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Oommen Committee recommendations bad for forests

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Story Dated: Saturday, January 04, 2014 03:23 hrs UTC

If the recommendations of the expert committee, headed by Oommen V Oommen, that was set up to study the Kasturirangan report is accepted, Kerala would stand to lose a lot of existing forest cover.

It is believed that if the report is accepted, thousands of acres of forest cover in areas such as Nelliampathy and Wayanad would be destroyed. In addition, important cases regarding EFL that are being considered by the High Court could become invalid.

About 37000 acres of forest land are under government control under EFL laws. Forests in Nelliampathy and Wayanad also come under this law and disputes concerned with these lands are still under the consideration of the courts. These forest areas, which are now under the protection of Reserve Forest rules, could lose the privilege once Oommen's report is accepted.

The fact that the committee has opined on issues that are not under its jurisdiction has raised quite a few eyebrows.

One of the main concerns is that the forest lands could fall in the hands of the land mafia if the protection that they enjoy are withdrawn.

Legal experts opine that solutions to outstanding issues could be found without cancelling EFL laws.


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