Committee formulating response to Kasturirangan report

The Wayanad Prakruthi Samrakshana Samiti, an environmental organisation in the district, has urged the government to reject the recommendations of the Oommen V. Oommen Committee constituted to formulate the State’s response to the Kasturirangan committee report on the conservation of the the Western Ghats.

In separate letters to the Chief Minister and the Union Environment and Forest Secretary, the Samiti alleged that the committee had gone beyond its mandate and instigated people to agitation and lawlessness.

Flaws in hearing

Though the public expected that the committee would hear the farmers, environmentalists, and tribespeople, it held meetings only with vested interests – quarry mafias, a group of churchmen and a section of political leaders – who had led the violence in certain pockets of the State. Mafia goons prevented independent people from airing their opinion at the committee’s sittings.

Even before the completion of the proceedings, the chairman and members of the committee had declared that they would recommend the government to discard the Kasturirangan report, the Samiti said.

At a sitting held at Mananthavadi on November 27, the committee said it would recommend amendment to the Ecologically Fragile Land (Vesting and Management) (EFL) Act and the very next day at Kalpetta it said it would recommend repeal of the Act, though there was no connection between the EFL Act and the Kasturirangan report, the Samiti said.

By submitting a biased report the committee had proved that it was incapable of saving the environment and interest of the State. Hence, the report should be rejected, the Samiti said in the letter.

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