Kerala

Panel advances meet to consider 3 projects

The State panel on conservation of paddy and wetlands has advanced its meeting to consider three projects that require reclamation of paddy land as the government is planning to promulgate an ordinance which will grant the State overriding powers on requests for reclamation of paddy fields for public purposes.

Originally, the State-level monitoring committee on the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008, was scheduled to meet on January 20. However, on instructions from senior officials, the committee advanced its meeting to January 5 and the members were orally informed about it, sources said.

The ordinance is expected to be promulgated in a day or two.

Reports to be considered

Incidentally, the January 5 meeting will consider the reports of the State-level committee regarding the reclamation of 15 cents for constructing a building for Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, 15.78-acre paddy field for a waste-to-energy plant of the Kochi Corporation at Brahmapuram, and an acre at Edappal for a road for a government-supported housing project.

While the expert committee had denied permission for reclaiming land for the Brahmapuram project citing ecological issues, the reports regarding the Thiruvananthapuram and Edappal proposals will be considered at the meeting.

Once the ordinance is promulgated, the government can overrule the objections raised by the local and State-level expert committees. The ordinance will also replace the word ‘recommendation’ of the local and State-level committees with the term report. Even if the committees decline permission for the projects, the government can override them if it is a public project, the sources said.

In the case of Brahmapuram project, a private firm had won the bid for setting up the project on a holding owned by the Kochi Corporation.

While declining permission for reclaiming land, the expert committee pointed out that filling the paddy field, which “forms an extremely important ecological entity”, would lead to “long-standing and disastrous ecological consequences”.

The Hindu had accessed the report of the expert panel on Brahmapuram by invoking the Right to Information Act.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 3:07:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/panel-advances-meet-to-consider-3-projects/article22360956.ece

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