THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An expert committee will be constituted to give shape to state’s stand on Kasturi Rangan Report, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said. Talking to newspersons after chairing an all-party meeting at the Secretariat, he said the opinion of the people will be gathered once the union government's notification on the Kasturi Rangan report is received. An expert committee will also be constituted to give shape to Kerala's stand on the report. All apprehensions regarding the report will be addressed, he added.
Kerala will intimate the centre on its views with regard to the report after discussions with presidents of the 123 villages as remarked in the report and also with representatives of various farmers' organizations, people's representatives and finally, after taking into account the views of the expert committee on the matter.
In the backdrop of today's all-party meeting, the chief minister said "No one is against protection of environment. But that should not come in the way of the living conditions of the people. We cannot drive people from places where they have been living. Being the case, the approach should be of one that takes care of the interests of both. And yes, there will have to be certain degree of control measures."
In the meeting, there were demands made by leaders of political parties, which included the need for discussions at the ward level; relaxation in population density as was granted in the case of states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and curbing development in villages which have 20% of its area identified as environmentally sensitive as unacceptable.
The leaders also pointed out that the Gadgil report in its preface states that there is no scope for development by keeping the people away and once the forest and coastal laws are implemented, people will be forced to live on national highways. They also favoured the implementation of the Gadgil report in its entirety. Apart from leaders of various political parties, the all-party meeting was also attended by ministers P K Kunhalikutty, K M Mani, K C Jospeh, P J Thomas, Adoor Prakash, Jose K Mani MP and Roshi Augustine MLA.