Officials flouting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s assurance that no inconvenience would be caused to farmers on account of the Kasturirangan and Gadgil committees' reports, the forum said.

Harithasena, a voluntary agency concerned with problems in agriculture sector, has alleged that officials continued to harass farmers citing recommendations of the Kasturirangan and Gadgil committees regarding environmentally fragile areas. They were flouting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’assurance that no inconvenience would be caused to farmers on account of these reports, the forum said.

V. T. Pradepkumar, State chairman of Harithasena cited as example the case of Thayyil Sasi, a farmer in Kavilumpara panchayat who, he alleged, was fined by officials of the Geology Department for preparing the ground to construct a house in his own five cents of land. The officials imposed the fine since in their perception the ground was part of environmentally sensitive area in Kavilumpara panchayat. The officials reportedly threatened to levy a fine of Rs. 90,000 but brought it down to Rs. 15,000 after repeated appeals by the farmer.

In another case, Harithasena ‘s State convener Puthiyakunnel George was issued a “stop memo” by the village officer in Pothukal panchayat in Malappuram district when he was getting ready to build a house in his land. He alleged government officials were trying to hound out farmers from hill ranges and also warned Harithasena would stage demonstrations in front of the Assembly next week to press for action.

More In: Kozhikode