Council urges Ministry to cancel clearance, send team

The State government and the KGS Group, a private company, managed to obtain environment clearance for the Aranmula airport project by furnishing totally misleading and false information to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Aranmula Heritage Village Action Council (AHVAC) has alleged.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, AHVAC chief patron Kummanam Rajashekharan called upon the Union Ministry to cancel the clearance granted for the proposed private airport project. He also asked the Ministry to send its expert team to Aranmula for site inspection to gather first hand-information on the ground reality there.

Details in the order

Mr. Rajashekharan said the MoEF order granting environment clearance contained details of the information provided by the KGS and the State on the project site as well as the need for such an airport at Aranmula.

He alleged that various key points concerning land, water sources, environment, paddy farming, etc, were totally false and misleading. Mr. Rajashekharan alleged that the ultimate aim of the private company was not airport but real estate business that it would indulge in after converting the vast expanse of paddy fields. How could an international airport be set up with a 1000-metre long, 150-metre wide runway? he wondered.

Mr. Rajashekharan alleged that the KGS statement before the MoEF that the project area covered no wetland at all was totally misleading.

Records available with agencies such as the Krishi Bhavan, grama panchayat, village office, and the Irrigation wing of the Water Resources department very well show the extend of wetland in the project area. Even the government had approved the wetland-based project of the grama panchayat. This was proof enough that the information given by the KGS to the MoEF was misleading, he alleged.

The action council patron said the State government stand before the MoEF that the Kerala Paddy Land and Wetland Act of 2008 was not applicable to the paddy field that had been earth-filled prior to 2008 was totally unfounded. According to Mr. Rajashekharan, the illegal conversion of the paddy field had taken place in 2004 when the UDF was in power in the State. The State government could have acted against the illegal land conversion, invoking the provisions in the Environment Protection Act 1986, but it failed to do so.

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