THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government should be allowed to manage the populated portions within the regions notified as ecologically sensitive area (ESA) in the K Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday.
The government would approach the Centre seeking approval for such an arrangement, he told reporters.
Of the 123 villages (spread over 9,993.7 sq km) notified as ESA in the draft report published in February 2014, 9,107 sq km comprises forests.
An area of 886.7 sq km constitutes ‘non-forest’ ESA having human settlements. The management of this portion has raised concerns among the people, said the Chief Minister, while announcing the government’s decision.
“The state should be given the responsibility of providing protection to the 886.7 sq km. If such an arrangement requires amendments to the law, the government is ready to take steps in that direction,’’ he said.
In July 2015, the Kerala government had submitted a comprehensive report on its views on the Kasturirangan report to the MoEF. The previous UDF government had sought the exclusion of four ESA villages from the list.