A joint forum of farmers’ organisations has said that the greatest threat to the ecosystem of the Western Ghats is indiscriminate quarrying and that farmers who grow jackfruit, mango, teak, and rubber should be recognised as true protectors of natural wealth.

Self-styled activists, who were getting funds from foreign agencies, were trying to retard development in the pretext of protecting environment, N.P. Joy, State general secretary and Jose Cheberi, spokesman for the forum, alleged at a press conference on Tuesday.

They appealed to the government to enforce laws that prevented illegal quarrying that damaged environment. The farmers’ forum also appealed to the Central government to restrict import of rubber since, in their view, the government decision to import 25 lakh tonnes of rubber when the deficit in domestic market was only 59,000 tonnes was unwarranted and damaged rubber growers’ interests.

A meeting of people who had taken educational loans will be held at Kozhikode Sports Council Hall on at 10 a.m. October 31 to discuss the demand for easier repayment options.