Kerala

Buffer zone: Calicut Bishop seeks CM’s intervention

Varghese Chakkalakkal, Bishop, Calicut Diocese, has sought the intervention of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to ensure peace of mind for residents of upland areas, who are worried over the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) proposal.

He was opening a protest outside the Kozhikode collectorate on Tuesday against the Supreme Court mandate of 1 km of buffer zone around wildlife sanctuaries in the country. The event was organised by various associations affiliated to the Thamarassery Archdiocese.

The Bishop said the court order was hanging like Damocles’ Sword over people’s heads. Those who are living near the buffer zones are spending sleepless nights. He asked MLAs in the respective constituencies to handle the issue and initiate a debate in the Assembly.

The Bishop urged the ruling and Opposition parties to take up similar issues which directly affected people instead of fighting over silly matters. The move to have mandatory buffer zones should be dropped for people to feel safe. Those who rule the State have the moral responsibility to ensure that, he said.

The Bishop said if a 1-km buffer zone was made mandatory around wildlife sanctuaries, people would not be able to live there. “It was in the 1920s that migration to upland areas in Malabar from other parts of the State began. The settler farmers have been living there for around a century. They are being evacuated to ensure space for animals. Human beings should be the priority, not animals,” he pointed out.

The Bishop said it was the settler farmers who enriched the land with their hard work. “This is not a Church-related issue. People from all communities are affected. This joint movement by all sections of farmers should be a warning to the Union government, State government, and the Opposition parties,” he added.

Earlier, a rally was taken out from Eranhipalam to the collectorate in which hundreds of people, including women, participated. Apart from organisations affiliated to the Church, activists of We Farm, a farmers’ collective, too were present. They raised slogans against the Union and State governments.


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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 6:54:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/buffer-zone-calicut-bishop-seeks-cms-intervention/article65576195.ece