Bishop Thomas Oommen, deputy moderator and head of the Central Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India (CSI), in an open letter has called upon political parties to delineate their policy towards environmental issues in their respective manifestos.
The letter, that outlines a view different from many of those who spearhead struggles against the recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil and K. Kastirurangan panels on Western Ghats conservation, makes it clear that any move to exploit the earth, water, and air for corporate gains could not be allowed and points out that actions that lead to destruction of biodiversity and indigenous agricultural varieties through use of genetically modified crops should be opposed.
The Church was for sustainable development of society, the Bishop said.
Making specific mention of the recent Central decision allowing GM experiments, Bishop Oommen said this decision would ultimately lead to the dependence of the farming community in India on corporate lobbies.
Meanwhile, the Bishop asked the State government not to rescind the EFL Act, under any circumstances. However, the adverse effects of the Act on the interests of small and marginal farmers should be removed, he said.
He also said the Church would never support any move that would nullify the Gadgil and Kasturirangan panel recommendations. Instead, the legitimate settler farmers should be given title deeds on the basis of the Gadgil panel recommendations, he said.