The Joint Action Council in Aranmula has demanded the Government to withdraw the “biased’’ report on Aranmula puncha prepared by P. Sreekantan Nair, former director of the Environment and Climate Change (ECC) Directorate on behalf of the State Government for submitting it to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) a year ago.
The action council leader, Kummanam Rajashekharan, has alleged that Mr Nair had made serious irregularities in the report in a conscious move to protect the interests of a Chennai-based private airport company.
Mr Nair had inspected the paddy fields, wetlands, and the illegally converted stretches of two natural streams in the name of an airport project in Aranmula on April 25, 2013.
The MoEF had taken note of a report in The Hindu on February 2, 2013 (‘Airport project triggers widespread protest’) and sought clarifications from the State government on the allegations that the site identified for the project included paddy fields and wetlands.
The State Government had entrusted him to inspect the site and prepare a report for submitting it to MoEF.
The government had submitted the report prepared by Mr Nair to the MoEF, leading to the controversial granting of Environmental Clearance for the airport project, later.
Mr Nair reportedly giving green signal for the airport project, through his report, had ultimately landed the MoEF too in trouble when the matter came before the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The NGT had even rapped MoEF, observing that the “Environmental Clearance (EC) document is a document which reflects the intent and policy of governance vis-a-vis the economic development and natural resources management of the country. Even a cursory scrutiny of the impugned EC would reveal the mechanical mindset and total lack of application of mind on the part of the authorities in issuing such an important document of utmost sanctity,’’ Mr. Rajashekharan pointed out.
The action council leader alleged that Mr Nair had totally sidelined the version of the villagers with a consciously hidden motive to support the claims of the airport company in the crucial report submitted to the MoEF through the State government. He said both NGT and the Kerala High Court have rejected the Mr Nair’s findings on the biodiversity-rich Aranmula Puncha.
He said the irregularities made by the former ECC director should also be brought under the purview of the inquiry ordered by the Government against him.