Hundreds of peasants from Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka held a March and a massive Dharna at Jantar Mantar against the implementation of the Kasturirangan Committee Recommendations on Western Ghats. The Dharna was inaugurated by Hannan Mollah, General Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha. Amra Ram, President, AIKS presided over the meeting.
A Memorandum demanding that the implementation of the High Level Working Group recommendations be stopped and an Expert panel be formed including people’s representatives to come up with a Comprehensive Plan for Protection of Fragile Ecosystems and Livelihoods in Western Ghats was submitted to the Environment Ministry. Over 2.5 lakh signatures were collected from Kerala against the HLWG Recommendations which was also handed over to the Ministry. Delegates from Tamilnadu also came with resolutions against the recommendations passed by Gram Sabhas which will be handed over to the Government. This was a unique feature of the Protest which was a reflection of the mass resentment against the Government move to impose anti-peasant recommendations of the HLWG.
The Meeting was addressed by S.Ramachandran Pillai, Ex-President, AIKS, K.Varadha Rajan, Ex-General Secretary, AIKS, N.K.Shukla, Joint Secretary, AIKS, E.P.Jayarajan President, Kerala Karshaka Sangham, P.Shanmugham, General Secretary, Tamilnadu, Vivasayigal Sangham, Kishan Gujjar, General Secretary, Maharshtra Kisan Sabha, Yamuna Gaonkar, CITU Karnataka, Suneet Chopra, Joint Secretary, All India Agricultural Workers’ Union, Sivadasan, President, Students’ Federation of India among others. K.N.Balagopal, M.P, Rajya Sabha and P.K.Biju, M.P, Lok Sabha addressed the gathering and assured that they will take up the matter of HLWG Recommendations as well as the problems of the rubber farmers in the Parliament. P.Krishnaprasad, Finance Secretary, AIKS welcomed the gathering and Vijoo Krishnan, Joint Secretary; AIKS delivered the Vote of Thanks.
The Meeting resolved to take forward the fight with greater intensity until the demands are met.