Kerala has submitted a 12-point memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging the Centre to exclude plantations, agricultural settlements, and human settlements with population density higher than 100 persons a square kilometre from areas to be categorised as ecologically sensitive.
In the memorandum submitted on Saturday, the State also sought six months to complete transit to the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG Consumers (DBTL) scheme, early commissioning of the Palakkad coach factory, grant of exemption to the upcoming Vizhinjam Seaport from cabotage law and approval for the Thiruvananthapuam-Chengannur suburban railway project. The memorandum also urged the Centre to take over the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute at Palode, near here.
Special package sought
The State government sought special financial package of Rs.485.33 crore to enable the State to provide compensation to endosulfan victims as directed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy submitted the memorandum to the Prime Minister after a special meeting of the Cabinet held in Dr. Singh’s presence. According to government sources, the Prime Minister assured the Chief Minister that the State’s demands would be looked into favourably.
Pointing out that the Kasturirangan report had caused a lot of apprehension in the minds of the people, especially those living in the areas shown as ESA, the memorandum contended that the identification of ESA areas based on remote sensing using satellite data was ‘totally erroneous and quite contrary to the ground realities.’
The Centre, it said, should conduct a physical verification before declaring any part of the Western Ghats as Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).
On the DBTL scheme, the memorandum pointed out that the State had achieved an average Aadhaar and bank seeding rate of 71.85 per cent and would require more time to bring the large migrant labour and NRI population into the net.