Amendment to Wetland Act draws flak

Members of a district-level environment collective during a Black Day observance in Kozhikode on Monday.

Members of a district-level environment collective during a Black Day observance in Kozhikode on Monday.   | Photo Credit: S_RAMESHKURUP


Collective plans to stage Sleep Protest at collectorate on June 29

The newly formed district-level collective of environmentalists observed Black Day on Monday in protest against the Bill to amend the Kerala Conservation of Paddyland and Wetland Act 2008.

Environmentalists from across the district got together at the Mofussil Bus Stand in Kozhikode to discuss the ill-effects of the amendment that was presented in the Assembly on Monday, though a decision was put on hold due to protests by the Opposition.

Environmentalists have found fault with everything related to the amendment, right from the way it was brought in as an ordinance. “The Act, formed in 2008, was the result of detailed discussions and public opinion. But this time, there was no discussion. Moreover, public opinion was not considered,” said T.V. Rajan, chairman of the collective.

The local-level monitoring committees that played a major role in deciding if a land was vulnerable or not and whether it could be filled, have no role in the amended Bill. They have been reduced to mere reporting agencies, while the decision has been left to the State. While there was a provision in the previous edition to fill land for government needs, the amendment makes it easy for private corporates to fill land with the government’s approval, Mr. Rajan said.

Another lacuna in the Bill, he pointed out, was that the amendment left no room for a member of the public to file a complaint. “One needs a copy of the RDO’s rejection order to file a complaint. But it needs to be filed in a month’s time and ₹5,000 should be deposited along with the complaint. However, it is almost impossible to get a copy of the order in one month,” Mr. Rajan added.

The amendment also makes it easy to do anything with the non-notified land in 600 villages that are yet to be included in the data bank. Environmentalist Dr. A. Achuthan opened the discussions. The collective plans to stage a Sleep Protest at the collectorate on June 29 against the district administration’s lack of action in the case of a quarry and amusement park in Kakkadampoyil that have been under the scanner.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 9:14:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/amendment-to-wetland-act-draws-flak/article24256561.ece

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