The Kerala Gazette notification of the Industries department declaring 500 acres of land spread across the Mallappuzhasserry, Aranmula and Kidangannur villages as industrial area in connection with the proposal to set up a private airport project in Aranmula was part of a “legal fraud’’ aimed at getting clearances through “short-cut’’ for certain key requests of the company that have been outrightly rejected by the State Cabine, earlier, alleged Mr Peelipose, former State Planning Board member and AICC member.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, Mr Thomas alleged that the notification itself was a big humbug created after exploiting the loopholes in the existing law.
According to him, there is every reason to suspect a larger conspiracy behind the notification issued by the Additional Chief Secretary on behalf of the Industries Department, invoking the provisions in the Kerala Industrial Single Window Clearance Boards and Industrial Township Area Development Act 1999. No such notification was issued for the Cochin International Airport Limited at Nedumbasserry or for the proposed airport at Kannur. So far, such notifications have been issued only in the case of the industrial parks and estates of Kinfra and for the442 ha of land in the possession of the FACT in Kunnathunad taluk. Moreover, all these industrial estates and parks as well as the FACT property have got clear boundaries, he added.
The Act was passed in 1999, usurping the powers of the local self-government institutions, was aimed at bypassing the otherwise mandatory clearances required for various projects from the panchayats, municipalities, Town Planning Department and Development Authorities in the land notified as industrial area, he alleged.
Mr Thomas said, as per section-18 of the Act, those places notified as industrial area would not only remain outside the purview of the master plan or zonal plan but also remain excluded from any legislation passed by the State Assembly. The Coca Cola factory at Plachimada had managed to get clearance by utilising the single window clearance system of the same Act. In effect, the notified areas coming under the Aranmula and Mallappuzhasserry panchayats were likely to be excluded from the jurisdiction of the local body concerned in future, he added.
Mr Thomas said the previous Government had granted only a clearance in principle for the proposed green field airport project at Aranmula.
However, the Government Order of September 8, 2010 showed that the State Cabinet had rejected the private company’s demand for excluding the land identified for the proposed airport project from certain provisions in the Kerala Land Reforms Act, Kerala Paddy Fields and Wetland Conservation Act and to acquire 150 acres of land for the project, he said.
Mr Thomas said the “people of Aranmula have got every right to know those who are responsible for facilitating ‘short-cuts’ to a private company to overcome the hurdles posed by the Kerala Land Reforms Act as well as the Paddy Field and Wetland Conservation Act by notifying the area as industrial areas as per the “Industrial Single Window Clearance Board Act.’’
There is every reason to suspect a legal fraud in the undue haste shown by the authorities concerned in issuing the notification dated March 1, the day on which the Election Commission had announced the dates for Assembly elections in the State, alleges the former Planning Board member.