Complaints about K. Kasturirangan report
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that an all-party meeting will be convened to discuss the findings of the three-member committee deputed by the government to look into the complaints of people about the K. Kasturirangan committee report on the Western Ghats.
The State government would submit its views to the Union government on the basis of the deliberations at the meeting and get them accepted by the Centre, the Chief Minister told the media after a Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday.
The committee would visit all areas proposed by members of the Assembly and Parliament from November 26 to December 5 and interact with all concerned. There would be time for consultations and for organisations to make representations to the committee, he said.
EFL vs. ESA
Mr. Chandy said the ecologically fragile land (EFL) and the ecologically sensitive area (ESA) were different concepts under different laws. However, people had confused the two and this had raised concerns.
While the State Act on ecologically fragile lands was enforced by the Forest Department, the ecologically sensitive areas declared under the Central Environment (Protection) Act would be administered by the Revenue Department and the State Pollution Control Board.
The ESA included patta lands as well as land eligible for titles.
‘No changes in rules’
Mr. Chandy said some officials had spread the impression that the declaration of ESA would alter land rights and others had refused to accept land tax and caused hurdles in transfer of ownership, cutting of trees, and pledging of land for taking loans. This had caused concerns among people. The government viewed this seriously.
Action would be taken against officials if any complaint was received about officials not accepting tax or creating other hurdles. There were no changes in the existing rules regarding registration of sale of lands, payment of land tax, pledging of land, permits for cutting trees on private land, and constructing buildings.
He said the Centre had already accepted that there were procedural lapses in demarcating ESAs. Demarcation using remote sensing had resulted in villages such as Melukavu, Teekoy, and Poonjar-Thekkekkara with no forests but rubber plantations getting listed as ESAs. This and similar errors in population estimates would be corrected.
Besides, the State government wanted demarcations to be done within the villages also. That would exclude many areas from ESAs.
Replying to questions, the Chief Minister said the State government’s interests would be protected regarding the proposed Aranmula airport for which the Centre had given environmental clearance. There was no communal issue in the development of the airport.
Already some of the paddy fields in the project area had been filled up. Further filling would be permitted only in area needed for runway and airport facilities.
All permissions for the airport project were given by the previous government.
Government to submit views to Centre after talks Panel to visit areas mooted by MLAs, MPs
Government to submit views to Centre after talks
Panel to visit
areas mooted by