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Scams own country: Deforestation under CPM govt of Kerala is worrisome for environment

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State revenue of Kerala whose tag line for tourism is “God’s own Country” is mostly from services, i.e., 63%. Tourism and related activities not only provide livelihood for lakhs of people, but also contributes to the revenue of the state. Incidentally the second biggest revenue for the state comes from Alcohol. Justifying it as reason to promote tourism, CPM Chief Minister increased the number of liquor bars from 29 to 619 between May 2016 and January 2021.

But remember CPM is against liquor usage. They have always been vocal about it. Kerala with a population of 3.5 Cr ranks high among the top alcohol consuming states in India. when it comes to Kerala, despite being home to only 3.5 crore people, it draws the highest revenue because among states it charges the highest tax rate on liquor. All for tourism promotion! And quite natural. What can a state with 2.8% of Indian population, that contributes 3% to Indian economy with a pathetic growth rate do when no industry or industrialist is willing to even consider Kerala as a destination because of the prevailing hostile communist attitude towards industrialists and industries? They also know numerous tales of industries which closed down because of communist activism.  

Kerala is blessed with scenic natural beauty, educated people who can talk English and has relatively clean environments. Be it Munnar which is the only place it South India which can boast of occasional snow fall, vast and beautiful lakes in mid-south of Kerala, beaches, hill stations. This is the main reason for Kerala being a preferred tourist destination. This bounty of nature is being ruthlessly exploited and destroyed at a rampant pace in the recent past, especially from 2016 when Pinarayi Vijayan led Communist Government came into power.

Western Ghats has been drilled for rock, forest trees that too precious ones like sandal wood are being felled indiscreetly, lakes and hill ranges are being encroached left and right. All this under the Communist Government of Vijayan. Remember, Pinarayi Vijayan’s son in law Mohammed Riyaz of CPM had led a demonstration Infront of Brazil Embassy to protest against forest fire in Amazon Forest in Brazil…! He is now a minister in the cabinet of his Chief Minister father-in-law…!   

Kerala did pay a heavy price for these offences on mother nature. In 2018 massive floods rocked Kerala taking 500 lives and making many thousands homeless and deprived of their livelihood. Reason for this disaster as per environmental experts like Shri. Madhav Gadgil and Kerala High Court appointed amicus curie is very curious 1) Criminal negligence in dam water management 2) indiscreet tree felling, deforestation and encroachment into rivers and canals. They declared the incident as man made disaster. Till date no serious enquiry into the lapses in dam management which lead to disaster and deaths has been done.

Nobody is responsible. But CM Vijayan went on a global campaign to raise funds in the cover of this man-made disaster, went on family tour to many countries to study flood management. But the number of rock mining quarries went up exponentially under the nature lover party Government. It is estimated that Kerala has a total of 5924 functioning stone quarries while the number of those which hitherto obtained mandatory permission from the Department of Mining and Geology stands at 750 (as on November 2020). Western Ghats is being raced down at a rampant pace. Taking about Lake encroachments, a minister in the last cabinet had to step down for that crime, not because CPM or Vijayan thought it unfair, but because High Court stepped into the issue.

But the loot continued unabated. Nature was also merciless. There were floods and numerous landslides in the valleys of Western Ghats in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Hundreds of families lost their homes, crops, animals, lively hood. Landscape changed beyond recognition. Hundreds were displaced, lives ruined. Central assistance came in abundance. But it went mostly to the pockets of Communist party cadre and not to the poor and needy. There are still thousand holed up in dingy refuge shelters. But Chief Minister Vijayan hired a helicopter paying almost One Crore a month as rent to inspect floods and landslides, took loans at even 10% for building infrastructure to prevent floods and landslides. Communist party dominated Uralunkal Labour Society bags most of these orders. How brilliant! But every Keralite’s heart misses a beat when clouds appear in the sky even today.…

This is the history of our geography. Now let us come to the present. One month old Vijayan led Communist dispensation is rattled by a big controversy. Trees from Environmentally Fragile Zones and even forest areas worth thousands of Crores has been cut and shipped to timber mills. How did this happen? Vijayan Government issued a government order sanctioning permission to do that. Can you believe this? You have to. When the scam was exposed, order was withdrawn. And CM Vijayan says public should appreciate me for timely action.

In February 2021, Kerala Forest Department seized 54 logs of rosewood worth Rs 60 lakh from a timber mill at Perumbavoor in Kerala’s Ernakulam district. As the forest officials investigated the case, they traced the origin of these logs to Muttil South village in Kerala’s Wayanad district. They found that more than 100 rosewood trees planted at 28 sites within Muttil South village were illegally axed. Legality or illegality is still a question because culprits claim they did it legally based on a Government order. This is the tip of the iceberg. As scan broke out stories of more grievous crimes of tree felling are pouring in every day. The scam is estimated to be of hundreds of Crores. So far similar cases have been reported from five other districts in Kerala. Imagine the magnitude of the loot that happened under a government order…!

Neither environmentalists nor tool kit gang is crying. Son in law minister of Chief Minister Vijayan who held demonstration in front Brazil Embassy in Delhi to protest against (!) fire in Amazon forests is silent. Kerala’s mainstream media is not reporting this case with due importance. Keralites are keeping their hand on the chest with a worried look at the sky. When is the next rain? Will I be washed away in that rain…? So much for promoting tourism and protecting environment by Communist nature lovers.   

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