Kerala govt rolls back wetland reclamation nod

By: | Published: March 10, 2016 1:31 AM

In a move that leaves the Oommen Chandy government red-faced ahead of the polls, the state Cabinet has revoked its order allowing paddy field reclamation for two major investment projects.

In a move that leaves the Oommen Chandy government red-faced ahead of the polls, the state Cabinet has revoked its order allowing paddy field reclamation for two major investment projects. While one is the R2,200-crore tourist village project at Kumarakam , the other is R1,000-crore hospital project in Ernakulam.

Earlier, the Chandy Cabinet had allowed reclamation of the paddy fields. The tourism village project would involve reclamation of 470 acres of backwaters and the hospital project would mean reclamation of 47 acres of paddy land. Filling the paddy fields and waterbodies is seen as a violation of the Kerala’s legislation to conserve paddy land and wetlands.

“It is only to avoid a controversy during the run-up to Assembly elections that the orders were revoked today. I do not think the earlier order allowing reclamation of the paddy fields were wrong. When a major investment comes up, it is difficult to observe its subservience to different kinds of legislations. That’s why a waiver was made, initially,” chief minister Oommen Chandy said. He pointed out that the eco-tourism village project at Kumarakam had first figured during the previous LDF tenure and VS Achuthanandan government had come up with orders for implementing it.

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