Seek annulling of Kasturirangan panel report

The Hillside Farmers Action Committee and the Western Ghat People’s Protection Committee will intensify their agitation if the State and Union governments does not freeze the implementation of the K. Kasturirangan panel recommendations, the office-bearers of the committees have said.

In separate statements here on Saturday, they said the United Democratic Front government had the responsibility to exert pressure on the Centre to get the Oommen V. Oommen panel recommendations approved. The report was more empathetic to the needs of farmers in the region. Also, a final notification should be issued to annul the K. Kasturirangan panel recommendations, they said. Action committee chairman O.D. Thomas said farmers in the areas categorised as ecologically sensitive were apprehensive of the Kasturirangan panel report.

Notification sought

“If the government is truly committed to farmers’ concerns, a final notification on the same should come out before the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

The farmers in all the 123 villages, listed as ecologically sensitive areas (ESA), would be compelled to launch agitations for their survival, he said. “If a favourable decision gets delayed, our plan is to launch an indefinite hunger strike in front of collectorates by February-end,” he said.

Protection committee chairman Antony Kozhuvanal said they would also launch indefinite hunger strikes in front of village offices from Tuesday. “As a first step, we wanted the exclusion of the 123 villages from the ESA list,” he said.

Poll stance

The farmers would withdraw their support to all candidates of the ruling front in the Lok Sabha elections if the demands were not met, Mr. Kozhuvanal said.

The government was ‘highly apathetic to the issues raised by farmers.’ The State showed interest in issuing fresh licences to quarry operators in the zone. The issue, now under the consideration of the National Green Tribunal, would certainly impact poor and marginal farmers, the statements said.

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