Sudheeran, Congress leaders to address protest meet today

The mass movement launched by the villagers of Aranmula against the proposed private airport project at Aranmula enters 400th day on Monday and senior Congress leader, V.M.Sudheeran, will be inaugurating a public meeting organised by the people’s action council at Aranmula on Monday afternoon, according to Mr P.Induchoodan, Palliyoda Pallivilakku Samrakshana Samiti convner.

Mr Induchoodan said the agitation against the controversial airport project began with the popular protest march to the `Utsav’ programme organised by the Tourism department in Aranmula on December 17, 2012.

The airport project that threatens even the very existence of six Palliyodakkaras (rustic parts) in and around Aranmula would lead to destruction of rusticity of the heritage village, he said.

Mr Induchoodan said the United Nations Development Programme has identified Aranmula as a Heritage and the proposed airport project that necessitates conversion of a vast expanse of the Aranmula puncha (paddy land) and wetland would ultimately lead to drying up of river Pampa, singing the swan’s song to the famous snakeboat regatta, Uthrittathi Vallamkali, and not to speak of its priceless socio-environmental cost.

He said PPSS has organised a series of protests against the airport project on the directions of the renowned poet Sugathakumari, a native of Aranmula, over the past one year. Socio-cultural from different parts of the State as well as leaders of various political parties have visited Aranmula, expressing solidarity with the people’s movement for a just cause.

Mr Peelipose Thomas, former Planning Board member and AICC member; K.K.Royson, former District Panchayat president; Malethu Saraladevi, former Aranmula MLA; Shaji Chacko, former president of the Congress mandalam committee, will also address the public meeting to be held at 4 pm on Monday, he said.

Mr Induchoodan said the PPSS has been waging the protest against the controversial airport project in association with various other popular groups like the Thriuvaranmula Paitrhuka Grama Karma Samiti, Prakruthi Samrakshana Samyukta Vedi, etc.

The Legislative Committee on Environment chaired by Congress MLA, C.P.Mohammed, had unanimously opposed the airport project that required wanton conversion of paddy land.

The Assembly panel had found that a portion of the Aranmula Puncha as well as natural stream have been illegally converted by the land mafia in the name of the airport project. The State Land Board has recommended a Vigilence probe into the land deals taken place in the name of the private airport project. Off late, the District Collector has directed the Tahsildar and the village officers concerned to cancel the mutation of 232 acres of land sold by Mr Abraham Kalamannil of the Mount Zion Trust to the KGS Group, promoters of the private airport project, Mr Induchoodan said.

He alleged that the Chief Minister’s statement that the Government has decided to take 10 per cent equity in the proposed Aranmula Airport project was part of a hidden agenda to regularize all sorts of illegalities taken place at the instance of the land mafia in Aranmula.

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