Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said Kerala, with the help of its Members of Parliament, should strive to convert the winter session of Parliament beginning on December 5 into an opportunity to find solutions to two serious concerns of its people — the rubber prices and the Kasturirangan report.

Addressing a meeting with the MPs from the State here, Mr. Chandy said the State had, in the recent years, found the Centre quite receptive to its requests for assistance in taking forward its development dreams—the Kannur airport project had obtained all clearances and the State was presently eagerly awaiting environmental clearance for the Vizhinjam port project. He also described the way the State had lifted the monorail concept up to the stage of calling tenders.

The Chief Minister said the immediate concerns were the rubber prices and the Kasturirangan report. He requested the MPs to use the Parliament session to impress upon the Centre the need to implement the decision [which had already been taken, but not implemented for months] to raise the import duty on rubber from the present level of Rs.20 a kg to the level of 20 per cent of the price.

With respect to the Kasturirangan report, he said, Kerala was aggrieved that the panel that authored the report had not looked closely at the ground realities here. Remote sensing would not give the correct picture here since the State had tree cover everywhere. Within the villages sought to be categorised as ‘eco-sensitive zones’, there should be a mechanism to exempt [from regulations on development activities] areas that were thickly populated. He noted that both the United Democratic Front and the Left Democratic Front wanted the Centre to remove the concerns of the people of the State about the Kasturirangan report.

The MPs who attended the meeting offered to take up the State’s key issues forcefully during the December 5-20 Parliament session.

  • Kasturirangan report, rubber price major issues: CM

  • Says Centre is open to requests for aid