Land use policy in cold storage for 10 years
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Land Use draft policy which was formulated with the vision of ensuring food, water, housing and livelihood security to every citizen and sustaining ecos-ystem has been lying in cold storage for nearly 10 years.
The government is yet to publish the final version of the draft for putting it in the public domain and seeking input from the stakeholders. But with back-to-back floods wreaking havoc in the state and nearly 100 landslides resulting in heavy casualties this time, there is some movement on this front. The Land Use Board will soon submit a proposal to the government for publishing the revised land use policy. Land use commissioner A. Nizamudeen told this newspaper that as part of the revised policy, inputs will be sought from all stakeholders, including government departments and the public.
The government should look at the recommendations made in the draft policy earlier, including preparation of a master plan for land use in Kerala and obtaining all the data on land in Kerala as specified under the policy. A committee of experts will have to be constituted giving adequate representation to the civil society. The panel should be entrusted with preparing the master plan taking into account the population and demand growth for the next 25 years.
Sridhar Radhakrishnan of Thanal said,“human activities have to be planned and organised which means they cannot be done just with some guidelines. We need a comprehensive land use policy which also looks at all regions, hills, plains and coastal areas separately,” he said.
Various acts, amendments and strategies will have to be worked out based on the comprehensive land use policy, he said.
The High Court and NGT have come down heavily on the state in the past for destruction of hills and unscientific quarrying and mining activities. A strategy to plan, use , manage and conserve land for agricultural, cultural , industrial and ecological purposes must be evolved. The draft land use policy had specific guidelines on waste management, construction, quarrying, non-conventional energy, housing, tourism, transport, roads and mining. It had also come out with far-reaching suggestions on rationing land for housing, agriculture and industry. It included strict environmental caveats attempting to boost food production and avert an eco catastrophe.