Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday blamed the CPI (M) for dichotomy in its stand on the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats.

Criticising the LDF for the dawn-to-dusk hartal observed by it protesting against the implementation of the report, the Chief Minister said that the CPI (M) State Secretary Pinarai Vijayan had favoured the report in his note sent to the all-party meet convened by the government. Mr. Vijayan had said that the report should be implemented taking the people into confidence. Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan had gone further and called for implementation of the Gadgil committee report.

Mr. Chandy said that the hartal caused a loss of Rs. 900 crore to the State. It affected the daily workers the most.

He noted that the Centre was willing to make changes to the recommendations of the report and that the State took the responsibility to ensure that the implementation would not harm the farmers.

The Chief Minister said that the Centre had already changed norms for development of townships in ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) in its memorandum on the report. The memorandum published in November proposed to permit townships of up to 50 hectares whereas the earlier memorandum had proposed total ban on development of new townships. The area would suffice for development needs of the hilly areas in the State.

He said that the red category industries included in the memorandum would cover hospitals and dairy units. The State government would seek removal of the two, though there may still be conditions. It would also seek clear demarcation of ESAs in the villages.

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