People told to oppose bid to destroy biodiversity of Aranmula

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has called upon the people to form a human fortress to check any invasion of the Aranmula Puncha (paddy-cum-wetland) by ‘land-grabbers and the corporate lobby.’

Mr. Achuthanandan was addressing an indefinite satyagraha launched by the all-party Joint Action Council, chaired by social activist Sugathakumari, in protest against the proposed private airport project at Aranmula on Thursday.

The land lobby, backed by the government, was out to destroy the biodiversity-rich Aranmula Puncha, wetlands, the Pampa, and various small natural streams in the name of development. The airport project would ultimately destroy the drinking water source of the region, he said.

Lauding the firm resolve of the people to protect the Aranmula Puncha from the threats posed by the State-sponsored land lobby, Mr. Achuthanandan offered all support to the agitation.

The proponents of development were under the notion that they could purchase anything with money, muscle power, and political clout. But, these nefarious forces would soon realise that they were nothing against people’s power, he said adding that the project would not be allowed at any cost. Loud applause received Mr. Achuthanandan at the ‘satyagraha’ venue. Ms. Sugathakumari presented him with a shawl.

The crucial environmental issue was not one concerning Aranmula alone. It had State-wide ramifications. The State was facing a serious environmental crisis with the land lobby trying to destroy the remaining paddy lands, wetlands, rivers, rocks, hills, and valleys in the name of development, she said. Mathew T. Thomas, MLA, said it was unfortunate that there was even an alleged move to give a communal colour to the apolitical, anti-airport stir.

The people of the State were wise enough to realise the machinations of the corporate lobby, he said.

Sethumadhavan, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader, offered the support of the sangh to the agitation.

K. Ananthagopan, Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary; A. Padmakumar, party district secretariat member; Thomas Joseph, Revolutionary Socialist Party leader; and Kummanam Rajashekharan, Aranmula Heritage Village Action Council chief patron; spoke.

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