Amendment to Wetland Act passed

By Times Of India on 26 Jun 2018
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has brought in amendments to the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008, not only without diluting its original intention, but by giving more clarity to certain crucial provisions, revenue minister E Chandrasekharan said.


Replying to the discussions on the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the allegations that 14 of the 30 sections of the Act have been amended, the minister said that the key amendments were brought only in Sections 2,5,10,14 and 27 and the government has no intention other than to find solutions to genuine issues. He said that the allegations of the opposition that the LDF was taking a double stand by introducing section 27A (3), the same clause they had opposed while in opposition when the then UDF government introduced 3A amendment that dealt with regularizing the fillings prior to 2008, were unwarranted.


“The then 3A amendment was without any kind of checks or balances, but the 27A (3) has several strict clauses attached to it. The regularization of the filling will be allowed only if the land is not a notified land, and is also proved to have been filled by using the satellite maps of Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre (KSREC) and also by certification by local-level monitoring committee,” he said.


The minister saidthat the amendment that the paddy land and wetland filling can be allowed for public purpose was introduced as several government projects like GAIL pipelining had stalled because of the provisions of the Act. He added that the amendment to introduce rights of cultivation in the paddy land that is lying fallow to a third party for two years even without owner’s permission would not encroach into his right of property, but has been introduced with the intention of increasing land under paddy farming.


Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the very definition of “public purpose” is questionable, as it also says “other schemes as may be specified by the government from time to time” can be considered as government purpose. The discussion that began at1pm on the final day of the 11th session of the 14th assembly lasted for more than six hours. The opposition walked out after tearing apart copies of the bill. The assembly then passed the bill and adjourned sine-die.