An emergency meeting of the representatives of Keezhmadu grama panchayat on Tuesday asked the RubberMark authorities to immediately stop work on digging a pond at its Rubber Park in Keezhmadu near Perumbavur.

Several residents nearby the unit were injured on Monday after the police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse agitators who had alleged that the construction activity had rendered most of the wells in the area dry.

Laiza Sebastian, president of the Keezhmadu grama panchayat, said the Rubber Park management should close the pond and restore the spot in its original condition.

Officials of the Agriculture Department and the panchayat representatives had visited the site following public protests over the last several days. Ms. Sebastian said the pond was coming up on a land classified as ‘agricultural land’ and hence digging the earth to make the pond could not be permitted.

The panchayat president accused the Rubber Park authorities of having violated a stop memo issued by the local body following the public agitation. She also accused the management of having removed several loads of sand from the site in the name of development work without the permission of the panchayat.

Baseless allegations

Alleging that the agitation was politically motivated, T.H. Musthafa, president of RubberMark, said the location for the pond was certified by the Groundwater Department. Wells in the nearby had dried up not because of the construction of the pond but due to the scorching heat, he said.

Mr. Musthafa said that the pond was set up for meeting the water requirements of a company coming up in the 15 acres of RubberMark. It was one among the 15 proposed units to be set up in the area. The allegations that the unit would cause pollution in the region and result in the drying up of wells were also baseless, he said.

The president of the federation accused the Keezhmadu grama panchayat of acting against the RubberMark’s development plans without reasonable cause.

Anwar Sadath, MLA, representing Aluva constituency, said the concerns of the local residents should be addressed. He also expressed doubts whether some anti-social elements were behind the Monday’s violence.

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