure over the Office Memorandum. They wanted the Centre to issue a notification denotifying 123 villages as ecologically sensitive areas.

The issue has become a hot topic of debate with the 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.

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