Around 500 people take part in strike which ended by dusk
The Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu Road Action Committee, led by historian M.G.S. Narayanan, went on a mass hunger strike in front of the Collectorate in Kozhikode on Saturday in protest against the “lackadaisical attitude of the State government to the widening of the Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu road.”
Around 500 people from the fields of literature, art, culture and social work, took part in the hunger strike that began at 10 a.m. and concluded at 5 p.m. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has invited the leaders of the action committee for a meeting in Thiruvananthapuram at 11 a.m. on July 11.
Member of Parliament M.K. Raghavan inaugurated the strike in the presence of MLA A. Pradeepkumar and Mayor A.K. Premajam. Minister for Social Justice and Panchayats M.K. Muneer visited the protestors and promised his support. He said that allegations against him, of non-cooperation in the issue, were baseless. In fact, he had brought up the project when he was the PWD Minister seven years ago.
Those who took part in the protest include poet P.K. Gopi; film maker V.M. Vinu; writers U.K. Kumaran, K.P. Sudheera; artist E. Sudhakaran; Gandhian Thayat Balan; social activist Gro Vasu; former Minister P. Shankaran; DCC president K.C. Abu; Corporation councillors K. Mohammedali, M.T. Padma, P. Kishenchand, and former Mayors T.P. Dasan and U.T. Rajan.
Administrative sanction was given to the development of Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu Road in 2008. Land acquisition for road-widening is yet to begin. The Chief Minister had announced in February that Rs.100 crore would be allotted immediately for the road. The promise is yet to be fulfilled.
Since the administrative sanction for the road-widening will expire in April 2015, local people have been trying to get the authorities to expedite the work.
The activities gained momentum after the action committee led by MGS Narayanan appealed directly to the Chief Minister during his visit to Kozhikode last month.