With the Centre’s decision to implement key suggestions of the Kasturirangan panel on Western Ghats conservation triggering protests in the State, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday said there was no question of implementing it in haste.
“There is no question of government implementing it in haste. No one will be evicted or prevented from pursuing their means of livelihood,” he said at the inauguration of the District ‘Chief Minister’s mass Contact programme’ in Kozhikode.
Apparently referring to the violence that erupted in various parts of the district over the notification, he said the present notification should not be taken as the final word on the issue. “It is only a ‘draft’ and there is four months time to give suggestions on the report,” he said.
As per the report, 123 villages in various districts have been identified as ecologically sensitive areas, he said, adding “many of us may have differences over villages that have identified under the ecologically sensitive category”.
Noting that environment protection was required for all, he said it should be done without affecting people’s lives.
Mr. Chandy said work on the ‘Japan drinking water project’ being implemented in Kozhikode, was progressing fast and expected to be completed at the earliest.
He said everyone had the right to protest but it should not be through violent means.
The Centre’s decision to implement salient recommendations of the Kasturirangan panel on conservation of Western Ghats has sparked protests across Kerala, which has thousands of people living on the slopes of the biodiversity hot spot.
A police vehicle was yesterday torched and government offices targeted in upland areas of Kozhikode district as violence marred protests by local resistance groups against Centre’s decision.
Ruling Congress-led UDF and opposition LDF have voiced concern over the ‘unilateral’ decision to implement the key recommendations of the panel even as the Centre clarified that the direction it issued was not final.
Police is maintaining tight vigil following the protests and a demonstration today by the LDF demanding the resignation of Mr. Chandy over the solar scam.
Police has blocked the rally by the LDF to block entry points on two main roads, police said.
Some 2100 police personnel have been deployed for security purpose in and around the venue and in the town.