Cross Posted from The Hindu
The State CPI(M) has decided not to cooperate with the panel constituted by the government to identify ecologically sensitive zones near national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretariat, which began a two-day meeting here on Monday, decided to dissociate itself from the panel, which, it alleged, was filled with ruling party leaders and officials. The party would not associate itself with a committee which was formed arbitrarily, the CPI(M) secretariat said in a statement here.
The CPI(M) secretariat pointed out that protection of wildlife sanctuaries and forest areas was not something that concerned just one political party. Such an activity should have the involvement of all social and political organisations.
The government decision to keep out the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which accounted for close to half of the membership of the State Assembly, and parties other than those in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) from such an initiative was unjustified.
The Assembly could take a collective stand on the Madhav Gadgil Committee recommendations thanks to the motion moved by CPI(M) Legislature Party deputy leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. The House, which took note of the anxieties of the people, also adopted a resolution on the issue unanimously. Parties cutting across political divides had taken a unanimous position on the issue before the Centrally constituted K. Katurirangan Committee as well. Under the circumstances, the decision to constitute a committee keeping out the Opposition was unacceptable.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF), while in government, had taken firm actions for environmental protection. The extent of forest area in the State came to 28.8 per cent of the total land area as compared to 19.8 per cent at the national level.
The LDF had taken the initiative to have the wetlands protection law adopted by the Assembly. The ruling alliance should not use protection of forests and wildlife for political games, the CPI(M) secretariat said.