Advocate Commissioner files report in HC

Indiscriminate reclamation of paddy fields and blocking of Kozhithodu, a tributary of the Pampa, for the proposed greenfield airport at Aranmula will be a perennial threat to Aranmula Sree Parthasarathi Temple, according to a report filed by the Advocate Commissioner in the Kerala High Court.

In his report, S. Subash Chand, Advocate Commissio ner, said indiscriminate reclamation of paddy fields and blocking of the tributary of the Pampa would endanger valuable plant species, fish, and microorganism.

It would cause flood in the Pampa and its adjoining areas, affecting the temple, which had a weak structure. He pointed out that in its report, the Kerala State Biodiversity Board had said that 80 per cent of the 500 acres of land earmarked for the airport consisted of paddy fields. Such large-scale conversion of paddy fields would have an adverse effect on the food chain and the same would accelerate the depletion of fish resources and other flora and fauna in the Pampa river. The reclamation would deprive fish species of its breeding grounds. Biodiversity loss and water shortage would be caused due to razing of hills in the nearby areas.

The Salim Ali Foundation, which also conducted a study, reported that the proposed airport project would destroy 400 acres of waterlogged paddy field and endanger 212 species of plants in the region, of which 22 were endemic to the Western Ghats, 110 important for their medicinal properties, and 88 wetland species. According to chairman of the foundation V.S. Vijayan, if paddy cultivation was restored and fish farming launched, the region would yield benefits to the tune of Rs.335 crore to Rs.440 crore annually. The commissioner pointed out that Airports Authority of India (AAI) had suggested razing of four hills around the temple along with a rubber plantation.

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