Protest against turning Western Ghats into an ecologically sensitive zone

A dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Idukki district disrupted transportation of tourists and workers from Theni to Idukki.

The bandh was called to protest the decision of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to turn Western Ghats into ecologically sensitive zone on the basis of K. Kasturirangan committee report on conservation of the mountain range.

Workers jobless

According to the protesters, the Union Ministry’s notification to turn Western Ghats into ecologically sensitive zone will wipe out thousands of acres of cardamom estates and leave all the daily wage workers employed in the estates jobless. They urged the Union Ministry not to implement the proposals from Kasturirangan committee report.

This is the seventh time political parties have called for bandh in Idukki district on the issue.

On Saturday, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and private bus operators suspended services from Theni to Kumuli and Munnar for 12 hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Essential commodities such as vegetables were transported from Theni to Idukki on Friday evening and on Saturday before 6 a.m.

Operators of more than 300 jeeps took part in the bandh, because of which a majority of workers from Theni employed in the cardamom estates did not go for work.

Tourist vehicles were stopped at check posts in Bodi Mettu and Cumbum Mettu till 6 p.m. Those staying at Munnar and Kumili were stranded in their hotel rooms because of the bandh.

The protesters, however, permitted buses of four CBSE schools from Theni to Idukki district to enable students to write examinations.