Govt helping real estatelobby: Chennithala

Opposes move to amend wetland conservation Act

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala has accused the State government of attempting to help the real estate lobby by amending the Kerala Paddy Field and Wetland Conservation Act.

Mr. Chennithala and former Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash told reporters here on Thursday that the proposed amendment to exempt Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode cities from the purview of the Act was aimed at helping real estate developers. They accused Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran of trying to push through such changes and alleged that it would pave the way for major corruption.

Referring to reports of the Communist Party of India (CPI) objecting to the move, Mr. Chennithala said that if the party was serious about its objections, Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan should take the lead to repeal the Bill.

The CPI’s opposition was only a drama, he said and accused the government of deferring the meeting of the subject committee on the Bill.

The Bill had not been sent to the committee for eliciting public opinion. The proposed amendments would affect paddy cultivation and production and dilute the provisions of the Act passed in 2008. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) had promised to bring out a databank on paddy fields and wetlands within six months on coming to power. This could not be attained even after two years.

As per the provisions of the original Act, regional committees comprising, among others, representatives of local bodies and farmers were entrusted to prevent thoughtless conversion of paddy fields. Recommendations of such committees were imperative for acquiring land for public purposes. But the latest amendments seek to reduce them as reporting agencies, Mr. Chennithala said. The powers for converting paddy fields have been proposed to be brought back to the government.

This would help the government to give paddy fields to private entrepreneurs without any hitch. If the government decided to pass the Bill in the Assembly, the UDF would take legal recourse, he said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 6:39:17 AM |

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