A hartal has been called in Balussery and Elathur Assembly constituencies on Friday in protest against the police lathicharge on protestors at the Kinaloor industrial park.

The hartal is being backed by constituents of the United Democratic Front who alleged that the survey being conducted for a four-lane road on the Malikadavu-Kinaloor road by revenue officials was on the behest of vested interests.

Vehicles are exempted from the hartal which will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

District Congress Committee president K.C. Abu, who visited Kinaloor on Thursday, alleged that a land mafia was behind the attempt to acquire land for the four-lane road. Top district functionaries of the Congress and Indian Union Muslim League also visited the site.

IUML State general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty warned the CPI(M) that it should not resort to a ‘Singur model of development' in Kerala. He condemned the CPI(M) attitude of ignoring people's struggles.

Mr. Kunhalikuttty and Mr. Abu demanded an explanation from the Home Minister on why the police assaulted the protestors without any provocation. They said action should be taken against the policemen who attacked the protestors, including women and children.

District Collector P.B. Salim said in a press release that the survey would be restarted only after the anxieties of all sections was solved. He termed it unfortunate that protestors provoked the police by throwing cow-dung water and stones.

Dr. Salim said the road widening was taken up because this was a major demand by prospective investors who had shown interest in starting firms there. Only five kilometres of survey could be completed on Thursday, he said.

The residents of Kinaloor continue to be divided over the need for the four-lane road. While CPI(M) workers and the Kinaloor Vikasana Samiti support the survey, the opponents of the project have grouped under a Jana Jagrata Samiti.

The Samiti had raised its voice at a meeting convened by the District Collector at the Civil Station. The Samiti said the people in the area had initially agreed to the land acquisition for the road widening because of the interest evinced by the Malaysian agency to build a satellite city at Kinaloor as they hoped this would provide jobs and bring development to the area.

Over 200 families will be displaced in the road widening. Residents said they did not trust the promise by the government of offering them five cents of land on the roadside itself to build a new house besides a job for one member of the household at the Industrial Park.

Krishnan Kallidukkal, a resident whose land was surveyed on Thursday, said he was hesitant to let go off his land. “I will lose the well which provides water to mine and five other households here. After the Malaysian company withdrew I don't understand the need for this widening.”

There are also notices stuck on walls on the way to Kinaloor Park welcoming the survey for road widening. But members of the Jagrata Samiti say that those are by persons owning bigger plots for whom losing a few cents of land does not make a difference.

Over 700 residents of Morikkara are also opposed to the road widening. They complain that their houses will be drowned once the elevation of the road rises as it will sandwich them between the new road and the Poonoor river.

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