The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council has termed unacceptable, the August 10 order of the State government entrusting the Forest department with taking further action on the Supreme Court verdict on ‘buffer zones’ around protected areas.
The farmers in the affected areas will be denied justice. No one has been tasked with reporting the objections to the Central Empowered Committee. With just three weeks left to raise objections, no preparations seem to have been made. While the August 10 order states that inhabited areas will be excluded from the buffer zone, ‘inhabited area’ has not been clearly defined, the KCBC said in a press communique.
Raising these issues, memorandums were jointly submitted by the Justice, Peace and Development Commission and the Kerala Farmers’ Survival Joint Committee on behalf of KCBC to the Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Forest Minister.
The petition urged the government to immediately carry out a statistical data collection on buffer zones. The study to be held by the forest officials should not end up being unilateral. Along with the Forest department, representatives of Revenue, Agriculture and Panchayat departments; people’s representatives; and farmers’ organisations falling within the respective jurisdiction of each area should be part of the data collection effort, the memorandum said.