In March 2016, the Kerala Paristhithi Aikyavedi, an umbrella organisation of environmental groups in the State, released a green development agenda for political parties to incorporate into their manifesto for the elections to the Assembly. Aikyavedi leaders V.S. Vijayan, R. Sridhar and S. Usha said the green agenda was aimed at ensuring the sustainable development of the State. Source: The Hindu.
They alleged that the UDF government had abetted blatant violations of environmental laws, imperilling livelihoods, and affecting food security and water availability.
Proposing a white paper on the state of the environment within three months of the formation of a new government, the agenda calls for an environmental audit to expose the violation of environmental laws by local bodies and government departments.
The document calls for a firm political commitment on restoration of paddy fields and wetlands reclaimed after 2008.
It proposes an environment audit for the last 30 years in the Western Ghats, midlands, and coastal areas.
Declaration of paddy lands as paddy reserves that can never be converted for other purposes, a legislation for protection of hills in non-forest areas, eco-restoration of the catchments of hydro power and irrigation projects, phasing out the production and sale of chemical pesticides, preparation of a wetland register for each panchayat and strong action against CRZ violations are some of the major recommendations.
The agenda proposes a strong building code limiting the maximum size of a house and making constructions environment friendly.
The Aikyavedi urged the government to revisit the Gadgil and Kasturirangan committee reports and accept recommendations for ecological security.
Pointing out that Kerala cannot afford to have new hydel projects involving loss of forests, the manifesto recommends installation of solar power units in government offices, industrial units and commercial establishments within five years.
The Aikyavedi leaders said the green agenda would help Kerala become the first carbon neutral State in India and the first to adopt sustainable development practices.
They said all political parties in the State would be approached with the request to include the green agenda in their respective election manifesto.